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Thread: If ADHD medications like ritalin (stimulants) make me hyper does this mean I don't truly have ADHD (ADD)?

  1. Default If ADHD medications like ritalin (stimulants) make me hyper does this mean I don't truly have ADHD (ADD)

    I have been diagnosed with adult ADD and I have all the textbook symptoms with one exception-hyperactivity. I have read some ADD-ers say that they feel calmed down and indicate that this is how they know it is working. That makes me wonder if my problem is something else. My symptoms do improve but its also like I am on speed. (yes I know it pretty much is)
    Helpful juniperpansy Rated helpful


  2. You kind of know the answer to this yourself. You have adult ADD, which does not include the hyperactivity. You probably are easily distracted, and start many tasks at the same time which eventually frustrates you. Your medication will help you to finish what you start. Don't overexamine everything, and don't be afraid to live outside the textbook definition of what "experts" who do not even have this disorder believe are the main symptoms that you absolutely have to have. Good Luck.
    Helpful RedDaisyLady Rated helpful
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  3. I don't know about adult ADHD. I was told that the way to tell with my son would be if the medicine made him calmer or more hyper. It kept him up all night long, so we didn't continue it. However, he fit all the classic symptoms of ADD.

    From that point on (he was about 6), we chose to try and manage it w/o medication. I put him in a different school with smaller classes, and was constantly having to meet with his teachers and work out behavior management plans and help them with tweaking the classroom environment or assignment instructions, etc. to help him succeed.

    He was always an underachiever, but probably has a higher raw IQ than his sister who is a much better student. He overcame a lot of the silliness as he grew up, but can still be impulsive and intense. He is now 21 & about to graduate college a year early with commission in the Army. I think the discipline of the military had a lot more to do with helping him learn focus and self-control than any medication could ever have accomplished.

    I highly recommend that you try to find some alternative therapies and techniques to help you get organized and focused and stay off the "speed".

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    My son is now 24. He has dealt with true ADHD all his life. I agree, as he would; learning how to control it once your an adult is the best medicine. If your medication makes you feel like your on speed, it's most likely not the right medication for you. There is alot out there. If you feel you need something, your doctor should try different meds to see what really works for you.

  5. My ADD medications, all of them, have quieted my mind and in some cases even sedated me. I can take an Adderal, and then a nap-but the nap isn't pure sleep, if that makes sense.

    However: medicated, I have insomnia. I don't feel like I'm on speed but my body has a hard time shutting down.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny W View Post
    I have been diagnosed with adult ADD and I have all the textbook symptoms with one exception-hyperactivity. I have read some ADD-ers say that they feel calmed down and indicate that this is how they know it is working. That makes me wonder if my problem is something else. My symptoms do improve but its also like I am on speed. (yes I know it pretty much is)
    It might depend on which drug it is, how long you've been taking it and if you've attempted to regulate the dose yet.
    Many people who are diagnosed with an attention disorder experience these side effects right after starting medication treatment but they should diminish after a bit of time if the diagnosis was correct.
    Also, switching to an ER formulation initially can often help in the beginning.

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    It calms me way down.....I am an extreme case....I am ALWAYS MANIC.....the meds sedate me......at first it made me feel somewhat "guilty"....weird as I am extremely positive....that went away.

    I am perscribed 20 mg 2x a day.....I was on the meds a while ago and my job duties changed and they are much more detail oriented. I will talk to my doc and see if I can take the meds when needed.

    IT WORKS! I bang out work. I am in the management level at a super major oil and gas company.....I was blessed with major merger and aquisitions project.....lots of action at a big level.....ADD was great for that.....20-30 issues a day to change focus. Now i am doing process work.
    Last edited by Kelly15120; 02-03-2012 at 01:40 PM.
    Like madcap liked this post

  8. #8
    My daughter was diagnosed with ADD, this would have been in 1985. The doctor tried ritalin, she couldnt sleep, he changed to cylert and that worked great. It didnt speed her up or slow her down and her grades in school improved. She never was an honor roll student but I dont think she would have ever made it through High School w/o cylert. After HS she refused to take it. About 2 years ago a friend gave her a 20mg adderall she told me one tablet and she could clean her house from top to bottom, and then inside out. So Im glad the doctor prescribed cylert for her. Of course, I had to test both cylert and adderall :-) and they are both pure speed to me. My favorite would be cylert, wonderful stuff! I dont remember why but it is banned in the US now. I really believe those with ADD have to find the medicine that works best for them.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny W View Post
    I have been diagnosed with adult ADD and I have all the textbook symptoms with one exception-hyperactivity. I have read some ADD-ers say that they feel calmed down and indicate that this is how they know it is working. That makes me wonder if my problem is something else. My symptoms do improve but its also like I am on speed. (yes I know it pretty much is)
    I will try my best to explain why this more than likely happens the way a psychiatrist did to me

    No it doesn't mean you do not have ADD. Very often, people with ADD do not rest well at night (when not medicated with ritalin, adderall etc) because their brain seems to be constantly racing. Therefore, when you wake to start your day, you do so very tired and sluggish throughout most of the day. So, the energy you feel you get while taking ADD medications is due to the fact that your both resting better at night, as well as getting the typical "speedy" boost amphetamines provide.

