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  • Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

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    Old 07-11-2010, 11:50 PM   #1
    TryAgain121
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    Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    I'm curious, as I have been pretty much been diagnosed with ADD, can stimulants increase intelligence, or scores on IQ tests? I've never taken an official one, so I'm not looking to redeem myself, but I do want to take one soon to see what my (general) academic potential is. Problem is, I can just tell I wouldn't perform well due to stress level, distractability, short-term memory problems, etc. I have heard that if someone truly has ADD/ADHD, then it is possible for stimulants to improve iq test scores/general functioning.

    To clear things up, both my psychologist and psychiatrist thought I had ADD and was intelligent, and were bascically pushing for me to get on meds. Right now I just feel ineffectual, and I need to know if I can improve my functioning. Thanks in advance for the replies.

     
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    Old 07-12-2010, 05:24 AM   #2
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Stimulants will often increase your scores on the IQ test by increasing your 'performance IQ,' which basically measures how quickly your brain works. They will not increase intelligence per se, but the IQ test isn't really a measure of intelligence anyway.

    If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, then treatment with medication is virtually always an important part of your overall recovery. The stimulants will improve focus and short term memory, making the academic environment less stressful from that perspective.

    Be careful of leaning too hard on the IQ test as a measure of overall intellect, it was never intended for that purpose, and you may be limiting yourself unnecessarily if you avoid learning due to a low IQ score. If you do take the IQ test, look more at your 'IQ verbal' score than your overall score, as that is the portion that should be less effected by your ADHD.

     
    Old 07-12-2010, 12:04 PM   #3
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Yeah, I meant if they would increase the performance IQ, as ADD can often hide intelligence. Also, IQ tests are supposed to measure roughly someone's academic potential, and while IQ can change somewhat, it will give me an idea of much I should increase my mental aptitude.

    Both shrinks thought I had above average intelligence. I don't know if that is the case, honestly. I feel below average currently.

     
    Old 07-15-2010, 09:37 PM   #4
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    I had an appointment with my psych today, my low self-esteem must be infectious. When I asked him about taking an IQ test, he commented "you would most likely score above average, or high average." I mean I guess I knew I was no genius, it just hit home a little harder. I mean officially I haven't taken it, but I don't really see me surprising him on the test (not in the good way at least).

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 07:46 AM   #5
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    The IQ test was never meant to be what so many people use it as--a measure of your mental capabilities. The overall sum score doesn't really mean that much.

    The SUBSCORES on the other hand, those are very useful. By knowing which of your subscores are highest and which are lowest, you can learn your strengths and weaknesses and possibly diagnose learning disabilities and ADD.

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 09:11 AM   #6
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Yeah, true. I am going to ask him though why he put "a cap" on my intelligence, without actually testing me. I have really low energy levels, I can't think straight most of the time.

    In my creative writing class, I was referred to as the "silent genius" but I didn't care enough in school to make an effort, and look what happened.

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 09:50 AM   #7
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TryAgain121 View Post
    I'm curious, as I have been pretty much been diagnosed with ADD, can stimulants increase intelligence, or scores on IQ tests? I've never taken an official one, so I'm not looking to redeem myself, but I do want to take one soon to see what my (general) academic potential is. Problem is, I can just tell I wouldn't perform well due to stress level, distractability, short-term memory problems, etc. I have heard that if someone truly has ADD/ADHD, then it is possible for stimulants to improve iq test scores/general functioning.

    To clear things up, both my psychologist and psychiatrist thought I had ADD and was intelligent, and were bascically pushing for me to get on meds. Right now I just feel ineffectual, and I need to know if I can improve my functioning. Thanks in advance for the replies.
    I'm an adult with ADD and have taken Adderall for at least 10 years. What the medication does is help with staying on task, decrease impulsivity, etc. IQ scores are not static--meaning that you can get a different score each time you're tested based on who is testing, testing conditions, which type of IQ test is utilized, etc. Without the medication, my work performance suffers--particularly in the area of procrastination/completing tasks in a timely manner. Look up the diagnostic criteria as stated by DSM IV (manual for psych diagnoses) and you can pretty much see if you meet criteria. Having said all that, the answer to your question is NO, stimulants do not increase intelligence. Good luck.

    Last edited by tired56; 07-16-2010 at 09:55 AM. Reason: add more information

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #8
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    My psychiatrist (not the same one as in my last post) said that ADD can have a significant impact on short-term memory, which is utilized on IQ tests (poor choice of words, sorry, am exhausted). He also said that stimulants can help improve that, I mean I know they can't increase intelligence, but they can help display it, if someone has a disorder.

     
    Old 07-16-2010, 10:41 AM   #9
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Yes, I believe I have heard that when someone with real ADD and IQ subscore gaps takes the proper dose of stimulants, the performance IQ can raise substantially.

