View Full Version : Brain Fog, Creativity and Strattera


pedro6666
06-22-16, 06:56 AM
Hi everybody,

I've been eliciting information from this great forum for almost two years before deciding to register. I'm writing because of a great sense of frustration (and an urge to procrastination :D ) coming from my bad experiences so far with the ADD medications.
Let me recap briefly my history.
I had been officially diagnosticized ADD when I was 26 (now I'm 28), in the mid of my PhD. I have a mild form of ADD, which I was able to interiorize and control when required to do my job at school by means of a strong will and sense of duty. While controllable for the level of complexity of everyday life, my symptoms had me having unnecessary hard times in my graduate studies. Procrastination, a tendency to space out at the first sign of environmental pressure, emotional instability and, more importantly, a tremendous lack of concentration when required to produce articulate thinking is what drove me to a p-doc.

Unfortunately, my journey through ADD medication has been so far long and obnoxious. While most of p-doc who visited me recognized the symptoms of ADD (coupled with depression and huge lack of motivation), they validated my impression that that stimulant medication have no benefit over my endeavour.

Before trying stimulants, I tried to self-medicate with Wellbutrin. While I had been amazed by its effect on motivation and stamina, I had been forced to stop it because it somehow exacerbated ADD symptoms.

While beneficial for motivation, stimulants such as Ritalin or lysdexftroampetamines in dosages anywhere close to standard medication doses, produce two remarkably negative effects:
1) make me feel "mentally constipated". I feel my head full of a gray "substance" which forces me into simple and very scattered thoughts.
2) Songs get stuck in my head for hours. (something I also experienced while on Wellbutrin) to the extent that I am forced to live in absolute silence. I read somewhere this is related with dopamine induced psycosis.

For these reasons my doc decided to switch me to Strattera: I did 25mg (3 days) 50mg (2 weeks) 80mg (4th day so far).
In general terms, I do like Strattera. It reminds me of wellbutrin without any effect related to dopamine reuptake inhibition (essentially, no motivation, but also no songs stuck in my head). I have slight more energy and, more importantly, the drug killed the mental chattering I had been plagued for years.

However, this benefit had come at the cost of a brain fog and artificial dumbness I experienced in similar fashion why on stimulants. You can even see it from this very message. I am trying my best to be logical and articulated, but I utterly fail.
My question is: did someone else here experienced the same sensation? Is it going to subside?

pedro6666
07-02-16, 05:18 PM
Hi guys,

My doctor upped me to 80mg from the 2x 25mg I took for the first two weeks. My initial plan was to start right with a 2x 40mg in morning time but I could not bear the flu-like sensation and the mental fog it gave me. As a consequence, I decided to switch a 40mg in the morning and 40mg after lunch. Now, on the one hand, I get less dumb-ness and I am more operational, on the other hand though my concentration is getting worst than on the x2 25mg I was used to take.
I really don't like the flu like syntoms I am experiencing (which were just absent while I was on the 50mg dose). Shall I change my dose?

Snoopy10
07-06-16, 08:40 AM
Hi Pedro - your message doesn't sound brain foggy to me! I don't take Strattera (I take Adderall) but I had a hard time getting used to it as well. But now I feel good on it. Maybe there is an adjustment period?

sarahsweets
07-06-16, 11:29 AM
It takes 2-4 weeks for strattera to become effective.

vagrant
07-11-16, 06:48 PM
Hi Pedro,

I can relate with your story quite a bit.

I've been on Strattera over 2 years now. It took some time for me to get the maximum benefit from the drug. I've tried a higher dose and a lower dose and I have a good sense of what happens to me when I change dose.

If you continue to have the artificial dumb feeling - I would suggest first, to think about how long you have been taking this dose. It takes about 2 months to really adjust to a dosage change and see the long term effect. The artificial feeling might disappear if you only changed dose recently. The next things I would check are:

Exercise - Strattera really works well with some kind of daily exercise like riding a bicycle 15minutes or walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes. I'd recommend a minimum of 4 to 5 days a week. There are times when I thought the drug wasn't working and then adding exercise fixed the issue.

Diet - The artificial dumb feeling you talk about is something I struggled with on and off for a while. It took me ages to realise it was blood sugar related. I have a strange metabolism and wasn't eating as much as I should. I make sure I have regular meals and snacks and this helped a lot.

Sleep and Routine - Strattera works best with a good nights sleep. It took me a long time to realise this. Now I have a great routine and always try to get to bed before midnight.

