The Tragic Truth Of Prescription Adderall, or “Madderall”

The topic here is prescription Adderall. Specifically: Adderall is too often prescribed badly.  It has repercussions on individuals— and it accounts for intensifying backlash against the diagnosis itself.

Do most prescribers treating ADHD know this?  No,  in fact, many believe just the opposite — that Adderall is “best” for adults. That is patently false.

Whatever the complex reasons for that (I’ll touch on a few below), the important thing now is to self-educate and be prepared to self-advocate. No one cares more about your or your loved one’s life than you.  Being passive is extremely risky.

Poorly prescribed Adderall can create negative personality changes in people who seek only to treat their ADHD. Anxiety. Anger. Irritability. Even what looks like mania. Trouble is, they might not see this objectively. Unfortunately, their prescribers often don’t ask—or connect the dots. You might say, “So what? Just try another medication.”   For reasons I’ll explain, though, that is often not an option.

The topic is not how to illegally obtain and abuse Adderall.  Still, if that is your goal, please read this first. It might save your life.

This is a long post. By necessity. I hope the subheads aid scanning. At the end, I’ll offer a preview of what competent prescribing for ADHD looks like.

You will find other articles on this topic ….now. Mine was first, in 2013, and the only until very recently.  

Let’s get this out of the way:

  • Prescription Adderall works very well for some people.
  • For others, Adderall  create more problems than it solves.

You likely won’t learn from your prescriber:

  • Poorly prescribed Adderall can ruin lives and relationships.
  • The is sometimes true for Dexedrine, too. Those of you in Australia, where the the national healthcare system (Medicare) has long considered it the stimulant of choice, be aware.
  • Individuals experiencing poor results from Adderall often don’t realize it.  They believe it’s the price of long-illusive focus. Their loved ones might, too—while they walk on eggshells, frightened. (Read the comments.)
  • Next stop: These adults with ADHD might develop a cannabis, alcohol, or benzodiazepine habit to “come down”.
  • Or: They love the intense focus too much to let go— no matter if that focus dangerously reduces self-awareness. (In other words, they assume that everyone else has the problem, not them.)
  • Poorly prescribed Adderall can  create or exacerbate anxiety, irritability, grandiosity, tunnel vision, and even rage.
  • That’s why 20 years ago I started calling it Madderall.

    (Note: I’m seeing the term Madderall now appropriated to describe combining marijuana and Adderall. That’s not my definition.)

Reckless Adderall Prescribing Fuels ADHD Backlash

The truly tragic part? There are so many less risky options to try first. Prescribers should be making things better, not worse. From my perspective, this is is a long-running  public health crisis.  It has contributed to a backlash against the diagnosis itself.

Recent case in point:  Alarming stories about  “tele-health” clinics over-prescribing Adderall. became inseparable from “ADHD is over-diagnosed.” For example:

Wall Street Journal Startups Make It Easier to Get ADHD Drugs: That Made Some Workers Anxious

Axios: Telehealth startup to Stop Prescribing Adderall for New ADHD Patients.   

No doubt these venture-capital startups were cutting corners. Yet, also COVID pushed ADHD to the fore for untold numbers of people who had been only marginally coping before. They needed care, and now news outlets and grandstanding pharmacies (CVS) were conspiring to make it harder to get the diagnosis and treatment.

Why Has This Malpractice Been Allowed?

Why do doctors too often insist on prescribing Adderall to newly diagnosed patients?  Especially with so little guidance and failure to use rating scales or seek third-party reports?

Here’s one shocking reason: Many prescribers misread a meta-analysis based on old, scant (and one might say one-pharma-skewed) data. A meta-analysis is not established standard of care.

Three other reasons:  

  1. Adderall’s manufacturer was notoriously aggressive in its marketing and fraudulent in its claims—with lasting effects

This company was fined $56.5M in 2014 for its false claims about Adderall and a few other drugs.  Read more at the U.S. Department of Justice website:  Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC to Pay $56.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Drug Marketing and Promotion Practices

2. This manufacturer has long wielded, in my observation, undue influence over most ADHD websites and personalities you see online. Unfortunately, this includes  psychiatrists, psychologists, coaches, and  non-profits, including board members and conference speakers and organizers.  Most people would be shocked at how this one pharma covertly pushes its agenda through so many tentacles. And what a weird agenda it is.

(Please know, I’ve been openly “pro-medication” for 22 years.  Medication properly chosen and prescribed, that is.)

3, Too many prescribers remain clueless, cavalier, and disconnected from consequences.  I don’t say this to discourage seeking treatment!  Instead, I want you to be a savvy healthcare consumer.

Yes, prescribers often have little time with a patient. That does not excuse this scandalous mess that is happening with Adderall and prescribing in general for ADHD.

Why haven’t other ADHD experts calling this out?  You’d have to ask them.

Conflict of Interest

I was an award-winning journalist before falling into ADHD world, in 1999. As such, I naturally avoid conflict of interest. Good journalists know that even accepting a free lunch is a slippery slope.  My “pro-medication” stance was exceedingly rare at that time. The “ADHD Gift” campaign was going full throttle.  Taking Pharma support clearly would muddy this position.  

I’ve rejected all Pharma support—direct and indirect.  This fact puts me squarely at odds with certain organizations, personalities, and outlets. 

To be clear: Researchers receiving pharmaceutical funding is a distinctly different matter. Research validity rests on the researchers’ reputations and methods — and replication. Researchers must disclose  such funding. By contrast, most of those proclaiming ADHD expertise online are not researchers nor do they have proper credentials.

Moreover, most “ADHD influencers” don’t even disclose this  pharma support. That includes licensed psychologists and physicians. This indirect support includes public relations efforts on their behalf and being placed (forever) in prominent positions at ADHD non-profits, at “tele-conferences,” and more.

Other Complications:

  • Treating ADHD is not simple. It is a complex syndrome that affects individuals, not clones.
  • Genetic differences among individuals affect drug response.
  • Prescribing requires expertise and method. Start low, titrate slow. Rating scales. Third-party feedback. And much more.
  • To further complicate matters: Adderall is also a popular drug of abuse. Yet, even the story of “Adderall Abuse” is complicated.

No Adderall-Abuse Tips in This Post 

Maybe you found this article while seeking to illegally procure or “hack” Adderall. Sorry to disappoint!

Moreover, when you leave in disappointment after 5 seconds, my blog’s “bounce” rate increases. That’s a big Google-search penalty. That means my post will be less likely to turn up in search results. Especially when  a slew of paid and promoted articles top the search list.

