ADHD - is it that common? Does Adderall stop working?

The incidence of ADHD in the US seems amazingly high. It seems like every man and his dog has the illness. Now I might be cynical, but I suspect a lot of the people don't really have the illness at all and want ADHD medication such as Adderall either to get high or to use as a cognitive performance enhancer especially if they're in college.

Is this really the case or is there really an epidemic of ADHD? If not, and most use it to help them study and function, how sustainable is this sort of use? If you're using moderate dosages a person with 'legit' ADHD would use, can you really sustain an improvement in energy levels and cognitive performance over the long term or will you just burn out like someone using more recreational doses would?
 

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It is way over diagnosed, especially in the US. One of the issues is a lot of the diagnosis is taking place when a child is really young where there are many other factors in their life that can contribute to exhibiting some of the symptoms of ADHD/ADD. Also, there are a lot of other mental disorders that have many parallels with ADD/ADHD, resulting in a wrong diagnosis. This happens all the time and is why a lot of children or adolescents are on amphetamines, methylphenidate, strattera, lisdexamfetamine, SSRI's, SNRI's, etc. A lot of the children need a different approach and a different diagnosis. Also the education system in America is poorly run, creating "problem kids" who, they start to classify as ADD/ADHD, who really they need a different learning enviroment, as well as a different rewards/consequences system.

You see today that there is a large percentage of male students of all ages performing poorly in school, getting constantly in trouble, being classified as mentally ill, when its the environment of which they are forced to learn in that is causing them to act at. Even in cases where individuals have ADD/ADHD the first approach is pharmacological therapy which doesn't help over come the mental illness which is a possibility when one is a child. There is a decent percentage (I don't remember off the top of my head) that shows that children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD can overcome there mental illness and come out as adults with out it. It is extremely important to use other means of a therapy than the pharmacological approaches because introducing powerful substances like amphetamines, SSRI's, SNRI's, other anti-depressants, etc that are known to alter the brain/body in negative ways. I know for a fact that being on amphetamines for two years in high school before I stopped influences atleast my bodies ability to grow taller (I stopped growing in 9th grade when everyone else continued to grow), and honestly who knows how else it influenced my growing mind at the time. Like I was saying earlier, using non-pharmacological means of therapy can allow a student to overcome the mental dysfunction and live a "normal" life.

Now once the child becomes an adult and still have ADD/ADHD it becomes a life long issue that needs to be address with other forms of therapy besides pharmacological approaches. Not that using pharmacological aid isn't a appropriate form of therapy in a lot of cases, but it needs to be in conjuction with other forms of therapy. This applies to many other mental illnesses like anxiety, personality disorders, etc. Counseling is the best form of therapy out there imo. Being on medication is all well in good if they are practicing better habits and are seeing a mental health professional to try and work with their illness to take advantage of the positives, as well as working around the negatives associated with the illness. Sadly the USA is more about sending patients on their way with pharmacological therapies even scripted by general practitioners who do nothing in terms of improving the patients mental health. Even some Psychiatrists are practicing in a negative fashion by spending an hour or two long session just to give a diagnosis so they can send the patient along home with some medication, and that's the end of it. A lot of the time the doses of medication are too high as well, resulting in a numb patient who can't experience the real world in a way to learn to overcome their problems. I believe that psychiatric medication shouldn't be used to eliminate mental illnesses (with the exception of a few serious illnesses like schizophrenia), but reduce the illness to a point were the patient can work with a counselor to over come the stresses and problems that they suffer.

It always bothers me reading even on bluelight about individuals complaining about the dose of benzos they recieve. Oh booo hooo, you got .5mg of xanax twice a day to help reduce your anxiety, but your upset because you don't feel intoxicated. YOUR NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL FUCKED UP. Its supposed to reduce the levels of anxiety so you can work through the issues at hand so one day you can take them as needed, all the way till you don't need them at all. Same can be said for amphetamines. Yes some people with certain symptoms of ADD/ADHD only being able to be helped at higher doses of amphetamines do need higher doses of amphetamines than others, but alot of individuals feel once the "high", "euphoric" properties go away they need to increase there dose. No, you don't need to increase your dose just because it isn't making you feel like a million bucks any more, the point of being on the medication is to help you concentrate and function at a normal level in society, not to be high while you work or are studying.