Stimulant - I read a research abstract a while ago where I found a doctor had prescribed depression patients Strattera with good effect. The treatment was based on evening dose of Strattera to improve deep sleep and low dose stimulant during the day. I explored this myself and found it really works well for me. I was able to reduce my dose of Strattera to 50mg in the evening. I drink coffee with breakfast, lunch and late afternoon before dinner if I still feel tired. It took a while to adjust but within about 6 weeks of this routine, it got me to a point where I feel pretty good. My productivity is good, I am creative and I persist with work if I need to. Strattera in the evening starts my routine to prepare for sleep. I found this routine really put me in a 'normal' state and I don't feel like I am taking any drugs at all. If I skip caffeine I get very tired. If I stop Strattera, I lose all benefits and caffeine is useless.

If the artificial dumb feeling from Strattera continues - perhaps try taking Strattera at night and see how you go. If it still continues and you are on a high dose. Try wind back your dose by 10mg every 2 months - you might just be slightly above what you need.

Last thing I will say is when I first took Strattera, there were some noticeable benefits and some noticeable downsides. Over time the noticeable downsides disappeared completely. The benefits also appeared to disappear but in actual fact, they are still there, I just got used to the slightly improved me.

Good luck.

extrabatteries
08-11-16, 03:15 PM
Can anyone who has been on Strattera for a while give some input regarding effective dosage? —

I titrated to 100mg in 7 weeks (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1826855&postcount=161), and am currently on week 9. After each step in titration I had side effects that lasted about a week. However, since moving from 75mg to 100mg, I have been noticing strange issues.

I had noticed increased benefits when I reached 75mg. But now after 2.5 weeks at 100mg, I'm experiencing a similar brain fog. I have a general disoriented feeling, and have a tiny constant sense of confusion. Aside form this trouble thinking clearly, and I also notice that after I take the dose in the morning, I begin to have a songs stuck in my head the whole day. I also noticed I keep skipping words in sentences. This has been consistent since the increase to 100mg. The sexual side effects that previously subsided within a week after titration have still remained 2.5 weeks later.

Edit: As a general observation, I've also noticed that I feel much more apathetic than usual, and haven't felt motivated to do work I had previously been looking forward to. I don't seem to feel the 'reward' part of activities, but I still feel anger and irritability (for instance, at bad drivers). Lastly, I've noticed – what feels like –*OCD symptoms, irregular amount of constant face touching, and repetitive behaviors creeping up.

Should I continue to ride it out at this dosage for a few more weeks, or should I step back down to 75mg?

Pugly
08-11-16, 10:02 PM
I'm inattentive type and use 100 mg Strattera. I was using about 120mg for a couple of weeks before too. I've been on it about 3-4 months I think.

I'm able to think at about the same level as before. Slightly better memory, and less prone to be distracted by the environment. All the ADHD induced anxiety and frustration is gone, I can focus on tasks slightly better. I'm more inclined to just do actions, instead of thinking about it and then not do it.

It is not 100% though. It improves those parts of me about 3 fold I'd say. Which I mean I get about 3 times as much stuff done as before, but I still get it done in about the same fashion.

I'm more interested in completing tasks that I'm interested in, that I get personal satisfaction in. But I don't get motivated to complete chores or whatnot, in fact that may actually be worse on the med.

On the flip side, my passion is making music and I find I'm tremendously more productive in regard to that. I don't feel drained by other aspects of my life, and I find I'm setting aside more time to complete the projects that are important to me.

I don't notice myself changed in terms of creativity or expressiveness one bit. In fact my anxiety about expressing myself has faded quite dramatically and I feel more comfortable putting myself out there. I find it easier to accept other's criticism as less of a personal attack. I'm more confident and comfortable just being myself.

I notice I'm more willing and able to make small talk, and actually enjoy it somewhat.

extrabatteries
08-25-16, 11:35 PM
Correct dosage update:

After 3 weeks at 100mg, I decided to step back down to 75mg (3 x 25mg, all at once in the morning). It took two or three days for the bad side effects to subside, including the brain fog, confusion, and the daily songs stuck in my head. Also, the irritability went away, something easily noticed when driving in NYC.

I saw my doctor a week after stepping down, and he changed my dosage to 80mg. The 5mg difference is only noticeable in a positive way, and as a single pill it's much easier to take. I feel like I've finally 'arrived' at the correct dosage.

