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Old 04-19-14, 03:49 AM
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Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Hey everyone,

This is my first post to the forum. I have been diagnosed as ADD inattentive type and it's a new diagnoses, only a few months ago. I came here specifically because I'm having strange reactions to adderall, and it really concerns me. Mind you they aren't life threatening, but of the two different psychiatrists I've seen I've just gotten shrugs in response to previous side effects reported to them...or conversely one of them challenged me and said that it wasn't possible. I really don't know what to do and am starting to rethink doing meds, especially considering that my insurance doesn't cover prescriptions and they are extremely expensive. However, adderall has also had some extremely positive effects on my life. I would hate to go back to where I was before I took it. I just worry that this might be worse in the long run.

I notice that when the adderall wears off that it is making my head feel strange. Like I'm in a brain fog, and I get a bit of a weird floaty/vertigo feeling. I know it can cause dizziness, but this is just starting recently after a couple weeks on IR 10 mg 3x per day (I usually take it 2x though tbh for good reasons that I'll later explain). This is even worse after sleeping. If I forget to take my adderall in the morning and try to go a few hours until a more convenient time to take my afternoon dose, I can't function properly. I can't even walk straight, I can't think straight. It's like an amplified version of what happens to me when I don't get enough sleep. I also get nausea, upset stomach, anxiety, and a strange pressure in my head. Also, it's extremely hard to get up in the morning. I already had severe insomnia before starting adderall, and this seems to be making it worse. Even on nights when I get what I would consider to be normal sleep (maybe 5 hours) the next morning it's almost impossible to get out of bed because of the combination of exhaustion/extremely foggy feeling. I have been late to class and work so many times because of this! I've also noticed an increase in times I feel depressed. I tend to be a bit prone to depressive episodes, but I could normally at least kind of handle my life when I had them. I have had several times now where I got so depressed that I could not go to class because I could not stop crying/feeling terrible about everything. The amount of times I get depressed in a month has also increased.
It's strange. Adderall has improved my life because I actually study and get homework done now, where before I barely got anything done. I've made it to almost the end of the semester and I'm still taking 15 credits, I haven't dropped any classes. There is only one class I'm a little worried about passing (meaning a C or above). I can clearly articulate my thoughts in class and people listen to me. I have a better relationship with many of my friends now too because I feel like (other than during episodes of depression) I can handle things; every single thing doesn't take a tremendous amount of effort, so I can actually be positive and stuff. So basically, it looks like adderall is amplifying my normal emotional states. When things are good they're actually good (as opposed to before adderall when I sort of perpetually had a low level of hate for everything) and when I'm feeling low, I get so depressed I don't want to be in public because I'm too emotional or just feeling too poorly to accomplish anything.
Also I don't believe I was misdiagnosed with ADD instead of depression. While I am prone to very low emotional states, during better times I still could not follow directions properly, read an article or chapter all the way through and remember most of it (in fact I had a problem where I was constantly re-reading the same paragraph 42 times because it was literally like I hadn't read it, though I had...I retained 0 information). Even when I got plenty of sleep I still did super ridiculous things that gave me problems at work and school. I tend to work much more slowly than the average person, whether it is academic work, helping customers at work, cleaning, cooking, everything. I take so long to get everything done. Even on adderall I'm still a bit too slow for everyone, but much better than before. All of these things hinder me in my life to a point where I could get fired at work, or at least not get a promotion or raise, I get lower grades in school than other people. Going off adderall might mean I have to go back to that for awhile until I find a more "natural" way to address the issue, which could take quite awhile. I'll never graduate college at that rate, and I'm already behind the curve.
