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Old 01-06-12, 01:07 AM
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Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

(sorry Admins, I'm new to the forum and I don't know where to post this.)

I'm seeing a Psychiatrist on Wednesday to talk about medication. I'm 24 and I just found out I have adult ADD about 6 months ago. I've never been medicated for my ADD, and I'm a tad concerned to take a stimulant. I have had very severe anxiety problems that were triggered in full force about 3 years ago. Panic attacks, OCD, GAD, derealization, depersonalization you name it. The works. I've been using the Linden Method (yeah yeah I know it's controversial but I was desperate and it actually worked...) and I have dramatically improved my anxiety levels to a manageable level.

I still have some residual anxiety issues that I think are pretty much caused by my ADD. As in, I think if my ADD went away I would have nothing to be anxious about really. I know I really should ask a professional rather than a forum, but I was just curious if anyone here has had anxiety issues that actually decreased with stimulant medication? I've been through hell once and I have no intention of going back...

Thanks ya'll. Take care
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Old 01-06-12, 01:20 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Unfortunately for me, stimulant medication(s) for my ADHD really jacked up my anxiety levels. Especially Dexedrine and Adderall. I would even go so far as to say that taking such medications possibly induced my anxiety issues (by that I mean to the point that resulted in me receiving a diagnosis of GAD)... The KG of a few years ago would totally not have considered herself to be an "anxious" person. Not too detrimentally, at least.
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| Diagnoses : MDD | ADHD | ASD | BD-NOS | BPD |
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Old 01-06-12, 01:32 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Yea it can. I felt weird getting my Klonopin script from my pharmacist while picking up my adderall. I asked if a lot of people take an upper and a downer ( which I dont really think klonopin is anymore) and she said yeah it is quite common.

Just start slow with your dose and keep a journal of when you dose and when you feel anxiety. I found that when I took concerta I had anxiety spikes at the end of the day when it was wearing off. When I took adderall I had anxiety right when the med kicked in. On vyvanse I got really irritable. Its guess and check.

And dont feel bad about asking for something to help with anxiety from your pdoc. Last doc refused to give klonopin or any benzo without a debate. My new one has no problem with it. It should not be a forever type thing but if you feel your stim is giving you anxiety either try a lower dose or switch stims and use the klonopin or benzo to help get thru the testing period.

Also according to the internet there are two types of stimulants L and D isonomers. I think that is the word. Some people say that they have less anxiety on just the D isonomers e.g Vyvanse, dexedrine, focalin. The ones that have both D and L are the Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta etc.

Just food for thought. Ask your doctor about it. He should know stuff like that.
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Old 01-06-12, 01:51 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

The majority of my anxiety pre-diagnosis was from my inability to get done what I wanted/needed and from the extreme effort it took to focus in distracting environments. On meds I am much less anxious. I did have to get used to new sensations and identify their causes. Like the fast heart beat for the first few weeks made me feel anxious but it was an emotional response not a real anxiety attack. By that I mean, usually an elevated heart rate means an xiety, but here it meant I am adjusting to new meds. All is ok!

Everyone is different. A good doc will discuss this in detail so expect that. Actually insist on it!
Good luck!
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Old 01-06-12, 04:27 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Like Cattail, most of my anxiety comes from my inability to finish or even start a task. When I have a stack of bills looming and I"m not doing them and I worry that my cable will get shut off...that's anxiety provoking. When I know I need to get a job but just can't get my act together...that's anxiety provoking. for me, when I'm taking adderall my entire mood just seems better because I don't feel so overwhelmed.
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Old 01-06-12, 05:09 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Same here - my anxiety is greatly reduced by feeling competent to handle daily responsibilities and socialize appropriately.

But I want to add this: Generic dextroamphetamine ER made by BARR gave me physical side effects that could feel like anxiety - jitters, elevated heart rate, a sweaty feeling. Switching back to brand Dexedrine Spansule was a very noticeable difference, I just felt calm and clear. I have never taken more than 10mg 2x daily, btw.

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Like Cattail, most of my anxiety comes from my inability to finish or even start a task. When I have a stack of bills looming and I"m not doing them and I worry that my cable will get shut off...that's anxiety provoking. When I know I need to get a job but just can't get my act together...that's anxiety provoking. for me, when I'm taking adderall my entire mood just seems better because I don't feel so overwhelmed.
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Old 01-06-12, 05:40 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dusty1 View Post
Like Cattail, most of my anxiety comes from my inability to finish or even start a task. When I have a stack of bills looming and I"m not doing them and I worry that my cable will get shut off...that's anxiety provoking. When I know I need to get a job but just can't get my act together...that's anxiety provoking. for me, when I'm taking adderall my entire mood just seems better because I don't feel so overwhelmed.
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Old 01-06-12, 06:45 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

For me Ritalin trigged my anxiety, not increased it.

There are many types of anxieties and medication can either increase them or calm them.
Anxiety about tasks are more likely to be calmed because you finally get some focus but social anxiety may increase. But then again it depends who you are.
My socially anxiety is worse because I'm actually able to focus on people. My distraction saves me from anxiety. I find that kind of funny.
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Old 01-07-12, 01:34 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

The whole ADD diagnosis and treatment really nuked my self-image as a laid back low anxiety person. Turns out I have a lot. Ritalin made it worse, I ended up in the ER with a full on panic attack. Dextroamphetamine doesn't seem to do make me more anxious, but sometimes I'll get that anxiety pounding heartbeat harder. Or maybe it's more noticeable...hard to say.
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Old 01-07-12, 06:28 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

