Adderall Tolerance

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    • #109903

      To keep everyone’s attention (including my own), I will keep this as short as possible. I was recently diagnosed with inattentive ADD at 22 years old. I was immediately prescribed 20mg Adderall IR, two 10mg pills a day. I feel a thousand times better, but I’ve only been on them for a week. I’ve noticed the effects slowly diminishing throughout the week. I’m am worried about upping my dose, but I also don’t want to go back to being inattentive. It feels like I’ve been given glasses for the first time, and I don’t ever want to take them off again. Or contacts, and I never want to take them out. Glasses are uncomfortable and everyone can see them, so not a good metaphor.

      Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has dealt with building a tolerance to their stimulant medication, and if so, what do you do about it? Is Adderall something I should take every day? I don’t experience any negative side effects except maybe clenching my jaw. If anything, it makes me happier because I’m living life the way I should. I’m just worried about taking a pill when I need it and having it not work for me. Thank you.

    • #109904

      Don’t worry, I’ve only just started taking my.meds, too, and that kind of feeling is, TO A POINT, normal. When you first start taking your meds, you’re taking a stimulant medication, and you’re not used to the kind of feeling. You will get used to it relatively quickly, so you won’t have that rush anymore. But, if you still get the positive benefits (you’re organised, less stressed, you don’t forget your crap all over town :P), then it’s working exactly. If, over the next few weeks, you realise that it’s NOT working anymore, then you need to talk to your specialist. If THEY tell you to increase the dose, you increase the dose. If not, you don’t. If you notice the medication is working less, you consult the specialist before doing ANYTHING about it.

      DO NOT take your medicine sporadically. There are loads of people who do, but you’re prescribed your medicine with instructions for taking it for a reason. If they say daily, you take it daily. And to be honest, even if they said you could skip every now and again, I’d still recommend taking it constantly, otherwise you’re putting yourself on a roller-coaster, and that’s ultimately quite harmful.

      Any more questions, feel free to fire them at me 🙂

    • #109906

      Thanks for your response. I grew up thinking ADD stands for Adults Don’t Discipline. I’m sure you’ve heard all those arguments. I always knew something was wrong, but it wasn’t until I failed my real estate exam for the second time that I decided to do something about it. So with that said, I am still getting over my fears of being “drugged” all the time. It helps so much and I finally feel like I have my life on track, but sometimes I need that positive reinforcement to keep taking my meds. My mom is still convinced that switching to a keto diet will magically cure my ADD. My family and friends mean well when they tell me to be careful with it, and I just suppose that taking a day off to keep my tolerance from increasing is being careful. Anyway, I’m posting this unmedicated so I’m off to take my pills. Thank you.

    • #109907

      That particular one is one I’ve never heard, but I’m familiar with the prejudice 😛 I’ve actually only just been diagnosed, myself, and I only started to suspect 6 months ago (I’m 27).

      Think about your adderall as if it was literally any other medication. You wouldn’t worry about taking allergy meds, cold meds, aspirin, or antibiotics. They’re all pills you need to maintain ordinary function, or restore your function back to normal. Your adderall for you is like a puffer for an asthmatic.

      There is SOME truth in what your mum says. Changing your diet CAN have a positive impact on your ADHD, particularly if it was unhealthy to begin with. But it only HELPS, it doesn’t FIX it. ADHD is caused by your brain craving chemicals it can’t produce in sufficient quantities on its own. Eating less carbs won’t suddenly change your brain chemistry. But reducing sugar intake can help a little. So can exercise, actually.

      People that say you need to be careful with your ADHD meds probably have this idea in their head that it’s like pot, or some other illegal drug. And so, they tell you to be careful, because as far as they’re concerned, it’s just a buzz or whatever. They can’t possibly understand JUST how much your ADHD affects you. Neurotypicals can’t, really. In reality, being careful with your ADHD meds is making sure to take them at the same time, every day, without fail, making sure you never double-dose, and keeping careful track of all the effects it has on you, both good and bad, and contacting your specialist as soon as you notice anything that worries you or others.

      I bet nobody would tell you to be careful with a keto diet (induced starvation).

      Maybe I seem a little militant 😛 But, at the end of the day, I know exactly what you’re going through, with just how big a change the medication makes, and I hate to think of people maybe convincing you to turn away from something that helps you so much.To put it another way, if friends, families, and mothers were so good at diagnosing ADHD, and curing ADHD, Adderall wouldn’t be a tightly controlled substance, because everyone would just KNOW when their kids did or didn’t need it. You wouldn’t need to go to the doctor for it.

