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Old 11-14-05, 05:20 AM
Seth1 Seth1 is offline

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Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

I am a freshman in college. I attended a prestegious public hs. In grammar school, my grades were good, my test scores were exceptional, and I always felt that I was the smartest one in my class (when it came to english by far.) not the best behaved by any means, but the smartest. I was incredibly creative, exceptionally well read, coherent, creative. I had a rediculous vocabulary and was amazing at english (i read sallinger, orwell, etc and understood them when was in the third and fourth grade). Freshman year of HS, I had a hard time focusing during certain classes (restlessness, the need to walk around and talk to everyone etc etc). My grades slipped a bit, and my well-meaning parents took me to a psych. After a short consultation I was put on adderall and little research was done. I do have some low form of add, but different drugs should have been used or none at all... It was a stupid move on the part of the psychiatrist.

I was put on 30mg (6x5mg) a day and from that point on I have been taking them fairly regulary. At first it was great, I could concentrate and all that. I stopped fidgeting. I lost some weight and started working out (i was overweight and small, I had low self esteem). And I never raised the dosage, it always seemed to have a fairly strong effect on me. I usually only took 10-20mgs a day when I felt I needed it.

But after a while, I realized it was stifling my creativity. I couldn't write papers/stories with same zen flow I was used to. I couldnt engage in conversation quite the way I used to. My memory got all !@#^ed up. And I continued to take adderall. It took a long time to realize this. I am an ok student but my grades are not so amazing to justify the effect it has on my brain. I'm well above average in english (700 sat) still --- but not on that fiercely coherent plane where I could get into "the zone" and write and talk and understand forever even if my words sounded like babbling at times to anyone but me. It was an amazing feeling that adderall destroyed. And I really just rarely took a break (i dont remember the last time I went a week without it.) i'm taking a break starting now. And i'm scared I will never regain what I once possessed. Really, really scared. I was a prodigy-- sure, I was !@#^ed up in some ways but I possessed a sort of genius. I was highly social and had an amazing sense of humor. I was short and chubby but one of the most popular kids in my class. And i'm not stupid by any means now, but I feel 'slower'. My mind moves less freely. It's harder to write, to communicate with strangers. To meet new people. To conjure up stories that add to the conversation. It's harder to think clearly about complicated philisophical matters and to retain what I read. I'm sure there are worse adderall addictions, but my entire sense of self-worth is tied up in this. I never feel 'at the top of my game'. I may be good looking now (adderall helped me control diet and excercise exceptionally well) but that doesn't mean anything. And I'm fairly confident I can control those things without.

I really would just like someone to tell me that I will regain the intellectual prowess of my former life? Will my brain repair the neurological damage that adderall did to it? I know my dosage wasn't high but this scares me to death. How long until adderall is completely purged from system (a week, two?) i've never really taken a long "drug-vacation" in the three-four years I've been on adderall. Will my brain absorbs things like they once did? Until I can have some of the natural euphoria, that giddiness I once treasured from conversation and writing. I always hated the fact that I was such a chatterbox and now I miss that part of me so much. People don't notice i'm on adderall, people don't notice that i'm changed-- but I do. Adderall inhibits my creative process. Sure, it makes mundane tasks and organization a hell of a lot easier but i'm too f*** smart to be a secretary or a ditch-digger. The thought that I could be impaired for life because of this makes me want to cry. If the numb, disconected feeling lasted forever I'd most likely jump off a bridge (I've never been close to suicidal but it doesn't mean this isn't true). Without a keen emotional basis, it's hard to conjur up things, to distinguish between what is and isn't relevant. Adderall may make my mind move faster but it reduces the quality of thought, my understanding, and my retention it is reduced. The few 3-4 day adderall breaks I have taken I find that class may be boring and I might get less physical work but learning comes easier. I haven't gotten back to the completely unmedicated feeling, however, and that's what I want to do now.