Additionally I keep hearing about having a healthy diet, and how it will improve your life etc and the real cause of ADD is processed food and food allergies, or insomnia, or whatever. To be honest, I can't try an elimination diet. My body has poor reactions to a lot of foods, but then sometimes those reactions go away and it decides a new food is the enemy. Right now the enemies are anything leafy green, most vegetables, corn, bell peppers and so on. I am not lactose intolerant. If anything dairy products are one of the few things I can eat and not have a bad reaction. I have to go through different kinds of testing that is basically not covered by my insurance to find the root to this problem, so sorry, but eliminating potential foods would be kind of a crazy process for me. Insomnia might have something to do with it, but I honestly don't think it's the whole story. During times when I can sleep when I want to (my brain/body seems to prefer 3 am as the bed time, no matter how hard I try to adjust my sleeping schedule to "normal people time", remove caffeine from my diet etc) I have greater mental clarity, but I still have grave issues with misplacing things, not being able to read something all the way through, doing tasks incorrectly because of misreading directions, not fully paying attention when someone's talking and so on. My whole life I've had this issue of people think I am lazy and unmotivated, that I don't care, etc. This couldn't be further from the truth, I care a lot! But as you can see, the idea of going off adderall kind of scares me because I don't want to go back to how everything was before. On the other hand, if adderall is going to mess up my brain and my body so much that I can't even function for a day without it, I really don't want to be on it. I mean, before I started taking adderall I had major issues with accomplishing anything in my life, but I could kind of do things. I could at least walk straight and get my butt out of bed in the morning.
I might also mention that I had some odd reactions to adderall XR 15, which I was taking when I was seeing the previous doctor. It was like my brain refused to do things on it's own without the adderall. I didn't get the horrible fog, but my brain didn't want to do things on it's own. Since it was XR and 15 mg it wore off by the time I got home from school, and I needed to do homework; you can see how that's a problem. Before taking that, my brain didn't want to do things on it's own and often wouldn't...but I could put in a ton of effort and I mean a ton and get something done. After taking that, without the adderall I couldn't get anything done no matter how hard I tried. I also had a very severe crash on the XR 15. After it wore off I would be so angry that I wanted to scream, I got headaches, my stomach hurt, I got nausea sometimes...it took about an hour or so for that to go away. On the XR I was hyper-productive. I would just go and go and go and it was a bit like I had too much energy, and I was very aggressive. The IR provides greater balance and way less side effects while the med is in effect, but then the effects of when I am not on the med are far worse.
I want to be able to have days where I don't take my medicine. I don't think I'm like...addicted to it (though I know it's very habit forming) because I don't crave the adderall or anything like that. I just sometimes think "hey, this thing's been making my depression come back more often lately. maybe since I am not super bogged down with homework I can just kind of hang out at home and clean, and not take my meds to give myself a break from them." and then I just can't accomplish *anything* without them. It really concerns me.
One more note; I am taking it in a way that my doctor has told me to. She told me to take it on an empty stomach, and make sure to eat one hour before the second and third dose. She told me to drink plenty of water and make sure to also drink water with electrolytes as the med will deplete them. I find this to be effective while on the medication. I am just concerned about the "off medication" feelings I've been having, especially first thing in the morning.
Sorry for the long post, but I feel like every time I try to discuss a medical issue with someone, whether it be a doctor, parent or friend, I get people contradicting me about everything I'm saying, like they don't believe me. It's really frustrating. I'm tired of being treated like a hypochondriac/crazy person. So I just gave as much info as possible so I don't have to waste time answering those questions or arguing with others. I'm asking what people think about adderall and if maybe I should go off it before it causes some kind of permanent damage. I can't switch to a more expensive med, I can't really even afford adderall. Maybe I should take less? Maybe I should do other things (change diet, add supplements) because the adderall is causing a loss of something my body needs other than electrolytes?
Further, this doctor says I should be able to sleep 4 hours after taking my last dose. Honestly, the adderall is making my insomnia much worse even if I only take 2 doses rather than the 3 she recommends. I now only get 2-3 hours of sleep a night on nights before I have to wake up early for school. The semester is almost over, but I have another morning class next semester. I don't want to deal with the lateness problem again. So, I thank anyone who offers advice in advance, since I am not getting much help in other places. Maybe other ADDers can give me advice based on their experiences.
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Old 04-20-14, 02:34 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Your post is WAY too long and not broken up enough, so I only read about 10% of it.

