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Adderall for ADHD Signs of Addiction?

I've always done horribly in school due to the inability to focus. Four months ago at the age of 23 I started taking 20mg of Adderall and went from failing all the same classes for the third time in a row to straight A's (I just got my grades back). Problem is I really really like how Adderall makes me feel and I went up to 60mg in three hours a couple times after the first month. I can't study at all without it but I'm worried about addiction. My mom is an alcoholic and my dad is severe bipolar with long periods of depression so I know the genetic tendency toward addiction is there. I haven't taken the drug in 10 days but I'm going to start again after new year when school starts.

How can I tell when I'm addicted? Is it normal for people with ADHD to enjoy the high that Adderall gives? Is it normal to feel tired without it? Will I always have to take Adderall to make me focus?

Last question: is there a way to deal with the severe decrease in appetite? Can I drink liquid calories instead of solids to keep my weight up?

Thanks in advance.
17 Responses
Avatar universal
I don't know much about adderall except my exhusband was addicted to it and was not ADD.  I found out later he had been taking it because he had given up cocain (at least cut back) of which I was unaware as he was also an alcoholic.  LOng story short...you are wise to look at your family history and be concerned.  I would talk to someone (professional) in the addiction area.  Also, there is a good book called "addictive thinking" that helped me understand addictions.  In growing up in that environment, you know that additions are more than physical addiction, it affects behavior and the addicts "reality" of life which is skewed.  Both of my kids are college age and one of them is showing some signs of alcoholism of which she is aware.  As a parent, I can only model behavior (which i had some help with in support groups for people who have lived with addicts, I am now divorced from their father).  My daughter is educating herself on addictions and I have given her some reading material.  My best advice would be to talk to a physician or therapist who specializes in addictions and specifically adderal.  You have much insight due to your family history and there may be something else or study strategies that you could substitute.  Best of luck to you and Merry Christmas.  Hope this helped some.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the advice. I'm worried though that if I talk to a psych about it they might say "oops you could be addicted, I'm taking you off of it". Then I would go right back to failing in school and being tired all the damn time.
Avatar universal
Did a doctor prescribe this for you?  I think you can be honest with them and tell them.  Find one you like and trust.  If you don't like what one has to say, find another one.   You may want to talk to a friend or family member who could recommend someone to you.  Merry Christmas and Good luck.
Avatar universal
Adderall is by far, in my opinion, the worst thing someone could ever take. I was prescribed to Adderall six years ago and became quickly addicted. My mother realized there was a problem when an entire bottle would be gone long before time to refill. She informed my doctor and I was taken off of it. I began to illlegally obtain it from friends, which has only spiraled into more and more problems. Adderall is terrible. It may be helping you do well in classes, but I would highly suggest an alternative before you become dependent upon Adderall. After awhile you will become so horribly paranoid that any noise you hear will be immediately assumed to be someone or something coming to kill you or break into your house. You will develop tics that are uncontrollable and embarrassing, trust me, I know firsthand. Taking it everyday for six years has made me feel like a worthless person. I want nothing more than to be able to function like a normal person without Adderall. Getting off of it is so difficult. Losing weight will seem great at first, but after awhile your body will become emaciated. You will only wish you could eat, and you will struggle to gain weight. Eventually, Adderall will become the only focus of your life and everyday will be a hunt for the drug. Psychotic behavior and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder will arise and only worsen with use of Adderall. Please take my advice and ask your doctor for an alternative medication. I promise you will be so much happier in the long run without it.
171940 tn?1203630944
Hi, I am also prescribed Adderall, I admit at first, I really enjoyed it, it helped my symptoms of ADHD, which was not diaganosed until I was in my early thirties, and for all the other "benefits". I over took it some days, and for a short time, really over took it. I found that after awhile, I got bored with it, and didn't want to be flying around constantly. I found it made me more tired because I was doing everything all the time. I lost weight, and still have a hard time with putting it on. As for my intake, I take 1 some days, or 1/2, or none, or I take 2 20mg pills my prescribed dose. I know you get tired the first few days, but you can get off these, and you will survive. you will get your appietite back. good luck
Avatar universal
I am not on adderall, I am on concerta.  I was diagnosed with adult ADD in the summer of 2005, at the age of 32, and I never experienced ADD symptoms my entire life through school, college.  Per my former psychiatrist, it was brought on by the onset of major life stressors, (I simply began to forget so much) and I took a questionnaire.  I have 2 little ones, now 4 and 7.  It was frustrating to not have control over my short term memory.  The thing is, is that, I take 3 18 mg pills a day (prescribed that way) and I never, I mean never, feel uplifted.  I don't even know if it makes me focus more and I just completed a portion of a graduate program.  The point I am trying to make is that I was told that if it does not speed you up, that the individual must actually have ADD.  I just moved out west and the docs here are so apprehensive to prescribe it though I still have a lot from my script back in the summer.  I just want to know if anyone agrees with that explanation, about not feeling energetic with an ADD med.  I don't even get an uplift in energy when I drink caffeine, or coffee.  The only thing it does for me is make me urinate an annoying amount.  Anyone have any comments?
Avatar universal
Hi...my advise is to stop this drug as soon as you can.  I have ADD and was prescribed this about 6 years ago.  I have basically been addicted since day 1. Normal body functions (i.e.moving my bowels) revolved around my pills. Looking back I'm still stunned how this drug controlled my life and served as a catalyst for other addictions.
My story starts in college.  I was first introduced to them and the buzz was awesome.  I could focus and get so much done.  At the time I partied alot in college and drank a few nights a week. I graduated from school expecting to use them as presribed but that never happened.  
My mother was prescribed them as well so I began to steal hers because mine would run out.  I mentioned before normal body stuff wouldn't work without the pills...it seemed like my whole body would shut down if I didn't have them.  I would crash...be depressed and then go into periods of major anxiety.  Eventually I was taking more and more and my drinking was increasing right along with it.  I think I tried to alleviate the anxiety caused from the pills with the alcohol.  Fast forward a few years..I was doctor shopping, taking 100-120 mg daily and drinking at least 2-3 bottles of wine a day.  My hangover the next day could only be helped by more speed and more drinking(to stop my tremors).  If I stopped the adderral I could get out of bed, I couldn't go to the bathroom, I couldn't think; If I stopped drinking I would have tremors, could not sleep because of my adderall high, would have major anxiety, etc...Stopping both was out of the question...
I had the courage to check myself into rehab in August and I've been off the pills for the first time since 2000. I may seem like a was destined to have an addiction problem and that may very well be true..but this drug definitely expedited all of my problems and robbed me of quite a few years. I would seriously consider getting on something like strattera that is not addictive.
Avatar universal
Yeah man, watch out for the adderall. I never experienced anything like the guy who said he had terrible paranoia and twitches from adderall, but I have had my battles with adderall addiction.

