Long Term Effects of Adderall

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Blue Adderall XR Pill
 

Adderall is a popular stimulant treatment for ADHD and is used illicitly as a drug for its energy inducing effects.

What are the long term effects of Adderall?  Does it keep working, or do you develop tolerance if you have ADHD?

Please note that this piece is written assuming use is within therapeutic range for ADHD and not at the high doses typical with abuse.

Have you ever wondered what the difference really is between Adderall and Ritalin? Find out here.

Also, an ADHD Test Made for Adults may be of interest.

Summary of long term effects of Adderall

Mental: Increased focus, attention, motivation.  Reduction of ADHD symptoms.

Heart: Use of Adderall or related stimulants for more than a year increases your diastolic blood pressure by ~ 3-5mm HG, systolic blood pressure by ~ 2-5mm HG and your heart rate ~ 3-5 beats per minute.  Additionally, it is possible that ECG testing will show slight electrical activity differences.

This is almost always not good (except possible in someone with initial low blood pressure), but is it bad?  Some argue that these increases don’t have any direct health implications, while others argue that they can show a 20% increase in emergency room use for heart issues in kids who use stimulants.

Before using stimulants, it may make sense to get some basic cardiac testing.

Brain: Some studies have shown that stimulant use in people with ADHD may increase the size of certain parts related to controlling focus, motivation and attention.  This is very positive.  Some studies we’ve looked at of students on long term use of stimulants showed improvement in overall academic performance as well.

On the other hand, some animal models have hinted at the possibility that use of stimulants can increase the build up of free radicals in the brain.  Even if this is the case, it might be amenable by healthy consumption of anti-oxidants.

Appeptite/weight: Amphetamines like Adderall are among the best appetite suppressers.  This led to their wide abuse as diet pills and may cause unwanted weight reduction in people who use them.  Long term use in kids has been shown to be associated with slight weight loss and even possibly slight height reduction.

ADHD Treatment Effect: Many people taking stimulants ask the question – will they stop working?  The news seems to be good, however.

Researcher Doctor Biederman reports that in a study of several hundred patients over 1-2 years, for most, stimulant medications continued to work well at a steady dose.

Doctor Hallowell, coauther of Driven to Distraction, reports that in almost all cases, tolerance to ADHD medication does not develop, but is possible.  Dr. Paul Wender, a noted researcher into ADHD, reports that tolerance is rare, and most patients can take stimulants for many years without problem.

Dr. Ari Tuckman, a clinician who has treated hundreds if not thousands of people with ADHD, reports in an interview with us that most often, ADHD meds can be used at therapeutic dose daily for years without losing efficacy.

Of the dozens of research papers reviewed, very few mentioned that developing long term tolerance was a limiting factor in treating ADHD.  Even then, it is almost always the case that tolerance can be reduced or removed by temporarily stopping treatment.

That said, there could be more research and data on this subject.

What does that mean?

With the increasing use of amphetamines to treat ADHD and as recreational drugs, more and more people want to know – are they safe for long term use?  What potential side effects come with use over time?  And, this is exceptionally important, do they continue to treat ADHD over time or does drug tolerance develop?

There have not been that many studies into the long term effects of Adderall.  One thing we know is that stimulants do have some cardiovascular effects which can be serious for at risk people.  That said, one study of several hundred people over 2 years of mixed amphetamine salt treatment (the generic for Adderall), showed no clinically relevant heart effects – at least according to the doctors and researchers who did the trial.  A few people did drop out because of heart related concerns like palpitations and excessive heart rate.

Additionally, a retrospective analysis of about 2,000,000 kids treated over time with stimulant medications showed that 456 went to the emergency room with heart related issues.  When you control for how many kids would normally go to the ER in a sample that large, this represents a 20% increase in risk for heart problems.

Remember, there is a black box warning on stimulants because of their potential for heart complications.

In terms of developing tolerance to the therapeutic effect in treating ADD/ADHD: the data seems to very strongly suggest that tolerance does not develop over a year or two year period, and that use of extended release formulations may increase efficacy due to smoother release.

Attenuation of side effects?

It is possible that with time, the side effects of stimulants become attenuated, or less significant.  For instance, one study showed that a significant amount of people experienced insomnia, depression or weight loss at start of use of stimulant medication.

But near the end of a year, only 1% still had a reduction in appetite that would lead to weight loss, and no one reported insomnia (which sounds a little over-optimistic.  Everyone has insomnia sometimes.)  This may be, however, because those who had serious difficulty with those issues stopped using the medication.

Related Articles:

  1. Adderall vs Ritalin – Benefits, Issues
  2. Is There A Physical Test for ADHD?
  3. The 4 Secrets to Succes with ADHD
  4. Intuniv, a New ADHD Medication
  5. What Sucks and What Rocks about ADHD
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Pharmaceutical analyst who loves blogging about health and medical issues. Has written more than 150 articles and a book on attention deficit disorder. Correctly predicted delayed approval of Bydureon, approval of Provenge by FDA, and the non-approval of Acthar on June 11.

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134 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Kerry. Your post is similar in points being made about medication and what side effects can happen. Whether it be concerta/methylphenidate or adderall-dexedrine/amphetamines. I did not like taking concerta that much, it dulls you out, you feel so called “zombied”. You appear apathetic and cold, quiet, might not talk much as did before. That can be either good for you or troublesome for them. It is still there on adderall but not so prevalent. Its up to you and your physician to find the best dosage and drug for your child, theres better options out there and why not try something else until perfectly suited. Maybe try vyvanse, its a prodrug to ampethamines, which is harder to abuse and longer lasting and more pure than adderall with only containing the dextro-amphetamine no other amphetamines. Also reducing side effects, but that being said your son is on concerta which isn’t classified as an amphetamine. But even if his emotions and what he seems like to you shouldn’t be that much of a concern, he is still the same and creative and full of emotions. But ask him if its something that is troubling him but most of all its up to you, your son and your doctor to find out the best plan and drug needed for the child.

  2. I highly disagree with some of these posts.  Particularly with the people who believe Adderall takes your personality away.  I have been taking Adderall for almost four years, and my personality is NO different than it was before.  I am the same exact person.  I do get cold feet and hands often.  Will sometimes experience headaches after discontinuing the medication for a few days.  If I don’t eat an appropriate breakfast I can’t feel an increase heart rate.  The side effects are minimal considering the upside of the medication.  This medication has changed my life for the better!!!!!  Anyone who truly struggles with ADHD symptoms will benefit from some type of medication.  However, Adderall is not for everyone.  There are a number of medications that help people struggling with ADHD.  I suggest you find a good physician and test the different medications until you find the one that helps you.  Don’t let some of these posts scare you!  This can change your life in so many ways.  Have a good relationship with your doctor and ask a lot of questions to put your mind at ease.  No one should struggle with ADHD.  There is appropriate help out there for everyone.  Whether you need 30mg twice a day or 5mg once a day.  Go through the right steps, and I promise you will find more happiness in your life!    

  3. I’ve also seen the results of untreated ADHD/ADD in adults who should have been treated as kids. They are generally very smart people who have not been able to hold down jobs and even sustain long term relationships, all resulting in depression.

    The above description really fits me to a T.  The thing about ADD is that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish from depression, as depression symptoms mirror some of those of ADD.  The poor memory, lack of concentration, lack of energy, etc.

    I’ve taken so many different ADs over the last 10 years it’s pathetic.  None were very effective.  I was always afraid to take Adderall because of fear of addiction/tolerance.  I’m at the point now that I don’t care.  I just want relief, so I’m willing to try Adderall.  I was actually prescribed it six or so years ago, but because of my fears that I mentioned, I didn’t follow through with taking it.  Probably should have, because I had a job as a programmer, and I could apply logic to computer languages that I already knew (logic skills were very good), but I seemed unable to retain new information.  I used to leave myself notes all over the place, and was a very good documenter, because if I had to work on the same project a month later, it’d be just like I was starting anew.

