ADD / ADHD Community
3.37k Members
Avatar universal

Can adderall cause paranoia?

Well for the last couple of months, I've just noticed that I become really paranoid in public, more specifically, times that I may feel threatened or nervous.  An example of the worst it gets:  I carry a knife everywhere I go, I made it a habit a while ago for cutting boxes at work and because I'd have to walk home after work, but that was over the summer, and I quit because of school.  So there's no need for a knife, but I still feel like I need some form of protection.  I've even kept it in my front coat pocket so I could grab it easily if needed-- the weird thing is that I get that feeling even when I'm just around friends who act a little suspicious.  Or just walking somewhere, or when I'm out somewhere and a group of people are walking by....   At home, if I'm the only person there and it seems like a car is parked outside waiting, or people are standing on the sidewalk infront of the house, ANY suspicious activity, I usually grab a gun and can't concentrate on whatever I'm doing cause I'm too busy listening for a door to open or something....

I wanted to explain that first, so here's all the facts and stuff:

Switched from Ritalin to Adderall about 4 months ago, started on 20mg XR.  I stopped noticing the effects of it, and told my psychiatrist, and she gave me a scrip for 10mg IR to take with the XR.  Then about a month ago I mentioned that I've been getting distracted easily at school, so now I'm on 30mg XR/10mg IR everyday.  For the record, I'm 6'1"/220 lbs, a pretty big guy... I only say that cause I know body weight has alot to do with med dosages.

Other medications:  clonazepam [1mg] (not daily, only as needed for anxiety... usually like 3 or 4 days out of the week) -- Ambien [10mg] for sleep obviously

I exercise almost every day, smoke some pot at night occasionally- sometimes recreationally and sometimes just to get to sleep.  I take vitamins, fish oil when I remember, sometimes take pepcid or whatever is around the house for heartburn...  No medical problems besides sleep and occasional social anxiety, but the anxiety has gone down alot over the last year.  Except for the incidences I'm talking about.  And I only see my psychiatrist for medication refills/check-ins, it's only a 20 minute appointment and I never have anything big to talk about, but I only started seeing a psychiatrist b/c of the anxiety last year, which like I said, has gone down alot.

But these paranoia attack-type things are alot different than anxiety, I get alot of adrenaline when I feel like this...  and I tend to try to get somewhere where I feel safer, which is making very bad changes in my social life.  I feel like telling my psychiatrist next time I have an appt. but I don't want it to be mistaken for depression or anything... I took all types of anti-depressants for anxiety, and none helped, all of them made things worse, until she bumped me up to a benzodiazepine...  So I reallllllllly don't want to be put on antidepressants of any type, eh... I'm not really sure how to describe but whatever.

I mean can the adderall cause these types of side-effects?  And if not, what could be?  I guess I also need to know if this is something to get checked out immediately, I have no clue how serious this is....

37 Responses
Avatar universal
Adderall is not recommended for people with anxiety problems because it generally worsens it.
Avatar universal
well thanks for the responses....

I do exercise alot actually, I know 220 sounds overweight but I've been lifting for about 5 years (im 17).  And I get cardio when I can, lol to say the least, running in arizona isnt that fun.  But I skateboard pretty often and play dance dance revolution obsessively in spare-time.

As for the knife, I really don't know why I carry it anymore, when I worked I had good reason for it cuz of boxes and alot of other things.  And I would assume 6'1"/220lbs is a little intimidating to most people so in my mind, I know I don't need a knife.. and I've been in plenty of fights and never lost, but my most recent fight (4-5 months ago) was a 2-on-1 which I guess might be why I feel I need a weapon... a few of my friends have been jumped and put into the hospital over stupid s***, and I don't like that to happen.  If people I'm hanging out with are arguing (the kind that looks like it'll end up in a fight) I always get between them and shut em up.

But it's not always just my safety that i'm paranoid about, I feel like I can't trust anyone at anytime... Not even my best friend or my parents, I'm always thinking that somebody will steal from me, start a fight, start talkin s***, all kinds of stupid stuff that makes no sense to me when I get home and think about it.

