View Full Version : ADD, Focalin XR, and anhedonia (help!)


drewster1829
04-30-08, 12:09 AM
I was diagnosed with ADD last summer about May, I think. I started taking Focalin XR 10mg shortly thereafter. It made me much less reactive and quick to anger. I was able to listen to other people's conversations without interrupting, and also had the ability to control a desire to start an argument.

Before medication I also had a problem with risk taking...driving too fast, flying crop dusters, and the such. I used to listen to loud music, and I loved the adrenaline rush of all the above, as well as getting angry. I could feel the pleasure in my head, and I craved it. I had to have it. I was a compulsive shopper, a compulsive eater, and I would even get a caffeine craving in the middle of the day, and I just had to have a Coke, come heck or high water.

When I started medication, all this started to abate. I could feel the beginning of the rush of pleasure, but then it would stop before reaching its usual peak. It was an interesting sensation.

I took Focalin for 3 months last fall, with a gap of a week between each month. The first two times I stopped, I felt withdrawal symptoms, mostly just a big headache for a day or two. I immediately went back to being the argumentative jerk I was before (it surprised me how different I was, now that I was able to directly compare the two personalities), maybe even a little worse.

The last month I was taking it, I was getting up very early some days, between 12 am and 2 am, sometimes more like 5 or 6 or 9 am, and I'd take the Focalin either at 3 am (if I was awake then), or within an hour of waking up. I am a truck driver, and one of the side effects was eliminating the fatigue response (as well as hunger and thirst). I wouldn't yawn or feel like dozing off when on it...I'd just feel a little funny.

When I stopped taking it after the third month (I split the last dose in two, and took a 5 mg dose, skipped a day, then took the last 5 mg dose), a very interesting thing happened. There was no withdrawal. I never felt any headache, any return of my old desires and urges. I never got my appetite back, or thirst response, or fatigue response.

This was probably September of 2007. Today, April 29th, 2008, I feel the same as then. I have taken no other prescription medication since then, or before then for years (maybe an antibiotic in 2001 was the last medication I had taken). I don't drink or smoke, and I don't abuse any illegal drugs.

I later learned that part of what I'm experiencing is called anhedonia, or lack of pleasure. I don't feel pleasure from adrenaline (though it still makes me alert and makes my heart pound), or from eating, or from orgasm, or from driving fast, or from listening to loud music (when I was on the medication, loud music just made my head hurt. Now it does nothing), or from bodily functions such as using the restroom. There's no pleasure in spending money, or getting angry, or starting an argument, or from caffeine.

I still have no appetite (none whatsoever...if I don't remember to eat, I just get a tummy rumble after a couple hours, then I feel really dizzy, then eventually I get very faint...but never actually hungry), no thirst response, and no fatigue (though I have been yawning more than a month or two ago when I should be sleepy).

I've searched the Internet and talked to the people who originally prescribed me the stuff, and I can't find any information on stimulant medication causing these permanent symptoms. I can find no other explanation, however, and it's very, very strange. I have moved twice since then, and now have no health insurance, so I can't afford to go see a doctor. I don't make a lot of money, and I can't spend it on overpriced medical care for something that isn't life threatening.

What I wonder about, is it a blessing, or a curse? Sure, I feel no pleasure out of listening to Baroque music or eating or doing anything, and sure, I have to remember to eat at meal times (eating enough is another problem, too...I usually just have to eat until I'm "full", though full doesn't feel the same, either...but it is harder to eat when I get to that point), but now I'm not an argumentative jerk, I don't take the risks I used to, and I don't lose my temper nearly as often. It's not like my urges are control, as if I were on medication....there are no desires to control. Doesn't that make me like a robot? What should I do? Is there a cure, or am I cured?:confused:

HighFunctioning
04-30-08, 06:33 PM
Well, dopamine is supposed to be one of the major influences on hunger. Considering that these stimulants also influence dopamine, it makes sense that it has an impact on hunger. Most prescription appetite suppressants are amphetamine-like stimulants.

