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  #1  
Old 01-15-09, 03:00 PM
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How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

So I've been seeing a therapist for 2 years for anxiety, and she came to the conclusion a few months ago that I am actually ADHD, and that my anxiety is stemming from it. Prior to this, I had tried 6 different kinds of anti-depressants and nothing worked but horrible side effects.

I had to know once and for all if I truly was, and if seeing a psychiatrist was worth it again. I'm tired of them telling me, "lets tackle the anxiety part first" because I have been working out the anxiety with therapy, and changing my behaviors. A lot of my anxiety is caused due to my inability to focus or organize.

ANyway, so I had to know once and for all, so a friend gave me a very low dose of her adderall. I know that's illegal, but I was in my own home, during the day with not much to do other than clean and do research. This was a one time thing. I could go on about the experience, but overall I was focused, motivated, there were no distractions and the best part? I was *patient*. Instead of rushing to get everything done and everything is only partially done... I did one thing at a time, and I didn't feel like I needed to rush. I felt slightly drowsy at first, but once I focused on something I didn't even notice the drowsiness. It was like, the fog and speed of my brain has been eliminated and I could grasp my thoughts because they were deliberate and not all over the place. I thought, wow this is what it feels like to think clearly.

I went to my psychiatrist who works with my therapist and he agreed that therapy was medicine enough for my anxiety since I've made so much improvement with that (it also stems from past abuse issues...), so he prescribed me ritalin. I've only been on it for two days now, adjusting various dosages. So, I figured ok that's fine it should be the same as adderall, right? Um, wrong. I feel very, very drowsy... I want to fall asleep. It's more like zoning out into something, like a trance. I don't feel much more focused, and my jaw won't stop clenching. I'm much more serious but my thoughts haven't slowed down much... but distractions are essentially gone. The jaw clenching and headaches are extremely annoying and my eyes are so dry! All I can think about is sleeping.

My biggest concern is that... if I tell my doctor I would like to try a very low dose of adderall because I've tried it and I'd like to give that one a shot. I don't want him to think that i am abusing it, it was a one time only thing. I don't lie to my doctors, I tell them everything but I was afraid if I told him I tried it that he would not prescribe me anything at all... you can only get better with honesty, right? I'm giving the ritalin a 3-week shot but if these symptoms don't get better, is it OK to tell him I tried adderall and want to try it?
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Old 01-15-09, 04:36 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

Hi and welcome to the forums!

In my opinion I wouldn't tell your doc about trying someone else's Adderall.

You could just tell him that you've been doing some research and you think that Adderall might be better for you than the Ritalin.

I started o Ritalin also and I felt like a zombie! Then I switched doctors and told my new doc that I'd already tried Ritalin and hated it.

I told her I'd like to try Adderall and I'm still on it with great results.

Hope this helps.

Good luck and let us know how you're doing.
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Old 01-15-09, 04:50 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

I'd just try something like this:

"Hi, doc. It's me, Somuchbetter. The Ritalin isn't working very well to alleviate my symptoms, AND the side effects are unacceptable. I've read that Adderall might be a better option and would like to give it a try."

In other words, even leaving out your prior Adderall experience, the facts DO support you trying Adderall now, so just state them.
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Old 01-15-09, 11:18 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

Thanks so much! I think that would help me feel not so nervous suggesting it to him also. I *did* technically do some research: I interviewed some people that were prescribed it, looked up differences online between the ritalin and adderall and then I conducted an experiment.

I just figured since they were in the same 'class' of drugs, that they would be similar in how they act but obviously I was wrong.

I can concur with the zombie feeling... but I feel almost anti-social and a bit irritable. I took 10 mg today before a class and I just felt tired and especially annoyed when people were laughing. Usually I am the giggliest, most upbeat person in there! I guess it helps with my hyperactivity but definitely not the attention. I'm going to still try it for another week or two just to make sure, but after trying 6 anti depressants previous to this diagnosis (effexor included) going through this whole 'trial and error' thing with a whole different 'illness' is exhausting!
thanks for your advice!
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Old 01-16-09, 01:53 AM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

re: #1

Please answer this: do stimulants IMPROVE your anxiety?
If so, ADD is likely your primary problem (and contributing to your anxiety).

If not, and stimulants worsen your anxiety, then you likely have primarily an anxiety disorder.
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Old 01-16-09, 03:04 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

Well I have been on 6 anti depressants and I do not tolerate them whatsoever. I have been on Effexor among them, and that was the best one although the side effects were still terrible (it was like my brain was zapping, so weird!). Most of them make me over emotional, and even depressed.

This is what we are definitely trying to figure out, what the primary problem is (which came first the ADHD or the anxiety). I also feel as though my anxiety is not enough of an issue to tackle with medication, especially because there are other causes behind the anxiety (past sexual abuse issues, that I am currently going to therapy for).

WHen I am on a stimulant though, I don't worry so much. The problem is, ritalin makes me really tired kind of like a "i dont care what you think" attitude, more reserved. The adderall made me slightly drowsy also but without the reservations.

For example, doing dishes. I did the dishes on adderall, and I did them deliberately, I did them very well, without rushing, and I finished them. On ritalin, I'm doing the dishes but my mind is still gone and away, zoned out... therefore not doing the dishes very well, but taking a very long time to do them. It was like, "ugh I just want to get this over with." yet I couldn't pull away from doing them.

I don't know if maybe I'm just comparing the meds to each other too much, but I just find it a little strange that a stimulant can make someone so tired.... and almost grumpy! Why do these two stimulants change my mood so drastically?

Why does ritalin make me so serious and reserved? I'm usually the most upbeat, laughy person ...

Its like the ritalin tackles the hyperness in me, while the adderall tackles the focus part. Do people get prescribed them together?
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Old 01-17-09, 03:33 AM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

Adderall and Ritalin are actually not the same class of drugs. They're both stimulants, but Adderall is amphetamine and Ritalin is methylphenidate. Most people with ADD respond well to one but not the other. Typically, amphetamine-based stimulants are more effective for inattentive type ADD, while methylphenidate-based stimulants are more effective for hyperactive ADHD.

I guess it's because methylphenidate has more of a calming, sedating effect (what you described as the zombie effect). For people whose main symptoms are hyperactivity and lack of impulse control, that's a great thing. But if you're more the daydreaming, mind-wandering type, that's the last thing you need.
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Old 01-17-09, 02:09 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

There's nothing unethical with what you've done so don't feel guilty; you just didn't follow the law to the letter (no biggie). You shouldn't bring this up in the next year or so because it puts him in a tough spot, where he could be liable for not putting this information into your med records. Pretty much anytime you violate a law that has to do with a controlled substance, your doc would probably appreciate you keeping it to yourself.

If following the law is really important to you, then from now on, ask your doctor for samples; not your friends. Doctors are more than happy to provide, especially if you explain your reasoning. I think it's very understandable that you didn't do this in the first place given your history of anxiety.
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Old 01-17-09, 04:53 PM
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Re: How can I ask my doc to switch me to adderall from ritalin?

I appreciate everyone's advice!

And I am definitely the day-dreamer mind-wandering type. I don't know why they think I am hyperactive considering I'm almost always tired!

I will definitely be asking my doctor about switching in the next two weeks if the ritalin continues to not work for me, and without mentioning my brief experience with adderall. The good thing is the jaw clenching has stopped as well as the headaches.

Now I just have to formulate what to say without sounding too nervous....
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