One thing does leap out at me: The pressure in your head. I got this from amphetamines too, and many years ago. Once I experienced this symptom enough times, it became permanent, I still have it to this day, 24/7.. 10 years straight! I've not found any way to reduce or treat this problem, I've got an MRI which turned out normal, and no obvious health problems. The docs think it may be a migraine, but anti-migraine drugs don't help at all. I'm basically stuck with it and it ruins the quality of life.

What I'm saying is that if you keep getting this "head pressure" during or after usage of amphetamines, I don't want you to turn out like me. In fact I would advice you to stop taking them already, if possible, it sounds like (just as in my case) you're oversensitive to stimulants and getting too many side effects. Consider taking small doses as a possible compromise, or try the lesser stimulants/non-stimulants out there. Well, that is my two cents.
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Old 04-20-14, 03:34 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Thank you for your response. Sorry that the post was very long and not broken up, it was late at night and was having...once again...weird reactions to the effect of the medicine wearing off (and was having a very bad insomnia night). It's interesting. It's like my mind won't stop going in circles when it's been a long time since the meds wore off. As finals are coming up, it doesn't seem advisable to go completely off of them at the moment, but I may take smaller doses and then consult my GP rather than the Psychiatrist when I get the chance.
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Old 04-20-14, 04:12 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

After trying to re-read my own post, I realize that it is pretty hard to read (sorry!). I will try to simplify so that others can read, and maybe cut out some irrelevant info. I tried to look for a way to edit the post, but that doesn't seem to be a thing.

Current RX: Adderall IR (generic) 10 mg, 3x per day (I tend to only take 2 though, trying to avoid exacerbating insomnia problems)

Previous RX : Adderall XR (generic) 15 mg 1x per day

*Strange side effects that occur after medication wears off w/ current meds:

Brain fog

Floaty Vertigo feeling (after sleeping)/more clumsy

Physical Weakness

Increased issues with insomnia (already had them, now I barely sleep)

Nausea/upset stomach (already had stomach problems before I took meds, now they are worse in the morning before I take my meds)

Anxiety

Low points in depression becoming more severe

Brain does not want to function on it's own at all (before I was prescribed adderall it was extremely hard to get myself moving, but nothing like this)

Strange pressure in head/sometimes headaches

*Things I do as instructed by Psych NP:

Drink lots of water + water with electrolytes

Eat an hour or more before taking meds

Try to eat healthy (but this is a problem as my stomach does not like a lot of foods like leafy greens/other veggies. Trying to figure that out with GP when school is out for the summer and have more time to get more tests done)

Other issues:

Problems with lateness to work and school have increased; a lot. Partly due to insomnia/med wearing off brain fog and other awful feelings that I get before taking my meds for the day.

I seem more distractable on this formula than when I was on XR 15 mg. Unfortunately XR gave me a really horrible crash, coldness in hands/feet, excessive sweating/ other symptoms that I truly could not tolerate.

I told the Psych NP about these two issues and she literally did not believe me. She said "That is not even possible, you are on a higher dose" The Psych MD I was seeing before literally did not even listen to me at all when I reported severe side effects, which is why I switched.

I do not want to switch a third time. I am only permitted 20 visits to Psych MDs/NPs per year on my insurance.

Additionally, my insurance does not cover RX of any kind, unless you are diabetic or have cancer. Recommendations for affordable private insurance companies that cover RX for ADHD are welcome.


Thank you in advance for any help, and sorry again for length, but hopefully this is a bit more readable!
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Old 04-20-14, 05:16 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by missmedusa View Post
Thank you for your response. Sorry that the post was very long and not broken up, it was late at night and was having...once again...weird reactions to the effect of the medicine wearing off (and was having a very bad insomnia night). It's interesting. It's like my mind won't stop going in circles when it's been a long time since the meds wore off. As finals are coming up, it doesn't seem advisable to go completely off of them at the moment, but I may take smaller doses and then consult my GP rather than the Psychiatrist when I get the chance.
In theory, said meds should help your mind stop going in "circles" and assist your sleep. I take a dose about two hours before bed.

Do you snore, and if so, have you been evaluated for sleep apnea?
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Old 04-20-14, 05:33 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

I know for a fact that I do not snore, I have asked other people about this who have shared a room with me in the past. I already know that I have severe, chronic insomnia.

It may possibly be related to a circadian rhythm disorder (probably delayed sleep phase) but I need to look deeper into the issue. Seems to be hard to figure out. I've had sleeping problems all my life, but this med seems to be exacerbating the problem

During when the medication is still in effect, my mind definitely does not go in circles.
Interestingly, I am not having this issue at this very moment though the meds should have worn off about 6 hours ago. However, I drank coffee. I also got more sleep than on days when I have school.

Seems like extreme lack of sleep and/or denying myself caffeine causes the effect of not being able to think clearly/wandering mind issue. Unfortunately this is the case on most school days. I try to steer clear of caffeine or taking meds too late to ensure a better likelihood of sleep.

The XR also caused further insomnia problems. I told the doctor about this and he told me to take the med earlier (not good if I have to do homework after school and it's worn off though!) because some effects would stay in my system for up to 16 hrs? I assumed this would be the same with IR but to a lesser degree.