I would try concerta if I were you. Stratera just made me super depressed and didn't help with the ADD at all. But my sister swears by it, so to each his own.

Something that really helped me when I came off of adderall was lots and lots of exercise and a proper diet. For me, a low carb diet and lots of exercise helps me be more productive than adderall did.

...well not more productive than it did at first, but the initial superpowers of adderall quickly go away. Before you know it you find yourself "chasing" by taking more and more.

The other problem I found with adderall in the later stages was this: While I was studying or working, if I had to look something up on the internet, or in a book, and I accidentally came across something that was interesting to me I couldn't pull away for HOURS!! So I was less productive. Or if I was lost something and I couldn't find it, I would keep looking for it for HOURS! I couldn't make myself stop until I found it.

Be careful. If you have a personality that is predisposed to addiction you will get addicted. On the other hand, my best friend was on Adderall for about 7 years and never ran out of his prescription early. So just be careful.
Avatar universal
I was prescribed to Adderall for about a year. And it didn't help. It felt good, and I lost weight, at first, but quickly I got addicted. I became so depressed, and kept on thinking about suicidal thoughts, which I have NEVER experienced before. My grades dropped, and I would obsess over the little things. It extremely slowed me down. I suggest, to STAY THE **** AWAY FROM ADDERALL. Honestly. It's a scary drug. I would try concerta.
Avatar universal
I have a 12 year old son who is ADHD and was on Adderall for about a year and now is taking Concerta. We see a big differences in his focus at school and on his grades. The weight problem is common with any of those drugs but what the doctor told us is that a high protein diet really helps keep the weight on. Concerta is a more time release pill unlike Adderall which hits you all at once and then you hit the wall later in the day. Ask your doctor to presribe it for you, it really helped are son out.  Good Luck
Avatar universal
When my doctor prescribed Adderall for me I felt as though all my problems were solved. I could concentrate, my depression lifted, I was interested in everything around me. Fast forward 3 months later and I was taking all the 30 mg pills in 10 days rather than letting it last throughout the month. I also scammed a scipt for Vynanse and used it along with all the other things I'm on for bipolar. Adderall made me isolate, smoke, relapse on alcohol and surf the internet like a complete addict. It gave me a feeling of euphoria like mania (which  I crave) but I didn't act out like mania - I became a recluse and happy to stay on Facebook and take quizzes etc. for hours. My family (of origin, I live alone) was so happy because I was under the radar and not bothering them. I had lost my job and acted like I couldn't find another but the honest truth was I used the increased attention to stay on the computer screwing around instead of applying for any positions. Be very careful - adderall stole my personality and I got positive reinforcement from others due to the fact I sounded happy on the phone and would lie to my friends about going out with other friends they didn't know so I could hide my isolation. Tomorrow will be my first day without adderall after using for 5 months and I am dreading it. However, I refuse to let it steal my soul, essence and place in the world. Depression is horrible and I guess the bottom line is my brain is a freaking anomaly and I need to endure...
Avatar universal
"My mother realized there was a problem when an entire bottle would be gone long before time to refill. She informed my doctor and I was taken off of it. I began to illlegally obtain it from friends, which has only spiraled into more and more problems."