    Anyway, I also take antidepressants right now as part of my cocktail.  I take Wellbutrin and Remeron (for sleep and AD).  I’ve noticed during the daytime when I take Adderall, it causes some anxiety, but a tiny bit of Paxil knocks it out (like 2.5mg).  Anyway, maybe I’ll post how I get on with Adderall.  This is just my second day on it.

  4. recovered patient

    i would like to offer some advice to those who are looking into stimulant treatment. i was originaly prescribed ritalin at the age of 6, this was in 1991, at increasing doses from 5mg 3 times a day, to 20mg 3 times a day at the age of 12 i was switched to adderall initialy taking 15mg 3 times a day to the eventual 30mg 3 times a day. at the age of 15 i refused further treatment. while my expeirience is somewhat rare, any parent wishing to help their child should be well informed of  all aspects of the drug they are considering. 
    While being treated with ritalin i suffered 2 diagnosed psychotic breaks, both occured at school with relatively little antagonistic influence. they were triggered by prolonged exposure to high doses of stimulants. after the switch to adderall (directly related to the second psychotic episode) i suffered severe personality conflicts, hallucination and eventually a third and final psychotic episode. 
    at the age of 15 after 9 years of un-interrupted stimulant use. i chose to refuse further medical treatment for ADD which i was originaly diagnosed for, from ages 15-18 I struggled with severe depression social anxiety and suicidal thoughts and actions and developed several OC habits. it has only recently been diagnosed that the long term effect of the stimulants had been severe and irreversible damage to my brains ability to produce serratonin, dopemine and other chemicals necessary for mood and stimulation regulation. after 10 years without the drugs i have developed ways of identifying irrational behavior and mood shifts and adapted them to my current situation, allowing me to function in society and i have even been able to return to school and acheive a 4.00 GPA, I am majoring in Bio Technology.
    these drugs do have their place and may be helpful to you or to a loved one. just be aware that as with everything you try there are potential risks and dangers. i make no exaggeration when i say that these two particular drug’s, that were prescribed by a reputable neurologist, robbed me of a childhood, and have severley impacted my life as an adult in a profoundly negative way. please do your research and observe your self or the person recieving the drug. if you notice strange behavior speak to your doctor or seek a second opinion. another side effect of adderall worth noting, is that if you try to go off of it, you will go through withdrawl which can be extremely painful. i expeirienced only what i can describe as hell for about a month, i experienced severe muscle cramps and fatigue, severe constupation, nausea vomiting, uncontrollable rage, catatonic despair, and temporary psychosis. after discontinuing the use of these medications i have not suffered another psychotic episode or any major psychological event. additionaly after discontinuing the drug treatment, my overall quality of life has improved exponentialy. the major improvement is being able to have and fell emotional responses which i had never experienced while being treated for ADD. 

  5. dear ‘recovered patient’: Thank you very much for sharing your struggle. I appreciate your candid info!!! I have always had this underlying concern about how I was tinkering with my son’s brain chemistry with these drugs. But, it has been hard to overlook the apparent ‘benefits’ we have initially seen over the past couple months. In considering both sides, I think I am choosing to let him just be him, and my daughter too. Maybe when they are a little older (later teens) I will reconsider, but for now I’m going to take a different approach & try educating them about the ADHD and try to manipulate their environment to fit them, versus the other way around. Again, thank you, you have confirmed what I have suspected for a quite some time now, about this risky business. Everyone please say a prayer for us, I’m going to try homeschooling & being ADD myself -is going to require a HUGE amount of ambition, discipline, structure….oh boy One last thing, it is helping me to read the book “You Mean I’m Not Lazy,Stupid, or Crazy” by Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo -REALLY gave me a better understanding already (have only made it through chapter 4) Thanks!!

  6. I would like to ask a question about adderall. I know of a man that is in his mid 30’s and has been taken adderall for about 4 yrs. Recently I have notice that he is taking over 60 of these in less than 2 weeks, how does this affect his health in general. I am concerned because he is using way too many of these pills. He tells me it is because of his weight that he has to take so many. Does body weight really come into play. He probably might weigh about and I am guessing about 175 and he is about 6 ft. I just think he is taking
    way to many of them.. Can someone please tell me should I be concern or not.

  7. recovered patient

    well lindy, your concerns are well founded, but only his doctor can really say for certain, if he is taking the 5mg doseage at specified intervals throughout the day, it would be vary easy to consume that much over two weeks, and may be how it was prescribed. if you are concerned about abuse and his health, the effects of adderall are just like that of crystal-meth, as they are basically the same substance; however, if  he is taking the medication at the prescribed doseage and at the proper intervals, there should not be any adverse health effects, aside from addiction of course. now i am not a doctor, so i cant really give you advice, but if you havent seen any negative or uncharacteristic changes in his health or personality its a good bet that he is just following doctors orders and should be fine. of course as with anyone, if you are truly concerned you should talk to him about it and perhaps persuade him to seek a second opinion from another medical professional. hope this helps, if you are looking for the physical symptoms of amphetamine addiction there are plenty of documentaries out there that you can watch on you-tube or other sites, bear in mind that amphetamines only cause the extreme physical deterioration when smoked, insuflated(snorted) or injected intravenously, not when consumed oraly as prescribed.

  8. Lindy it seems as he may have become addicted to adderall. But what dosage are these pills and are they instant release or extended? But whatever it may be, that is concerning to be taking that many. It can wreck havoc on your insides, heart problems like tachycardia and palpitations, vasconstriction and other problems as well. The biggest concern is the diet involved with abusing amphetamines. You will not eat, you feel full all the time. I’ve been there done that. You wont eat anything or anything healthy and who knows how much water he is drinking. But the malnutrition of essential nutrients and vitamins can cause problems with the eyes and skin and your state of mind can be effected by this. You say he is 175lbs and 6 feet. That seems of an average weight for his height, my friend is only 185 and he is 6’4 and hes so skinny. Plus on the comedown or even on it his moods may be unpredictable as well as hallucinations or delusions or better known as amphetamine psychosis. But I think the psychosis more so has to do with the lack of sleep involved. Staying up for days on end, eating a few hundred calories if that and taking uppers constantly isn’t good. I would suggest to get him off the stuff or taper the dose because the comedown can be pretty terrible. You will fell like dying and can barely eat anything and have a pounding headache and you just feel like crap for a few days depending on his usage. People can become Dependant on amphetamines, so be on the look out. 

  9. I was diagnosed with ADHD about 2 years ago by my family GP. I was in my late 40’s at the time. I have always had difficulty with staying focused on anything for very long, starting many different things and moving between them when I lost interest in the current activity. I also always read several books at a time, in a way similar to how I did projects. My work history also shows a confessed boredom with what I’m doing after about 6-9 months. However, I’ve been able to parlay that into job changes that resulted in advancement and income increases. I am in high tech.

    When the doctor initially diagnosed me, he started me out on 30 mg a day at 2 15mg doses twice a day. This worked fine for a while but I found ater about 5 months that I was back to being distracted and unfocused most of the time. I mentioned this to my doctor and he increased the dose to 80mg in 2 40mg doses twice a day. This really worked well. I am 5’10” and when I started taking adderall I weighed 275 (overweight). As a result of taking the adderall, I lost 30lbs which gave me confidence that I could go back to exercising as I had done when younger without injury. I am now down to around 200lbs which has improved my overall health. I also did not notice significant withdrawal symptoms when I stopped taking the stuff.

    However, I recently stopped taking the adderall because of significant personality changes. Over the last 2 years, I have gone out of my way to sabotage my marriage of 27 years. At this point, I live away from my wife although we have not divorced. She frequently commented that I was not the same person but I ignored those comments because I felt like she was the one who had  changed. Wrong, it was me. Since I’ve stopped taking the medication, I’ve seen how much I had changed and have started working my way back to being me. My wife and I have started on trying to rebuild the marriage. I have gone back to a small dose of adderall on my own until I can get into see an appropriate professional about the ADHD and get better advice than what I received from my GP. The dose I take now is 1 20mg tablet twice a day (sometimes only once a day) and it seems to give me some level of control of the symptoms.

