Constantly exhausted and I'm tired of it

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    • #104817

      Hello everyone, first post here.

      I am 27 (as of last month) and just got diagnosed with ADD 9 months ago after a very difficult first year of grad school (depression, anxiety, thoughts of dropping out and thoughts of suicide). Since February, I see a counselor every week and am on Lexapro for anxiety and Adderall. I take 20mg in the morning, 15mg in the afternoon and 10 in the early/mid evening (so like 6pm and I go to bed in the hour of 11 or 12). I am EXHAUSTED! It’s not even 10pm and I can barely keep my eyes open right now. I’ve had to put an alarm in a separate room to make me get out of bed and not stay there for another half hour or more and be late to work/school. I feel like I need a nap all day long and it is really hurting everything. I’ve gotten into car incidences because I was exhausted or rushing from moving to tired/slow getting ready, I can’t read fast enough or remember what I read, I don’t want to go anywhere, I just want to sleep. But no matter when I go to bed or wake up, I’m exhausted. Doesn’t matter if its 8 or more hours of unconsiousness or 4, same feelings. At my Psych Nurse’s suggestion, I’ve been taking 6mg of Melatonin for bedtime every night for at least 2 months or more. I don’t know if it helps or not, but I shouldn’t be this exhausted when I take Melatonin, am in bed for the suggested hours, and take adderall! Please. If anyone has suggestions, I am eager to hear them. I see my Psych Nurse tomorrow for my monthly: should I ask for something? Should I see a sleep specialist? Help!

      (yes, all my tech has night light, yes I use a sound machine and an eye mask, and yes the room is cool).

    • #104822

      That is how I felt before I started Adderall. I am on Adderall XR, so just have to take it once per day. Maybe XR would prevent constant crashes? I have heard if you are feeling like a zombie, your dosage is too high, but I am no expert. I am just here to say that you shouldn’t have to feel that way! I don’t know how long you have taken the Adderall, but when I first started it I had major exhaustion crashes when it wore off and had a really tough time getting up in the morning. This lasted about a week or so and then I felt great. I did not feel exhausted during the day while the meds were working, though. I started at 10 mg and am now on 15mg. Hope you can get it worked out!

    • #104834
      Penny Williams

      This could be a side effect of Lexapro. You need to let your doctor know what you’re experiencing so your medications can be tweaked to give you a better experience.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #105167

      Have you done anything to alter your diet and exercise routine? The crashes of adderal used to really destroy me. Even when unmedicated I have trouble with fatigue if I am not eating properly and getting in some exercise regularly.

      The best thing you can probably do for yourself is cut out sugar and caffeine from your diet. Because both of these things give our brains quick dopamine hits, many ADHDers tend to use them as a crutch throughout the day (most Americans in general, really) but they can cause all kinds of disruption to your body’s hormones which can have massive negative impacts on your energy level because of the constant dips and spikes in insulin, blood sugar, cortisol, etc.

      For me personally, switching to Paleo and supplementing with magnesium, b complex, and zinc and getting in lots of movement – I walk EVERYWHERE – makes such a difference for me that i become close to asymptomatic. Best of luck to you! Being tired makes adhd symptoms worse so I hope you find quick relief!

    • #105178

      I second the talking to your doctor about the Lexapro suggestion. Taking it is YOUR decision, but I personally would invest in finding non-drug treatments for the anxiety. IF I was you and IF I decided that I wanted or needed to get off Lexapro, I’d get “The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook” (you can get a hard copy on ABE books for dirt cheap) and work that sucker. And I would (and do!) work out HARD. Lift HEAVY weights, do Tabata, etc. Bonus: hard exercise helps you sleep. Big time! Even if you do stay on anxiety meds, you should still introduce short, hard workouts into your life. They’re just great regardless.

      6PM is way too late to take Adderall, IMHO. I started out on regular Adderall years ago, and I took my second dose (30mg doses?) at noon. No later. Nowadays I take 15mg of Adderall XR in the morning when I wake up (around 7:30AM). It starts wearing off sometime around 6PM and I have a nice, gradual decline as I’m wrapping up dinner and cleaning the kitchen. I spend the rest of the evening relaxing until bed time. XR has been LIFE CHANGING for me. I’m able to eat when I’m on it, and it’s a nice, even keel during the day. I don’t constantly feel it’s wearing off.

