ADD / ADHD Community
3.37k Members
Avatar universal

Adult with ADD on Adderall

My best friend was diagnosed by her primary care physician as being ADD a few months ago.  She is 46 yrs old.  He put her on a low dosage of Straterra at first but after 2 weeks the side effects required a change in medication.  He put her on a low dosage of Adderall (18mgs per day).  She also takes 450 mgs of Wellbutrin a day for depression and 100 mgs of Topamax for migraines.  Add to that the fact that she drinks a few glasses of wine every night and you have quite a cocktail.  Since being put on Adderall her behavior has really changed.  Yes - she is more focused at work - but she is also quick to take offense and anger now too.  If any of us dares to say that she may be overmedicated - she gets angry and defensive.  She said the Adderall has killed her appetite and her libido but because she likes how it makes her feel and how much she is able to accomplish - she will live with those side effects.  She has lost weight in the 2 months that she has been taking Adderall.  She is 5'3" and has gone from 125 lbs to 119 lbs.  
She has also broken up with her significant other of one year which was a shock to all her friends and family and especially to him, since things had been going very well.  She's behaving like a 20 yr old.  She stays up til all hours during the week and stays out till the wee hours on the weekends.
She swears that the addition of Adderall to her daily regimen has been a godsend....I'm not so sure.  She was a different person 2 months ago.  Is this a common reaction for an adult on Adderall?  She has an appt with her doctor next week to evaluate how she is doing on the Adderall.  She is going to make it sound like it's the best thing that has happened to her.  Are we wrong to be worried?
25 Responses
Avatar universal
    I would have your friend ask the doc to be switched to Dexedrine instead of Adderall. Dexedrine has way fewer side effects and is much smoother. I personnally have no side effects and alot of people say the same. Is she taking Adderall XR or the intstant release? Extended release is better than the IR. Regular Adderall poops out With in 4 hours and makes for a hard crash and mood swings. 18mgs is acually a pretty low dosage for her to act that way. Any amphetamine can cause "bad behavior" its one of the side effects. But usually you see that with much higher dosages and with people abusing the drug for a period of time. I took 60 to 70mgs of adderall a day and anger or being "short" was never a issue. However there were plenty of other issues with adderall especially the rollercoaster ride all day long of being up and down which can make you grumpy for sure.  I also was taking wellbutrin, 300mg a day and I stopped taking it and feel alot better then when taking both.  450mg is the max dosage maybe she should atleast cut back some or slowly stop taking the wellbutrin and see what happens. And she really needs to quit the wine every night. Alcohol and Amphetamines can make for some unpleasnt times for certain people and the wellbutrin isn't such a great mix with alcohol either. Both drugs warn you against mixing with alcohol and her doc would say the same. Loosing weight is normal. Most amphetamines originated for diet reasons. And staying up late or insomia is another typical side effect. Again thats why I would make the switch to Dex I find it to be alot easier to sleep on. I suffer from insomia and the Dex has made it much easier for me to sleep which is the opposite of what it should do. She also needs to know when to take her last dosage. Obviously taking it to late in the day (evening is going to keep her up. Another good reason for the extended release usually you can take one in the morning and your good for the day. She may need to adjust later on by taking a IR in the after noon but thats for her to fiqure out.  With any of the ADD drugs you just got to try each one out and find the one that fits you the best because they all affect each person differently. For her is she really using it for what its prescribed for, it doesn,t sound like it. And it can become easliy abused and addictive.  Really have her try Dex and quit drinking and cut back on the wellbutrin. Dex is more potent then adderall but the smoothness and consistency I feel will help her mood. and to answer your question, no, it is not a common reaction for adults on Adderall to act that way if there using it for what it is prescribed for and not over abusing it. and if its the right med for the person.
Avatar universal
I know from experience that dealing with severe ADD and then not being diagnosed with it until after I  was out of school was hard. But, when I was finally medicated for it, it was a huge relief. I was able to start and finish something in a timely manor. But, when I finally had to get off of the ADDERALL due to pregnancy I didnt realize how dependent I bacame of the drug. I see young children put on it and its sad but sometimes its the only thing that works. I suffered while on the ADDERALL XR with severe mood swings, irritability, appetite change, to where even if i didnt take it i wasnt eating for like 2 or 3 days after I took my last dose. I lost 110 lbs in a little under a year on ADDERALL the doc had me on 55mgs of ADDERALL XR daily.... ADDERALL to me is a leagalized form of meth-amphetamines, or "ice" But like someone said before every drug works differently for each person Adderall in my case is the only one that works for me. But, drinking on the medications she is taking daily isnt the smartest considering that the alcohol makes the drugs do the opposite they are supposed to. the dose your friend is on is a very minimal dose to begin with if she was taking her meds as told then shouldnt have that kind of major personality change. But, once again every drug is different for one person to the next. when i started the adderall I felt like i could do anything cause of me never being tired but, when i would crash i crashed so hard it was painful to get up. its rough adderall is very strong and very affective if taken correctly and not abused. I have talk to my sons friends parents and they talk about taking there kids meds so they can get stuff done . so it is a very addictive drug. I just wanted to give a lil insight. hope i helped a lil but, if not sorry!
Avatar universal
Adderall IS officially classed as an amphetamine. Ritalin (methlphenidate) is NOT classed as an amphetamine.  While people with more severe cases of ADD/ADHD need something stonger, at least, in most adults when ADD/ADHD is reduced from childhood, Adderall may be too strong.  It can cause manic behavior.  Contrary to popular belief, if one does have ADD/ADHD, especially in adults, ritalin ( brands such as Concerta - time released ritalin, may be a better drug.  I know.  I have tried both, and Adderall made me feel like I was buzzing on cocaine or methadrine.  Just my opinion.  Ritalin is a much safer drug for those who suffer from ADD ADHD, especially in adulthood...again, my opinion.
Avatar universal
Hi there, I am no Doctor, but I am sure you are not to take Adderall with Topamax. They are a very dangerous combination. I on the other hand have had better results with the Adderall regular tablets. The Dexidrene made me crash like a lead balloon and it actually made me want to take more. The Adderall just kind of wears off and that is it,no crash. But hey, everyone is different and meds react different for different people. I am pretty sure though, that Adderall and Topamax is a No-No. You can check the interactions at webMD.com. No matter how you look at it they are all stimulants, They are all basically amphetamines or some form of an Amphetamine. The only two meds I know of that are not a form of amphetamines and are sometimes used for ADD are Stratera and Provigil. They are all bad for you and they are all a trade off for different people. They do work if you get the right combination. Again, like the others have mentioned, this is just my opinion.
Avatar universal
Hello again, I looked up the interaction I talked about and as I said, I am no doctor. I was wrong about the Topamax. I know that it is used in Migraine relief and sezuires, but the one I was thinking of that can be fatal is Imatrex. It is a bad combination. I apologize for the bad information. Also there is a better interaction guide at www.drugs.com.

