Crystal Meth’s ADD / ADHD Connection Part 2

Update: check out Part One and Part Three of the Crystal Meth Series of posts

More on the missing (in the public media at least) ADD connection with crystal meth.

The Journal of Addictive Diseases has an article called “Cognitive deficits among methamphetamine users with ADHD symptomatology.”

The preliminary data suggests that executive function deficits and some of the symptoms associated with long-term MA use may be due to the fact that a large proportion of MA addicts had ADHD symptomatology as children.

Here’s a word document that lists various articles. that link no longer works, the study below I believe is from this Patterns of initial methamphetamine use, Jennifer Carnell, Rachel Gonzales, Sara L. Simon (West Los Angeles VAMC Medications Development Unit) & Richard Rawson (Matrix Institute on Addictions) which I can’t find a link for. They talk about a study of 95 meth users

“One third of the subjects (32%) who began using between the ages of 10 and 15 reported doing so because of the calming effect that methamphetamine had on them. These participants were classified using the Wender Utah Rating Scale as having ADHD symptomatology. No other age group included such a large number of participants with ADHD symptomatology.

So 1/3rd of teens using meth in that study had ADHD.  Only 8% of kids & 5% of adults have ADHD.

It also helped the ADDers focus. Well that’s what ADHD stimulant medications also do, only they aren’t made from drano and paint thinner and while they have some side effects, becoming psychotic, and schizophrenic aren’t part of them.

This detailed clinical article on Emedicine discusses the toxicity of Meth and mention it affects not only dopamine but 2 other neurotransmitters involved with ADD, norepinephrine and serotonin see the Pathophysiology section.

Here’s what Wendy Richardson,  (from ADD Resources post deleted but see a similar one on her own website) an addiction specialist and the author of When Too Much Isn’t Enough: Ending the Destructive Cycle of AD/HD and Addictive Behavior When Too Much Isn\'t Enough: Ending the Destructive Cycle of AD/HD and Addictive Behavior says

The problem is that self-medicating works at first. It provides the person with ADHD relief from their restless bodies and brains. For some, drugs such as nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, diet pills and “speed” enable them to focus, think clearly and follow through with ideas and tasks. Others chose to soothe their ADHD symptoms with alcohol and marijuana.

The problem is that self-medicating brings on a host of addiction-related problems that over time make our lives much more difficult. What starts out as a “solution” can cause problems including impulsive crimes, domestic violence, addictions, increased high risk behaviors, lost jobs, relation-ships, families, and death. Too many people with untreated ADHD, learning and perceptual disabilities are incarcerated, or dying from co-related addiction.

Self-medicating ADHD with alcohol and other drugs is like putting out fires with gasoline. You have pain and problems that are burning out of control, and what you use to put out the fire is gasoline. Your life may explode as you attempt to douse the flames of ADHD.

Here’s some articles on ADD and addictions. For more info on meth see this site which has clinical articles, and presentations on it.

I’m not suggesting that all or even a majority of meth users are undiagnosed or untreated ADDers self medicating.

What I am suggesting is that there probably is a sizeable percentage of them who are. The mainstream media, health authorities and criminal justice system should realize this and start addressing it.

It’s also a wake up call for parents who don’t want to get their kids diagnosed for ADHD or don’t want to give their kids ADHD medication when they’re diagnosed and don’t really give them much other treatment. Not saying everyone must have meds but if you don’t use meds you need to use something else and it’s probably going to be a longer and harder road.

If a child or young adult has ADHD and you don’t use meds or deal with it effectively with some other methods, ADHD coaching, cognitive behavioural therapy, diet, exercise, tutoring, etc, you risk them dealing with it in a negative way through alcohol, tobacco, pot, or drugs like meth. There can be a heavy cost to denial.

62 thoughts on “Crystal Meth’s ADD / ADHD Connection Part 2”

  1. Hi Pete,

    Thanks for making this important connection between crystal meth and ADHD. A lot of food for thought there.

  2. Christiane B.

    Yes, thank you for bringing up an issue that has long been on my mind when I’m looking for answers. As someone who was most likely an undiagnosed child with ADD and who has grown up in times before much attention was given to ADD, I was forced to adapt in whatever ways I could, and always felt the struggle of trying to appear normal to others. However, the very first time I used methamphetamines, I experienced not only an immediate sense of calmness but the very same sense of control that I had sought for years…and people honestly thought I was more sober than they’d ever known me to be! My focus improved so drastically that it took me literally half the time it used to to accomplish just about anything. Of course, all of this has made getting off of the drug extremely difficult and I long for people with some knowledge of dealing with the co-occurring disorders of ADD and addiction to methamphetamine. So many of my cravings and symptoms might be better managed if I could just get my ADD addressed. So thanks for bringing it up…we just have a long way to go yet to make a difference.

  3. You’re welcome Christina, you might want to check my listing of ADD support groups for people in you area that might know of local ADD resources.

    Hopefully you can let others know about your experience (possibly the media ) so they can learn from it instead of repeating it. People will give more consideration to someone that’s actually gone through it than just a researcher.


