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My younger brother is 18 years old and has been on ritalin and/or adderall since he was 4 or 5 years old. My mother also has been diagnosed with adult ADHD and takes adderall and my older sister was diagnosed with ADD when she was in elementary school but refused medication. With respect to my brother, when he was 16 he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. To my knowledge we have no family history of diabetes. I have noticed him suffering from is extremely dry skin with eczema (sp?) like conditions, to the point that it cracks and he's constantly complaining of being itchy. This week I received an email from my mother telling us that now he's been diagnosed with Hoshimoto's Thyroiditis.

My question is, has there been any studies or findings linking long term adderall use to diabetes or auto-immune diseases? I've always been concerned with the amount of medication he takes and without any family history, I'm growing especially skeptical.

I would love to hear if anyone else has studied or heard of anything similar to my brother's situation.

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I haven't heard anything about adderall having an effect on it--and in fact, with type I diabetes, you wouldn't know about a family history because most kids with it died at a relatively young age until recently. I think it might be worth some study but as far as I know, there's never been any study into it.
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I have been on Dexedrine for over 15yrs. for ADHD and have also recently been wondering if there is a connection between long term stimulant treatment and endocrine disorders as well as autoimmune disorders. I have recently been diagnosed with alopecia, tested for lupus, and have most symptoms of hypothyroid. From what I have found online there does not seem to be much research on the long term effects of stimulant use. I would be curious to know if you find anything of interest. I'll post if I do.
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HI there, I really would appreciate if you can post something on it. As I posted, I am interested to hear more on it so thank you in advance for it. :)
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I'm a 24 yr old who has been on and off Adderall since I was 16. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, also. My major Crohn's symptoms first appeared when I was in 11th grade, but didn't become persistent until the end of my freshman year in college. I can't imagine that Adderall had any influence on whether or not I ended up with Crohn's even though they both came in to my life about the same time. Although, when I'm having a flare and I'm taking Adderall at the same time, my Crohn's seems to become more irritated and may even cause the flare up to last longer.

I'm not familiar with diabetes, so I don't know if eczema is part of its symptoms, but I do know that my Adderall makes my skin feel much dryer than it really is and gives me the urge to scratch more (urticaria, i think), and the scratching leads to dry skin sores/scrabs. I get them mostly on my scalp, which worries me because psoriasis is closely linked to Crohn's disease. I may already have the predisposition to have psoriasis (my dad has it bad) and the Adderall is just bringing it out of hiding; or the anxious scalp scratching/picking caused by the Adderall could be leading to inflammation and irritation that leaves me helpless in defending the rest of my body against additional chronic inflammation(s) far from my Crohn's symptoms sites [such as.. psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, uveitis(sp?)].

I did a little searching and found that dry skin can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. This, coupled with the potential urticaria that is known to accompany Adderall, could be what is behind his eczema-like issues. Another symptom of hypothyroidism that stuck out was mental 'dullness'. I imagine when your brother was younger his AD/HD issue probably had more to do with being hyperactive rather than mental clarity (correct me if I'm wrong), so now that he is much older he might want to see if he would be able to self-manage his attention issues without medication... I know of lots of people who are able to, but I know the others who weren't. Especially if now his mental 'dullness' is caused more by his hypothyroidism and not his ADD...maybe with treatment of the thyroid problem the attention problem would dissipate slightly without Adderall being needed. <-- all that is a shot in the dark suggestion, but thought i'd mention it anyway. Now, I've got just a couple questions...:

- Is his dry skin all over, or just in specific spots?
- Has he ever tried an alternate medication for his AD/HD? maybe one of the non-stimulants?

Hope this helped some!
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Hi there,
I am 23, have been on a Ritalin or Adderall type drug for the past 19 years and was recently diagnosed with hypothyroid. Over the years I have had doctors concerned about my thyroid but all the tests came back normal until recently. I can't help but think there are some long term and under discussed effects to taking a stimulant drug.

