Guanfacine Not Working: I was diagnosed... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

13,541 members3,555 posts

Guanfacine Not Working

MelodyW profile image

I was diagnosed with adhd when I was 7 and was on dexadrine til I was 13 cos it was stunting my growth. As soon as I got off the dexadrine, I became depressed and super anxious. I struggled big time with my self esteem. Fast foreward to when I was 27 and I began using heroin and method. When I was on the meth, I could focus, didn't loose things constantly, didnt self doubt myself, didnt have the constant voices in ny head that were constantly talking, my impulse control was managed and all in all I could go to work and be productive cos I was selfish medicating with the meth and numbing myself with the heroin to make the depression not be so bad. Unfortunately I became homeless cos the habit of heroin took over my life.... If you have gotten this far in my story, thank you!...

December 2019 I decided i wanted to be clean from drugs and called my emergency contact(who is also a good friend of 13+ years, that I would consider my mentor). Within 3 hours my emergency contact was by my side to pick me up. I was taken in by my emergency contact to live in his girlfriends house, where I painfully got clean cold turkey.

It took me a year and four months to get the courage to call a therapist and a psychologist. I do not hide my past drug use to healthcare providers. Unfortunately, by me saying that I was a past meth user, my psychologist is extremely hesitant to prescribe me stimulants. I've been on Wellbutrin SR 200mg and Busbar HCL 10mg for 6+ weeks and have not seen any improvement in my depression, anxiety and adhd. I was able to get the records from my mom that show I have been diagnosed with ADHD and which medication I was taking, Dexedrine. Two and a half weeks ago I was put on Guanfacine 1mg and yesterday got bumped up to ER 2mg. I am not feeling any of these meds! I have been told that it takes up to 6 weeks to fully work. Shouldn't I be having less depression, anxiety and adhd by now? I can't recognize any difference in my mental health from when I was not taking meds and right now. I have requested to get genetic testing done, which will happen on my next appointment in 2ish weeks. I know that I sad self medicating by using meth and it worked. If the gentic test shows that I respond extremely well to stimulants, how likely is it that my psychologist will put me on a stimulant considering my past history with drugs? Anyone else gone through something similar?

10 Replies


I tried Guanfacine as well and it did not work well for me either. For me, 90 mg of adderall works well for me, but most psychiatrists will not prescribe me that high of a dose. Hope that helps!

I also have a history of addiction and told my Psychiatrist. He said people with ADHD don't tend to abuse stimulants because we don't get high per say but rather we feel normal. And untreated adhd can lead to addiction because we are low on dopamine and other feel good hormones so if you were treated perhaps you wouldn't be an addict. I am on a stimulant and so far so good (it's only been 2 weeks) but I am not itching for dopamine hits all day long anymore (for me it was alcohol, sugar, pain killers, xanax, shopping). It feels like it is soothing that urge to self medicate a bit. I believe you should talk to a psychiatrist (a Doctor that prescribes meds) not a general doc or therapist about it. Go to someone who specializes in ADHD - they get it. And get some help with other stuff - we can't rely only on the drugs. Get therapy, support group, work on exercise and diet, meditation and make sure you get enough sleep. But one step at a time- I know that sounds like a lot and be patient. Good luck.

You're still on a fairly low dose of guanfacine and should be going up by 1mg every two weeks until you find a workable dose.It's not great for depression primarily but helps with emotional regulation and rejection sensitive dysphoria very well...personal experience.

I had to get up to 5mg intuniv before it worked well, but with that came very dry mouth and eyes unfortunately.

Does it make depression worse?

MelodyW profile image
MelodyW in reply to eg19

Depression isn't worse but is not getting better.

The max dose for Guanfacine is 4mg. I'm up to 2mg now. I shall see how it works.

My 8 year old is on 2 mg of Guanfacine. He weighs about 60 pounds. You will need at least double that amount to see any significant change! Good luck to you, I think you are very strong and I believe you will find the right medication. Keep it clean, don’t despair! I am sending love to you.

You could offer to be drug tested regularly if they prescribe a stimulant. Some offices have that as a policy for everyone who is prescribed a controlled substance, regardless of their history.

Also, guanfacine isn't very noticable or helpful really, in my opinion. It loses efficacy quickly for adhd symptoms because the body gets used to it, but it still has effects on blood pressure after that (it was originally a blood pressure medication). I take it in addition to adderall just to help with maintaining a stable bp on meds because I had high bp all my life even prior to adhd meds but it's well controlled now. The first time I took guanfacine, I felt calmer but after the first few times taking it that feeling went away.

A history of drug use isn't an absolute contraindication for prescribing a stimulant. If you show them that you can take your prescription responsibly by offering to be drug tested then that's a first step.

MelodyW profile image
MelodyW in reply to Chester_

Oh! I like the idea of suggesting that I get drug tested regularly. I will bring that up to my psychiatrist when i see him on October 11th.

Hi Melody,

I just wanted to say 'Hi' and let you know you are seen and send you some positive vibes and hope you find a solution. I can't get diagnosed now, but ADHD runs bad in my family, and perimenopause has exacerbated my symptoms and I would love to try Guanfacine. But one thing....if you believe you know your body well enough to know what is right, I say, find a doctor who is willing to work with you and your own expertise of your body. Do NOT settle. I have found in my 52 years, that female doctors in general (there are always exceptions) listen better and are easier to work with and more apt to give me agency over my own body management, especially if it's someone I have been with for a while and they know I am nearly always spot on with knowing what is going on with my body, and what will work best to fix it. Sure, it may take a little bit longer to start over with someone, but in the end, you will get to where you need to be faster, because you will know what will work. Do not be afraid to interview doctors. Anyone who is not willing to have a suitability conversation with you before you choose them as your doctor is not worth your time. A good psychologist/psychiatrist will be just as interested to know if they are a good match for your needs and for you, as you will be for them. Good luck hun, and a big, love filled hug for you, and a kiss from each of my two rescue doggies!

You may also like...