Blog about personal experience with ADHD by Robert Dawson

Concerta x 2 – Day 3

I slept very well last night, just not long enough at only 6 hours. The worst part of staying up late is not knowing why. I bet a lot of people with ADD/ADHD say this. What do I recall? Well, I know I read about Steve Jobs and pre-ordered his upcoming biography. And I'm pretty sure that I read some posts in Google+. But that can't take hours, can it? Unless time is more relative than we thought, yes, it can! I slept around 12:30am.

But I feel good now. Maybe the medicine is kicking in. Because I slept so well last night, Concerta wasn't likely to blame for poor sleep the night before. I'm not sure what to blame.

And yesterday went well. I had no stomach ache in the afternoon like I did on the first day of a double dose. And, as I said, I slept well, which was the other potential problem. As for focus yesterday, while I can't prove that yesterday was an improvement over the average, it felt like it was slightly more productive.

Oh, and, because I felt so tired and irritable this morning on my way to work (irritable because of rushing, not that it's rare), I took piracetam and Alpha GPC again. I want to test the interaction and I feel confident, despite my lack of degree and debt from that degree, that it's safe to try. If it wasn't, I would have felt horrible the first time as Concerta works immediately.

Concerta - Day 1

This morning, I started Concerta, 18mg, at 7am. It takes around an hour to kick in. I found this fascinating explanation of how this complicated, extended-release pill works. You might need to read it a few times. Brilliant!

I haven't felt much of anything yet. I might be feeling more focused; I'm not sure. Of course, last night was one of the worst nights of sleep I've had in a while. Before bed, I drank more than 8oz of water mixed with casein protein to help rebuild muscle after last night's workout. Bad idea. I woke up three times to pee, from 2-4am. I tend not to sleep well, anyway, when I'm nervous about something, as I was last night about starting Concerta, so I don't expect to see much benefit from Concerta today.

Oh, I decided to take a low 1g dose of piracetam around 8:30am, as a precautionary measure. I've read that suddenly stopping piracetam can lead to headaches. And, as a rule, I think it's best to stop anything gradually but also as quickly as possible. Also, again, Medscape shows no adverse effects of combining piracetam with Concerta. Yes, I realize that I have not attended med school and that self-treatment can be harmful, but I have also taken a lot of time to educate myself about both substances and I am doing what I think and feel is best for my body and brain and emotional stability on a Friday with poor sleep.

I will continue to post any observations I have about the effects of Concerta today. My guess is that I won't feel much, but who knows? It might just work!

Update at 11:17am
So far, I've noticed:

  • More attention to background noise
  • Slightly less focus
  • More sensitivity to sound

My guess is that the first two are symptoms of poor sleep. I could use a nap. But I suspect that I might feel even more tired without Concerta. I feel somewhat more alert than I would expect to be.

Sensitivity to sound is unexpected, although this could also be an effect of poor sleep that I've never noticed before.


This morning, I went to see a psychiatrist about ADD. She told me that I definitely have ADHD (I distinguish between ADD and ADHD because, by her facial expressions, she seemed to clearly suspect hyperactivity, along with impulsiveness and risk-taking) and prescribed Concerta, 18mg to start. Unfortunately, at the CVS pharmacy, I was told that Medco, which handles my prescription insurance, requires the doctor to fax back written authorization specifying that Concerta has been prescribed for ADD.

She said I can take another 18mg pill after 2-3 days if I don't see improvement. I asked about side effects and how I would know if it's working as well as when I've taken too much. She said side effects include loss of appetite and sleeplessness, I will know it's working if I can focus for extended periods (although, she pointed out, deciding what to focus on is my call), and I will know it's too much if I feel jittery and/or a racing heart, conditions that shouldn't last more than about half an hour.

I told her that I am taking piracetam, which I gather from her expression she had never heard of, and 5-HTP, which she clearly had. After prescribing Concerta, she told me to stop taking everything else. I assume vitamins are okay.

I also asked about caffeine and she said that it's okay but I might not want as much of it, since the attention-enhancing effects of caffeine will hopefully be replaced by Concerta's. I will take her advice. But I feel compelled to mention that WebMD's Medscape website indicates that I should expect no adverse reactions when combining Concerta with piracetam. So, it might be okay to take both, but I will play it safe and maybe try a lose dose of piracetam with Concerta later if Concerta helps. I think each works on a different pathway or mechanism in the brain.

MindSparke progress

Day 23. Thanks to piracetam, the slope of my score curve has increased, turning from a line into an upward curve.

MindSparke after 23 sessions After 23 sessions, an upward curve emergesI'm apparently (could be temporary) improving faster. Piracetam works. Or maybe Alpha-GPC. Or both. Or ALCAR. Or 5-HTP. Or all combined. Or playing more than once a day, as with yesterday. Although, you would think that a break helps, as it seemed to have helped after returning from vacation. But, then, I started piracetam then, too.

