ResilientCat

Here is my story long term user dexamphetamine

14 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

It is about time I started participating on here, as I’ve been stalking these forums for years! This community has given me so much hope and comfort that I am not alone.  I am so grateful to Mike for creating this amazing website, and I hope I can make a useful contribution that will help others as well as lean on you all for support when I need it.

 

So here is my story…

 

I am 34 years old and have been taking dexamphetamine for 12 years. It started in my last year of university. I had an eating disorder (bulimia) and saw a psychiatrist who specialized in this area. The first thing he did was prescribe dexamphetamine, which is apparently used as an ‘off-label’ treatment for eating disorders here in Australia. He also said I probably had ‘a touch of ADD’ (WTF?!?). I had taken dexies before as a party drug, so I was like yeeeah bring it on! Thinking I will just use it for a short time to get over the bulimia addiction and then have access to a party favor I could share with my friends.

 

Big mistake. Although my eating disorder was cured overnight, it was merely replaced with a different addiction… to stimulant meds. My dose was quickly increased to 10x 5mg pills per day (the max prescribed dosage is 12/day or 60mg for adults). I only took this much (or sometimes more) to party on the weekends, but on average I would say for about 8 years I was taking 8 pills per day (40 mg). (I think the conversion to Adderall is 10mg addie = 7.5mg dex) 

 

Over the past 4 years I have wanted to get off this horrible drug and started trying to take less. Although I tolerated it very well for most of that time, and it greatly helped my confidence, mood, motivation, productivity, just about everything! I realize it is unsustainable, and is holding me back from moving forward with my life. Eg maybe I want to get married, have kids, travel the world?? I can’t make plans because I don’t know who I will be when I’m not on this drug. And Im too busy going about my daily activities like a freaking robot!

 

In the last few years it has also become less effective, yet the side-effects are worse, especially the insomnia. So I also take regular sleep aids and this viscious cycle has to stop!

 

My first step was to confess everything to my boyfriend, who has been amazingly supportive. I had been living a lie for the first 18 months of our relationship, I thought he would be so disappointed in me, but he has been very understanding. That was about 9 months ago.

 

From there I started to cut down my dosage further – however found I stepped back up again. Finally I had a ‘break down’ moment a few months ago. The reality of my situation slapped me hard in the face... Full blown, rocking back and forth mental patient moment... Holy shit! I realized I have a big challenge ahead and I made the decision to be accountable and face up to it. I had been living in blissful denial for too long.  While I was aware I was taking pills to get through the day, I was able to shut that part of my mind off and just get on with it.

 

So for the past few months I started to get serious about tapering. Though I am doing it very slowly – reducing my dose by 5mg (1 pill) per month. So far I have been strong and stayed on track – 1st month 5 per day, 2nd month 4 per day. I’m now into my first week on 15mg / day (3 pills per day).

 

I’ve had really bad anxiety, which has made my sleeping issues worse. But for the most part, I am functioning well on the lower dose. Makes me realize I was on way too high a dose before!

 

Of course, this is nothing compared to completely quitting. I know that lies ahead. I have just started seeing a psychologist who is doing a brain rewiring program with me, and hopefully this helps (will tell you all about it in another post!)

 

I’m also having 1 – 2 coffees per day since tapering my dose, this helps with work. And I take magnesium twice daily – this helps my bowels, which have also slowed right down since reducing my dose.

 

I’ve practically stopped socializing altogether lately too. I find if I make plans, I get so anxious about not being my excited bubbly happy self (ie highly medicated) I completely freak out and panic. Then I have to let people down. I’m content with being a hermit for a while – work, eat, couch, sleep. Luckily my partner enjoys a good couch-fest too! And I’m already enjoying down time with family more than I used to when I was too wired.

 

I’m still smoking cigarettes (one demon at a time!), which I want to quit eventually… and I also smoke weed most nights too, which I really enjoy, but will give that up too if its making me too foggy during the day.

 

Phewwww!! So there is my story. Sorry it is so long!! I look forward to sharing my journey with you. I hope this will relate to others in Aus as there is not much info out there on dex addiction. And it is prescribed like freaking paracetamol over here.

 

Thank you all SO MUCH for your support and giving me HOPE J

 

PS I chose my name as I want to be RESILIENT (and need to be!) and I also dream of being a CAT so I can sleep 18 hours a day! 

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You may be the 1st Australian member we have ever had.  Welcome to the board. We are all here to support and be supported.  Getting off stims of any kind is very difficult as you know. Dexedrine, Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall etc are very similar as I understand it, and prescribed as ADHD stimulants and the recovery process is exactly same.  Sleeping like a cat for 18 hours a day is pretty accurate description of my 1st few months off adderall etc. 

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Thanks ZK! It's funny I feel like I know you as I've read so many of your posts. Yeah dexamphetamine is called Dexedrine in the U.S. but it's all the same stimulating shit! Happy to represent the Aussies :) and hopefully become poster girl for the weaning method!! Might have to take a few weeks off work so I can sleep sleep sleeeeeep when I get down to zero... Eeek!

