Side effects of Adderall giving me a lot of trouble

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    • #137799

      Hi all,

      I was prescribed with adderall sometime ago. It works decent, focusing is alright, but the abundant side effects are giving a ton of trouble. The focusing effects last around 5 hours or so but the side effects persist for around 13 to 14 hours. Loss of appetite and loss of sleep for that long are really not good, especially since I’m not in very good shape already. I’m taking 12.5 mg but the cost (side effects) are so severe. Last semester of university my sleep schedule was utterly destroyed; I spent every other night completely unable to sleep and spent upwards of 30 hours without sleep because of the med, my eating schedule was also very bad. I was really depressed and I desperately need to fix this.

      Apparently this is rare too; for most people it goes like, ok, if the medication focusing effects last 5 hours, then the side effects last 5 hours, but for me the side effects last way longer, and I honestly have no idea what to do.

      Additionally, the adderall causes another problem that’s a little embarrassing – it increases my sex drive, but while I’m on the med it also restricts my ability to, well, you know (maintain an erection), so oftentimes I go hours like that (trying to, well, you know), time that I should have spent studying. I’m not sure what to do for this either.

      Thanks for reading

    • #137803

      Sorry to hear this, but yes on that “last” symptom. Happened to me as well.

      Couple of questions:
      Did your doc titrate your dosage or was 12.5 the first level?
      Do you take just once per day?
      What time do you take it?

      Are there any other symptoms, such as anger or easily frustrated?

      • #137829

        No, I started off lower, at 10 mg I believe. I take it once a day, around noon or 1. Not symptoms like anger or frustration, if anything it reduces my anger/frustration.

        Other side effects/symptoms(?) as mentioned previously, inability to sleep and loss of appetite. At the start it also made my heart palpitate.

    • #137845

      My man… I feel you! Adderall is definitely a learning experience and I had to do extensive research and trial & error to figure out how to mitigate my own side-effects…

      for example:

      side-effects = jitters, rapid heartbeat and occasional palpitations, body tremors, intense discomfort when I forgot to eat, erectile dysfunction, semen leakage (weird af), insomnia, etc.
      comedowns = motivation U-turns, zombie brain, anxiety and irritability, etc
      withdrawals = ADD++, fatigue, laziness, more irritability and anxiety (sometimes extreme), and my favorite: intense depression and self hatred.

      Fun stuff.

      I realized very soon that there was NO WAY I could “take as directed”… seemed like a recipe for suicide.
      For whatever reason, Doctors (and med sites like webMD etc.) don’t seem to offer much help when it comes to this stuff…

      Only advice I got…
      Psych: “Tell me if you get anxiety or start hallucinating”
      Pharmacist: “You might want to stay away from Coffee”
      Researching what others recommended on Reddit was my only saving grace..

      The answer is vitamins, supplements, a healthy diet, and knowing which food eat/avoid and when…

      Morning (with your meds):
      – B-Vitamins (I take a B complex) – helps make everything in your body, including the drug, work better.
      – L-Tyrosine (find it at GNC or on Amazon) – Essential. Take on an empty stomach. Helps your body replenish dopamine–it’s “fuel” for the adderall
      – Breakfast: Anything nutritious and high in protein – My fave: Eggs, toast w/ almond/peanutbutter, honey and chia seeds, or a protein shake if I’m in a hurry. AVOID orange juice or anything with Vitamin C. It works against amphetamines, making the drug less effective. Same with coffee/caffeine–stay away.

      – L-Theanine (find at GNC/Amazon) – comes from green tea and makes you calm and focused and is non-drowsy. Good for stress, anxiety, and adderall jitters. Take as needed.
      – Remember to Eat – You’ll start feeling real shitty if you don’t. Again, more protein. Eat a protein bar if you have to. Your body wants nutrients.
      – Stay hydrated and drink lots of water.
      – Take some Magnesium (I use the glycinate form) if you’re getting the jaw-clenches. It helps relax your muscles along with a shit-ton of other benefits.

