View Full Version : Adderall Psychosis?


rhz100
07-22-17, 12:06 AM
My girlfriend was prescribed 30mg Adderall XR for her ADHD and has been on it for a few months. It seemed to be better tolerated than the IR form.

However, over the past few weeks, things began to change.

Short version, she is having delusions where she believes she has psychic powers and believes that she is being harmed. I was so scared that I talked to her shrink and took her to be evaluated--telling her it was either the shrink or 911. Needless to say, she's furious with me.

Shrink discontinued the medication saying she is suffering from psychosis, possibly Adderall Psychosis. I had never heard of stimulant psychosis.
Has anyone here experienced this sort of thing? If that's what's responsible for this, how long does it typically take for such a situation to resolve?


Long version:
I'm very concerned about my girlfriend. Some background: She is a very intelligent, sweet, kind woman who has ADHD and has been seeing a psychiatrist for Adderall 30mg XR and a CBT specialist for depression, anxiety, and enmeshment issues. She is unemployed and socially isolated. I am her only point of contact. Recently, she suddenly quit therapy claiming she was happy and didn't need it anymore. She had been improving, but I was surprised she suddenly quit with her talking about it beforehand.

Details are given below (sorry for it being long). Thank you in advance for reading.

Over the past year or so, she has had perhaps three fainting experiences, usually coinciding with having an alcoholic drink without having eaten for the entire day. Recently, she has come to describe these episodes as transformative near-death experiences.

She has also had an interest in things like Astrology and The Michael Teachings. She found this stuff fascinating, studied it in depth and believed much of it. I didn't think much of it one way or another.

Around the time of the most recent fainting episode (about when she quit CBT), she claimed to have experienced a spiritual awakening, that she is in communication with her spirit, and that she has psychic/intuitive powers (she has always been highly perceptive, empathic, and intuitive). She asks her spirit questions and the spirit communicates with her, answering her questions, and can move her head to nod for yes or no questions, etc. The spirit also directs her head toward certain colors. She sometimes hears high pitched tones. People with ADHD can hyperfocus, and my girlfriend has devoted a tremendous amount of energy to understanding how to better communicate with her spirit (via experimentation and internet research), how to better interpret the responses she receives from her spirit. She finds it all simply amazing (in a good way).

She has always had a hard time making decisions, so she consults her spirit for many small decisions. If you ask, she says that her spirit is at least in part just her subconscious mind, but that there are other aspects to it to be understood in term of faith. She is lonely and has animated, lengthy discussions with her spirit, which bring her an almost giddy delight. At times, she has a strange smile and stares off in some direction (perhaps at the suggestion of the spirit). She sometimes greets me when I come home with a big hello in a tone of voice which is strangely chipper.

She has become highly sensitive to colors, and, after extensive internet research, has changed many of the lightbulbs in the apartment since the old bulbs suddenly bothered her. Recently, she has become very nervous before bed, says that she hopes she's OK, and feels better when I there with her as she falls asleep.

When I show concern about all these changes, she becomes defensive and claims it makes her feel uncomfortable and ill at-ease. She then needs time to center. When there is tension between us, she'll stay in the bedroom or bathroom for hours asking not to be interrupted and that she's doing something very important.

She eats very little, maybe one meal a day (we had this in the past because of Adderall). As for family history, her mother had two psychotic episodes in her life.

Her spiritual awakening has generated some concern on my part, and she does not like that at all. I told her that I'm skeptical, but not dismissive of claims of psychic powers. She says that she is also a skeptic, but that there's no denying what she's experienced. When I suggest that we talk to the psychiatrist about this, she refuses.

I don't know what I should do here. I'm tempted to call her psychiatrist without my girlfriend's knowledge, but I'm not sure if that's the appropriate thing to do.

Are there guidelines for when that's the right thing to do? She does not appear to be suicidal or in major distress. However, her behavior has definitely changed over the past few weeks. I'd really like for her to visit her psychiatrist, but obviously, I can't force her.

Thanks,

rhz

daveddd
07-22-17, 12:28 AM
Shouldn't be more than it takes for the drug to leave her system

daveddd
07-22-17, 12:30 AM
And yes. Close to 80 percent of people entering the hospital with psychosis is from stimulant psychosis

rhz100
07-22-17, 02:42 AM
This is the end of two days without, and the behavior has continued. Not sure how long it takes for Adderall to pass out of the system completely, or whether this is even stimulant psychosis.

namazu
07-22-17, 02:52 AM
I wouldn't venture to diagnose your girlfriend. However, in general...