  4. Thank you for validating what had been a longtime observation of mine. My ex co-users used to comment about how meth had the entire opposite effect on me as it did on them. While the rest of the group escalated into tweaking frenzies, I was on the couch, half-asleep.They attributed it to my race but I knew better.

  5. Hi, I am doing a research paper on the connection of ADD or ADHD and self medicating. I was wondering if you have come across a study that didn’t just focus on Meth but other substances? I need all the help that I can get.

    Thank You!
    Jessica J.

  6. with having adhd, i find myself addicted to meth to reduce stress and allows me to be more focused. Im tring to find other means and is it true that adults with adhd use meth. thank you.

  7. I also used crank back in 1980’s. I also found that I could concentrate and that it slowed everything down for me. I was a heavy user for about 2 years. But, the weird thing was that when I quit using meth, i didn’t have withdrawels or any problems. I just stopped. I understand that for someone using it as much as I didn this is unusual.

  8. Actually from what I’ve read it is rare Ruth. Seems like meth is harder to kick than heroin, but like any other drug i guess not everyone responds the same to it.

  9. I’m 43 and last year learned from my doctor & family that my siblings and I were mis/undiagnosed with untreated ADHD since we were kids.. It explains many things but especially why my fellow PnP meth users tell how they feel on it and how it affects them – and it’s completely different for me – calming even – like the eye of the storm. They’re high and horny and I’m calm and focused… Their party goes on (right) – and I’m looking for support/treatment to quit self-medicating… I won’t say that meth isn’t a drug or I’m not addicted…We’re both at the same dance but there’s two different bands playing… Thanks for helping me (and others) understand this better…

  10. You’re welcome, you might consider passing this info on to your doctor and drug and alcohol treatment centers so others won’t slip through the cracks too.

  11. I can’t believe I came across this website and how it completely pertains to my situation. Meth for me was a calming effect and never a “party drug”. Besides reading the comments listed here, I have encountered maybe 2 people who have used meth that felt the exact way I did when used. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts and experiences here!

  12. I just wanted to share with you my quick thoughts. I used meth for 5 years and then I realize as well as others including my doctor that I had ADHD. I started with Concerta now take Adderall and I stopped using meth cold turkey. I was looking for this connection and finally google lead me to this article. I feel strongly in a correlation between people with ADHD who never delt with it and learned to self medicate with meth. I also think that it’s feeling telling how I started getting legit treatment for ADHD and stopped taking meth cause I didn’t “need” it to feel like I was acting like everyone else.
    Bravo on discussing this and I really hope we pursue this question further.

  13. I, for many years now, have searched the web for meth topics. I am a self medicating meth addict and have been for around ten years. I’m in my 40’s now and wish I could find help but if you even suggest that you need to use a stimulant to get by ,people, doctors, just think your making an excuse for your using. I have cronic Hep C and the everyday fatigue has made me unable to have any sort of quality life. I just keep getting put on different anti-depressants. They help with my depression but not for fatigue.
    Why is it so hard for the medical prof. to understand? I have been trying to find a way to buy adderall on the web because I have at least 75% of the symptoms for ADD as well. What the heck am I going to do?

  14. I finally found it! The info I have been looking for! I started using meth around a year ago (im 37 and struggled with every other addiction) and the effects on me were: calm, focused, finally slept through the night (I could smoke meth for 8 hours straight and fall asleep in 2 minutes because it “shut my mind off” from the B.S. that kept me awake), my bowels were finally regular after having irritable bowel syndrome for the past 10 years (so this is what “being regular” is!), I eat so good and am always hungary, my relationship with my girlfriend is awesome now (if she knew I was using she would leave me, how sad, that it has helped us out so much), everything feels like it did when I was in high-school – normal!

    I know one other friend that is like me and everyone else is a “tweeker”! Running around everywhere, shaking, knocking on my door to get more at 3 in the morning with eyes coming out of there head. It’s sad that nobody understands where I am at! I lost my job after somehow they found out just a month ago and now am searching for answers, and sadly I was the best worker they had ever had, and even better since being able to focus! So sad.

    What can I do? When not on meth my mind goes crazy and will not shut down, thinking about this, that, and this and that, and everything in between. I have quit for a week before and did not really have any withdrawls but I felt tired and my mind started to fire up at 100mph again. I would love to be able to take something from the doctor cause I’m blowing so much money on this stuff!

    Thanks for the site and your help!


