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Has adderall affected your physical health?

65 posts in this topic

If you look up alcoholism online there is plenty of information about the stages of physical decline and associated diseases. There doesn't seem to be anything like this re the short and long term effects of chronic Adderall use (abuse, really). I'm not looking for a diagnosis here, but if anyone could share their experiences on this level I would be very appreciative. I often wonder if my cardiovascular health has been compromised by Adderall abuse.

Thanks for reading. I'm new here and so glad I found this forum. I don't feel alone anymore.

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Hi converse, and welcome!!

 

The closest thing I know of is this post, the 8 stages of amphetamine use/abuse:

 

http://forum.quittingadderall.com/topic/879-8-stages-of-amphetamine-useabuse/#entry14469

 

It's more related to overall addiction, lifestyle, and mental rather than than physical health.  But it's very insightful.  Maybe there aren't as clear-cut stages of physical health decline with adderall?  I mean you can just read the black box warning that comes with your script..... they list a lot of health effects there, but not with an eye towards abuse or stages of progression. 

 

A lot of people on here have reported various physical health problems related to adderall.   BUT these also seem to be for the most part reversible.  Quitting and taking care of yourself can really do wonders-- The body has an amazing ability to regenerate.

 

Are you quitting (or considering it?)

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When I was abusing heavily, I could really tell my heart wasn't right. I'd get dizzy for no reason. I'd walk up stairs and really think I was going to pass out. I'd get heart palpitations as well as my heart beating out of my chest sometimes. I had bad headaches frequently. I didn't need any research to know my body wasn't right, and I was seriously risking my health. That was my personal experience.

Also, studies have linked stimulant abuse to Parkinson's Disease. Learning that was one of the big reasons I decided to quit. I don't have statistics, but I think we have a sense of what's going on in our bodies and can often tell when something isn't right. As Occasional asked, are you trying to quit? Welcome to the forums!

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Ashley I definitely had some similar health issues on adderall!   OK I'm inspired to share my personal experience too--   

 

At first, it was awesome.  I was still working out, I trained for a triathalon, I could still eat when I needed to, I didn't have any bad side effects except horrible anxiety.

 

It got progressively worse.  Towards the end, I was getting horrible migraines almost every day.  And taking acetaminophen and asprin to deal with that (which are horrible for your liver, stomach, etc.)   Oh, and if I went out drinking, my hangovers were TERRIBLE.  I remember wishing for an IV of water. On a regular basis.

 

Sometimes I would get chest pain or heart palpitations.   Walking up some stairs, or any physical exertion really, would make me feel like I was going to have a heart attack.  Which is why I stopped working out.  And gained a bunch of weight.    Plus, being sedentary for so many hours on adderall really messed up my back.  Which led to more ibuprofin/asprin/whatever.

 

Adderall also fucked up my digestive system big time.  I was taking pepcid every day, more than the recommended dose sometimes, because my heartburn was so bad.  

 

And in the evening, I would have serious difficulty swallowing food.   It came to a point where I was too scared to eat because I literally couldn't swallow food.   I almost choked one time.  No joke, it was a very near miss.  That was really scary because I was alone in my apartment!   It's like my esophagus had literally stopped working.  So, I lived on smoothies, lattes, and beer.  Sometimes I would take a shot of olive oil, I was so hungry but so unable to eat.   Basically I was on a liquid 'diet' to accommodate my addiction.  (WOW.)   So I became really malnourished.  And (obviously) very, very sleep deprived.

 

I think it compromised my immune system too, because I was pushing it so hard but also weak and malnourished.  I got sick more easily.

 

And of course, I avoided seeing a doctor at all costs.   

 

The mental aspects are another story.  Anyways I'm really glad I stopped when I did.  

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  • I experienced a variety of cardiovascular issues (racing heart, cramping up)..
  • I always had canker sores.
  • I really don't miss is being shivering cold all the time.  
  • I never ate and when I would crash I would be ravenous
  • Sleep deprived and always headachey. 
  • Couldn't think straight...
  • numerous warning signs. 
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Ashley and Occasional, you gave me the bravery to come clean about a physical condition I had while taking Adderall because it is embarrassing, but it is definitely a part of my story.

 

I walked around for 3 years with pain in my testicles. I thought it was related to Lyme’s disease and the people in that support group said that it was a problem they have heard before.