pedro6666
09-26-16, 07:09 PM
Hi everybody,

It is a bit I did not visit this board. I am quite glad this post benefited from such abundant flow of personal experiences. Let me start with a big thanks to Vagrant for his recommendations - which I take in high esteem.
Unfortunately, I found myself in need to quit Strattera. Mental constipation became pretty unbearable. It was not a physical symptom - I do respond pretty well to the medication in terms of lack of noticeable side effects - but the impression a part of my endeavor had been simply obliterated by the medication. Indeed, I was able to better focus on "things" and avoid erratically jumping across inconsistent bits of thoughts, but this was due a drastic reduction of my cognitive palette. I decided for discontinuation upon the latent feeling I become an animated piece of social machinery. In fact, I could handle new social environments, people and tasks with the steady linearity of a well operational ox.
I don't want my words sound offensive to the experience of those who actually succeeded in setting a proactive routine. have the feeling in fact the drug would have been the "right" one if it was not for that hideous, mild sensation of mental constipation which grew over time, replacing erratic thinking with a plain silence which turned to be utter numbness. I actually had solid improvement under one - very specific - instance. As it goes for everybody, there are frequent occasions in which I found myself in slight rush for doing something such as reaching the workplace, having a meeting and so forth. An almost ineludible mental cloudiness associated with rushing, as far as I can remember. Anxiety easily translates in dumbness. Well, the olimpic quiet of strattera was good in avoiding that.
For the bad, instead I had the sensation my brain was soaked with neurotransmittant. Imagine a river. That is a functioning brain which produces linear thinking. Now imagine you pluck a huge rock in the middle of it. You will see water going around the protruding rock. Out of methaphor, you will have linear thinking, yet something is in between you and the essence of what you are actually trying to think. You can still operate logically, but the level of your insight is smoothened for the bad.
Incidentally, after discontinuation I made an interesting discovery, starting from that very sensation of being soked with neurotrasmittants.
I went back to an issue I experienced even before strattera. I was one of those guys who can not handle over-sleeping. A longer than 6 hours rest implied an entire day wasted. I researched intensively this issue until I found out papers referring to excess of serotonine-induced dizziness. What does induce serotonine production? Tyramine is a good candidate. What food does produce tyramine?
Cheese is a potent source of it. I simply cut cheese out of my diet, to try and see if I could improve my synthoms under any dimension (in fact, strattera simply exarcebated an impression I had already). As you may know, cheese is a potent container of tyramine, to the extent that several MAOI antidepressants require cheese suppression from diet, if MAOI treatment is implemented.
Well - at least under this very dimension - my life quality did had a remarkable jump. I can now breeze across 6-8 sleep hours with no evident issue.

I also needed time to recover from strattera-induced mental constipation (which, to some extent, is still there). In this sense, I had great benefit from French Pine Bark, which has been proven to actually reduce the quantity of norephinerine and dopamine in the brain.

C15H25N3O
09-28-16, 05:25 PM
I heard someone else also experienced a strattera-induced brain malfunction.
I experienced an anxiety disorder over 13 years after taking SSRI for 1.5 years.

Do we chat about "safe meds" or is it about high dosed chemical designer-drugs?

Oh, I forgot, read the meds prescription guide to overtake full responsibility for
any side-effects and med-induced mental disorders. lol

pedro6666
09-29-16, 08:00 AM
Is there a way to work on dopamine production + fast disposal of norephinerine?

finallyfound10
11-02-16, 11:23 PM
I will be switching from Vyvanse to Strattera so I found this very helpful!!

Jeftheginger
11-03-16, 01:12 AM
Ahh the pain
Too many words can you do a quick summery of your story
Please

pedro6666
01-19-17, 06:12 AM
Just wanted to notice how L-tyrosine is amazing for stress reduction, increased energy and some positive effect noticed also on the focus side. However, what it surprised me more for, it's is remarkable anti-depressant fast acting effect. I took it before going to sleep and I noticed an immense change overnight. No antidepressant can do that and, best part of the story, there are no sides. Why? Because instead of blocking neurotransmittants re-absorbion it gives your brain the juice to naturally produce what it needs. As simple as that, I do consider it a real life-changer. Like ADD, depression drops the bar of external stimula's relevancy against internal noise. Therefore, taking something that let you pro-actively appreciate your environment is critical.

John E
03-20-17, 02:25 PM
I'm inattentive type and use 100 mg Strattera. I was using about 120mg for a couple of weeks before too. I've been on it about 3-4 months I think.

I'm able to think at about the same level as before. Slightly better memory, and less prone to be distracted by the environment. All the ADHD induced anxiety and frustration is gone, I can focus on tasks slightly better. I'm more inclined to just do actions, instead of thinking about it and then not do it.

It is not 100% though. It improves those parts of me about 3 fold I'd say. Which I mean I get about 3 times as much stuff done as before, but I still get it done in about the same fashion.

I'm more interested in completing tasks that I'm interested in, that I get personal satisfaction in. But I don't get motivated to complete chores or whatnot, in fact that may actually be worse on the med.

On the flip side, my passion is making music and I find I'm tremendously more productive in regard to that. I don't feel drained by other aspects of my life, and I find I'm setting aside more time to complete the projects that are important to me.

I don't notice myself changed in terms of creativity or expressiveness one bit. In fact my anxiety about expressing myself has faded quite dramatically and I feel more comfortable putting myself out there. I find it easier to accept other's criticism as less of a personal attack. I'm more confident and comfortable just being myself.

I notice I'm more willing and able to make small talk, and actually enjoy it somewhat.

I have inattentive ADD and This is precisely my experience as well. Well thought out and articulated. Thank you.