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Cassie

Recognizing Adderall addiction

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I found this article on Forbes about 'managing the risks of taking adderall' and I really identified with the points he makes about addiction signs. I thought this might help readers know if they or someone they know is addicted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2013/12/06/managing-the-risks-of-taking-adderall-to-enhance-work-performance/

 

It's written by a psychologist who sees a lot of high achieving 20 and 30 somethings taking Adderall for cognitive enhancement. Just telling them 'no, don't use it' doesn't work, so he put together tips for recognizing/avoiding addiction and recognizing downsides of Adderall, Some points from the article (my comments in bold). 

 

Protect your weekend
Using on weekends is a sign you are moving from performance-enhancement into addiction. No social event is ever important enough to require cognitive enhancing stimulant medication. If you’re taking Adderall to make it to brunch on time, well, you’ve got a problem.
True dat. When I got my own prescription and starting taking every day (like it says on the bottle), that's when the addiction grew. I couldn't go weekends without it. I needed Adderall to see movies, read books, go to Target, etc.

 

Protect choice
Adderall for enhancement should always feel like a choice, not a need. One should avoid the territory Petrow from The Atlantic apparently straddles of seeing Adderall as need and not choice. Once it feels like need it is time—past time actually—to throttle back.
Absolutely true. I took pills recreationally for two years before I got a prescription. Because it wasn't medically justified, it felt like a fun choice, not a necessity. 

 

Trust someone.
Bad judgement and denial are hallmarks of addiction. You will not always know you have a problem. In fact, you probably will not know it. Until it is too late. So, trust someone—someone who does not brain-dope—with the complete story of your use.
I wish I had done this earlier, before I was a full blown addict. 

 

Your body will rebel
Like anyone taking amphetamines, you are going to have trouble sleeping. Lots of college students take the edge off with drinking and pot smoking. With people launched in careers I see lots of sleep meds and anti-anxiety medications. The pattern is Adderall in the morning, Klonopin at night. This doubles the addictive dangers so be very, very careful. Make sure you give yourself time to recover and sleep.
Luckily I never went down the downer path, although I did drink at night to come down. 

 

Creativity takes a hit
The very same convergent, focussed attention sought from Adderall—the kind that lets someone grind out yet another stellar legal brief or grant application or financial analysis—also undermines creativity. And sometimes creative, divergent thinking is required for optimal performance. While Adderall might make you a more efficient solver of familiar problems, it will interfere with finding creative solutions and new discoveries.
I did not do anything creative on Adderall. I was simply a work drone, great at doing repetitive, boring tasks at lightening speed. 

 

Self-confidence gets undermined
Confidence comes from success. “I did that!” Having accomplishment fuel self-confidence is crucial, especially when a business or professional identity is forming. But I’ve repeatedly seen successful people who start out with an Adderall assist not develop a level of self-confidence commensurate with their achievement. For too many, it’s the drug that did it. Not them. The short-term gain Adderall provides becomes a long-term problem.
My self confidence still feels undermined, years off the pills. This is a hard one to get over.

 

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The bottom line is that f you choose to use Adderall to boost your career (or school or home for that matter) you also assume significant risk management responsibility. 
Now, why the fuck do doctors never mention this?

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