Well, it seems to me (and others, i'm sure) that you have addictive tendencies and publicly blasting a medication that has literally turned other peoples lives around is deflecting the real issue.  The two sentences, that i have quoted above, were all the info. needed to describe the real issue: addictive tendencies.  More than likely, you would have abused any prescription medication that you came across.  That's not a judgement, just a strong fact.  I also realize that you are not the first person to blame a prescription drug for an addiction and everything that comes with it, but thousands of people have taken adderall with much success and it is unfair to falsely accuse a substance for your deeper issues.
Avatar universal
Adderall is good if all you want to do is study. The problem with it is that you don't to do anything but stuff that requires mental work. When I took it (only for a week) by Friday I was studying like crazy and yet wishing that I could laugh about jokes (by other people, on TV, ect). I wish I could dance to music that I enjoyed and I wished to have the will to do laundry.

I prayed for the meds to wear off so I could have a normal life, and by Sunday, I did. For that, I was ever so happy just to do a mundane thing such as sweep the floor and do laundry
8552937 tn?1398785559
Yes drink pently of water they will suck u dry...but as long as you take one first thing in the morning and not another one so u will be able to sleep at night...my problem was I'll take a 30 in the morning and I could feel it were off by 2 o'clock so I'll that a half of one to pick my back up....I loved it ,its better that coke and cheaper!!!!! But I'll fine myself being up all night the first dose then I'll have to take a little more to keep me up till bed time the next night then I still can't fall asleep so I'll be up another night next then you know I'm on day 4 ....that's when I want take no more for about a month I don't c how people take it everyday!!! I don't c how little kids take it I'm surprise they ant running around naked in the class room lol.....well thats my unfanture on addrall I still get me one every now and then its better then buying coke!!!
Avatar universal
I'm another one who wants to stick up for Adderall. It is not a hell pill, and it helps a great many. I take it for the fatigue of MS, after trying several other meds such as Provigil which did nothing. Adderall doesn't give me loads of energy and I don't act like a speed freak, I just feel normal again, or almost. I can actually get at least some things accomplished.

I take this med under the watchful eye of my doctor, and I myself was apprehensive at first, given that it's an amphetamine. I had to come off it and several other meds for a couple of weeks recently, and I had no probs stopping. I just got severe fatigue again.

So I too am reinforcing the point that it's not the drug that's the problem, it's the misuse of it. I don't know whether if you are an addict you will automatically become addicted to Adderall, but I doubt it, since I know that many here take prescription drugs with no issues that would be harmful for many others. Not saying dependency couldn't happen with some of these, and of course not saying that an addict shouldn't be super careful and discuss this with the prescribing doctor, etc., etc. Just want to counter the blanket condemnation of the drug itself.
8552937 tn?1398785559
Yes addrall gets me out of bed and gives me energy like u said I feel normal again.pluse I don't have to take as many pain meds know that I'm on addarll I think if you take your meds like you should its very helpful.
8976007 tn?1413334250
i have had SEVERE ADD my entire life.  i dropped out of school at 15, then took the GED tests (no classes, just went and took the tests) i have spent 16 yrs in college and got a 2 yr degree.  i cannot read without getting to the middle of the page and find i am thinking about something totally different, then i have to read it again.  in college, i would have to write EVERYTHING down on index cards and memorize them because i could not just read the dang book.  after college a doctor prescribed adderall and it was then that i realized how 'normal' people probably feel.
probably because i have it so bad, it actually slows my mind down.  it doesn't make me feel like i am on speed.  i have done that too and it was way different.  
i am pro adderall for ADULTS.  i would try a different kind for my child, but not adderall.  
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