Fibromyalgia and ADHD Drugs

Traditional medicine advocates the use of stimulant medications for the treatment of ADHD. These medications, which include Adderall, Strattera, Vyvanse, and Ritalin, are also known as amphetamines. These stimulating medications are also often recommended to help those with fibromyalgia have more energy. And while these drugs do in fact increase a person’s energy, they are a disaster for most folks long term, especially those with fibromyalgia and or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME).

The increased rate of usage of ADHD drugs is alarming.

Spending on ADHD drugs soared from $759 million in 2000 to $7.2 billion in 2011, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical information and consulting firm. The United States uses approximately 90% of the world’s Ritalin. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an agency of the World Health Organization, deplored that “10 to 12 percent of all boys between the ages 6 and 14 in the United States have been diagnosed as having ADD and are being treated with Ritalin.” With 53 million children enrolled in school, probably more than 5 million are now taking stimulant drugs. The number of children on these drugs has continued to escalate. A recent study in Virginia indicated that up to 20% of white boys in the fifth grade were receiving stimulant drugs.

While stimulant drugs may be effective at alleviating core ADHD symptoms and the fatigue associated with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME it comes at a price.

The potential side effects are numerous and sobering:

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart beat)
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chest pain
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Mania, psychosis, hallucinations
  • Agitation, anxiety, nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, hostility, aggression
  • Depression, emotional sensitivity, easy crying, social withdrawal
  • Drowsiness, “dopey,” reduced alertness
  • Confusion, mental impairment (cognition and learning)
  • Zombie-like (robotic) behavior with loss of emotional spontaneity
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Convulsions
  • Dyskinesia, tics, Tourette’s
  • Nervous habits (e.g. picking at skin, pulling hair)
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea, vomiting, bad taste, dry mouth
  • Stomachache, cramps
  • Constipation, diarrhea,
  • Abnormal liver function tests
  • Pituitary dysfunction, including growth hormone and prolactin disruption
  • Weight loss
  • Growth suppression
  • Disturbed sexual function
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hypersensitivity reaction with rash, conjunctivitis, or hives

Amphetamines are chemically similar to cocaine. Both cause similar reactions in the brain. If we were to give cocaine to hyperactive children, instead of Ritalin, we’d most likely get similar results. Yet doing so would be criminal.

“We have become the only country in the world where children are prescribed such a vast quantity of stimulants that share virtually the same properties as cocaine.” – Gene R. Haislip, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

What happens when you take stimulant drugs.

You need to know that taking stimulant drugs to boost your energy will only cause your stress coping glands, the adrenals to become weaker. Whipping the exhausted horse harder and harder isn’t the answer-eventually your fatigued adrenals, like the exhausted horse will give out, no matter how hard you try to stimulant them.

What to do instead of taking ADHD drugs for fibro symptoms.

As always I recommend treating the cause(s) not the symptoms. Treating symptoms, in this case fatigue, rarely leads to long-term success. Instead it almost always leads to additional symptoms and poor health.


Instead of treating the symptoms, fatigue, I suggest you treat the cause(s): poor sleep, wrong or too many drugs (Lyrica, Neurontin, Beta blockers, statin drugs, Ativan, Xanax, etc.), and adrenal fatigue syndrome.

Addressing adrenal fatigue as a root cause of fatigue symptoms.

Adrenal fatigue is known to cause:

  • fatigue
  • muscle or joint pain
  • decreased mental acuity/”fibro fog”
  • low blood sugar
  • low blood pressure
  • neural mediated hypotension (become dizzy when stand up)
  • low body temperature (a sign of low thyroid function
  • decreased metabolism/weight gain/fatigue
  • a compromised immune system
  • decreased sense of well-being (depression)
  • hyperpigmentation (excess skin color changes)
  • loss of scalp hair
  • excess facial or body hair
  • vitiligo (changes in skin color)
  • auricular calcification (little calcium deposits in the ear lobe)
  • GI disturbances
  • abdominal pain
  • crave salty foods 

I always test my patients for adrenal fatigue and find that 99% of my fibromyalgia and CFS/ME patients are deficient in adrenal stress coping hormones, cortisol and DHEA. A big part of my Get Healthy Programs is restoring deep restorative sleep, building up stress coping chemicals (so you have more stamina and resistance to stress and flares) and repairing the stress coping glands the adrenal glands. 

Once I uncover the extent of someone’s adrenal fatigue, I’ll then place them on the appropriate adrenal cortex and DHEA supplements. I go into specific step-by-step detail on how to repair adrenal fatigue in the bonus 2 CD and webinar that is included in my Fibromyalgia and Deep Restorative Sleep Program.

If you’re interested in correcting the cause of your chronic fatigue, my Fibromyalgia and Sleep program can help. This program goes into step-by-step details of what to take and what not to take for re-establishing consistent deep restorative sleep.

This is the key for reversing your symptoms of fatigue, fibro fog, and adrenal fatigue.

The role of DHEA in your fibro-related fatigue, and what causes it to drop.