I leave this post here anyway. Why? You won’t find what you’re looking for, but you might find something better.  Please consider this: Chances are good that you actually have ADHD  and are attempting to “self-medicate” it. That never ends well.

Which Search Term Brought You Here?

Mostly, readers find this post legitimately, using terms such as these (to name only a few):

  • Adderall makes my spouse angry
  • Can Adderall make you irritable?
  • Why is Adderall making my ADHD worse?
  • Depression and anxiety from Adderall?
  • Anger outbursts and Adderall 
  • Does Adderall change your personality?
  • Adderall is spiking my blood pressure?
  • Why is Adderall dilating my pupils and making me look crazed?
  • Irritable after Adderall
  • Can Adderall cause bipolar?
  • My husband started Adderall and is an angry jerk now
  • Can Adderall cause aggression and sexual behaviors in the elderly?
  • Why is Adderall making me tired now, after working for 2 months?

This Post Covers Five Points:

  1. The New York Times has a long history of anti-psychiatry reporting. This was my initial catalyst in writing this post, in 2013.
  2. Many prescribers are incompetently treating ADHD. This is having devastating consequences.  
  3. Why, to avoid these adverse outcomes, we might best consider prescription Adderall not as a first try but rather a last-stop in stimulant medications
  4. The importance of consumer self-education and self-advocacy
  5. An excerpt from my first book’s chapters on medication

Adderall abuse1.  More ClickBait From The New York Times?

A back-channel tip came in yesterday. I steeled myself for the next anti-ADHD screed from the paper.  

Many reporters seem to view ADHD as rife for an expose. We who know better see transparently traffic-boosting clickbait. As a young journalist many years ago, I was taught to respect The New York Times as an exemplar of journalism. Sadly, that is no longer true.

Make no mistake: The paper still has respectable editor, reporters, and sections. Yet, the front-page editor for several years demonstrated festering personal antipathy toward neuroscience. That and/or  the publisher issued orders based on the website’s analytics. Any piece stigmatizing ADHD tends to draw lots of readers—and therefore ad dollars. For years, the ADHD community protested in comments. Then they just mostly gave up.

It’s All About the Web Traffic

Bottom line: It’s an SEO (Search-Engine-Optimization) bonanza! After leaving the paper, former Executive Editor Jill Abramson called it “publishing by the analytics.”  Google analytics, that is, that show traffic, how long a reader has read a page, where the reader went after, reader demographics, and lots more.   It is now pervasive online, with virtually every news outlet, amplified in social media. That goes double for ADHD topics.

Over the years, I’ve called out the paper’s negative targeting of ADHD:

  1. Talking Back to The New York Times’ ADHD Myth-Mongering.
  2. The New York Times’ Unnatural Opinions on ADHD
  3. The Truth Behind “10,000 Toddlers Medicated for ADHD” – Parts 1 and 2.

This Time: More Grief—And Tiny Relief

Yet, when I read the 2013 story by reporter Alan Schwarz (“Drowned in a Sea of Prescriptions”), my reaction was both grief and relief.

Grief, that yet another person fell victim to prescription Adderall—and died by suicide. Again, this is a legitimate medication that, even though helpful for many people, can create severe reaction (including addiction and manic-like behavior) in many others.

Relief, that finally The New York Times’ grandstanding front page finally got something right about ADHD. Well, at least in tiny part.

The tiny part is this: The manner in which many prescribers treat ADHD  largely resembles a giant game of “Pin the Rx on the ADDer.” 

All else in the story, unfortunately, is distortion. It wouldn’t be former sports reporter Alan Schwarz’s last apparent bid to land a Pulitzer Prize. He didn’t, however, and no longer works at the paper. Nor is he still a reporter. But during his reign, he and his editors inflicted immense, perhaps lasting, damage. 

Moreover, he went on to write a horribly sensational book on ADHD. Then, Schwarz featured in a Netflix “documentary” from Maria Shriver and her daughter, Christina Schwarzenegger.  It’s called Take Your Pills. It’s a one-two punch castigating Adderall and ADHD, as if they are inseparable. Because, in too many prescribers’ minds, they are.  That is exactly my point.  (See Netflix’s Take Your Pills: Anti-Science—and Mean)

adderall anger

2. Core Problem: Poor Monitoring of Prescription Adderall

In the early days of my advocacy, the early 2000s, I heard story after story repeated in my Adult ADHD monthly discussion group in Palo Alto. 

I heard similar in my online group for the partners of adults with ADHD (ADHD partner). That is, they reported reckless prescribing patterns, particularly around Adderall. What was happening here?

What’s Not Happening, Specifically?

To understand the essential problem, we have to start with poor prescribing protocols for ADHD overall.

—Prescribers should track response

That is, they should be using a checklist of symptoms that helps them establish a baseline and then monitor medication response—and note any side effects.

—Prescribers should gather reports from family or close friends

ADHD is commonly associated with poor self-observation. Typically, this improves with medication. The wrong medication, however,  risks further clouding self-observation — and worse.

—Too many physicians don’t bother with either

Instead, they rely on a casual, “So, how is that working for you?”

Poor Prescribing Created ADHD Backlash?

To summarize: The prescribing of any stimulant is often done badly. But the problems around Adderall appear an order of magnitude more serious.

I credit these poor prescribing patterns for much of recent years’ blowback against ADHD. The fact that I publicly predicted and warned about this years ago — verbally collaring this pharma’s reps at conferences, asking “why aren’t you warning prescribers?” — brings me no pleasure in being proved right. 

But I am just one person—without an “authoritative” MD after my name. (Google now actually penalizes this page because it’s not “reviewed” by an MD. Meanwhile, the plethora of “health” sites scrapes the bottom of the barrel for unknown MDs who will slap their “reviewed by” on the article.)

3. Prescription Adderall Works Well Sometimes

Again: For some people, prescription Adderall works well and with few side effects. It is the best choice for them.

Yet, prescription Adderall has a higher side-effect profile.  What does that mean, in practical terms? It means that if you’re just starting treatment, let’s consider it common sense to begin with a less risky choice.  In other words, trying Adderall only after other stimulants (Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, Vyvanse, etc.) have not proven effective.

Ideally, a trial should be given of both the amphetamine and methylphenidate classes, as I explain in my book (Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?). There is no way to predict beforehand how you will respond to either class of stimulant. It comes down to genetics

Despite all that, many physicians routinely start new patients with Adderall—and at too high a dose. 

Adderall

 

Contributing Problems: A Larger View

The issues around prescription Adderall remain only one piece of a problematic puzzle:

A. Physicians who see ADHD as a “simple condition”

“You just throw a stimulant at it!” one psychiatrist told me at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.  Obviously, he failed to find ADHD treatment interesting and therefore not worth his study. 