I'm wondering if the clonazepam could have something to do with it... cause I've been using it for about 10 months, off/on, and now I usually only take it on weekdays when I go to school.  So idk maybe the monday-friday use causes withdrawals on saturday/sunday?  I really dont know but im pretty sure paranoia is a benzo withdrawal symptom.

and ive been thinking alot about the adderall, and if it really is causing these problems, i guess im gonna stop, but I really dont want to.  It's sort of helped me get over a couple sleep disorders, temporarily atleast (delayed sleep phase syndrome, insomnia that's been on/off for 3 years, and mild obstructive sleep apnea)... The sleep apnea I think went away on its own, I honestly don't know b/c even if I did wake up in the middle of the night, I wouldnt remember it b/c of the ambien.  my delayed circadian rhythm is extremely confusing for me and a neurologist that specializes in sleep medicine, all I've found that works temporarily is either marijuana or heavy sedation (i used to take 20mg ambien), and still occasionally take diphenhydramine HCI with the ambien if i can't get to sleep after an hour of laying in bed.  

hah alot of information, but the point I was trying to get across is that the "crash" or come-down from the adderall almost always makes me tired at night, which really hasnt happened over the last couple years, except of course after starting on adderall.  And like i said, i exercise as well, so that helps my body be tired as well as my mind.

and in all honesty, i can't concentrate in school for 1 minute without some kind of stimulant, I used to take ritalin but that was definitely interfering with sleep, and i didnt feel concerta at all, so after those 2, adderall helped in many ways.  My school record has been terrible until i started on it, and that's something I don't want to risk, unless it does become serious.

hmm and i called the psychiatrists office today, they said my appt is 2 weeks from today, so not much help.  
312330 tn?1245180352

I can relate with you on the "crash" at night when the Adderall wears off....and prior to Adderall (and still but to a lesser degree) I had terrible sleep problems...the typical "can't shut my brain off" kind of nights.  I can also relate on how the school records change, and not wanting to risk that.  That being said...

Medications work best when they are taken as prescribed...in this I'm referring not only to your Adderall, but also to the Clonazapam...the ups and downs from the meds can be really hard on the system.  It's really not a good idea either to change the amount or schedule of your meds without talking to your doctor....which I'm sure you know, but just gotta say that becuase when you're frustrated it's easier to forget.

I would suggest that you try to get your appointment moved up if you can, and till then take the meds as they are prescribed.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
well, things arent getting any better, in fact, its indescribable now..

i've been extremely paranoid about everything to the point where i cant do anything without thinking "what if" + 'every possible scenario for every possible situation'.... not just things that are illegal or things my parents wouldnt like, or things that might have a consequence, i mean everything i do, at every second.

and tonight didnt help much, either it was a deliberate attack, or possibly a prank, but somebody decided to pound on our front door then run away.  and ever since, every car that drives by the house, every one of our pets that makes a noise, every appliance that turns on/off, every noise or scenario i can imagine, scares the living hell out of me, and makes my body pump adrenaline non-stop, which has been going on since 11pm, and its now 5:30am and i havent been able to even close my eyes when i try to get to sleep.

i took an ambien at 10, planning on going to bed, but that didn't make me feel sleepy at all.  i do feel tired, but my brain is going nuts and i cant shut it off, then my heart starts racing whenever i hear something.  and ive taken 3mg of clonazepam (i have a prescription, its not illegal incase you were wondering) so far tonight, but those havent helped at all.  and 3mg is alot, after downing 3mg i shouldnt even care if somebody was holding a gun to my head... but, everything is scaring me.  and any noise at all, loud or soft, makes me sort of jolt and completely drop whatever i was doing.

and i feel trapped in my bedroom, so after my parents/brother went to bed, i've been patrolling the house with a .45ACP every time i hear a somewhat loud/strange noise, thinking it's somebody breaking into the house.  so i check every inch of the house, carefully peek out every window to see if anyones outside, then go back to my room and try to sleep.  but then 10-20 minutes later, i have to repeat the entire thing.  its almost like im afraid to fall asleep because i think something is gonna happen while im asleep.  if i dont do my 'patrol' (this has only happened tonight by the way), i increasingly feel trapped and doomed, and it seems like the only way to survive is to take out "the people" that are "after" me.