ADD/ADHD is a real illness with scientific backings with neurological abnormalities. The problem is the education system, poor parenting, over diagnosing, over medicating, and abuse (people wanting amphetamine scripts to get high). I've read, and can attest to this myself having severe ADHD, that individuals with ADD/ADHD have harder struggles in life than most other out-patient mental illnesses. The effects of being ADD/ADHD (especially if it continues into adulthood, resulting in a life long illness) causes strife to those individuals for the rest of their life. Their relationships with other are sometimes few and far in between, hard to maintain, and romantic ones are largely unsuccessful. Their ability to maintain jobs are very hard. The ability of them to make it to higher levels of education and further more, actually complete degrees are I believe I've read in the single digits. The number of individuals with ADD/ADHD that are in jail/ are criminals or are living in poverty is extremely high. Its not that they are stupid, or that all of them didn't get the proper discipline from their parents. Like I said, I struggle heavily with ADHD, and it is a daily battle I still don't know how I'll ever win. I grew up with great parents that have given me many opportunities to succeed, and my brothers and sisters all have graduated from college (one brother with a BS, another with a BS/MS [UNC-CH for BS, VCU for MS]), or about to start their college career (my sister is about to go to a very high quality uni to study biochem, and has received countless scholarships, graduating highschool in the 10%). It isn't like I grew up in a shitty family with poor parenting (I'm saying this because I hate when people are so ignorant to assume people with "ADD" have shitty parents who didn't beat them enough or whatever), I genuinely struggle with school even being as intelligent as I am, I struggle with daily tasks, I even struggle to even do things I enjoy.

Individuals with out ADD/ADHD who are using amphetamines and the like for cognitive enhancers are quite silly if you ask me. Amphetamines don't make you smarter, they can actually increase the number of mistakes you make in say a paper or on a test. It is more beneficial to rely on your own motivation and mental power to accomplish tasks than it is to use a supplement like amphetamine. You may feel like you know 10x more on it than you do off it, but that isn't the case. Also, using amphetamines to stay up all night to accomplish hw or papers is a terrible thing to do. Your brain still is going to become tired, and your performance even on amphetamines will decline. Your work may be a lot worse because you chose to stay up all night on amphetamines, likely not hydrating yourself, not feeding yourself, becoming sleep deprived etc. The best way to do well in school or on important tasks is to eat healthy, sleep enough/on a regular schedule, and find the study practices that work best for you. This goes for individuals with ADD/ADHD and with out. I try to not use amphetamines that often as I do better when I use them sparingly, and primarily use the brain I have with out pharmacological aid. It also is forcing me to learn to learn in a different manner, which is a timeless skill. One you learn what works for you, you are better off than with any amphetamine like substance.

edit: I had to run through and proof read this, to make edits as I took 7.5mg of amphetamine (trying to stay lower than my prescribed 15mg BID), and I noticed the number of mistakes there was purely because of the amphetamine use. I'm also not a very good writer as it is (I'm better at writing scientific formatted papers. I can kill a lab report)
 
Artificial Emotion;10672625 said:
The incidence of ADHD in the US seems amazingly high. It seems like every man and his dog has the illness. Now I might be cynical, but I suspect a lot of the people don't really have the illness at all and want ADHD medication such as Adderall either to get high or to use as a cognitive performance enhancer especially if they're in college. Is this really the case or is there really an epidemic of ADHD? If not, and most use it to help them study and function, how sustainable is this sort of use? If you're using moderate dosages a person with 'legit' ADHD would use, can you really sustain an improvement in energy levels and cognitive performance over the long term or will you just burn out like someone using more recreational doses would?
Yes, ADHD is overdiagnosed in the U.S. However, as a legit ADHD case myself, I wish someone had caught it when I was little and really needed intervention (I was diagnosed as an adult almost 10 years ago). I was ALWAYS in trouble and couldn't complete any task that required intense concentration. I compensated in other ways so I managed good grades but constantly being in the principal's office was damaging to my self-esteem.

Anyway, I am prescribed an Rx for it which I only take when I MUST intensely concentrate (NOT daily). Just with any other substance, the body builds up tolerance quickly and will lead to a loss of therapeutic effect evetually, without higher doses. Then it's the vicious cycle of up the dose, get benefit for a short while, stops working again, upped dose again...then before you know it you could have a nasty amph habit on top of the inability to focus!

For reference, I have been on the same dose for years and it still helps me but I don't abuse it. I think that's the key. :)
 
I also wanted to mention, a person w/o ADHD taking amph is a dangerous situation. The drug is designed to "fill the gap" in individuals who have chemical imbalances for one reason or another (serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.). It's complicated but basically a person w/o ADHDtaking amph could end up causing a chemical imbalance (depression for instance). Your brain stops manufacturing chemicals it doesn't need to replace (at least temporarily anyway).
 
