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Drug testing: Adderall & overall question


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I was diagnosed with ADHD in June of this year and was prescribed adderall. After a couple of months of dose adjustment, I have decreased my usage of it as I’m not working or in school and after decades of developing coping mechanisms, I can function without it, though non-medicated me will never reach the “normal” non-ADHD level of functioning.

My psychiatrist said I can take it as needed, so we are on the same page, but the prescription is written for daily usage. I have not taken a dose in a little less than a week and I have a drug test coming up for employment and I’m worried that if I say I’m on adderall but my test is clear, they’ll think I’m lying or doing something illegal with it like selling it under the table. So I was thinking I could take it in the days leading up to the test?? How do I approach this? And how long does it take to get out of your system?

Also as I’ve mentioned, I was just diagnosed this year. I’m in my mid-20s and have developed years worth of coping mechanisms. I’ve always felt different from others and my thought process has always been scattered, though I’m pretty organized in an effort to not lose things. I did well in academics, but I had to re-read my notes numerous times and eat sleep and breath my studies in an effort to make it stick. I talk a mile a minute and have always had an impulsive and addictive personality. Anyway, my first year of PA school was undoubtedly hard as hell, but I maintained good grades. Clinical year was a hot mess. I lost motivation and drive, felt extremely restless, impulsive, and depressed. I was not retaining information at all and focusing was impossible.

These things led me to seek help. My question is if I’ve been able to go this long without ADHD meds, is taking them all that important? I can function without, though not optimally. I’m not asking for professional medical help, but rather am seeking general opinions.

Thanks in advance.

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I have ADHD and take methylphenidate on a as needed basis. While my medication isn’t read as a methamphetamine on tests, yours is. You are thinking way too much. If you don’t need your medicine, then don’t take it for the tests. Literally no one will care if your test is negative. I have no idea how long it stays in your system, but it’s irrelevant to you as long as your have a unexpired prescription in the event you test positive.

as far as taking it, I function without mine all the time, but it’s necessary for patient care. Because people will inherently be unpredictable and cause you to adjust on the fly, and this disrupts coping mechanisms. When I don’t take medicine at work, I always hit the big things,  but often have to chase down a patient because I forgot to tell them something or I forgot to write their work note because they asked me to take a look at the mole on their back at the end and I got distracted. So I always take it for work. I rarely take it on an off day because using everyday of the week will cause tolerance and diminished effects when I really need it and also I just like me better when I don’t take it. I’m less irritable and less anxious. 

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In your situation, you only need to get in touch with how you feel about it. It’s up to you what it means to function optimally, and whether or not you want that. 
 

If I were in your position, I’d try my best to get to the core of why I am for or against taking the medication. Try to get past any stigma that has influenced you, even what you might have felt subconsciously or indirectly. It wouldn’t hurt to consider how you think other people are affected by your condition. But at the core, it really comes down to how you want to feel and perform in any given day. Id suggest that if ADHD meds make your life better, take note and act on it. If it makes you feel worse, take not and act on that. If it does nothing, take note as well, and act in that. 
 

I spend quite a bit of time as a psyche NP trying to break through stigma that my patients have incorporated into their beliefs... all with the intention that they be equipped to feel better about their lives. Even though I’d love for them all to function better, the real goal is to find a solution that they can live with. I’m convinced that in most cases, what a patient wants, and what works best for functioning in the world we live in, can be obtainable. If there isn’t perfect congruence, then I still feel like the patient is best served by helping them decide which area (feeling better or functioning better) that they would like to compromise a bit on. Most will compromise a bit of both, or often will choose better function over optimal happiness. The only point I want to press is that you should do what is best for you.

One thing to incorporate into your decision is how the consequences of your decision will affect your happiness as well... ie, if you aren’t working up to par at work when you aren’t on the medication. It won’t feel good to be censured if you aren’t practicing up to a high standard because you are distracted. So feeling good can mean different things to different people. 

Edited by Lightspeed
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It is my experience that most drug screen requests ask you to list medications which you are taking. In your case, list medication but note PRN. That way you’re covered both ways. If it’s positive you have your answer already noted to explain the result. If it’s negative? No harm, no foul. I think you are reading too much into this. All we ever cared about was if there was a positive, was there an explanation as to why?

 

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Your employer won't know the deal with the results other than the drug screen for negative for drugs of abuse(an active prescription is OK).  If the dip stick turns positive it'll be confirmed.  As long as you have an active prescription for whatever the drug test shows then you are in the clear.  The info is between you and the lab and will not get back to your employer.

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I was diagnosed in August and also prescribed Adderall. I'm in my mid-thirties and was always a strong academic performer. Behind the scenes, though, I have been disorganized, anxious and constantly battling a sense that I'm really just a hot mess that somehow fooled everyone into thinking I'm smart and know things (this is obviously some distorted thinking, but that was my rationale for how I was so successful in some ways, but felt like a disaster in my mind). The diagnosis ADHD validated my experience in life, thus far, and that has been helpful, but medication has been iffy. I REALLY dislike the feeling of being medicated, but there have been a few times when I noticed that it was so much easier for me to keep up with with some of the curveballs my day throws me (like LT_Oneal_PAC describes). This gives me motivation to keep trying until I find something that works. I also find that my anxiety is significantly reduced when I take the medication (hello, dopamine!).

I think GetMeOuttaThisMess has a good point - just list the the Adderall is PRN. They can verify that with your psychiatrist if absolutely necessary, but you should be covered. Good luck!

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The info is between you and the lab and will not get back to your employer.

 

Well, kind of. When I would look up pre-employment drug screens online in a former position (worked for the employer) I knew immediately that there was a question if they weren’t cleared within 24 hours. How? I knew that the MRO was attempting to contact the party for clarification. Didn’t matter as long as the MRO cleared them, but I still knew.

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