I do not think that it is wrong for you to be worried about your friend at all. It is because you care about her that you do worry. Alos be careful not to worry so much that you put yourself into a situation where you might need to see a doctor. I know that sounds crazy, but I worried so much about my mother when she was sick with Cancer and passed away in 2005 that I ended up hooked on Xanax. Taking it everyday like candy and larger doses every few weeks. I finally got of of it on a daily basis and just use it for serious panic attacks. Fortunatly I never was a drug user as far as street drugs and I find that I have more control over taking my medicine than others.

It is hard to talk to someone who is taking psycotropic meds and have the discussion go without some defensive response from the friend in need of help. When I first started the Adderall for the second time in my life, last year, I lost about 25 pounds and stayed up for two days at a time and was moody. That has now subsided and the weight loss will stop at a certian point unless she just flat out quits eating. I took Adderall in 1996 till 2000 and it helped me keep a job and get my act straight. If abused though, it can be a problem.

Best of wishes to you and good luck with your friend. It sounds as though you really care about her. As bad as I think they are, an intervention with you and other friends or family may be an idea. I had one and it made me very defensive and I felt like a cornered rat. I felt betrayed and also as though they had no idea of what I was and still am dealing with. It turned ugly and tense and there are still some of my friends that know have a different view and relationship with me.I finally just took my partner to a session with my Psychiatrist and he began to see why I was on all of this stuff. Now if I do not take my meds for a day or two he thinks something is wrong with me.  Centxbear
1001199 tn?1288139053
Adderall should relax people with ADD. It relaxes me. She's basically using (abusing?) speed and dumped her boyfriend for no reason, possibly because her endorphines were flowing like crazy and she thought she didn't need him. She might have a tough time getting off it and crash hard. Plus when she gets offensve about her meds, that's a possible indication of drug abuse.

