How should Adderall effect someone with ADHD?

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    • #125434

      So, I was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago, and I’ve been Adderall ever since. I was never looking to get diagnosed with ADHD and I’m not entirely certain I agree with the diagnosis. I’m also not sure that the Adderall even works right… and the doctor who diagnosed me abandoned me after diagnosing me and its been on my GP to deal with it … and he knows nothing about the disease.

      So with a community of people on Adderall, I thought someone might know if this sounds right.

      As a preface – without Adderall, my primary ADHD symptoms are mostly sensory processing, short term memory issues, difficulty with transitions, some executive processing, and daydreaming. I don’t have a lot of normal ADHD symptoms at all … for instance, I have no trouble completing tasks, I am not impulsive, I love routine and hate change, I have no trouble sitting still for long periods of time, etc.

      SO – That said : I started on 40mg a day but that was a nightmare. I was euphoric. Light and sound and touch were incredibly intense. My emotions were turned up to 1000. I was impatient and angry. I was suddenly very impulsive and couldn’t concentrate at all. I kept getting lost in daydreams. I stopped eating and sleeping. I was detached and self-centered. I mostly stopped going to work.

      I did that for two weeks. Then we dropped me down to 20mg a day and I did that for a while, and then after my sensitivity to 20mg seemed to be going UP (not down like it should) they dropped me to 10mg a month ago …

      Overall it tends to have had this impact:

      – All sensory experiences are more intense. So light, sound, and touch tend to be distracting and can be painful or upsetting.
      – My thoughts and emotions are more intense and harder to let go. I’m more likely to obsess over things and my anxiety has gone up in general.
      – I’m more likely to daydream and get distracted by my thoughts than I used to be without Adderall.
      – I am in general tend to have a harder time with transitions now.
      – I tend to be more impatient and more likely to get angry or frustrated when things aren’t going how I want
      – I tend have a harder time concentrating and am more likely to get distracted by intrusive thoughts
      – I tend to get bored more easily and its harder to keep doing something that’s boring
      – I tend to be less patient when trying to learn new things and have a harder time working through hard problems or continuing to work on hard problems

      So, in my mind it actually seems to have GIVEN me some ADHD symptoms I didn’t have before and certainly hasn’t helped with the ones I have.

      The question is going to be : WHY DO YOU TAKE IT???

      Despite all the sensory and mental distractions Adderall gives me, it does make me more ALERT and the extra mental energy lets me get more done. I used to have absolutely terrible mental fatigue and brain fog to the point where I’d be exhausted by half way through the day and by the time I was done with work I was barely there. I couldn’t do anything except lay on the couch and wait for sleep. I essentially only had about 4-6 hours a day in me. On 10mg of adderall, I’ve got 16 – 30 hours of mental energy.

      Still … as much as I like the benefit … I’m thinking this isn’t how it should be working …. am I wrong??

      As I said… despite all the sensory and mental distractions Adderall gives me, it does make me more ALERT and the extra mental energy lets me get more done … so maybe its not actually supposed to help get rid of symptoms … just help you do more … which I guess its doing.

      Anyone know? Thanks.

    • #125439

      Sounds like you just need to find a new medication.

      Concerta or vivance maybe.

      Everyone is different. The things you say, don’t necessarily mean that you don’t have it. If you enjoy your tasks, then perhaps you hyperfocus on them.

      It’s not uncommon to sit for a long period, but maybe lost in thought? Rapid thought?

      I take a stimulant med, but I can sleep and eat and don’t feel agitated.

      I had a tendency to be impulsive and seek fulfillment immediately. Often in risky scenarios. Since taking medication, I have been much more reserved. I think before speaking, 50% better. I feel like I notice my surrounding more.

      There are non stimulant meds out there, you just need to explore. Doctors can be very med focused, but there are also counsellors who have strategy based life coaching.
      ADD/ADHD is not a disease.

    • #125440

      If you ask me, it’s the rest of the world who has a deficit.
      Droning on and on, and a snails pace.
      We just need to to be medicated in order to deal with the boring slowpokes 😉
      Oh, and maybe keep track of our keys and phone, and not put our purse in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard, but hey, nobody is perfect.

    • #125491
      Penny Williams

      The standard of care best practices with stimulant medication is to start at the lowest dose and increase only if and when necessary. The fact that you were started at a higher dose explains much of the struggle thus far.

      The first medication tried rarely is the right one when dealing with ADHD. There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. You may not do well with amphetamines.

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

      And, you don’t have to be impulsive or hyperactive to have ADHD. Without those symptoms, it’s inattentive type.

      Is It ADHD? Checklist of Common ADHD Symptoms

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

    • #125492

      Adderall did absolutely nothing for me. I was on Vyvanse for quite a while, then Concerta, and most recently switched to Focaline. Keep looking for something that works for you, and trying different doses! Good luck.

    • #125652

      I was diagnosed with ADHD INATTENTIVE type at age 67.

      I think I’m a bit to impumsive, too.

      Your symptoms sound like me on too high a dose.

      Dosage is not based on Weight. You may only need 5 mg.

      Adderall proper dose,makes me feel relaxed I never reozed how much anxiety I had! I sleep better. I co sistentky sleep two hours longer. I have a better memory/focus MOST Days.

      My appetite is good.

      I believe I still need counseling to develop systems, as meds so t fix everything.

      I can’t tolerate the timed release Adderall.

    • #126636

      Thank you for the replies everyone.

      I was on Ritalin (the alternate ADHD drug type) when I was kid briefly because I wasn’t doing my homework in school and a teacher said maybe I had ADD so my mom got my GP to give me something … it didn’t last long though. I don’t remember it, but it supposedly made me emotional and violent. I started punching holes in the wall so my mom stopped that. I’m guessing my reaction to Ritalin was similar to my reaction to Adderall.

