Adderall: My daughter had been... - Anxiety and Depre...

Anxiety and Depression Support

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My daughter had been diagnosed with ADD and began taking Adderall in college. She became addicted to it. My understanding is it increases dopamine in the brain. BUT she had anxiety and it increased her anxiety. Does anyone have anxiety and ADD and want to share? I never understood why psychiatrists continued to prescribe Adderall (a form of amphetamine) to someone with anxiety.

33 Replies

Hi. Im sorry u guys r going through this. I do just want to say though that's theres a difference between being addicted and dependent. Ive been on adderall for years now. The older i get the worse my anxiety gets. I know my adderall plays a role in it. I take buspar which helps prevent my anxiety however if i don't take my adderall i will not go to work. I will not even care about anything. I can't focus or live any kind of life. What time does she take it ? Does she take extended release? Whats her dosage? All that makes a difference. Is she a drinker ? I know alcohol makes my anxiety worse which i believe its the interaction with the upper and downer. I also noticed when my adderall is made by different manufacturers i will have withdraws and my anxiety will sky rocket!

Hidden in reply to purpleshadow87

Yes she drinks which makes the nervous system depressed. And I think when you come down from Adderall, it makes you depressed. Vicious cycle. People react differently to Adderall. She doesn't sleep on it, even at 15 or 20 mg a day but maybe she's sensitive to it and weighs 105 lbs. She takes 30-40 mg a day sometimes and really can't sleep at all. I know that stopping drinking helps, living healthy life style. I hope you can find a better alternative to Adderall- it's like speed and is not good long term.

purpleshadow87 in reply to Hidden

Okay. Good luck!:)

Kobojunkie in reply to Hidden

Coming down from Adderall makes you depressed? How so? I am on 80mg of Adderall every day and when I come down from it, I simply get back to normal meaning I start needing to sleep. And I sleep every single day with no problem.

Rather than trying to self-diagnose your kid, why not let the professionals do their job. I don't understand most everything you have said about all these medications. You should not be the one to decide what the child can or cannot take please. As you don't seem to have a very good understanding of what it means to have ADD and GAD. Let those who know, do it.

JenniferLeigh73 in reply to Hidden

I depend on Adderall to be able to process information pretty much, following an 8 year marriage with ongoing head injuries. I half my dosage, at 8am, then 12. Drink lots of water. Prescribed Buspar for anxiety panic, Trazodone for horrible sleepless nights. Nonaddictive. A trick that helps me sleep, I take a B-100 vitamin every morning. Makes urine very yellow. Drink water all day until it is clear. Most meds are flushed to the point you can get a good nights sleep. Hope this helps.

I have 3 adult sons with ADD/ADHD. Only 1 still has to take meds for this disorder plus anxiety. He's on dextroamphetamines for his ADHD but he's not addicted. He takes it only when he has to in order to drive or perform to do anything but sleep or watch TV. He's on clonazepam for his GAD--Generalized Anxiety Disorder--6 mg/day. It's very bad and he has to set an alarm for every 6 hours to take the clonazepam because he'll get in trouble if he misses a dose at the 6 hour time. He's only prescribed enough to keep him from being hospitalized, even though he's on a higher dose than average.

Hidden in reply to BonnieSue

Yes 6 mg is a high dose. It is not good long run and very difficult to get off. The taper has to be very very slow, months. I encourage you/him to find alternatives. Acupuncture for anxiety, exercise, calming teas like chamomile. He will be healthier if he does.

BonnieSue in reply to Hidden

Did you catch the significance of his being kept just out of the hospital with that dose? And you are thinking herbs will be every bit as effective as the clonazepam? I don't think so for one minute or the herbs would be regulated just as the clonazepam is. We must be realistic, the herbs are less powerful and therefore an unregulated and uncontrolled substance. Meanwhile my son is suffering with his current dose even now. It's just a bad situation all around. He doesn't complain but tries to put up with his problems without complaining but I know what it's like because I've been down that same road.

If I hear his alarm go off but not him getting it I try to get him to answer it because he'll pay for it in anxiety that rages if he doesn't take his meds on time or within close to the 6 hour mark. He is exhausted from not being able to rest at times and can sleep through the alarm and will suffer for missing his 6th hour clonazepam dose so I try to help him get up for the alarm no matter that maybe he just fell asleep 1-2 hours ago. He has sleep problems on top of other problems and all the problems don't necessarily fit together well. He gets up to the alarm in order to drive for his grandmother and other missions where he can be useful to a sometime-friend and so he is trying to use his time to help others. It just doesn't always fit with his unpredictable sleep patterns.

