View Full Version : Adderall and PMS...HELP!


FrustratedMom73
05-03-16, 03:21 PM
I'm 42 and was diagnosed with ADD approximately 2 months ago. I was finally able to see a psychiatrist 2 weeks ago and was given a prescription for Adderall 20mg a day. 10mg tablets twice a day. Today makes 12 days I've been on the medication now.

Let me back track a bit. Prior to being diagnosed with adult ADD, I exhibited all of the textbook symptoms of ADD. Lack of concentration, lack of self-esteem, lack of focus, extreme irritability and so on. The irritability symptom is what bothered me the most. I have 4 kids and while I've never laid a finger on any of them, anything they did wrong sent me into extreme bouts of anger and yelling. Since my kids are everything to me, this just made me more depressed than I already was. Now, when I was PMS'ing I was nuclear! My irritability was 1000x worse! I couldn't explain it and my family couldn't understand why just calling my name would set me completely off. With that said, I finally sought treatment and discovered I have adult ADD.

Now, the first week on Adderall, I was in heaven! It was like the person I actually am came out and for the first time ever, my kids got to see the real me. I was calm, patient, attentive and more importantly I was HAPPY! Everyone who knows me was in utter disbelief at how much I changed literally overnight! While I did experience some of the side effects like the headaches and nausea, I didn't even care! I was so beside myself with the benefits that I was determined to push through it!

Now for week 2, all of the side effects are gone, but as the second week began to approach, I barely even felt the effects of the adderall and yesterday and today I don't even feel them at all! I might as well have taken a water pill .I'm irritated, quick to anger and very snappy! It's like I just went back to square one! I tried upping my meds by a half of a pill yesterday but it just made me more agitated and horribly anxious.

I want to cry because I feel like there's just no more hope for me! I have been on just about every SSRI and now adderall and nothing helps! Now my mom did ask me if I was PMS'ing and I told her that my cycle is due in 4 days and she suggested that maybe I don't feel the adderall right now because my PMS which was nuclear before adderall, is just too much for this medication. That the medication is essentially working overtime. I don't know honestly! I'm just grasping at straws at this point and I can't understand how something can go from working so perfectly to not even feeling it AT ALL!

Someone please help! Is this normal?? Is it normal to go back to feeling irritated and agitated during PMS on Adderall?? Will it go back to normal after I stop PMS'ing?? Or am I just screwed!

Oh and one more thing! While everyone else on the planet is losing their appetite on Adderall I'm gaining mine. I went from eating once a day to eating three times a day or more! I'm constantly hungry now that I'm on Adderall. What in the hell is going on?! Does anyone have any answers?! Cuz I'm fresh out of straws to grasp at. :confused:

sarahsweets
05-03-16, 03:56 PM
Let me back track a bit. Prior to being diagnosed with adult ADD, I exhibited all of the textbook symptoms of ADD. Lack of concentration, lack of self-esteem, lack of focus, extreme irritability and so on. The irritability symptom is what bothered me the most. I have 4 kids and while I've never laid a finger on any of them, anything they did wrong sent me into extreme bouts of anger and yelling. Since my kids are everything to me, this just made me more depressed than I already was. Now, when I was PMS'ing I was nuclear! My irritability was 1000x worse! I couldn't explain it and my family couldn't understand why just calling my name would set me completely off.
Before I go any further i just have to tell you that your pms issues sound more like PMDD http://www.medicinenet.com/premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder_pmdd/article.htm
For some women it is debilitating but there is treatment.


Now, the first week on Adderall, I was in heaven! It was like the person I actually am came out and for the first time ever, my kids got to see the real me. I was calm, patient, attentive and more importantly I was HAPPY! Everyone who knows me was in utter disbelief at how much I changed literally overnight! While I did experience some of the side effects like the headaches and nausea, I didn't even care! I was so beside myself with the benefits that I was determined to push through it!
This is euphoria and is not something that you are meant to feel beyond a few days because thats not what the medicine is supposed to do. Enjoy it when you can ....


Now for week 2, all of the side effects are gone, but as the second week began to approach, I barely even felt the effects of the adderall and yesterday and today I don't even feel them at all! I might as well have taken a water pill
Yes but how were your symptoms? You shouldnt feel the medication. You should just notice symptoms improving or not improving. Some people like to keep a little journal for keeping track of this.