  15. I was diagnosed aug2008. I have known for a long time that i was slow in some things and as I got older it was getting worse. I used from age 19-22 and i knew i was addicted and wanted to stop because i knew i was hurting my body, but i had never felt so clearminded and normal and being able to focus at the same time. I hated being so spaced out all the time. It took me 2 years after I quit to even mentally get over that drug. I am 31 now and am on adderall with prozac(have been on that since 2001), and the amphetimines help but i don’t feel like i have to take it and i don’t on the weekends. I feel much better just being diagnosed, makes so many things make better sense to me. i thought i was stupid but i was smart at the same time. The only thing that has not improved is my memory. My short term memory is getting worse. I believe my daughter who is 11 has it as well but i didn’t realize it until I was diagnosed. She does great at school but at home is completely in her own world and her biggest prob is finishing tasks and paying attention to details, she gets so tuned out. She is getting older now and I know that she has to learn to dicipline herself if she is going to get just the simple things done, like cleaning up her room. She can be in there for 3 hours and just gets distracted by something and gets nothing accomplished. I need to get her seen by the doctor but i am afraid of giving her meds but you are right…if I don’t deal with her problem, she may deal with it the wrong way. Sometimes it scares me how much she reminds me of myself. Right now i grounded her for losing track of the time(again) while walking the dog and talking to her friends. I said she will be grounded until she puts in more effort and I start seeing her get things done on her own without me telling her 5 times. Its been 2 weeks and she has improved on her chores in the past 2 days, she is learning its best to “just do it now before you forget it, do it fast and get it done”. I am proud of her, I want her to know that she can do it on her own first. If she might need meds for a little extra help then fine but I don’t want her to become dependent on them.
    Thanks for putting this site up, it is nice to know that I am not alone 🙂

  16. I am 23yrs old and have been using meth every single day for almost 7yrs. I quit completely for two years without a problem in order to support my boyfriend in his efforts to comply with his probation. now he has finally been sentenced, and i found myself right back on the stuff now that i don’t need to be supportive. I know i have adhd, though not diagnosed with it correctly as a teen. they said i was bipolar, which I’m not…. I just had a f-ed up family situation that still tends to cause me to fly off the handle. anyway, I have an appointment in a few days to see a doctor about getting treatment for my adhd. my question is should I stop using meth before i go in? is it going to effect the diagnosis? i fear if i go in on the stuff that they will say i am not add. but then if i quit, i am afraid I might be too tired and then they will say i am not. i can not tell them i do meth because i fear they will not treat me, that’s how people are toward meth users. i don’t know what to do. i can’t keep using it costs to much and i am not looking to go to jail. i am in college and everything is all messed up! what is my best route?

  17. Hi Vanessa, first congrats on being willing to seek a diagnosis and seek change, that takes courage.

    That’s a tricky question and since I’m not a doctor or drug and alcohol counselor, I think in your particular case you want to talk to someone first who has experience in this matter.

    I’d suggest phoning your local city/province/state official drug and alcohol help line (or whatever name they use) and ask for their advice how to approach the problem. They should be in the front of the white pages or you can phone your local crisis line and I’m sure they’d have the number and you can ask them.

    Some people DO treat meth users. There are resources out there, doctors, psychiatrists, narcotics anonymous etc.

    But do go in, it’s worth the effort. Good luck.

  18. I wish I’d seen this type of site eight years ago!

    I was also a meth addict for five years while struggling with study and work etc. and undiagnosed ADHD. Like others here, it made me feel calm and clear-headed. The first time I tried it at a dance party, I left my frantically dancing friends to go home and clean the house! We self-medicating ADDers know how to have a good time 🙂

    I did get diagnosed with ADHD just before I quit using (one look at my school report cards and the psychiatrist practically begged me to be an ADHD poster child). However, so many years on such an intense drug has made me really wary of the Dexamphetamine I’m now supposed to be taking daily. I take it twice a week at most and kind of have a love/hate relationship with it. I get things done (great!) I get antisocial (bad!) I can do boring and repetitive tasks (woo!) but I lose my adrenaline seeking childlike enthusiasm (bugger!).

    I don’t know if other adult ADD/ADHD types who’ve experienced meth addiction feel as ambivalent about meds as I do. I do know that if medication alone was THE answer, ADD meth addicts would have no problems (after all, it makes us think clearly). And if abstinent recovery was THE answer, we’d be fine in NA, where ADD meds are considered as being ‘off the wagon’ and ADD’s just an excuse for an addictive personality anyway.

    If there is an answer, it’s got to be carefully monitored medication combined with support groups. Once one ADD person tells another “you’re not crazy and not alone”, it tackles stigma. And stigma is the beast that keeps the ADDer addicted to toxic chemicals, alone in the bathroom wondering why the hell they have to shoot up twice a day to get through tasks others do before breakfast. Sorry I’m so dramatic, but I really hope meth-addicted ADDers reach out to others and get non-judgemental and useful help.

    Best of luck to those struggling with addiction now.