ADHD is just another "illness" that medical elite said people have in order to sell more drugs and receive more patients
 
mrflowers00;10672837 said:
ADHD is just another "illness" that medical elite said people have in order to sell more drugs and receive more patients
You're entitled to your subjective opinion but unless you're going to post sources, don't make statements like that as if it were fact, it's misleading.

@Cloudy, great post, agree with you completely on most if not all of those points.

@OP, Amphetamines in my opinion, don't stop working all that soon, it's not like a tolerance grows as fast as opioids or benzos, I haven't needed to have my Desoxyn dose raised since I got put on it originally years and years ago. Now, as for whether they are good for the ONLY treatment of ADHD? No, not at all, like cloudy said they help in conjunction with other therapy like CBT, and finding a learning environment tailored to each patient.
 
thisisabsurd;10672815 said:
I also wanted to mention, a person w/o ADHD taking amph is a dangerous situation. The drug is designed to "fill the gap" in individuals who have chemical imbalances for one reason or another (serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.). It's complicated but basically a person w/o ADHDtaking amph could end up causing a chemical imbalance (depression for instance). Your brain stops manufacturing chemicals it doesn't need to replace (at least temporarily anyway).
Amphetamines effect someone with or without ADD the same. It's just that ADHD people on amphetamines functions better on stimulants than without. It'll improve concentration in regular people too.That's like saying opiate won't effect pain patients but will if you don't have pain.
 
THC2LSD;10672983 said:
Amphetamines effect someone with or without ADD the same. It's just that ADHD people on amphetamines functions better on stimulants than without. It'll improve concentration in regular people too.That's like saying opiate won't effect pain patients but will if you don't have pain.
that is completely untrue.
amphetamines effect someone with ADD pretty much oppositely as it would effect someone without ADD.
For instance, I have ADHD, and if I took a normal dose of adderall or vyvanse or whatever else, I fall asleep very very quickly. I have to overdose (well, not overdose, but take a pretty large amount) for it to effect me as a stimulant.

People with add or adhd have abnormal amounts of dopamine flowing between the synapses in the brain. Usually higher than most. The medication actually binds and blocks receptors to slow things down a little bit in those with add; as opposed to someone sans add with 'normal' dopaminergic levels, where it just floods the brain with dopamine, hence creating the effects known to most as speedy.
 
well imo, whether or not one has a diagnosis of ADHD or not, using stimulants like addarall,dex,rit,concerta,desoxyn,etc is over time going to result in an overall diminution of the neurochemicals in the brain, the difference however between one with adhd dx and one without, is that the one with it will have access to stimulants to treat their adhd but those who don't have the particular dx won't have access in the same way and that is the problem, these drugs are a trap.
 
Adderall and any other ADD med stops working therapeutically as soon as you abuse it. And yes, many people have ADD, approximately 50 percent. I have a whole theory about it, but i'd rather not have a huge post about it and derail the thread, those things are better suited to the blog.
 
Fire&Water;10673047 said:
I love it when the correct answer is so contradictory


it does sound stupid and contradictory, but the speed is actually slowing down the part of the brain that is overactive (in those with add).
 
People have the false understanding of how the dopeamineric system actually functions. most ignorant individuals dont understand the majority of receptor subtypes of dopamine d2 d3 d4 are all inhibitory receptors not stimulitory receptors. Also they dont understand receptor locations as different dysfunctions involving dopamine like parkinsons or some theories with rls take places in the the large clusters of d subtypes in specific areas where d1 receptors are not as prominate (if i had my notes in front of me id go into this more). so basically what im saying its hard to talk about how dopamine plays a role when you dont know the receptors and neuron cluster locations that contribute to specific illnesses and how specific drugs effect the brains of those with abnormalities. also dopamine is not the cause of the intial primary effects of amphetamine. the lower the dose the effects primarily have activity on NE reuptake and release with a small influence from this influence DA neurons. higher the doses
 
Higher doses then start to have a more direct effect on dopamine receptors primarily d1 and d2 i believe. so basically yes amphetamine will effect everyone different depending on the topography of the individual. this varies even with individuals with differnt types of add/adhd. you can see corrolations of methylphenidate working better with individuals with add inattentive and amphetamine work better with individuals with hyperactivity and impuslivity. this isnt set in stone but there is alot of neuro science on add/adhd. its not some made up illness just cuz people abuse it or say they are.
 
littlepenguin;10673024 said:
that is completely untrue.
amphetamines effect someone with ADD pretty much oppositely as it would effect someone without ADD.
For instance, I have ADHD, and if I took a normal dose of adderall or vyvanse or whatever else, I fall asleep very very quickly. I have to overdose (well, not overdose, but take a pretty large amount) for it to effect me as a stimulant.

