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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is it safe to take adderall for attention deficit disorder?

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Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2190 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 27 Feb 2013 in Mental Health
Question: I've been debating seeing a Psychiatrist for years now for ADD. I've always had trouble focusing, get distracted very easily, procrastinate tasks, and tend to forget where I put things, etc. I know that one of my friends had the same issues and was prescribed Adderrall(sp?). And this helped them concentrate and function better.

The problem is I don't want to waste my time going to a specialist if they are just going to think i'm trying to get them to write me a drug prescription because I'm going to abuse it or something. I just want to be able to perform my work. I end up spending hours stalling or delaying working even though I love what I do. Please help.
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Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 4 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

ADD (or ADHD) is a childhood onset psychiatric disorder characterised by 3 symptom clusters:
- Inattention
- Hyperactivity
- Impulsivity

Though people with ADD usually have significant symptoms of all three clusters, there can be a proportion of peole with ADD who show only "inattention" as the only or predominant symptom. However, there are two important diagnostic criteria which psychiatrists have to establish in their assessment:

- Age of onset before 7 years
- Symptoms sufficient enough to cause significant socio-occupational dysfunction

The reason why these criteria are applied is because difiiculty in focussing, easy distractability and forgetfulness are symptoms which can be seen in many other psychiatric conditions like:

- Dysthymia: a form of chronic, low grade depression - where the person has a chronic low mood and feels mostly amotivated, and this in turn can result in such symptoms
- Learning / Intellectual disorders
- Personality problems: like a dysthymic personality or an avoidant personality disorder

In my opinion as a psychiatrist, since your symptoms seem to be chronic, distressing and causing you significant problems in your overall performance / day-to-day functioning, it would be worth having a psychological assessment to see if your problems could be due to ADD. So, I don't think you should hesitate to see a psychiatrist.

Wish you all the best.

Regards,
Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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