Reply To: Why does hydrocodone help my adhd but adderall doesn’t?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Why does hydrocodone help my adhd but adderall doesn’t? Reply To: Why does hydrocodone help my adhd but adderall doesn’t?


I disagree with many of the others who’ve responded, so I particularly hope you see this, solost28. I’m thrilled you’ve found something that helps and I suggest you use this information to search for other sorts of medications that boost dopamine and see if they help as well. Hydrocodone isn’t something if want to take solely for this reason, but the fact you have taken it for this reason doesn’t mean you’re an addict. Please, though, be careful what you say to your doctor so they don’t believe you are one.

I have ADD, though I am sometimes also hyperactive. I can’t take any stimulants because I have high blood pressure, and wasn’t diagnosed until I was almost 30. Now in my 50’s I long ago also found that taking opiates often helps control my symptoms. The explanation that these pain meds boost dopamine makes sense, however, this is not necessarily too much dopamine because people with ADD/ADHD frequently have low levels of it (as explained to me by doctors, a psychiatrist, and in multiple articles on ADDitude). This low level is why dopamine-boosting antidepressants are often used for testing depression in those with ADD/ADHD.

With that said, I am on long term treatment for serious chronic pain using both long and short acting opiates. When my pain is correctly treated so I can function on a day-to-day basis with only a low level of pain my ADD symptoms are also better controlled than when my pain is higher. At the same time high levels of pain does mess with concentration, so the medicines seems to help in both ways.

One confusion that has been expressed is that experiencing physical withdrawal is both a sign of addiction and means you’ve developed a tolerance for it requiring dose increase. Neither is true! Chronic pain specialists say and professional research shows that physical withdrawal symptoms are not an indicator of psychological addiction, nor should it be called addiction. Neither is a desire to avoid being in serious, life altering pain. An addiction is characterized by drug seeking behavior such as going to multiple doctors and hospitals asking specifically for opiates despite not having any symptoms of serious pain, buying illegal opiates such as heroin and other people’s prescription ones, and such behaviors. Physical symptoms of withdrawal, which are completely miserable, have nothing to do with needing a dose increase due to tolerance. Tolerance is indicated by reduction in the reduction of pain you experience. It happens sometimes, but certainly not always. I’ve been on the same doses for over a year, and any increases I’ve needed over the years have been due to things like almost dying in a car accident and having multiple facial fractures that have never healed.