In addition to acute stimulant psychosis, which daveddd described, it is also possible for stimulants to trigger psychosis in someone who has a predisposition towards it. For example, stimulants could precipitate a manic episode in someone with bipolar disorder, or delusions / paranoia in someone with schizophrenia. This is probably more likely if the other condition is not currently being treated or is not being treated effectively. In cases like those, the psychosis (even if it was triggered by stimulants) might not resolve as quickly, and might require separate treatment.

Best wishes to you both.

daveddd
07-22-17, 06:32 AM
This is the end of two days without, and the behavior has continued. Not sure how long it takes for Adderall to pass out of the system completely, or whether this is even stimulant psychosis.

Yea. I'd start to wonder. 2 days without should have done it.

Maybe think about a doctor soon

Just saw the text as well. Definitely think about a doctor

sarahsweets
07-22-17, 07:43 AM
Is this something that has happened over time or is it sudden and short lived? I ask because sometimes mental illnesses can begin at certain ages and it can be as a result of something like stimulants or something that was going to happen anyway but the timing of it in relation to the beginning of stimulants can make the actual issue murky. What I mean is, you have no way of knowing if it is only because of medication and she should see a doctor asap. My husbands cousin showed signs of scizophrenia when he was 18 and it rapidly progressed into delusions and became very dangerous for him. He ended up needing to be inpatient for awhile and get his meds started and straightened out. He actually thought he could fly and tried to throw himself off of the roof of his house. Its very important that you do not try and play doctor for her and rather than wait for the adderall to be out of her system, she needs to be seen by a psyche asap. JMO.

rhz100
07-22-17, 07:55 AM
Yesterday I dragged her to her shrink--basically against her will. He thinks that this is psychosis. Adderall has been discontinued. Mild sleep aid was prescribed. I guess that we'll wait and see what happens now.

This has been going on for a few weeks now, becoming progressively more severe. Last night she had some strange interaction with the spirit where she was told that she was being harmed, which drew the line for me and resulted in us going to her psychiatrist.

I guess she does have a predisposition for psychosis since her mother had two episodes. I am very scared.

daveddd
07-22-17, 08:03 AM
Good luck. If it was adderall it's generally short term while the drug is in effect and mostly paranoia

Nothing much you can do but keep in close contact with the shrink and call 911 if she does anything dangerous

rhz100
07-22-17, 10:51 AM
I don't think she's in immediate danger of harming herself, but she felt hugely betrayed by me "colluding" with her shrink. Nevertheless, I am not going to stand by and watch this. Either it resolves quickly, or she gets treatment, or we can't continue as a couple.

daveddd
07-22-17, 10:55 AM
I don't think she's in immediate danger of harming herself, but she felt hugely betrayed by me "colluding" with her shrink. Nevertheless, I am not going to stand by and watch this. Either it resolves quickly, or she gets treatment, or we can't continue as a couple.

Just to make sure I didn't come across this way

Psychosis doesn't mean she is bad or dangerous. Like every person with it or a version of it I've met she is likely to be a great person. Lucky you seem to be standing by her. It is important she get treatment though. Earlier the better

rhz100
07-22-17, 11:42 AM
I understand your point. I certainly don't think she's bad or that there is significant danger of her physically harming herself or others.

As far as her luck in being with me, I'm not so sure. I am absolutely being worn down by this, and, to be honest, I don't know how much longer I can stand by her. We are a few years into the relationship. She is chronically unemployed, completely isolated socially (social anxiety issues, aside from interacting with me), and supported (in her mid-30s) financially by her mother. This has created stress between us (particularly the unemployment). With the psychosis, things are far worse.

I care about her, and I'm worried about what would happen to her if we split. When the subject came up in the past, she acted irrationally (telling me that she'd just buy a bus ticket anywhere or live under a bridge).