Does her doctor know she also drinks every day? This is not a good recipe.
She's taking an unhealthy mix of stimulants and depressants and the crash could be really hard. I'm wondering what she is or isn't telling her doctor that may be causing him to write this cocktail. Is she getting everything from one doctor?
800339 tn?1270437086
Hi trblnfla,

I know that this is an old post, but I would just like to see how your friend is doing now.

You friend should have a set routine of when she takes her Adderall, and should avoid taking it closer at night.  It could also be that your friend may be on too high of a dosage (she should have been started out at 5 or 10 mg).  I take Adderall, and it works wonders, but it will work differently for everyone.  I already suffer from insomnia, and I know that unless I want to stay up all night I need stop taking it no later than 5 PM in order for my sleeping pill to work.

Adderall does list that it can create a feel of false well-being, so you do have a right to be concerned.  It also seems to be more common than uncommon that weight loss does occur with people on Adderall.  Since your friend is only 5'3", her weighing 119 pounds is still within a healthy range, and losing 6 pounds in 8 weeks, is also at a healthy rate.  But it is something that does need to be watched... because it is easy to abuse.

Best of luck.

ʚ- HoᴖeyNᴗt
Avatar universal
Hi  I would tell your friend  that adderall is just like speed. And it has very bad side effects ,one of the side effects is Seizures and she is also on wellbutrin and that has a warning all of it that it can cause Seizures also. So she shouldn't be on Adderall .

Have they ever done a EEG on your friend .is see she is on topomax  and that is used for seizures also.  she should get an EEG done on her. It may be that she is having Seizures  and not ADD because  ADD can look like Seizures.
Avatar universal

I have epilepsy and I take quite a few medications...antipsychotics, antidepressant, stimulant and broncodilators...that lower my seizure threshold and I'm hanging in there.  I see an epilepsy specialist who is very good at keeping things at bay.  I go to my appointments, get routine EEGs and tell him about new medications or changes in my medication doses.  Just because I have epilepsy doesn't mean I can't take Vyvanse or whatever, it just means I have to be careful, keep an eye out for changes and keep in contact with my doctor.  I assume the same holds true for other people.      
Avatar universal
My spouse is on Adderral and our marriage has been in turmoil for three years.  He filed for divorce in August.  During our marriage, he would work all hours of the night and not sleep for 2-3 days and then crash on the weekend.  He became increasingly angry and avoidant at the slightest of triggers.  He would leave for several hours and that eventually became nights and then weekends.  I was extremely lonely and walking on eggshells around him.  I started to have anxiety because I just didn't know what to expect when I would spend time with him. He nearly lost his business too.  His partner at could not tolerate his frequent absenteeism.  He would even say he was going to work and his partner would tell me he only worked one day out of 5.  I would spend hours looking for him, expected and assumed he was having an affair.  He would hide out in hotel rooms constantly to avoid any activities that we would plan as a family.  He would get engrossed in a book and stay up all night.  Or engrossed in his work to the avoidance of all other things.

I have urged him to try different medications but he says they do not help his ADHD.  He likes how the adderral makes him feel.  We are trying to mend our relationship now and he is acting like a college kid all over again.  He bought a convertible and totaled it the next day.  He has had 5-6 car accidents in the last year.  He started drinking a lot and is now addicted to singing kareoke and obsessed with his friend the DJ.  He says he is buying a motorcycle next.  He is on this big exercise kick too.  He runs 3 miles a day!  He acts like he has Bipolar fluctuating madly between manic/depression.  

I even called the drug company to report my concerns about the medication.  Shire denies any problems with the medication and says its the abuse of it that is the problem.  I have a feeling that my husband is taking more than he should and running out of it before he can get a script.  He crashes and sleeps and is so vulgar and rude when he doesnt have it; which is now once a month!!!
757137 tn?1347200053
I sounds to me like your friend just likes drugs. And since when is a family doctor competent to make the diagnosis of ADD? In any case she doesn't have it, judging by her reaction to Adderall. She is on speed (Adderall) for its own sake. She will probably be able to con her doctor, since she already has.
Avatar universal
I went through all the psychological testing with psychologists and psychiatrists as a child to get my diagnosis.  Is this pretty uncommon nowadays -- getting diagnosed without lots of testing?
Have an Answer?
Top Children's Development Answerers
189897 tn?1441130118
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
What to expect in your growing baby
Is the PS3 the new Prozac … or causing ADHD in your kid?
Autism expert Dr. Richard Graff weighs in on the vaccine-autism media scandal.
Could your home be a haven for toxins that can cause ADHD?