Adderal disaster – First time ever on ADHD med

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    • #174881

      I’m a 50 year old woman just diagnosed with ADHD. I took my first dose of Adderall today and it was a nightmare. I recently found a therapist to address PTSD caused by childhood medical trauma. Ive suffered multiple traumatic experiences during medical care. Plus 45 years of awful experiences with almost every doctor. So I suffer from intense claustrophobia, fear of being restrained, fear of anything over my face. Just about anything related to medical care triggers intense fear and extreme fight or flight response. In this freaky f-ed up COVID world, I melted down and feared I could snap and murder anyone who tried to get me to wear a mask. I found a therapist who started pushing the idea that I needed antidepressants. I said no way, I was open to “as needed” anti-anxiety meds but could never take anything regularly. Because no matter how hard I try or how many reminder strategies I try to use, I am 100% certain I will miss dosages at least 50% of the time. And I don’t need anything else in my life to make me feel like a failure. I was shocked when she told me she saw many flags that I had ADHD. After evaluation and lots of education, I totally see it! And I see I’ve struggled with it my whole life always thinking “why can’t I get my act together”

      She referred me too a psychologist for med management for PTSD and ADHD. I saw her yesterday. Fortunately, she listened to all my concerns and agreed that anti depressants were not for me. She said if I treat the ADHD, it would allow me more control to dismiss my obsessive thoughts, reduce my anxiety end allow me more success with all the relaxation strategies I have attempted but failed to follow thru. Then I could more easily address therapy for the PTSD. So around 8, I took my first dose of time release Adderall (generic Mfr Par Pharm), I was prepared to feel strange, jitters, racing heart etc. And expected stomach upset just like every OTC med, supplement, etc. I had asked if I was safe to drive and she said I should be more alert and focused. I took it with food, waited about an hour and felt a bit of “medicine head”, but thought no big deal. So I headed out to vote and run a few errands.

      It hit me in the car… no idea how to get to my regular voting place, panic, brief flashes of suicidal thoughts, nausea, and think I sat for awhile at a green light unaware of my surroundings. I finally found the building, made it inside, and the scary looking, masked guard asked if I had a mask. I said “no and I can’t wear one”. He simply said “third-floor, sorry I had to ask about the mask”. I instantly felt faint and started to feel myself collapse. Luckily there was a chair behind me. After some time breathing and reassurance from the guard who knew all about PTSD and said he’d never make me wear a mask, I survived voting. I got back in the car and felt extremely drowsy and afraid. So I stopped at CVS to ask the pharmacist if this was normal. She thought my side effects were unusual, but nothing was dangerous and I needed to give it 2-3 days for my body to get used to the new feelings. But if I continued to feel drowsy, I should call my doctor Monday. I felt reassured and went on my way . When I got in the store, I realised I was not where I had planned to go and I just sat down and stared into space, seeming to have no thoughts at all…no higher reasoning ability. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t be driving. All I wanted to do was sleep, so eventually I went back to my car to go home. While driving, I suddenly felt my entire body go limp, my hands slipped off the steering wheel like deadweights and I didn’t care at all. I thought “I might crash and die…that’s nice”. I felt very calm, peaceful and almost euphoric and didn’t care what happened. Miraculously, I made it home intending to go to sleep, but called a friend to report my new meds were not good. She said my speech was very slow and I sounded drunk. It’s foggy, but I don’t think I slept. I got up and read more on this site, told myself I’m OK and made lunch. I noticed and stopped myself as I impulsively jumped from one cooking task to another without completing the first. I thought “OK, I see that this is working.” A little later, I found myself outside wondering how I got there and why the front door was open. I couldn’t remember that I must have walked outside to pick up FedEx delivery. This was way more extreme than my usual “what did I’ll come out here for?” episodes. I then tried to read something and didn’t seem to recognize what that printed stuff on the page was and I definitely couldn’t read. The whole morning cycle repeated again. Panic, Suicidal flashes… I looked at the time hoping the meds were wearing off . It was about 4, but I didn’t know how to do math to figure out how many hours since starting. Then the sudden limp body, and euphoric feeling and I though how nice it would be to have a gun because I would have no fear of shooting myself in the head and that would be nice. I thought ,”this is freaky” and called my friend again who kept me on the phone for about an hour until I sounded normal again.

      So no more Adderall! I’ll call the doc Monday. I don’t want to give up on my hopes of an improved life, but I’m really freaked out and afraid of trying again. I’ve always been very sensitive to any kind of medication and been told that’s common for fair skinned red heads. I’m cautious with OTC meds and usually start with half the recommended dose just to be sure I don’t react badly. It was the lowest dose available to start, but in hindsight, I would have listened to my gut and started with half dose. Also if I try again, I think should avoid time release. And I’ll be sure I don’t need to leave the house and that someone is available to monitor me. Any thoughts?

    • #176375

      I am also struggling with trying to find the right medication for me. I am 49 and recently diagnosed. I also have Depression and Anxiety. I have tried Adderall and now trying Ritalin. I also take Lexapro. A friend talked me into trying medical marijuana but I don’t know if it’s for me but it helps a lot with relaxing and changed my perception of well, analyzing what was bothering me. I think maybe CBD might be better. The last time I talked to my Psychiatrist he recommended to be cautious with getting too dependant on marijuana (constant use), try CBD. It might help and anything that helps reduce amphetamine use is good. (I have intermittent tachicardia)

    • #176733

      Adderral made me “tired” , I took a nap my first dose lol but it was a nap my body and mind needed for YEARS— it calmed my hyperactivity , I could feel the tension in my legs melt away: it doesn’t make me tired anymore , it just relaxes my body and mind.