  19. Wesley Ballew

    Listen I am a Meth user……….Anyone with high doses of the drug will experience Uforia. A calm like state were one experiences a false sence of wellbeing. I have seen many people hit Uforia and everyone does. If anything is wrong with someone they must have. ADHD ,ADD, Personallity Dis………..Cmon

  20. Johnny Rocco

    I am a 53 year old male. Just this past year i have had treatment for ADD,ADHD. So much of my life is gone, and i know i could have been a better person if i had gotten the right treatment plan first. The past 15 years, deep dark depression and drugs. I try not to think of what might have been, but to look at the good days ahead. I feel like i just got out of a jail cell, i have so much living to do. The dr i had saw never looked past the drug/ depression. ADD/ADHD i feel is why i started the drugs in the first place. After the drugs came the depression. Many, many, many dr would not treat me for ADD/ADHD because of my drug history. Thank God For Dr Hege of Atl Ga. I now take Vyvanse for my ADD/ADHD and so far no problems, i don’t feel the need to take anything more, i am too busy living life. A life that is more like the ones people around me have. Not getting treatment for ADD/ADHD will do more harm, than the ones you have from taking ADD/ADHD meds. If you are a dr reading this, PLEASE look into this. For over ten years i had to go without treatment for fear of my drug use, only to find out that it was because of not being in treatment was the reason i had a drug problem. DR do your home work and PLEASE don’t make others like myself go without treatment.

  21. Well having been ADHD for nearly all my life, and on ritalin, then addrall, etc. I spiraled into cocaine and every other drug to help me find myself a place that I could call normal. Coke wasn’t it, it only made me paranoid, and was like speed, it was only when I took crystal meth for the first time did I really experience the true calming affects and clarity I had longed for all my life. I know it’s a horrible drug, however, how could something made from god knows what. allow me to sleep peacefully with my mind focused like it has never been before. I woke up happy and restful though my brain was working all night long but like Einstein’s brain, I was figuring out complex problems, and I really truly felt the genius inside me. I no longer felt dumb and alone or a space cadet. I know Cmeth is bad, but what drug compares to the affect it has on my brain? I’m willing to experiment and welcome anyone who can get me on the right path. David in VA

  22. addled. I really liked your post. You and I experienced the same exact problems. God forbid they find out you did coke or any other drug only to deny you the drug you needed most. Ours is give and take, and I hated growing up a bright but space cadet kid that was made fun of constantly because I simply wasn’t there. I hated the fights with ritalin trying to control me and the anger that addrall made me feel. I know I shamed my parents because of my troubles with the law and drugs, but I really think that even they know they raised a good kid, just one with bad wiring. I still feel left out which hurts because on top of that, I’m gay. shoot me.

  23. Very interesting material! I have bookmarked this site so I can learn more about the ADHD-addiction connection.

    I was disappointed to find that the link to contact Pete Quily is invalid, as is the one (at the beginning of this article) for the “word document that lists various articles”; will have to try Googling the article mentioned.

  24. Hi Lauri,

    just fixed the contact page, give it another try.

    Sadly linkrot is the downside of the internet. I’ve listed the name of where i think the study is from can no longer find the study on their site or elsewhere. let me know if you can find it.

  25. mike and april

    To all ADHD/ADD ers we fully understand how using meth calms the mind and body. We have gone all our lives untreated by doctors. We are 48 and 33 years old and both addicts and know we are addicts. We use meth occasionally, but the calming effects help us

  26. mike and april

    We totally understand all you ADHD/ADD’ers who struggle with self-medication. We don’t judge people for what choice of drugs they use. It’s so sad that people in our age groups were never diagnosised or treated for our disease. Alot of people notice Mike and I are different than them and sterotype was as abnormal or strange. It’s sad that people don’t understand this disease and only think of us self-medicators as drug addicts…’s no wonder many of us fall through the cracks. My husband was an alcoholic for years and has been sober from the alcohol for almost two years. We do self medicate with meth occasionally which does slow our racing minds down.

  27. mike and april

    ADHD is not a myth like alot of people think. My husband is and I’m 33. We both have been fighting addictions since we were young kids. We would like to find a way out of this disease, but come on we all know we can’t be honest with dr’s about our self medications with drugs because then they will not treat us as many of you already know. we are both extreme hyperfocusers and try to deal with everyday life the best we can. To all of you untreated adults we wish the best for you and just remember you’re not alone in this world and we do understand all of you. We all are special people and deserve a chance with life. Good luck to everyone. Feel free to email us anytime….take care and remember you are never alone

  28. As a typical ADDer, I haven’t checked the web for a while, and can’t find your email addresses Mike and April…did I mention I’m having a Dex holiday? Disorganised incredibly. But it does make me angry that others are forced to self-medicate with meth for years because their doctors won’t believe they aren’t simply drug-seeking. There is an easily observable difference between an ADD/ADHDer on meth (quiet, concentrating, more confident at times) and a regular addict (super-energy and strength, focus all over the place..kind of like us without meds)!
    What country’s health system are most of the posters dealing with here? I am guessing America, so tough on drugs and yet a country that recognises ADD/ADHD. Surely there’s a decent doctor who can understand and put you on the right meds somewhere? Here in Australia, where they don’t recognise it as a ‘disability’, I told my doctor (and the Health Department, which gives authority for Dex) bluntly that I had been previously addicted to meth and it was for self-medication reasons. They still gave me a script..would it help if you went to rehab for a bit? I did, and I think maybe that helped them trust me.
    I wish all the best for Mike & April and all the other untreated people who are risking themselves in a stupid ‘War on Drugs’ that doesn’t recognise that most addicts (not just us) are self-medicating something and need help, not punishment.
    Good luck all and fight the medical establishment drongos (Aus for asshole, in a polite way:) for your rights! And happy holidays…..;)