      Keep an eye on it, stay active on here, and keep your doctor in the loop, and you’re golden 🙂

    • #109908

      I experienced this sort of tolerance buildup when I first started Concerta – started with a tiny amount and got the rush feeling and suddenly had to clean all the things, but the rush stopped after a week or less and it stopped being effective, and we upped the dose a couple times to 36mg. Then when we tried out 54mg, it was AWFUL and I had to go back down to 36, which is where I’ve been for the last several years. Effects are quite subtle now, because I’ve become used to having my brain work right, and going off it is what becomes noticeable to me – suddenly can’t focus or remember anything, work productivity plummets, house becomes a mess, etc.

      As for getting past having to be “drugged”, remember that this is a drug to correct a defect in your brain’s dopamine transmitter system, much like glasses correct defective vision. It’s not a cop-out or compensation for some moral failing. When I was a kid, my parents were really put off by the idea of “drugging” kids to make them function in school. From all the (mostly inaccurate) things I heard about Ritalin back then, I figured it was some sort of tranquilizer used to make ADHD kids (rowdy boys) dopey and easier to control in the classroom. But in truth it’s pretty much the opposite.

      Re: keto diet. Your mom is actually not completely off-base here. You’re never going to “cure” ADHD (it’s just how your brain is wired), and certainly not with a magic diet, but certain diets CAN mitigate symptoms. You don’t need to go as hardcore as keto, but from reading the literature and my own experience, diet does make a difference. I had great results with a paleo diet (keto + potatoes, basically) – improved mental clarity and morning energy without my meds, but it was really difficult to maintain.

    • #109936

      Sorry, I posted a REALLY long response to this, but my mobile seems to like eating comments that I make on here.

      I haven’t heard that particular phrase you used before, but I’m familiar with the concept.

      The way to look at your ADHD meds is like allergy medication, or cold medication, or antibiotics. Allergy and cold meds can make you drowsy, which can be dangerous for you day-to-day. Antibiotics kill healthy bacteria in your gut, and can lead to digestive issues. Despite these risks, you wouldn’t not take them for conditions you had that needed managing. Your Adderall is exactly the same, just a different solution for a different problem, that other people can’t easily see. The underlying principle is the same.

      Some people DO actually use changes in diet to MANAGE their ADHD. It doesn’t fix it, it doesn’t change your brain chemistry, it just makes it EASIER for you to tolerate your symptoms without medication, in much the same way as exercise does.

      Your friends and family are telling you to be ‘careful’ with your meds, because they’re viewing it in much the same way they’d view pot. Yeah, it has this and that benefit, but they view it as something fundamentally harmful, so they’re telling you to be careful to not become dependent on it. Fact of the matter is, for as long as you want stable brain chemistry, you’re going to need to take your meds. You’ve been dependent on them your whole life, you just haven’t had access to them before. In reality, the way to be careful with your meds is:

      1. To take them DAILY. Taking your meds sporadically will put your mind and body through a roller-coaster where you’re able to function one day, and not function the next, even if you schedule it. That’s more harmful than maybe having to take a higher dose- for your work, your efficiency, and possibly your social and love life.

      2. To watch the time you take your meds, to ensure you never overdose by accident. This is crucial to ensuring your tolerance stays low, and that you don’t experience any negative effects.

      3. Tell your specialist IMMEDIATELY if you feel your meds are less effective, or if you experience any negative side-effects, even if they seem harmless, or might be unrelated.

      People who take pain medication for conditions over a long period of time will gradually develop a tolerance to the medication, for which they need to take a higher dose. It doesn’t make them defective, or a junkie, or anything of the sort, it’s just that their condition requires it. Yes, some people keep their tolerance down by using it as little as possible, but those people are suffering for the questionable benefit of having to take fewer pills. Having been unmedicated for 27 years, and only now beginning to feel like I have my life in order, I wish I’d been taking them my entire life, even if that meant I had to take a massive dose now just to feel normal. Maybe that’s just me, but that’s the way I see it. The benefits are too much to reject for… Pretty much anything, short of my life.

      Anywho, hope this helps some more 🙂 Feel free to use the allergy meds argument. I tend to find it shuts people up quickly. Best of luck!

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