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Effects - What SHOULD adderall feel like for ADHD sufferer? (scared, any insight?)

Discussion in 'Adderall' started by (emily), Apr 13, 2010.

  1. (emily)

    (emily) Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Female from U.S.A.
    I have a three-part question for those of you who have experienced with Adderall, and are willing to spend a little time answering me... my question may be complex by some standards.

    In my life, this is a significant event and long questions and heavy research is warranted...
    Thanks in advance, Cheers!
    Here i go:

    I am a 24 year old ADHD sufferer who has never been diagnosed or treated until this week, of 2010.
    I have been prescribed 20mg adderall per day in two 10mg IRs.
    My doc told me to take just a single 10mg per day for the first week.

    This is day three, and is the third time i've taken my SINGLE 10mg IR.

    .....I'd like to know what adderall is "supposed" to feel like. (i'd like to gauge my own response to it...)

    This is the first time i've ever taken adderall, and i have never taken any other drugs except marijuana, so I am completely unfamiliar with pretty much any drug. Marijuana does not alter or change you, it simply slows you down. Adderall, however......

    First question:
    For an ADHD sufferer, how should this drug feel? How does it feel to you? How, specifically, does it alter your brain function and your experience of reality? What does it do to you? And moreover, how do you respond to it?

    I took the first pill right before going to work at noon one day. I wasnt sure what to expect, I didnt think it would be so strong.

    My reaction: My schedules have resulted in my being at work every time i've taken my pill in my first 3 days on this drug.
    I felt the world very intensely, very real. Everything was extremely important to me. My perceptions of events weighed very heavily and i was naturally inclined on providing service that was significantly beyond perfect to every customer. Usually it's my way to work quite hard at providing excellent service at a minimum, but suddenly perfection wasn't enough and anything less seemed to annoy me more than usual.
    My co-workers would talk to me and i seemed to delve deep into the subject and talk more than i should, i had to remember to even out the conversational balance. All the while i "smiled too much."
    I felt like i had the potential to be unusually effective, but found myself easily distracted at anything because i wanted to explore everything i experienced; because everything was deeeeep. As far as concentration, it was improved when i chose a subject, but everything felt so different to me that when i varied between tasks (which is expected there) i tended to lock-on to each one...... Due to this i ended up being less effective on my job overall, but more intense on each task i locked on to.

    Additionally, time seemed to pass slowly by the clock... but each moment contained so much more.
    In spite of the high quantity of things i would experience, which seemed to add up to a good amount of time elapsed, my iPhone mocked me with it's slowly ticking clock, to my dismay.
    Time dilation at work?
    ....I am a saleperson... I found that if i set up a sale of xyz items, the conversations would be unusually intense, not just fast-paced chicagans, but even including those that involved catering to a customer who valued a slow conversation of fewer words.
    I felt powerful, yet cautious, afraid i may overwhelm them and lessen my sales opportunity.

    Overall, I felt unsettled by my condition, nervous and out of place... My fundamental personality had been altered. I've never experienced that before.
    I didnt know how to handle myself or what to expect from myself, if that makes sense? My reactions and inclinations changed within 60 minutes of that pill, to be honest it scared me. I constantly felt like i was somebody else, and i was fearing for somebody point me out..... I felt like perhaps i was acting different and my co-workers of 5 years would notice something? That added to my thoughts...
    Is this a stupid fear? Am i over reacting?
    (for reference: ONLY my parents know that i have this drug, i see no reason to tell others! People dont know...)

    Second question: Is my response common? I guess that those who have done other drugs would be significantly more comfortable with such effects, and enjoy it... this is my assumption from what i've gathered from people i've observed. I've been around coke and other drugs, but i never touched them.
    ...Is it normal to be "surprised" by this drug, and for it to take a little time to learn how to benefit?
    (mainly considering i've never taken any drugs that have altered me like coke etc.... i'm a "drug virgin")
    If so, please provide insight...

    Third question,
    This drug... how it affects people. Even thought it surprised me, i am willing to see it through and take the time to learn how to benefit from it. Within these first three days i am, well, surprised to be honest.
    BUT i firmly believe that after i become used to it, and no longer uneasy/surprised, i will be able to benefit from the drug. Once i understand it. It may be abused by many, but i trust my DOCTOR, she wouldn't give me a drug that hasn't helped other people in the past! I will stick to her dosage instructions unfailingly.
    --Insight on learning how to benefit, the strengths of it's obviously substantial effects? Ways of taking advantage for the ADHD sufferer?
    I wonder if there's more to benefiting from prescription Adderall than simply downing pills... there's got to be a "mental strategy" etc also?

    Thank you very much for reading my complex post... i hope i can gain insight from those of you who are experienced.


    (emily) added 2 Minutes and 0 Seconds later...

