Medication problem?

I'm new to this forum but after doing a lot of reading about adult ADHD (and reading post after post on this forum), I am questioning the efficacy of the medication that my boyfriend is taking. I'm certainly NOT a psychiatrist, so I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but here is a little background:

My boyfriend was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. When he was young, he was incredibly hyperactive (like to the point that he would run around the house nonstop for hours completely bewildering his mother) and has been taking medication since then. He takes Adderall XR once a day, every day, and takes the non XR version of Adderall when/if he runs out of that. He is very good with taking his meds, because if he doesn't he says that he has trouble doing even the most basic things. In the time that I have known him, I've seen him very few times when he was unmedicated, and I can only compare it to someone who had been injected with some kind of energy serum. He jumped from place to place, was practically running around the apartment trying to do things...this was CLEARLY a different guy. It's almost like he was manic. Anyway, I say all of this to emphasize the fact that the Adderall DEFINITELY helps him, no question about that.

Even though the medication helps him, he still struggles with being disorganized, forgetting to pay bills, not being able to stop himself from interrupting others, not being able to focus on anything that doesn't provide him the utmost stimulation, having poor time management skills and really, really bad mood swings. All of these things really frustrate him, but everything that we've read has given great insight into what ADHD is (he really liked Dr. Russell Barkley), how to know if you have it as an adult, and why you should get medicated, but they don't tell him what he should do even though he IS medicated and he still has these issues. It seems like for him, being medicated makes it so that he can sit still long enough (literally) to function enough to even HAVE the problems I listed before. We have read countless success stories that talk about being able to focus once medication is introduced and seeing how ADHD affects the relationship, how it affects job performance, etc...I have read posts from some of you on here who have ADHD yourselves, and there is no WAY that my boyfriend could have the insight and focus that some of you have to tackle your problems because he describes feeling like he is in a haze just trying to hold onto everything spinning around him in his life. (and this is WITH medication!) This is a particularly stressful time - he works 70+ hours a week, we have been having major relationship problems, and he feels stuck with where he is - but even before all of these things happened, he still expressed concern over really not functioning as well as he always felt like he could. He tries really, really hard to make lists and set alarms and follow through with things, but it never seems to happen. I have my own issue with his behavior as it relates to our relationship but right now I just really want to ask - could it be that his medication isn't working or that he needs a different dosage? Like I said, he's been on meds since he was a small child, so I don't want to seem presumptuous in suggesting this, especially since we have been having problems, but he just doesn't seem to have the "I feel like I am out of the fog, a-ha" moments that so many people describe when they transition into taking ADHD medication. I know the medication isn't the cure-all, but it seems like it does more for others than it is doing for him right now...I don't know. Maybe it has to do with the severity of his ADHD.

Combined with all of that, his mood swings can be downright frightening to me. He has never been violent with me or anything like that, but it's scary because I feel like I don't know who I'm going to get on any given day. He doesn't get angry as much as he'll just be SAD and not wanting to talk and completely in his own head. Then if I can get him to talk, he's distraught because he doesn't understand why he feels the way he does and has the mood swings that he does, but he doesn't really know what to do about it. It's pretty much a given that on Sundays as he transitions for the next work week, I will just leave him alone because his completely distant behavior was causing us problems. I would get upset that he was so distant and was acting like I had done something wrong, he would get upset with me being upset, etc... He always snaps out of it and he apologizes (and believe me it doesn't just happen on Sundays), but it's certainly a problem. I've heard that Adderall can contribute to mood swings. He was taking an anti-depressant, but stopped over a year ago now (shortly after we met and in the height of our hyperfocus courtship) because he said he felt so much more stable than he ever had. Although I do EVERYTHING I can to be supportive, I think sometimes he blames his feelings on me. He thought his life was so much more stable after we met, and he stopped taking the anti-depressants, and now he's back to feeling so down. I wish that I'd known more about ADHD and depression and having a relationship with someone with ADHD back then because I would have insisted (back when he thought the sun rose and set in my eyes) that he stay on the anti-depressants, but I didn't. I realize that this isn't my fault, but that doesn't really help me to make him see that (especially when I ask him how he is feeling and he gives me the classic "I don't know").