I'm irritated, quick to anger and very snappy! It's like I just went back to square one! I tried upping my meds by a half of a pill yesterday but it just made me more agitated and horribly anxious.

You shoudnt adjust stimulant medication on your own without doctor approval. Its dangerous in the legal sense and, you will run out of medication early.
Now my mom did ask me if I was PMS'ing and I told her that my cycle is due in 4 days and she suggested that maybe I don't feel the adderall right now because my PMS which was nuclear before adderall, is just too much for this medication. That the medication is essentially working overtime.
I dont think the mood swings and anger are from the adderall. I think its due to PMDD or severe pms.
The adderall doesnt 'work' harder during your cycles. Its the same. Now, the hormone changes can make it feel like adderall is ineffective but this should be judged by how well your symptoms are controlled and not by how you feel.
To give you an example:
I have 2 tumors, one on my adrenal gland and one on my thyroid. The adrenal mass has started to 'function' as in act like its its own gland and has been releasing all kinds of hormones at an off the hook rate. Alot of them are related to the feminine side. Cortisol,anything that ends with the letters 'phren' among others. So this affects my adhd symptoms and the medication i take doesnt seem as effective.

Oh and one more thing! While everyone else on the planet is losing their appetite on Adderall I'm gaining mine. I went from eating once a day to eating three times a day or more! I'm constantly hungry now that I'm on Adderall. What in the hell is going on?! Does anyone have any answers?! Cuz I'm fresh out of straws to grasp at. :confused:
Seriously, get your hormones checked. Its VITAL and I guarantee they are going to see some irregularity going on.

FrustratedMom73
05-04-16, 10:58 AM
Before I go any further i just have to tell you that your pms issues sound more like PMDD http://www.medicinenet.com/premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder_pmdd/article.htm
For some women it is debilitating but there is treatment.

I was reading something about that yesterday, I'm definitely going to ask my doctor about it. Thank you!

This is euphoria and is not something that you are meant to feel beyond a few days because thats not what the medicine is supposed to do. Enjoy it when you can ....

I wasn't referring to the euphoria days. While that did feel amazing, I was speaking more in terms of just feeling calm, patient and being able to rationalize things and not flip off the handle at the drop of a dime. I was also able to focus focus like never before. THAT'S what was heaven!


Yes but how were your symptoms? You shouldnt feel the medication. You should just notice symptoms improving or not improving. Some people like to keep a little journal for keeping track of this.

That's just what I felt! My anger calmed down and I was able to function. I didn't feel the medication per say but I knew it was working because I wasn't quick to anger like at all.


You shoudnt adjust stimulant medication on your own without doctor approval. Its dangerous in the legal sense and, you will run out of medication early.


I dont think the mood swings and anger are from the adderall. I think its due to PMDD or severe pms.
The adderall doesnt 'work' harder during your cycles. Its the same. Now, the hormone changes can make it feel like adderall is ineffective but this should be judged by how well your symptoms are controlled and not by how you feel.
To give you an example:
I have 2 tumors, one on my adrenal gland and one on my thyroid. The adrenal mass has started to 'function' as in act like its its own gland and has been releasing all kinds of hormones at an off the hook rate. Alot of them are related to the feminine side. Cortisol,anything that ends with the letters 'phren' among others. So this affects my adhd symptoms and the medication i take doesnt seem as effective.


Seriously, get your hormones checked. Its VITAL and I guarantee they are going to see some irregularity going on.

I have had my hormones checked and all levels were normal. This has been the worst battle of my life. I just want to be "normal" for my kids and for myself. I hate feeling crazy or out of control of my emotions.

Cyllya
05-05-16, 04:05 AM
That sounds pretty miserable :( Sorry you're having such a hard time.

I do think it's possible for you to have stronger ADHD symptoms in different situations and it renders the meds inadequate. (Probably the most common example is sleep deprivation, but no doubt PMS can do it too.) However, your description of the first week does sound like drug-induced euphoria. Adderall can modify your mood, but that's not it's intended purpose. Don't decide whether it's working or not working based on whether the euphoria occurs.

I don't think ADHD normally causes such extreme anger problems. (Not saying you don't have ADHD, just that it's not your only problem.)