    Perhaps i should note that as an ADHD sufferer i am extremely analytical and critical of my own personality... maybe that will provide a little insight on those who may read these posts.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  2. death&decay

    death&decay Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Male from U.S.A.
    Your experience seems fairly normal. You are experiencing the typical effects of the drug. After you build up a tolerance these effects will, for the most part, subside. This means, however, even the positive effects will diminish with tolerance.

    Adderall is an Amphetamine, which is also a type of speed. It will make you feel much more focused and alert than usual. When swim takes it, or most all types of amps, it feels as though he has complete control over his energy and mind, where as when not on amps he feels as though controlling his thoughts is more difficult and complicated.
  3. Pieces Mended

    Pieces Mended Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Male from California, U.S.A.
    Hello, welcome to the forums. Hope you can find whatever info you might need now or in the future here.

    Just an FYI- your situation is entirely legal and doesn't implicate you in any sort of illicit activity, but nonetheless, most always make sure you don't post events in the first person. "SWIM" (someone who isn't me) is a common way to ask questions while making it clear you were not the one involved in said activities. Just mentioning it casually now, as someone might be more harsh about it later, just simply by virtue of the fact you mentioned marijuana. At any rate, I'll answer the questions you have based on SWIM's (someone who isn't me's) personal experience.

    As a true ADD patient, SWIM feels he can speak well from experience. First, everyone says they have ADHD these days- SWIM truly believes he never had the "H" in his disorder. Not sure how you were diagnosed or what your symptoms were. SWIM could sit at work being stressed about the dozen items he had to take care of, but could only get about 1/4 of one project done before realizing another one needed doing, switching tasks, losing focus, going back to another, and ultimately ending up with no way of prioritizing or focusing his energy on completion of any given task. This led to extreme stress and anxiety- such bad anxiety, that SWIM first was treated for almost two years simply for severe general anxiety disorder. Much of that really was caused by his inability to handle the situations at hand to the best of his known intellectual limits.

    SWIM's psychiatrist, who has treated him for a while now, gave SWIM some general guidelines for testing treatment out, and scheduled a review appointment in two weeks. He suggested SWIM start taking one 10mg IR in the morning the first three days, and jump to two 10mg IR tabs from there if everything was okay. If that was still fine, he wanted SWIM to try taking two 10mg (20mg) in the morning and two 10mg (20mg) in the afternoon. He gave SWIM just enough medication to make those jumps if things were going well.

    Now, since you gave such a detailed history of your background, SWIM feels he should do the same. At the time he started treatment, he was your same age (24), and had been treated for general anxiety disorder with a few different benzos over the previous two years. He had felt that anxiety as far back as grade school, but had never thought about it being unusual until he was old enough to gain prospective on his situation.

    He was also identified very early in life as being extremely gifted with natural intellectual and communication skills. However, he struggled without explanation throughout his time in school, despite any efforts made to change things. He was labeled "lazy" or more often "arrogant and disinterested" by his teachers and parents. Essentially, everyone assumed he was a "know-it-all" and thus didn't feel the need to work. In reality he wasn't sure how to focus his attention, despite his desire to do so- but ultimately accepted these labels that others attached to him. When given an assignment as simple as taking notes in class, he was unable to focus and complete them for credit- but would somehow ace any test or other "challenge" that was put in front of him. Simply put, the easier the task, the shorter his attention span. He excelled in every competitive extracurricular he involved himself in, but would struggle to pass the corresponding classes.

    Obviously looking back, it was stunningly easy to see the ADD in full force- but as you meet more people who you learn suffer from the condition, you'll realize that typically, at least a decade or so ago, few considered it was possible for a child to be both intellectual and weighed down by this disorder. Again, without knowing the full background of how and when you started to gain an understanding of what you were suffering from, some of this may or may not click.

    Out of full disclosure, SWIM had also occasionally tried recreational drugs in his very late teens and very early 20's. These experiences primarily involved cocaine. SWIM never enjoyed marijuana or any other drugs, aside from the occasional opiate. It made sense, as SWIM can remember things seemed to "slow down" enough for him to think them out were during those cocaine experiences, making him almost more lucid and normal than while sober. And again, SWIM had been treated for anxiety with a host of different drugs with fairly strong methods of action. So, unlike your situation, SWIM started his Adderall knowing what it was like to have a substance alter his personality without inhibiting his ability to reason or communicate.

    At any rate, now that you know the full background, lets head back to how SWIM's initial treatment went. The first day was such a shock compared to every other day he'd worked in his life, it felt like SWIM had just hit "fast-forward" on a remote that controlled his day. It flew by like nothing- there was no stress, SWIM was blowing through stacks of paperwork that would normally be scattered everywhere, and he was up and talking to every co-worker in the office with the extra time he had left. He even took the time to have personal dialogue with every customer who he spoke with on the phone that day, usually after the sale was already in hand. When work was over that first day, he then went home and spent three hours meticulously cleaning his apartment, rather than vegetating in front of the television, debating what to do that evening.