As for treatment, around the time when these delusions started, she ended two months of CBT for depression and anxiety after making some improvements. Ultimately, she'll need to go back if there's any chance of our relationship continuing.

daveddd
07-22-17, 01:40 PM
delusional thinking started after successful treatment of depression and anxiety?

unfortunately there is the possibility that CBT can cause delusions in people who may have been avoiding such emotions

not saying that's the case, with psychosis it may require a team though

you guys will figure it out, good luck

wonderboy
07-22-17, 02:18 PM
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eline_Rognli/publication/282531675_Understanding_the_Relationship_Between_A mphetamines_and_Psychosis/links/5677af1f08ae125516ede2c6.pdf

ChRoTa3
07-22-17, 02:40 PM
Amphetamine psychosis is a pretty well documented occurrence.

It is more likely in individuals with an underlying condition that predisposes them to psychotic breaks or in individuals who consistently abuse their prescription.

Just as an interesting aside, there are some studies speculating a link between schizophrenia and excessive dopamine. So someone with undiagnosed schizophrenia who is prescribed an amphetamine or other dopaminergic drug is running the risk of exacerbating their latent condition.

I would give her time unless you see some kind of immediate danger. The half-life of Adderall is something like 13 hours for IR and longer for XR. After that, it'll probably take a bit longer for everything to balance back out.

So the doctor didn't admit here somewhere?

Did he prescribe her any kind of benzo or SSRI?

rhz100
07-22-17, 02:43 PM
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eline_Rognli/publication/282531675_Understanding_the_Relationship_Between_A mphetamines_and_Psychosis/links/5677af1f08ae125516ede2c6.pdf

I'll study this. Thank you.

rhz100
07-22-17, 03:00 PM
No, he didn't admit her, but took her off the Adderall and prescribed a mild sleep aid. She would never agree to being admitted and does not appear to present an active danger to herself or others--so she can't be forced. I think that the plan is to wait and see if it improves in the coming days.

sarahsweets
07-23-17, 09:31 AM
Some really important points to consider from the abstract.


I'll study this. Thank you.
Use of amphetamine and methamphetamine (hereafter amphetamines) can cause acute psychotic symptoms and may also contribute to persistent psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia. Still, much remains uncertain about the mechanisms and nature of this relationship. A review of the literature reveals that, in addition to the established knowledge that amphetamines can cause acute psychotic symptoms, more evidence has emerged that amphetamines may play a role also in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. [/quote]

Clinical features like sensitization to amphetamines precipitating psychosis, that even amphetamine-induced psychosis may persist, and diagnostic transition from amphetamine-induced to primary psychosis suggest a continuous and mutual interaction between individual vulnerability, amphetamine exposure, and psychosis. The high transition rates also point to amphetamine-induced psychosis as a major risk factor for primary psychosis.

wonderboy
07-23-17, 02:37 PM
Read this scholarly journal article


https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eline_Rognli/publication/282531675_Understanding_the_Relationship_Between_A mphetamines_and_Psychosis/links/5677af1f08ae125516ede2c6.pdf

rhz100
07-23-17, 05:32 PM
Thanks everyone.

sarahsweets
07-24-17, 07:28 AM
Read this scholarly journal article


https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eline_Rognli/publication/282531675_Understanding_the_Relationship_Between_A mphetamines_and_Psychosis/links/5677af1f08ae125516ede2c6.pdf

Why post the same article twice?

Vidar76
07-24-17, 04:38 PM
Perhaps she is having a genuine spiritual awakening, proliferated by the adderall, her isolation and natural capacity. The big difference is: does she actually hear voices or are they more like intrusive thoughts? The former could be genuine mental illness and the latter could be associated with a genuine spiritual experience.

In history, philosopher and later monks, would isolate themselves to receive this kind of experience.

Your post reminds me of an instances written by a Classical author, in the 4th century.

Ammianus Marcellinus Wrote:

"Likewise from the immortal poems of Homer were given to understand that it was not the gods of heaven that spoke with brave men, and stood by them or aided them as they fought, but that guardian spirits attended them; and through reliance upon their special support, it is said, that Pythagoras, Socrates, and Numa Pompilius became famous; also the earlier Scipio, and (as some believe) Marius and Octavianus, who first had the title of Augustus conferred upon him, and Hermes Trismegistus, Apollonius of Tyana, and Plotinus, who ventured to discourse on this mystic theme, and to present a profound discussion of the question by what elements these spirits are linked with men's souls, and taking them to their bosoms, as it were, protect them (as long as possible) and give them higher instruction, if they perceive that they are pure and kept from the pollution of sin through association with an immaculate body."

wonderboy
07-24-17, 05:32 PM
Why post the same article twice?