  29. Oh, and laaaaate response to David. I fully relate! I’m gay too – well 90% lesbian, which one psychiatrist deemed the source of my problems. Not homophobia of course! Or ADD..or anxiety..would love to hear via email what your thoughts on the GLBTQ (have I missed anyone??) community thinks about ADD/ADHD. I’ve only told 3 people, 2 think I’m a slave to the medical establishment…the other one’s autistic, she’s ok with it 😉

  30. Sally womack

    Hi guys I’ve been reading all your comments and just wanted some advice if you can spare the time. I havnt been diagnosed with ADD and never thought anything of it till recently. I’ve always been a loud bubbly girl very childlike and appears confident but at the same time too serious and mature for my age. im now 21 have had serious issues with anorexia which i have now overcome but am left with so much anxiety its unbearable at times. I thought the way i am was just due to that but after reading into symptoms of add im confused. I can never sit still always playing with something or figiting i try so hard to concentrate and im getting better at it but only when i am used to doing the specific task if its something new im just unable to listen think clearly or follow a set of instructions which just makes me panic. I don’t know y but i find myself putting people in awkward situations that i know they don’t feel comfortable in or being really inappropriate thought thinking. I’ve always been lively and weirdly unique and most people who meet me think im either drunk or high. I have taken meth on a fair few occasions over the past year and everytime i feel so relaxed i have no thoughts in my mind still get the rush which is the best bit then after that i just feel mellow and i go really quiet and just want to be by myself and organise things and get all the things done i have been putting off. After a while i get paranoid when around others even close friends because i know im acting so different i feel like a different person but i know when to stop and i want to because im bored of feeling no emotion which makes me think do i really want tks find out if i have add will it take the fun out of me? Thanks for reading this any advice is appreciated

  31. Sally womack

    Also i have had 2 assessments for bipolar recommended by therapists but the patterns weren’t fitting i havnt feel right for a few years now but most of the time im so happy and enthusiastic about life but there are random days when im a depressed mess for no reason i just wish i wasn’t like a yoyo all the time

  32. Sally would suggest finding someone who knows enough about adhd to diagnose it properly. many do not know. ask your closest adhd support group for a list of names of those who do. bipolar can look like adhd, adhd can look like bipolar and you can have both. Anyone who knows adhd well should be also able to diagnose bipolar. ADHD folks are pretty entertaining but be on meth long enough and you won’t be.

    “i go really quiet and just want to be by myself and organise things and get all the things done i have been putting off.” that sounds like a common description of someone with adhd on adhd medication. Unlike crystal meth there’s no drano involved and shouldn’t make you paranoid.

    Girls and women with ADHD have much higher rates of Anorexia Nervosa, 2.7 time higher here are some reasons why

  33. I was diagnosed as a child with ADD. I was about 8 years old, I was borderline being completley special ed. I would have a good year and then after a summer off the school would have to retest me for special needs classes. Maybe it was the summer break that when school started I felt lost. I was placed on a 504/IEP Education plan. I remained in reguluar classes threw out my school years. In eighth grade I was sent to 7th grade class for English, I just barrley passed. I was in 6th grade for Math. I felt embarresed, but I guess I was okay because I was in a Rual school. When H.S came though I used the law to protect me. Confidentiality with my IEP the teachers could not make it appear as though I was different. I hid as I would walk to the Math-a classes, How did I get away with it well I could not really flunk. The guidlines to my IEP helped . So finally I felt like everyone else. I never told friends at all. It was my secret thats why my mom dad and siblings are my BF. I was special but I didnt understand the good side of it how being Handicap was okay just smile. Trying to fit in I didnt want to say no to a party or anything that was for people who where like cool or could do it or just someone I wanted to impress, I tryed meth when I was 22 and was highly addicted Im sober now and I feel great. Im trying to find a way to help myself. I want reality on my life but Im also trying to piece my mind back together sort of like a puzzle. I have alot of desire. I find it. If anyone would like to email me feel free.

  34. I have adhd and perhaps other issues i used meth cause it made me calm. But now that im off for once i feel super human. I work to much, talk to fast, think even faster i notice alot of things now too but ill forget if dont finish the task on the spot. Ive found myself eating healthy and able to jump on tasks i never could before. They other day i was working so hard i started to get a pleasure or euphoria feeling i believe its called. I cant seem too slow down its like super adhd. Should i seek help or live like this everyone else loves it but me. I apologize for the any errors in my post using my game station.

