Adderall XR stopped working after a WEEK? Please help.

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    • #186313

      I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and have just now started seeking treatment for it as an adult. It is severe and has negatively impacted my entire life. In a word, I’m a disaster.

      My doctor prescribed me 10mg of Adderall XR to start. I noticed a small improvement. I was noticeably calmer and had a slightly higher sense of clarity and awareness. I had an appointment 2 weeks later and after one week of taking 10mg, I decided one day to double up my dose, just to see if I would improve as I thought I would.

      And did I ever. I was a *different person*. It literally looked like a miracle. I couldn’t believe the improvement. I truly started on a path to get my life back in order, immediately. It finally wasn’t SO hard to do EVERYTHING. I was no longer wading through quick sand day to day. I just did things, naturally and effortlessly. Truly, I’ve probably never been that happy or optimistic in my adult life.

      I continued taking 20mgs daily for about 5 days until one day I took it like any other day and…nothing. It had stopped working suddenly and without warning. I continued trying to take 20mg for 2 more days, just to see if it was a fluke and unfortunately it wasn’t. My functioning plummeted and I was back to my old self.

      And now I’m panicking. I got a taste of, literally, a new life. I finally had hope for my future. Then it just stopped?

      What happened here? Surely tolerance wasn’t built in 5 days, right? Will I ever get back there again?

      My theories are that either A) my body is unused to stimulants and got a bit of a jummp start when I hiked my dose up. Once my body acclimated to it, the effects stopped because my ADHD is so severe that I naturally just need a higher dose or B) I really did build a tolerance that quickly. The latter is terrifying because that would mean I’ll be unable to sustain treatment.

      I went back to my doctor and didn’t tell him I had ever taken 20mg. I reported what I experienced on 10mg and he increased my dose to 15mg. I lowered my dose myself back down to 10mg and intend on staying there for a few more days (it’s been about a week, maybe more) so my tolerance resets and I can give an accurate report of what 15mg is like to my doctor.

      But I am very, very worried. For me to have any hope of a real life, I have to have that effect I had for those 5 days at 20mgs for the rest of my life. It can’t work for a week then stop.

      Has anyone else experienced this? Can anyone ease my mind? I’ve heard of people being prescribed IR “boosters” on top of their ER daily dose. Would that be helpful in this case? Thank you.

    • #186319

      Most important thing: Don’t lie to your doctor! Next, make sure you have a psychiatrist managing your case, not just a GP.

      ADD is not perfectly understood, despite years of case studies. Messing around with your own dose and not telling your doctor is a recipe for disaster.

      Having said that, I’m experiencing something similar. After five months of treatment, the effect of my meds is reducing. My original psychiatrist is no longer available, so my GP was trying to tweak my dosage, but I’m getting worse, so I insisted on a referral to another psychiatrist.

      Meanwhile I’m waiting, continuing my current dosage, even with reduced effectiveness. I don’t want to screw up my brain by making unpredictable changes.

      Be patient, be honest, and be insistent with your doctor. He’s not in charge, but he needs all the information if he’s going to help you.

      • #195534

        Did you ever figure this out? I’m newly diagnosed and have experienced this 3x already after starting 3 different doses. Would love to know if you had any insight. I, too felt so much better on the days it worked. I felt so NORMAL and able to actually accomplish stuff. (Sigh)

    • #186358
      Penny Williams

      When you go back down in dosage you will feel like it’s not working. Your mind compares it to the most recent experience. Talk to your doctor and let them advise you on adjustments until oyu find the right medication and dose.

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

    • #186531

      I’m a “newbie” at this too. (Diagnosed a year ago at age 54. we’ll save that for another discussion topic). Took Adderall XR for several months and was like “wow, a new me” I’m tackling piles of clutter and projects that sat in my house for decades. I stopped for a short while, (because it was making me grind my teeth and wiggle my jaw and I was getting self concious about it) and then months later started up again on lower 10 mg dose. Generally has been working, but every so often (especially on weekends) I do fall back into a “funk” or my “Sunday malaise” of aimless puttering around the house, or worse lying in bed, and I chalk that up to good ol’ fashioned depression (which was how doctors over the years had convinced me was my problem– until one– a year ago– first suggested I had ADD which alas, explained SO MUCH about my pattern of behavior of the previous 53 years of my life. Stick with it… this is a journey of self-awareness, of grieving for the person I might have been, and accepting that there is no “cure”.

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