Mistake... ever make one?

wonderboy
07-24-17, 05:32 PM
I'll study this. Thank you.

Thanks I appreciate your kind words

sarahsweets
07-25-17, 04:25 AM
Mistake... ever make one?

Of course I have, I was just asking in case I was wrong and missed something in either article.

wonderboy
07-26-17, 02:17 AM
Is this something that has happened over time or is it sudden and short lived? I ask because sometimes mental illnesses can begin at certain ages and it can be as a result of something like stimulants or something that was going to happen anyway but the timing of it in relation to the beginning of stimulants can make the actual issue murky. What I mean is, you have no way of knowing if it is only because of medication and she should see a doctor asap. My husbands cousin showed signs of scizophrenia when he was 18 and it rapidly progressed into delusions and became very dangerous for him. He ended up needing to be inpatient for awhile and get his meds started and straightened out. He actually thought he could fly and tried to throw himself off of the roof of his house. Its very important that you do not try and play doctor for her and rather than wait for the adderall to be out of her system, she needs to be seen by a psyche asap. JMO.


I think what you are referring to is the "diathesis stress model" of psychopathology

daveddd
07-26-17, 12:15 PM
Diathesis stress refers to a genetic vulnerability (diathesis) activated by stress in the womb or life

wonderboy
07-26-17, 01:30 PM
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.511.4457&rep=rep1&type=pdf

ginniebean
07-26-17, 02:42 PM
I don't have pschozophrenia or bipolar and yet I did experience stimulant psychosis. For some people there is an intolerance for stimulants. My delusions were pretty much the equivalent of crack bugs. i was crawling out of my skin. For me, the stimulent that sends me whacko happens to be caffeine. i had no idea caffeine could cause such a severe reaction and I spent years fighting my doc over wanting to prescribe anti-psychotics. Because I wasn't suspecting caffeine it took a very long time to figure out the problem. Once I quit caffeine, within a few days I felt perfectly normal again.

I had never abused my meds in fact, I'd often forget to take them. i'm still afraid to try medication again after this experience.

Having said all this, I don't think it's anything other than the adderall that has precipitated your gf's delusions and it's very possible many signs were there prior to her taking the adderal. Stimulants can push a person who has bipolar or schizophrenia into a full blown psychosis.

i can honestly and with great compassion for you underatand that this may be way more than you bargained for and your potential need to exit this relationship. You need to know your own limits and needs and make sure they can be met.

Whatever you decide be assured that you've done the right thing. Leaving her with delusions and the wrong medicatio. Would harm her very much long term.

You can't fix mental illness, having compassion, love, and concern cannot mean sacrificing your life and needs.

Good luck, to both of you.

wonderboy
07-26-17, 04:44 PM
Diathesis stress refers to a genetic vulnerability (diathesis) activated by stress in the womb or life

Thanks

sarahsweets
07-27-17, 03:24 AM
OP, I still dont believe you should be dealing with this alone. I dont think the doctor is taking it as seriously as he/she should.

Cinzzz
08-04-17, 09:54 AM
just don't touch stimulants again. it could also be amphetamine withdrawal psychosis, where the depression is so intense it causes a sort of psychotic depression.

I had a history of abusing illicit stimulants in the past and it was a nightmare- the psychotic episodes. It will haunt you for months. Never take above the therapeutic dose of prescribed stimulants and never abuse illegal stimulants.

peripatetic
08-13-17, 12:06 PM
how is she doing now?

a lot of what you describe with unemployment and becoming less social...sounds familiar to me.

i didn't have adderall induced (or other medication induced) psychosis, but i do have episodes of it and that's all i care to reveal about it at the moment. this could really be part of a larger problem that the adderall brought to light faster, but may well have come to light without it.

he gave her a sleep aid... did he have a plan for what happens if the disturbing thoughts don't respond to solid sleep (which, sleep deprivation can screw over the best of us)?

you're welcome to message me if you want to discuss this in more depth but not so publicly. i'm sorry she's enduring this and you're caught up in it, too. xx