I was reading on PMDD, and it seems most people with PMDD actually have normal hormone levels. Normal PMDD treatments are:
SSRIs. Sounds like you've already exhausted this avenue.
Hormonal birth control. Could be worth a shot if you haven't tried it already.
Calcium carbonate. You can get this as a vitamin pill, but it's also the active ingredient in antacids like Tums. (Fun fact: I once read on this forum that some people take an antacid with Adderall because too much stomach acid makes Adderall not work as well. Personally, I take them together because Adderall causes me heartburn. So you'd be killing two or three birds with one stone.)
There's some herbs that are suggested to help, but they have less research in their favor than the above things.

Also, PMS can exacerbate other mood disorders, in which case it doesn't count as PMDD, apparently.

Hypersensitivity can cause rage, and it seems common for people with ADHD to have sensory issues, so here is a link to everything I know about hypersensitivity (http://cyllyathoughts.blogspot.com/2015/06/about-sensory-issues.html) in case it's helpful. It doesn't really sound like that's your problem, but it could be contributing, so I figured I'd put it out there anyway.

Corina86
05-05-16, 03:57 PM
I think you should wait a couple more days before you made a decision. It might just be PMS and it would be a shame to stop taking a med that works for you if the problem is only temporary. Unfortunately, I feel just as bad while PMS-ing: bad mood swings going from ultra-happy to aggressive or crying for no reason, being sensitive, irritable, angry for no reason, not being able to sleep, being constantly hungry etc. Benzos help me, but I only take half a pill at night for only 2-3 nights in a row, otherwise I build tolerance quickly.

The ADD Advisor
05-05-16, 09:44 PM
Here's snippet from a past article article in ADDitude magazine:

The average menstrual cycle is about 28 days, counting from the first day of your period. During the first two weeks, known as the follicular phase, levels of estrogen rise steadily, while progesterone levels are low.



Estrogen promotes the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.additudemag.com%2Fadhd%2Farti cle%2F1572.html), serotonin and dopamine, in the brain. Not surprisingly, studies suggest that the first two weeks of the cycle go more smoothly for women with ADHD than the second two weeks, when progesterone levels rise.



During the third and fourth weeks, called the luteal phase, progesterone diminishes the beneficial effects of estrogen on the brain, possibly reducing the effectiveness of stimulant medications.


Longer-term use of SSRIs can promote weight gain. After increasing my Lexapro dose, I found myself eating more often—even though I had also increased my Adderall dosing.

FrustratedMom73
05-06-16, 12:42 PM
Here's snippet from a past article article in ADDitude magazine:

The average menstrual cycle is about 28 days, counting from the first day of your period. During the first two weeks, known as the follicular phase, levels of estrogen rise steadily, while progesterone levels are low.



Estrogen promotes the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.additudemag.com%2Fadhd%2Farti cle%2F1572.html), serotonin and dopamine, in the brain. Not surprisingly, studies suggest that the first two weeks of the cycle go more smoothly for women with ADHD than the second two weeks, when progesterone levels rise.



During the third and fourth weeks, called the luteal phase, progesterone diminishes the beneficial effects of estrogen on the brain, possibly reducing the effectiveness of stimulant medications.


Longer-term use of SSRIs can promote weight gain. After increasing my Lexapro dose, I found myself eating more often—even though I had also increased my Adderall dosing.

Thank you! While I've appreciated everyone's responses, this one just helped me solidify what I was feeling! I knew something went left when I began to PMS! I was afraid the medication stopped working for me and I almost stopped taking it! I'm trying to explain to everyone that I don't feel euphoria when the adderall is working. When it's working I just feel normal. I feel patient and capable of not melting down. Which is what I believe the adderall is supposed to do. Now that I'm no longer going through PMS, I'm feeling the adderall working again. I'm back to being patient and focused.

Now, I just have to figure out what I am going to do during that time of the month when I am PMS'ing because it's a literal 7-10 days of sheer hell. That part is what frightens me the most. :(

Dachshund
05-27-16, 02:03 PM
So, I have a question. I also notice a steep drop in my Adderall effectiveness around the time of my PMS. I get more frustrated, less patient, and overall overwhelmed. I didn't really notice it so much when I first started Adderall, probably because I saw a really dramatic overall change.

Is there anything that can be done to help remedy this? It's really annoying to have 2-3 weeks of clear sailing and then a week of pure mental frustration, especially when dealing with other PMS symptoms.

BBSurf37
05-27-16, 02:35 PM
That question will have to be given to the professionals lol.