Best of Luck,
Ang
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Hey guys,
I was brought here from a google search and while I didn't find my answer, should be able to help with yours. I am a pre-med student with a VERY hyperactive immune system, causing me to have asthma, bad allergies, psoriasis and Type 1 diabetes for almost 16 yrs. I was also diagnosed with ADHD 3 months ago and have been attempting to regulate adderall since. I don't know all of the answers, but here is my insight:

Auto-immune diseases are where your body attacks itself, causing some greater issue. For Type 1 diabetes there are multiple theories, but they all come down to some variation of either your body had a defect and in confusion attacked itself, or your immune system is on crack and just annihilates everything in its path. I fall into the latter. I know this because I have bad allergies and asthma, both of which are the result of your body overacting to stuff it's not suppose to. This causes and/or is the result of an excess amount of histamine being released. Histamine causes inflammation, which is why your nose gets stuffed up. Well, as you know psoriasis is ALSO due to inflammation, and therefore histamine. Inflammation occurs in an area for no reason and your body reacts by dilating blood vessels to allow blood to escape to the "damaged" tissue (this is where the intense red color comes form), resulting in new skin cell growth. Excessive growth of skin cells results in the top layers not getting blood, drying out and itching. You scratch and the cycle continues. Insulin and histamine are hormones, which are what trigger and stop ALL of your bodies functions and reactions, including those that involve the nervous system. When one of them goes you will forever have trouble regulating the others and eventually succumb to other malfunctions. One auto-immune disease will result in another auto-immune disease in a matter of time, but can also trigger malfunctions in other areas. (Allergies are not an AI disease, but generally occur) This is why so many of you or people you know are developing more issues.

ADHD has something to do with dopamine in the brain, either there's a defect in the receptor, so it's not used properly, or there is an incorrect amount. Adderall effects either the receptor or the release of dopamine, causing a variation in the level. Here's the problem: dopamine is a hormone as well. It's very easy to understand how so many people with AT diseases end up with ADHD. The drug itself CANNOT inflict or cause any other issues, BUT as we all know it is hard to regulate this medication, at least in the beginning, so the changes in the amount of dopamine will result in changes in the amount of other hormones, which may lead to other issues you have or were at a chance for getting coming about.

I too was looking for some connection between Adderal and psoriasis, as mine is consuming my head after 3 yrs of being in ONE spot with an approx. radius of 3inches. After going over this material with you I am now personally concluding that my influx of dopamine is causing an influx of histamine, especially in my head region, causing my psoriasis and allergies to flair up. May I suggest we all go out for some commercial strength anti-histamines???
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I have been taking adderall for over 7 years and a few months ago, at age 37, I was diagnosed with type1 diabetes. There is no history of it in my family and I live a very healthy lifestyle. I'm a personal trainer, in great shape and everyone was shocked when I was hospitalized with diabetes. I can't help but think adderall is the culprit. This eats me up inside because I feel like I have destroyed my own health, but limited research keeps me from going off the drug. I'm addicted so it's hard, but I really want to get off of it.
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I am a RN and have been on adderall because of ADHD for almost 2 years now. I have never had any autoimmune problems before the Rx, and i'd like to comment I have been exhibiting symptoms of DM type 1, hypothyroidism, as well as a flurry of skin disorders (most commonly flushing which produces a small vestiular rash, excessive hair growth (i.e. lanugo) on my face, and chronic yeast related infections.) I have never been to this blog before but am very surprised to find out I think adderall DOES initiate an adverse response related to your endocrine system. I am educated enough to inform you the adderall effects the release of cortisol which produces a "fight or flight" response to the rest of your body. This CANNOT possibly be beneficial or therapeutic to ANYTHING in your body. I am glad I came across this site and will be following up with more information as well as answering any questions you may have concerning these issues. The internet has nothing to offer as far as evidenced based research with these CNS stimulants.
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I am glad I found this site too.   I was recently diagnosed with Psoriasis and have no family history of it I have found.   I can only attribute it to my long term Adderall use.   Some background, I am a 52 year old male who was diagnosed with ADD about 7 years ago after my wife heard a psychologist on the radio explaining when a husband doesn't listen to his wife he may have un-diagnosed ADD (what a quack).  Anyway, I went to a ADD counselor and he suggested I would benefit from a drug regimen since I tested high on the ADD scale (I later found out it was put together by the drug companies and probably 80% of the population could qualify on any certain day because of the highly subjective questions).  My doc and I tried Strattera, Wellbutrin and finally settled on Adderall.  It was great for a couple of years, mainly because I felt energized, attentive and active.  I have always been a pretty healthy guy up to this point, but for the first time in years going out for a workout or run didn't seem as much a chore.  

After a couple of years the benefits definitely were wearing thin and the side effects were definitely growing bothersome.  Skin infections and rashes developed and the dermatologists couldn't explain them other than dermatitis that shifted to different places on my body.  I had all types of intestinal problems including constipation, bloating and hemorroids.   My blood pressure had also risen significantly to a range of 80 to 95 over 140 to 160 and I had always had low pressure readings prior to this drug, usually around 60 to 70 over 100 to 120.  About this time is when I started doing some research on Adderall since none of my doctors seem to associate my increase in health problems to prolonged use of Adderall even though I always asked.  I quit cold turkey and after about 4 months of low motivation, a weight gain of close to 30lbs (I am 6'3 and have always been slender up to this point, but I quickly (about 6 weeks) went from about 190lbs to 220lbs).  I was so demotivated, tired and lazy it was definitely affecting my family, I have always been a small business, entrepreneur type and during that time my income dropped significantly and friends and family (who didn't know about my ADD and Adderall issues) were asking what had happened to me.  All of my digestion, skin and blood pressure problems cleared up during this sabbatical from Adderall, however the trade off was too much to pay.

