Prescription stimulant (ADHD medications) use is associated with earlier onset of psychosis

A childhood history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common in psychotic disorders, yet prescription stimulants may interact adversely with the physiology of these disorders.

In conclusion, individuals with psychotic disorders exposed to prescription stimulants had an earlier onset of psychosis, and this relationship did not appear to be mediated by IQ or cannabis.



I was diagnosed at 17 with ADD and given Tofranil for it. I had a terrible time with the drug during my senior year in high school even though some of my family thought I was doing wonderfully with it. My anxiety hit the roof, I stayed out of public situations, skipped the prom, wore the same pair of jeans everyday for months without washing them because I was afraid they would shrink, and really deserved to fail my senior year. My twin graduated in the top 10 and I was at the bottom of my class. When I went to another state to live with my father for several months while trying to put together a college effort he told me to go off the medicine and I threw it in the trash. He told me to ignore the rest of my family since they were hundreds of miles away. So I made it through a year of junior college and tried to make it in college. I continued to have a high amount of social anxiety but struggled to stay in college for several years changing my major often. When I was about to fail college my Mom had me put back on the Tofranil and then the warning signs I long had of prodomal schizophrenia became full blown psychosis. To be fair I had trouble in school before I was 17, schizophrenia runs in the family, and it was 1986 when I first took the tofranil when ADD was the flavor of the time for struggling students. Also in spite of heavy use of those drugs the percentage of schizophrenics remain the same. But what I thought a doctor say when I first admitted I had voices in my head sounded like what is said in this article and I later thought it was a hallucination. Evidently my senses weren’t deceiving me at that time. I probably would have had psychosis as it was but the ADD drug didn’t help matters. After reading this article I did what a responsible person should do in that case. I got over my anger by punching the dirt outside my Mother’s house where she was kind enough to let me visit today and didn’t give her or anyone else grief about it. The doctors who misdiagnosed me with ADD are either retired or dead and there’s no point in hurting others just because they were human and doing what they thought made sense at the time to try to help me. I also don’t remember if they knew about my schizophrenic Uncle and I didn’t know what the early signs of schizophrenia were and perhaps neither did they as they mimic ADD. I just hope it doesn’t happen to others.