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  #1  
Old 03-24-17, 10:01 AM
nowi_o nowi_o is offline
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can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Hi,
im in my second year in collage now, diagnosed with ADD since i was like 3 yr old but only started to get medicated at age 18 (last year of high school).

I think my thinking process really slowed down since i started the medicine. I would always have a hard time listening in class and writing down notes, but i would understand really fast if i studied it at home on my own, or if someone explained it to me personally (as apposed to in front of a classroom). I would always finish a test before everyone else, I was always quick and impulsive. in high school i used to study the material (which was completely new to me) about a day or two before a test and understand it way better than students who were actually in class.

Now, 5 years later, after being on ritalin for 4 years, than last year i started vyvanse and adderall- I feel really really slow.
I'm studying engineering- and everything takes me so long to do!! in tests I have extra time so i stay an hour after everyone is gone. In class, I keep getting lost, even though I don't have a problem sitting down 16 hrs a day, everytime some student asks a question, or I hear a sound, or Im trying to write down what the professor says I get completely lost...
so I spend time in class, and than i have to spend double time really studying the material! I've been doing that ever since I started my first semester until now. (2nd semester of 2nd year). I've also failed a few classes so i had to give up my summer semester.

which is what really upsets me! I study all day long 7 days a week, i'm not able to work and earn money, plan with a friend, do whatever hobbies im interested- and all that because I've gotten SO SLOW!!

I'm getting really sick of trying so hard and spending all that time to compensate being so stupid...

Now its gotten even worse, my brain gets so fogged up when im trying to write an answer on a test, or even writing a simple text message.
I don't Know what to do anymore, I know that if i quit collage- when im learning for something I really like and would want to work in that field- I'll never be able to do anything with myself.

I had a lab class yesterday and even though I prepared for it I felt so lost!! I completely forgot the material or what I was doing (its like i had a blank white page in my head), and eveybody in my lab class came to help me, which was really nice of them but everytime I think about that situation, how pathetic i was, i start crying. I've been crying so much now, I have no energy for anything...

i saw my psychiatrist today- he said it was anxiety and said i should see my collage therapist. also he took me off of wellbutrin and put me on prisma (because i also had a problem eating and this has less side affects.) but even if i do have anxiety problems it still doesn't explain why Im so f***ing slow!!!

Does it makes sence that my brain is processing slower than it used to?
Did anyone else experience a significant decline in productivity?
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Old 03-24-17, 11:25 AM
ToneTone ToneTone is offline
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Anxiety definitely harms working memory and concentration. Absolutely it does.

I'm not saying your psychiatrist's diagnosis of your situation is right, but I'm confirming that anxiety interferes with clear thinking and focus--absolutely so!

"I can study all day long 7 days a week" ... Wait a minute. Studying 7 days a week is a recipe for brain overload and lack of focus. Brains need breaks. ADHD brains probably need longer breaks than other brains.

Seriously, if you're studying 7 days a week, you are undermining yourself. There is no research out there that says that that is any good. All the research I've encountered says people may tell themselves they're "studying" but their brains get nothing done after a certain time.

So that's point 1.

Point 2 is college isn't high school. That you could do well with last-minute study in high school means ZERO for college. College is just so much harder and yes college usually exposes weak and inconsistent study skills and habits.

Point 3 is why did you stop the Ritalin? ... Adderall and Vyvanse affect some people quite differently than Ritalin does. Vyvanse definitely slows down my brain ... but my brain is hyper ... so the slow down is fine. On the other hand, Ritalin increases my energy and enthusiasm and motivation. So either way, there is work the med does and work that I myself have to do ...

Anyway, revamp your study schedule. Literally start with some real exercise 5 days a week, even if only walking ... and build up ... exercise is great for executive function ... and it helps with sleep and it can provide shape to our days and weeks.

Tone
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Old 03-24-17, 01:32 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

How about you talk to your doctor about Intuniv to get that adrenaline down a bit, see what effect it has on your anxiety. It seems to me that your adrenaline is so high, that the extra dopamine coming from your medication is not enough to sharpen your awareness.

To be completely honest, I don't know why doctors prescribe amphetamines without an alpha-2 agonist...they do know it increases adrenaline a lot more than dopamine, so why not get that down a bit. If your ADHD was the result of a lack of adrenaline, ephedrine would work as well! So if that's not the problem, why increase it so much?

I forgot the coefficients, but for every dopamine molecule you get 2.2 norepinephine, or something like that, if you guys know the exact number you can help me out. It's too much adrenaline everyone is getting. You don't need it.
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Old 03-24-17, 03:20 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?


"Studying 7 days a week is a recipe for brain overload and lack of focus. Brains need breaks. ADHD brains probably need longer breaks than other brains."

-I don't study all day long, and I do take breaks if I need... but because it takes me so long to do everything I need to put in extra time... also I don't really mind studying, I'd rather do that than get out of the house...


"Point 2 is college isn't high school. That you could do well with last-minute study in high school means ZERO for college. College is just so much harder and yes college usually exposes weak and inconsistent study skills and habits."
- I know its different but the material isn't hard for me to understand- it just takes a while to look up the information online/ books (because I can't really take notes or listen in lectures)..

"Point 3 is why did you stop the Ritalin? "
-Ritalin was working fine but than when i started collage I got these mood swings, and the Ritalin didn't really affect anymore and I had to take a higher dose- about 100 mg a day... than I started with adderall, Vyvanse, and Elatrol- the Elatrol made me really sleepy so i switched to wellbutrin. and for a while i felt under controll, but still slow...