(I saw him later at a presentation on Borderline Personality Disorder. Hundreds of psychiatrists, sitting on the edge of their seats, listening to dramatic stories.  But not one presentation on adult ADHD, which has historically been misperceived as BPD.)

In fact, ADHD is a highly complex condition, especially when it is diagnosed later in life. Other conditions can complicate medication response. These include sleep and substance-use disorders. It also includes psychiatric conditions that are more highly associated with untreated ADHD in adults. (That is, living for years with untreated ADHD can increase incidence of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.)

B. Physicians who believe in a “starting” or “average” dose

“There is no starting or average dose!” I’ve emphasized that in my lectures for years. That’s based on advice from the preeminent experts I respect most. Yet still, that seems the status quo.  The trouble with this?  

—Some people are slow metabolizers: an “average” dose might be too high for them.

In response to the side effects, they might give up on that medication entirely. Yet, if might be that a lower dose would work just fine. 

—Some people are rapid metabolizers: an “average” dose might be far too little for them. 

They “burn through it” too fast. They need a higher dose in order to get an average effect.

My scientist-husband and I wrote a 7-part series explaining metabolizing issues and more:  Genetic Testing for ADHD Medications.

C. Insurance reimburses poorly for psychiatric treatment

Yes, insurance companies share the blame. They do not reimburse psychiatric treatment at a rate commensurate with the kind of expertise and time required. But physicians are responsible, too, for understanding basic protocols.

If you think that single-payer is the solution, think again. The very worst countries when it comes to ADHD  medication options are the single-payer healthcare countries.

That includes the United Kingdom and Australia.

UK residents wait years even for an ADHD evaluation—well before COVID.

In Australia, at least until very recently, adults cannot diagnosed if they were not already diagnosed in childhood.  Very handy, as pediatric ADHD was largely ignored except in the most extreme cases. Only recently was Vyvanse approved for us within the healthcare system, with the mainstay being dexedrine. Last I heard, Concerta was available for $100-150/month. )

D. ADHD impatience —want to “feel” it than objectively measure it

Let’s be frank: Some people with ADHD love Adderall because it feels like a booster rocket attached to their back.

The hard truth is, however,  is this: You can’t depend on a “visceral feeling” to tell you when the medication is working. In fact, sometimes you won’t realize that the medication is working—or causing problems. But the people around you will!

Moreover, relying on that visceral feeling almost guarantees a bad end. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon. What if you’re so strung out you don’t even realize it?

Over-relying on a “booster rocket” to propel you through your day means you’re using Adderall as a performance drug, not ADHD treatment. Medication should help create more balance and self-regulation but higher-functioning also requires learning new skills and habits.

Often, patients (or their parents or partners) believe my cautions only after the fact. After all, I’m not a doctor. In other words, they write to me after the typical crash. That comes about two months into Adderall usage, in my observation.

That’s when they are completely depleted:

  1. Typically from exhaustion (why go to sleep when for the first time in your life you have “superhuman” focus?)
  2. But also perhaps due to Adderall’s unique mechanism of action, their very supply of neurotransmitters might be depleted.

E. Parents’ and Loved Ones’ “Denial” of ADHD

Now we turn back to the NYT story for a moment. The story that finally prompted me to write this post, after years of warning about it in my groups and public talks.

Did Richard Fee, the young man featured in the piece, truly not have ADHD, as his parents claim? Was he simply abusing Adderall as a “performance drug.” Perhaps, but the report shows no evidence of that. It seemed the weakest point of the story.

Reporter Alan Schwarz repeatedly made it clear that he lacks understanding of ADHD’s complexity. He gives lip service to ADHD as a legitimate condition—and then proceeds to rip it apart.  Schwarz started as a sports reporter and, using his love of statistics, reported on concussions from sports. His editors apparently found that qualified as being knowledgeable in neuroscience — and sic’d him on ADHD. 

As a former newspaper editor, I have seen the pattern: “Hot Dog” reporters who will do anything to land on the front page.  (Now, online, it’s the featured story, highlighted on the website and promoted through social media.)  

Schwarz failed to comprehend that ADHD sometimes had a way of “sneaking up” on people later in life. That’s when their innate intelligence and ability to get by in school without good study habits  no longer are enough.

In other words, it might seem that these people are “abusing” stimulants when really they are seeking help. It might also be that they are suffering from poorly titrated and monitored prescription Adderall.

Could it be that Fee’s parents’ own denial systems came into play here?  Perhaps Richard felt that at least these doctors believed him. 

Richard Fee Adderall
Richard Fee, the subject of The New York Times article

F. Prescribers Failing to Seek Third-Party Feedback

 Please understand: Richard Fee’s parents have my deepest sympathies. It seems they truly tried to warn the physicians of what was happening to their son. 

This story is not new to me.  The partners of adults with ADHD try desperately to get through to the Adderall-prescribing physicians. They try explain that their partners are turning into rageaholics. (The ADHD adults themselves seldom report increased anger and ability to their prescribers. They don’t want to lose access to their life’s long-missing focus.)

Yes, there are privacy laws. But that does not mean the prescriber cannot request such feedback—nor cannot accept it.

Did Fee have a condition such as bipolar disorder (either instead of ADHD or co-existing to it)? That is, did he have a particular vulnerability to Adderall abuse or addiction? Or, was that particular vulnerability ADHD? Perhaps he was mis-using Adderall to minimize sleep so he could study more and achieve. Thus, he compounded AHDD with sleep deprivation and amphetamine addiction?

We’ll never know. But I suspect that there were red flags throughout his childhood and young adulthood. And the same will be true of many others.

Rest in peace, Richard.

gina pera adult adhd course

5. Excerpt: My Book’s Chapter on Medication

Now I’ll share with you now the introduction to my first book’s chapter on medication.  Please know:  The last thing I want to do is scare you away from seeking treatment that can vastly elevate your life. Just the opposite! You deserve that.

Rather, I am emphasizing: We consumers must be educated, we must self-advocate.

To lack vigilance is to risk a lot. Please don’t let you or your loved one be another casualty. Don’t be passive, thinking that any licensed professional knows what’s what. No one cares more about your or your loved one’s life than you do.

Identifying ADHD symptoms and medically addressing them is not, for the most part, rocket science. It’s not even brain science. It’s step-by-step logic and observation.  I teach this in Course 2 of my online training, on medication and sleep: Solving Your Adult ADHD Puzzle: Physical Strategies

Chapter 21: RX Treatment Results That Last

Adderall

It took Alex two grueling years to convince his wife to seek an evaluation and then treatment for her diagnosis of ADHD.

