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Adhd and meds question

Hi I am so sorry to post this here because I know it is for children, but please forgive me because I need help. I think I was incorrectly diagnosed at 44 and have been put on concerta 27 mg almost 3 weeks ago. I have complained from day 1 that I am getting headaches and intense back and shoulder pain. I went and was cleared off all heart related problems so I guess its all muscular. Anyway I have just 2 days ago was switched to the 18 mg because of all the complaints. In addition I am tapering off diazepam and down to 2mg in the morning and 1 at night. Everytime I try to get off the concerta I get terrible anxiety from it. I have it to a degree while on it also. I want off but my dr who takes 3 weeks to get into anyway, won’t switch me to a med I can taper off of. I know 3 weeks is a short time compared to what most of you have been through. But can someone please tell me how long my withdrawals are going to last?? I am the sole provider of my family but I can’t work during the withdrawals and also I can’t do a rehab. I have been taking as prescribed. I am not abusing it. Can someone tell me what to do? I am getting no help from the Physc and there is not meantal health places I can get into in my area! Again sorry to post this in the kids section but I don’t know where else to post. Thanks in advance
1 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
Hey, this is not a kids section.   We deal with all adhd problems.  And many are adult related.

Man, I feel for you.  There is nothing worse then having a problem and not getting a personal response from the medical field.  I am not a doctor, but I have been on this site for many years and have gained a fair amount of experience.  One of the things I have learned is that stimulant medications have no withdrawal problems  (unless you are addicted to them and have been taking huge amounts).   The medications are completely out of your system by the next day....which is why you have to take them daily.   Concerta is one of the longer acting meds, but its length of duration is maybe 8 to 10 hours if properly prescribed dosage wise.  And muscle pains are not a known side effect.  I am wondering if you started tapering down your diazepam just before you started the Concerta?   More on that later.

You said, "I think I was incorrectly diagnosed at 44"  incorrectly diagnosed with adhd?  I have a lot of info on adult adhd and its symptoms if that would be helpful.

It is possible that you were prescribed too much Concerta.   Hitting the right amount is very much trial and error.  Howevcr non of the symptoms you mentioned would indicate that (see bottom part on Diazepam).  I know if I was taking 27 mgs of Concerta, I would be bouncing off the roof all day long.

In short, I think (without knowing how long you were on Diazepam) that you are tapering off Diazepam too fast.  And that you really, really need to check out with your doctor.  There is a chance that you need to kick up your Diazepam a bit while you slow down your withdrawal.  And by the way...it is good that you are trying to get off of it.  There are other much safer and milder anti-anxiety meds out there.   By the way anxiety is a very common co-disorder of adhd and is many times brought on by the adhd.

I think most of your problems is from getting off diazepam.   Besides reducing anxiety, it is used to quiet muscle spasms. Both of those things can come back during withdrawal.   "Withdrawal symptoms can occur from standard dosages and also after short-term use, and can range from insomnia and anxiety to more serious symptoms, including seizures and psychosis. Withdrawal symptoms can sometimes resemble pre-existing conditions and be misdiagnosed. Diazepam may produce less intense withdrawal symptoms due to its long elimination half-life."
  "withdrawal symptoms, such as convulsions (seizures), hallucinations, stomach or muscle cramps, tremors, or unusual behavior."

  "About one-third of individuals who take benzodiazepines for longer than four weeks become dependent and experience withdrawal syndrome on cessation.[10]

Differences in rates of withdrawal (50–100%) vary depending on the patient sample. For example, a random sample of long-term benzodiazepine users typically finds around 50% experience few or no withdrawal symptoms, with the other 50% experiencing notable withdrawal symptoms. Certain select patient groups show a higher rate of notable withdrawal symptoms, up to 100%.[59]

Rebound anxiety, more severe than baseline anxiety, is also a common withdrawal symptom when discontinuing diazepam or other benzodiazepines.[60] Diazepam is therefore only recommended for short-term therapy at the lowest possible dose owing to risks of severe withdrawal problems from low doses even after gradual reduction.[61] The risk of pharmacological dependence on diazepam is significant, and patients experience symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome if it is taken for six weeks or longer."

