I have a restrictive eating disorder but am worried if I enter intensive treatment for it I will be forced to go off my Adderall I desperately need. Does anyone have any advice?
Last Updated: 01/15/2023 at 1:50am
Lisa Meighan, MSc Psychology
Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.
Top Rated Answers
I cannot give professional advice to your scenario. I do want to state though, that your wellbeing is important, and that you are 100% valid and strong for taking the step to come on and ask this question -- I really appreciate you. When going into a treatment center, your medications are taken into account. You can always speak to your therapist, psychiatrist, doctor, or whatever medical provider you're using about your concerns of being forced off your medication. They should be able to work with you around this and come up with a beneficial plan to both efficiently treat your eating disorder while still keeping you safe in regards to your medication.
There are medications for ADHD that don't involve the use of amphetamines. Most cases of ADHD don't require medication, just lifestyle tweaks like learning to keep lists, stim, and set reminder alarms. I'm guessing that if they take you off your Adderall, it will be in a supervised environment. Because of this, I advise you simply TRUST THEM with this. If anything goes wrong, someone will be there to fix it for you. This is true even if you are in outpatient care... if anything goes wrong, you can simply call to speak to the nurse and they are usually quick to change your medication around. Right now though, the most important thing for you will be learning to let go of your need for control and learning to relax. It's practically impossible to do that while taking stimulant medication! And stimulant medication will actually make you a lot worse if you have an underlying driving factor like anxiety disorder or PTSD. I feel you, I really do - I was like that about Paxil CR & caffeine for many years because it made me feel super functional. The stress eventually got to my body, though. Now I will barely even touch caffeine because I know what it does to me. I have ADHD, as well - that's why I say I feel you on this... because a lot of it with me was just trying to manage the symptoms. I was just going about it the wrong way, and the doctors were enabling me to do that to myself. Nowadays, I'm on medication that calms and slows me down instead. I was worried about gaining weight, too, but it's actually way easier to stay fit and active now because I'm not so tired and confused all of the time! :) Just hang in there and trust them for right now. Things will start making more sense to you VERY soon afterwards!
Have you asked the doctor prescribing your Adderall about this? Or have you asked one of the places that you may get eating disorder treatment from? I encourage you to start there! You might be worrying when you don't need to if you get a clear answer that you won't need to go off your medication. If you ask different places and they give you different answers, you can just pick your place of treatment based off what they say. Remember that your eating disorder doesn't want to go into treatment and will tell you whatever it can to stop you from getting treatment. Consider if your eating disorder is what is telling you that you cannot go off your Adderall (will you be doing school or work in treatment that requires your Adderall?).
Treatment for restrictive eating disorder should be comprehensive, addressing both the physical and mental aspects of the disorder. Talk to your treatment team about your concerns with the Adderall. They may be able to work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses both your eating disorder and ADHD. Remember to take care of yourself. If you feel like you cannot manage your eating disorder without intensve treatment, consider talking to your doctor to see if there are more intensive therapies that will not interfere with your Adderall use. Other options include therapy or learning helpful coping strategies, like distraction or grounding techniques, to manage your ED without the need for medication changes. If you need more resources or support, psychiatric or nutrition programs can help.