After about 4 months of that I decided I had to do something to get going again, so asked my doctor to put me back on Adderall after we tried the other alternatives again.  My energy level rose and I got back in the game, however about 4 years later I have never got back to the level of productivity I had reached prior to my being diagnosed with ADD and going on Adderall.  My GP said she wanted to monitor me more closely and shortly after going back on Adderall my blood pressure has risen to a moderately high range.  My GP has wanted me to go on meds for the blood pressure, however I am reluctant to go on any more long term meds and so have managed to keep it within a reasonable level with exercise and supplements.  

I feel my life has suffered significantly since being diagnosed with ADD and my wife regrets having ever heard that radio psychologist selling books. Since then I have learned a lot about ADHD and stimulants prescribed for it.  To me it is a crime that doctors, drug companies and our government would support and encourage putting children on these drugs!  Sure people benefit from amphetamine use, but so does the general population as evidenced by the wide usage among college students.  Since I came out of the closet on my ADD and Adderall use, I have suggested to several parents including wives of MD's and even a pharmacologist who have asked about Adderall that before they put their kid on it they should try it for a few days, knowing that it has the same physical effect (although less due to weight and dosage) that it would have on their twelve year old.  

I am once again trying to wean myself off of Adderall (hopefully this time for good) through a combination of diet, supplements and exercise.  I long for the days when I was drug free and had the ADD characteristics that helped me launch 3 businesses, employ dozens of people and provide a good, even if sporadic income for my family.  Since the benefits of Adderall have worn off, I (and my wife) feel my ability to concentrate are less than before and I am tired on chronic conditions popping up of which Psoriasis being the latest and possibly the worst.  

The supplements I am taking include Sam-E, B12, St. Johns Wort, Fish Oil and a multi-vitamin.  If any else in my general age range has successfully weaned themselves from Adderall I would appreciate learning about your experience.  

Thanks for sticking with my long post assuming you made it this far.  Clint


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I think you might have it backwards.  I actually started feeling mentally unfocused and sluggish my junior year of college and started taking Adderall XR.  I also had some minor aches and pains but didn't connect the physical and mental symptoms.  Within a few years I had developed a full blown autoimmune disorder.  I think that it is one of those chicken and the egg questions.  I personally believe that what was mistakenly seen as undiagnosed ADD in myself was actually the start of my autoimmune disorder presenting myself.  I know on bad days when my physical symptoms are really awful it doesn't matter how much ADD meds I take I can not focus and my memory is terrible.  Just image, you body is under siege all day everyday, this is bound to take a told on your mental health also.  Anyway I'm not an expert, just another sick chick but I do have a Bachelors in Psychology and am working on my RN license.
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Adderall in itself will not give you diabetes but Adderall makes you lose your appetite until it wears off it's in this period that you really get screwed up if you foods high in carbs and sugars your body will quickly absorb the sugar then insulin dump this pattern if repeated for years on end could cause diabetes you have to make sure you eat while taking this drug and too eat healthy otherwise your endocrine system doesn't stand a chance
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I have had Psoriasis for six years and I know for sure Adderall and any other stimulant such as caffeine causes flare ups.  Also I have found foods with a high sugar content such as grapes will cause a flair.
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I agree and appreciate your medical expertise. I recently overcame a 9 month bout of uticarea! it is consuming and the itch makes you crazy. the treatment included Lexapro, antihistamines, doexepin, an antidepressant that offers anti itch qualities, and ranetidine, sp? , a antacid that acts as a stop to the pumping of the histamines through my body. BUT, the key is to reduce the STRESS in your life that was the trigger. The rash is under control..disappeared for now, and the itch on the back of my head is gone! I love learning from you that could be a dopamine imbalance. I see now how this could happen to ADD patients as well, but it is important for them to know it can happen to anyone. I have been to multiple DE's forbears with this issue and we are still figuring it out. Thank you med student for your blog! Helpful!!!!
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All comes back to MOLD exposier..chicken or egg comment is correct. If you do some research you will find mold/fungi is the driving factor for everything described in this post.
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