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The Adderall Experiment: Irritation and Headaches

Is Adderall causing my irritation and headaches—or is it hunger?

Adderall Asperger's Headaches and Irritation

ADD is one of the only diagnoses that had stood after my Asperger’s Diagnosis.

It was originally among the host of other “disorders” that doctor’s labeled me with before figuring out that I had autism. It only took thirty-eight years!
The arrays of diagnoses, all wrong, have been thrown by the waste side where they belong, but still the ADD lingers. I wonder though if this too may not be entirely accurate because the problems I experience can also, once again, be explained by my Asperger’s.
I’ve been on Adderall for many years, since 2006. Lately, I’ve noticed that I am calmer on days that I do not take the medication. I am less irritable, get less headaches, and am less angry when interrupted a million times by the kids. Granted—I may be more scatter brained those days, but I am beginning to wonder if the Adderall is literally getting on my nerves.

Adderall or Hunger?

“I have two theories”, I told my doctor. I am either more irritable because of the Adderall, OR because when I am on Adderall, I forget to eat more often.
Forgetting to eat has always been an issue for me, especially if I am engrossed in an activity or project.  If you do not interrupt me and remind me to eat, I simply forget. I hardly ever feel hunger, so I don’t have that innate warning system to remind me that I need food.  When I am increasingly irritable, easily overloaded, and my senses are super-charged and approaching meltdown, I usually realize that I haven’t eaten anything for a while!
I am not sure exactly what the overload—lack of food connection is, maybe it is a blood sugar issue.  I am borderline diabetic, and I am very sensitive to the changes in my blood sugar levels.
So those are my two theories.  Adderall curbs my hunger, and then I never feel hungry. It helps me to hyper-focus on my tasks, again, making it easy for me to forget to eat. That could be causing my ridiculous moodiness.  Or, it is simply that the Adderall, being a stimulant, is irritating my nervous system.
The good thing is this is a theory I can test.  My task now is to take my Adderall for the next week or so, and MAKE SURE that I eat regularly (that is going to be a challenge), five small meals per day to see if my irritation is calmed down when I get a sufficient amount of food.
I have already tried not taking the medication for a week, and was significantly calmer—BUT I ate more as well, so no conclusions there.

Does anyone else take Adderall, and have difficulty with irritation? Or, have overloads triggered by hunger? Headaches?

I’m frustrated, but determined to find the culprit. I hate being irritated all the time, and I am getting on my own nerves!

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.