im sure theres more, but i cant remember, i havent slept in 22 hours and my brain is only concentrating on my surroundings.

so basically its been an anxiety/panic attack thats lasted 6 hours or something like that, ive noticed that a blood vessel in my eyelid is twitching (only happens when i take too much adderall when im incredibly tired, and also happened the couple of times i tried cocaine last year)... all of which confuses me.

but the strangest thing is, the panic attacks get extremely unbearable and i become practically insane for 5-10 minutes.  for instance, i called my best friend and started accusing him of doing that thing earlier tonight, and barely spoke clear english the whole conversation, and i was a total ******* to him, which is now making me feel like ****.   and another instance tonight, i posted a myspace bulletin that was about 5 paragraphs explaining how i'd kill anyone who tries to do that again, and a bunch of other stuff, but one of my friends replied to the bulletin, and i didnt even remember writing it.... but i deleted it after a couple hours when i went back on the computer... but i re-read it before deleting it and it makes my anxiety skyrocket thinking about how my friends probably think im insane and i doubt most of them will talk to me again (assuming they read the bulletin)...

the worst part, honestly, is that it feels like i'm losing it... and by "it", i mean my mind.  I honestly feel like I'm going insane, and theres no way i can have a normal life if things continue like this, which has obviously only gotten worse and worse everyday.  but i know crazy people don't know they're crazy, so im even more confused and worried.

i try to think positive and do deep breathing and all kinds of techniques to reduce anxiety, but nothing affects me at all.  i try the 'mindstate' of "oh well thats b.s., nothing like that would happen, chill out, stop worrying, that can't happen, honestly what are the odds of that happening, etc....     but none of that does anything, my mind just reverts back to doom mode.

and i hate to say it, but tonight ive been feeling like i HAVE to end this one way or another, but its impossible to "stop" a non-existant threat.  and then i get brief thoughts of just stopping this altogether... by that i mean suicide.  but i'm catholic, and i obviously believe that i'd go to hell for eternity if i did.  but its unbearable.......  ive never contemplated suicide, and i deep-down and 100% against it and highly doubt i ever would, but these moments just throw all that out the window and make it seem like a simple solution.....please dont be concerned about that, i just mentioned it because im worried that (since these attacks constantly increase), maybe one day i'll jsut completely break down and go into an insane state once again, and even do it.... im so confused, honestly.  and im a tough guy, ive had alot of struggles in my life that ive fought through by myself, not only alone, but friends, peers, and parents making it worse.   and while writing this, ive shed a few tears while thinking about my current state.... its embarrassing for me to say, but thinking about this makes me wonder whats gonna happen, and i get the feeling that the outcome will be quite unfavorable.

i really need help, please, if you read this, say something, really anything.  i do apologize though if some of this is hard to understand, but im pretty sedated at the moment, sleep deprived, and cant concentrate worth s**t .  if i ever fall asleep, hopefully ill feel better in the morning.

(ps.  my psychiatrist only does 20 min. apptmnts so i dont really get to discuss everything with her, or sometimes just dont remember to bring something up.  but if i wanted to really talk about something with a long story and many questions (from both of us), it really isnt possible in 20 minutes.  but i feel i need some kindof professional help, although i dont want to be put on antipsychotics of any type, and i've taken antidepressants but i didnt really like that too much, but i guess i could try it again and see... idk.


Avatar universal
i think its not just one factor i think its many.   I believe its the pot the meds and your home life causing your paranoia.     Paranoia can be cause from pot if you smoke enough of it and the fact that you smoke it to get to sleep makes me believe that you smoke a lot of it.
Avatar universal
amphetamines are notorius for causing anxiety and paranoia... not to mention the rebound effect of the benzopines which makes what would have been a pain in the butt anxiety attack into a full blown "im dying' attack....... your drugs contradict each other and Im sure the pot and whatever alchohol you might consume are adding to the problems. I am having a hard time comprehending why so many people are on uppers and downers at the same time,, doctors have been warning us for years how deadly dangerous this is,, Go see your doctor man,, your too big to be running around with knives and paranoid like that, Im sure your probalby not abusing the speed, but if you are,, stop before you hurt yourself or someonelse seriousely.

*with heart and hope*   Jenn
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?