  35. Help!..Help!… I’m of Hispanic descent.My brother is 29 and has been using meth for who knows how long. i discovered 2 years ago about people are Right!.. The public needs to be aware why we have Meth addicts and also the relationship to or between ADD.My brother is locked up for theft (guess for what?).. But as his family,my brother is not Evil he has a problem. I took to see a psychologist, but she prescribed him some slow down stimulant which he said he didn’t like and quit seeing all together the psychologist… Its just scary knowing this and finding out about this. I’m trying to educate my mother because she’s so naive,she has taken it in another way.. Well if ever he comes out i to direct him to see the psych or rehab center ?.before he goes out to medicate himself.thanks

  36. Pete Quily

    Hi Pete, yes the public does need to be aware of the relationship between ADHD & meth ie self medication. I think you might want to learn more about addiction, see if you can find some local resources in your community and or online that can help you learn more about addiction. If he’s an meth addict, he needs rehab and more but at minimum he needs someone who knows adhd AND addiction. Not all adhd meds work for all people and it’s dangerous to do stimulant meds while someone is an active addict. double dosing.

  37. Hello,
    I was diagnosed with ADD when I 9 and the doctor recommended meds…not only was I never given meds but I was never given any kind of treatment for at all and was not even told by my parents that I had it…I am now 25 and only found out about it 5 months ago when I was helping my dad clean his house and found the medical paperwork.

    I’ve been a Crystal Meth user for about 2 years and progressed to an addict somewhere along the line…I’ve long known about the ADD/ADHD/METH connection and honestly believe I would of thought twice before ever trying the stuff in the first place if I had known I had ADD. I can’t really be angry at my parents because they didn’t want to tell me for fear of me using it as an excuse for my poor grades…however they also sat back and watched as my grades never improved and I eventually dropped out due to frustration, lack of focus and coming to the personal conclusion that I must have just been lazy and stupid.

    I just wish at some point that they had told me. I tried Meth because I had used many drugs before and never gotten hooked on any of them, even hard drugs like coke, causing me to think “I don’t have an addictive personality so it’ll be fine!”…could not have been more wrong! I instantly felt like the missing/messed up things in me (lack of concentration, and so on) were fixed.

    It’s really hard saying no to something that makes you feel how you know you are supposed to feel, especially when all the people who don’t know about my use are happy because I’m getting things done and moving forward in life and being efficient like never before…I feel trapped. I honestly hate how much of a waste of space I am without self medicating…is that weird?

    Most people’s lives fall apart when they use drugs and I’ve had the reverse! I know I need to stop though because Meth will probably eventually kill me. I have never had insurance but I will soon, thank god!! I can’t wait to get proper treatment for my ADD and finally feel like it’s ok to put the pipe down and that I won’t be complained at or lose anything I’ve accomplished by being lazy and frustrated and all that again.

  38. Pete Quily

    That’s so wrong Sherry. ADHD is an explanation, not an excuse but so many people stigmatize ADHD and so few people with adhd call them out on their stigma or inflict a cost, they keep doing it. and often adders and their families buy into the stigma. With ADHD, you’ll either find unhealthy ways to self medicate, illegal drugs, gambling, violence, drama, crime, or healthy ways to self medicate, exercise, adhd meds, music, being kind to others, sex, work or hobby you love, mediation etc.

    One way or another, if you have ADHD, you’ll do something to self medicate ADHD. Better to learn about the healthy ways and learn to do it deliberately or you risk defaulting to unhealthy ways

  39. Hello! Great stories! I had ADD as a kid and now i have Adult ADD (same thing). I started using meth when i was 17. Im 27 and still using. For many years ive searched for answers. meth does me diff! It has the oppisite effect on me. I can smoke down all night just to get to high,i get antisocial,stuck and cant talk,and feel stupid in front of others! I can pay attention whats going on,i can listen to everyone talking and comprehend but if i go to talk,i get stuck!!! Sooo embaressing! While everyone else is speeding all over! BUT>> once i come down,i speed up,get on my level and start bouncing off the wall… this time everyone else has came down!…… everybody has always told me my whole life im slow,forgetful,off task,can never finish stuff….ADD controls my life. Its hard…ive taken adderal a long time ago. I didnt like it. Im calm and borring. Others would probably call that normal.

    Tip for meth users. Do your research. Read stories. meth is the devils drug. Voices and vissions will come one day. Mine came after 4 years. All i had was my boyfriend to explain what i didnt know came with this. All he said was they are not real…i drove myself crazy and cried behind closed doors where nobody knew for a really long time.

  40. Heres a poem i wrote.

    The devils drug is what they call it,i wonder if its true? The devils drugs inside of me,he tells me what to do.

    Do you feel what i feel,as i lay in my bed? Do you hear them ungodly voices that run through my head?

    Dont worry though it wont last long,when daylight hits they’ll all be gone,its at night they like to play,and all around me,they like to stay!

    Dont come this way,it isnt safe.
    My uncontrollable world is a lonely place. Empyness are the color of my eyes,all because i phene of living high!

  41. Yes some great stories here Lisa. Voices and visions sound like they might be meth induced psychosis, see or or this site on early intervention for psychosis maybe the dose of adderall wasn’t right for you or it wasn’t the right med, you almost never get the right med right away, it’s a trial and error process.