I have a weird has he always a high med tolerance an have u had anyone judge u decisions about him getting professional help an have u ever had to fight for him because people have judged u

O ho!! You know of what you speak!! Of course we've fought those battles!! Lots of judgements and Monday morning quarterbacking by people who don't know what they're talking about. I had to grow a thick skin and he went through a lot of pain and rejection from peers and ignorant teachers. Life isn't fair.

Im dealing with it now with my nine year old daughter an I'm extremely tough but I do have times I feel like I will never get a ounce of normal for her but I fight for it any way cuz she deserves it plus people do not seem to understand what being a devoted mom means

Any way you can avoid public school or any classroom situation is best. Homeschooling is the absolute best answer but there are possibly some other answers, too. Homeschooling isn't for everyone but it does allow the child to avoid most prejudice and hurtful judgments. It has other great benefits and is best for almost all students imho.

No matter what the law says, it's extremely hard to get it into practice for your child in the classroom. My heart goes out to you and our daughter.

Thank u so much

BonnieSue in reply to Hidden

I tried acupuncture and it didn't work at all. Michael, my son, is very much like I am and we take similar drugs, but I'll grant that we do have differences. He does exercise but not very consistently and not as much as he would like. I'm not in favor of giving acupuncture a 3rd try after I gave it 2 tries.

Kobojunkie in reply to Hidden

Alternatives for GAD? All the acupuncture, chamomile tea and exercise in the world will not help you deal with GAD. We are talking of neurones misfiring for no real reason and you think exercise will make that go away?

What exactly is the science behind that? Have any of you ever wondered how these ideas you suggest work and how they can, in the case of chamomile, get from your stomach, cross the blood-brain barrier to stop the particular neurones from misfiring?

BonnieSue in reply to Kobojunkie

Good point.

cmeanonymous in reply to Hidden

The taper is insane. The cold turkey is awful. I did it once, never ever again.

6mgs?!? I’m on .5 for sleep and as needed. Obviously we are two different people but I would consider talking to another psychiatrist. Clonazepam is a heart medication. It is not intended for ongoing anxiety disorders. Have they said why he is on that and not an SSRI? Wellbutrin is what I’ve been taking for the last 10-12 years and it’s helped a lot.

No SSRI or Wellbutrin has ever worked, and he has tried every one of them. EVERY ONE. They are far weaker than clonazepam, which is a tranquilizer, or anti-anxiety med, also called a benzodiazepine. I have been treated with this type of drug for 30 years for GAD by excellent psychiatrists who I choose to go to, not that my insurance chooses. I am very picky about which doctor I see. My son has had the same GAD for about 5 years and has been treated with the same drugs by his own psych Dr. (different insurance).

Hi Leighg,

I'm sorry to hear your daughter is having a tough time with her anxiety. Many of us have experienced serious anxiety that began in college, so this is a great place to be.

I've known several people who felt they were addicted to adderall. Unfortunately, it has some of the worst side effects of any common ADHD drug (except for Ritalin.) If your daughter is still having trouble reducing her dose, she may want to consider speaking to her psychiatrist about prescribing her Vyvanse instead. While it still has many of the side effects of adderall and may still cause some anxiety, it should cause considerably less than adderall.

Additionally, Vyvanse can be titrated/mixed in water, so she can very gradually taper/reduce down the dose over a period of weeks or months.

Of course, that's only if she still has trouble not taking adderall, it would likely be best for her to stop taking all stimulants if she has anxiety.

In terms of combating her anxiety directly, therapy and medication may help, but I would certainly consider avoiding any more addictive medications (such as benzodiazepines,) especially if you feel that your daughter may have an addictive personality. SSRIs such as Lexapro may help her, but of course these have their own side effects and the choice to take them should not be made lightly.

I hope this helps!



Maybe you can help by explaining how you think your daughter is addicted to Adderall? That could help us better respond, please.

A second question is why you assume a person who has ADHD and anxiety should not be prescribed Adderall?

There is a magazine dedicated to helping people understand ADD/ADHD and realise that it is a serious problem for the sufferers. So also is anxiety

Hidden in reply to Kobojunkie

I think amphetamines contributed to her anxiety. She would only sleep 2 or 3 hours at night and that is not good for the brain. She was addicted as she needed higher doses to feel it and was taking 60 to 80 mg a day. She ended up killing herself. Read the New York Times piece on Richard Fee.

Kobojunkie in reply to Hidden

Your daughter killed herself? :o What?