    *** You will experience some energy from these medications, simply because that's their nature. But surprisingly, most people wth ADD actually report sleeping better at night and waking up easier as well as more refreshed in the morning because for some reason the ritalin allows their brains to rest at night***
    Last edited by chera; 02-11-2012 at 02:28 AM.

  10. #10
    It doesn’t necessarily mean you have or don’t have ADHD. Actually speed is the street name for amphetamine which is a common drug prescribed in the US for ADHD, so you actually are “on speed”.

    Anyways, people respond differently to different kinds of medication, so you might need to try a few at different doses before you find something that works. Also the “speedy” effects tend to ware out for many people after taking these drugs for a while, but the improved attention and focus part of the drug remains. That’s why many people with ADHD have been on the same dose for 10 years or more, but people using for recreational purposes tend to increase their dosage to get back that “speedy” effect.

    Also there are 6 different kinds of ADHD that are now being recognized, and probably more that we don’t know about yet. This may not be the best resource, but if you look at the bottom of this webMD page it briefly mentions the different types, and what medications they recommend for certain types (keep in mind this is a generalization): Types of ADHD: Inattentive, Hyperactive, and Combined Types

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    @Jenny W@Vidalia
    this is just my 2 cents worth. I read in i think wikipedia,that the drug lamictal,used primarily for seizures. is also effective treatment for add.the best benefit if it works for you is that it has a very low stimulant effect.
    IMHO its worth researchin if you cant handle the intense stimulus.
    Last edited by betsky; 02-11-2012 at 09:06 PM. Reason: forgot @
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    @betsky- it isn't a big deal or anything but Jenny W hasn't been on PR since '08 and only posted twice. But thankyou for the info as I'm sure someone else will be able to use it.

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    @ salizander
    thanks . I only directed my post at her because she was the OP. I came across this thread at new postings and i had recently readanother person asking for a nonstimulating add med. ooopppss
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  14. Quote Originally Posted by Wntersun View Post
    My ADD medications, all of them, have quieted my mind and in some cases even sedated me. I can take an Adderal, and then a nap-but the nap isn't pure sleep, if that makes sense.

    However: medicated, I have insomnia. I don't feel like I'm on speed but my body has a hard time shutting down.
    My son has ADD, without the hyperactivity portion of it....he is not hyper at all..totally laid back and yet he can not focus to save his life in school...too many external stimulants going on that makes his mind race..the adderall does quiet him down and get him to focus..for awhile..just doesnt last too long..love the analogy though...i rememer codeine kept him up all night.. but not adderall .. he could nap on it too.....

  15. I get a slight effect of stimulant from adderal but after taking it a while this goes away and I can definitely focus better after a week or so I could take one and fall asleep 2 hrs later as my mind didn't jump around so much. It also helped with talking too much and avoiding projects. I have tried Nuvigil also as the doctor said it would help with the sleep apnea and it helps but I had a hard time sleeping the first week I took it. It helps with add but also sems to help my mind think clearly. They are actually researching it to see if it helps improve Alzheimers though nothing has been proven.

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    No, stimulant ADD meds are just that, stimulants and some people still get a little hyper even though most do not. and adult ADD is a lot different from childhood ADD keep that in mind.

  17. I've taken most of the stimulant ADD meds, and while I do get kinda mellow, I also get a little sped up such as in typing class back in high school I focused better but would often hit an extra key or 2 when I finally tried to stop typing because once I got going it was hard to stop. This didn't occur off meds. Also the first time I was prescribed adderall at a high dose 60mg, I sat and meditated for 5 hours but also stayed up much later then normal. It all depends on your own body but it isn't likely to be as simple as sped up on meds means you don't have add or adhd. I don't get sped up in the way other people do such as rushing around cleaning everything but I definitely feel the stimulant effects and also can focus and think more clearly.

    oh I forgot to mention that you will develop a tolerance after awhile usually and for many people this takes a lot of the edge off of any stimulant effects. In fact now even at a very low dose where I don't really get any stimulant effect I can still sense the difference the meds make in mood, attention, and thought clarity.
    Helpful gsg909 Rated helpful

  18. Ritalin should make anyone more focused whether they have AD(H)D or not. If you are having bouts of hyperactivity from taking ritalin that could indicate you are dosing too high. People have varying degrees of natural tolerance to CNS stimulants, what is right for someone could be quite different to what is right for someone else.

    Perhaps try lowering your dose a little to see if that helps.

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    I concur. I can take a dose of Ritilan in the late afternoon and have no trouble sleeping 8 hrs. Unless, my son wakes up in the middle of the night.

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    I didn't read all the posts but wanted to add that many, if not all, people that take add stimulant based medication feel like they are on speed the first time they take it. The first two weeks I was on adderall as an adult I slept about 23 minutes; after that I slowly went back to normal (though I adjusted the second dose so that it was around noon rather than a few hours later). As I've said on the past, it's worked wonders for myself and my career, but it's certainly not for everyone, and shouldn't be used for anything off label due to the negative impact on your health.
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