Adderall and Moodiness?

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    • #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.

    • #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!

      • #112874

        Vyvanse metabolizes into D-amphetamine in the liver so I am a little confused how the exact same chemical is creating such vastly different states of mind for you. I know that people often say the same things that Vyvanse is better,smoother, and “like adderall” but minus all the negative side effects. Is this what you found?

      • #113066

        Adderall= Amphetmine Salt mix of d-amphetamin & l-amphetamine

        Vyvanse= lisdexamfetamine dimesylate

        The l-isomer is what people usually complain about that causes anxiety, jitters, etc…’s more “body related” whearas the d-isomer ie dextroamphetamine is more “brain felt”

        Each affects different activity of dopaminergic neurons.
        I did some research one time that says, another reason they also add l-amphetamine to the salt mixture so that people who abuse it end up with nasty side effects.

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Skypark962.
    • #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!

    • #54616
      Penny Williams

      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.

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

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

    • #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.

    • #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. 🙂

    • #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!

    • #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.

    • #108629

      Hi – Like you I’m late to be diagnosed, 38 and just a few months of treatment. I was on guanfacine with adderall and had a similar experience. Taking the stimulant calmed me and the focus was relaxed and allowed for increased patience. I had several difficult side effects from the guanfacine (even at just 1/2 mg daily) and so gradually stopped it. I’m noticing more agitation with the Adderall now that I’m taking it alone. The extended release is at least “smoother” than the dose that lasts 4 hours. If I hadn’t had negative side effects from the guanfacine, I would still be on it. I’m curious if you have experienced with the guanfacine a sense of separation from yourself, like viewing your world from the perspective of another, and/or reduced motivation (after the stimulant wears off) and, if so, how you manage those side effects.

    • #110522

      I know this is an old post, but I felt to put an input on this topic.
      My name is Samantha I am 19 years old. I take Adderall 20mg. I won’t go into my full personal business with why i take it even though i dont have ADHD. It just helps me be more organized when i am really stressed out. Like everythings all over the place. Instead of taking forever with things due to it being all over the place due to it being SO STRESSFUL, in one day i get things done in a few hours. I take it RARE. I dont have adhd but i was given it to help with that. Just helps. But when i take it. Its the worst few days or week(s) of my life :(.

      I prepare myself for the day. I say to myself “you know, this is normal, control yourself. its the pill. you know the out come. it is scary but you got this. calm down. make yourself not get in the low. not get angry. not too happy. breath”
      helps a bit but its so much work.

      To people who dont have ADHD and take the pill
      to people who do have adhd and take the pill but rarely because they can handle their adhd
      to people who do have adhd and need the pill to help and take it.

      they all get terrible mood swings. its scary. they just need to learn to control the swings.

    • #113068

      I do well on all adhd meds & sometimes if I’ve taken one for too long, I switch. There are many out there, so see what works best.

    • #121869

      though i’m not always the most aware of my irritability on adderall i will say that for me when i take adderall i am very motivated and will do anything to get what needs to be done, done. if anyone or anything is getting in the way of my work i can get very mad because though the adderall helps in feeling motivated and productive it doesn’t erase all distractions or make them less obvious at all. For me what the pill does is give me a reason to not get distracted by the distractions. For example just today my friend jokingly kept chewing his popcorn loudly as he knew it to be something that annoyed me but i just got so mad and annoyed even though i had nothing to do because he was distracting me and because i have just taken this pill that’s supposed to help me but he’s getting in the way of it. Though every case isn’t the exact same obviously i would say that the irritability most likely comes from his want to not let things get in his way when he wants to do his work. Hope this helped!

    • #122806

      I have been with my boyfriend for 7 years and we have a son together. He started taking adderral in college to help him study or whatever. He never stopped talking it though and its not prescribed by a doctor. He doesn’t have adhd. He has completely changed as a person. He used to be so funny and happy. Now I’m lucky if i get a smile out of him. Some of our friends have noticed as well. If i ever try to talk to him about it he just gets defensive and throws it in my face that i take a prescription for a disorder i was actually diagnosed with from a psychiatrist. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    • #170339

      I hope this helps either you or others reading this post.

      I have been prescribed a variety of different ADD medications since I was a child in the 2nd grade.
      Upon high school I was prescribed adderal 25 mg XR.
      I am now 31 and have been medicated the majority of my life. Because of this I have been able to focus, conquer any obstacle in front of me, and succeed. I have an undergrad from GSU in Kinesiology, was a stripper and paid off my college debt, joined the union and became a journeyman plumber with 6g pipe welding certifications in SMAW & MiG, and now currently a plumbing superintendent for a large company.

      Adderal gives me patience, and enough focus to deal with the many things in life to juggle. The come up and come down however is quite different. I will get temperamental, and speak my mind in an emotionless manner.
      Without the medication I feel as if I am barely able to manage the load from day to day. With the medication I am accomplishing so much and looking to climb the ladder.

      What I tend to forget is that not everyone is as focused as me in those moments nor able to have their mind flow at the same pace.
      This tends me make me feel like the vast majority of people around me are idiots or not capable of the same pace.

      Yes, when off the medication you will be more tolerant (overall)
      That is because one is able to realize the concept that we are all human and ones mind isn’t running along at light speed.

      I will say after 20years of taking ADD medication there are so negative side effects especially emotional.
      For almost a decade I delt with the anxiety and general lack of happiness by injecting THC.
      Overall it worked out well for me until I needed to quit.
      2 months into being clean of THc products and alcohol, my mind is even sharper. = less tolerance for others.

      I have a wonderful woman, the house, the yard with a white fence, in a upscale neighborhood,best school district, high paying job, a super nice truck, and a dog + cat…. the American dream.

      It means nothing… just on to the next ladder the climb and dominating the next field. This isn’t happiness.

      In the end, most days I just want to be still… and be happy being still.
      Even with heath insurance vyvance is 300.00$ a month and not really affordable. Would rather spend that on my kids.
      Adderal is 10.00$

      Again, hopefully this will shed a little light.

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