    My advice is to be wary of what advice you receive from someone who does not specialize in ADD/ADHD since they may cause more harm than help. Also, question even those who do specialize if something they say gives you some doubt. I am working to get into the Hallowell clinic since it is close to where I live and I feel that Dr. Hallowell is probably the most trusted authority on the disease.

  10. I am 33 years old and I have been taking Adderall for two years. I started on a low dose and did not find that it was helping, so my doctor increseased the dosage to 20mg 1x day. I still did not see changes, which was so dissapointing. Although I hate to admit it, I was praying that Adderral would be the answer to my struggles with ADD. I struggled all of my life with concentration, memory problems….you name it. I struggled in school as a child and in college, but ADD was never heard of when I was growing up. After college, I got tested and was diagnosed. I felt such a relief because I always felt stupid because of my struggles, but I knew I was not dumb. After I was diagnosed, I talked to my doctor about medications & I was put on Strattera, which did nothing for me. I took it for a while, but stopped because it did not help with concentration, retention or anything! I was so dissapointed because ADD has such a huge impact on me everyday. It affects me just being able to function at work and even in social situations. I used to be so outgoing, but as I got older, my symptoms got worse and I have become such an introvert. After quitting Straterra, I did not take anything for a few years, then I started on Adderall. It gave me energy at first, but it did not help me mentally. My doctor increased my dosage to 20mg 2x day, but I still struggle. What worries me is if I don’t take a dose, I am so sluggish & just want to go to bed. It does not help my concentration, retention or any of my symptons, but I only stay on it because I can’t get going without it. So, if someone says that you do not become dependent on it, I would definitely disagree. It also does not reduce my appetite because I have gained weight taking it, but also have lost weight. I have always struggled with my weight, so I know that Adderral has no effect on my weight. At this point in my life, I feel as frustrated as I used to before I was even diagnosed. I know that it’s not good to rely on medication as an answer, but I also cannot help thinking there is a miracle pill. I get depressed and frustrated that I cannot remember things and focus, but what effects me the most is communicating. I struggle at just having a normal conversation! I lose my train of thought, I ramble, interrupt, and when I’m talking to someone, I notice the look on other people’s face which pretty much says, “this girl is stupid!” I don’t mean to sound so depressing, but I feel like my ADD is dibilitating. It is something that affects me day in and day out & I just don’t know if there is anything that can help me! Certainly, people with ADD need to make adjustments to become more organized and have better time management, which I have done those things. However, people with ADD have a mind that is drawing them in a million different directions, so once an ADD person thinks they are getting organized, they are really making things work and it makes the process more overwhelming. For example, I will make a list of tasks, but then I get sidetracked and don’t finish. Then I can’t remember where I put my list, so I make another one. As soon as I start a project, I get interrupted or frustrated & I start on something else & never finish what I started! Like I said, it’s dibilitating and depressing. I’m in no means lazy & I’v always been a hard worker. I have a lot to offer, but I hold back because I feel that I’m going to fail or screw things up. I also don’t stand up for myself or speak my mind (no pun intended) because as soon as I express my thoughts and feelings, I just made myself look stupid because I ramble & can’t get out of my mouth what I am thinking! I’m not sure what to do or where to get help. I have searched for doctors that specialize in ADD, but I have not had any luck. I see my family physician & I don’t think it helps me that my doc does not specialize in ADD . If anyone has suggestions on how I can find doctor(s) in my area that specialize in ADD, I would appreciate the feedback.

  11. this is certainly a big debate in my family; all I can say is that I think a combined approach is best

    certainly there are a variety of opinions in these posts.

    I think probably the discrepancy is whether or not there is a pre-existing issue.

    but a lot of times add is a cluster thing-like I have some add, some anxiety. So I am going to have more trouble than the next person with ritalin products making me nervous/anxiety/ocd etc

    all I can say is i’m very glad I’ve had balanced approach to these drugs. Sure. There is some truth for sure in what the critics say. There are the horror stories no doubt.

    on the other hand diagnosis and treatment has been helpful

  12. All total I spent over 8 years of my life on adderall, I started taking Rittalin in elementary school and proceeded to try many other medications at the behest of  my doctors who claimed my ADD was interfering with my progress in school. After years of trying all these various meds, including effexor and even an antidepressant to name a few, with many negative side effects I found adderall and was immediately put on a 20mg extended release dose and my doctor soon increased it up to 30mg XR.

     I used the medication all throughout middle school and into high school and into my first years of college and thought it was truly helping me. While my grades went up, I had become increasingly more socially uncomfortable and my family said my personality changed. My physician increased my dose at one point to 30MG XR twice a day claiming the higher dose would help me. I could only stomach a liquid diet of Ensure and lived on about 600 calories a day. (My father is a gastroenterologist and did his best to give me vitamins and counseled me on what to eat) This in turn lead me to the emergency room after a few weeks due to malnutrition, liver problems and a potassium deficiency. After a few days I was all patched up and feeling better and went back on my old 30mg XR once a day.

    I proceeded to become a heavy social drinker, chain smoker and found myself making pretty bad decisions all around. This all went on for about two more years until last February when I took my last dose of adderall ever.

    I quit cold turkey and suffered from withdrawals from everything but in the end my life is much better than it was. I got better grades off the meds than on them, consequently I finished my BFA degree this past week and am about to embark on my first career, and I’ll be getting married in a few short weeks. Many people don’t realize that adderlall is no different from speed,  it may work great for a period of time but it can negatively effect you in the long run. While my personal life has improved, my health has suffered greatly.

    I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and suffer from extreme situational panic, which I never had before and now have to make sure I always have valium on me incase the feeling hits me. Out of nowhere my body temperature will skyrocket, my heart will pound and I will start to sweat and sometimes my hands will even shake. My circulation is terrible and my hands and feet constantly go numb. I have terrible stomach pains and GI issues, and many days just feel “bad,” which I didn’t before. I have been to my doctor and have had every conceivable test done to figure out what is wrong with me and time and time again the tests come out fine.

    I have been told that in maybe another year or two maybe these symptoms will subside and that they are most likely due to years of stimulant use. I hope that is true, because I spend more days feeling bad than I do feeling well. 

    I did not have a choice wether or not I was put on this medication as a child, but I made the choice to continue taking it as an adult and will forever regret that decision. If I could go back, I would rather have mediocre grades in school and a short attention span than have whatever I do now. 

  13. I studied molecular biology (PhD ’04). I worked in the pharma industry for sometime and now am in biotech. I read a few good books on brain science, and understand physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience to a decent extent. I have always been very concerned about these crude drugs (yes, crude, like a sledgehammer). And how popular they are with Americans. I have noticed that the pharma companies steamroll public opinion through physicians, ads etc and bulldoze any rational opposition and skepticism. I come from eastern Europe. Over the years through the grad school and later working in industry, whenever I noticed a colleague or friend as having too often unusual anxiety, or unusual emotional responses etc, has been ‘treated’ in the past or is still on medication. I observed a range of odd behavior, from being mildly sociopathic (when high) to being depressed, getting panic attacks. Over the years, I observed enough ‘treated’ (and ‘untreated’ people of course) that I can actually tell who is/was on these psychoactive drugs ever, even without them disclosing. And people guard their treatments like a super secret, and think that other people cannot tell. But trust me, I don’t know about people who are also taking them, but untreated ones can tell. They do seem to affect personality over time. And definitely seem to leave long-lasting negative effects. I mean, I noticed fewer psychological issues in people living in harsh conditions in third world. People from troubled backgrounds have issues, but they are still able to get along and adjust socially. ADD is not a severe disease that warrants drastic interventions like these (I have always had it myself). But the negative effects of these drugs surely are troubling. In the end, while I admit that we have come some way from lobotomies and electric shock treatments, but still not too far. These drugs are still very crude for the human brain.

