Adding Adderall Back Into My Med Rotation: The Side Effects

I was diagnosed as an adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) about 3 years ago. It explained so much – over or under-sleeping, inability to complete tasks, starting 1 thing and then starting 20 more before finishing the first, withdrawing from friends, hating change and being totally thrown off when it happens, and a big one for me – sensory issues.

At the end of August, I went inpatient due to malnutrition to have a tube surgically placed because I could no longer swallow liquids, eat foods, or even swallow my own spit. I’d say it gradually happened, but time isn’t relevant when you’ve spent most of the year sleeping in a hospital bed.

Changes to my medication routine

Obviously, not swallowing meant not being able to take pills, as those would just come up. When I got my feeding tube, I was and am still able to crush up meds when I am apprehensive about them staying down. It’s a much better method for me to receive my medications on a regular basis instead of maybe 1 of 7 nights a week some would stay down.

But, since I’d been having so many health issues, a lot of my meds were held, including one for sleep and flashbacks during the day for my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had to stop others that also helped me sleep, but the one I had to remain off of for quite some time that I just restarted was my Adderall for my ADHD.

Stable enough now to restart Adderall

One of my most helpful tools had been erased off my list fairly quickly. Hospital administrators didn’t feel it was a huge factor or important for my recovery until I was well enough to ambulate on my own and wasn’t so out of it. I didn’t mind, as I hadn’t been working, and to be honest, I was rotten tired all the time and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll get a few more minutes of rest tonight.”

Truth be told, I’m so glad that I am stable enough to have restarted my Adderall about 2 weeks ago, helping me find more incentive to get things done, feel less distracted, and finally able to focus on actually working a little bit here and there to distract me from the pain and the medical mess I’m in.

No one warned me about this side effect

I’m very much a creature of habit, so when major changes happen, it affects me greatly emotionally and mentally, and I lack a feeling of stability. I hate change, which is one of the reasons I’m so grateful I am trying my best to get back into the swing of things without losing concentration, patience, and concept of time.

BUT, the thing no one remembered to tell me was that going back on full dose after 7 months without it would bring me little sleep until my body gets used to me taking my meds in the morning again (or before working third shift when I’m able to return to work a couple of hours a week). I forgot how It felt to sit here, aimlessly staring at the ceiling and anxiously looking at the clock to see if I can get up yet. My insomnia meds only work for about 2 to 3 hours at a time, and when I wake, all of their effects are gone and I am fully awake for the rest of the night.

Passing time during the night

In fact, tonight, I was so hyped up and upset about it, I didn’t allow myself to lie on the couch, knowing I’d do that until 7 AM when my partner leaves for work. Instead, I turned the lights on, made some coffee, took my ADHD med, and hopped on my computer to work – for 3.5 hours straight.

Did I HAVE to wake up at that time? No. But I wasn’t about to let my emotions, specifically anger towards my insomnia, take me down for an entire day. When I saw the clock hit 3:15 AM, I said, “Welp! Close enough to 4 AM. Let’s brew some coffee and see what my brain communicates to my fingers on this rusty old keyboard I haven’t worked on in many months.”

A little bit of control goes a long way

Did it instantly improve my mood? I have to be honest, today it did, and it’s only 7 AM. Could I have let it ruin my whole night and morning? Absolutely. Have I done that a thousand times before? I sure have.

The littlest bit of control can make a huge difference when you have ADHD and struggle to fall and/or stay asleep. Knowing that I started my day (a bit begrudgingly) the way I wanted to and within the time frame I allowed myself allowed me to let go of the frustration and anger I had built up from the time I tried going to bed just lying there motionless and ticked off.

Controlling my own day

I know it will take me some time for my body to readjust to the medication, specifically my afternoon dose. But like I mentioned, having just that little bit of control makes me feel like I’m controlling the day, not my fatigue or insomnia anger. It will also allow me to space out the time and quantity of my medication to help my body adjust.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, just a chronic insomniac/patient who is willing to share my experiences with stimulants and insomnia, as well as normalizing ADHD – specifically diagnosed as onset adults. It’s hard for any adult in challenging times like these to get a full and fulfilling night of sleep. I hope this encourages you always to know that you can change your day by changing your attitude as many times during the day as you want and need to.

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