“Now, who knows how long it will take me to convince her to ditch this psychiatrist, who refuses for no logical reason to prescribe stimulants and find one who actually understands ADHD,” he complains. “My wife is skeptical that I or this support group could know something her psychiatrist doesn’t. But trust me, it’s alarming how little this guy knows.”

Looking back, Alex wishes they’d been far more careful in selecting a physician.

In Jeanette’s case, the irony is that she never found her husband’s ADHD a problem—until after he started medical treatment for it.

“I used to go to bed at night thinking I’m the luckiest wife in the world,” she recalls. “Yes, Mike is lousy at paperwork and he doesn’t remember to take out the garbage (or what day it’s collected!). But he is fun, very goodhearted, and rarely gets angry, and loves being with me and the children.” 

Then It All Changed

All that changed soon after Mike learned that he might have ADHD and decided to do something about it. He had recognized in himself the traits he didn’t like in his father. That included poor follow-through on promises. He wanted to do a better job with his own family. “His attitude was, ‘If treatment can help me to be a better person, why not?” Jeanette recalls.

Unfortunately, Mike’s personality changed completely after starting medication. 

“I went from this perfect marriage to hating my life and being ready to leave him. The worst part was that he didn’t realize that things were getting worse, especially the anger, until we were in major trouble. As far as he was concerned, his focus was better so that was great. But in reality, his focus was unrelenting.”

Jeanette found the support group’s feedback critical to realizing what was happening. He was probably either on the wrong type of stimulant medication or at too high a dosage. She also learned how to find a more qualified physician and, more importantly, convince Frank that he was turning into a father far worse than his own.

Such stories are way too common for the support group’s comfort.

How Do We Navigate This?

Sure, we want to place our faith in our physicians. Yet, one troubling fact remains. Many physicians, including psychiatrists, are poorly trained to treat Adult ADHD. Some know that and respect their limitations. Some don’t.

It’s important that yo know this going in.   Smart ADHD healthcare consumers can  avoid common pitfalls and come out a success story.

“My message to those embarking on this journey,” Jeanette says, “is don’t be afraid of medication; it can bring great changes. Just be aware.”

Please know that, prescribing for ADHD is a straightforward issue. In fact, ADHD Partner Survey respondents report that when their partner started taking medication, symptoms improved significantly within:

  • Hours (15 percent)
  • Days (39 percent)
  • Weeks (19 percent)

As Jeanette learned, however, the initial “promise” of medications to smooth out the ADHD roller coaster can soon peter out. Support-group members have agonized over this phenomenon for years.

How These Chapters Can Help

The book’s three chapters on medication will support you and/or your partner in creating your own success story by helping you to:

  • Avoid common pitfalls that lead to low treatment adherence.
  • Understand that goal setting forms the foundation of successful medication treatment.
  • Remember that each person has a unique biochemistry — no cookie cutters!
  • Recognize that finding the best medication regiment requires a methodical process.
  • Know that ADHD commonly coexists with other conditions, which must be considered in any treatment plan.

If you are familiar with this guidelines, you can better recognize competent care when you encounter it. And when you don’t encounter it?  You can either keep moving or, if your choices are few, diplomatically help it along.

For more posts related to ADHD medications:

Visit ADHD Roller Coasters Medications category of posts

For more information on my first book: Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? 

 

For more information  My NEW Course on ADHD Medications and Sleep:  Solving Your Adult ADHD Puzzle — Physical Strategies

 

 

—I welcome your comments.
Gina Pera

The first version of this post appeared in 2013.

 

255 thoughts on “The Tragic Truth Of Prescription Adderall, or “Madderall””

  1. My wife started taking Adderall over three years ago, and showed manic symptoms immediately. They continue to this day. She became paranoid and delusional, even thought I was going to poison her or kill her in her sleep. After 30+ years of total trust and never having a problem we weren’t able to work through with honesty, empathy, love, trust, and a mutual dedication to truth, responsibility, and accountability.

    We have now separated. I had to move out for my own safety after she called the police on me for NO REASON other than I asked her to leave me alone and that apparently made her terrified, though no rational person would have reacted that way.

    She has blown up her relationships with me, our daughter, and half a dozen friends she has been close with for decades, yet cannot, or will not, recognize that SHE is the problem, not everyone else. She has a story for each broken relationship, and none of them assign any responsibility to herself. It’s absolutely nuts, she and I have been anti-denial as a core foundational principle in our relationship forever.

    I’ve written her prescribing physicians multiple times and they do nothing. My wife refuses to stop taking the drug for even a couple of weeks, as I have begged and pleaded for her to do so she can clear her mind and determine the truth for herself.

    I don’t know what else I can do. Is there *any* way to get through to her or her physicians? Is there any way to trigger the APA or someone else to do an external review of the prescriber and this prescription?

    Or do I just have to give up on the love of my life and a 30+ year relationship? It’s so heartbreaking.

    1. Dear Chris,

      I’m so sorry to learn of this nightmare.

      I know of a similar story, where the psychologist (a well-known name online) dealt with a similar problem by telling the wife, his client: Your husband doesn’t understand ADHD treatment.

      Well, neither did her parents, her siblings, and multiple friends.

      The thing is, all the wife knew was that she was finally getting FOCUS — and she did not want to give it up.

      And that is the problem with trying Adderall first.

      I don’t know what to tell you. If you’ve written to the prescribing physicians and detailed, in brief bulleted points, the behavior that is endangering her and estranging her from loved ones…. I’m not sure what else you could do.

      If it were me, I’d be writing letters of complaint to the state licensing board. Note dates and times where your wife did these things, such as called the police. Be as clinical and specific as you can.

      Maybe ask her friends and other relatives to sign a joint letter.

      I imagine much will depend on your state laws. Maybe this site will be helpful: https://www.psychsearch.net/complaints/

      But beyond that, Chris, if everything was so great for 30+ years, why did she seek an ADHD diagnosis and treatment? Because all those things you describe are often hard to muster when poorly managed ADHD is present.

      g

  2. I don’t know where to begin with my post, so here goes…

    My husband has had untreated ADHD since he was around 12 or so. He was diagnosed but the doctor didn’t really consider his “slight” ADHD a big enough deal to treat (my husband is 52 now). I’m doubting any medication will truly keep his symptoms at bay. It’s even more difficult because he has MDD, anxiety and panic. All of these exploded around the time of the pandemic, and it took forever for him to get treatment.

    He was recently started on Adderall short acting last month, but then doc switched him to supposedly long acting Vyvanse for his symptoms and it seems to work. But it’s not as long acting as we thought. It is only effective from around early morning when he takes it until 2PM. After 2PM he gets horrible crashes where his symptoms are sometimes even more severe. He has had these afternoon episodes even before he started the med.

