Back on Adderall: Good for ADHD, Bad for Anxiety

July 26, 2017
Posted in Anxiety, Life
July 26, 2017 bryan

Back on Adderall: Good for ADHD, Bad for Anxiety

Two years ago, I began taking Adderall to treat my ADHD. I had previously seen a counselor where I was told I showed signs of ADHD without Hyperactivity. I have long had issues with focus and procrastination. They taught me how to use meditation, diet, and exercise to my advantage and on their own, those have tended to help, though I am typically awful when it comes to being consistent at any of the above (especially exercise).

When I started taking Adderall, I could tell an immediate difference. I was focused on my work, and I could complete tasks I otherwise seemed incapable of completing. I was suddenly getting things done. I was crossing off items on my to-do list, I was making phone calls that scared me to death to make previously. And I was able to be fully present on what I was working on.

This came at a cost, though. I was frequently irritable with people, and my patience was next to zero. I was no longer my usual chipper self as much and instead was right-to-the-point and if someone stood in the way of my task, I told them so. This made me a near nightmare to live with, probably, and probably kept my friends and family feeling like they were stepping on a minefield waiting for the explosion. I’m definitely not proud of this.

I coupled this medication with an anti-anxiety medication (Remember when I was given my ADHD diagnosis? That also included a diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder.) and that helped to some extent.

Then, at the beginning of the year, when I changed jobs, I went off my insurance for a while, and so I went off Adderall. As time went on and I got my new job, I decided to stay off the meds and see how it affected my performance and mood. I stayed on the anxiety meds, and for a while it seemed to work fine. But gradually as time went on, I felt myself slipping back into that brain fog of distraction and procrastination. I didn’t want to make phone calls when an email would work.

So recently my doctor put me back on Adderall to see if this improved. After all, I was in a far less stressful work environment now, and that could make all the difference. Like before, I couple this med with my anti-anxiety meds and like before, I can tell a difference with my ability to focus and hone in on projects until they’re done. And it has made a difference in that I no longer feel impatient with others (I think my getting off social media and not being on my phone so much probably contributed to being more in-the-moment at home and with others).

But the problem is that – even on the anxiety meds – I have a few moments in the day where my anxiety is gripping at me with a mean grip, and I find myself worrying that I’m not doing enough or that I’m suddenly overwhelmed with everything. I know in my head that this isn’t the case, and I can’t for the life of me imagine what I’m overwhelmed WITH. I know it’s the medication. But I’m not sure what to do with this at the time. I feel like I’ve been nothing if not inconsistent during my medication changes.

So yeah, this is a rant. I’m just working stuff out. Thanks!