ADHD meds & sensory stuff

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Quick post today to document something someone asked me about on Twitter. They asked ‘how do you find ADHD meds. Do they effect your sensory profile’.

The proper answer was longer than a few tweets so here’s a post about it.

Meds & pain

I’ll start with the more noticeable sensory stuff first. My ADHD meds have a distinct and measurable impact on my perception of chronic pain.

The nerve pain I experience from the CES injury changes texture when I am taking ADHD meds. It’s become one of the ways I can tell they are wearing off.

The texture it swaps too is less impactful. When I spoke to the doctor about it he confirmed this isn’t unusual. There’s a theory that it’s due to the ADHD meds interacting with the same neurotransmitters as nerve pain.


The second place where my sensory experiences change with meds is around touch.

With ADHD meds in my system some parts of my body are less sensitive to touch (for example my hands which go a little numb) and other parts become extremely sensitive (for example my lips).

It’s a mixed bag. The numb hands can be annoying but it can also make sensory seeking more fun. Often in the morning as my meds kick in I really enjoy touching different textures and sensory toys. Even my bedding or lions fur can be a fun texture to hold.

The lip sensitivity peaks as my meds are wearing off. It can make kissing and other grown up activity extremely fun. blush

Light & noise

Generally speaking I am less effected by light and noise when I have ADHD meds in my system. Especially when the meds are peaking 3-4 hours after I take them. That’s often the best time for me to go out or do anything loud.

As my energy levels fall off it can often go the other way. A high meds and low energy situation can make me very light and noise sensitive.

Finally when meds are wearing off at the end of the day they can sometimes make me extremely muddled, sensitive & impaired. It’s why I often ride out my meds crash with a warm bath in a quiet and dark bathroom.

Final thoughts

These experiences are just anecdote. They are not data and it’s far far from science. However i hope it’s useful to share. My sensory experience is not massively different when I am taking ADHD meds but it’s enough to be notable and sometimes it’s definitely a useful side effect.

It’s one of the factors I consider when I am setting up my day. By tweaking the timing of the meds around food etc I can nudge my sensory profile ti make my day a little easier.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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