Have you found that ADHD medication worsens anxiety?

I have an appointment with my general doctor next week to discuss starting a medication for ADHD. However, I'm concerned about the possibility of it making my anxiety symptoms worse. The one my therapist recommended I ask for is Vyvanse.

Is anybody on medication for ADHD, and if so, which one, and what has been your experience?

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  • I'm going to volunteer my experience with 3 sons with ADD and ADHD and I can ask the 1 who lives with me anything you want me to. My husband never took meds for his ADHD so he's our sample of a person without meds. My sons always took methylphenidate when young and it calmed them right down and they focused very well. At about 13-14 years of age 1 son felt it dulled his personality so it was discontinued. My oldest rarely used any drug except for a few years from age 7-10 or 11or so. He has had a career, a very successful career in the military which continues today so he couldn't be on any drug for that. Very important: the 2 sons whose stories I just relayed to you are the kind of persons for whom the need for medication goes away at puberty and the ability to cope with school and work and focus their concentration improves and is even aided by their hyperactivity at puberty. My husband is one of these and didn't ever need medication since I knew him only as an adult.

    My 3rd son is the kind for whom no change occurs at puberty and no new coping skills emerge and for whom all accidents and difficulties focusing continue just as if he were 7 years old throughout his adult years. The need for medication never goes away. But the medication moves to dextroamphetamines around puberty and I don't have a good reason why. Adderall has also been used.

    Son #1 who felt the drug dulled his personality was right, it did. But it also helped him get through school. He ended up not graduating from high school because he refused to graduate when it was really a gift and he hadn't earned it. This son has a very high IQ and is gifted in more than 1 area but that doesn't mean he can perform the way a classroom teacher wants him to. The other son who's similar to him had a more modest IQ but had no trouble with high school and graduated with ease and was set to enter the Navy at the end of summer. He now has served 22+ years and has risen through hard work and service to the very highest spot he can go except for one last step which he will probably move up to in time.

    The last of 3 sons who has the most difficulty has had to suspend his college education due to extreme depression and can't hold a job due to the same reason and is my dependent. His whole life is on hold. He's hoping he can improve and return to finish college this fall, but there are no guarantees. His ADHD and the major depression both have become curses in his life and hold him from becoming so much more as he is gifted in many ways.

    Any questions for him? He's 36 years old. Adderall and dextroamphetamine.

  • Thank you for the in depth response. I'm wondering if your son deals with anxiety? My question is: will starting an ADHD medication aggravate my anxiety symptoms? I'm looking for some people who have been medicated for ADHD who also have anxiety, and whether or not it made their anxiety worse.

  • My son who still has strong ADHD symptoms and anxiety is the one who also couldn't finish college yet. He has very strong anxiety and takes 6 mg of Klonopin/clonazepam per day which is higher than normal for most people. He can't miss a dose for more than 2 hours or he will pay for it in misery for many hours before his body settles down again in it's routine. He sets a buzzer/timer for every 6 hours to take his clonazepam.

    In answer to your question, he says that his dextroamphetamine allows him control of his thoughts and that means control over his anxiety, so it's less of a problem when he takes his ADHD meds, not more.

  • Oh, that sounds like quite a struggle for your son. I'm glad the medications help, though. Thank you again for your feedback and take care!

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