    Just points to ponder folks. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone here, or diss the advances in medicine. I completely appreciate the honesty of ‘recovered patient’ and ‘Sarah’ here on this forum. Because they confirm what I always suspected, and are preventing me from going down that path myself. Wish you happiness and success, and full recovery.

  14. I posted above, and am continuing my thoughts. If I have come across as preachy, apologies. All I did was voice my serious concerns about crude chemical intervention. I am originally from Nepal, but studied from sometime in Europe and then the US. Lest any of my fellow posters say my ADD must be mild, all I can say is that at some points in my teens, I was unable to study even one chapter of a book to completion. I struggled throughout high school.

    I dealt with my chronic inability to focus, with sheer motivation. In spite of mental indiscipline and restlessness, I forced myself through a rigorous schedule, and a process I can probably call ‘anchoring’. I used force myself to take digested notes when I studied. I used to put myself among highly disciplined groups of people, and it used to rub off. I told myself during periods of self-doubt that I was as intelligent as the higher achievers among them, but had a focus issue. I used to force myself through yoga. The rigorous schedule helped a great deal, because it gave me some discipline. I originally wanted to be an entrepreneur (wanted to do an MBA, not a PhD). Unfortunately, I lacked the confidence that I will be able to take things to completion in an absence of pressure. I (mistakenly) thought that forcing myself through a PhD might finally help me become systematic and focused enough take things to completion. I went through periods of severe stress and anxiety but the focus issues are still there. All I can say is through out my childhood, adolescence and adult life, my parents and other family members stood by me. I am still doing fine. I am overall fairly self-confident, socially fine,have a large group of well-wishers and friends who generously consider me as ‘doing well for myself’. But for me, this agony continues to this day, and I have learned to live through it. I have ambitions which suffered because of my inability to concentrate. I have a gf who has the same exact problem. She is a happy person, but is a serious underachiever considering her intelligence. I dread my kid’s genetic predisposition to ADD/ADHD. So if someone knows of a non-drug way of treating this permanently, I will forever be grateful.

  15. I am 15 years old and have been taking adderall for 4 years. I havent been doing the “best” on my medicine. I have recently (past year) been experiencing extreme anxiety and irrational fears of several things. I am also a hypochondriac and have polyphobia. These things came out of nowhere! I know that meth can cause brain damage, and Adderall is chemically similar to meth. My sleeping habits? I am Insomiatic. But it has gotten to the point where I have to constantly rely on medication to sleep or I can NOT sleep. I have gone 72 hours without sleeping! But I have heard that adderall can cause brain damage or bleeding in the brain if used long term. All of these sypmtoms are brain like related, and im kinda worried! What do i do and how do i know whats going on! Email me – reachbug@gmail.com. Thanks.

  16. To the author,
    Your literature review is concise and informative; however I stopped reading once I realized you do not include a single citation, or provide any references at all to the primary sources of your information. If you would include references to your sources for this article, then it would be a lot more useful for those who are able to understand and critique scientific methodology as well as statistical procedures. Otherwise it’s just crap floating around on the internet with no distinguishable credibility – even if your summary accurate, there is no way to verify your claims.

    Just a suggestion for improvement.

    • I think you will find we do cite sources to studies and other research pieces. Thanks

  17. Don’t take it. My personality is hiding somewhere while I am stuck in an emotionless zombie-like state. I fear eye contact because I’m ashamed of the reality that I have created for myself.  All I ever gave a shit about was making people laugh and having fun. Now, I try to steer clear of social situations  bc I have this pathetic urge to be left alone.

  18. I’ve been taking Adderall for about a year now .. I started out taking ad XR 15 mg and my doctor raised it up too 20mg (tablet). I’ve noticed a great change in my mood/ and personality.. If you want advice too start taking it DONT! It changes your thoughts/and behaviors. The doc diagonosed me with A.D.D. but i have also noticed possible o.c.d symptons. I have always been a little of a neat person before i stared taking adderall but now it’s like it has increased. I’m constantly cleaning evertything. And when it comes to motivation for people with actual a.d.d taking this pill it can trigger depression and sometimes you have no motivation because you stay up all night.. If it was up too me i would stop taking it.. & for the weight loss yes that is what alot of people abuse adderal for i’ve lost no joke 45 pounds in the past year.. It can decrease your appitite .. I only eat about one time a day & when i do i feel sick..

  19. I just want to let people know of my experience as an adult taking Adderall. I am 33yrs old. When I was younger a doctor diagnosed me with ADD. At the time I was prescribed Rittalin. Rittalin was a terrible drug for me at that time.  I became anxious and depressed so I stopped taking it. All through high school I had issues with concentration while I was sitting still. I was never able to study or pay attention in class. I should amend that. I loved to read and always read the text books in the first week or two of school. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning. It was that I hated the repetition and found no need for it. Now that I am older I look back and realize there where a few things that repetition would have helped me with. For example I have to spell check about every third word as well as needing to reference common theroms and such. I was fortunate that more than 70% of my grades where usually based on testing. I passed all my classes with c’s to a’s. My grade usually correlated to the emphasis placed on testing by the teacher. 
    After high school I went through the Navy, got married and started a business. Things where rocky, but I was always able to pull things together at the last minute. That was until recently. I now have two beautiful girls 5 and 3. With my girls, wife and business I could no longer juggle everything. I was dropping things left and right. I started to have feelings of worthlessness and even contemplated suicide. I talked to my younger brother about this and he asked me if I was still on Rittalin. When I told him I had stopped using it before high school he was shocked. He asked me how I had made it through life at all. Apparently he is also highly ADD, but instead of quiting Rittalin he talked to the doctor and switched to Adderall. He is now a graduate of UCLA Law and working for one of the largest law firms in the US. He is very functional and successful. After talking to him I spoke with my doctor and am now on 30 mg daily of regular release Adderall. To put it simply MY LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN SO GOOD!!! I complete tasks on time. I no longer procrastinate. I eat healthier because I am not always last minuteing things and on and on and on. For ME this is a life changing drug.
    I highly recommend others who have looked up the symptoms of ADD and said that’s me to talk to your doctor. Even my marriage is better. If Adderall isn’t right for you and you are ADD find the right drug for you. Life before this was TERRIBLE. My biggest fault was pride. I always thought I was so smart that I could overcome any issues on my own. Talking for 1hr to my brother changed everything for me. A one hour conversation in 33yrs changed everything. 

    If you want to talk to me about my experiences reply to this and I will be alerted.

  20. I would like to talk to you about your experienc with adderall.
    Thanks

  21. Dear “life changing”
    Were you on 30mg of the short release tablets?
    How many times a day? or were you on 30 mg total for the day? (like 15mg 2x’s daily) ???

  22. I take 10 mg 3x daily. regular release not the XR.

  23. Nate. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I have been on vacation and I was not checking my emails. Please feel free to email me at jaredtanger@gmail.com

  24. all I can say is since the last time I have posted I have had more side effects with these drugs and I greatly regret we have to make such hard choices–A.K.A for some–Success OR major mental health issues like panic and beyond panic. It sucks. also there is a connection between attention deficit and family history of related mental health issues so god only knows what causes what…so just be cautious I guess

  25. Wrongly Misdianosed, Now Nurse

    Hi everyone, I was wrongly dianosed in 1991 at the age of 7 with ADD and Tourette’s and was given medication (ie. Ritalin and Daytana). I took the medication by force until 11 yr of age and put up a bigger fight, knowing that when I didnt take the medication I didnt have the side effects of hallucinations, vocal outbrusts, manic behaviour, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and being unable to control my body movements. I recently as a nurse know look back on all this and shake my head. I personally want to get the word out there at these Stimulant Medications are hard on the body, and do have long term effects even 20 years later. PLEASE to all those parents out there that are looking at getting their child on STIMULANT MEDICATIONS, take a look at your personal relationships (marriages, spouses, partners) because it could just be your child acting out to get your attention. Personally from experience and from an education, DONT use this drugs at all.