People with add or adhd have abnormal amounts of dopamine flowing between the synapses in the brain. Usually higher than most. The medication actually binds and blocks receptors to slow things down a little bit in those with add; as opposed to someone sans add with 'normal' dopaminergic levels, where it just floods the brain with dopamine, hence creating the effects known to most as speedy.
I have ADD and I still get stimulant effects from amphetamines, though it's strangely relaxing at the same time. I think it's the low doses that cause the paradoxical effect. I've seen others take it and get the same effects.Shit I've even heard of normal people getting tired on low doses of amphetamines.If you take stimulants and it doesn't feel like most think stimulants should feel it's not necessary proof you have ADHD.

Dopamine levels are lower in some parts of the brain with ADD, stimulants raise it up higher, maybe even higher than a normal person.It doesn't have a blocking effect.

I've heard "stimulants don't effect ADD people the same as regular people" yet I can't find a study that shows that. I personally think it a myth propagated by the pharmaceutical industry and doctors to explain why ADD patent don't become tweakers.I think the key is low controlled doses orally. It'd be nice if you can find a study showing there is different effects.

I still think ADD is very real and stimulants are an effect treatment. But I just don't see anything that shows it's that different or more dangerous if a regular person takes it.
 
Some great posts in this thread :)

I was going to say about the same thing as THC2LSD about the "myth" that people will ADD do feel any noticeable affects from amphetamines. Everyone is going to be affected slightly differently from stimulants, but it's not like a person with ADD takes some and feels nothing other than a decrease in their ADD symptoms, or that being able to sleep on stims means you definitely have ADD.

As someone with moderately severe ADD, I can attest that ADD meds do NOT have the opposite effects in people with ADD as they do in people without ADD.

Stimulants are not a "cure" for ADD, or even a wholely effective treatment, they just help for some people to reduce some of the symptoms of ADD, but they still have side effects and do not eliminate ADD symptoms.

As for ADD itself not being a real illness, it depends how one defines "illness". I think that one of the reasons people think ADD isn't "real" is because it isn't a "disease" in the traditional sense, it is a disorder. Another reason is that people without ADD can exhibit some of the symptoms of ADD, so it can be difficult to properly diagnose and people (particularly children) can be misdiagnosed. The symptoms are caused by imbalances in the brain, and the imbalances in the brain are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. An excellent book for anyone interested in understanding ADD or who has ADD is Scattered by Dr Gabor Mate (US title is Scattered, Canadian title is Scattered Minds).

As for why the levels of ADD are rising, that is a complex issue and I believe it is both that more people actually have ADD, (especially in Western countries) and that more people are being diagnosed (who in the past wouldn't have known they had ADD and would have just been accused of being lazy or deliberately inattentive). It's not just, as some would like to believe, that people who don't have ADD are being misdiagnosed.
 
u ask billion questions so ill just answer one: Can Adderall stop working?

The answer is yes. The military rejected the drug as unreliable. Not only ADDers reported that it can "stop working" but regular soldiers on flight missions reported the same thing and they didn't have ADHD. If you want something that works all the time like a Swiss watch, use Dexedrine, pilots call it flight go pill. 10,000 pilots used it 10,000 times and 10,000x10,000 the pill worked, didn't fail a single time.

Problem is, some ADDers find dex too soft and like Adderall better for the "kick in the pants" given by the 25% levo
 
I'm pretty sure the current Go-Pills are Dexedrine and Provigil.

I never needed a dose increase while taking dexedrine, and I haven't required any dose increases in my years on Desoxyn, and don't intend to ever increase my dose, I already take much less Desoxyn than I'm prescribed.
 
For the question of does amphetamines stop working...

