July 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm #54470
My fiancé (29-year-old male) was diagnosed with ADD as a teenager and has been taking Adderall XR for years. We’ve been together for about 4 years and because I had never been close to someone with ADD/ADHD, there was a lot for me to learn. For instance, one thing I’ve learned is that I have to be very specific when asking him to help me with chores. We just recently decided that he might respond well to a joint to-do list that we both contribute to and both work on together. And I put labels on the flatware tray to remind him where everything goes and he actually LOVED it (and I got to use my label maker so it was fun for everyone). All that to say that I fully realize this is and will always be a work in progress. I’m willing to put in the work if he is. I digress…
A few weeks ago, he had a week off work and just hung around the house with the dogs and did whatever else he wanted to do with his time off. He actually did a lot of chores on his own! Even though I still had to work, it was a great week for our relationship. Everything felt so much more calm than usual. I assumed it was because he wasn’t working, and certainly that was part of the reason, but he also doesn’t take his Adderall or full doses of it on the weekends or when he’s off work. The last three weeks have shown me that perhaps the Adderall is to blame for his mood swings and downright hatefulness. The first of the last three weeks, he was off work and off Adderall and everything was great. The last two of the last three weeks have been “normal” but juxtaposed to a full week of no work/no Adderall, there is a stark difference in his mood.
My question to this forum is whether anyone has had this experience with Adderall? I have read that it may cause mood swings, but it’s actually pretty disturbing how different he is off of it. I obviously want him to get the medication he needs, and although he seems much less angry off Adderall, he’s also much MORE scattered and unable to focus when he doesn’t take it. Are there alternatives to Adderall with which people have had similar success?
Thank you for any guidance, stories, advice, prayers, mantras, spells, etc.
July 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm #54552
This post came right on time! I will tell you that Adderral does cause changes in mood, both the rapid and the extended release. This is one of the scientific symptoms you read about and it is also a symptom that I can personally attest to. I felt like if I didn’t have Adderal then nothing would work or every medicine would make me feel just as temperamental, but it was t true. And yes, when you come off of the medication, you are a lot more scatterbrained because your mind is not only medication-free, it is also confused and wondering what happened to the stimulant that you were feeding it. But don’t let this confuse you even more into thinking that Adderrall is the way to fix this problem. There are many other medications that have far less impact on mood, and actually work great! I also do cognitive behavioral therapy, read a lot, and allow myself room to get bored with the many tips and tricks that work sometimes and just go for new ones. Adderrall made me feel irritable, negatively impulsive, impatient, short-fused, insomniatic, antsy, anxious, unhappy, negative, semi-bipolar, mean, annoyed and agitated, and even unhappy and depressed at times. I tried Adderral for over six months, both the extended and rapid release, while doing therapy and also with and without anxiety meds to help tame the increased anxiousness caused by the Adderral. I did not like it. It also takes your appetite completely away which is great for losing weight but extremely unhealthy to the point of causing vitamin deficiency. Adderral also made me hyper focus beyond normal, sometimes losing track of time for hours and hours which eventually led me to bladder issues that I am still dealing with now. After multiple panic attacks and a few weeks of unexplained migraines, I decided to stop taking Adderral. 1-2 months later (after attempting to manage my increased scatterbrained ness and overly poor memory on my own), I was finally able to get in with an amazing Psychiatrist, who prescribed me a totally new anti-anxiety med and Vyvanse. Though skeptical, within two days, I was able to finish the first book in over a year, And I was able to recall everything I had just read. I never even experienced that with Adderral. My biggest question while taking Adderral was “People seriously steal this crap?!” I was only on it because my physician wouldn’t prescribe anything else and it took me 3 months to get a psychiatrist appointment, but finding other medicine was well worth the wait. I believe your partner should definitely try something else. I did not like Adderral changing my personality and my internal emotions the way it did. I’m usually patient and easy going and it made me feel crazy and angry inside. Everything annoyed me more than normal. It’s not worth it. Not when there are better medications available. I hope this helps!
