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  #1  
Old 01-24-12, 02:16 AM
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Psychological side effects of adderall.

I just started taking adderall 15mg IR b.i.d. a little over two weeks ago. Just thought I'd post a list and description of some of the side effects I've experienced to see if anyone has any insight or ways to help alleviate these symptoms.

First of all, while the majority of the time adderall helps me stay on task, there are times when it causes me to become so inquisitive that I lose track of time and have to rush to complete whatever task I set out to do (that is if I even get around to it). Generally it'll start with some curiosity that pops into my head, so I go to Google, get some information, and its right back to what I was doing. Right? Wrong. From there I've found myself on multi-hour tangents wherein I just what to fill my head with ever information I can find. Albeit useful in the enrichment of my knowledge, it detracts greatly from the time and effort put forth on the task at hand.

Next, I would best describe as OCD. The adderall certainly improves my ability to focus on the lecture and take more detailed notes; however, I become so meticulous that it is nearly impossible to write in any form of short hand or abbreviations. For whatever reason, I am consistently compelled to write out every single word and punctuation (if it isn't correct: I HAVE TO CORRECT IT!) along with the need for complete sentences. I have, what I would consider, an above average memory so I do tend to catch back up and not miss much while appeasing my compulsion, but on occasion it has set me behind and I harp so much on the missing information that I'll miss more, etc., etc.

Last issue of concern is my mathematical computation and problem solving. A large portion of this I will attribute to the aforementioned meticulousness and OCD. I'll write out every single, minute, insignificant step while solving a problem which is very uncharacteristic of me (rarely got full credit in high school because I would make such large leaps on paper that the teachers assumed i got lucky/didn't fully understand the material). And although this is not an inherently bad thing, it has caused me to take much longer than I normally would to complete a given set of problems. And I also need to check things with my calculator to ensure they're correct.

Thanks for reading my long-winded explanations, and many thanks in advance for any help you contribute.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:00 AM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

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Originally Posted by alanmt9292 View Post
... Generally it'll start with some curiosity that pops into my head, so I go to Google, get some information, and its right back to what I was doing. Right? Wrong. From there I've found myself on multi-hour tangents wherein I just what to fill my head with ever information I can find...

When I'm not on Adderall, I'll be in the middle of something (homework, an important email, etc) and I'll get sidetracked on one of those long tangents you mentioned. Somehow though, when I'm on Adderall, I can get sidetracked briefly but efficiently find my way back to the main task at hand.


What's the difference between a good distraction and a bad one? For example, if I'm doing homework, and look across the room and see a pair of scissors in the wrong place, then it might make sense to walk over and put them away and get back to work. That might be a good distraction. It would be brief and would help tidy the room. What about if I look across the room and see that my entire DVD collection isn't alphabetized by title? Well, to quit my homework to go alphabetize my DVD collection would be a bad distraction. Somehow, Adderall tends to somehow "know" the difference between good and bad distractions because my behavior while on Adderall is quite efficient.
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Old 01-26-12, 06:49 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

Alan - I think I understand what you're talking about.
I've been on Adderall for a few months now and have encountered similar issues.

Before medication, anytime my brain encountered something hard, or something requiring considerable attention, I'd immediately look for something more immediately stimulating. As a result, any projects I needed to work on received infrequent attention and never got done.

Now that I'm medicated, I find it's much easier to stick with work once I get started, and as a result, my current projects receive a lot of work. But they still aren't getting done!
Why not?

Like you, I've noticed a certain amount of overattention to detail, the desire to have things very clearly spelled out, and frequent and long trips into unnecessary research projects. I haven't figured out what is causing it, but I have some hunches:

-The endless research hunger is due, I think, to a combination of an old ADHD behavior and the effects of the medication. New knowledge is fascinating and delivers a dopamine hit; even before meds I found myself doing this quite a bit. Since Adderall's main effect is to help focus and prolong your attention, it just makes it easier to persist in this activity once you start.

-The need for meticulous notes and fleshed-out computation could be due to a number of things - do any of these sound right? One possibility is that it is an old coping mechanism from pre-treatment days, when rigidity could help tame a disordered mind. But it sounds like this isn't something you ever did before meds.

Another possibility is that the Adderall is actually making the individual steps of the writing or computation pleasurable, when before you would have likely rushed through to the end where the interesting stuff is. Now, thanks to the medication, everything (even mundane things) seem interesting. Frankly, I sometimes worry that the medication is making me too pleased with small things at the expense of more important matters.
I've actually considered lowering my dosage to see if that would help me get some perspective back.

I'd be very curious to hear whether others have had similar issues.

Last Point: It's entirely possible that you do have some OCD symptoms that are either worsened by Adderall, or else seem more prominent now that the ADD-symptoms aren't taking center stage. You might want to look in to OCPD - that's obsessive compulsive personality disorder - which can manifest itself as strong desires for perfection and persisting in ordering behaviors long after they cease being useful.
It was only after I had my ADD treated that I discovered I had these issues as well.

