View Full Version : Should I switch from Adderall to Concerta?

Calm & focused
05-17-10, 10:37 AM
I have inattentive ADD. Adderall used to work really well. Now it's mediocre at best. Thinking about making the switch. My thoughts are....

Concerta / Ritalin:

Pros: May help me "hone-in" on the task at hand better than Adderall. I've heard that methylphenidate is less damaging to the brain than amphetamine. It seems like Concerta might actually last 12 hours (or at least 8?) as opposed to Adderall "XR" which lasts 4.

Cons: Might make me feel more tweeked out.

Discussion: From what i gather, Ritalin is generally found to be more "edgy" or "speed-like" than Adderall, so i'd be wary that it might give me anxiety or make me too socially awkward for an interactive professional setting (as opposed to cranking out papers in school). On the other hand, I have heard some people say that Concerta, more so than Adderall, gives them "tunnel vision" around the task at hand. This has been cast in both a positive and a negative light. For me, one issue with the Adderall is that it doesn't help me zero in on the project in front of me the way it used to. Although I will have an "interactive" role at my next job, my role will still largely consist of cranking out spreadsheet models for financial/economic projections. And right now for instance (still in school), I'm on my adderall and I feel "alert" but I'm doing this instead of studying what I should be studying, and when I have been studying, I haven't had the greatest clarity. In the professional realm, the social aspects were always a strength for me (all of my reviews listed "interpersonal skills" as a strength). My problem was that when it was time to go sit at my desk and produce something, I was a waste of space. A little tunnel vision might actually be nice if it allows me to produce at a rate where I don't get fired.

05-17-10, 03:23 PM
I have been trailing adderall for the past 10 days or so after being on ritalin concerta and or focalin for quite some time. Its true, ritalin can be an edgy drug and it like most things has side effects and it's not comfortable. It comes and goes , just depends I guess. While I have been taking adderall , specifically it doesn't last nearly as long as concerta does and I realize that with my specific type of adhd I cannot focus at unless I have that tunnell vision. It's not cool but it also varies on what I'm doing and what environment I'm in as well. The bad thing is without these meds I really would struggle far over what is normal and things would just never get done at all if it weren't for these meds so I guess from that perspective I'm very greatful. Yes ritalin is good for helping your mind really narrow in on tasks , I realize that my adhd is so difficult that this is really the only way right now that I will get focused and do things. Otherwise I'm just not available.

Calm & focused
05-18-10, 02:44 PM

Thanks for the comparison of Adderall and Concerta. Would you say the Concerta would be worse for social situations than Adderall? My thinking is that "tunnel vision" on work tasks would be good so long as it doesn't make me a weirdo around co-workers!

05-18-10, 03:32 PM
ritalin , and or concerta, focalin can affect you differently in different settings. If your at work and working and feel tired like most do at the office then sometimes I feel as though ritalin and or concerta can make you feel strange socially but honestly my opinion on this is not really valid because I hate the setting in which I work and it's making me strange. Overall, I feel that alot of times ritalin moreso than adderall will have a tendency to socially isolate you a bit more at times vs adderall because on adderall you feel more normal. I can't really say adderall is good though because it doesnt clear my mind like ritalin does and so I'm kind of mentally not as aware or on point when talking when I take adderall. I feel like there are ways to get around this point like adding tenex to ritalin or things like that which I may have to look into. I'm sure that with the right doc and following directions if you communicate properly can help eliminate this side effect from ritalin , hence giving you more of the positive benefits overall. I speak from the sense that I am very scatter brained off meds, I would not be able to process normally so taking them is necessity. I think the right mindset is to know if you have to take them to do that and to take them and augment them if needed in ways to give you more universal control. So that being said, ritalin can make me edgy but gives me the best clarity so in retrospect I may actually need to add intuniv or a alpha agonist to the regiment

Calm & focused
05-19-10, 05:27 AM
ah, good rundown Hollywood. I actually was prescribed Adderall a few years ago and even small doses, though effective for my focus, gave me anxiety. Now i'm on zoloft and even high doses of adderall don't give me any anxiety...though i'm torn as whether the zoloft is also why i don't get the same degree of focus that i used to get from the adderall. It may be interesting to see how zoloft and concerta combine.

05-19-10, 04:02 PM
Personally for me Adderall made me kind of abnormal. I felt like I just had 20 cups of espresso and some speed to top it off. Although I have anxiety as a co-morbid condition, the adderall increase my anxiety levels but yet forced me to push through things that I would not normally do although I was still extremely anxious about them. It really worked well, but when it began to wear off the doc upped my dosage and it then started to make me irritable.

