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Worried about long term effects of Adderall

I have been reading about the effects of Adderall.  I have noticed in my son and step-son both that they have dispayed some signs of Autism.  I was wondering if it was a possibility that it could be another long term adverse effect of the Adderall?   They have become very nervous and fidgety, neither were before taking this medication. My step-son has the most severe sypmtoms.
96 Responses
Avatar universal
Stimulant medication isn't for everyone. I  would probably talk to the doctor about bringing them off this medicine. I am 36 and couldn't tolerate Adderall, i was nervous, almost paranoid, moody..and it eventually seemed to make my ADD worse. I'm off it now and feel a thousand percent better. It took me about 5 months though before my body started making enough of it's own dopamine and I stopped feeling fatigued and depressed (it was progressive though). I take 5htp now and L tyrosine, both can help with ADD. I personally don't think kids should be on the stuff but that's just me.
Avatar universal
Please listen to me.... By the way, I can't believe that I’m actually on one of these discussion sites, I was just looking for solutions to my problem, and hope to stop you before you create one for yourself.  
Regardless of the fact that I am anonymous, I want you to listen because I hope to save people from this terrible addiction one day; I hope to save lots of people.  It’s such an unintentional addiction for the people that start taking it , and these people are the naive sweet and innocent, who are made to believe by society that we need to transform our lives to live up to a certain social standards, or ideals.  These are also the people that are being suckered into the addiction by our nation’s ******* government’s lack of drug regulation.  Certain doctor’s have corrupted their ability to utilize their educations in a way to harm people, and people need to take it upon themselves to do what you did,   EDUCATE YOURSELF, and ask questions before you believe that people’s claim is ultimately the truth.  With enough information you can determine what’s right for you.  The only reason I am here taking the time out is to inform those that if they are addicted they aren’t alone, and if you’re not, which I’m sure you are if you are on it for more than a month, to get the hell off!!
I am a 23 year old woman.  When I was a child, I was tested over and beyond my intelligence range in comparison to the children my same age bracket, in turn, had a physiological chemical off -balance.  I was diagnosed with OCD, ADHD, ABC, DEF, you name it!!!  I had it.   My mother wasn't for putting me on medications; she was afraid of the damage it would place on my liver.   I was extremely young when I was diagnosed by the way.  Growing up I was an amazing athlete with lots of drive, I played soccer, in addition to always party with my friends.  I was also a great student; I practiced cognitive behavioral therapy, at the University of Pennsylvania, which promoted a Holistic approach of looking at typical disorders that children are labeled with.  The majority of what they did for me focused on correcting problems that coincide physiologically and physically as opposed to taking a pill.
About 2 1/2 years ago, I started taking Adderral XR 10 mg twice a day; I am currently taking 30 mg of Adderral XR 2 times a day. XR stands for Extended Release.   Sometimes, if I have that paper that I have been putting off due tomorrow, I’ll pop an extra.  But recently whether it’s a paper,  late night of drinking, extra computer time, , I’ll take one before bed and 2 the next day, note that is 150 mg in my body on occasion…”Where is my doctor in this picture?” you ask.  Right, the one responsible for monitoring me, making sure that I am ok with the side effects and such, picture this.  
I am currently a Business major, in school still, finishing up in may/June. I have now been prescribed 60 mg of adderral XR a day for the past 2 years. Maybe I’m in denial, or maybe I don’t know, but I have never been addicted to anything in my life, not drugs, not cigarettes, and now I’m stuck on both.  