Side note: anyone tried Strattera? I hear it is less likely to cause insomnia...?
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Old 04-20-14, 06:48 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Ok. A lot of what you read mimics sleep apnea, many times confused with ADD.
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Old 04-21-14, 12:15 AM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

I just think you're a poor metabolizer of the amphetamine class of drugs. Some people, like myself and possibly you as well, seem to get the effects of high/excessive dosages at normal doses.

As I said before, I think you're better off trying something with lesser potency.
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Old 04-27-14, 08:49 PM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by missmedusa View Post
Sorry that the post was very long and not broken up, it was late at night and was having...once again...weird reactions to the effect of the medicine wearing off (and was having a very bad insomnia night). It's interesting. It's like my mind won't stop going in circles when it's been a long time since the meds wore off. As finals are coming up, it doesn't seem advisable to go completely off of them at the moment, but I may take smaller doses and then consult my GP rather than the Psychiatrist when I get the chance.

i don't think the adderall was wearing off *at all* when you wrote that first post! -- you wrote SO much, imho, you were either WIRED on adderall at the time, or you definitely don't have ADD (because no one with ADD could write that much without meds!).

lowering your dose may indeed do the trick. i too, used to write excessively and had a lot of the other symptoms you mentioned (including chronic insomnia) when i was on 10mg, 2-3x per day. i now take 7.5mg in the AM, and an afternoon dose of 5mg. things are a whole *lot* better.
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Old 04-27-14, 09:22 PM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by missmedusa View Post
>>

I told the Psych NP about these two issues and she literally did not believe me. She said "That is not even possible, you are on a higher dose" The Psych MD I was seeing before literally did not even listen to me at all when I reported severe side effects, which is why I switched.

I do not want to switch a third time. I am only permitted 20 visits to Psych MDs/NPs per year on my insurance.

Additionally, my insurance does not cover RX of any kind, unless you are diabetic or have cancer. Recommendations for affordable private insurance companies that cover RX for ADHD are welcome.


Thank you in advance for any help, and sorry again for length, but hopefully this is a bit more readable!
I understand not wanting to switch doctors again, but this reaction is intolerable.

I once had an anaphylactic reaction to a med, called my doctor's office,
and her nurse said it couldn't possibly be related to the med.

I complained to the doctor, got no concern about it from her,
and I switched doctors. I could have died but the nurse was too busy telling me I was wrong.

No help with insurance, I don't have any insurance myself, but for awhile I was seeing a psychiatrist
at a clinic with a sliding fee scale based on income. Might be something for you to check into.
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Old 04-27-14, 11:44 PM
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Re: Adderall IR - having strange side effects

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Originally Posted by Hypoactive View Post
i don't think the adderall was wearing off *at all* when you wrote that first post! -- you wrote SO much, imho, you were either WIRED on adderall at the time, or you definitely don't have ADD (because no one with ADD could write that much without meds!).

lowering your dose may indeed do the trick. i too, used to write excessively and had a lot of the other symptoms you mentioned (including chronic insomnia) when i was on 10mg, 2-3x per day. i now take 7.5mg in the AM, and an afternoon dose of 5mg. things are a whole *lot* better.
Well the meds should have worn off several hours prior to when I wrote that. It was very late at night. The thing I was noticing was how I felt for several hours after the meds wear off.

I don't think that's indicative of not having ADD, (although I've speculated on the possibility a misdiagnoses for awhile now, but for different reasons). Thing is, I can't write anything organized, coherent or concise when not on meds. I might be able to write a lot, but my mind just kind of wanders and before you know it I'm on some totally unrelated tangent, making unclear arguments, forgetting to back up what I'm saying etc. I can't focus my mind on what's important. I just write a whole lot of nothing.

What's more, I feel like I start losing focus about three hours after taking the 10mg. It's like the beneficial effects wear off way before the side effects . I really hate it.

I've had somewhat of a breakthrough though, as I've recently had a couple days where I was able to let the meds wear off and didn't have any weird side effects. It seems that if I don't get plentiful sleep that I get the worse side effects. Problem is, I don't get proper sleep 98% of the time, and the meds make this problem worse.

This crap is just so annoying it makes me want to scream. I just want to get enough sleep AND be able to concentrate in school/at work. I've tried everything for my sleep that I can afford to try though and nothing works except benadryl, but taking that makes me feel even worse in the morning than not sleeping does, and not even coffee will fix that level of brain fog.

I don't think it's JUST insomnia by the way, based on how I operate when I'm well rested. There's a small chance it isn't ADD, but something isn't right.
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