Citation: Rick. "Horrors of ADHD Misdiagnosis: An Experience with Amphetamines (Adderall XR) (exp81176)". Erowid.org. Mar 18, 2010. erowid.org/exp/81176
Many years back I was doing poorly in school, so I was sent to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with ADHD and wrote a prescription for Adderall. Later, through more thorough tests, it was discovered that I didn't have ADHD. I wish I knew that at the time.
The first couple of days on the Adderall I felt more pleasant than usual and began to talk a lot to people. This was odd for me, as I am very shy and not the type of person to start conversations. On Day 3 I was becoming irritable and I was having irrational thoughts about my weight. I wanted to tear open my face and pull the fat out. Luckily I wasn't stupid enough to even consider it.
On Day 4 I started to become EXTREMELY anxious and paranoid. At first it was minor anxiety over receiving poor marks in school, but eventually it escalated into full-blown paranoia. I got to class late that day and immediately went to the window looking for my parents who could have been angry. I watched with much suspicion fellow students talking to the teacher in private as well, thinking that they somehow knew some imaginary bad thing about me. In reality it was merely for them to consult with the teacher about their grade.
That afternoon I became convinced that all my teachers and fellow students were involved in some elaborate plan to disgrace me. My rationale for this was the fact that my pupils were probably dilated from the Adderall and everyone thought that I was using cocaine or X before school... and that they would plant drugs in my apartment, then the police to come over while giving false testimony saying I was packing large amounts of cocaine. Once they succeeded in proving these false allegations, I thought I would be expelled, disowned and sent to prison for drug charges and endangering the public: none of which was true. But an arrest would destroy my future and make me homeless. At the time I didn't think Adderall was causing this because I was so convinced that the delusion was real.
Things got worse when I left my notebook at school earlier that day, which had a form I filled out with my address/etc from my doctor's office. Of course there was nothing illegal in it or anything to incriminate me, but I started to believe that someone was going to extract my fingerprints from it and plant them at a murder scene or something to have me arrested. But I couldn't think of any enemy who hated me so much to do something like that.. but that didn't matter: there was a person or persons out there who may have secretly hated me.
That night I didn't sleep a wink. I sat at my kitchen window all night waiting for the police to come and arrest me for some atrocious crime because they found my fingerprints, planted by a malicious person in order to frame me. I was also on the alert since I thought someone from my neighbrohood was going to kill my cats, deface my car and break into my house to assassinate me. When morning came and obviously no police visited my house, I invented more things to worry about.
By sun-up I was certain that I was about to die from liver failure or a heart attack. I spent the morning on my computer reading people's near-death experiences to get an idea of what dying would be like, since I knew I was going to die soon. I went as far as creating a list of things to do before I died and considered doing some of them that same day (apologizing to people for mean things I said to them, visiting estranged family members, etc.) I went even farther by creating a last will that I had notarized.
I debated between calling 911 or my best friend. I chose the latter. He recognized that something was wrong, but I wrote him off as a member in the clandestine police patrol out to put me behind bars. He asked if I should check into a psych ward, so that just furthered my belief in his involvement of the plot. He would be able to build a case against me and lock me up in a hospital. I remember thinking he planted spy cams in my room and bathroom, and even in the street near my house, so when I went outside, he could notify police and have them arrest me. I also was 100% positive my computer was bugged. Then I believed that spies were recruited by the local police department to covertly stay on my street, waiting for me to come outside. They were hiding in bushes and underground sewers with live video feed on my home.
I called my doctor the next day and explained what happened. I was taken off the Adderall immediately and I flushed the rest down the toilet. My doctor told me that Adderall works for people with ADHD by having a reverse effect on them, and that people without ADHD suffer the effects of amphetamines. A day later I was back to normal. I still laugh at the delusions I had. It was my family and friends who helped me and assured me that nothing I believed at the time was real.
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