 

One thing I put together was that when I took a higher dose of Adderall, the pain got worse. When I took less, I got some relief from the pain. I chose to believe that it was Lyme’s disease rather than my secret little pill.

 

I went to four urologists until I came across one saying it was testicular torsion: the testicle becomes twisted in the sac and can't get untwisted. Surgery was required to fix it. I was at the point of tears every day with the pain and I agreed to have the surgery. Talk about scary!!!

 

The end of the story is that the surgery worked 100%. No more pain after a few months of healing. Then shortly after joining this forum, I researched it on the Web and guess what? There are quite a few stories in other forums that link testicular torsion with Adderall. No one else here (men of course)experienced this? 

 

Check out this link if you would like to hear other stories on this subject.

http://forums.webmd.com/3/add-and-adhd-exchange/forum/601/10

 

 

The real kicker is that I continued to use Adderall for another 9 years!

 

May as well edit in all the physical symptoms while I'm here:

 

Frequent urination.

It was difficult to start the flow and it was somewhat painful.

Sexual dysfunction.

I had Raynaud's syndrome (fingers were purple and cold).

Clentched jaw especially during sleep. I was just about to get a bit.

Creaky joints.

My appetite was destroyed.

Insomnia.

I was having constant injuries due to pressing my body beyond it's natural limits.

I was always cut and brusied.

Had a penchant for activities that were very risky. This caused injury.

Acne.

I was skinny; beyond a healthy look. At the end I gained weight and now I am 20 pounds overweight.

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If you look up alcoholism online there is plenty of information about the stages of physical decline and associated diseases. There doesn't seem to be anything like this re the short and long term effects of chronic Adderall use (abuse, really).

I looked and looked for anything besides anecdotal stories of long term Adderall abuse and never found anything.  I believe it is because Big Pharma controls the science of drugs and since this one is such a lucrative substance they really don't want negative information out there.  So the scientific information available is mostly from studies done with kids and low doses, since that is what is typically prescribed.  And Adderall as a branded drug has only existed for 20 years or so, although amphetamines and other speed have been around since the 1930's.  Parkinsons Disease is one of the few documented conditions related to long term use.  Alcohol addiction has plagued mankind for centuries so there is a lot of information on the side effects of abusing that evil drug and how it kills people.  

 

I have a pretty long list.  I will restrict it to only the physical, (not mental or behavioral) side effects that I experienced.  By the way, I abused adderall as a binge user for nine years, then daily the last two years, at a dosage of 100-150 mg per day, and I have been off it for about 32 months.

Sensory: 

Blurry vision.  Dry eyes.  Tears of fire.  Eye muscle twitches.  Poor depth perception.

Impaired hearing.  Audio hallucinations.  Ringing in my ears.

Impaired sense of smell.  Nose runs lasting all day.  Incessant sneezing.  Hoarse voice.

Physical numbness.  Drooling.  Tongue thrashing.  Jaw clenching.  My tongue is still semi-active.

Heightened and impaired sense of taste.  Mouth burns.  Biting my tongue and cheek.  Difficulty swallowing and choking.

 

Also:

Dry, brittle and cracked skin.  Mystery cuts and scratches.  Red splotches on my face and elsewhere that would last for days.

Weird and offensive body odors.

Sexual and urinary dysfunction.

Muscle twitches and spasms.  I still have these in my lower extremities.

Brittle hair.  Thinning hair.  Gray hair.  My hair got healthy again and less thin and gray after quitting.

Dark nails.  Hangnails.

Reduced sleep, both quantity and quality - only 5 hours daily.

Bloated, puffy skin.  Bags or circles under my eyes.  Acne.  Keratonosis.

Weight gain from poor eating habits and lack of sleep.  Excessive belly fat.

Shortness of breath.  Wheezing.  Craving cigarettes.

Bad eating habits and poor food choices.

Heart palpitations - like a cell phone on vibrate in my shirt pocket.  Heart beating hard and out of my chest.

Rapid pulse - my resting heart rate was 110-120 BPM, and right now it is 56 BPM.

Purple hands that were always cold.  My whole body felt cold, and I also overheated easily too.  Night sweats.

Sore muscles, sore joints and brittle bones.  Broken and brittle teeth, despite taking extra calcium.

Digestive issues and acid reflux. especially at night.

 

I may come back to this and add more as I think of it.  My God, if that wasn't enough reason to quit, I still have an equally long list of the mental deficiencies Adderall caused but that is another post.

