Treating adhd in people prone to addiction

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    • #122134

      Hey everyone! 36 year old female!

      Happy to be here!

      Was just wondering if anyone could help shed some insight on adhd and addiction.

      For the sake of our attention span,😆,I’ll try and keep this as short as possible.Diagnosed with ADHD. Feel the diagnosis is pretty accurate.In fact, a recent gene test confirmed I am genetically low in dopamine. This more or less explains why I’ve always felt somewhat powerless in certain situations or to substances- Alcohol,Cigarettes, Sex as a few examples.

      I was raised to know right from wrong, and despite being what I would consider a good person, or at least well meaning…. My entire life, I’ve always had this feeling like there was someone else driving the car, or the behavior. For example, I go out for one beer, next thing it’s 20. I hate smoking, it actually killed my mom and grandma, yet I chain smoke 20 cigarettes. I believe cheating is morally wrong, bad.. yet here I am entertaining unwanted advances and craving attention. I legitimately cannot help it at times. I act before thinking, and then beat myself up for the act. Ive always felt pulled in the wrong direction, and like things that come effortlessly to most people, are extremely difficult, if not impossible for me. I’ve never felt completely in control, or maybe that I could be way too easily swayed against my core values, principles and beliefs so I lack total and complete confidence and trust in myself. Low Dopamine, likely the missing link.

      I was always against pharmaceuticals, However; My psychiatrist explains to me that the lack of dopamine is basically driving Miss Daisy lol And that adderall would essentially provide my brain with a proper supply of dopamine, eliminating my brains need for stimulation , and that I would be more in control/alignment with myself. Made sense so i tried it.

      First few days of adderall were amazing! I couldn’t believe how CALM it made me, I felt relaxed, my mind clear, thoughts in single file, and I’m like wow! This is what it feels like to be NORMAL!


      Well that was Fun while it lasted, But now a few weeks later… I can’t stop craving adderall. I take my prescribed dose, and when it wears off, I want more and more and more. I don’t want the feeling to end, I don’t want the carriage to turn back into the pumpkin. Like I was powerless in a sense to certain stimulation, I am now powerless to adderall. I will take it at 10pm knowing I have to be up at 5. I don’t care. So, now what? LoL

      I’ve tossed my script, took two weeks off… Convinced myself that the benefits are so amazing that I would be extremely disciplined the second time around. Uh no, not even close. Same exact scenario.

      So how does that work? If Low dopamine greatly improves adhd, why does it also cause addiction? Doesn’t that defeat its purpose?


      I want to cry. I feel worse off than I was before.

      Any advice? And of course, I’ll “talk to my doctor” I’m just looking for people who may have had personal experience with something like this.

      Thank you.

    • #122264
      Penny Williams

      Definitely need to talk to the prescribing doctor, as you mentioned, and be honest about it. There isn’t any scientific evidence to this, but some people feel that amphetamines are stronger and easier to abuse. Adderall is the main stimulant taken by those without ADHD that want ultra focus for studying and such. A methylphenidate may reduce your chances of addictive behaviors — you’d probably have to try it to know.

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

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

    • #122275

      I don’t want the feeling to end, I don’t want the carriage to turn back into the pumpkin. Like I was powerless in a sense to certain stimulation, I am now powerless to adderall. I will take it at 10pm knowing I have to be up at 5. I don’t care. So, now what? LoL

      Hannah, there is an extended release version of Adderall, so you might ask your doctor
      if it would have a more subtle effect on your body.

      I’ve been taking the non-ER version daily for 9 years, and never even notice when it starts
      working, or when it stops (if indeed the medicine’s benefit does stop). I take it daily,
      and at those rare times I ran out before refilling my prescription and had to miss a couple
      of days, I notice no difference on the first day, and by the third day I can definitely
      tell the difference.

      FWIW, don’t take it again at 10pm when you need to be up and going at 5. You’re not
      powerless. As for the smoking, etc…well, we’ve all made some galactically stupid
      choices in life.

      Follow ADHDMomma’s advice and I think you’ll be just fine.

      All the Best..

    • #131896

      Hey I related completely to what you said about how your life has been , my morals and my actions are completely different and I feel guilt and shame all the time….I am an addict also and have been addicted to alcohol cocaine/amphetamines for years but have managed to get some respite in recovery for the last 2 years and take my prescribed concerta xl which is slow release methylphenidate daily which really helps me with my adhd symptoms but I still struggle with my brain racing and with relationships because i cant commit to anyone coz i get bored of people so easily…for a short time I’m completely obsessed with them then it wears off and i want someone new which is painful to them and me and frustrating coz all i want to do is settle down and be content with someone I’m also 36 and have 2 kids and currently in an on off relationship with a man who is pushing me for a commitment i think i love him but I’m too scared to go for it coz i know I’m bored of him even tho I love him and dont want him to be with anyone else but I’m scared I’m going to cheat coz I need that thrill of being with someone new, please help !

    • #131904

      I’m in recovery program. I’ve got a pfc tbi and have to take a stimulant for adhd chemical imbalances ( lack of dopamine to the prefrontal cortex, pfc) and my pfc is damaged. I have done bioneurofeedback and take concerta and don’t experience the need or want to take more than prescribed. Adderall was too harsh of a stimulant for me. I found over time and experience that extended release concerta or vyvanse worked best. Also adding bioneurofeedback was excellent for adhd, substance use issues, brain injury, trauma ect. Continue to be honest about your experience with the meds and you will find the right one. People with adhd seem more prone to impulsive ly using alcohol or drugs to deal with their brains. It is helpful and possible to find the correct meds to help. Hope this helps

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