    Symptoms are very scary, and some therapists didn’t even want to treat him because they were unfamiliar with this kind of behavior: slurred speech, loss of motor skills, and sometimes he falls – I obviously can’t pick him up so I’ve had to call an ambulance a few times. He gets very mean and verbally abusive and slams things, bangs walls and doors and shouts, sometimes what he says doesn’t even make sense. These episodes occurred decades ago very rarely.

    It was a few years ago where the occurrences got closer together and now, he has them almost daily – and ALWAYS in the afternoon when he is exhausted. I don’t know if this is severe and crippling anxiety and panic all mixed in with ADHD rage? No doctor or therapist seems to know. Just this week he started to add Adderall (5MG) short acting in the afternoons since the Vyvanse (30MG) isn’t working for long.

    He is also on lowest dose of Lexapro (10mg), and that seems to have helped with the little things that would upset him. But what about the ADHD meds? Can they make his rage worse? Just tonight he had another episode, and then he fell when he was trying to get out of bed to use the bathroom. He is incoherent and it’s terrifying. He didn’t take his Adderall dose until after 3PM (he usually takes it at 2PM). Perhaps this episode was caused by him not taking it early enough to prevent symptoms?

    Anyway, does anyone have any insight into ADHD meds and depression meds together? Are antidepressants such Wellbutrin better for someone with this rage? I just don’t know what to do anymore – it’s getting harder and harder to live like this.

    We are both unfamiliar with ADHD and are now just getting a crash course in this.

    1. Hi Deborah,

      I can only imagine how scary these situations are for the both of you.

      MDs who prescribe Adderall and other amphetamines so easily — and always first — should be called before a disciplinary board. They are wreaking havoc and are too arrogant to have a clue.

      Your question is much larger and broader than “ADHD meds and depression meds together”?

      Caution: I don’t recommend getting random opinions online. It doesn’t seem you have enough margin of error.

      As a recognized expert on Adult ADHD, I work hard to steer folks straight.

      For starters, I highly recommend that you read my first book. It will help educate and validate you — and help you self-advocate with reckless MDs.

      https://amzn.to/3HEDLtW

      I just cannot imagine….the behavior you describe and Adderall being ADDED. smh.

      What you describe could be a rebound — a crash — where symptoms return stronger than at baseline. But there could be many other explanations.

      If he does well on Vyvanse, maybe talk to the prescriber about a second dose. Most people taking Vyvanse don’t get the 16 hours they advertise. For some, it’s more like 6-8.

      But I also encourage you to think about the kind of sleep he’s been getting, also diet, and also consumption of other substances — including caffeine, nicotine, and cannabis.

      All of this can increase medication side effects.

      But the Lexapro itself could be making things worse. It’s extremely important to distinguish between a legitimate Depression disorder and the “depression” that can hang around people with poorly managed ADHD. These require different treatments.

      Even if the Lexapro seems to help with the anger, etc., but it could also be making things worse, such as when he fell. Maybe even in having trouble regulating angry reactions.

      My online training will give you the “crash course” you need in Adult ADHD, including relationships. I implore you not to self-educate with most of the stuff we see online. That mostly keeps people going in circles.

      https://adhdsuccesstraining.com/solving-your-adult-adhd-puzzle-for-couples-and-individuals/

      That is the foundational course.

      I’m soon launching Course 2, on medication and sleep.

      take care,
      Gina Pera

  3. It’s been awhile since anyone has commented, but I just wanted to comment on the MARKED difference I felt between taking Adderall XR and Adderall IR(?). I was initially prescribed the “typical” introductory dose upon re-diagnosis at age 32(ish; I had originally been diagnosed with ADHD at 18, thought probably should have been tested around 11… another story).

    Anyways, my productivity and focus is perfectly timed with my 15mg about 20 minutes before heading into work, or getting ready to start my day… however, my partner and I just came to the realization that I need to take another half dose around 2pm to complete the “rest of my day” at home…

    However, this was self-tested, which can be risky, BUT also necessary (in my opinion) for each individual to find out whether or not their doctors actually know them better than they do themselves … (does that make sense?)

    1. Hi there,

      The previous comment was 6/2/22 — just a few days ago. Perhaps you are looking at the older comments first.

      As to your question, yes, absolutely it makes sense. This is why I have always focused on educating consumers (Adults with ADHD and couples) about medication.

      The hard truth is, we just cannot rely on the average prescriber to have a clue.

      If you’ve only tried Adderall — XR or IR — that is a huge indication that your prescriber is clueless.

      I’m not encouraging being your own psychopharmacologist, and it’s probably a good idea to let your doctor know what you’re doing.

      But it’s not as if you’re abusing the medication that you were prescribed. You’re just trying to extend it throughout the day and evening (time of relationship interaction!)

      If you’ve tried no other stimulant, it’s important to know that the recommended protocol is to try at least one medication in each class of stimulant.

      I hope this helps.
      Gina

  4. My doctor first put me through three different medications. First it was Strattera, which only made me depressed. Then, Vyvanse, which I favored out of the three, only because it made me feel more normal. But because my insurance wouldn’t cover it, they switched me to Adderall, which was okay at first. After about three months I started to become something evil, lashing out on my loved ones without realizing. One minute I was on cloud nine, the next I was irritable or depressed. All of the motivation I had was gone, and I began to question my purpose/existence. Almost as if my brain would go numb and I’d feel like I wasn’t in control of my body or thoughts. When I miss a day or two, I crash, and sleep for sometimes 14+ hours. Without the medication I do not feel normal, I feel zombified. But the issue is, I prefer who I was before the medication, because that person had hobbies, and friends. My doctor then prescribed me Wellbutrin as well, in combination with the Adderall. I’ve been taking both for about two months now and it helped in the beginning, but I despise myself without it, and feel off about having to take a pill to survive now. Adderall has ruined so many of my cherished relationships, caused me to flunk out of college, and most importantly made me lost my mind. I’m only nineteen and I feel like my life is ruined.

    1. Brooke — I’m so sorry that an RX that was working for you….was no longer accessible.

      Sometimes it’s a matter of getting a pre-authorization, as to why Vyvanse worked best for you.

      Treating the side effects of Adderall with Wellbutrin…..[banging head against wall]…..

      Also, you were never given a trial of the other class of stimulants — methylphenidate? (e.g. Concerta, Ritalin, etc.)

      You should have been. That’s basic protocol.

      But now you’ve tried the Adderall they pushed on you, and you feel it’s wrecking your life.