    And for ADHD meds are part of the solution but not the only part. For others see my post Top 10 Ways to Manage Adult ADHD

    Hope you can find help for meth.

  42. I am currently sitting here with my partner the love of my life, who is a meth addict. Well more so a drug addict, but the drug of choice is meth. He has ADHD he was diagnosed it when he was 7, He was put on rittalin till the age of 18 years old. He is now 26 and still a drug user. I dont really know to much about the ADHD/METH affects..
    Its hard for me to stay suportive. Because I kind of feel like he is happy to continue smoking it. But what I didn’t realise is that when he smokes it gives him some piece of quiet in his head for once instead of a million thoughts running through his head. I have always supported him and tried to understand but it is hard. We went to the doctors to look for help but they wouldnt help him, they looked at him judgmental and wouldnt offer anything other than a refferal. He suffers severe insomnia, its hard as a partner. I will always support him but I don’t want to stay to the point of where i destroy myself in the process. He stared mirijuanna abuse first from 18 years old to 21, then he found meth. Quit weed, and continued meth. He met me, and tried to get help he was put on anti psychotics which didnt work out well, so it kind of tainted his image to go and get help.
    the only time he can find piece of mind and feel at ease, it on meth. He isnt smoking copious ammounts, The difference with him is when most people try to stand out, he spends all his time to be normal. But in reality its an “act”. Im just trying to figure out ways to help him. I adore him, and will always be in his corner good or bad.
    From the moment I met him, I felt like I had known him my whole life, I knew from the instant I wanted a forever with him. Everyone has baggage that they take into a relationship. The issue is.. He knows he needs to stop smoking. But he just doesnt want too. He has done rittalin, and it turned him into something as what many people would class as “normal” these days. But thats not him, the main reason I fell in love with him was because of the fun child I could still see behind his eyes, Sorry for the long essay.. Just need some advice.

  43. I am 33 and I have been using meth on and off for years to handle all of my problems and sadly it really does clam me down keeps me from cutting myself.. I’m trying to get into counseling.. And I’m terrified that they won’t help me… Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  44. Sabina Wilson

    I am a 51 yr old female who was addicted to method for 10 yes or more. I HV been clean for the last 5 yes. I have a mental health case worker that comes to my house once a wk. I barely can function mentally and have no motivation. She says I show all the symptoms of adult inattentive ADD. I haven’t been able to work in the last 6 yes. My psychiatrist refuses to prescribe me anything addictive bcuz of my past. Apparently he wud rather I not function or else turn back to meth-which I’m real close to doing. I’m tired of not functioning!!! Everything is so overwhelming!! I can’t change drs bcuz I’m on a county program. Any suggestions?

  45. Brant Zimny

    I couldn’t agree more. I am 47 years old. I was diagnosed with ADHD @ 14 & prescribed ritalin. It served to help with concentration and staying on task. Later in my 20’s having already found street amphetamines. I was going to become a father and had a union job that I wasn’t able to maintain without focus. Once I had become the target of management due to frequent mistakes and bad utilization of time, I had gone to the county psychiatric dept to obtain more Ritalin. At that time they wouldn’t prescribe Ritalin to adults. Do I was given pamelor which made me EXTREMELY AGITATED!! Consequently I gave up on meds and wound up using street dope for many years. The sad thing is; the moment I used meth I knew I felt correct and able and out led to a life of trouble with police and resulted in 3 prison sentences. Nothing violent, sexual, serious, no theft just being found in possession of things illegal. No sales charges of drugs. Now at this late stage and work very few options remaining in my life I have found a doctor of mental health who believes that my life itself is the greatest determining factor in her diagnosis of adult ADHD.. It’s funny when a doctor suggests that you have an ailment, it’s normal to ask, well how did your determine the diagnosis. I felt like I exhibited slurred speech or wiggled too much. So I asked, and she simply said that my life and past had been the greatest example of untreated ADHD. A BIT DISHEARTENING, but the good news is; she’s sure that the only way to help is by administering the sane drug type that had ruined my life. I am very involved in recovery and the 12 step program and have been clean for several years now. It scares me to consider amphetamine therapy but I have no more focus today near 50 than I had as a child. I pray that this works for me. She clearly stated that we, she and I, must exhaust every non stimulant option prior to moving forward to stimulants. I agree in her prudence. But wellbutrin & strattera haven’t done a thing to improve my restless brain and body. I recall meth having a wonderful feeling and a great comfort. Everything logical says to NOT do it, but I’m do tired of being uncomfortable in my own skin. I will only last so long before I lose interest in being a mess. So I hope with all of my heart that I am able to use EXACTLY AS PRESCRIBED & become a well adjusted happy person. Thanks for listening. Drew

  46. Laurel Bailey

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD in my teens it worked great because i was constantly in sports but as i got older and the stress of this world harder to deal with i started using alcohol first then weed from time to time i actually embrace my energy so i dont like we

  47. Hi Laurel exercise is a great way to healthily self-medicate ADHD. So are ADHD meds, music, art, work or hobby you enjoy and helping other people. You either find healthy ways to self-medicate ADHD or unhealthy ways, booze, tobacco, other drugs, gambling etc.