Whatever the cause or the case, this is good news, assuming the effect of playing MindSparke generalizes into everyday experience and boosts my productivity or speed. Actually, I'd settle for just a faster processor.

I just hope I don't suffer the fate of Charlie in Flowers for Algernon.

Piracetam - Day 3

This is turning into a blog about piracetam. But if it works, maybe I've found the great ADD cure! Probably not. And to be fair, I'm also taking Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) and 5-HTP. So, it will be interesting to see if not taking one or both of these changes the effect. I know that I don't want to stop taking Alpha-GPC while taking piracetam.

Anyway, this morning, I took roughly half of the dose I took the first two times, so about 2 g. So far, I definitely feel more focused and interested in things, generally. I just found myself reading about ALCAR and, from there, other health supplements, and in detail with strong attention. That's unusual. I usually skim and care about much less.

As I mentioned yesterday, although piracetam seems to increase concentration, it doesn't seem to do much of anything for motivation. Although, spending longer, and paying more attention to, a task is basically what motivation ensures. So, maybe if I can get started on being productive, I will be more productive than before! We shall see.

Update at 11:07 am
I'm definitely noticing better concentration and easier comprehension. I feel brighter.

Piracetam - Day 2

This morning before work, I took the same dosage of piracetam, roughly 4,200 mg, with Alpha-GPC. Here is what I felt throughout the day.

9:10 am
My MindSparke score is somewhat lower than yesterday, down to 3.7 from 3.9. I felt distracted throughout, but I did manage to finish all 20 blocks without interruption. And, although I felt distracted while trying to complete each block, it was in the sense that I felt more aware of other thoughts, if that makes sense, and not in the sense that I wanted to do something else, as is usually the case. So, I think my mind is more aware of itself but my impulsivity seems lower than usual.

It's interesting to think about how I feel right now. I feel in "the zone" or more focused on each activity, but the feeling is mild. Or maybe it's profound and I just don't realize it yet. I'll drink my morning coffee and see how that affects me differently, if at all. The half-life of piracetam is 4-5 hours, so I have until noon to experiment. I guess this also means that, if it does help me focus, I'll need to take an afternoon dose as well.

5:03 pm
Today has been unproductive. I have had a slight headache off and on. I felt better after lunch, although very sleepy before grabbing my afternoon caffeine boost. So, lack of sleep is definitely catching up. Tomorrow morning, I will try half as much piracetam and I will bring another dose for the afternoon.

My sense is that piracetam does not help with motivation but does encourage a "flow" state or sustained focus.

Piracetam - Day 1

Today, piracetam arrived from Amazon. I've tried it before, in 1999, along with Hydergine. I threw up Hydergine and felt nothing from piracetam. I don't recall how big of a dose of piracetam I took, but I do recall wondering if it might be a placebo or, in the best case, provide an undetected long-term cognitive benefit.

I ordered it again to see if it helps with focus and motivation. I've read claims of both benefits. Piracetam is often called the first nootropic and is regarded as extremely safe with little or no side effects. Maybe it's sugar. If so, it's the worst-tasting sugar on the planet.

Tonight, I took my first of two "attack" doses at around 4,200 mg. Tomorrow morning, unless I experience poor sleep, I'll take the same amount. Then, I should be able to take less, maybe half.

I'm taking it with Alpha-GPC. I've seen this advised several times, since piracetam depletes choline and the combined effect is supposedly greater than when taking either alone.

What have I felt so far? I took it around 9 pm and, about an hour later after eating something, I actually felt foggy, mostly in the sense that I felt myself visually zoning out while watching a show. Of course, I tend to do this when I'm tired, so I can't attribute it to piracetam, and the show isn't that interesting.

I do have a slight headache. But, again, this could be from piracetam, Alpha-GPC, both together, dehydration, or a number of factors.

As for cognitive benefit, I'm sitting here wondering if I would normally write this long of a post at 11:49 pm. If I feel tired, it's only slightly. And I slept around 1 am last night, getting a little over 5 hours of sleep, so I would expect to be dozing off right now. So, maybe piracetam, Alpha-GPC, or both together are reducing drowsiness. If so, great! Although, I do love sleep. And I do wonder if choline has a natural cycle in the brain (e.g., less or more at night) and if I shouldn't take it at night.

I also definitely feel calm and focused. I recall reading that piracetam is a derivative of GABA and people take GABA for stress, so maybe piracetam provides a nice calm feeling. If so, I might take it for that reason, alone, given the other potential benefits. It would be like Super GABA.

In any case, I'll sleep now and see how I feel in the morning. Hopefully, bright-eyed!