2

votes

Negative effects of stimulant ADHD drugs?

Commented on October 23, 2014
Created June 08, 2012 at 10:00 PM

What are the drawbacks for taking drugs like adderall or Ritalin for someone who actually has ADHD?

1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

(396)

on December 13, 2012
at 12:42 AM

Hi, could you take a look at my question regarding ADHD and post to it, or ask any clarifying questions. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:37 PM

(Girls, too, by the way, but the girls at this age seem, as a group, to be able to handle the "sit-listen-read-write" paradigm better than the boys. That doesn't mean my 7 year old daughter does...)

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:36 PM

As a teacher who pays a lot of attention to "the system," my theory that it has a lot to do with fitting square pegs in round wholes. If we're all unique, the idea that a one-size-fits-most educational model works is pretty laughable. I have a bunch of 15 year old boys in my class who should be out using their bodies for most of the day before they sit down to books.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:40 PM

& an industry trying to push all kinds of fancy three- and four-letter acronyms (ODD, PDD-NOS, ADHD, ADD, ASD, OCD,...) with very little or no scientific evidence to back it up. And of course, there's a pill for every one of those.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:16 PM

I'm pretty sure that the "disorder" is the outcome of eating fake food and sitting in a box all day.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:07 PM

"The biggest thing I notice is that their personalities flatline." That's what we'll eventually all end up with... A society full of those flat, obedient, conforming personalities because we all have some kind of 'disorder' or 'syndrome' and have to take a drug for it.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 08, 2012
at 10:47 PM

Well the only way to know FOR SURE is a SPECT scan of the brain... and that is expensive and not necessary. Some other tests for diagnostic clarity of ADHD are EEGs and also Continuous Performance Tests.

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8 Answers

4
Medium avatar

(19469)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:46 AM

After a lifetime of struggling in school, I was prescribed Adderall for ADD and it was initially a godsend. For the first time, I could sequence my thought process, focus on something, and stick with it till it was completed.

A few months into it, however, I noticed significant personality changes (I was more "serious", less light-hearted about life, etc.) and was slightly more anxious and temperamental than usual.

I realized that I could not continue to take these drugs forever and decided that I would figure out how to get myself off of them without returning to my previously debilitated state.

I began eating salads every day as well as taking fish oil. I started to exercise regularly again (I had worked out on and off for several years at this point) and, most importantly in my opinion, got into the habit of making a schedule and creating daily to-do lists. I also practiced tai-chi and yoga for the first time.

I took about two years all told, but I gradually weaned myself off of the Adderall and have stayed off of it for the past 10 years. I'm successful at my day-job and am even taking on additional projects as my ability to focus and stay motivated grows (my blog, article writing for magazines, etc.). My wife, who I started dating when I was still on Adderall will often remark that she didn't think I was "funny" when we first started dating, but now laughs both with and at me everyday. Obviously my diet and exercise routine have continued to evolve as well (which I why I ended up here on PaleoHacks).

I'm sharing this because I feel like it is possible to manage ADD successfully without drugs even though they can be helpful as a temporary intervention. They are powerful stimulants and absolutely have negative long term effects (Adderall is technically a combination of the D and L forms of amphetamine).

The key is to discover what diet, exercise, and lifestyle elements such as the type of work you do, amount of quality sleep, relationships, etc. allow you to be the best you. Seek out ways to support your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and you can absolutely make the positive aspects of "ADD" (creative lateral thinking, energy, open mindedness, etc.) work for you.

1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

(396)

on December 13, 2012
at 12:42 AM

Hi, could you take a look at my question regarding ADHD and post to it, or ask any clarifying questions. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

3
1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 08, 2012
at 10:16 PM

I would first want to ask you a question: do you actually have ADHD? It's not because you're diagnosed with it, that you actually have it. The term has been completely overused and abused lately, and has been given to simply anyone with ADHD-like symtoms.

If you do have ADHD, it can be caused by either a food intolerance or poor diet in general (see https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/51565/fac_ArnoldE_JAttentionDis_1999_3_1.pdf?sequence=1 and many others if you google them). I think getting tested for food intolerances is very important.

Even if there's no food intolerance, poor diet can at least worsen your symtoms. The GAPS-diet is specifically designed to treat such issues and is very paleo-like. You might want to check it out.