      You deserve better. I encourage you to self-advocate for what you need.

      This is your life. And you have a right to live it fully.

      take care,
      g

    2. I understand completely how you feel. I was also previously prescribed vyvanse, and it worked well. I felt “normal”. Then insurance stopped covering it, so I take adderall. I hate feeling dependent on it. I believe I read that a generic for vyvanse may be available next year. I hope so

    3. Hi Michele,

      Have you tried appealing?

      I’m not optimistic about a Vyvanse generic. When a new White House administration moved in, its new FDA chief pushed through all kinds of generics. Including those with novel delivery systems.

      That created a HUGE mess for people who take Concerta. Authorized Generic Concerta Medication Update

      FDA scientists had wanted more proof of “bioequivalence” but the Trump-appointed FDA chief disregarded concerns.

      Now that the cows are out of the barn, I can’t imagine we’ll ever be able to fix this. But who knows.

      Vyvanse also has a novel “pro-drug” delivery system. It might be easier to replicate than Concerta’s laser-drilled osmotic pump (OROS). But that remains to be seen.

      Also, as their drugs near patent expiration, the pharmaceutical companies tend to find ways to make deals — and extend the brand.

      If you do best on Vyvanse, it might be the smooth, extended delivery system. Or it might be the fact that is DEXEDRINE — unlike Adderall’s mixed amphetamine salts.

      If the latter, you might do better on dexedrine than Adderall.

      good luck
      Gina

  5. I was prescribed Adderall three years ago and it ruined me. I was paranoid, delusional, euphoric… I lost my husband, family, friends and so much more. I can’t believe where I am now.

    1. Dear Carrie,

      I feel for you, Carrie. That sounds like a long-running nightmare. I wish you all the best in your recovery.

      Gina

    2. I’m a 37 year old female who was diagnosed last year with ADHD and almost immediately, my entire life made sense. Every pro-treatment article I have read, I have identified with. I was that child with all the “potential” that I never lived up to.

      Time paralysis. I’d never seen a task to completion in my life. Being physically and mentally unable to make myself or anyone else proud led me into a downward depression spiral at 15 which led to a bipolar diagnosis that followed me around for 2 decades. I’d tried every medication in the book and nothing worked.

      The twist? My alcohol addiction. It took the right therapist actually listening to me to hear the facts: When on a bender, or in general really, my alcoholism mimicked mania. Everything in between was left me to feel my own feelings sober, and I never liked how I felt unless I was drowning it all in booze. Any time I wasn’t drinking, I was depressed. And as my addiction progressed, I was depressed even when I was drinking.

      I strongly believe I turned to alcohol in the first place because of the issues caused by my ADHD. Now obviously because of my addiction history, no doctor wanted to touch a diagnosis. That was, until, a doctor finally heard me. My psychiatrist started me on Vyvanse after I’d had a year sober, which only made my heart rate spike and caused me to lose 20 lbs in a few months. This was worrisome because I had ED history that I had under control and I knew I was looking at the weight loss as a “positive” and that I’d be better off trying something else. So we tried adderall. I’m on 20 mg XR and a 10 mg IR booster in the afternoon. We started on 10 and 5 and we didn’t raise my dose until 6 months after the initial dose and adjustment.

      I feel fairly confident that my doctor is doing right by me. I feel like she asks the right questions. This article makes me wonder though if I’m acting any differently than I was before in a negative way. I sometimes feel irritable but it’s not consistently. Adderall hasn’t been the life-altering drug I thought it would be. I had almost hoped for an epiphany, but I cannot deny how much it helps.

      After years in AA/NA, I knew not to grow too fond of that initial euphoria. I didn’t want abuse to even be an option (even though I trusted myself) so I have my brother manage my medication, and my psych is aware of this.

      I often feel so stigmatized. I’m ashamed of the fact that I’m on this medication because of my past. It’s frowned upon in a lot of AA circles, and moreso in NA. It feels like my dark secret.

      I’m looking forward to reading your other articles and your book. It’s rare to find writing on this topic to be both pro-treatment AND deeply pro-awareness, especially of the less talked about side effects. I’m glad you touched on that Netflix documentary. While I haven’t watched it, I had bookmarked it. The way you describe it sounds like how I imagine my peers feel about ADHD medication. That it’s just evil. My life is remarkably different now, not just because of my sobriety but because of my ADHD treatment. I had tried to get sober in the past and it never stuck. Now that my issues are being properly addressed, I don’t feel the need to drink anymore. I felt compelled to share my story with you and thank you for writing this article.

    3. Hi Christina,

      I understand. You articulate these issues in all their complexity very clearly.

      MANY people with unrecognized ADHD turn to “something” to feel better, to stop the noise in their heads — alcohol, meth, sex, shopping, eating, trolling, etc.

      ADHD already means lower-than-average inhibition. Add alcohol and that low inhibition goes even lower. Hence, maybe, that mania-like appearance.

      Unfortunately, your doctor maybe isn’t fully aware of the issues. Kudos to that doctor for sincerely wanting to help you. Many won’t touch a patient with “addiction history” — especially with stimulants.

      But she should still know that you don’t prescribe as the first options amphetamines to a person with addiction history.

      This is partly because the majority of prescribers remain clueless about ADHD. As I wrote here in the context of Adderall.

      So you’ve been prescribed two amphetamines — Vyvanse and Adderall — and never a methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin, Concerta, etc.)

      It’s true that some people with ADHD will lose weight once they start any stimulant treatment — because they are better able to regulate food consumption and to avoid “self-medicating” with food. But the amphetamines in particular can cause weight loss beyond that, sometimes out of spiking anxiety.

      I am glad that you have validated a point I often make about AA — and that is, beware of the meetings where there is an anti-medication mindset. It’s not every meeting. But it’s some. And to deny that is to deny reality.

      I wrote about AA here, and there are many comments on the topic of ADHD and AA and alcoholism.

      https://adhdrollercoaster.org/adhd-news-and-research/alcoholics-anonymous-and-adhd/

      You might be interested also in this article on ADHD and meth — especially the comments:

      https://adhdrollercoaster.org/essays/i-was-addicted-to-meth-when-i-was-diagnosed-with-adhd/

      Finally, people of my generation well remember when “almost everybody” smoked cigarettes. They were ubiquitous. Imagine how much ADHD that obscured. Imagine how much ADHD was revealed when folks stopped smoking! 🙂

      https://adhdrollercoaster.org/myth-busting/adhd-nicotine-historical-ads/

      You sound very clear to me, and very smart. I’m sorry that you are not getting the kind of support you might need from those around you. Maybe look for ADHD support, specifically, or an ADHD group that is a little more sophisticated, medically, than others. Perhaps one near a university or teaching hospital.