  26. QUESTIONS ABOUT QUITTING ADDERAL!

    Does anyone know if it is dangerous to quit taking adderal, cold turkey? I have been taking 30 – 40 mg of adderal for 11.5 years, and have only missed about 30 days of taking it (mostly on days when I was very sick , or not well). I want to stop taking it because I worry about getting having a baby (I’m not pregnant yet) but I’d like to have a full year with this out of my system. It is going to be a DRASTIC and life changing thing for me to quit, but I need to do it, and am actually taking 5 weeks off from work in order to fully recover and rest. Does anyone know if it is dangerous (to your heart, brain, immune system, etc) to quit like this? Any information would be helpful. Thanks!

  27. recovered patient

    In response to JL’s query, yes quitting adderal “cold turkey” can be dangerous, but it is not life threatening. The worst problems you may experience are: lethargy, severe nightmares, fatigue, insomnia, depression, mood swings (moderate to severe), severe constipation (which can lead to rectal bleeding, hemoroids, etc.) cold sweats, vomiting, feelings of anxiety and fear, and some other more minor effects. essentialy your body will go through physical withdrawl symptoms and your mind will have to cope with mental dependence. As you are probably aware, adderal is a powerful stimulant drug, it is highly addictive and (from personal experience) can cause a severely debilitating withdrawl period of about 2-3 weeks, from what I understand it is comparable to heroin/opiate withdrawl in intensity and durration. i would strongly advise consulting your physician before attempting to quit cold turkey. first of all your physician will be able to tell you definatively what to expect withdrawl wise, and secondly he/she may recomend a weening off or alternative method to safely and comfortably step down off the medication. after my experience I would strongly recomend obtaining at least two trustworthy medical opions from licenced physicians before making a final decision, afterall thats why they are there. if this is not an option for you than please do as much research as possible, so as to make an informed decision. it is definatley a good idea to stop taking adderal before trying to concieve a child, and i wish you the best of luck. hope this helps. 

  28. Hi. I’m 16 years old and I was prescribed adderall at the end of last school year because I had trouble focusing and I wasn’t officially diagnosed with ADD but I truly believe I have it, if only moderately.  I’ve always had trouble staying focused but it was easier to overcome because I understand material quickly and don’t have to do homework or study for tests too often.  Now my schedule is very challenging and I find it nearly impossible to keep my attention in boring classes such as math or even study for tests anymore.  Even right now I should probably be studying for a physics test but I’m researching the effects of adderall.  My doctor prescribed me 10mg doses to take once a day.  Is this right? If I decide to take it is there any advice on how to ease into it without sudden symptoms? Also, if anyone knows if this would effect athletics such as baseball (I’m only doing off season lifting right now) that would be great.  Please answer any of my questions.

  29. Hello. I was always the kid in honors class who in trouble and told to sit down and stop talking. My parents never looked for a solution because I still made good grades. When I was ready to go to college I knew I needed something to help because my mind was still always going in different directions. I ended up starting Adderall 20mg XR. Shortly after starting the drug I also got a great job and postponed college. It isn’t your typical job and is in the Oil & Gas industry making great money. Being on the adderall and the excitment of being promoted through the ranks was an awesome combo. I was learning and outworking my peers and doubled my salary in a little over 3 years. I was having some troubles though. I would exhaust myself at work and then not want to do anything at home. The worst part was that I became a heavy drinker and chain smoker. I didn’t feel a huge personality change but i definitely ignored peple more and wanted to be by myself ( i was an only child and always this type of person). I began to not be able to tell where the drug was helping me and huting me. About 3 months ago I stopped taking it. I weaned myself off by pouring some out every day until eventually I just didn’t take one. Man, have I become lazy. It is like my mind does not function anymore unless it is something that interests me like reading about sports. I will sit and try to work like I used to but I have no chance…it is all just jibberish. The terrible thing is my first 4 years at this company I put myself in a great position, they want me to go back to school, but now I feel as if I have no chance. I need to get back on this miracle drug immediately or I might get layed off. When I was on adderall I would go back and proof read this, that just shows me my give-a-crap is gone. I have to get my drug back…my brain is mush w/o it. On a positive note, I quit smoking about 2 weeks after I stopped taking the adderall. Drinking about the same, maybe less.

  30. Hi everyone,

    I posted a note on sept 6th with the question about quitting adderall cold turkey – and I just wanted to explain how I have done thus far.  I started weening myself off Oct 1.  I took 25 mg one week, 20 mg the next, 15 the next, then 10.. and then by nov 1 I was down at 5 mg, and finally stopped taking it entirely by nov 10th.  The ONLY way I was able to do this was I took a month off of work and a month off of life (not to sound dramatic).  I was a VERY active person on adderall, a BIG runner, big partier, worked really hard at everything I did.. Now, I am just a little less motivated but I am realistic about how this change is going to affect me.  I have to PUSH myself, force myself to get reinterested in the things I used to be – in response to above, you have to allow yourself this slack time (and it SUCKS) it really does, its not fun and you feel worthless, but its been about a month and i’ve been adderall free and i’m finally starting to get back to my normal self.  Its a mental battle, you have to force yourself to do things, start working out if you can – it helps SO much. ride the bike, go for jogs.. just push yourself…. obviously easier said than done .. but coming from someone who was an 11.5 year ADDICT, taking 30 mg a DAY every day – to now taking NONE, I am proof that your life can go on.. you just really have to believe in mind over matter.  its all about pushing yourself, and getting your friends on board to motivate you when you feel down. GOOD LUCK – stay off of it, you can do it. 

  31. JL, thanks for returning to tell us how it has gone so far. For me, I have been off of the drug for a little over 2 months and I have tried the self motivation and physical activity. I also have a great GF who has been with me since almost the exact time I started on the drug. She say I am the same person, with less mood swings and less motivation to really do anything. Just more of a BLAH type person without it when before I was a superstar. I really need that superstar feeling bac. My brain just does not click like it did with the adderall. It is nice to finally find somebody that took it for a long period and quit, but I am really thinking that I need it back at this young and still developing stages of my career anf life. Without it I feel completely useless. My work is in engineering so it constantly challenges your mind. I find myself quitting and unable and unwilling to learn even when I do try. I cannot afford to lose my career. For me I am hoping the long term effects of the drug are not too bad because I have already scheduled an appointment to get it back.

  32. Hey,

    I stumbled upon this website, because I was looking to see if being on Adderall for a long period of time affected my natural motivation levels. I started taking Adderall in the middle of my senior year in high school. This first paragraph is more like my life story in that period of time so you can skim through it if you want, it’s really long.
    Before ever taking Adderall I actually did exceptionally well in school. I had fun in my classes because I was extremely outgoing; I kind of unintentionally developed my own way of dealing with my ADHD by “interacting” with the class during our lectures. I could pay attention easily because I would simply treat a lecture like a conversation. I always the student who answered the unnecessary questions the teachers would ask, except I usually did this in a British accent. In addition, I would make humorous comments and ask dumb questions, but they were always related to the discussion. Honestly, I think being ADHD made me not think before I spoke, so doing this was inevitable, but I feel like without it I would have never gotten by. Despite being very productive in class, when it came to homework and projects it would take me triple the time to complete the assignments. I didn’t get much sleep in high school. I played sports year long, so my school days did not end until at least 6 p.m. I would get home around 6 p.m. exhausted, and then I would eat dinner, run any “errands” I had to do, and then watch TV until about midnight. No matter how hard I try, from middle school to this day, I find it impossible to start any work before midnight; I’ve always pulled all-nighters with no assistance of medicine to finish work. Anyways, when doing any homework, it would take me hours just to start. I would find myself making itineraries for vacations I’d never go on, and looking at uninhabited islands that you can buy. (Thinking about it, I had so much more ambitions and desires in high schools compared to now.) After procrastinating for hours, I would finally start my work. I can’t help but put all of my effort into everything I do, so I again spend even more hours teaching myself anything I need to know for the homework, ensuring that everything is right. By the time I finished, it was usually already around 4 or 5 in the morning, and school starts at 7:20. Overall, I would literally only be getting about 2-3 hours of sleep each weekday, and I would spend most of my weekends sleeping. This, and having every symptom of ADHD in a girl, is what made me get on Adderall. Even though I had no trouble with my sleep deprivation, I was afraid that once I got to college the work would be harder and take longer, and me procrastinating would cause me not to finish and thus failing. Adderall didn’t make too much of a difference in high school, except I did my work faster. Actually they put me on Ritalin first, but I was literally narcoleptic the entire time I was on it. Anyways, I graduated with a 4.01 gpa, and was voted as the “Class Clown.” This is pretty good, considering I am a little white girl, who went to a large, ghetto predominately black school.