I really just wish that someone would pat me on the shoulder, offer me some reasurrance, and tell me i'll be up and running within a week. That I'll be changed back somewhat fairly quickly. Has anyone dealt with this sort of thing before?
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Old 11-14-05, 11:06 AM
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The increased extracellular dopamine caused by stimulants like Adderall has been shown in studies to inhibit neurogenesis in the hippocampus and possibly interfere with memory in some studies. As for the other things, I don't know, you say it slows your thoughts down in one part, and speeds them up in another.

As far as any long term damage to your brain, I doubt it, the dosages that were required for methamphetamine neurotoxicity were equivalent to injecting several grams every few hours in a human. There's no evidence I've seen it happens with anything resembling a vaguely normal dose. Further, that's oxidative stress caused by increased extracellular dopamine, not the drug itself, and only impairs the dendrites rather than killing any cells, and this was shown to reverse itself over time.

It sounds to me like what some of you describe could be sleep deprivation.

If you really want to, you could talk to your doctor about tapering down your dose gradually and stopping it. I wouldn't suddenly stop it, or you're going to be very tired/lethargic for a while as you develop a dependancy to some degree over time.
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Old 11-14-05, 12:38 PM
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I would also suggest that you consult with a doctor since we aren't qualified here to answer all of your questions. Since you are in college now, you could try going to their medical services if you don't have a family doctor that you like and trust.

Tapering off may be a good solution since it would give your body time to slowly re-adapt to not having the medication, but again, a doctor would know that for sure.

What we can offer you is support and encouragement for looking for solutions in your life. There is a lot of information here about alternative medications, therapies, etc. Use the search function for any topic that strikes you to see what info we have.

Take care and keep us posted.

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Old 11-14-05, 04:58 PM
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Welcome the the forums. In my opinion, this is the best ADHD resource on the internet. There are a lot of knowledgable people that contribute.

I'm sorry you are experiencing this difficulty with your medication. The good thing is, you were able to acknowledge it yourself.

Your dosage was not extremely high, but it may have been too high for you. Did you go through an adjustment period of trying different times and dosages? Did you try the XR version?

I agree with the other responses. Even though the medication will completely leave you system within 24hrs., your body will go through an adjustment phase. Try to taper your dosage over a week or two to reduce the side-effects, if you choose to stop taking it. Before you do this, please talk with "your" or "a" doctor. Maybe you were on to high of a dose, which stifled your creativity. It took me over a year to find the right balance.

I also sense you might be questioning the entire diagnosis or at least the method of evaluation that lead to the diagnosis. By the timeline you listed, you've been taking it for almost 4 years. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate your treatment plan. If you need some more insight, please check out "Driven to Distraction", by Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Ratey. Many people feel this one of the, if not, the best books on ADHD. There is also an update edition titled "Delivered from Distraction." If you read these books and can totally relate, then there is a good chance the diagnosis is correct. Also, look for old report cards from 1st and 2nd grade. Focus on the teacher's comments. They will help understand what you were like in other's eyes.

Good luck and keep us posted.

- "Tim's incessant talking is wearing on all of us." (comment on 4th grade report card)

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Old 12-01-05, 07:19 PM
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The advice you've already gotten about talking to your doctor and tapering off is good. I was reading recently where one level of stimulents is best for controling the hyperactivity but that a lower dose is best for mental functioning. I expect thing will return to normal and that you've suffered no permanant brain damamge. Let us know how it goes. (I went off my meds a week ago and while I'm having more trouble staying on boring "have to" tasks, my mind seem much sharper and it's easier to integrate more disparate information. I was a good student too way back when and what I found really helped me without meds was lots and lots and lots of exercise. Hallowell and Ratey say in Delivered from Distraction that vigorous exercise acts like a dose of Ritalin and Prozac combined for refocusing and calming your mind. I ran, hiked, paced the halls -- whatever 3 or 4 times a day and got through college with excellent grades. Might be worth a try -- there's no down side.

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Old 12-01-05, 08:59 PM
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Creativity is a delicate, subtle thing.