      – Depends on when you started your day, but that moment you start “losing your steam” and feeling motivation plummeting and zombie brain setting in… take another L-Tyrosine. You’ll come back to life in no-time. Try to beat this before it starts if you can (timing is everything), and you can practically avoid the comedown all together. L-Tyrosine is a magic-bullet.
      – When you’re ready to start winding down… Another L-Theanine will help smooth things out.
      – If it’s not too late, a couple shots (take it slow…) of coffee will keep you alive and well also.
      – And I’ve found that CBD (tincture or buds, whatever you prefer) is a GOD-SEND. It mellows out all the anxiety and puts you in a happy place WITHOUT getting you high. Of course, a *tiny* bit of THC is icing on the cake 😉
      – And MEDITATE when you get the chance. I kid you not, this does wonders for the internal turmoil you may experience at the end of the day, I come out the other calm, peaceful, and serene. It’s awesome.

      Before Bed:
      – Drink an EmergenC packet and/or some Orange Juice when you’re ready to start flushing out your system. Don’t do it too early or you’ll get tired real fast lol, but early enough to give it some time to work before you lie down for bed.
      – Magnesium – take some more. Amphetamines deplete your body of it, and it’s supposed to help you sleep better.
      – Melatonin – right before bed. It’s an antioxidant and helps put you to sleep.

      Rinse and repeat.

      As for Erectile Dysfunction… I haven’t found a cure for that one yet 🙁 just try and work it around your schedule, and avoid jacking off while you’re medicated… it will just make you sad. lol

      Another part of the equation is figuring out what kind of dosing schedule works for you (I have to break mine up and dose every 2 hours to avoid and emotional/physical rollercoaster)

      I follow this regimen and my side-effects are *very* minimal. I actually feel great in the evenings.

      Your body and brain need to recuperate–naturally–from all the stress and depletion of vital nutrients that adderall depletes. It’s a miracle drug when it’s working, but it wrecks hell on your body, and that’s why your side effects/withdrawals are so bad.
      I do 2 days on, 1 day off, and usually don’t take anything during the weekends. Taking regular breaks will keep your tolerance from skyrocketing as well

      I have no idea how people can be on this stuff EVERYDAY, and I don’t know why Doctors prescribe it that way. Everyone is different of course, but for me it was recipe for disaster.

      There’s other tricks that help out (tremendously), but they reside in some experimental “gray areas” and I wouldn’t want to get you in trouble… look up “resetting adderall tolerance” on reddit if your curious.

      Hope that helps!

      Do your research and I wish you good luck. And sorry for the lengthy reply… my meds must be working 😉

      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by tedmonty.
      • #137955

        Wow Ted, thanks for the amazing post! No need to apologize for it being lengthy; a lot of people just reply a few words of support and it can be immensely frustrating. A lengthy post on what to do is just what I needed. I wish there were somebody like you for every problem out there!

        I haven’t tried out vitamins before (nobody ever mentioned supplements for adderall to me before) but I’ll heed your suggestions. When you say “dosing schedule” do you mean you break up your pills every day? So if you were prescribed, say, 20 mg, you could split it into 10 mg and take at separate times? As I mentioned previously I have major problems with the loss of appetite and inability to sleep but lowering my dosage didn’t seem to help, if anything, increasing my dosage seemed to mitigate the side effects which was bizarre. I don’t know if you specified in your post but how did you deal with the loss of appetite? I find that I just completely lose all hunger for at least 8 hours after taking my pill.

        And Penny, thanks for the suggestion! I took Ritalin a long time ago and it seemed to work alright, but my parents are super paranoid about medications of basically any type and never let me increase dosage, I’ll try to get Ritalin next time I see my psychiatrist.

      • #143677
        The Cat Lady

        That is extremely helpful info for anybody. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been in a rut as well, sometimes it all just feels so hopeless.

    • #137847

      Oh yeah, and they did a pretty good write up on here:

      10 Foods (and Supplements and Vitamins!) to Boost Your ADHD Brain

    • #137915
      Penny Williams

      It sounds like it may be time to try a different ADHD medication. 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.