July 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm #54555
Hi, Saratops. I, too, am a 29-year-old-male who has dealt with ADD/ADHD most of my life. I was only diagnosed and prescribed medication about a year and a half ago though, so my experiences may differ from those of your SO. I know that my girlfriend has told me she can see a substantial change in my mood and social/physical/emotional capabilities when off my meds, but the changes appear to be just the opposite of your SO. If I forego taking my medication first thing in the AM I feel lethargic, anxious, overwhelmed, temperamental, obstinate, and a range of other adjectives not conducive to healthy relationships, lol. I’m prescribed Vyvanse, which is a little different than Adderall, but I have taken Adderall in the past and it can make me mercurial, just as you’ve described your SO. There are other factors that contribute to this which you may want to consider observing in your SO and perhaps trying to tamper with the available variables. These factors include:
*What other projects he has going on at work, at home, or elsewhere (And/or what else he might have on his mind) – We often shift our focus from priorities to not-so-priorities and back and beyond at intervals that can sometimes even drive ourselves nuts. If he doesn’t already have a pen/pencil and a notepad in his daily carry inventory (along with wallet, keys, phone, etc.), ask him if he’d be up for trying it out. Many people prefer using their phone to record important dates, chores, and other bits of info, but – for me, at least – writing them down in a way that forces me to make the effort to use my hands and brain to create a memo which is tactile, in a medium that doesn’t serve any other purpose than to serve as a reminder (maybe a doodle pad, too), and doesn’t require navigating though other potentially distracting apps, is very helpful. The medication is to help us pay attention and stay focused, but if that attention and focus has already been allocated elsewhere it feels intrusive and overwhelming when we’re approached with outside communication. That’s where the moodiness comes in, I think. It’s like our thoughts are people crowding around us trying to tell us something all at the same time, and when another “person” is added to the bunch it can be anxiety inducing. Writing things down helps me “purge the excrement,” to wit, it’s a great way to store the ideas in a place they can be easily referred to without taking up space in our already superfluously cluttered brains.
*His diet – Many ADD/ADHD medications, including adderall and vyvanse, are also used to suppress appetite in people who are overweight. This “symptom,” lack of appetite, affects us just the same. I have forgotten to eat on several occasions because my mind is always running like a combustion engine and the meds I take to cope with that make seeking victuals less important. Whether we’re hungry or not, our bodies are still required to be nourished, and when that doesn’t happen we can become “hangry.” I have to force myself to eat on most days because I know my mind and body will suffer (and I’ll become an angsty ball snarkiness) if I don’t, but the desire to eat or not eat is often an inhibitor unless I plan ahead.
*His sleep schedule – Again, the prescription drugs we take can obscure our circadian rhythm and prevent us from getting a restful nights sleep. As with most folks, lack of rest can make us fussy.
All this considered, it could be that during his vacation time he was able to rest his mind and his body to the extent that meds were not needed to maintain daily obligations outside the workplace. Additionally, the lack of pressure from daily workplace toils helped to allow focus on requisite household chores. Hope this helps!
July 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm #54616
Individuals with ADHD tend to do well on one type of stimulant or the other, but not both. Adderall is amphetamine type, and there’s also methylphenidate type, such as Ritalin, Concerta, etc… It may be that he’d get the benefits of a stimulant on ADHD symptoms without so many mood side effects on a methylphenidate. The only way to know, of course, is to try it, but it’s something to consider.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
July 24, 2017 at 2:08 pm #54736
Thank you all so much for your replies and for sharing your personal stories with me. This information is VERY helpful. Thank you all again.
September 6, 2017 at 10:59 pm #59935
His dose might be way too high. You can use Adderall to quiet your bouncing brain or to get a “high” that provides its own motivation.
It seems that the people on the first dose tend to get a sleepy phase as it begins to decrease–this is connected to dopaminergic circadian entrainment. And that’s their main symptom because they’re just not “up” on it. People over-medicated to get chemical motivation often have high levels of emotional swings and lability as they come down off the high.
People who are medicated from childhood often end up overmedicated because from a teacher’s perspective, the “high” kid is more often diligent-seeming than the kid whose brain is now just clear and calm. You develop more resistance to a high, which tends to lead to even MORE over-medication, which leads in turn to a worse come-down at the end.
I’m more patient on Adderall because I’m not fighting for focus. When it wears off, I’m a bit extra irritable for about an hour as I ramp up my coping mechanisms again. Then back to baseline. 🙂
September 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm #59936
I am more edgy and keyed up on a decongestant than on my dose of Adderall. Just for reference! I can nap with it, even. Decongestant keeps me up for 12 hours, minimum. If you’re keyed up, something is wrong!
December 29, 2018 at 4:39 pm #105979
Hi! I know I’m coming to this over a year after the last post. Hopefully someone chimes in.
I’m 42 years old and recently diagnosed with ADD. I take Guanfacine 4mg XR, and Aderall 20mg X 3 times daily, IR.
My experience is exactly the opposite. Prior to medications I suffered from RSD as well as irritability and mood swings. I find that if I skip my early evening Aderall I am in fact much more irritable at home. It’s like the stimulant allows my to stay focused on my kids, wife and family so that I am less distracted and in turn less irritable with better patience.
Wondering if any other adults experience something similar.
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