In short, I think the withdrawal problems are due to the Diazepam, not the Concerta.
I hope this helps.  I think that there is a lot of information that you are going to want to have.  Just ask.   Best wishes.
First of all thank you for such a nice long detailed answer. I have been tapering the Valium for over 6 months and coming down 1 mg a month. So I don’t think it’s the taper. From what I am seeing and reading it sounds like concerta increases dopamine in the brain and when you stop taking it your brain is left not producing it like it should and you go through a withdrawal. I know there is more to it than that but that is the basics. When I take the med is when the muscle tightness and everything else happens. I try and not tame it now til later in the day so I know for sure that’s what it is. Also, I had some underlying anxiety issues before which I think stem from an undiagnosed thyroid disorder which is also producing the ashd symptoms. I never had trouble as a child with this, and honestly I just want off the med. since it does mess with brain chemicals, I guess my question is how long does it take to get those chemicals right again so I will not be in withdrawal? I begged the doctor on the phone to give me something I can taper off of so I would it get the withdrawal. I previously last month took one week of vyvanse and had horrible anxiety at only 10 mg. I stopped it after 1 week and my anxiety lasted an entire week. I want off the meds and want to try doing other things to cope. However no one including the pharmacist believes this is causing withdrawal. I have gone through opiate withdrawals several times and I know what they feel like and this is it. I also get horrible tension headaches in the med as well. Anyway thank you again for caring enough to take time to write such a great response and please don’t be offended and mine. I just don’t think I made the right wording on the original statement. If you would please respond again to this new info. Thank you again
Sorry for all the errors! I am using a small iPhone!
Ok, you are definitely going through withdrawal.  The reason that you doctor will not give you anything to help in withdrawal from Concerta is because there is no withdrawal from any of the stim meds.   As long as you were not hooked (as in using speed, meth, etc).  So let me repeat this.  There is nothing in literature that suggests there is withdrawal from stim medications.  What you are referring to is a come down from somebody who was abusing stimulant  medications.   People who have been on stim medications for years can stop it the next day and the only problem is that they revert back to their adhd symptoms.  There is NO withdrawal.
   Thus the only withdrawal symptoms that you can be having are from the Diazepam.  You are seriously disregarding how dangerous and long lasting these symptoms can be.  Google it!  All  of your symptoms fit.
   It is also possible that having gone through opiate withdrawals several times (congratulations, but ouch!) your body takes much longer to withdraw.
   An example of withdrawal symptoms
          Symptoms of diazepam withdrawal are different for each person. This is because withdrawal intensity depends on many factors such as a person’s general health, age, unique drug metabolism, and levels of dependence. You may not experience all of the possible symptoms, but you need to be prepared for a range of symptoms when it comes to getting off a powerful benzodiazepine such as diazepam.

Symptoms that most commonly occur include:

    gastrointestinal symptoms
    increased sensitivity to: light, noise, taste and smell
    muscle cramps
    paranoid thoughts
    trouble sleeping
    visual disturbances
from - https://addictionblog.org/support/diazepam-withdrawal/

   I think the central question here is,  does your doctor know that you are tapering off Diazepam?  And does he know what you are going through?  Man, I hope this helps, you have been through hell enough times,  you don't need to be putting yourself through this again.
Sorry I just saw this but I also sent you a message. I have been tapering the Valium for months and have had no withdrawals or any problems from it. I am on such a small dose now anyway. Please don’t think i am ignoring your comments or saying you are wrong. I know it’s a powerful drug Valium. I only started getting the symptoms you are talking about when I got on the adhd meds. The same thing happened when I did a trial run of vyvanse only 10mg for about a week. When I quit I had the same anxiety and everything for another week. When I take the meds i have the anxiety when I stop they are so much worse. I just didn’t know if there was another med they could switch me to and then taper off if it??
I hear you.  The one thing I did not address because I was so focused on the word "withdrawal" is that you are overdosed.   The first rule of adhd medication dosage is to go low and go slow.  If something is not working the doctor takes you off the med and tries another.   That can be done because there is no withdrawal.  Now with anti-anxiety meds....they must be tapered off.  And that is what you are thinking about.
   8 to 10 hours after you took your last Concerta, it is out of your system.  How you feel then is how you will feel when you are not taking the medication.  Your doctor does not deal with the taper off adhd medication, because there is no such thing.   You just stop taking it.  And that is probably what you should talk to your doctor about doing.