    So they started me off at about 30mg a day, 10mg in the morning and 20 mg at night, but I just took the 20mg at night. Between that time and now, being in the middle of my sophomore year in college, I have built my tolerance up to at least 80mg or more each time I take it, but I’m only prescribed about 40 mg a day. As in, if I don’t take at least 80mg I literally won’t feel a difference and will still be unmotivated and fall asleep. First semester when I took it, I did well in my classes. When I took it, I would only clean a little bit and then I would start my work and do well. Unfortunately, now when I take it, I always end up focusing on the wrong thing. I end up not finishing homework, and not studying at all because I find little tasks to do and I am extremely OCD and artistic. For example, many nights I make a list of things I need to do, but I end up decorating it for 3 hours until I see it as perfect. It’s ridiculous and it is causing me to fail. I only take Adderall when I feel as if I need it, so I probably take it about twice a week. I’m starting to hate taking it because I’m afraid I won’t get anything done, when I could just not take it and go to sleep instead. I have never felt like I have had withdrawals from stopping the use of Adderall ever, and I have never felt addicted to it. I don’t take it during breaks or during the summer. However, when I have a ton of stuff to do, I have absolutely NO motivation unless I am on Adderall. I feel like I am becoming dependent on it to succeed and I hate it. Actually, this semester I basically flunked so if anything Adderall distracted me from doing some work.

    The whole point to my story is I am 19, and I’ve been on Adderall for more than 2 years. I want to get off of it, so I can go back to being self-motivated, is this a good idea as far as re-obtaining my self-motivation, and how can I do this? I feel like before I was on Adderall I was so ambitious and driven (long term and short term goals) and I think this drug has taken this away from me. I don’t exactly think my personality has changed, but I definitely am more held back and somewhat shier than I used to be. I have always had really bad memory, but I feel like it has gotten worse since being on Adderall. I never lost weight on Adderall until the last few months, so I’m not sure if it’s directly associated with it. Being on Adderall seems to help me with my work at home, but I can’t pay attention in class to save my life. Actually I miss a lot of class because I am so focused with something completely unnecessary that I don’t want to stop until I am finished so I miss class.

    Overall, I just want my self- control and self-motivation back. Help me please and sorry for this being so long, but let me know if you have any questions that could help you help me.

  33. To quit adderall look into a drug called Emsam * also called Selegiline or Deprenyl. Its a patch which uses transdermal technology to boost your natural dopamine through inhibition of its reuptake. Basically its like an anti-depressant but for ADD issues, not serotonin.

    I’ve been on every type of medication since I was 11, and now I’m rx’d 90mgs of adderall a day.. and/or 70 mgs Vyvanse depending. I am extreamly dependent and used to abuse these drugs like mad. I gave up on trying to retrieve my once strong euphoria and creativity as the medication surely focused my scattered mind and brought to light my various talents as I now had the attention span to hone them. I became a rock musican at 17, after being a piss-poor piano student for only a couple years as a child; due to my expanding usage of amphetamines and thus songwriting/jamming.

    Adderall was my cure, only 20mgs made me feel like a genius, and suddenly my dreams were within my grasp as I finished high school in all Advanced Placement classes. Little did I know what was to come…. We all know what a “comedown” is like. Whatever goes up, must come down in similar momentum. The first years of heavy usage weren’t unbearable, but soon became so. I began seeking out other drugs to bring me down softly. First just pot, but then other things like Vicodin and various benzodiazepines. I developed a drug fixation, but in all fairness I also learned more things, had more adventures, and developed various skills in exponential proportions.

    When I went away to college at the age of 18 everything began to change much faster. I was filling in for musicians (who had usually OD”d on heroin or something) that were usually ten years my seniors. Pretty soon I was smoking heroin while on tour, and would occasionally do meth because I was so adjusted to the typical amphetamine RX’s. My girlfriend who was very dear to me OD’d on oxycontin and benzo’s while I was away playing a show. I moved to Bolivia and got clean.

    I really really tried , but when I was finally clean for a good long time, I would just watch TV and sleep and eat. I wasn’t unhappy in the traditional sense. I was just unbalanced. I got on RX’s again and have been since. (about 3-4 years strait now) I’m doing a lot better because I can’t get high on vyvanse or addy or anything really… I don’t bother trying. I can focus though , so thats nice. I can literally pop a 30mg instant Adderall and fall asleep 20mins later.

    Ayahuasca , a drug shamans give in various south american tribes is what has only recently healed large parts of my soul, previously worn down from ADD meds. My focus has become cleaner and softer. I use much much less medication, and smoke hardly any weed. No cigarettes at all. I eat less, but not cause I’m feeling anorexic from speed. Life is good and getting better.

    If you must take stimulant meds have an exit strategy and remember. Less is more.
    God bless

  34. Good Morning, (it is here)
    I wanted to ask a few questions about adderall and hope to get a few answers from people regarding this drug. 

    Here goes, I started taking adderall when i was 16, Initially it helped me out ALOT with my inability to pay attention in class and increased my GPA from a 1.6 to a 3.4, during my HS career i was playing World of Warcraft religiously. sleeping for maybe 4 hours a day. My Diet was Terrible to say the least, my Social outlets were playing computer games and minor school events or friends. After HS i stopped taking adderall just because i didn’t want to. becoming extremely lazy (Due to side Effects) i continuously made bad choices and did stupid things. 3 months after graduating HS my sister 23 Died of doctor related Error. After she died in July of 2009 the following year in January I was arrested for a Sextual Crime. I had given up on morals and had fallen into a deep depression. By this time i didn’t care who loved me as long as some one did. I ended up dating a girl who was “16” or so i was lead to believe. Anyway, its been almost 2 years of sustained adderall usage and being on D.O.C. (Department of Corrections) this past 1.7 years has caused what I Believe to be problems associated with Long Term Adderall use and would love some Clarification. First I have Searing Stomach pains at completely random times. My apatite has become extremely faint. I have been having Memory problems under stress. Vision issues have come and gone but nothing severe. My final question has a few things you need to know. I am a Very Happy go Lucky Person, I believe laughter will change the world. Being on D.O.C. has caused my depression to worsen and made me Suicidal. My C.C.O. (Community Corrections Officer) has verbally abused me for the past 20 months. My Fight or Flight kicks in when ever she starts yelling at me and I can’t think, I cant operate, My face turns blank and I can hardly remember what is going on. Does this mean anything? Sorry for all the questions and back story into my life. I hope some of you have time to read this and help me. Thanks For your time.