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Air hunger (could never catch a full breath)

Shoulder tension

Headaches

Cracky bones

Foot cramps after running or biking

Eye muscle twitch

Dry mouth

Dry eyes/shriveled contacts

Dizziness, low blood sugar feeling

Ear popping like an elevation change

Thin, limp hair

Slow reaction times

 

The most annoying side effects for me were air hunger and having to pee every hour.

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I agree with what everyone has said, well most of it! Same with me.

- After pulling an all nighter on addreall, the next day (without sleep) I felt like I ran a freaking marathon, like my entire body was SO sore everywhere and I did not work out. Sometimes I did intense cleaning and moving furniture (bottom apartment loved us) but never would work out - it was the craziest thing.
- On Adderall, I would bleed a lot more and always have bruises all over my body from God knows what.
- Sometimes I would pick at my skin and my face, which sucks because it can leave scars… and scared me because thats what people on meth do.
- My vision sucked and I got Lasik eye surgery like what the hell? I'm supposed to have 20/20. Not on drugs people…
- I would have to pee every 20 minutes, no joke. Always running to the bathroom… people probably thought I was pregnant or something.
- And because I was always drinking on it, I was always swollen. Ugh, looking back, at the time, I "thought" I was so pretty and skinny when really I looked swollen hahahaha I look so much better and healthier now and I've only been clean for a month.

- My skin is better and so is my hair. I think it's thicker and growing faster and shiner now I'm clean!
- Sometimes if I was emotional or upset about something on Adderall, I would try not to cry but couldn't and my lip would start having spasms.
- One of my favorite things about being adderall free is living and feeling in the present… On Adderall, I never could enjoy the present moment. I was always worrying and working toward my future. It's nice to just relax and smell the roses every once and a while.
 

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Wow, reading these lists made me realize how many more awful side effects I had forgotten about. And as bad as they were, I think my emotional and behavioral side effects would be worse (good point quit-once). One thing I want to add is before taking adderall I had only had one cavity. After some years on adderall, I went to the dentist, had something like 13 cavities, and needed a root canal. They said I had strong enamel so I shouldn't be having so many problems with my teeth. I believe that adderall along with the adderall lifestyle I led killed my oral health!

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I'd forgotten all about many of these side effects.I think i've experienced almost all of these. Tho its been a brutal winter I am not shivering cold and able to  enjoy winter walks. I am truly grateful for not having any of these side effects today.   This topic really pounds home the fact that I was not superman while taking them. 

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I'd forgotten all about many of these side effects.I think i've experienced almost all of these.

That is how this addiction lies to us.  Makes us forget the unpleasant / unhealthy things and glorifies the "highs".  I made a mental list all day long of those awful side effects, and I still missed some at posting time.

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I experienced many of these same side effects. UGH. The worst ones for me were:

 

Rapid pulse

Canker sores, burning tongue

Jaw clenching to the point of receding gums

Thin, limp hair

Dry skin and brittle nails

Always headachey

Blotchy skin from drinking too much

 

All of these side effects have pretty much disappeared in the past year since quitting!

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Thanks so much for all the replies. It's comforting to know this is an active site. I relate to a lot of this, I too have experienced headaches (migraines, actually), random bruises, eye twitches, and weird issues with my nails- ridges, discoloration, white spots. Also adderall use = drinking and smoking for me, 2 things I ONLY do with this drug. Off it I don't crave or use cigarettes and alcohol. All this adds up to adderall being a bad health choice for me short or long term.

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WOW!  I have to agree with Ashley and ZK on this one.  When I was posting I forgot about a lot of my adderall-related health problems too.  I also had most of the other problems people listed.  Visual and audial disturbances, extremely heightened sense of smell that made me nauseous, extreme sensitivity to light, pale skin, compulsive skin picking, being cold ALL THE TIME (which is weird because before adderall I had a high tolerance for cold-- I'm into snow sports and mountains and stuff.)  Also the horrible BO, stinky urine, peeing all the time, sexual dysfunction/ zero interest in any type of physical affection.  The list could go on.

 

Look at all our lists!  This is atrocious!!!  Almost none of these side effects are listed in the prescription information!

 

Good point QO about how the drug lies to us, even when we're clean and hating on it.  Thank you all for chiming in-- I like this thread because I think its helpful to remind each other of the bad health problems we've forgotten.  Relapse prevention.