      If you don’t have a before bed sleep hygiene routine, get one. Start relaxing yourself well in advance of going to sleep whether you’re wired or can barely stay awake. And don’t fight the sleep if you can help it. If you’re sleepy at 9PM and have nothing else to do, go pass out early.

      You also have to watch caffeine if you’re a coffee junkie. I’m down to 2 cups a day, and I cut it off at 1PM. If you’re taking in large amounts of caffeine or taking it late in the day, it could very well wake you up at night and cause some nasty insomnia. Kinda like Adderall can. :-/

      It doesn’t sound like you’re having trouble getting to sleep, though. Waking up sounds like a different story! If I’m left to my own devices, I won’t fall asleep until 1AM or so, which means I won’t wake up until 10AM. I take 1mg of melatonin as I’m getting into bed. 6mg seems crazy high to me. I’ve even read some research that says melatonin has diminishing returns. In other words, it’s not going to work that much better at high doses than at low ones. Just saying…

      For the most part, the way I eat falls under Primal. Kinda like Paleo but with coffee and dairy. 🙂 Ditching sugar and going to for ancestral eating could very well help if your diet doesn’t look all that great.

      Also, I personally find that taking a multivitamin with extra magnesium and some extra B vitamins helps me. Then again, I also have a thyroid problem.

      Good luck. What you’re experiencing is awful and not normal.

    • #105179

      Hope things have improved since you posted!

      I have only just been diagnosed with ADHD, so I can’t speak to drug side effects, but I have been fighting the good fight with ADHD sleep my whole life, and here are my top two tips:

      Melatonin doesn’t help me. I only take it when there’s been an interruption of my circadian rhythm (jet-lag especially, but if a new med is keeping me from sleeping, I do find it helpful to “reprogram” my sleep cycle by taking it every night at the same time for a few days/weeks).

      Before bed, I take some powdered Cal-Mag-Citrate, dissolved in water (available on Amazon or at compounding/natural pharmacies—I have not had success with pill form). Years ago, someone tipped me off to it, but I’ve never understood why it helped! The quality of my sleep is DRAMATICALLY improved when I take it, so too is my awake time. I understand the science better now, and the short version is that it’s that magnesium that allows the brain to do its best nighttime repair work. The calcium citrate helps your body use it. Now, I just have to figure out how to sleep through a full bladder after all that water before bed!

      Get some rest!

    • #105196

      jms2176, congrats on getting to and *through* your first year of grad school, that’s a huge accomplishment!

      I did want to ask, if you don’t mind sharing, were you having this exhaustion prior to starting the medication? And please don’t feel that you have to share here, but have you considered or ruled out these symptoms being related to your earlier diagnosis from your first year that you mentioned?

      As Penny mentioned above, definitely, DEFINITELY, always talk to your doctor(s). If this only began after you started the Lexapro & Adderall, it could be a side effect but should have gone away by now. Minor, expected side effects from meds usually go away as your body acclimates to the drug (like a week or two) but it’s been long past that point from what you’ve mentioned.

      Which brings me to – if this was happening prior to starting the meds, you may have something else in addition going on, like sleep apnea for instance, which can also cause severe depression, anxiety, and memory issues. (A hallmark of that one, btw, is frequent headaches on waking up in the morning, so if that sounds familiar also, please get sleep tested :). )


    • #105210

      I agree with the last poster. This really sounds like sleep apnea! There are a variety of things that can cause sleep apnea and sometimes something as simple as sleeping on your side (place a pillow behind your back so you don’t roll over) can be a fix…its also very easy to try. But, you really need to be tested.

      Wonder how the appointment with your psyc nurse went? Best wishes.

    • #105217

      I’m not an expert, but 6pm sounds super later. When I take my medicine late it totally messes up my sleep schedule. Also do you have a bed routine? I live by mine. Something like dinner, tv, shower, and then tv or something relaxing. If I do laundry or any kinda of activity before bed I can’t sleep.