      I’d struggled with panic attacks in the past , not related to the adderral but bc traumas and anxiety— learning mindfulness really helps me with physical stuff.

      Also , how much sleep do you get on a general basis ? What is your diet like ? Magnesium can help with nervousness .

      Def talk to your doc , there are others medications . I tired concerta before adderral and I was a monster. Did not treat any adhd symptoms , yet still gave me side effects. So maybe another med could work

    • #176794

      I’ve been taking Magnesium because I get horrible leg & muscle cramps and it helps. But I recently read about different forms of magnesium supplement working better and have ordered a new formula. And sleep is generally pretty good. I had major sleep problems from childhood until I started taking Synthroid about 15 years ago. I know I need it and try to make it a priority although it’s been less than average thru this process. I’ve been trying to remember to have my chamomile tea, dark cherries, l-theanine and low dose melatonin at night.

      Update on the adderall. Luckily, I am a persistent Google-aholic. I was freaked out thinking I had an adverse reaction because I wasn’t finding my symptoms on the lists of possible Adderall side effects. After I thought of the word that best described my feelings, I searched for info on “Adderall Euphoria”. Whoa! That brought up all the “how-to” tips from recreational drug users on how to enhance the effects of Adderall. This euphoric feeling is what they are trying to achieve by taking high dose combined with other things that help increase the effects. I’m more reassured than ever that I don’t have to worry about drug abuse. I got no pleasure in the experience!

      But it made me think that maybe this is not the wrong drug, just WAY too high of a dose. So I discussed with my doctor this morning and she felt I was safe to try 1/2 dose. She said “you are obviously very sensitive and very in tune with your body, so what may be a low dose for others will be high for you”. I knew that and had considered only take 1/2 dose the first day. But I forgot to listen to my gut after my doc said 10 mg was a low dose. With no need to drive while stuck working from home, I felt I could risk trying it again. It’s difficult to estimate half the contents of a capsule sprinkled on yogurt, but after spillage, I’d guess I got about 4.5 – 4.75 mg today.

      WAAAY better! But dose is still too much and feels likes it’s overpowering my body. There’s no way I could drive. I’m still too foggy, zoned out, drowsy and feeling like I can’t walk straight. But at least my logical brain could know not to drive. I could totally feel some of the improvements on my brain and that’s awesome! I had an online therapy session and spent much of the day on the phone. I’ve felt so calm, cool and collected – very mentally relaxed. I could express my thoughts so clearly and see things in such a rational way. I wasn’t overpowered by anxious or angry thoughts. On any topic that seemed negative, I could quickly think of a positive solution instead of getting stuck on the negative thoughts. I told my therapist that once we get these ADHD meds figured out, I think I’ll be able to handle anything! This mental illness bullshit isn’t going to beat me. So we discussed my life goals and all the things I want to accomplish once I get the meds right and am functioning again. We also discussed my goal to try EMDR, a different treatment option for PTSD which no longer seems so overwhelming.

      But other than talking on the phone as if I was the new Aristotle, I really couldn’t function today. I spent the rest of my time in a daze not knowing what I was supposed to do today. Lots of finding myself in a different room and now knowing why. No chance of doing any of the computer or paperwork tasks I’m behind on for work. So I know the meds aren’t right yet, but confident we’ll get it figured out. My pharmacist says give it several days for your body to get used the drug and I’ve read it can be a few weeks for some of the side effects to settle down, so I’m going to hang in there before saying Adderall doesn’t work for me – maybe next step is non-time release. It just seems like a frustrating roller coaster to keep trying different meds and ruling them all out without a fair trial. A week ago, I would not have thought that way. After my bad experience with the first dose, I would have been so frustrated, said I’m done with this drug and thrown it out, declared therapists are the worlds biggest idiots and quit the whole process.

    • #176978
      Penny Williams

      There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both.It may be time to try a methylphenidate. Make sure your doc is starting you at the very lowest dose available as well.

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #177026

      Thanks Penny. Ultimately I may need to go that way. But I know my body and know that it always needs an adjustment period for anything new. If I switch, I’m sure I’ll have to go thru another adjustment period. So I’m going to give this one a few more days. I’m on day 3 and have taken a smaller dose every day. I have definitely started to feel the positive effects. I’m so much more relaxed and mentally at ease. I wasn’t jumpy and reactive to the doorbell or oven timer today! I never knew the on-edge feeling I get from things like that was not normal. For the first time, I felt at ease in the grocery store. My 10 item list didn’t seem overwhelming and I’m sure I got my shopping done in less than half the usual time. But that state is only happening for brief periods. I’m roller coastering between that clarity and feeling overpowered by the drug – drowsy, zoned out with no working memory. I’m wondering if that’s due the time release factor and maybe next I need to try a non-time release version. I’d say 10-25% of my day is good and the rest I’m in a drowsy haze. I just read a sentence in the article you linked at least 12 times. Without the drug, it might have gotten thru it in 5 attempts.

      My doctor wanted to start me on Vyvanse first, but knew it could be cost prohibitive, so she gave me an alternate script for Adderall. Even with the manufacturer’s discount program she gave me, Vyvanse was not an option. And based on my cost research so far, it looks like I’m going to be limited only to generics.

      Trying to be patient, but this has been such a long process and I’m just getting tired

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