      In general, with my symptoms … I’m basically like the absent minded professor. I mostly do things like forget why I came into a room or leave the remote in the fridge … or sometimes I’ll stop in the middle of a sentence because I’ve just had an idea. When people tell me things … if its a list of things, or if its a date, or a time … I wont be able to process it. Its like they weren’t even speaking the same language. I heard them speak but no matter how hard i focus, it just doesn’t stick. I can give myself a headache trying to force myself to retain a list. Its like there is a wall. I can be 100% focused. Listen to the person say the words … I’m right there with the person… but the words just aren’t in my head. No access to them. Gone. Zilch. Can’t find them. Like it never happened.

      However, unrelated to ADHD (I think), I have word finding problems. I often can’t bring up the name of an actor or actress, or a movie, or a book. Sometimes I’ll have trouble with nouns … I’ll be having a conversation with my wife and say something like … “We need more … oh what are they called … you eat them … their a fruit and round and orange … ” and she’ll say “Oranges?” … “yes, exactly.” … so maybe the list issues and word finding issues are related.

      At any rate, anything that ISN’t a list, or a date, or a time … if its sensory information … a story or feelings or an idea … that I read or hear once and I often know it cold. Sometimes for years. Meaning I actually did very well on all my tests, even though I didn’t do my homework because I always knew all the answers. I could remember all the lectures. (which is why I didn’t do the homework – I didn’t see the point)

      I also have sensory issues, where when I try to read something like a menu at a restaurant or a phone book (back when we had those) or anything with a lot of columns of text and/or images and other clutter … I can’t see it. Its a blob. I mean, I can see the words but I can’t eliminate the clutter to focus on the parts I want to see … my brain tries to give it all the same priority … I have to put my hands on the page and cover parts of the page to eliminate the distracting details. (I have similar problems when trying to find things in a grocery store or in my house)

      I guess I see these things as being my primary struggles, and assumed that if these are caused by ADHD and I’m lead to believe that they are … that ADHD drugs would improve them. Make it so I stopped forgetting why I came into a room or make it so my wife could tell me what time she was getting up for work and I would retain it without writing it down or so I could actually read a menu at a restaurant. And it has done none of these things, even a little.

      Although, like I said … i don’t hate the drug. I have unrelated fatigue issues and a general brain fog caused by poor sleep (I cough a lot and have terrible nightmares) … and the adderall certainly helps with those two issues. Its like having a bunch of energy drinks. Wakes me right up and helps me stay awake. Not that its what its being prescribed for … but it was a problem … and it solves it. Just not an ADHD problem.

      Anyway … thanks again for your posts. Gives me some things to think about.

    • #126640

      I just wrote this excerpt in another thread but it applies here as well –

      Your doctor is the expert in the treatment BUT YOU ARE THE WORLDS FOREMOST EXPERT IN YOUR OWN BODY (don’t forget that). If you feel your doctor does not listen or is not giving you the treatment you deserve, find another doctor. Most doctors don’t like to be challenged on their judgement so choose your words and approach carefully. You may already have a good doctor and you just need to find the right way to have a discussion. I was not ashamed to “interview” doctors. I found many doctors and psychiatrists in big HMOs or healthcare conglomerates have such limited time to devote to you. I ended up with a psychiatrist who does not take insurance. She prefers to spend the appropriate amount of time with a patient to get things right and does not want to have to deal with the volume pressure of a large practice. So, I pay out of pocket and get some reimbursement from my health insurance. I don’t mind paying extra. I consider my health and well being more important than driving a nicer car.

      You should not go at this alone. Spend the time to find a good psychiatrist and therapist for finding the right drug to help and support to help you through this.

    • #126711

      I, unfortunately, don’t have a psychiatrist or a therapist … and never did. I got diagnosed with ADHD indirectly.

      I have always had an abnormally good long term memory. I do something small for a client and two years later they look me up and I not only remember them, I remember them and their project like it was last week.

      A few years ago … my long term memory started slipping … I started getting fatigue … started getting brain fog … started having more word finding issues … and so I went to my GP … he sent me to a neurologist … the neurologist sent me to get evaluated by a neuropsychologist … and that was a mess from the get go.

      It took six months to get in, and I had a lung infection when I went and was on an IV … it was an 8 hour test … and my IV would need to be changed half way through … and I said I could do it, but he didn’t want the hassel so he decided to try to shove the evaluation into 6 hours. Then the guy asked me questions about my childhood and problems in school … I made the mistake of telling him a teacher thought I had ADD … because his whole body language changed after that … and then he told his student who was giving me the exam to change the test to something else …

      And four hours later I walked out with the knowledge that I had short term memory issues … no answers on my long term memory issues or fatigue or brain fog … and a diagnosis of ADHD … and I was told to go see my GP …

      My GP just said … okay I guess the problem is ADHD then, lets put you on adderall … and that was that. But at least the Adderall helps with the fatigue/brain fog.

      At this point, I don’t really trust doctors … I think I need to do research and find an answer for myself and then if there is good evidence that its something other than ADHD … or that I have something in addition to ADHD … like ASD … then I will try to find a doctor to make my case too … by the same token, my research may tell me that this is exactly what the doctor said it was and I need to accept it, even if it wasn’t a problem I was looking to fix really.

      Either way … I don’t think I can just trust a doctor. Even if the doctor was sincere and really knew what they were talking about, I think my level of trust is so low that I wouldn’t believe them. So, unfortunately, this is something I have to do alone for now. But for other people who might read this and be in a similar boat, I hope your advice resonates. I think its good advice for some people.

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