"Anyway, revamp your study schedule. Literally start with some real exercise 5 days a week, even if only walking ... and build up ... exercise is great for executive function ... and it helps with sleep and it can provide shape to our days and weeks. "
- I was lifting weight 3 times a week which i really enjoyed, but for the last 2 weeks I couldn't get myself to go to the gym... but you're right, I should try to do it everyday.
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Old 03-24-17, 03:25 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulate View Post
How about you talk to your doctor about Intuniv to get that adrenaline down a bit, see what effect it has on your anxiety. It seems to me that your adrenaline is so high, that the extra dopamine coming from your medication is not enough to sharpen your awareness.

To be completely honest, I don't know why doctors prescribe amphetamines without an alpha-2 agonist...they do know it increases adrenaline a lot more than dopamine, so why not get that down a bit. If your ADHD was the result of a lack of adrenaline, ephedrine would work as well! So if that's not the problem, why increase it so much?

I forgot the coefficients, but for every dopamine molecule you get 2.2 norepinephine, or something like that, if you guys know the exact number you can help me out. It's too much adrenaline everyone is getting. You don't need it.
won't the adrenaline cause me to be hyper and restless? because I'm not, I have very low energy levels and sometimes I can't get myself out of bed....
also I have ADD not ADHD so im not hyperactive to begin with...
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Old 03-24-17, 03:29 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

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Originally Posted by nowi_o View Post
won't the adrenaline cause me to be hyper and restless? because I'm not, I have very low energy levels and sometimes I can't get myself out of bed....
also I have ADD not ADHD so im not hyperactive to begin with...
While adrenaline may get you hyper right now, on the long term it drains your energy and makes you tired, because it consumed body resources. I find it spends energy in the wrong department, for the wrong reasons. It's complicated to explain, perhaps your doctor can tell you more.
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Old 03-25-17, 03:15 AM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Do you mean, do meds damage your brain in the sense that it works slower? Or do you mean in general will meds slow down your brain in a way that relieves some of the adhd symptoms?
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Old 03-25-17, 10:25 AM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
Do you mean, do meds damage your brain in the sense that it works slower? Or do you mean in general will meds slow down your brain in a way that relieves some of the adhd symptoms?
I meant do meds damage your brain in the sense that it works slower.

for example, if adding up numbers in my head took me let's say 10 seconds, and after a few years with meds, solving the same equation will take me 90 seconds.
or, writing down one sentence would take me once x seconds, now it will take me 2x seconds...

does it make sense or maybe its just anxiety?
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Old 03-25-17, 12:25 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

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Originally Posted by nowi_o View Post
I meant do meds damage your brain in the sense that it works slower.

for example, if adding up numbers in my head took me let's say 10 seconds, and after a few years with meds, solving the same equation will take me 90 seconds.
or, writing down one sentence would take me once x seconds, now it will take me 2x seconds...

does it make sense or maybe its just anxiety?
Anxiety due to excess Adrenaline.
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Old 03-25-17, 02:46 PM
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Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nowi_o View Post
I meant do meds damage your brain in the sense that it works slower.

for example, if adding up numbers in my head took me let's say 10 seconds, and after a few years with meds, solving the same equation will take me 90 seconds.
or, writing down one sentence would take me once x seconds, now it will take me 2x seconds...

does it make sense or maybe its just anxiety?
Stimulants are very safe, despite what you read on the internet. Most of them in some form or another have been around for over 50 years. As far as I know they dont damage your brain. I have been on them over 13 years and things are ok.
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Old 04-13-17, 10:50 AM
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Thumbs up Re: can ADD drugs cause my brain to process slower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nowi_o View Post
won't the adrenaline cause me to be hyper and restless? because I'm not, I have very low energy levels and sometimes I can't get myself out of bed....
also I have ADD not ADHD so im not hyperactive to begin with...
Stimulants make people focus more -- particularly the ADHD-* brain, but this goes for everyone. (Which is why neurotypical people also want them for school.) It's counter-intuitive, but it's also the reason we drink coffee/soda/etc to study (even beyond just 'staying awake' when pulling an all nighter). (And why many ADHD people self-medicate with those beverages.)

As an aside, ADD is now ADHD-I (ADHD is now ADHD-H, and there's a combined type, ADHD-C). So don't be surprised if it looks like people are only talking about ADHD and not ADD, that changed in the DSM-V in 2013 or so. :P

Anxiety can be induced by various meds, and yes, anxiety can absolutely slow down thinking processes. It might be that the med just isn't right for you. There are non-stimulant meds, but there's probably more than one reason why Postulate was suspended. (And it's not because "he disagrees with the mods and forum opinions.") Studies have shown stimulant medication to be safe in the long-term. There are things to watch for of course, depression, anxiety, etc, just as with any medication.

I mean, you can always trial going without medication for awhile and seeing what happens, but my guess is that you went ON medication for a reason...

Also, I recommend recording lectures to listen to later. The LiveScribe really helped in my stats classes (I SUCK in math) to be able to rewind afterwards when I realized I'd tuned out. Your CSD (Center for Students w/ Disabilities) may be able to give you a trial or a loan of one to use before buying one yourself.

Last edited by tearsong; 04-13-17 at 11:19 AM..
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