    Sincerely

    Mr. Unknowing

  35. Mr. Unknowning.. what city/state is your DOC.? Some states have specially trained CCO’s for folks who have your similar issues. I may be able to point you in the right direction. email me at maggiemariners@aol.com

  36. Hi everyone,
    My son has been on Adderal since he was 7 … he is now 17. In the beginning he was fine. But still always in trouble in school…to this day, grades are bad, he is smoking pot , skipping school, and these anger outburst to me, his dad and teachers… it’s bad. It’s like I don’t know my son anymore. He is a sweet loving young man… but I don’t see that much anymore. I told his dad we need to take him off Adderal… it’s not helping him it’s only hurting him . Has anyone out there experienced this with them self or their child.. I feel we have lost our son at times. Thanks ~c

  37. hi. I was diagnosed with ADHD and subscribe to adderal around this time last year. At this time I had a wOnderful girlfriend a great social life and was a very warm hearted person. Everyone had always known me to have a soft compassionate heart. when I first started taking the adderal I had felt very shaky and uneasy yet it felt alm

  38. hi. I was diagnosed with ADHD and subscribe to adderal around this time last year. At this time I had a wOnderful girlfriend a great social life and was a very warm hearted person. Everyone had always known me to have a soft compassionate heart. when I first started taking the adderal I had felt very shaky and uneasy yet it felt almost like a high to me. so i continued taking it for 5 months in that time upping my dosage from a 20 EX to 30EX. In that time my grades went up my ability to focus greatly rose yet I the only feelings I felt were depression. I became very sad , lost alot of friends , and even lost my girlfriend :( . They all saw a difference in me and so did I so I quit taking the drug. it’s been around 7 months and I’m still trying to find the person I used to be . . I’m starting to realize it will never happen. since I stopped my grades have went back down to the usual and Iam tempted to take the adderal often regain the ability to focus. overall I would advise people NEVER to take the substance because it will have a permanent effect on your personality. as a junior in highschool I’m slowly starting to find the person I used to be and have started toward stepping into the shoes of the leader I once was and am now captain of the football team but no one will ever understand how much harder everything in life ha gotten sense I took adderal. I constantly find my mind going blank and never have alot to say. my ability to get girls has gone down the drain. I just hope that one day I can find the person I used to be :(

  39. Wow, some people have really weird experiences on Adderall. My son started it at 15 and he had a dramatic positive change occur. He said he wished he had started it in 7th grade.

    I am his Dad and I’m 50. I have always wondered if I had ADD too, so I went to the doctor about my possible ADD. I had tried chiropractic, acupuncture, meditation and vitamin therapy to help with my ADD type issues. I am very against unnecessary drugs. He said I could try Adderall because it sounded like I had ADD too and many people had success with it.

    For me it has been the best thing ever! I felt different in two days. I can say for the first time I think really clearly. It is great and I hope everyone has our experience. I am sad for people who had very bad experiences, but many people have only good effects from it. I think people are being unfair when they demonize the drugs that help many people.

    I felt like a fog was lifted and I could finally think straight. I still have some ADD issues with memory and organization, but it’s like night and day. If you have not tried Adderall, don’t immediately dismiss it. If it gives you or your kids a bad reaction you can always stop taking it.

    Anyway, that’s our experience with it.

  40. After reading some of the more recent posts I thought I’d followup on a post I left about 2 years ago after nearly 7 years of continuous use of both Adderall XR and Adderall in varying doses. At the time I was taking 30mg XR and had been on that dosage for some time. I would also take a 15mg Adderall mid afternoon. At the time I was experiencing some of the typical side effects of long term usage: Dull headaches that would result in a crashing effect (mental and physical exhaustion) for a couple of hours and then I would recover. I also experience palatable mood swings (irritable and down) around this time period.

    Frustrated I decided to make a change and reduced the dosage to Adderall (not XR) 15mg in the morning and 15mg around 12:30p. I would the split another 15mg around 4:30p if I had a busy evening ahead (meetings, ball practice etc).

    In summary this change to my dosage has help ease the severity of the side effects and make them manageable and more predictable. I now know that if I skip a dose or take it too late that I’ll likely have a headache and be a little grouchy.

    After years and years of taking this medication in varying forms and dosages there is little doubt that the medication is extremely beneficial to me. However, there are two things that people should take into account:

    1. Dosage is crucial. I’m amazed reading some of these posts at the level of dosages that some Doctors have prescribed. I was very lucky to have a psychiatrist (friend of the family) who was very experienced with stimulants and very conservative about their usage. As he said “When you start taking Adderall above the 40-45mg range there is a line you cross between benefit, side effects and risk”.  

    2. Adderall is a stimulant and when your body develops dependancies there WILL be side effects to long term usage. It is simply a medical fact. These changes may not be overt in the beginning when things seem to start clicking but as you continue usage be aware of the changes and you can better manage them. Adjust dosages, pay attention to the timing of mood swings and physical changes and recognize these side effects and make your loved ones aware of them so that they can understand and adjust with you.

    Your Doctor is a person and a prescription/diagnosis is an opinion based on education and observation. My wife (nurse) received 5 different diagnosis from 5 different cardiac doctors for a heart condition ranging from certain premature death to a benign murmur. In a clinical environment she has watched different physicians prescribe medicines and make diagnosis based on philosophy or simply what kind of mood they were in.

    Bottom line. Your responsible for yourself and your health. Not your Doctor and certainly not a little blue (or orange) pill. We still don’t ultimately know what the affects of long term (10+ years) usage of these stimulants will be but there is a benefit to those of us who struggle with ADHD if we take it respect their benefits, are aware of the side effects and manage both responsibly

  41. I’ve been reading through a few of these posts and I thought I’d give my story on the topic. Firstly, I would like to mention that I wasn’t only on adderol or ritalin, but concerta as well as a few variant types of ADHD medications. My mother started me on medication while I was in 2nd grade. I wasn’t very popular and got into many fights trying to defend myself, and my mother was alerted of my behavior. It started out as a pill in the morning and a pill before lunch every day. It was a small dosage but I remember becoming angry very often, feelings of dejection, anxiety. I couldn’t really communicate with my peers when I started it. I became lonely and blamed myself, I didn’t really have any means to communicate or the will to communicate with others, I couldn’t have fun. By 4th grade the dose has been upped, it stopped working like it should have apparantly. My mother didn’t like it when I was loud, or talked a lot, and occasionally I would be blamed at school for various things because I would usually stay quiet around other students, an easy scapegoat, even when I wasn’t to blame, the teachers would exclude me from activities. It was pathetic, and my mother would be notified. The answer was obviously more meds. By 8th grade I still had very few friends, and I started on a different type of medication, Ritalin, because adderol no longer worked. I started off at a good dosage and the same typical behavior was apparant. I became more or less a zombie. Always quiet, doing what I was told. I loved it when the medicine wore off because I could go hang out with my next door neighbor and play video games. I actually communicate and acted somewhat “normal” after it wore off. It was a nice escape. My brother and sister would pick on me and blame me for various things as well, my mother was always working and such, she didn’t really talk much either.  But it was always… He did it, it’s not my fault… Blah. I couldn’t really act normal. I never knew what normal was. I wound up on a variety of other meds as the years want on, and I was diagnosed with a depression disorder at 12 years old. They put me on an ADHD patch, you could stick it on your hip or wherever else for a steady dose throughout the day. I should probably mention at this point, no matter what medicine it was, it was always the highest prescribed daily dosage. I’m sure my mother thought it would help me through school, but I was never the straight-A type. I’d make a couple a’s, the rest B’s. But I was never able to do well at math. Anyway, it felt like I had no personality, like the world had no meaning, like there was no joy in life… It felt like I’d been robbed of something… At 17 I finally said enough is enough, after having a small seizure in my chemistry class during high school, funny how no one noticed… and I quit the medication (concerta at that point). I never found myself addicted, i hated the stuff… And sometimes (at younger ages) my mother would force me to take the medication because I’d put up resistance, eventually I stopped trying… I’m currently 19, turning 20 in June… And it still feels like I’m on the medicine, though I haven’t taken it in 3 years.. except, I can’t concentrate. Most days I get headaches, I hardly have a social life, and it’s difficult to try communicating with others. Most days I’m still a zombie… It’s hard to get a feeling of joy and so easy to become sad… I still have depression, and most days I have a sense of lightheadeness, and fatigue upon waking up, to the moment I fall back asleep. I feel no desires to interact with others, and sometimes the thought of it has me anxious, like I’ll mess up somehow. I can’t stand large crowds, including groups of four+ people. Sometimes it feels like I’m alone, like I really don’t have a family, like I’m disconnected from my body and the world… I don’t have control over it. I do not have suicidal tendencies, nor does the thought amuse me, but sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I were normal… I’d been on medication for a grand total of 12 years, at the highest dosages in the last 6 years. From my perspective, it’s an evil I wish the world didn’t have… I wish no one else would develop these strange zombie-like personality changes. For some, I can see how it would help in cram sessions or professionally.. I’d suggest finding an alternate way to “be productive” and if you’re a parent looking to dose your kids, think twice, please… There’s no doubt it changes the chemistry in one’s brain, it feels like for mine, it’s permanent. But especially at younger ages, the brain is in crucial stages of development. Try adjusting a child’s environment before adjusting their heads.