It depends on the situation. If one takes amphetamine as prescribed and the patient doesn't perceive the idea of working (especially when they are trying to find the initial starting dose), as the stereotypical recreational side-effects (side-effects because they are in terms of therapeutic action), like an increase mood/euphoria, intense hyperfocus, hyperactive body sensation (tweeking), feeling of overconfidence, increased sociability, reduced appetite, etc, then no the therapeutic benefits do not stop working in any appreciable time. Now it seems, particularly on bluelight, but also in those I've met who aren't even recreational drug users, that when those side-effects begin to disappear, they feel the drug isn't working any more. However, therapeutic use of amphetamine continues well beyond when those side-effects aren't apparent. One can remain at the same dose for years with out any lose in efficiency of the actual expected therapeutic effects. People just rather not admit it and chase after the high. Like with majority of therapeutic drugs, they are supposed to minimize the symptoms being treated for, allowing for "normal" functioning. One doesn't need to be tweeking to maintain a normal level of concentration. Your not expected to be able to sit down for 24 hours barely moving hyperfocused on one task. That is beyond normal and you'll notice the quality of work after a certain point continues to diminish as time goes on during the hyperfocused period. Like I said, amphetamine use (especially higher doses) can increase the number of mistakes made in a given period relative to no amphetamines. Doctors do not often enough explain the drugs they are prescribing and what to expect, resulting in users of benzos, amphetamines, opioids, etc. to constantly be over dosed. Now I know I may catch strife for that, but let me note, I'm not talking about every user. Though, if you are not taking your prescriptions as prescribed, like snorting/IVing opanas, taking extra xanax every so often, adding street drugs on top of prescribed drug, you are going to build up tolerance a hell of a lot faster resulting in a lack of efficiency of the therapeutic drug in question. Yes over time, and there is no set time for any drug on how the tolerance will increase, the efficiency will decline, but the patient more often than not will be better off extending out the current prescribed dose until most of the therapeutic benefits are gone (until they start to lose the ability to perform their daily functions). If you increase your dose every day that you feel the pill decreased it's efficiency you'll end up in a multitude of uncomfortable situations. The number of negative side-effects increases the higher the therapeutic dose is, the efficiency of the drugs will continue to decrease till you run out of options to treat your problems, and you are likely to have created a dependence or worse a addiction to the substance.

Methadone (for some conditions, maybe not MMT, I don't have experience with this) is the perfect example of a drug maintaining it's efficiency even though the pleasurable side-effects disappear. I've been on methadone for coming up 7 months now and I don't get anywhere near the same level of a buzz if you will that I get now. Thats not to say that the condition that it is treating isn't being treated. My RLS remains treated with the exception of situations that would exacerbate the RLS on a drug or not (for example like airplane rides in economy seats)

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but in general therapeutic doses of amphetamines do not lose their efficiency that fast. It would generally take countless years and years for the drug to stop working. There are individuals who remain on amphetamine like substances for majority of their life with out it stopping working.

If it wasn't for my occasional abuse of amphetamines, 30mg a day would and has worked for me for 2+ years with out a single dose increase. When I've abused it, by not following the directed dosing guide, the efficiency was lost fast. However, with the appropriate supplements, diet, exercise, and break from use, I've managed to get the efficiency back to where 30mg a day is all I need.

Some drugs are different though, so this doesn't always apply and why you need to discuss your concerns with a doctor if you're afraid of a lose of efficiency. I know my dissociative tolerance will not decrease in any noticeable or respectable amount after my use of DXM, Ketamine, 4-MeO-PCP, and MXE.


Ksa;10673721 said:
u ask billion questions so ill just answer one: Can Adderall stop working?

The answer is yes. The military rejected the drug as unreliable. Not only ADDers reported that it can "stop working" but regular soldiers on flight missions reported the same thing and they didn't have ADHD. If you want something that works all the time like a Swiss watch, use Dexedrine, pilots call it flight go pill. 10,000 pilots used it 10,000 times and 10,000x10,000 the pill worked, didn't fail a single time.

Problem is, some ADDers find dex too soft and like Adderall better for the "kick in the pants" given by the 25% levo
The military finding amphetamines unreliable doesn't mean that the drug stopped working. The way they were using amphetamines was the problem. Like I said, abusing a drug will always result in a loss of efficiency and the way they were using the drug was in a very negative fashion with negative side-effects on the pilots which made it's use unsafe.
 
Well said, Cloudy. And it sounds like our medicine cabinets look very similar.
I really enjoy the passionate, respectful debate that takes place on BL. :) Oh, and Swimmingdancer, thank you for the book rec!
So am I wrong in thinking that the temporary reduction of norepinephrine production could turn into a permanent situation in someone that does not have ADHD? Hmmm...I guess it could happen to someone with ADHD also. I respectfully retract my "dangerous" comment from earlier. I really want to learn more about the topographical differences in the brains of ADHD vs. non-ADHD people, yet that seems impossible as diagnosis is so subjective(??)
 
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