Some people might say that having ADHD or any attention deficit disorder leads to a stressful life, one in which there is no “off” switch for your brain. Not everyone understands the complexities of the condition or even believes it really exists, not much different from the way people with fibromyalgia are sometimes treated. ADHD has the opposite effect of fibromyalgia in that it causes our brains to go in electrical overload and “short circuit”, but this does cause forgetfulness like “fibro fog”.
Patients have discovered, either on their own or by a doctor’s prescription, that the same medications that treat ADHD can help alleviate symptoms of fatigue, memory fog and mood swings, providing people with fibromyalgia an unlikely source of relief. But self-medicating is a dangerous game, and the use of medication like Adderall or the less-effective Ritalin may not be the best option for you. Here’s a few things to think about when considering asking for ADHD medication to treat your fibro:
What Adderall is and what it does
Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. But another huge symptom this drug treats is narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden feelings of sleepiness. This can be a damper on your lifestyle and affect your ability to function during the day, making narcolepsy and fatigue two of the worst shared symptoms of fibromyalgia and ADHD. While Adderall may feel like a God-send to some people with fibromyalgia, the drug does not always work for everyone. It will takes a doctor’s careful attention to prescribe the correct dosage and medications to avoid the “crash” that often follows usage of Adderall.
Finding a doctor to prescribe Adderall
Not all doctors agree on what medications do and don’t provide the best results, and part of the problem is that our bodies react differently to substances which alter our biochemistry. A dosage of 30 mg of Adderall might be the perfect amount for one person and cause sudden loss of life in a person with heart trouble or high blood pressure. It’s because of the severe possible side effects and the high rate of abuse that the drug is by prescription only. But not all doctors think of mentioning Adderall to a patient with fibromyalgia, and some have even laughed it off as a ridiculous option. Finding a doctor you trust and that respects patient rights is the first step to any successful medical encounter, and it may be the key to finding an honest opinion of whether or not Adderall is right for you.
Knowing when you should stop
Too much of a good thing is never good for anyone, and with an addiction-prone drug like Adderall or it’s cousin Ritalin too much can be life-threatening. Any time someone offers you a pill such as Adderall, you should immediately refuse, especially if you have fibromyalgia. One overlooked symptom of fibro that could complicate things is poor circulation, something that can cause problems when taking ADHD medication. While Adderall is likely to help relieve some of your fatigue and sleeplessness, it is not a cure all and shouldn’t be treated as such. You will probably have a list of medications to take along with the Adderall to cover the bases of fibromyalgia symptoms, but a careful prescription and moderate usage to start might put you on the right path to managing your fibro.