I am not taking adderal, but I did have an issue with poor creativity after going on medications. It was so bad that I became concerned and talked to my doctor who said that it does sometimes happen. Eventually I found it intolerable and reduced the dosage of one of my medications and the situation has improved greatly... with the side effect that I am just a tad more scattered than if I were still taking my usual full dose.

It ended up being a tradeoff. I make my living by being creative, and I have always been a little scattered , so it is no big deal. Losing creativity is a SERIOUS issue for me, so I had to do something. The result was that I chose to be a little less medicated so that I could be more agile mentally, and thus more creative, however scattered I might be.

I am not suggesting that this is what you should do, but I am saying that your experience is not unique and that it is probably not permanent. You should talk to your doctor and express your concerns.

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Old 12-01-05, 11:35 PM
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Straterra put me in the hospital with an allergic reaction.

It looks great on paper, yet I can't take it.

After going thru most of the Ritalin meds, I'm on Adderall now.

I wish you luck and hope you can find a med that works.


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Old 12-02-05, 01:32 AM
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im also very creative and have only been on meds for about a year and a half.i dont think its been stifling my creativity but im not sure

i have a friend who was on add meds since she was small but she quit taking them. im a much better writer/artist than her, and she always said that it wasnt her fault cause she was on ritalin for so long and it stunted her mind....

anyway, i always thought she was just saying that cuz she was jealous that i was better, but waht do ya know!

soooo, the good news my dear is that my friend says after she went off the meds she found her creativity came back and she now draws and writes better than ever! and she was on theem for quite a while.
so dont worry, your genius will come a knockin soon as you flush all this **** outta your system
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Old 12-06-05, 12:08 AM
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Wink yeah

I know everyone is frantically answering.

But you will return to your normal self once you stop. It may take a few days, even a few weeks. But once you get back to sleep and start taking it easy, you will return.

ADDERALL can cause feelings of paranoia,and jitters, and it is not something to fool with if you worry a lot. Just talk to your dr. and find out about stopping and follow his lead. I am sure he will be more than happy to assist you.

Just be firm and say, I don't care to take adderall anymore, I need to know what to do to stop using it.

Adderall is considered an IMMEDIATE response drug. So after the first two or three days, you'll start to feel like your old self again.

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Old 12-06-05, 05:50 PM
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It will take awhile to get back to your old self after quitting addrerall. I got sick of it too and quit. Spent about a week sleeping, then after a few weeks I was close to my old self. In a few months you should be like before.

I dont know what the deal was, but something about adderall drains you. It seems to deplete your system.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:35 AM
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Cool Re: Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

This is fascinating... I googled what was essentially your question -- will prolonged use of adderal cause permanent creative and social impairment -- and found this wonderful site. I am a junior in high school, and this year's schedule and workload are probably the most challenging I have ever had. I'm attempting to muddle through it without my medication.

Last year my classes were relatively easy, and I was able to get by with a's and a few b's without meds. This year, however, I'm drowning in b's, one a, a c, and a b that will likely become a c -- the worst grades I can remember getting. Admittedly, every class I'm in is very challenging, but I can't help but feel that my performance would greatly improve if I were on medication.

My problem is yours. I have always loved and done well in English, but that is the extent of my scholarly talents when I'm not on medication. I strongly value my creative (and social) abilities, and when I am on medication I feel like I'm another person. I become unable to relate to other people, almost unable to feel any strong emotion, positive or negative. I feel narrowly focused, like a horse with blinders. And I can work wonderfully well on mundane tasks.

I want a career that allows me to be creative, or at least the ability to express my creativity in my free time, when I'm older. I'm afraid that if I take medicine, my still-developing brain will be permanently changed.

I gather from the responses I've read that this is not likely to be the case, and it's very comforting -- it lets me lose some of my considerable fear of medication. However, I wish there were some harder evidence, and I was wondering -- on what facts or sources are people basing their answers? Data from studies? The advice of doctors? And if so, are they the kind of doctors who are inclined to prescribe medication, or the kind who are more inclined to consider non-drug options?