  48. How then can you get a person who is self medicating with drugs and has been diagnosed with Adhd off drugs so they can get the correct medication. My son hates taking the meth but it calms him and if he stops it he gets very agitated so nobody will help him to get the right medication.

  49. I never understood why i have been so weird my entire life until now. I went to N.A., A.A., C.R., and cchurch to figure out what that something in my life i had been missing. That one thing that made me differant. Adderall worked for a while with focus, piece of mind, and even calmed me down. However i still knew there was something missing. 12 step programs teach you that, only another person of the same capacity of the illness in which we suffer cant truly understand the struggle. They tell you to go to 90 meetings in 90 day’s. So i went to 360 in 90. Still i could not understand why i had this longing for something in which i did not understand? Then I found this site, and it finally made since! When my Adderall stopped working I turned to methamphetimine, I realized that i could be injected with several times more than anyone and the room a the most it would do was put me to sleep. Ive handled as much as a teener in one shot. Nobody understood why i became so calm, collected, and the life of every conversation. Nobody could even tell that i was using!. However im scared because ive now read about the long turm effects of the mind! I have a hard enough time dealing with ADD. I don’t know what I would do if i developed scschizophrenia. Im now in a program in Kansas City Missouri in which im not even supposed to have access to something that has changed view on the reality of my struggle. Because of a scornful man in this program i might have to give turn my phone and only access to this wonderful new asset to my true recovery of methamphetine in. This is a horrifyingly feeling because though i have have not used since October 21st this life line is the only thing that has kept me sober this long. Please someone help me comprehend what to do? Before I found this site without meth i was so fed up with my inability to focus and function properly i wanted to jump off of the 8th street bridge and end it all.

  50. I’m not in Denial I’m feed up i wanted help and I tried and I got ignored and forgotten and no one hears me I’m a pain in the butt that my mouth gets me in trouble Imaking sorry I have such a bitter attitude but enough is enough I want to be health and drug free but maybe it’s to late for me wrong will see i dont want to be on drugs but you try being me with adhd learning disabled ,pds , abused ,ignored ,molested put down beaten down and out there , and drunk father, psycopath mother do ya think you might do drugs I want my stressed out over analytical mind with pds, cruel life over. Yet I’ve committed no crimes no low life ways nevet did time I’m a good person I’m probably one of the few honest trusting person you’ll ever meet I don’t care if I’m on the wrong topic and sound bitter angry and self centered poor wo is me attitude at this point I got nothing to lose.

  51. Fixed forty years of add and severe ocd. Ive never been so well. Lifelong problems went away and never returned, true miracle.

  52. I can attest to the Adult ADD/ADHD and varations of amphetamines having a calming affect. I myself have severe ADD and anxiety, whereas I take medications for both. To my shock, after about a year of taking Adderall, then Desoxyn, I realized that the medications stabilized me! When I take them I am focused, at-task, in the present. When I am off them I am emotional, upset, stuck in the past, and scared/anxious. I never thought I would be “that person” who was calmed down by ADD meds. I figured it would be a boost but, ironically, it’s just been oddly stabilizing.

  53. Jennifer Willams

    I’m the poster child for ADHD I went to prison for methamphetamine when I was inside the doctor told me that she could help me if I was on the outside now being charged with a methamphetamine crime no one will help me with my ADHD even though everything the doctor reads will tell you exactly all the struggles in my life are caused by ADHD that methamphetamine will carve the effects of ADHD but no one wants to help me! I can’t legally get help and I wonder why people reoffend I need help. I’m tired of living like this I am smarter than this… I feel hopeless I feel like I’m a hamster on a wheel I’m getting nowhere I’m almost 50 years old and I’d like to have a life! Why do I have to keep suffering. ADHD, prison, adha no help because of prison! I was on adderall in my 30’s the old idea I’m doing good don’t need meds! Ended up in trouble & now no help in sight! And I’ve done all the eating right meditation (try that with ADHD) The doctor that diagnosed me in my early 30ths ask me how I made it threw life! That’s how bad my issue is…. Looking for the answer!!!!

  54. Also check out these two books.
    Overload- Attention Deficit Disorder and the Addictive Brain by David K. Miller and Kenneth Blum
    by David K. Miller and Kenneth Blum

    “This fascinating collaborative effort explores many of the causes, cases and concerns surrounding ADD. With the insights of clinician Dave Miller and scientist Ken Blum, Overload gives an in-depth picture of what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder really looks like, how it’s related to addiction, and how it happens in certain people.”

    The Twelve Steps–A Guide for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Friends in Recovery
    By Friends in Recovery

    “A spiritual resource that applies the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to adults with Attention Deficit Disorder in a way that combines structure, self-discovery and the support of others with the proven spiritual principles of the 12 steps.”

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