DHEA is notoriously low in FMS and CFS patients. Chronic stress initially causes the adrenals to release extra cortisol. Continuous stress raises cortisol to abnormally high levels. Then the adrenal glands get to where they can’t keep up with the demand for more cortisol. As the cortisol levels continue to become depleted from ongoing stress, the body attempts to counter this by releasing more DHEA. Eventually they can’t produce enough cortisol or DHEA. Aging makes holding on to DHEA even tougher. Even in healthy individuals, DHEA levels begin to drop after the age of 30. By age 70, they are at about 20% of their peak levels.

Why is DHEA important?

DHEA helps prevent the destruction of tryptophan or 5HTP, which increases the production of serotonin. This is a key brain hormone for those with fibromyalgia as low levels of serotonin are associated with more pain, poor sleep, “fibro fog,” anxiety, and depression.

Studies continue to show low DHEA to be a biological indicator of stress, aging, and age-related diseases including neurosis, depression, peptic ulcer, IBS, and others.

A decrease in DHEA levels correlates with the general decline of cell-mediated immunity and increased incidence of cancer. DHEA protects the thymus gland, a major player in immune function. Low levels of DHEA lead to a suppressed immune function.

I recommend you speak with your functional medicine practitioner and ask him or her to order a four sample, cortisol and DHEA test. This saliva test will show how much adrenal cortex and or DHEA to take and when. You can also have your doctor do a DHEA-s blood test. Optimal range for DHEA in females is 300-400 and for men 450-550. If you’ve got a concern or a family history of breast cancer, use 7 keto DHEA instead. This special form of DHEA doesn’t convert into estrogen, progesterone or testosterone.

Feel Good Again!

If you are ready to feel good again then stop letting doctors treat symptoms instead of cause(s). After 18 years of specializing in treating fibromyalgia I can assure you that the number one most important thing you can do is this –

Fibromyalgia and Deep Restorative Sleep Program

Fibromyalgia and Deep Restorative Sleep Program

14 replies
  1. tanya
    tanya says:

    have been able to eliminate every drug but Adderall! CAN NOT function without it! cannot stay awake. cannot get out of bed if I AM awake. cannot accomplish anything. being without it creates the most debilitating fatigue I have ever felt in my life. my body is so addicted to this crap that it absolutely WILL NOT function without it! how on earth do I get off of this poison? I am literally worthless if I don’t take my pill! and becoming worthless even with it now – have gotten to the point it doesn’t even work like it used to. just keeps me awake, that’s about it.
    I hope someone else out there will benefit from my embarrassing honesty

  2. Frances Alfonso
    Frances Alfonso says:

    I started taking a low dose of Seroquel 2 months ago and it changed my life, my mornings were a nightmare with a pain level at 100 out of 100. Seroquel used off label for people with Fibro makes you have REM sleep no sleeping pill can promise that and since I was diagnosed in 2008 i have had them all.Today when I wake up in the morning I am blessed and my pain level went from 100% to 20% out of 100%. I recommend it highly of course I’d rather be on no medication but after spending 3 years in my bed I am after quality of life not quantity

  3. Julie Rogers
    Julie Rogers says:

    I have been diagnosed with Fibro, CFS,IBS, ICC (Intercystal Cystitis), Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Deteriorating Disc Disease, treated for TMJ, had Shingles twice within 2 years and am 52 years old. My fibro diagnosis was determined approximately 18 years ago and have lived with depression all my life. I have just accepted my life will continue this way for good, no cure, just treatment. I have also been diagnosed with chronic sleep disorder but could not adjust to a C-pap machine. Have had my thyroid check several times which doctors claim is normal & also my adrenal glands have been tested with the same results, normal. I can’t afford medicine or insurance anymore, have been turned down for disability & SSI 3 times now and am at the end of my rope for which path to choose next. I am a person that searches for answers until I find something that helps. I take lots of supplements & natural pain relievers. What do you suggest & please do not give a sales pitch, I’m so use to it that I don’t believe anymore. Your response would greatly be appreciated.
    Julie Rogers

  4. Lynn Sandvigen
    Lynn Sandvigen says:

    I cannot seem to get my doctors to understand why I am so fatigued. I really need help!! Please send me any info you have in regards to fibromyalgia and fatigue.

    • Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team
      Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team says:

      Lynn, you should take a look at my Fibromyalgia and Sleep Program. I go in great detail on reports, audio, video, and a bonus copy of my eBook, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is all included in my program, and it’s all available online. No waiting for shipping. You can find more information on the program at: Fibromyalgia and Sleep Program

  5. Belinda
    Belinda says:

    Tanya***** I was in the same spot you are! I no longer take the Aderall, but i pretty much feel worthless. I have no energy to function what so ever. You aren’t alone.

  6. Sonnie
    Sonnie says:

    I understand the adderall. I can’t begin to get going in the morning without it. I just stopped all my antidepressants 3weeks ago and now my dr has proscribed Fetzima. I have not decided if I am going to take it or not. It seems the only thing that gives me about 3 good hours a day is the adderall. How do I give the only thing that helps just a little up???

    • Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team
      Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team says:

      By changing your thinking from treating symptoms to treating causes. What is causing your the physical and mental fatigue? No one has an Fetzima deficiency. Do you need to focus on getting improved deep sleep, correcting adrenal fatigue, low thyroid, low brain neurotransmitters…?


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