When I hit college I had just started seeing this new doctor.  He was funny and energetic (probably b/c he was prescribing himself a thing or two) Well, naturally I liked him.  He made me trust him.  He started me off on Straterra , to correct my never dissolving issue of ADHD.  I personally knew nothing would work, except me working on myself. According to everyone else, nothing had worked, as I’m sure he was already aware of, oh yeah, did I mention I didn’t and still don’t have health insurance, and he was charging a college kid almost a hundred dollars a visit, so that he could do “follow ups”,?  **** ups is what he should have called all of those visits.  
Next, came the big BANG!!!!!!!!!!  This was essentially the biggest downfall of my life.  I am emotionally mentally and physically crippled because of this man.    He wound up hooking me into this addiction, made tons of money off of the college girl for himself and the Pharmacy industry of good ol’ America.  I had to work an extra job in college just to pay for all the meds, and in the moment, thought truthfully that I needed it to make me better, but by the time I realized what it was doing to me, I was so sucked in that I didn’t have time to think or worry about what to do to make me better.  “Where is he now”?  You ask?  
He began cancelling apts. To the point that I would have to just show up there, and the drive to his office, is in my hometown, 2 hours away.  I never knew how crazy it was to have to drive all the way to his office to get him, because I never stepped outside of myself, or outside of my box, self centered is what I am, but not in a selfish non giving way, in a way that I worry so much about myself.  This drug has created so many added problems with my disorder and with me that I absolutely cannot move out of bed without it.  You have no idea what withdraw from this drug is like.  I feel like a crack head, and yet I never asked for any of this.  I have never  voluntarily took this to get messed up, because I don’t have an addictive personality, but when a doctor prescribes you meds at 20 years old, you want to believe what he is giving you is legitimate.
This has been a growing issue in everywhere in my life.  I don’t have the same feelings I did before this drug.  I find it really hard to be happy.  I used to always smile, and laugh, my last episodes of this behavior where before this drug came into my life.  I have no interest in sex, boys, and by the way, I am good looking, I can say that, because trust me, it’s not a feeling of satisfaction, in fact, I have boys throw themselves at me, and don’t care, nor want to associate with them.
I think of suicide a lot, I mean at least like twice a day, the only reason I don’t do it is because I think of what it would do to the people I matter to.  I mean the real people like my mom, my family, my friends, just because I can’t feel doesn’t mean they can’t.  
I am crying while writing this letter right now, but that’s the only emotion that I seem to possess anymore, feelings of fear, worry, failure, and my future.  I don’t care about things women my age are doing, I care about how I’m going to make the most money, have the nicest things, but really I have never been that way.  The drug has made me manic, but subconsciously I know that, so I keep myself in check.  If you don’t want Jeckle and Hyde to argue inside of your brain with you as the middle man in, then stay away from this ****.  
I have to end this by telling you that this doctor refused to take anymore appointments from me.  I felt like I was a drug attic whose drug dealer was running away from them.  He would tell the secretaries in the office to say that he wasn’t there.   I would be in bed for days on end waiting for my mother, who by the way was never aware of the severity of my addiction, nor the existence, to go to his office and pickl the prescriptions up for me, because he made me feel like a lunatic.  I knew I needed the prescription but did not have the knowledge, courage, or dignity to go myself and tell him how I felt.  
I am now with another doctor up at school, who just today told me that my doctor sent him a letter stating that I corrupted the prescription and he had to dismiss me as his patient. (Not in fact the truth) This is the news that I received about a half hour ago.  So, I’m sure this is just another issue I need to deal with.  STAY AWAY ANYONE WHO READS THIS….