      Obviously, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You were trying to get through life the best way you could manage, absent ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

      Unlike some of those people criticizing you, you have stepped into the 21st Century and are appreciating the ridiculous complexity and vulnerability of the human brain.

      Kudos! And wish you all the best.

      g

  6. Hello! I’m a 24 year old woman with ADHD and autism, and I take adderall. Was wondering if there’s some other combination of symptoms that tend to work really well with adderall?

    At a high enough dose, it does wonders for me. Before I took it, or when the dosage was too low, I was exhausted all the time, extremely emotional, negative, irritable. Struggled to get out of bed, struggled to do basic chores, would sometimes get overwhelmed and just stop moving and stare forward. I’d get so upset I’d start hitting myself. I’ve also always moved and talked slower than everyone else.

    On adderall? I simultaneously have more energy and more focus. I’m like a zombie when I’m NOT on my meds, or when the dosage is too low. Went from wandering around my workplace feeling agitated and unfocused to getting stuff done. I moved faster! It also had the wonderful effect of giving me the ability to read again. I felt good for the first time in my life.

    I understand not wanting to rely completely on how people feel, but I literally went from being exhausted and miserable to being relatively content. Even if it does change my personality, my dopamine-deprived personality is not very good company for myself or anyone else. I’m nicer because I can remember social cues and don’t have to fight through misery to act on a desire to be nice. I clean up after myself at home. My suicidal ideation just about vanishes when the adderall works properly.

    I wonder if it had something to do with having primarily inattentive features. Everything in my brain is already so slow, except for looping nonsense anxiety thoughts – which reduce considerably on the adderall. My anxiety gets better on it. My natural energy levels are very low.

    The only clear negative side-effect I’ve had is dehydration and the resulting constipation. Which is what is so strange. I see so many report such extreme negative side effects, or even just moderate negative effects that have to be balanced out in other ways. Yet for me it has been wholly positive. Adderall also works incredibly well for other members of my family.

    It’s difficult to tell if my sleep is impacted because I’ve always had issues with sleep – an autistic tendency that’s incredibly difficult to break. I might even sleep better or more consistently taking adderall because it’s easier to break looping behaviors on it – though I always try to follow the instructions not to take it too long after 5 pm (work sometimes means I have a nontraditional sleep schedule).

    Basically, if it ever turned out that adderall had too many side-effects to use, or stopped working, it might be a tragedy for me. I’m not chasing focus. It gives me emotional regulation and a baseline level of energy that helps me make healthier lifestyle choices. Ironically, it tends to interrupt hyperfocus when it’s working at optimal levels.

    Today I started an increased dose and looking back at the rambling depressive text I’ve written and impulsively sent to people or put on the internet as recently as yesterday is scary. And I want to emphasize that I did things like that before I ever took adderall, as well. That’s how quickly it changes my behavior for the better.

    Apologies if this is too long. I’m not trying to argue, but was more wondering what it is about my brain that seems to work so well with this medication.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Just to be clear…..I did open with this:

      —Prescription Adderall works very well for some people with ADHD.
      —For others, Adderall  can create more problems than it solve.
      —Poorly prescribed Adderall can  create or exacerbate anxiety, irritability, grandiosity, tunnel vision, and even rage.

      Absolutely. It no surprise that you felt improvements in the various challenges you mention when you started Adderall. This might be true with any other stimulant, depending on your neurochemistry.

      But what I’m not seeing in your post is mention of any other stimulant you have tried. In other words, prescribers should give a trial of both classes of stimulants. If you’ve had only Adderall, you’ve had only one class (amphetamine) and Adderall works differently than the other amphetamine, Dexedrine.

      Another thing: You mention that your issues with sleep are an “autistic tendency.” Sleep disorders are enormously common with ADHD, too.

      I am not disputing your ASD diagnosis. But I will point out that many mental-health professionals diagnose ASD when what they’re actually seeing is ADHD. They just don’t know how to differentiate ADHD-driven “social anxiety” or “not reading social cutes” with that associated with ASD.

      Yet, the two often travel together (moreso when ASD is the primary condition than in the opposite direction). Even then, the expert consensus is to maximize ADHD treatment first and then see what’s left that might be ASD.

      If Adderall is working well for you, great. If you’ve never tried anything else, especially in the Amphetamine class, it might be worth trying Vyvanse. Just to see. Maybe you’ll experience less dehydration and constipation.

      I hope this helps.
      Gina

  7. Thank you for this article!

    I was on 5mg of generic adderall for a year and a half after being diagnosed at 32. I decided it wasn’t working very well after seeing my best friend also get diagnosed and start treatment with adderall and the positive changes it made for her that I wasn’t experiencing.

    I spoke with my psychiatrist who recommended we try switching to 15mg extended release. A short time later, I was feeling worse. I had a noticeable cognitive decline. Words simply weren’t coming to me when trying to have conversations, I felt like a zombie.

    So, she switched my dose to 10mg XR twice daily. For the first couple of weeks I usually forgot to take the afternoon dose, and I was feeling EXHAUSTED all the time. I emailed her and her response was to do a sleep test and look for apnea? Out of the blue.

    Well, it’s been a week after that and I set reminder alarms and haven’t missed a dose. Now, I’m angry. I’m a complete b*tch to my partner. I work in special education and my years long reputation for being the warm, nice and patient one is out the door. I’m impatient and snappy with everyone.

    I’m glad I’m realizing this in such a short amount of time, but I’m concerned my doctor won’t accept this and make a change. I would gladly go back to the 5mg dose if it meant ditching this. My insurance is notoriously terrible with mental health care, and I don’t have much of an option to switch doctors. This has inspired me to do everything I can to self advocate for trying a different medication altogether.

    1. Hi Natalia,

      How DARE that doctor. I mean, seriously. How DARE SHE?

      Following even the most basic established protocol, you should have been given a trial of each class of stimulants (methylphenidate and amphetamine).

      Instead, she stuck with ONE amphetamine, the one with the highest side-effect profile! First, generic (a potential can of worms all its own). Next, higher dose and extended release.
      Finally, ratcheting down 5 mg.

      Still not seeing the error of her ways, she suggests a sleep study! That’s beyond the pale.

      NEVER TRYING ANOTHER AMPHETAMINE (E.G. VYVANSE) OR METHYLPHENIDATE (E.G. CONCERTA, RITALIN, ETC.).

      Sometimes, MDs would prefer being told what to do by patients. It’s easier. Maybe your physician is like many others who disregard all evidence and continue to believe “Adderall is Best.” Based on nothing but aggressive pharma marketing 20 years ago! It sticks around in the mythology.