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Be ready with your coping strategies...weight gain is hard for all of us, but particularly difficult if you have a history of an eating disorder.  You will gain weight, but don't beat yourself up.  Once you recover a while and get some motivation back, it comes off.  You can do this!  I am impressed at your ability to taper, and can't wait to see your "I QUIT today" post. 

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That's awesome that you joined the forum!  I'm really happy to hear that you have a supportive partner as that will make all the difference in the world!

 


I had taken dexies before as a party drug, so I was like yeeeah bring it on! Thinking I will just use it for a short time to get over the bulimia addiction and then have access to a party favor I could share with my friends.

 

I remember when I first met a guy through a friend who basically told me he had enough extras to supply me with 300mg a month (and he sold them almost as cheap as the pharmacy did to him).  I thought the exact same thing as you.  I figured all my problems were now officially over.  Oh man... if I had only known.

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Oh and I agree it is very important, as a cat, to get at least 18 hours of sleep per day.  You need to be well rested in order to work on plots of world (or at least household) domination while awake.

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Thanks so much for your replies guys! Really appreciate it.

Always Awesome - i know you are right and that could be a tough one for me... And I work as a dietitian so that's a bit of added pressure! I've always actually had a good appetite on the meds and I eat healthy but I know I will also be less active for a while... Guess this is something I will have to come to terms with... Luckily the majority of patients I work with are elderly and have poor eyesight! ðŸ˜

Grumpycat - I know what you mean... I remember thinking I was the luckiest person in the world... Everything in life suddenly became more fun and easy! If only I'd known what a beast I was dealing with. Deep down I think I knew it was a bad idea, but I've never been good at valuing long term consequences over instant gratification!

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I am right there with you. Congrats. For many years, I too had an eating disorder. I got over it pretty much years ago, but this winter when I got into a bad bout of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I was hungry all the time, even with my Adderall useage. When spring and summer hit and it got lighter out, all of the sudden my appetite dwindled to near nothing, as it did the last time I was on it for three years.

 

I think the last time I quit, I gained roughly around five pounds. But in all truth, I kind of needed it and looked a lot healthier for it. I see pictures of myself when on Adderall and I looked good, but a bit thin. People would tell me I looked a bit thing. My skin didn't look as healthy either - kind of pale with dark circles under my eyes. Then I saw a photo of myself almost 8 months after getting off Adderall, I looked totally healthy and glowing, like I had never used it at all.

 

Since starting it again this January, I still look okay but I have some dark circles under my eyes.

 

As for food, I will try and eat smaller amounts and not too many carbs with a high glycemic load and keep exercising.

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Hi Cat,

Thanks for your reply. I just read your other recent posts and congrats on quitting! All power to you!! Can't wait til I can say those words, although it is a scary thought after so many years... You are an inspiration to me!

I look forward to having nicer skin and hair and the healthy glow you described :) I'm sure after only 6 months back on it will come more quickly for you this time!

With food I think going easy on carbs is the key, filling up on lots of protein and veggies. The article on nutrition on this site is spot on. And I don't want to obsess over food so if that means gaining some weight then so be it! I know exercise will also be a major factor for me and so far finding it hard during the weaning stages to get motivated. I am so lazy and still on stimulants!

I did find a good video on YouTube - 30 days of yoga with Adrienne. She is awesome and funny and the sessions are only 15-30 min which I can motivate myself to actually do. Only up to day 7 and that's taken me over 2 weeks... But I can feel the difference! And I guess you gotta start somewhere!

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How are you feeling? Are you feeling tired or sort of slowed down? I agree that coffee helps. I was so out of it today just even tapering. I had an afternoon cup of coffee and that helped.

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Hi Cat, good to hear from you!

Yep I'm feeling very slowed down def my hardest week yet... I'm way less productive at work already which is scary! And today I had quite a few word mix ups, like I said "just wait in the dining room" instead of the "waiting room"... This is new and scared me and I actually made myself go for a walk after work to help my brain repair itself! Felt like a piece of jelly but I did it and feel better now.

And a tired feeling like my vision is hazy... Coffee def helps thank god!! But I am having trouble sleeping with anxiety from the fear of what's to come so can't have it in the afternoon at this stage. Once I cut my after lunch dose I should be able to I hope!

How are you going with tapering? My plan is still to do it really slowly so I can adjust to it as I've been on the meds for over a third of my life!! Stay in touch :) we can do it!!

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I can relate! I've stopped heavy adderall use for 15 years and smoking all in the same month. I don't crave cigarettes without adderall though, so that's been easy at least. Congrats to you! It's hard as hell, but we're better off.

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Welcome and thanks for sharing with us!

Now, I know what it is you're going through.

The only option it is that I have for you is to take some adrafanil!

It's like adderall, but better.

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