Avatar universal
i seriously need to talk to you.
Avatar universal
It sounds like you have addiction problems.  ADHD increases the likelyhood of drug and alcohol problems.  I am currently taking Adderall at the recommended dosage.  I never take more than I'm supposed to.  I have found it to be extremely helpful for a problem I've suffered from my entire life, without knowing what it was.  If it is not abused, it is a great help.  But, you should take into consideration the fact that it is a drug which is used recreationally, I should say, abused recreationally.  You should not assume that everyone who is taking this drug is addicted.  You may be scaring people who really can benefit from this medication.  You should consider getting help.  I personally am an alcoholic and drug addict.  I attend 12-step meeting every day (almost).  I have found peace and a new way to live.  I needed to work on the underlying problems.  Addiction is a problem that will destroy your life.  I now know that I can use the medications that I need, correctly.  I go to therapy, and AA meetings, and take my medication.  It does what it is supposed to.  It doesn't get me high, I don't take it to get high, or to stay up all night working on a paper.  I take it as directed.  I understand how tricky it can be.  I was addicted to Percocet and pot and alcohol.  I abused my medications to get through the day.
But, you can learn a new way to live and manage your life.  And, you can take medication!  Some people may not be able to tolerate Adderall.  Don't take it!  But, many of us have found it to HELP us with the addiction problems and personal issues that ADHD had caused in our lives.  I am proof of that.  
Not treating ADHD is not a very good option.  Find another doctor.  Talk to a therapist.  Get help.
You don't have to stay in pain.
And for those out there looking to get help with ADD/ ADHD, know the risks, follow the direction of your doctor, and then make up your mind.  
My life is 1,000x better after taking adderral.  And it helped me to quit drinking and abusing drugs.  I seek the help I need.  Pills alone won't fix it.
Avatar universal
Im currently on 30mg xr daily and i couldnt be happier.  I was on this same dosage for 3 years in middle school, then I dropped in High School for w/e reason.  Now im In college and started up again.  It keeps me from taking the excessive naps i usually take on a daily basis (about 4 hrs worth a day w.o meds...i know its fked up).  My GPA is the highest its ever been, and seriously you've never felt more confident in yourself and your abilities on this pill. Sure, i could just blow 2 fat rails of coke and get the same effect, But the XR is the seal of approval that you'll feel awesome for 8 hrs.  As much as i want this to be a joke im 100% serious and if someone constructs a petition to get this **** thrown in the water supply my john hancock will be the first on the list.
Avatar universal
But, what if you were to reduce your dose? Say take 20mg instead. How would you feel? Or what happens on a day when you forget to take your 30mg? My guess is that you would begin to feel lethargic and not want to do anything...then you'd have irritability/who knows what else. Until you took your 30mg, then you'd be fine. My guess is your addicted. I don't recommend suddenly not taking your 30mg...you could throw your body into withdraw. But, what if you took just 20 one day or for two days?
505907 tn?1258372940
  I've been taking Adderall for 10 years + and don't know what the **** some of you are ranting about! If Adderall is having some horrific effect on you may I suggest that you may have been misdiagnosed as ADHD and your brain isn't affected by it like mine is. I've gone without this drug for weeks at a time over and over and, though I wasn't in top form obviously, I never EVER had any frantic cravings for it, etc. that would cause anyone, including myself, to think I was an "addict".
  Genuine203. Have you ever considered that you are in fact bipolar and not ADD? The symptoms are identical in many ways but your deep depression, your paranoia, apathy, etc. would seem to make that diagnosis make more sense. After all, Adderall is a stimulant and the way it affected you seems extremely peculiar to me. All four of my children are diagnosed with ADD as well and have been on it for periods of time depending on their individual needs. There were some side effects such as difficulty falling asleep at night and a lack of appetite. My two older boys didn't like the way it "changed their personalities" but their teachers and I did. They were later diagnosed with other mental illnesses which made their statements more understandable. My youngest son is most badly effected by this disorder and, at the age of 12, he refuses to go to school without taking his meds. Don't rule this drug out for those of us who are correctly prescribed it and for whom it is working.
  Stimulants are too widely prescribed and ADHD is usually the first diagnosis doctors make on the way to the right one.
Avatar universal
THANK YOU! My thoughts exactly.
Avatar universal
i was forced to take adderall XR for ten years with varying dosages. before i started taking it and at first i was in the upper range as far as intelligence goes and my grades in school were great. i would be near the top percentile on any standerdized tests i took and things were fine. but after taking it for about 3 years things went down hill. i went from all A's to all D's and became lazy or unmotivated. the medicine still helped me concentrate but that was about it.
so basically my grades suffered. Later after almost failing year after year but still being quite a smart kid things got even worse. it started to make me depressed and anti-social, and bad thoughts were of course running through my head, i felt like i was going crazy. my thoughts were always jumbled and i could never think straight. So i decided ill tell my doctors, they'd fix this. Their bright idea was to up the dosage! i can honestly say this period was one of the worst times of my life.
After basically falling into a deep hole of depression i decided enough was enough. After ten years i quit taking my medicine. i had to pretend to take it in front of my parents then throw it out when i got to school. the withdraw was horrible but lasted only a month. so i continued to throw away the meds and little by little i started feeling better until i felt like a normal person, as much as possible.
at this point i told my parents what was going on, i dont know if they believed me or if they thought, hell he went through this much trouble just to get out of taking it lets not waste our money, but they stopped making me take it.
everyday i wonder how life would have been if i wasn't forcefed adderall for ten years. i know it messed me up, i still find myself having delusions and freaking out like i did when i was on the meds but it barely ever happens. i wrote this not because they should stop prescribing it but because doctors and patients should listen to the children. i hated hearing my doctor say time and time again, "its not the medicine, its just you" parents listen to your children, and do some research when you decide to give your child a drug that is molecules away from being cocaine.
I wish i would have never taken the drug because i can honestly say it ruined my life in some ways, but the drug does do good for some people, just not me. I still have problems in school, i have a 2.0 GPA in college. i know i could do better but things just dont click in my head like they did when i was younger. i understand everything i go over but dont have the drive to do anything with it. i just sit there and stare at a computer instead of doing the work.
i know all this sounds crazy but thats partly because i stumbled upon this website and its really late and i have class tomorrow and im super tired. just live above the ignorance and talk to your children!
Avatar universal
adderall is NOT very close chemically to cocaine.  sure they're both stimulants but actually ritalin would be closer to coke, and adderall is close to methamphetamine.  not that it makes it any better...