Oh, and you're less likely to experience a sharp transition in pleasure if you're already stimulated by the medication.

drewster1829
04-30-08, 07:24 PM
Well, dopamine is supposed to be one of the major influences on hunger. Considering that these stimulants also influence dopamine, it makes sense that it has an impact on hunger. Most prescription appetite suppressants are amphetamine-like stimulants.

Oh, and you're less likely to experience a sharp transition in pleasure if you're already stimulated by the medication.

Right, but I stopped taking any stimulant medication last September. The effects haven't gone away. I haven't taken any medication at all since then, but most of the side effects are still there.

drewster1829
04-30-08, 08:09 PM
I was told that any stimulant medication (including Focalin XR, or dexmethylphenidate) would wear off after a couple of days of not taking it and have no long term side effects. This was true the first two times, but the third time, most of the side effects while taking it continued, even to right now. I would like to know how to reverse said side effects, since I am no longer taking the medication (I haven't taken it in nearly 7 months).

DeGenisis
05-01-08, 06:07 PM
Wellbutrin helped my SSRI-induced anhedonia, just a hunch that it would work in your case. Other things to try would be a DHEA supplement.

DHEA Lessens Depressive Symptoms, NIMH Study Shows

"Participants were 17 men and women ages 45 to 63 with midlife-onset dysthymia. In completers (n=15), a robust effect of DHEA on mood was observed compared with placebo. At the end of the six-week treatment period, 60% of participants responded to DHEA compared to 20% on placebo. After three weeks of treatment on 90 mg/day DHEA, a significant response was seen. The most significant improvement was seen in symptoms of anhedonia, such as loss of energy, lack of motivation, emotional "numbness," sadness, inability to cope and worry."

http://www.cmellc.com/geriatrictimes/g041204.html

DeGenisis
05-01-08, 06:15 PM
I would suggest posting this over at http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/index.php?showforum=41. (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/index.php?showforum=41)

They have a lot of experience with stimulants and brain neuroscience in general. We will try to help you out.

Also in regards to Wellbutrin(bupropion), a search on pubmed gave me some interesting studies:

Assessing the effects of bupropion SR on mood dimensions of depression

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15855099

Background: We assessed the therapeutic effects of bupropion SR and placebo on mood and anxiety symptoms derived from the tripartite model of mood. Based on evidence indicating linkages between dopaminergic activity and the emotional dimension of positive affect/anhedonia, we hypothesized that the dopaminergic effects of bupropion SR would yield particularly pronounced effects on symptoms of anhedonia, relative to anxiety. Methods: Nineteen depressed outpatients were randomly assigned to treatment with either bupropion SR 300 mg/day or placebo during a 6-week initial treatment phase. This was followed by a second open-label phase in which patients previously treated with bupropion SR had their dose increased to 400 mg/day, and the placebo group was initiated on bupropion SR 300 mg/day. Results: Random regression analyses revealed that during the initial double-blind phase, bupropion SR elicited greater declines than placebo on all measures except those that assessed anxiety. By contrast, the weakest placebo effects were evident on anhedonia. Items assessing the low positive affect pole of the anhedonia dimension were more sensitive to earlier/lower dose bupropion SR treatment, whereas items assessing the high positive affect pole were more sensitive to later/higher dose bupropion SR treatment. Limitations: Replication and extension using a larger sample size are mandated. Conclusions: This study suggests that the catecholaminergic effects of bupropion SR tended to produce more robust effects on anhedonia/positive affect than placebo.


Chronic bupropion attenuated the anhedonic component of nicotine withdrawal in rats via inhibition of dopamine reuptake in the nucleus accumbens shell.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17561823?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&dbfrom=pubmed

Bupropion enhances brain reward function and reverses the affective and somatic aspects of nicotine withdrawal in the rat.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12698231?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&dbfrom=pubmed

drewster1829
05-04-08, 12:28 AM
I would suggest posting this over at http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/index.php?showforum=41. (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/index.php?showforum=41)

They have a lot of experience with stimulants and brain neuroscience in general. We will try to help you out.