      Maybe you could diplomatically ask for a trial of Ritalin. Now, this will come with issues all its own because you will mainly get generics. But you’re taking generics now, so…
      If you think you can get authorized-generic Concerta, you can try that.

      Read this post first: https://adhdrollercoaster.org/adhd-medications/authorized-generic-concerta-update/

      Mostly, I encourage you to get your hands on my first book. https://amzn.to/3P205Ro

      Among its many “firsts” is a detailed approach to optimizing medication. If more physicians read just those chapters, we’d see an incredible step up in the standard of care. But alas, too many just wing it. I’d like to report them all to state licensing boards—and “Yelp” them, too. Nobody is looking out for their patients!

      Here’s what I would do:

      1. Read the book. Get the paperback, not the Kindle, so you can take it to the MD, if need be.

      2. Write down on paper, in BRIEF bullet points, the changes that you have experienced on Adderall. Use two columns – positive and negative.

      Any MD with any working neurons at all, seeing nothing but a list of negatives — some quite alarming (losing words) — should clearly see…..this has to change.

      3. Mention a friend who might have tried Adderall, to similar response, and then tried Vyvanse or Concerta, to much better response.

      Do you have such a friend? If not, I do. You can borrow them. ;-). I’m not encouraging you to lie. But this is a bit like guerrilla warfare: You are stuck with a lazy MD, and you must get what you need. It’s not like you are a “drug seeker”. Those seeking to abuse stimulants always want Adderall. You do NOT want it.

      4. If none of that works, show her my book. The medication chapters, in particular.

      Point out the high-level endorsements, the fact that the protocol I share I developed with a preeminent ADHD expert.

      5. I would say forward the link to this article, but some lazy MDs don’t want to see what their patients are “reading on Dr. Google”.

      I’m sure you will figure it out. Just put your mind to it!

      Good luck
      Gina

  8. Cheryl McGettigan

    My son was prescribed Adderall ER in fifth grade. By 11th grade, age 17, he wanted out so we talked to his doctor who referred us to a psychiatrist. He weaned him off. Things were fine for about a year then slowly a monster emerged. He started having psychotic events, anger, depression, then when he thought it a joke that he said he was going to cut his wrist, then if that didn’t work use a rope or his belt I called 911. The psych ward diagnosis was bipolar disorder. So our lives have been hell since. His is now going to be 30 and lives in his own sad, angry world. And he lives with me. I refuse to put him on the street. He was not addicted to his meds and now refuses meds because well the Adderall was a lie and he knows this. Where do we go from here. His life is not his own and neither is mine.

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      I’m confused. Your son took Adderall ER from 5th grade to 11th grade. At which point he “wanted out.”

      But you don’t mention that he did poorly on the Adderall. Otherwise, why keep him on it for 6 years?

      It’s possible that he was unable to cope with his ADHD symptoms, after treating them for six years. Perhaps it’s also possible that he was abusing street drugs, cannabis, alcohol, going without sleep? That alone can create psychotic events.

      It makes no sense that he suddenly has bipolar disorder. After being on an amphetamine that could push bipolar to the extremes.

      From the sound of it, he’s been failed by the “care providers” he’s seen. He might have given up hope. Especially if he’s gotten the idea that the Rx he took for 6 years was a lie and he “really” has bipolar disorder.

      I encourage you to think again about the sequence of events, get more clear, and then set about pursuing more effective treatment.

      good luck,
      Gina

  9. Thank you for this article! I’ve been on generic adderall ( 20 mg XR daily) for about a year, after being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 39. It seemed to be helping but I was having work related anxiety (ER Nurse) so my psychiatric provider started me on escitalopram and within two days I wanted to rip my skin off, was having palpitations and balance issues. Stopped that, started Sertraline which wasn’t helpful and they increased the dose when I told them my anxiety was getting worse, because ” the therapeutic dose is actually higher.”
    After 20 years working in the hospital environment I realized it was the Healthcare system itself and it was time for a career change. I still feel super anxious yet apathetic, spacey and just off, like my thoughts are fast and my physical movements are slow and I need to think about the steps to doing tasks. Weirdly grateful that I don’t have insurance so I can wean myself off of both. Definitely not a combo with synergistic benefits and I miss feeling like myself.

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Career considerations aside, the sorry truth is that you’ve received very poor medical care.

      Shockingly bad, really.

      Read to the end of the article to see how things should go. It sounds like it’s worth trying again, this time with education and self-advocating.

      good luck,
      g

  10. Thank you so much for this article. My husband and I have been together for over 20 years, every single one of them very happily. We both have adhd so I have a pretty good understanding of it.
    I take 10mg twice a day and while it calms me and decreases my pain levels from ai disease, I will gladly go back to no treatment if I could get my husband to stop taking his.
    He has gone from a kind, thoughtful, goofy guy that loves being with our kids and I, to a self-absorbed, ego-maniacal, special interest-obsessed, sometimes downright mean person that none of us recognize anymore.
    My problem is *he doesn’t see it AT ALL.* I don’t know how to make him see it.
    I’m his mind, he has reached his full potential and nobody likes it because we’re so used to him being the, “weaker,” version of himself.
    My marriage is on a path that I never in a million years would have seen coming. We truly were genuinely happy, we’ve been best friends above all for 25 years, and adderall is going to cause the end of it all. I don’t know this person… I’d say who sleeps in my bed but that’s when he actually sleeps.
    How do I get him to realize what’s happening to him?

    1. Dear Jane,

      I just hate it when I’m right about this. So sorry you are dealing with the fall out of yet another reckless prescriber not having a clue about Adderall’s potential effect.

      I would write to the prescriber, reporting what is happening. But that’s me.

      You also might consider an alternate Rx, such as Vyvanse. If you like it, maybe you can convince him go try it.

      take care,
      g

    2. Dear Jane,
      I have experience with this. My marriage ended and I blame adderall. I have adhd but adderall warped my mind and body and I was aware but unable to stop. Twenty three years later I’m finally off this drug but no marriage and poor health. If you can see what’s happening, you are a step ahead of where I was. I was the addict and my husband didn’t know my behavior change was drug related when I lost my mind and then filed for divorce. I miss him every single day if my godforsaken life. I was so euphoric in the early years of that drug that couldn’t admit or see the problem.

      I hope you find help. I would recommend alanon meetings or something similar. You may learn how to avoid enabling while still keeping your sanity. I wish my experience could help someone else. I’d love to think your husband might read this and have it resonate enough to stop the drug.. It’s so so hard to live with the aftermath of adderall addiction damage. Best of luck to you and your family.

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