Waitingame
08-07-16, 02:10 PM
So, I have a question. I also notice a steep drop in my Adderall effectiveness around the time of my PMS. I get more frustrated, less patient, and overall overwhelmed. I didn't really notice it so much when I first started Adderall, probably because I saw a really dramatic overall change.

Is there anything that can be done to help remedy this? It's really annoying to have 2-3 weeks of clear sailing and then a week of pure mental frustration, especially when dealing with other PMS symptoms.

One woman's experience and not medical advice here.

I try to keep my hormones as level as possible, but even with keeping the fluctuations under control, there are still days when I need more of my ADHD meds and days when I need a little bit less, which is groovy with my docs after discussion (actually, a former male doctor didn't buy it; female docs since then are totally on board, so...).

Have also noted that with extreme heat this summer, it's required a little bit of regulation of meds (reduction, mainly, which may indicate dehydration on my part). Throw that in with a hormone fluctuation, and gee whiz, who knows what's coming or going?! :)

Definitely talk to your doctor, and if you don't get the right answer the first time, talk to another doctor. And I will postscript all that by saying just because I received empathy from female treatment providers doesn't mean they will all see it that way - some providers seem a little locked into "textbook" thinking that doesn't always reflect reality. Persistence is your friend here. :)

Hang in there!

Dachshund
08-10-16, 06:19 PM
One woman's experience and not medical advice here.

I try to keep my hormones as level as possible, but even with keeping the fluctuations under control, there are still days when I need more of my ADHD meds and days when I need a little bit less, which is groovy with my docs after discussion (actually, a former male doctor didn't buy it; female docs since then are totally on board, so...).

Have also noted that with extreme heat this summer, it's required a little bit of regulation of meds (reduction, mainly, which may indicate dehydration on my part). Throw that in with a hormone fluctuation, and gee whiz, who knows what's coming or going?! :)

Definitely talk to your doctor, and if you don't get the right answer the first time, talk to another doctor. And I will postscript all that by saying just because I received empathy from female treatment providers doesn't mean they will all see it that way - some providers seem a little locked into "textbook" thinking that doesn't always reflect reality. Persistence is your friend here. :)

Hang in there!

I actually got my answer, at least on the ADD side of things. It seems that I was getting dehydrated due to the heat waves, combined with the fact that I didn't want to pee all day long. The dehydration plus adderall made my PMS feel worse, or at least made me more sensitive physically. My doc recommended that I split my dose more throughout the day if I feel it becoming a major problem, or reducing my dose to see if that makes any difference. Splitting the dose evenly through the day seems to be working just fine when I need it.

I still get more impatient than I like, but I've never been known to be a patient person to begin with.

ad1221
05-10-17, 10:39 PM
It's nice to know I am not alone with this issue. I have definitely done my research on this issue. I have also read a ton of forums.
I am a 32 year old mom, wife, and nursing student. I know that I have been ADD for a long time, but it wasn't a problem for me until I started nursing school. We originally started with strattera and had no success. I started on 5mg Adderall IR in January and eventually moved up to 20 mg after having very little success with the lower doses. When I first went into the doctor's office to express my concern about my adderall not working, she gave me a trial of Vyvanse to try. First day I take 30 mg of Vyvanse, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I called and told her and her advice was to take 60 mg. So the next day I tried that and still nothing. I knew something wasn't right at this point. I started thinking back to when I noticed the adderall was most effective and when it was least effective. Then it all made sense.
Normally for the two weeks after my period, which I guess is the follicular phase, the effectiveness of the adderall is wonderful. I can sit and study for hours without any struggles. Then about a week before I start my period and the week of my period, the effectiveness of the adderall is null and void. I've gotten to the point that I don't like taking it during this time, which I guess is considered the luteal phase, because it doesn't work. We recently added birth control (Zovia) to my medicine regimen. I am currently in my second week of taking it and I feel very sluggish, tired, non-motivated. I've tried 4 doses of adderall after taking a week off from it, and nothing. I just feel so frustrated with the whole process. I really thought the birth control would help to level me out so I wouldn't have such highs and lows with the adderall. I don't know what to do. My doctor would like me to continue taking the birth control for another 3 months. I can't go much longer like this. I will never make it through the upcoming semester, not to mention handle my mom and wife responsibilities and run my household. I know I don't have any sound advice for you, but I hope it helps to ease you a little knowing you are not alone.