Also in regards to Wellbutrin(bupropion), a search on pubmed gave me some interesting studies:


Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction! :)

DeGenisis
05-05-08, 04:42 PM
Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction! :)

Sure, let me know how you make out.

pushingonpull
03-20-09, 12:10 PM
I took Adderal XR 30mg for about a year on and off, and I am suffering 100% the EXACT same symptoms. I know this is an old thread, but I just had to share my story. To top it off, my friend who did the same thing as me is suffering from this exactly 100% too. We can't react properly to any of those stimuli that would normally be pleasurable.

Unlike you though, I have the resources to get this checked out. I have medical insurance and am currently in the process of finding a suitable neurologist. Another problem is that being that this problem is not widely reported, but does exist in people, doctors generally like to say, "it's all in your head." Which is bull****, because it IS in my head, something is wrong. They just don't want a lawsuit against the drug companies, or are too incompetent to tell you whether you can get better or what exactly is wrong. Regardless, I will find the answer. But if anyone is out there who reversed this anhedonia please respond to this forum.

drewster1829
04-05-09, 09:27 AM
I took Adderal XR 30mg for about a year on and off, and I am suffering 100% the EXACT same symptoms. I know this is an old thread, but I just had to share my story. To top it off, my friend who did the same thing as me is suffering from this exactly 100% too. We can't react properly to any of those stimuli that would normally be pleasurable.

Unlike you though, I have the resources to get this checked out. I have medical insurance and am currently in the process of finding a suitable neurologist. Another problem is that being that this problem is not widely reported, but does exist in people, doctors generally like to say, "it's all in your head." Which is bull****, because it IS in my head, something is wrong. They just don't want a lawsuit against the drug companies, or are too incompetent to tell you whether you can get better or what exactly is wrong. Regardless, I will find the answer. But if anyone is out there who reversed this anhedonia please respond to this forum.

Wow, thanks for responding. I just had a hunch to search on Google to see if anyone has had the same problems, and I came across this old thread of mine.

That's one reason why I was reluctant to pursue it...how could we prove that we're experiencing anhedonia? What if, though, an experiment could be done, like a double-blind study where pleasure inducing stimuli is introduced into the brain somehow without the subject knowing it, then either having the subject respond to what he or she feels, or have some way to measure the stimulation or lack of in the nucleus accumbens.

Please let me know on your results of finding a neurologist, because I think that's definitely the correct way to go. I have the exact same effects I described before with no change.

Thanks so much for replying, and good luck!

amaya
04-26-09, 03:12 PM
Hi,

I've been prescribed various SSRIs, the last a couple of years ago. I no longer take them.

Anhedonia has been a problem for quite a while. I found the following articles while researching, which I hope you will find interesting:

http://www.mcmanweb.com/no_pleasure.html

http://www.mcmanweb.com/dopamine.html

http://www.mcmanweb.com/apathy.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/difficulties-experiencing-simple-pleasures-may-be-caused-by-smaller-brains.html

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/special_reports/depression/anhedonia.htm

Best,

amaya

pushingonpull
10-07-09, 12:33 AM
So I finally got to the doctor today. It was a doctor at UCLA, a psychiatrist (more appropriate than a neurologist in this case because under an MRI there is a part of our brain that now doesn't light up as much and there's no sense in seeing that image again). He said this stimulant induced anhedonia is not unheard of. He also said that people usually get over it in two years or a bit more. As far as treatments go, for anhedonics there isn't too much hope. There are a couple drugs you can try to get your neurotransmitters in "balance" again, and one of those is Wellbutrin(bupropion) as stated earlier, which I was prescribed. I will update you on how I feel as this is the first day I took it. It should take full effect in a month, so yeah...basically the first line of treatment is Wellbutrin SR 150mg 2x a day.

ScottAlbi
10-07-09, 11:58 PM
Reading this thread with fascination (and a bit of horror). How are you guys feeling? Is it getting any better after these 6 months or so? Hope you feel more "reconnected" as time goes on.

steven d
10-26-09, 02:58 PM
Perhaps you should use supplements instead of medications.

pushingonpull
01-02-10, 05:25 AM
So Wellbutrin has partially reversed my problem. I was 20% myself before now I am 75%. I don't know what the future will hold but all I know is that Adderall XR or Focalin XR is extremely bad and people should stay away from it along with any other pill related to the amphetamine family.