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

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

    • #137956

      Hi! I am so sorry to hear this is going on. I myself have been feeling off this refill time and it was all because this time my medicine that I picked up on Sunday did something to me. I could tell something was off within the first 2 hours but I blamed it on being overwhelmed with too much to do. I haven’t slept since Saturday and have had extreme paranoia and things that have been making me feel like I have lost my ever loving mind. Last month was the start of me thinking that something wasn’t working anymore with my prescription, but I blamed it on the holidays. Any who, I got online to see what I may be experiencing, and read that it could differ manufacturer to manufacture. So I find my bottle from last month and compare to this month and it’s Sandoz. I call my 24 pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist and asked her what I was on in November and she said Teva. She went all the way back to June and in August, Dec and now January are the only times I’ve had Sandoz. I knew I wasn’t crazy. So if something is off, check out the manufacture. The main ingredients are all the same, but fillers vary company to company. Best of luck!

    • #138011

      No problem! I’m just glad to help 🙂
      It can be rough at first until you figure everything out–it’s a very high-maintenance medication, but it helps so much once it starts working for you.

      So as far as the dosing schedule goes…

      I’m prescribed 40mg (20mg, twice per day)–and 2 spread out doses doesn’t cover me for the day, and 20mg at once is a bit too high for me (unless I’m very tired).

      My body metabolizes the drug so fast I’m lucky to get a few good hours of focus and motivation before it does a u-turn on me.
      Once it starts wearing off I’m done… I can’t think straight, I’m de-motivated, headache, anxiety, shakes, etc. for the next few hours. It’s way worse than my “normal” unfocused/unmotivated self.

      So what I do is split the 40mg into 3 doses (15mg, 15mg, 10mg) and dose every 2 hours. That seems to keep me level for the majority of the day… I’ve found that even though I take my last dose relatively early, the good effects keep going for much longer (I’m pretty sure this has to do with the added caffeine and CBD I take in the second half of the day, as well.)

      Insomnia hasn’t been much of problem (probably because the large dose of Vitamin C flushes everything out near the end of the day.)–Except until recently… the last few weeks I’ve been getting a lot of broken sleep which has been not fun, but I’m pretty sure it’s mostly due to the amount of stress I’m under at the moment. So it’s probably temporary. Last night I slept fine (go figure).

      You *could* try waking up an hour or so before you have to, take your first dose, and fall back asleep. You’ll wake up like a Champion and already be ahead of your schedule. Might give you extra time to calm down at the end of the day.
      I’ve been doing this lately and it’s been working pretty well (…I’m a VERY slow starter in the mornings, usually).

      As for the loss of appetite…

      That one you just gotta remember to eat. I feel like SHIT big time if I let myself go too long, even though I’m not hungry at all.

      For me, the problem is convenience… I get so focused on what I’m doing, I don’t want to break my flow to go make food (I work from home). It’s a whole process, so I’ve been using protein bars and shakes as a substitute in those situations. They usually do the trick.

      Sometimes it’s actually a GOOD IDEA to stop and take a break though… A lot of times I get so motivated and into my work that I don’t want to stop… “Why does my head hurt so much?? Oh yeah, it’s because I’ve been staring at this computer screen for the past 12 hours…time for a break!”

      Also, what @nicolekamber said… it’s possible some of your side-effects are due to the manufacturer it’s coming from. Mines “Teva” too, and it does seem to have more mild side-effects than the first couple refills I was on.

      There can be a lot of variables, so I it comes down to trial and error and patience. Even with all this I still have occasional days where I’m dealing with shitty side-effects.

      Good luck though! Reach out if you need anything!

      • #167049

        Hi Ted, thanks again for all the help. The supplements have been enormously helpful at reducing side effects. I added CDP Choline and omega 3 and they seem to be helping as well. I still have a problem with libido increase and as a result spending a ton of the adderall duration masturbating instead of studying. Do you have any advice for this?

    • #142111
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