  42. im 17 they put me on this stuff in like 1st grade i think its decided my fate and ruined my life

  43. i know how you feel michele

  44. To Michael,
    Take heart. You are at an age that is very difficult for many people, regardless of whether or not they were ever medicated. Leaving your teen years behind and becoming an adult is a profound experience, especially for people who are innately more introspective. When you are experiencing full-fledged depression (and it sounds like you may be), it is natural to examine everything that went wrong to find something to blame for making for you that way. As you look at your past, do so just to learn what you need to know, and then move on. Don’t dwell in the past or in “what might have been”. It will bury you, believe me. Please seek professional help so that you can talk with someone who can help give you perspective on your troubles and help you work through them. Make sure to find someone who is compassionate and caring and who understands you. My advice on finding a therapist is to look for a social worker rather than an MD. My experience has been that most social workers go into the profession because they really care about people and want to help them, whereas many doctors just wanted the prestige of being a doctor (obviously, there are many wonderful MD exceptions).
    Also, please understand that depression, OCD, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety/panic disorders are VERY often co-morbid (existing together). In other words, your current depression and anxiety might not have been caused by the medication but could have occured anyway. Depression often intensifies or begins in the late teens/early twenties. (mine sure did and I was not medicated as a child). Either way, trust that with the right help and some time, you WILL feel better.
    One more thing, as a parent, I have to say that my children would have to have some pretty severe symptoms before I considered medicating them. But that is because I have a sceptical personality-type. I am very suspicious of medications and what they do to a growing brain. However, most of us in this culture see medication as basically harmless. Most people think the worst side-effects of taking medications are dry-mouth and stomach-upset. Especially ten – twenty years ago or so. Parents were told their kids had problems and needed medication. My friend’s mother was actually told, “you wouldn’t deny your child insulin if he was diabetic, so why deny your child the medication he needs for this problem?” With that kind of pressure from professional doctors, combined with a lack of evidence that there are any dangers to taking medications, it is perhaps easier to see why parents made the choices they did. Doctors are supposed to know what they are doing and we think they wouldn’t steer us wrong. Especially when it comes to the health and well-being of our children. We trust them and when they tell us that our children need medication, we listen, especially when they make you feel like a bad parent if you DON’T medicate your child. Obviously I don’t know you or your mother, but I just want to suggest that it is possible that she had the very best of intentions for you and just didn’t know any better. It is possible that she misinterpreted the negative side-effects of the medications as being proof of your illnesses and thus confirmed in her mind your need to take the medications. In other words, maybe she wasnt trying to drug you into being more compliant, but was actually doing the best she knew how to.
    Anyway, enough of my rambling. It is my hope that this can provide a different perspective and perhaps even bring you a little bit of understanding and solace during a painful and stressful time. My heart goes out to you and I sincerely hope for all the best for you.

  45. To Chelsea,

    I see that you left your post several months ago, so you may have worked out the issues you raised. In case you haven’t though, you asked several things that I didn’t see any replies to. First of all, if you are not taking your medication as prescribed, you should tell your doctor the modifications you are making. This will alert your doctor to the fact that the medication doesn’t seem to be working for you as it should. You may need a different medication or perhaps the doctor can tell you how to step down off of the medication slowly and steadily so that the withdrawl effects to your body and mind aren’t as harsh. I would think that the doseage you are taking all at once is very high and could acctually be making your exhaustion worse. Ask your doctor though. I’m not a medical professional.

    Don’t beat yourself up for not being as “ambitious and driven” as you were a few years ago. First of all, no longer daydreaming about vacations you can’t take and islands you can’t buy is more a sign of growing up and maturing than about being less ambitious. Secondly, losing focus about where you want to go in life and how to get there if you do have an idea, is totally normal at your age. It is not necessarily a sign of “losing” anything other than some remnants of childish thoughts and ideas. It could simply be a sign that you are becoming more mature. Give yourself credit for all that you do.

    With the complication of ADHD, it is natural that an ordinarily difficult time in a person’s life (becoming an adult and leaving childhood behind), can be even more stressful because ADHD behavior is more difficult to explain away as an adult than as a child. As a child you can be “active” or the “class clown” but as an adult in grownup settings, the same behavior is seen as disruptive and immature. It sounds like many of the coping strategies that you used as a child no longer work as an adult and this is causing you complications and distress. That combined with your medication being off, would make anyone off-kilter. I definitely, without a doubt, think you should talk to your doctor about the problems you have with the medication. Also, you need to take medications AS PRESCRIBED, otherwise you may be doing more harm than good. Medications are prescribed the way they are because experience has shown them to be most effective at certain does at certain intervals. By hoarding your meds to save up for one mega-dose instead of pacing it out like you should, you are basically forcing your body to go cold-turkey (leading to exhaustion) and then ramping it way up, only to crash again when the dose runs out. I doubt this is healthy for your body either. PLEASE talk to your doctor honestly about the medication and follow his/her instructions. You can do harm to yourself if you don’t take meds as prescribed. If you don’t trust what your doctor says, get a second opinion.

    You sound like an intelligent, lively, funny person. I have no doubt that despite your current difficulties your true personality will shine though again. I wish you all the best. Truly.

  46. To Nolan,

    Next time you go to the doctor tell him/her about your concerns with the medication. If you can, get a second opinion. Please do not think that your fate is sealed or your life ruined. So many things change in your late teens and twenties. Our brains aren’t even fully mature until our mid-twenties anyway, so you see, it isn’t too late. As long as you always try to be best person you can be, then the future is yours. It may not seem that way now, but believe me, it will get better.

  47. Have any of you folks been to see a sleep doc? It’s now estimated up to 40% of the population has some form of sleep apnea which can cause ADD/ADHD symptoms. Often, once addressed there is no need to medicate- the brain eventually gets enough oxygen to hit peak performance and your body gets enough rest to restore itself each night.

    The Dr who invented the apnea mouth piece had a son who was labeled ADD- low grades disruptive. The doc said no to drugs and fitted his son with a mouthpiece so he could breath at night.

    His son graduated valedictorian of his high school class.

    At least rule out apnea before you start drugs. Also note, most docs are clueless about apnea. Insist on seeing a specialist.

    I am not a doc, just trying to present an alternative given how many seem to have suffered on this board.

  48. I have been takig adderrall for 9 years I started taking it as a young child. Adderrall I believe has taking so much away from me causing severe anxiety drug dependancy cardiac issues lack of impulse control dulls out any sort of human emotions. I have tried multiple times to get off adderall mever have been succsessful. I have tapered down to 15 mlg I am hoping I can switch to this new drug vy vyvanse if not I don’t know wht othe options I have

  49. I’ve been on Adderall IR 20mg once a day for 3 Months. I hate it, It does not help me….just causes severe anxiety. Would it be hard to cut down to 10 mg/day for a week then stop? Not sure how bad the withdrawl symptoms will be since i have not been on it too long?

    any info would be much appreciated.
    Thanks

  50. Hey Anthony,

    No Cutting down if those are your side effects is Recommended. Also i would make note to do it Right away. if you want out get out now. the longer you take it the more severe the side effects will get. i didn’t learn that till way to late.it would take me 6 months to a year to get off it. and 1-2 years for my brain to start producing the chemicals correctly again. (rough Est.)

    Mr. Unknowning

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