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Why do I feel so much happier on stimulants?


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I am a notoriously depressed, anxious person. I've been Paxil-ified since I was 17 and I'm 34 now. I never put two and two together until now (duh) but I see that the more awake and stimulated I am, the happier I am and more outgoing and less anxious. For instance, I used to be prescribed phentermine for weight loss and when I took it, I felt amazing! Best I ever felt in my life! Productive, normal, happy. But when I'm on 'downers' or antidepressants, anxiety medication, sleeping pills, I'm super depressed. Could I have ADD? Is that why I feel happier when stimulated? Or are they just called stimulants for a reason? lol I've seen stories of people who had ADD and anxiety but were prescribed Adderall or Ritalin and felt BETTER. The idea that a stimulant can help anxiety and depression...is that crazy?

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They are powerful norepenephrine reuptake inhibitors so yeah, they will make pretty much anyone feel better regardless of if they are depressed or not. They are amphetamine based you know.

A positive response to a stimulant is not indicative of ADHD. Are there any other reasons to think you might have it?

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A few people who know me think I do but the psychologist I see says I don't because I didn't have symptoms as a child or before I was 7 years old? Something like that. Not sure that even makes sense.

Do you believe you have ADHD, or do you wish you had it? I'm confused.

Stimulants make everyone feel better, regardless of their diagnosis. It's as V.E. says, it's an amphetamine, an upper. I take them and always feel more cheerful, and have a strong sense of well-being, but simply because they make you feel good does not mean that you have some reason to actually take them...otherwise the entire world would be smoking meth with their teeth falling out and their skin crawling with hallucinated bugs.

So saying that because uppers make you feel good, you have some medical reason to take them is like saying that a meth-head who feels fucking amazing while smoking meth has some medical reason to use it, which...they don't.

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Stims don't make me euphoric, they slow me down. Same with my kid. In fact, some kids with ADHD don't WANT to take stims, because they feel "weird" or slowed down, not over the moon ecstatic.

OPIATES on the other hand... no nausea, no fatigue, just happy happy joy joy all day long.

Those kinds of paradoxical reactions are fairly usual with the MI/ADHD crowd, really. I'm not saying there is not an exception to every rule, but if you are that euphoric of stims, you are LESS likely to have ADHD in my opinion. And yes, stims will make anyone more productive... either via artifically causing increased energy/motivation or by task focusing (if ADHD). SO just being able to get more done does NOT mean you have ADHD, necessarily, it means you like stims and can get shit done as you have artifical, extra energy. IMO.

Anna

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Historically an early age of onset has been one of the AD(H)D criteria. This is being de-emphasized -- especially for women who as children tend not to act out and are often overlooked. You might ask the psychologist to humor you and explore the possibility of ADD.

I say this as someone who was diagnosed with depression since adolescence but never had any success with any medication -- except Wellbutrin, which was then pulled off the market. Finally I had a doctor who said "Have you ever thought of the possibility that you're ADD?" -- when I was 37.

Being able to focus on the task at hand cannot help but raise one's morale...

A few people who know me think I do but the psychologist I see says I don't because I didn't have symptoms as a child or before I was 7 years old? Something like that. Not sure that even makes sense.

Edited by Retromancer
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  • 3 weeks later...

Retromancer- what do you mean about Wellbutrin being pulled off the market?

OP- I agree with the above poster that when I am on stims I feel like I'm a bit of a dud. If I want to be the life of the party I have to make sure not to take too much adderall!

I heard that some people get an anti-depressant effect from ADHD meds but they can also cause anxiety and anger issues in others. For me, I tried going off my anti-depressants and just taking ADHD meds and ended up suicidal. They apparently don't work as uppers for me, heh.

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Wellbutrin was taken off the market in the late 80's (?) due to concerns about possible seizures. The contemporary XL formulation lessens the concern. I am presently taking it.

Stimulant med's work differently on different people and the responses vary by dosage -- often in a counter-intuitive fashion.

Retromancer- what do you mean about Wellbutrin being pulled off the market?

OP- I agree with the above poster that when I am on stims I feel like I'm a bit of a dud. If I want to be the life of the party I have to make sure not to take too much adderall!

I heard that some people get an anti-depressant effect from ADHD meds but they can also cause anxiety and anger issues in others. For me, I tried going off my anti-depressants and just taking ADHD meds and ended up suicidal. They apparently don't work as uppers for me, heh.

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A few people who know me think I do but the psychologist I see says I don't because I didn't have symptoms as a child or before I was 7 years old? Something like that. Not sure that even makes sense.

It does make sense, it's in the DSM IV.. however, if you take a look at this:

http://www.dsm5.org/...on.aspx?rid=383

Specifically this at the bottom:

B.Several noticeable inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present by age 12.