Richard Fee? He wasn't diagnosed with ADHD. He didn't have any mental illnesses to use it for. He didn't need it but he took it. That is someone with a real drug problem.

How can you compare that to someone who has an ADD diagnosis and needs the medication to properly function(note I didn't say abnormally but properly)?

Hidden in reply to Kobojunkie

Well all I know is it made him (Fee) psychotic. I believe that klonopin made my daughter suicidal. It affects people differently and there have been studies done that show it can cause suicidal ideation.

Kobojunkie in reply to Hidden

I am sorry to hear that.

Klbtc in reply to Hidden

I am so sorry for your loss prayers and positive vibes being sent your way

I have ADHD combined as well as recurring major depressive disorder and anxiety. The right combination of meds is important and not the same for everyone. Going through a DBT based treatment program is also very helpful. I take Adderall ER 20mg twice a day and 150 mg Effexor XR (Great med...helps with depression AND anxiety) and I take Klonopin as needed for anxiety. This combo is good for me but it took a long time to figure out.

There are also stimulant-free alternatives.

Hello, i just joined this because im trying to help myself.

Do not drink while taking adderall. It is a binge drinkers best friend. It's a very bad combination. It made me suicidal when I would drink on it. I take other things but the drinking is what set it off.

I recommend just taking the meds, no alcohol, limit caffeine, no sugary red bull type drinks.

Hope all works out ...

It is ALWAYS warned that you refrain from alcohol while on adderall, amphetamines or Ritalin. Your Dr. should also tell you to limit caffeine, sugar and all stimulants and non-prescribed drugs. Your Dr. should know every drug that goes into your body, prescription or non-prescription.

It is extremely funny that u post this my daughter which is nine has ADHD an anxiety really bad we have been through the mill on medication an honestly still Haven't gotten it right I just wanted to say u might want to see about a non stimulant

Hi! I’ve been recently diagnosed with ADHD at 39. It came at no surprise to family or friends.. in fact strangers have recommended I seek treatment to improve my life lol. It’s funny and sad at the same time because an earlier diagnosis would’ve avoided so many complications in my life. I’ve had anxiety since childhood (fist clenching, teeth grinding, and obsessive worry). Very emotional and hyper sensitive. Family gave me mean nicknames because I talked too much which shot down my self esteem. Poor if any communication skills. I had been consistently inconsistent, you could count on not counting on me, and I started and stopped EVERYTHING. Had many jobs that only lasted a day. Trouble paying bills or maintaining a solid residence. Last minute was the only minute I recognized. Relationships demolished on a whim... 😔 I was put on adderall in February and I must say I was skeptical until I first started taking it.

This is what happened:

1) my anxiety is GONE .. no idea where it went lol but I am shocked a stimulant fixed my life long anxiety... 😊

2) I go to bed before midnight and wake up at sunrise without an alarm (noon was difficult without an alarm in the past)

3) I realized I was depressed before taking adderall.. didn’t notice it before, but it became very clear to me after taking the medication.

4) I handle difficult situations without meltdowns , tailspins, or tantrums (yes at 39 I was still throwing tantrums 😬)

5) I drink like a normal person.. alcohol is no longer my coping skill, I have wine as celebration now and not to numb my pain.

6) I eat healthier and take better care of myself.

7) I don’t impulse buy / feel the need to spend all my money.

8) I have better boundaries with people ... actually I don’t think I had boundaries in the past.

9) I reprioritized my life in a way that actually makes sense.

10) I’m having “ahah” moments daily that move me to tears.. like “why didn’t I notice these things before?”

I could go on but you get the picture.. For me adderall has been a game changer and it sucks that misuse has put such a stigma on a medication that is helping me feel normal and take better care of myself. I’ve heard from many people including Drs that stimulants will make you energized or wired if you don’t truly have ADHD. Perhaps people experiencing heightened anxiety are being misdiagnosed, either way I would stop taking something if it increased my anxiety..

Yes! I'm dealing with that right now, and it's all so overwhelming. I've tried to use other medications that cause less anxiety or none at all, and have had everything from allergic reactions to ineffectiveness of the medication to control my ADHD. Now I'm back to Adderall, as it's the only one that helps with that but my anxiety has gotten worse, so I'm also on Gabapentin and that worked for awhile until I got used to it so my doctor upped the dose and also added Buspirone to help combat the anxiety. I think it's a band-aid that works for now, but may not work in a couple more weeks. I think some sort of therapy or hypnosis to supplement the medication (and possibly replace it later on), would be a most necessary step in the process of healing and learning coping strategies for this very confusing mental health problem.

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