Last edited by peripatetic; 11-16-10 at 03:28 AM.. Reason: added paragraph breaks for easier reading
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Old 10-29-11, 03:58 AM
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Re: Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

samjam8088 -- i'm curious about the same thing!!
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Old 10-29-11, 08:47 PM
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Re: Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

I'm a writer. I write for several websites and magazines may be writing a book soon.

I won't say that I owe my creativity to amphetamines, but I certainly could not get my ideas out and organized on paper without them.

Adderall and Dexedrine help speed up and disentangle the flow of my thoughts. I never finshed any of the writing projects that I started before the meds.

I couldn't tell you why you are experiencing difficulty. Stimulant medication has saved my life.
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Old 10-30-11, 10:40 PM
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Re: Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

I don't know if this will be helpful to you or not, but one way to deal with this on a (somewhat) non-physiological level is to think of the creative process as something non-linear...thus, whether or not you're in Adderall or not doesn't really determine how "creative" you are. There are lots of things that can feed into creativity - something that helps with attention may certain help crystallize some thought processes, but interesting insights can also be arrived at through other means - i.e. "stimulation" via experiences/going to events like shows or plays, watching films, attending lectures, listening to podcasts (something I don't do because I keep forgetting to, but I've just now reminded myself lol), through conversations, etc....or, engaging in mediums other than what you're used to working in because you'll have different expectations/approaches for them, or will confront them in new ways...and those insights might then be applied to the mediums you usually work in when you return to them...Sometimes being "too close" to something can be frustrating, and creating a bit of distance (via engaging with other mediums) can be helpful...if that makes sense. Also, I've found that ideas tend to randomly float to the forefront of my consciousness whenever I exercise...It might have something to do with the repetitive activity (maybe being engaged in something like that frees up something else)? I realize there are lots of different ways to think about creativity, so I don't mean to sound preachy or anything...However, I'm a writer and performance artist and Adderall tends to be consistent in how it helps me with my reading, but not always my writing...

At the same time, it has occurred to me that retaining such insights (non-linearly) might be challenging...You'll have to figure out some kind of system of recording and organizing them...something that might be more difficult for someone with ADHD to do. I myself still haven't figured this out, even with the Adderall, so maybe some of this just has to do with practicing certain habits over and over till they become ingrained...I suspect that the main things that get in the way of my productivity (attention difficulties aside) are 1) forgetting to look back on notes I've already taken, which contain the very ideas that I meant to explore/integrate and 2) continuing on projects I've already started (I'm always starting new things and finishing few)...Perhaps I'll have to keep a post-it by my desk to remind myself of these things...

Good luck!
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Old 10-30-11, 11:04 PM
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Re: Adderall has messed up my mind. What do I do?

quirkyscrawler, this is a cool post. this whole "non-linear" thing - not sure i entirely get it, but you are saying that perhaps Adderall can change dimension in which you work, and in that sense, it makes it non-linear. >> you can use creativity in multiple mediums, in relationship between mediums, etc. // >> in fact, this is what i tell myself to comfort myself in case i feel that creativity has been "lost." >> that, instead, my creativity is funneled in different ways. i might be doing something different now, now that i have Adderall, compared to before, but it doesn't necessarily mean that i am less creative, but rather using my creativity in different ways.

in terms of how to keep up with the non-linear creativity -- again, not sure i entirely got your point on this, but i find this difficult as well. i recently put together a notebook, with tabs A-Z, in which i keep lists of all of my thinking. this way it is at least somewhat organized, so that i can continue to develop ideas. // otherwise, it remains a whole bunch of notes everywhere, in books, on my desk, in a way so that "nothing happens."

but that whole notion of needing something to "happen" - - that has sort of bugged me (perhaps because i am upset that nothing ever comes of myself -- that is, in terms of creatively finishing something). // maybe creativity can be an on-going process, that doesn't manifest itself in a finished project, ever. its a creative way of being alive, a creative energy, that has influence in its spirit, not in something concrete. // or maybe i'm just trying to be optimistic.
(i feel creatively squelched when i have to bring something to completion. ugh.)
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