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Figuring out Anxiety

Discussion in 'PDD-NOS, Social Anxiety and Others' started by Joshua Aaron, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Joshua Aaron

    Joshua Aaron Autistic Bisexual

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    Hello! I am starting to figure out my anxiety more and why I am feeling anxiety more often. I had an appointment with my therapist today. We figured out that my anxiety is due to the ADHD medication I take, which is Aderall. Aderall is an amphetamine, which makes it a stimulant. As you all may know stimulants+something that has a tendency to enter a bloodstream=faster heart rate and higher blood pressure. A faster-paced heart rate and an increase in blood pressure is also a side effect of anxiety. My brain, not knowing how to respond to what's happening inside my body, just immediately goes, "AHHHHHHHHHHHH" and doesn't stop until the adderall has worn off. In other words, the adderall I take is causing it. I also have trouble breathing and there is also sometimes pains in my chest.

    Me, my Mom, and my therapist came to the decision to not give me the Adderall for a few days to see if that helps. We also did an experiment while in the meeting. My therapist (Sarah) is asthmatic (also has ADHD), and had a device in her office that is basically a tiny heart rate monitor that clips onto the end of your finger. She let me test the theory that my anxiety has to do to heart rate being way high has to do with my anxiety. It did. In fact, my heart rate never dropped below 100. The lowest it got was 104. 104. And that was resting heart rate. I was just sitting on the couch in Sarah's office. No matter how deeply and slowly I breathed, I was never able to get my heart rate down below 104, let alone 100. But, hey. At least my oxygen levels increased as I breathed slowly and deeply. Sarah then put the device on her finger. She takes different ADHD meds than me. Her heart rate is much lower.

    Also, evidence part 3: The time I take the meds. I often take my medication in the morning. To explain this a bit simpler, here is essentially the conversation between me and Sarah about it.
    Sarah: "When do you start feeling anxiety?"
    Me: "Shortly after I get up after bed"
    Sarah: "When do you take your medication?"
    Me:"Shortly after I get out of bed."
    Me: "Wait a minute . . ."

    The meds often take 20 minutes to fully kick in. Most of the time, I start feeling anxious 20-30 minutes after getting out of bed. Coincidence? I think not. The pill I take is one of those 30-mg clear, plastic capsules that have those tiny little beads/grains in them. So, if I want to feel less anxiety, I would most likely have to start taking a lower dose, or stop taking Adderall all together and see if there is any alternative meds that work just as well with concentration and stuff as Adderall is, but without the increased risk of heart attack and doesn't cost too much because my parent's insurance is terrible.

    It's also the perfect time not to take Adderall RN. It's now June, and I am long done with school for the year. There really isn't much to concentrate on.

    Anyways, sorry for the long post. Do any of you have any thoughts/opinions/insight/general advice on this? Thanks.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that my heart rate average in the 120s.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  2. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Glad you’re figuring it out. That’s a tremendous realization.

    I won’t accept any apologies for “long posts” - write what you need to write.

    My anxiety comes from being a perfectionist, and being too critical of myself.

    I’ve seen others whose anxiety appears to stem from their perceptions of others’ expectations of them (large crowds that have no expectations from this person don’t cause this person any anxiety. Small groups that will expect this person to socialize and fit a mold cause this person great anxiety).

    My daughter seems to experience a bit of both - she gets most anxious if she feels like she’s not handling a social situation perfectly.

    Can you identify other specific situations or thoughts that go with your anxiety?
     
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  3. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B Just Me

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    Thanks for sharing your discovery! I always get excited when I learn a new thing about *me* but I rarely have anyone to tell...

    I also used to take Adderall for ADHD, but it wigged me out. I heard that actually stimulants are a diagnostic for ADHD because they calm people instead of getting them hyped. If you're getting all wired out on Adderall, and I don't propose to know better than your doctors, but maybe ADHD isn't as an appropriate diagnosis for you as you thought?

    I grew up thinking I had ADHD because my mom said she had it and was proud of it and thought it gave her an edge because she had more nervous energy to throw into work. I think she's nuts. But anyway, the diagnosis (formal) did not resonate with me the way ASD does. I never connected with people with ADHD like I do here on the forum. I heard that women tend to get misdiagnosed with ADHD instead of ASD because patriarchy, so I wonder if that's not my issue as well?

    Anyway, enjoy your time off your meds! You'll learn so much more about yourself. It could be really fun.
     
  4. shysnail

    shysnail Well-Known Member

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    Hey, it's great news that you're getting stuff figured out. Your therapist sounds like she was helpful, too. Having a therapist diagnosed with the same condition that you have sounds like a real asset.

    In any case, it's interesting to realize just how meds can make your brain generate anxiety and other such lousy feelings. I only have experience with anti-anxiety meds, but that first week was a hell of a ride. I went from pretty bad anxiety to completely not functioning with anxiety with them that first week. I had a clearer connection since it started happening as soon as I started taking the pills, but it's still interesting to me that such a teeny pill can dictate what my brain is going to do.

    Anyhow, I hope you continue to be on the up with your anxiety from this revelation, and find something else that helps with your concentration!