  Now it may be that since the Diazepam basically slows your brain down and the Concerta speeds it up  - that the two when taken together cause your body to react.  Because you are still on 3mgs of Diazepam a day.  And effectively, its probably more then that due to how long it takes to get out of your system.   Some more info on Diazepam....https://www.drugs.com/tips/diazepam-patient-tips

So talk to your doctor so he knows what is going on.  Still wondering if its the same doc who prescribed the Diazepam to you?

I am including some links that might be helpful.  The first lists all adhd medications  so you can see what is out there.

  The second link is about adhd medication essentials.

   The third link is common adhd fallacies

   I include this because it covers common adhd medication side effects.

I hope this helps.  If once you get off this merry-go-round, you need more information about adhd please ask.   And keep in touch!  I always learn from my interactions with the posters on this site.

    Oh, to answer one of your questions.....the lightest med you can take is Ritalin (Methylphenidate).   From http://www.leeheymd.com/charts/adhd_1.html
I am so grateful for your response and understanding. I just don’t get why I my anxiety ramps up when I don’t take it? Also I know there is no withdrawal but everything I am reading on it says you are never supposed to stop it suddenly even the pharmacist says rhat.  I appreciate you input and knowledge. So if I stop after 2 weeks on 36 mg and 2 days at 18 how long will it take you think to feel like I did before i started it?? Thanks again for all the help and reaources. I do think I was on too much even at 18 mg. Should I ask to switch to something that is not extended realase?  The headaches are unbareaable! I also take lexapro and 50 mg of tramadol in the morning and 25 at night. I was scarred of serotonin syndrome but 2 doctors and a pharmacist said I was ok. I am tapering off the tramadol as well after 1 month of use. It too was Perscription for a tooth problem. I did not want an opiate. Sorry I should have made that information know at first. Thanks again for answering me and anything else you would like to add please do. Also I read that concerta stays in your body for 2 days. And that withdrawal starts about 24 hours after that. I am just really sensitive to all meds that’s why I was wanting something else to taper.! Thanks again
First, congrats on trying to taper off all those meds.  Unfortunately, doing all 3 at the same time makes it pretty hard to figure out which one is causing which side effect.

It is possible that the stim meds are helping with your anxiety and that is why your anxiety ramps up when not on them.   Anxiety is a very common side effect of adhd.

I would love to know where you read that, concerta stays in your body for 2 days. And that withdrawal starts about 24 hours after that."  The only thing I can think of is related to drug testing for stimulant use/abuse.   There is nothing in the literature for adhd use that I know of (and I have been monitoring it for over 10 years).   And you said that,  "everything I am reading on it says you are never supposed to stop it suddenly even the pharmacist says rhat."  I really, really would like to know where you saw this.  I have never seen anything like that in the literature on stim medications related to adhd.   I mean the sudden stop of the medication is done all the time.   Parents give their kids weekend and summer vacations from the medication with no side effects.

The headaches are very unusual for adhd medication.   When do they occur?  And do they occur everytime?  Do you take anything for these headaches?

Oh, and the advantage of a non extended release is that the med is out of your system much faster.  Ritalin lasts about 4 hours compared to the 8 to 10 for Concerta or 12 to 14 for Vyvanse.
Thanks for the responses! All I did was a google search for how long concerta stays in the system and it was the first thing they popped up. I am new to this so I do not have the experience you do and I know you can’t believe everything you read online. There is just a very delicate dance between my thyroid and taking testosterone that I am working through and I think adding these meds that I am on added gas to the fire. Bad mistake. I am still having the headaches but not as bad when I was on it. Today is day 2 without the concerta. I need to address the other meds I am on and my thyroid before I look at this again. Thank you a million times over you were the only one who answered my questions. God bless you!
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