You can see that the new DSM is set to change the 7 year old marker to 12 years old. It's already been though at least one major revision that I can see, so in my opinion, the change is likely to stick.

I doubt that's the sole reason for your pdoc's conclusion.. but it's worth bringing up to clarify that that is the case - as that's the reason you were given. If you don't fit the 12 year old criteria either, it's a mute point however.

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Wellbutrin was taken off the market in the late 80's (?) due to concerns about possible seizures. The contemporary XL formulation lessens the concern. I am presently taking it.

Gotcha, thanks. I remember reading about a risk of seizures with higher doses but didn't know they once pulled it off of the market due to that. I didn't even know it was around in the 80's - I thought it was a newer AD. Learn something new every day.

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Once that 12 year age of onset filters down to practitioners it's going to have a major impact. Especially for women with potential ADHD. I have a "functionally" ADD friend -- female -- who was declared not ADD because she lacked proof of a 7 year age of onset.

A few people who know me think I do but the psychologist I see says I don't because I didn't have symptoms as a child or before I was 7 years old? Something like that. Not sure that even makes sense.

It does make sense, it's in the DSM IV.. however, if you take a look at this:

http://www.dsm5.org/...on.aspx?rid=383

Specifically this at the bottom:

B.Several noticeable inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present by age 12.

You can see that the new DSM is set to change the 7 year old marker to 12 years old. It's already been though at least one major revision that I can see, so in my opinion, the change is likely to stick.

I doubt that's the sole reason for your pdoc's conclusion.. but it's worth bringing up to clarify that that is the case - as that's the reason you were given. If you don't fit the 12 year old criteria either, it's a mute point however.

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They are powerful norepenephrine reuptake inhibitors so yeah, they will make pretty much anyone feel better regardless of if they are depressed or not. They are amphetamine based you know.

A positive response to a stimulant is not indicative of ADHD. Are there any other reasons to think you might have it?

Uhh correct me if im wrong does adderall and ritalin both work through the function of norepinephrine? I was thinking it was dopamine.

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They are powerful norepenephrine reuptake inhibitors so yeah, they will make pretty much anyone feel better regardless of if they are depressed or not. They are amphetamine based you know.

A positive response to a stimulant is not indicative of ADHD. Are there any other reasons to think you might have it?

Uhh correct me if im wrong does adderall and ritalin both work through the function of norepinephrine? I was thinking it was dopamine.

There's a small effect on DA but it's mostly NA.

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I don't know. Wellbutrin fits my brain like a glove. It's been a key part of my cocktail for years. It just makes me feel much more present in the world. If you can't handle wellbutrin, I'd stay away from the stronger stimulants.

The subjective experience of what it feels like to be on a particular drug is obviously going to be different from person to person.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They are powerful norepenephrine reuptake inhibitors so yeah, they will make pretty much anyone feel better regardless of if they are depressed or not. They are amphetamine based you know.

A positive response to a stimulant is not indicative of ADHD. Are there any other reasons to think you might have it?

Uhh correct me if im wrong does adderall and ritalin both work through the function of norepinephrine? I was thinking it was dopamine.

There's a small effect on DA but it's mostly NA.

No, actually, it seems to be about equal, at most, or more effect on dopamine.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2574590/?tool=pubmed

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I just skimmed the linked article but I didn't catch where it establishes the effect on NA relative to DA. Such certainly is not the intent of the article.

I usually just go by this rxlist:

Methylphenidate is a CNS stimulant. Its mode of therapeutic action in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not known, but methylphenidate is thought to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron and to increase the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space. Methylphenidate is a racemic mixture comprised of the d-and l-enantiomers. The d-enantiomer is more pharmacologically active than the l-enantiomer.

Which simply states it has an effect on both.

I'll read up on this more later.

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I doubt there's much of anything that's going to address the relative contributions of the effects on dopamine and norepinephrine in treating symptoms. I can't really even imagine how that would be done. My point was that it's not as simple as what you had said. I was trying to only link to things where the full text was available to all. Only abstracts seem available for the following, maybe more relevant, studies.

http://www.sciencedi...890856710005228

Monkeys were given ritalin and amphetamine, in combination with meds that blocked their effects on either dopamine or norepinephrine. Blocking each impacted different aspects of attentional cognition.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777813/

This is really cool, looking at straterra, and the parts of the brain in which it seems most effective.

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/327/2/554.full

Mice bred for mutant dopamine transporters, don't show usual response to ritalin.

The point would be, different symptoms of ADHD seem to be differentially associated with dopamine or norepinephrine agonism. Which is more important probably depends somewhat on which symptoms are most prominent, from person to person.

Edited by SashaSue
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