To answer your actual question: the "official" side effects:

Side effects Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people) Nervousness. Difficulty sleeping (insomnia). Headache. Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people) Decreased appetite. Reduced weight and height gain with prolonged use in children. Rise in blood pressure. Increased heart rate. Awareness of your heartbeat (palpitations). Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). Emotional highs and lows. Depression. Irritability. Aggression. Agitation. Anxiety. Abnormal behaviour. Dizziness. Drowsiness. Movement disorders (dyskinesias). Gut disturbances such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea. Dry mouth. Skin reactions such as rash or itching. Hair loss (alopecia). Pain in the joints (arthralgia).

These are only the official side effects. Besides those, the most important side effect is addiction, I believe.

Don't get me wrong, if you do have 'real' ADHD and it neither caused by food intolerance(s) nor poor diet and a doctor advices you to take ritalin, it's definitely worth trying. Just make sure you're no victim of the overprescription of it.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 08, 2012
at 10:47 PM

Well the only way to know FOR SURE is a SPECT scan of the brain... and that is expensive and not necessary. Some other tests for diagnostic clarity of ADHD are EEGs and also Continuous Performance Tests.

1
281872c6eb452397007c303a8df70097

(10)

on February 18, 2013
at 05:14 AM

-loss of social skills over many years of use (hard to get them back). -you will become used to the flat personality over the years, eventually considering it normal, causing a psychological dependence on the medication. -partial loss of identity (if taken too often). -facial ticks. -loss of fine motor skills. -shakey hands.

Only take the pills when you absolutely need to (it is some seriously powerful stuff), and the above items can be avoided. Make sure you take holidays from the stimulants often so it doesn't spiral out of control.

I had to quit, and now I am trying to put the pieces back together. My experience might not be the same as others, but I have heard other stories of similar experiences.

1
Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on June 09, 2012
at 09:15 PM

Adderall gave me arrhythmia and made my resting heart rate way too fast. It's also expensive, but maybe that doesn't matter if you have good insurance. I just know that missing a day waiting for a refill sucked big-time so once when I ran out I got fed up and just quit, and I'm glad for it.

Proper nutrition, improving gut health and a healthier lifestyle are way more helpful in my experience.

1
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on June 09, 2012
at 07:35 PM

The biggest thing that my students (high school) complain of is loss of appetite. The biggest thing I notice is that their personalities flatline.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:16 PM

I'm pretty sure that the "disorder" is the outcome of eating fake food and sitting in a box all day.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:40 PM

& an industry trying to push all kinds of fancy three- and four-letter acronyms (ODD, PDD-NOS, ADHD, ADD, ASD, OCD,...) with very little or no scientific evidence to back it up. And of course, there's a pill for every one of those.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:37 PM

(Girls, too, by the way, but the girls at this age seem, as a group, to be able to handle the "sit-listen-read-write" paradigm better than the boys. That doesn't mean my 7 year old daughter does...)

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:36 PM

As a teacher who pays a lot of attention to "the system," my theory that it has a lot to do with fitting square pegs in round wholes. If we're all unique, the idea that a one-size-fits-most educational model works is pretty laughable. I have a bunch of 15 year old boys in my class who should be out using their bodies for most of the day before they sit down to books.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:07 PM

"The biggest thing I notice is that their personalities flatline." That's what we'll eventually all end up with... A society full of those flat, obedient, conforming personalities because we all have some kind of 'disorder' or 'syndrome' and have to take a drug for it.

1
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on June 09, 2012
at 12:14 AM

Loss of appetite is the most obvious side effect and it's very noticeable. Depending on how in touch you are with your body, you may notice your resting heart rate is WAY faster, but it goes back to normal within a few hours.

730b6f2d99e133e5ba51142b0fb1505e

on October 23, 2014
at 03:02 AM

I had a very similar experience which I am also working through 10 years later.  I have had dificulty finding communities of others like us.  The web seems to be supersaturated with "institutes" or "medical advice" that are very pro-pharma on this issue.  I would be happy to share notes if you are.

1
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on June 08, 2012
at 10:50 PM

Some of the biggest negative drawbacks can be sleep disturbance and loss of appetite to an extreme. Also some people get a "flat" affect or a "personality" change that is not for the better. Typically that is dose related.

It important to know that ADHD and Anxiety disorder are very highly co-morbid, much more than originally suspected.
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/conference-reports/apa2012/content/article/10168/2069941 Some folks can get more anxious on stimulants, but many find they help with anxiety!

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on February 18, 2013
at 01:18 PM

Let's not forget Trichotillomania... Meth-Face!!!

I love Adderall as a nootropic, but it's too easy for me to chase the euphoria beyond a useful dose. Then I end up crashing HARD.

So, that's more support for the addiction problem.

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