     
    Old 07-17-2010, 04:01 AM   #10
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Stimulants can unleash potential that is being kept static by moderate to severe ADHD. Our performance gains looks like the difference between dial up and high speed boardband. A 4.2 Ghz CPU sitting there waiting for data looks as clunky as the 4.2 Mhz XT of by-gone decades vintage. Remove the bottleneck? The clunker turns into a super computer.

    Get it?
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    Bob

    Last edited by addprogrammer; 07-17-2010 at 04:02 AM.

     
    Old 07-18-2010, 12:37 AM   #11
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Yeah, I get it. I just wonder if others will as well, like my psych. My other doc said I described to him many of the symptoms.

    I remember my math teacher said I was "very intelligent." A lot of the time I feel the exact opposite and really I think most people get the wrong impression of me, even my psych.

    Last edited by TryAgain121; 07-18-2010 at 01:31 PM.

     
    Old 07-22-2010, 07:38 PM   #12
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    TryAgain121,

    Your shrink said that ADD can have a significant impact on short-term memory, which is utilized on IQ tests. He also said that stimulants can help improve that [short term memory]. I'll give your boy the benefit of the doubt. He was generalizing.

    For you to get control of your ADHD you need a more in depth understanding of memory abstractions.

    My short term memory is above average without the help of stimulants. Stimulants do nothing to improve my short term memory. I am not unique. Most of us with moderate to severe ADHD return normal short term memory IQ test scores.

    "Working memory" is where we come up badly deficient. Tested short term memory functions put little load on the executive functions operating in "working memory."

    What is "working memory?" On your computer, it is a block of RAM being used to temporarily store running programs currently being crunched by the CPU. My computer is currently using about 375 megabytes of RAM for working memory. Firefox, currently top working memory consumer, is using 92 megs. One of my Notepad instances is using a paltry 4 megs. Current short term memory IQ tests put comparably less load on our brain's executive functions working memory than Notepad is putting on my computer's.

    Working memory is all about information processing not static recall. Here is a clip out of one of my previous posts.

    Central Executive performs attention functions on the various "file types" loaded into working memory.
    * binding information from a number of sources into coherent episodes
    * shifting between tasks or retrieval strategies
    * selective attention and inhibition

    Good news. Researchers are developing tests that should return an accurate indicator of how well working memory is functioning. At the very least, the newer tests are far superior to the short term memory tests in current use.

    Do some research. Ferret out the newest working memory tests. Make sure you are tested with one of the new and improved and not the short term memory tests in current use. They are of no value in detecting what ails us.

    I'm slightly above average on short term memory. And I'm ADHD as can be. Severe. I blew out the bottom of the TOVA scale. The scale is without a number low enough to define how severe my ADHD is. I'm almost proud of it.

    Bob

     
    Old 07-24-2010, 11:57 PM   #13
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    If you'll humor me, I'm fatigued so if this makes little sense I apologize, and I'll keep this purposely vague to avoid errors (as detail recall is hard for me atm).

    All I know is this, both my short-term memory/working memory seem to be atrocious. For example, I went to the movie theatre about a month ago, and while I was watching the movie, I had a difficult time correctly placing the names with the characters, as I would forget. Of course, social situations cause me anxiety, and that also impairs cognition.

    My long-term memory is much better, as for instance, if I watch a TV show over a period of time, I remember the names of the characters usually with ease. But then, even that is a mixed bag as I will incorrectly place events in the wrong sequence sometimes.

    Anyway, I have noticed that I am quite tired most days, and I think this has a severe impact on my overall memory. The source of the tiredness is unknown.

     
    Old 07-25-2010, 10:07 AM   #14
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    TryAgain121,

    ADHD is overloading you so badly that your entire mental operating system is crashing.

    You need medical intervention immediately. Most likely Adderall titrated up to a relatively high dose will put up back on-line. Then you can start diagnostic tests that will target the specific problem areas.

    Bob

     
    Old 07-25-2010, 01:42 PM   #15
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    Re: Can stimulants increase intelligence, if someone has ADD?

    Thanks for the response, addprogrammer. It's either ADD/ADHD, or severe anxiety, or the combined effects of both.

    Thing is, I was on adderall before, 10mg to start and that gave me a more "focused" feeling but I was a bit depressed because of the anxiety, so it didn't really help my academic performance that much. But when the doc increased it to 30mg a day (15mg spread out), I had hyper-anxiety, like I was paranoid. I've heard stimulants can release dormant mental psychoses, but I'm not sure why I reacted that way. I didn't really monitor my mental acuity while I was on this drug.

    I'm hoping this time around I'll have a different experience with the Adderall, or maybe I should try a non-stimulant like Intuniv? I have an appointment with my psych on the 13th of Aug, so hopefully it will be resolved then.

     
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