Currently I am on Concerta and I have to admit that it does give me a great deal of focus. It also gives you the ability to put the breaks on and to stop doing something that you know you shouldn't be doing or because you know there are more important things you have to do. In other words I feel like I have more discipline with it. As far as motivation goes Concerta only gives me a tiny bit, whereas with Adderall I felt like I could do anything, and was motivated to go out and get a job (which I did while on adderall), go through the interviews, etc. It gave me a greater sense of responsibility. I felt more like an adult (a responsible one at that). On the flip side concerta seems to be smoother and it does last longer. The downside is that I still have anxiety with it. For me it increases worry. For social ability I think adderall was much better with the exception of looking like you are on speed to the other person. With concerta you are so focused on what you were doing or have to do that you are not really paying much attention to what the person is saying. And in a sense you really do not care to much although I think the social part of these meds are really dose dependant.

Now you can try to take the stimulant with an SSRI for co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression but it will reduce the focus and concentration you get from the stimulants. In that sense you will need to increase your stimulant dosage. The main reason for this that stimulants tend to increase you levels of dopamine manly and the other neurotransmitters as well but in smaller amounts. SSRI's increase serotonin which is a dopamine antagonist. And dopamine is a serotonin antagonist. The was it was explained to me is that it is like a see-saw with dopamine on one end and serotonin on the other. Too much of one will lower the other. The idea is to have them balanced. And while they are balance you want to be able to raise the middle (center) of the see-saw up higher so that your see-saw is maybe 5 or 10 feet up in the air rather than on the ground, but no matter how high the see-saw goes you still want it to be balance. Hope that makes sense. So if an SSRI makes you less focused then you will need to take a little more of the stimulant to regain focus and to have a better balance. So as long as you can maintain the balance between the two different types of drugs, you can then go up or down as needed maintaining the benefits of both drugs at the same time.

Calm & focused
05-19-10, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the response Navy! I think a decent picture is starting to emerge regarding the differences i could expect between adderall and concerta. It's also fitting that you mentioned SSRI's as i am on zoloft (50mg). A few years ago, i was prescribed just adderall (10mg XR) and it was great for focus but i often got anxiety attacks, which i was prone to anyway, so i bailed on the adderall. More recently i started seeing a doc to try and simultaneously deal with the anxiety and the ADD. Now i'm on 40mg of adderall (20mg XR, twice daily) and no anxiety. Interestingly, my adderall really worked well today for some reason. I didn't take any yesterday and i got a good night's sleep, but still...i was impressed with how focused i felt. But yeah, most of the time, even if i'm on adderall, i wish i was "sharper" mentally. Maybe the concerta's side effects wouldn't be so rough with the SSRI in place.

05-19-10, 07:08 PM
Hey guys,
maybe it's not so much that adderall doesn't work, it's more that with Ritalin u just focus alot deeper and better

Calm & focused
05-20-10, 12:28 PM
Hey guys,
maybe it's not so much that adderall doesn't work, it's more that with Ritalin u just focus alot deeper and better

Yeah that seems to be the impression i'm getting. It seems the Adderall turns on a lightbulb in the brain, whereas Ritalin turns on a laser beam.

I think adderall is probably more enjoyable, but sometimes it enhances mood and energy more than actual productivity.

05-20-10, 07:40 PM
I would go along with that, there is no joy honestly for Ritalin. It's more of atrue ADHD med, both work. If u need to really be in task, Ritalin , concerta, focalin

Childe Roland
06-06-10, 02:39 PM
I've been on both at different times. This is obviously not scientific, but here's my opinion.

Concerta seems to give more of a calm focus. It seems better for sustained focus (e.g. for studying in the month before a major exam). On Concerta, nothing is boring and nothing is interesting -- everything is just a task. Sometimes I felt like a Zombie on Concerta.

Adderall seems to give slightly better peak focus (e.g. for taking an exam). On Adderall, I can focus on something boring, but I know it is boring. I can usually make myself focus and complete the boring task anyway, but it is difficult. Both medicines seems to cause anxiety, but Adderall seems worse for that (as it totally lacks Concerta's calming effect). Also, Adderall can cause grotesque sweating. So sometimes I felt tweaky on Adderall. That might be worse than being a zombie; I'm not sure.

06-07-10, 09:04 AM
This is an article that compares Concerta vs adderall xr ( - thought it would be helpful!

both adderall and concerta work in roughly 2/3 of those who take them - your mileage may vary of course =)