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All of the above. It aged me rapidly. I always have looked 10 years younger than I am. After 3 years running myself ragged, I look my age which is not as young as i wish. Been clean for six months now. So grateful for recovery .

I believe the most damage to health is cardiovascular and metabolic. The lack of sleep is terrible for you...increases cortisol and belly weight gain. I got varicose veins in my lower legs.

These health risks are serious business. The drug is awful for you. Stop.

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Rapid pulse, zoned out, heart palpitations, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, eye twitching, clenched jaw, tense all over, and everything that comes with being overtired.

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Wow!  I just joined this Quitting Adderall because only after one month of using as prescribed (30 mg generic) I have the way I feel.  I tried just "not taking it" on Saturday but was so lethargic that I caved.  Well, after reading all these horror stories all day, I flushed my script and now I am forced to go without.  I don't use illegally and I'm a professional.  In fact, I went to the doctor and merely told him I was having trouble focusing for long periods of time at work.  he asked me a couple of questions and BAM! I have add and I need Adderall. Honestly, at first, I enjoyed the intense focus power it gave me the first couple of weeks but that went very quickly and was replaced by terrible headaches and more mistakes at work.  I felt like I had to up my dose, but didn't.  I could tell my boss noticed my personality change and I don't think he liked it.

 

Anyways, I thank you guys for your stories, it is keeping me from using this crap again.  One thing is certain, this work week is going to be challenging so if anyone has any advice or positive words, they are appreciated.

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Maisy14*, 

 

    So glad you found us and decided to quit very early into your use of Adderall.   I imagine recovery will be short for you given your short period of use.  I expect you will be fatigued for a awhile but this should pass quickly.  You may want to mention to your doctor your symptoms to your doctor cutting off your supply is the best way to prevent relapse. 

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Thank you zerokewl.  I actually did really well today.  I worked well, and felt a lot better.  I'm surprised because when I tried to skip my dose over the weekend, I felt sick. I'm not as energetic as usual but I'm sure that will come back.

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Hopefully ZK is correct and your recovery time will be quick.  Welcome aboard!

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Thanks!  today was hard though.  My brains went SPLAT! all over the wall and work was rather difficult.  I actually felt like leaving early and sleeping - which is NOT normal for me.  I may not be perfect but I really love my job and like to give it all I have.  All I had today was not very much though.  I'm hoping I'll fee better tomorrow.  If I hadn't flushed my script Sunday, I would have caved.

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It's tough in the beginning Maisy but it will get better.  Hopefully today goes well for you!

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I'm still struggling with coming off of this drug, so far only manage to be drug free saturday & sunday. 

 

My physical symptoms:

  • lack of appetite while on it; once it wears off I loose any will power to choose healthy options and pig out
  • hair loss completely; in the front and crown; it's weird beause at the nape of my neck the hair grows and is of normal healthy texture so I look like I have a mullet when not wearing a wig
  • pick at anything on my body.  I used to do this before, but on the drug I can look in the magnified mirror for hours picking & squeezing at things
  • skinny lower face; as if my bone density in that area has disappeared
  • Only get migraines on the 2 days that I'm off it which is weird
  • Sweat profusely, even when just sitting at my desk at work
  • lack of sleep; get 3-4 hours during mon-fri; which leads to just a constant feeling of exhaustion
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It helps to hear all of these stories.  I was only taking it for about three and a half weeks.  This is my fourth day off and I took the day off of work - which is NOT like me.  I feel guilty but my work load wasn't too heavy this week.  I needed to go get some B-12 shots and chill.  I'm back to work tomorrow no matter what.  The thing is, I absolutely love my profession and have a lot of passion for it.  This is why I began seeing someone and taking Adderall in the first place.  I want to be better at everything.  The thing is, I"m only human and the best I can do normally is WAYY better than I can do on adderall.  The Adderall killed my passion and work ethic- temporarily.  This drug is ridiculous and no joke.  I can't imagine taking it for longer periods of time, the withdrawal at that level must be insane.  You see, I'm a recovering meth and heroine addict - seven years.  It took an insane amount of time, patience and really hard work to get my life where it is at.  I should have known better than to take this medication on - prescribed or not - this is a legal form of meth and my past experience helped me to realize rather quickly that I had to put a complete stop to it. 

 

I wish everyone here the best of luck in their voyage to get away from this drug.  In the short time I was prescribed it, it has threatened my great success at conquering my drug addiction. 

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