kids are obviously the target market for Shire Pharmeceutical, which i think is awful.  
i agree with woozy that kids should not be on this stuff, unless it's the absolute last resort.  it's given out to toddlers and grade-schoolers like fuggin' candy!  guess what, they're KIDS, being inattentive is what they DO!  anyway i just don't like the fact that it seems so many more children are quickly scripted amphetamine before other methods are tried, while adults with ADHD are often dismissed.  my former insurance company said they stopped covering ADD medications for anyone over the age of 18, which is ridiculous!  

i'm not bashing the drug.  i'm 25 and have been on it for 4 years straight and it gets me thru the day at the office, but if i run out i fall asleep at my desk and have gone home early a few times simply because i cannot turn my brain on.  yeah, that *****, but i know i'm a thousand times more productive than i would be without it, and that's fine with me.  people who have such terrible side effects that make them hate it so much and blame it for ruining their lives should've stopped it sooner or taken less.  
Avatar universal
... Adderall will make anyone do better on a test, get more work done in the office, keep you more awake during the day, make you enjoy organizing... but honestly it is over prescribed.
People who truly have adhd and add will feel centered and have control of there life when they take adderall. anyone can claim they can not concentrate in school, but that is not add or adhd that is life. I have adhd, which many people do not relize that  people with adhd also have delayed reaction time and/or short term memory. This affects everyday things, not just when you are trying to be productive. Taking adderall makes me able drive alot better,( i am more alert to the other cars, signs, and my thoughts are on the road.), keeping up with my things, before adderall i would loose everything!!! and when i do not take my adderall i will notice a difference even when i just go to the mall.( the other day i did not take it and when shopping and left my cell phone in 4 stores, and left my wallet in 2.) yes a purse would fix this problem but i will leave my purse places too.
my over all experience on adderall is positive, i do not annoy others with my forgetfulness and lost items, i am more controlled, and of course i do better in school....
Avatar universal
Dunno if this will be received since the posts date back to Nov 2007.  Hope genuine203 made it out ok.

The following is just my opinion as a 30yo patient of 2 mos. who's been doing some light reading and is new to the world of psychiatric medicine/psychology altogether.  Currently not on meds.

From what I've concluded, the prescriptions work by effecting your neurotransmitter production.  These neurotransmitters effect the responses throughout your body, how it functions, not just your emotional health, alertness etc.  I feel this is heavy altering they're doing here and the science is "fairly" new, many of the products definitely are.  According to my new and now old psychiatrist they do not know the long term effects of altering YOUR body's way of naturally producing its neurotransmitters.  Who's to say that the imbalance is a result of your brain trying to balance or being effected by something else in your body that currently needs more attention.

There are cases when prescriptions are appropriate, sometimes the only way, I get & support that.  Please take them.  I just wish they'd actually do some scientific testing on the production levels of these neurotransmitters in YOUR brain before diagnosing and treating you.  Why aren't they monitoring serotonin levels for 15 min a week?  Can they?  For what we are altering here I wouldn't mind monitoring it as frequent as diabetics monitor their insulin.  Serotonin seems to play just as big a role, at least in my life I am told. Checking levels would be much more accurate than "I think you seem to fall into this category over here maybe a little dash of this and some of that which may or may not be just a side effect of the others that I just diagnosed you with."

The following is a bit of a rant i apologize, I'm still frustrated with the inconclusiveness of this whole process:

I lost confidence in my pscyhiatrist when I told her after a week on Ritalin that it was the equivalency of having a coffee and just as destructive for me(makes me a space cadet!) and she returned "well lets put you on 20mg SR then".  Really?  I'd rather buy the coffee and space out or better yet avoid caffeine, which I do.

So I say, thank you but I'm very much not interested, lets finish the OCD testing from the previous week.  I test into lower severe category for this which wasn't a surprise because I've been self-conditioning this for years.  Apparently, having both ADD and OCD is no good treatment wise.  The stimulants aren't so good for the OCD & racing thoughts she tells me and has to talk to her adviser.

I am presented with zoloft as and option at our next 15min session.  This is an antidepressant that treats OCD because it seems all they use for OCD currently is antidepressants.  I kind of like my OCD (intrusive images and the need to prove myself are a mildly irritating).  My frustration spawned off a good number of questions on zoloft and I have to say there were a lot of i dunnos in there as responses.  Very disappointed with the session and the info I couldn't gather from it I left with a thank you for your services.  
I'm seeing a psychologist who's broken-record response is to sleep more and gain self-respect(2mos now).  I am a FT mom who works FT Fri - Mon and is quite busy.  Who wouldn't love to get more sleep?

I'm currently searching for a doctor who enjoys teaching their patients(maybe a retired professor?) about every little detail before moving forward.  Someone who acknowledges the patients environment and history as an additional factor with a good amount of weight to it.

When they find an easy way of physically monitoring what is being produced in my brain on a regular basis I think I'll be more comfortable with the quality of the diagnosis and treatment.  In the meantime I'm eating lots of salmon, dairy and sesame covered almonds.  heh.

One more thing, on the subject of administering anything to an early ever-changing brain, I'd need to know what type of effect altering the brain's course so early on would have 10/20 yrs down the road before even considering.  In using treatment to repair/ease tissue damage I am accepting of ideas.  In persistent, severe cases of mental instability likely leading to suicide prescriptions are favorable.

If anyone knows a credible web source for health research I would appreciate links, researching online leaves me susceptible to biased material.
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