Is It Really ADHD?

So, when you start looking at the numbers of Adderall prescriptions rising over the years, it starts to blow your mind…

  • 2005: 9 Million
  • 2012: 16 Million
  • 2022: 41.4 Million

During my chronic fatigue and brain fog years, I was prescribed Adderall. And in all honesty, I was open to it because I was STRUGGLING.

During my chronic fatigue and brain fog years, I was prescribed Adderall. And in all honesty, I was open to it because I was STRUGGLING.

At the time, I had no idea what else to do to address these issues and half of my friends were on Adderall too. So I figured, “What do I have to lose? I’m already struggling.”

My psychiatrist who initially prescribed it to me simply did so based off of my symptoms. She told me it could help “regulate my sleep/wake cycle” (as I was struggling with relentless fatigue) and said it could “help with my energy”, so she wrote me a script…

When my general practitioner eventually took over care, in order for her to do her official evaluation involving the continued use of this medication, she had me fill out an ADHD assessment (two pages) to make her official “diagnosis” and off I went with a script.

Again, I didn’t have an issue with it at the time because I didn’t know any other alternative. But as I was witnessing the prescription process in multiple practices, I couldn’t help but think, “This system is really broken. Someone could walk into an office and just know EXACTLY what to say, EXACTLY how to answer these simple questions on this questionnaire and be given a script for amphetamine salts.” (By the way, I know numerous people who were successful at doing that BECAUSE that’s how broken the system is, especially regarding this type of medication).

While that “neurological bandaid” was helpful at the time, I found out down the road that I was ultimately dealing with deeper rooted health issues like…

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction (my cellular batteries were totally shot)
  • Impaired gut and brain function (Ever hear of the gut-brain connection? For example, an estimated 95% of your serotonin, a feel good hormone, is made in your gut!)
  • Shift in neurotransmitter production from toxin overload (from mold, breast implants, environmental toxins, etc). Did you know that many toxins can cross the blood-brain barrier and have a direct effect on your neurological function? They can also impair your mitochondria, liver, kidneys, colon, etc. When those things don’t function well, neither do you.
  • Lyme disease – greatly affects the brain
  • Unresolved parasitic infections – yup, parasites can get into the brain. They can even be correlated with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and seizures
  • Dysregulated nervous system – I was constantly in a sympathetic, fight or flight state with my brain burning out my body, and Adderall was NOT helping the matter
  • The list can go on and on!

The side effects of Adderall heightened my irritability, contributed to cold hands and feet, increased my heart rate, and it wasn’t doing my nervous system any good to be THAT stimulated. My body was never in rest mode because I was taking two medications (Adderall XR and Adderall IR that were DESIGNED to stimulate me). Talk about fighting an uphill battle. My fatigue was actually worse in the long run. I knew this wasn’t my end-all-be-all solution.

***TO BE CLEAR, I’m not claiming that all ADHD diagnoses are invalid and I’m not judging any individual who chooses to be on an ADHD medication. I was on it for 8 years. I’m sharing these statistics and my personal experience to shine a light on the fact that our medical system jumps straight to ADHD diagnosis when there’s often much more at play. Then we get stuck taking a Big Pharma Band-aid, staying part of the broken sickcare system without ever getting to the roots of the symptoms. Before we know it, these same root causes start to manifest as other symptoms over time. Then we often take ANOTHER prescription for THOSE symptoms. And the cycle continues.

I don’t believe that this huge increase in prescriptions over the years is simply due to “more people having ADHD”. It’s a broke system that overlooks root causes, gives someone a diagnosis so they can easily fit them into a box, give them a prescription, and be on their way.

ADHD diagnoses didn’t just “increase” by 5x in the last 20 years, but these factors surely play in a role in the increases prescriptions written:

  • Many medical providers do not focus on ROOT CAUSE variables that can affect brain function and neurotransmitter balance like mold, heavy metals, environmental toxins, parasites, Lyme, etc. So they hear symptoms that are correlated with ADHD and jump to writing a prescription
  • Burnout culture is embraced, celebrated, and even forced up workers whose bodies and brains can’t keep up. We give into the pressure and may resort to taking things that we know aren’t the true solution if we’re not careful
  • Information, conversations, entertainment, etc. are at our fingertips at any moment. We’re constantly being overstimulated. And instead of looking at that blatant truth, we label it all as ADHD.

For me, I slowly titrated down off of one Adderall prescription, then another. IT TOOK TIME. I had to address many different root causes along the way and extend patience and grace to myself time after time. But I am now completely off of my Adderall and I know my body is so grateful.

For people like me who want to get to the deeper root causes that are contributing to their ADHD-like “symptoms” or consider things that are very likely creating a compound effect with their neurodivergent brain, and they strive to either need less of their medication or no medication at all to feel like they’re functioning at their best, I’m here to support you.

If you’re like me, you want to accelerate the healing process, and are looking to take a bio-individualized approach to begin to identify and address YOUR deeper root causes / compounding variables, we can take the first step in linking arms as practitioner and client by starting with my Healing Accelerator Bundle.

Here’s to healing,

Allyssa LaScala, IHP

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