View Full Version : Aggression and agitation after not taking medication

05-03-17, 01:43 PM
For the longest time, I always felt isolated and separated from other people, and I kept telling myself that that wasn't true. I felt like people didn't like me, even though I had many close friends and a loving and supporting family. I just assumed it was a negative thought process in my head, and I simply ignored it and focused on the better parts of my life.

I was diagnosed with ADHD around half a year ago and ever since I started taking medication (currently taking 20mg Ritalin IR, 1-2x a day), I've noticed that it isn't all in my head. At first, I thought that everyone in my life really didn't like me, and that I was actually quite lonely. I didn't let it get to my head, and I just carried on as normal, as I was still on quite a low dose and adjusting to the medication.

Around 2-3 months in, I realized that the reason I felt so isolated was because I was the one that was actually pushing people away. I only notice it when I'm on medication, but I realized that my sober self is a very aggressive and agitative person, and I make other people uncomfortable. Taking medication slows everything down, and really allows me to be patient with people, and I've developed much better relationships with everyone in my life.

During Spring break, I took a medication break, and after two weeks of not taking meds, my parents told me that they didn't like my attitude and that I seemed like I'm always angry and ready to start a fight. I've noticed that some of my new friends have started to drift away aswell.

What I wanted to ask is:
1. What could be the cause of my aggression?
2. Why don't I notice it when I'm not using medication?
3. Why does using medication help with curbing my aggression?


05-03-17, 01:59 PM
1. Lots of things. Feelings of insecurity or inadequacy? Impatience? Poor impulse control? Frustrations with some aspects of your life that are not going so well? Etc.

2. People with ADHD (and also people without!) can sometimes be poor self-observers. If you're caught up in the moment and angry/agitated, you may not be able to reflect on your mood / behavior in the way you might be able to when you're calmer. It's also possible that other people may misinterpret ADHD symptoms, e.g. aloofness (daydreaming or being inattentive) or restlessness as anger, when they're really not.

3. If the aggression or agitation is coming from ADHD symptoms or the way you handle them unmedicated -- poor impulse control, impatience/restlessness, frustration with distractibility or other symptoms, for example -- then treating the ADHD with medication may reduce your tendency to become agitated/aggressive.

ADHD medications tend to help with self-regulation (aka "executive function") generally, and regulation of mood and impulses are part of that. Medication may help turn down the restlessness, make it easier for you to listen to other people without becoming impatient or frustrated, and help you control your impulses and think before you say or do something aggressive.

I'm glad medications seem to work well for you, at least while you are taking them! Living with ADHD, especially if it's gone undiagnosed and un(der)treated for a long time, can lead to problems in life that could contribute to feelings of anger and frustration, beyond the direct symptoms of ADHD. If you do feel like there's some lingering aggression or feelings of anger within you, it might be worth looking into therapy to figure out where those feelings are coming from and maybe add some strategies (besides medication) to deal with them.

05-03-17, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the reply! I don't necessarily have many conflicts in my life, and I have a lot to be grateful for. To me, it just seems that I'm prone to aggression and an explosive temper. I'll talk with my GP about this, and see their opinion aswell.

05-05-17, 04:26 AM
Have you ever considered therapy?