My anxiety was worse untreated. Once I began stimulants I leveled out.
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Old 01-07-12, 11:25 AM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Actually, I found my anxiety completely went away once I was put on the amphetamine-type stimulants. Of course, you should start on small a small dosage and work with your doctor on finding the right dose. With that being said, the Ritalin-like medications (methylphenidate, and especially Focalin) gave me an increase in anxiety. I've had to switch back and forth throughout the last 4 years due to medication shortages, price fluctuations, and lack of insurance at times and every time I go on a methylphenidate med, despite working, increases my anxiety to where I need a small dose of a benzodiazapine. In my case Xanax XR .25mg. Ultimately, talk to your doctor. Most understand are extremely helpful.
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Old 01-07-12, 12:58 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbouris View Post
ADD moment... You can focus on TV?!?!?!? O.O
as long as I have the remote and can flip flip flip flip. TV actually helps turn my head off.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:08 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

I was diagnosed with AD-HD and GAD a few months ago. They started me on Adderal IR with some side effects (#1 was insomnia but didn't notice any inc. in my GAD). After 6 weeks, I started a 1 month dose of Vyvanse (40mgs) again with side effects (#1 was insomnia). My wife (of 42 yrs. - who is my rock and best friend) noticed that I was becoming more anxious on the Vyvanse and esp. after taking the new 60 mgs. dose for 8 days. The insomnia was even worse. I stopped the drug for 2 days and felt like a totally different person. Fortunately, I had an appt. after those 2 days with my therapist who wasn't sure if the GAD was front and center now or the ADD problem was causing the anxiety (guess that it's a problem for them to figure it out).
After my appt. with my MD Pyshc and discussing the anxiety and sleep problem, he wrote a Rx for Adderal XR 20mgs and Sonata 10 gms. He felt that if I could get some decent non-interrupted sleep, that my anxiety would diminish.
After just 2 days on that XR, my wife noticed that I was really becoming much more anxious and of course, lousy sleep even taking the Sonata which only gave me an extra 3 hrs.
Now, what do I do?? The stimulants definitely helped me with the AD-HD but with serious (to me) side effects now the GAD seems to be more of a problem. I'm a 68 yr old retired health pro who understands the problems but now is unsure how to proceed. My next appts with the therapist and Pysch MD is 2 weeks away.
I will not take the drugs and have contacted the psych MD but he usually doesn't get back to me for 1-2 days.
If anyone has any suggestions, they will be most welcome.
thanks
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Old 01-11-12, 07:15 PM
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Wink Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

While not being a doctor nor playing one on TV, from personal experience I say no; quite the opposite. You may feel oddly "calm" (more like you have it "together") and not so bombarded by constant outside stimuli. Be prepared for those close to you to comment that you seem quiet, thoughtful...perhaps even a little "down." One thing I learned very early is that, 99.9% of the time ADD/ADHD does not EVER exist "in a vacuum." More than almost any other psychiatric disorder, there are always what are called co-morbid conditions like anxiety, depression, learning disorders, dyslexia, substance abuse. A person can have a major depressive order for a few years and otherwise be fine when it remits. Not so ADHD; lucky us, we virtually ALWAYS have issues elsewhere as well. I see you mentioned your previous history of problems with anxiety. I, too, have always had an annoying level of background anxiety that comes and goes, and stimulant medication - at SIGNIFICANTLY higher doses than most people seem to require - did not make those problems any worse. Actually, I think they lessened somewhat, or at least SEEMED less ominous and bothersome in light of my newly acquired self-esteem/confidence, mental focus, and social & occupational functionality. ("I'm NOT an IDIOT! I can REALLY do this!") However, it's not a cure-all. In the the ensuing two decades+ since diagnosis, there have been times when I needed anxiety meds (benzos like diazepam or lorazepam), but the two classes of drugs are NOT incompatible. Yeah, I've had a couple of pharmacists look at me curiously when I got Vyvanse (or AdderallXR or Dexedrine - whatever the drug of the year was) filled one week and then Ativan or Valium the next. Luckily, that's only happened in places where I wasn't known. My "regular" pharmacists have known me for years and know I'm not a druggie on a pill rollercoaster like Elvis or whoever. (And they WOULD let someone know; my job involves a lot of network support and off-site data management for the retail chain pharmacy - their employer - in question!) It's all new and a little scary for you now, but you'll adapt...trust me. Most importantly: ALWAYS REMEMBER: If you're uncomfortable about ANY medication for any reason, whether a drug for ADHD or anything else, you DO *NOT* HAVE TO TAKE IT! With that attitude going in, you're going to experience every side-effect ever recorded, and literally talk yourself out of the potential benefits (all subconsciously, of course). YOU are the sole arbiter of what goes into your body and no one else, despite how well-meaning they may be. If your doctor(s) doesn't/don't feel that way, IMHO, your immediate concern is not ADHD but, rather, locating a new MD who has a 21st-century attitude and can offer support and reasurance. If you're like most of us, you've already been a "mental drug of the week" Guinea Pig for years and worried about what some new pill will do. Take nothing until you've learned more about it. Trust me, your ADHD will still be there waiting when you're ready!
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Old 01-12-12, 03:40 PM
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Re: Will stimulant medication increase anxiety levels?

Stimulants can, indeed, increase anxiety levels. Some people find that they need to take antidepressants and/or antianxiety medications along with stimulants in order to get the benefits without the increased anxiety. If you're experiencing anxiety, and changing stimulant medications doesn't help, you may need to try a different strategy, which your doctor will prescribe based on your specific reactions to the medications you've taken so far and the symptoms you are trying to treat.

BTW, Sonata is meant to be a short-acting sleep aid. It's supposed to help people who have trouble falling asleep but not staying asleep, especially middle of the night wakings when it's a bad idea to take a long-acting sleep medication.
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