    • #105242

      From one exhausted person to another (I’ve been on Adderall, done a sleep study, have talked to multiple doctors and have had blood tests done for my exhaustion) I think it has to do with the fact that ADDer’s really need to be into what we’re doing to be able to do it. That means the mundane every day stuff can be very difficult to complete. Getting to work can REALLY be a struggle for me which is why I work about two days a week. My passion is dog rescue which I don’t get paid for but could do 7 days a week. I know plenty of successful people with ADD so they had to find a way around this. I haven’t found it but I’m sure my mom is right about one thing, exercise. I try to avoid it but I know it’s partially the answer because I used to work out daily and my ADD symptoms weren’t as bad.
      I know this isn’t much help but I hope you can find joy and passion in your everyday!
      Best Wishes!

    • #105243

      I don’t want to tell you that this has nothing to do with your medication or diet, but having lifelong depression and ADD, whether on or off a stimulant, I have experienced this. That’s why I clicked on the posting – looking for a magic cure.

      Let’s face it, your life IS exhausting. Grad school isn’t a vacation. You’re mentally tired. You have depression and ADD. Both conditions are mentally and physically exhausting. Whether medication or supplements compound or relief the tiredness we don’t know. But being tired by life doesn’t mean there is something wrong – you are leading an exhausting life!

      This is my recipe for decreasing exhaustion, and it’s not a magic cure. It comes in handy periodically, like right now. I’m going to follow my own advice and do it today.

      Here it is:

      Force yourself to get some really good exercise. I say force, because it’s so [INSERT EXPLETIVE] hard to make yourself do it when you’re busy and already tired.

      Carve out 20 minutes and get your heart pumping and sweat a little, just one time. Today.

      Then do it twice more in the next few days. At that point you’ll start feeling more energetic and it will be easier to make yourself do it on an ongoing basis.

      Don’t go overboard because you’ll hurt yourself and it won’t be fun and then you won’t try again tomorrow. 20 minutes is enough!

      I’m going to start today and I hope you try, too.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by andreajpoma.
    • #105315

      Thanks so much for replying everyone! I thought I was going to get emailed when I got replies, but I must have missed it.

      I don’t really feel like a zombie thoughts and focus wise, just like I could easily go take a nap at any time. And it’s all day, not just at certain times, so I didn’t think it was “crashing.”

      And exercise? Not exactly a priority. I always feel like it takes up way too much time, with my reading/focus difficulty, there’s no time in grad school for that reliably. Eating-wise, it is certainly better: we never have soda in the house anymore, I very rarely drink alcohol, and I very rarely have snacks in the house (i.e. chips, chocolate), but the Adderall has KILLED my appetite. The amount I want to eat or even can eat before I’m full is a lot smaller than it used to be. Sometimes I’ll forget to eat lunch if I get super busy during the day. I like the side effect of weight loss, though, have gone from a size 18 to 14 (which may be a 12 in another month). Skipping meals may not be ok, but loosing weight is definitely ok, I was over 220 lbs and “supposed” to be closer to 150-160. I’m at about 180 now.

      I sought out the meds because I was failing and failing fast Spring semester. Every minute is so precious to my school work. If I take even one evening off I get so behind and can never catch back up. That’s why I take my 10 mg (third dose) Adderall at 6pm, I don’t go to bed usually until midnight with all the work I have to do.

      I think I get to sleep ok and I do often wake up once during the night, but even if I don’t I never feel rested. I’ve started keeping my old cell phone in the bathroom for my morning alarm to make me get out of bed, which helps me not be late but doesn’t give me energy.

      A bunch of you mentioned magnesium and B vitamins: this really helps that much??

      Jchapmanaz: thanks for the congrats. I’m so grateful for getting through it, but I really almost did not. I feel like I’m treading water with how tired I am. I’ve always thought I was too tired during the days even before the meds, unfortunately the meds started about when grad school was so sleep issues could stem from either, but I’ve definitely always thought I was too tired. I definitely still have my anxiety and depression which I’m sure aren’t helping.

      As an update: I did talk to my psych nurse about it, she’s prescribed Trazadone to take at night. I’ve been taking it for the last few nights, I think it helps? But sadly it’s finals time so the last week hasn’t exactly been me trying to get 8 healthy hours of sleep.

      I don’t know if I’m a fan of just getting more meds, but I am SO tired and will take anything that could help. I do see my regular doctor next month for my annual visit and back pain 1 year anniversary, I might ask about sleep tests or blood tests to check for deficiencies or something.

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