Any thoughts?

My husband takes several

My husband takes several medications (for ADHD, depression, and anxiety, I think), and he functions but at a pretty low level.  I don't know what he would be like without them; I know that things aren't wonderful with them.

Are all his meds coming from

Are all his meds coming from the same doctor for ADHD and depression? It might be a good idea to go see his doctor and see if maybe the Adderall is causing the mood swings or if he needs a different anti depressant dosage and try to work out a combination... it usually takes many tries and combination of trials to get the right kind of "cocktail" that helps anyone who needs medication. I think it's rare for any type of patient that the first medication is "on the mark." If I understand, he's been off his anti depressants since you met? That could be the problem. Any one suffering from depression based on chemical or hormonal issues can improve with a mood stabilizer. Without this help, the thinking is very negative and can be extremely distorted. He should not have gone off the anti depressants, and should consult his doctor again to get back on it, or something that combines well with Adderall.

My dh is going to go for a consultation soon and already he is a bit fixated on getting Adderall. He says his ADHD friend is on it (and the one most likely to have persuaded him to consider he has ADHD). My only concern is that it is the amphetamine aspect that interests him or works too well that he over takes his doses. Is that possible? (He once went thru half a bottle of Vicodin in a week). I hope he keeps an open mind about medication in case it doesn't work,


I will just echo this--my estranged spouse used Adderall from his regular doctor, and always dosed himself. The Adderall helped with focus for a while, but with it, his mood swings got much worse. There were days that he appeared so low functioning that he couldn't get up until very late, and in my eyes, couldn't get up without a huge dose of Adderall. I was appalled that he wasn't being monitored better by his doctor and wasn't required to see a psychiatrist or therapist in conjunction with the medication. 

I wonder if you could coax yours into seeing a psychiatrist or even better, a neuro-psychiatrist or someone familiar with ADHD and/or mood disorders? Someone who understands how medications interact and affect the brain? I agree that it sounds like your theory is right, that your DH is suffering from depression and may need the anti-depressants again. And I also agree--brain chemistry is a delicate thing, and any medication or dosage can change things differently for different people. Best of luck to you. 


Yes, he stopped taking the

Yes, he stopped taking the anti depressant very soon after I met him.  He THOUGHT he was so stable and that life was great.  I think I need to find a good way to bring this all up with him.  We've talked extensively about his ups and downs but until recently (and until I found this forum and learned more about ADHD) I never put the anti depressants and the behavior together since he's been off of them for about a year now.  He started on the antidepressants after going to talk to a therapist who, as far as I can tell, really didn't know that much about ADHD.  She was concerned with trying to get him to explore childhood issues.  I get that everyone has problems and could benefit from talking about them, but really that didn't help anything.  He got frustrated with her and I think the meds went by the wayside.  It's hard with him because since he has known about his ADHD for so long, it's something that he's just used to living with.  He's obviously better than he was as a kid (I don't have to worry about him running around and destroying things in the apartment, at least when he takes his meds), but it seems like the symptoms have only changed as he's gotten older, they haven't gone away.  Sure, his family may look at him and think he's gotten SO MUCH better, but I'm the one who deals with the mood swings, the hyperfocus "oh sorry I told you I was going to leave work in five minutes and two hours have passed", the outbursts when we go out to socialize, etc... Thanks for the advice.


My ex who is ADHD became a better person once he went on adderal. He still has his mood swings but he can actually carry on a conversation now. (as long as he is taking them) on them, he says the fog clears but when he is off the meds he says he doesn't need them and we should just like him the way he is. 


They help but you have to play with the doses. My ex keeps having to up his dosage or amount during the day. It definitely makes him more tolerable but doesn't take it away. 

From what I understand about

From what I understand about it, if he takes the CORRECT dosage, he should be fine (once he finds what the correct dosage is, if Adderall actually works for him).  I can only imagine the bad effects if he gets Adderall and decides to handle his own dosages.  So many people see such radical changes with Adderall and they are so happy with it that I hope this will be the case with your dh.