    Ditto for the second day. Although that time, SWIM woke up eager to pop his medication, head to work, and make some commission- knowing what he now was capable of. The third day was more or less the same, but it seemed like SWIM was starting to find a balance between spastic bundle of energy and the previous state of unfocused chaos. He was starting to learn how to relax when there was the option- not just search for more work like a madman.

    When SWIM jumped up to taking the second dose in the afternoon, the effects lasted longer into the early evening and didn't taper off during the end of the work day as they did with the single dose. However, he was still improving his ability to control the surge of energy he felt, the motivation he'd found, and had just about found the balance where co-workers wouldn't suspect he was "on something" like the first few days.

    Long story short- it did take some getting used to for SWIM. Even as someone who had used recreational cocaine, the stimulant impulse from the Adderall was much stronger. There was such a positive in the form of gained ability to function, but the ever-present need to be acutely aware of how far he took the urge to "keep going" when need not be.

    Eventually, as will happen for anyone starting Adderall, you'll build enough of a tolerance to the initial dose where it needs to be upped, until you reach a point where it levels off. For most people, SWIM included for quite some time, that was twice his original dose- 40mg daily instead of 20mg. Adderall isn't the sort of drug that you build more and more tolerance to over time. Once you reach the level dosage you need, it will likely stay there forever. The only exception seems to be that once someone has increased their dose for a significant period of time, there is no "tapering back" and getting the same effect. So, SWIM suggests everyone try to stay with the lowest dose possible for as long as possible- but, don't be afraid to find the dose at which you are getting the most benefit either. Most Psychiatrists will acknowledge their adult ADD/ADHD patients will ultimately end up at the maximum recommended dose of 60mg daily.

    In conclusion, here is what SWIM will tell you-

    If you truly have the disorder, as SWIM knows he does, being treated will improve your life beyond what you can even imagine. However, it IS a very odd thing to adjust to, even for those who have taken other substances. You're essentially coming out of a fog you've lived your entire life navigating through, and now you're going to be able to drive 100mph down the freeway, instead of crawling along, trying to squint with your headlights on, struggling to keep the road. The trick is to enjoy the ability to easily navigate, but to keep near the speed limit.

    There are still days off work when SWIM wakes up with the intent of doing one load of laundry and one load of dishes, then going out with friends. Instead, he does the first two tasks, then realizes he should vaccuum, then starts picking up, realizes his DVD stand is full and the cases on the coffee table have no place to go- and before you know it, ten hours later, he's back from IKEA building new furniture and rearranging the living room. This is what SWIM means when he says that you *must* be conscious and aware of your situation. Take time to ask yourself if what you are doing is something that really *SHOULD* be your priority, or if you've just started to let tiny unnecessary tasks fall into each other like dominoes, killing time you could be using for more fulfilling things.

    So, I know this is probably the longest reply in the history of this forum, but I really hope that it all helps. Truly wish that everyone who started treatment had the same insight given to them going into it- certainly would have helped in the individual referenced in my story.

    Best of luck, and if you have any questions you rather not post up here, feel free to PM me. :thumbsup:
  4. mr op8

    mr op8 Titanium Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Male from U.S.A.
    SWIY's experience is pretty normal for a first-time user of adderall or amphetamines.
    Nothing to worry about.

    SWIM would advise to keep taking the medication like the doctor told you to and see how things are feeling after a couple weeks. SWIY's body WILL adjust to it -- some of the negative effects will go away.

    SWIM has heard that when a person with true ADD or ADHD takes adderall, their experience is quite different than when someone who does not have ADD takes it. In other words, if someone truly has ADD or ADHD, then adderall would mainly relieve the symptoms without making one too "hyped up". But SWIM is not sure if this is even true or not.

    SWIM's advice is to stick with it. SWIM knows that adderall can create some strange feelings, but SWIY will get used to them, and SWIY should definitely see improvement in his/her symptoms.
  5. bambam004

    bambam004 Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Male from U.S.A.
    SWIY you should enjoy the first couple times. Eventually it will feel more relaxing because you are not as distracted. Your body takes time to adjust to new medications and before you know it SWIY thinks "did I ever catch a buzz off this stuff?"
  6. purplehaze147

    purplehaze147 Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Male from U.S.A.
    Everything you said seems normal. Once you build a tolerance, which happens very quickly, the side effects won't be noticeable. Swim suggests only taking half a pill until there are no side effects, then start taking a whole pill. Just check before to see if your doctor's cool with it.

    P.S. I think you're supposed to use swim (someone who isn't me) when talking about using any drugs, even if they're prescribed or legal. Just warning you so you don't get negative rep. I could be wrong though.