Thanks for writing.
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Old 01-26-12, 08:40 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

You know, I thought that it was just only me that was having this problem. But here's what's irritating: After I spend all this time writing and writing that my right hand cramps up (no sexual self-lovin' innuendos please) I just write them and then ignore those notes that I spend so long working on.

I just thought that it was just my way of memorizing stuff and its helped me greatly in studying, understanding the material, and remember it. It has greatly improved my grades and I'm pleased with them - but I had work so much harder to get them. How come is it so damn hard to "Study smarter, not harder" when working harder seems to be yield better results. (not to mention that it irritates me)

As for everything else, I'm just as guilty too. Definitely enlightening.
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Old 01-26-12, 08:44 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

If possible, try cutting down on your dose a little.

Adderall is designed to help you focus, but not to become so over focused that you lose track of everything else.

Thats like taking one form of ADD and transforming it into another.
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Old 01-26-12, 10:39 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

that's also why medication + behavioral therapy is the best way to treat the condition. i was tired of 15 min a month with a doctor that barely spoke to me, adding some therapy sessions with a psychologist will change your life... again lol
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Old 01-27-12, 02:22 AM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

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Originally Posted by Fraser_0762 View Post
If possible, try cutting down on your dose a little.

Adderall is designed to help you focus, but not to become so over focused that you lose track of everything else.

Thats like taking one form of ADD and transforming it into another.
This. Pretty much everything described in the original post sounds like some manifestation of hyperfocus, which medication can kick into overdrive at doses that are higher than needed. You might want to consider dropping it down a bit to see if that gets you to a focused and not insanely-far-too-focused state.
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Old 01-27-12, 09:34 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

This is me! Many times, I will have gone into so much detail about what I was working on that when I would finish and read over it, I'd decide that it was too much and too scattered and would just confuse the people I was delivering the information to. At that point, I end up deleting the whole effing thing because it's not going to make sense to anyone but me. Many hours have been truly wasted this way.
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Old 01-27-12, 11:44 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

This is my first day and although for the most part it was extremely positive, I spend way too much time on THIS forum today and was reading page after page after page, soaking up information...and not enough time working! So I can relate...gonna need to work on that

The funny thing is I hated reading stuff on forums or anything I perceived as detailed or long winded. Today I find myself wanting to read everything
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Old 01-28-12, 12:32 AM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TAADINOC View Post
This is my first day and although for the most part it was extremely positive, I spend way too much time on THIS forum today and was reading page after page after page, soaking up information...and not enough time working! So I can relate...gonna need to work on that

The funny thing is I hated reading stuff on forums or anything I perceived as detailed or long winded. Today I find myself wanting to read everything
It's terrible. I've been doing this all week and I need to cut back.
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Old 01-28-12, 06:49 PM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmt9292 View Post
Next, I would best describe as OCD. The adderall certainly improves my ability to focus on the lecture and take more detailed notes; however, I become so meticulous that it is nearly impossible to write in any form of short hand or abbreviations. For whatever reason, I am consistently compelled to write out every single word and punctuation (if it isn't correct: I HAVE TO CORRECT IT!) along with the need for complete sentences. I have, what I would consider, an above average memory so I do tend to catch back up and not miss much while appeasing my compulsion, but on occasion it has set me behind and I harp so much on the missing information that I'll miss more, etc., etc.

Last issue of concern is my mathematical computation and problem solving. A large portion of this I will attribute to the aforementioned meticulousness and OCD. I'll write out every single, minute, insignificant step while solving a problem which is very uncharacteristic of me (rarely got full credit in high school because I would make such large leaps on paper that the teachers assumed i got lucky/didn't fully understand the material). And although this is not an inherently bad thing, it has caused me to take much longer than I normally would to complete a given set of problems. And I also need to check things with my calculator to ensure they're correct.
This would indicate that you are not ADD/ADHD or have OCD along with ADHD (which is exceptionally rare). It is also the exact, textbook-description-way a person without ADD reacts to Adderall. Distraction runs deep in OCD, so if you had tendancies before, they may be accelerated now - Might be worthwhile to re-evaluate your diagnosis.
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Old 01-29-12, 01:41 AM
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Re: Psychological side effects of adderall.

Hey, I've experienced what you're talking about. And if I don't have anything to do, I'd pace and just count the seconds until I could go work out. I also found myself reading A LOT more, and looking up stupid baseball or basketball stats for no reason.

And it helps but also makes me focus so much that I'm zoned out focusing on something trivial like reading a novel, watching a horror film again instead of finishing a paper. I act calm on adderall but inside I feel like my mind has been insanely sped up. And I always was a guy that couldn't stop thinking so it's kind of a hassle.
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