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Serena333

Taking adderall for pre existing depression?

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I was diagnosed with depression long before I started Adderall. After trying several types of antidepressants my doctor told me about using Adderall with an antidepressant. He told me the only other option for me was "shock therapy" (no thank you)

So I started taking Adderall 10 years ago but after two years I found it wasn't working at the prescribed dose, so I increased it myself. Starting the nightmare cycle of addiction. I'm afraid to stay on it and afraid stop it. I know most everyone goes through depression initially. But I don't know if I can deal with it if it is permanent.

Can anyone relate to this? Words of advise? Thank you

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I have personally witnessed many people recover from hopeless states of mind and body. But it came as a result of having a spiritual experience. And that doesn't mean having some white light experience with Angels and rainbows. It just means having a personality change sufficient enough to bring about recovery. The only way I've seen people have this type of experience, and also had it myself, was through the Twelve Steps. They seem religious, but I assure you, they're just a set of spiritual principles to live by that yield a miraculous change. I would give it a try.

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Serena, as someone living with horrible severe clinical depression that feels totally hopeless, depression that's only partly related to quitting adderall, I can only try to empathize with what you're going through.  I'm so, so sorry you're going through this.  

 

I've had depression since I was a teenager.  And my feelings of hopelessness and lack of self-confidence are what first led me to self-medicate with adderall.  And what led me to continue self-medicating with it.  I never had a real prescription.  I prescribed it to myself.  And I did so out of depression and anxiety, in hindsight.  I thought I wasn't smart enough to function without it.  Classic feelings of self-doubt and hopelessness that go with depression.  So I think I can relate to you on some level.   The main difference is that there was no dr. posing a crazy ultimatum on me. 

 

What your dr. told you is not just wrong and horrifying, its also totally unethical.  S/he told you your only two options are adderall or electro-shock therapy???   I know you already know this, but:

 

1.  Since when is electro shock therapy even still considered a viable option??  The pain and brain damage it causes are now considered to outweigh any "benefits".... right?  I didn't know this was still even an option, except maybe among convicted serial killers...... 

 

2.  Anytime a doctor tells you that you have only two options, that's a lie.   You ALWAYS have at least a third option: to do nothing.  And a fourth option: see another dr.  Get another opinion.  Or see a naturopath.  

 

Not to get too intense, but even if a doctor says, "your only option is radiation therapy," you still have the option to refuse radiation and die. 

 

It sounds like your doctor really meant, "you have two options that will make me money."

 

If someone had told me that, though, before I knew better, of course I would have gone for adderall!  Who wouldn't?

 

Now, knowing what I know, though, I would fire that doctor.  If someone gave me this "ultimatum" today,  I'd rather live with debilitating depression.

 

Did this doctor even ask you about lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc?  I know mine didn't.  And those things are crucial.

 

Bottom line, adderall is not an antidepressant.  You feel better for a few hours, a few months maybe, but your brain gets used to it and the depression is a thousand times worse when you quit (or even at the end of the work day) than it was before you started.  Adderall makes depression way worse long term.  Which is why I cannot believe you dr gave you this "ultimatum."  I feel like this might even constitute malpractice, to be honest. 

 

You need to look to other means of depression treatment.  Therapy.  Exercise.  Spending time in nature is incredibly therapeutic--and FUN!  Explore the beauty of the world.   Reading books.  Helps you see things differently.

 

Diet.  It's incredible how deeply foods affect our moods and sense of well-being.  My friend who has had severe depression since forever grew up to become a naturopathic practitioner, and she is VERY in tune with how each and every food ingredient affects her.  I would really suggest trying that route.  You  might have some kind of sensitivity to sugar, etc.

 

For me, running and hiking do WONDERS.  Do you exercise?  What's your diet like?  Also, do you drink?  Drinking makes depression WAY worse.

 

I take antidepressants, but they only do so much.  I started therapy a month ago and I hate it because it brings up so much pain, but I'm forcing myself to go.  Are you in therapy?  Not psychiatry, but actual therapy?

 

The most therapeutic thing of all, for me, is work that helps other people.  I'm a teacher.  Being there with my students gets me right out of my own head, my own depression, because I have to be a positive role model for the kids. I have to be there for them 100%.  And it's what I love.  No time for the depression monster!  I always feel better after teaching :)  If I didn't have that, though, I'd probably turn to some kind of volunteer work.  I used to LOVE doing volunteer work of all kinds, when I had more time.  Meaningful work, meaningful contributions to the world, are some of the best ways to work through depression.  I strongly believe in that.  And there are SO many cool things you can do--- like teaching art at a nursing home for example! 

 

I've been on this forum long enough, and have had two severe enough bouts with adderall and quitting, and many more severe bouts of clinical depression and anxiety, to say definitively that staying on adderall is NOT an option for you if you want to get better.  It's just NOT an option!!!  Quitting WILL hurt a LOT at first.  Your depression will be horrific.  Be ready for that.  Give yourself the space.  Take some time off!   But know that it's also part of your brain healing.  You CAN do this!!!! I believe in you!!!!

 

Also, I really think you need to fire your doctor.   And cut them off.  Tell them no more adderall!!

 

Every adderall you take will set you further back into your depression.  Just don't take a single pill ever again.  Seriously.  I've quit smoking, and I've quit adderall, and that was the key to both.

 

I can't stress this enough:  The longer you stay on adderall, the worse your depression will be in the long run. 

 

My heart goes out to you!   Lots of hugs!  We are here for you anytime :)

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I agree that the adderall will ultimately worsen depression at least initially. I think that is one of the hardest parts about quitting is finally having to learn to work and function through depression.

I've been reading a book that someone recommended on this site. Its called "Getting things done when you're depressed". It's been very helpful for me in coping with my mind post adderall. Check it out.

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I've had a similar experience in that I was clinically depressed (episodic depression, on and off) since I was 18. A recurrent episode of depression that started last fall fueled my already serious Adderall addiction. I'm now about two months clean and the depression is still there, but slowly getting better. 

 

The past two months have been rough. I've stayed home because I can't face the world more times than I'd like to admit. I've left work to nap wherever I can sneak a nap. And nothing really seems fun. But when I look back on it, I'm so much better than I was two months ago, and so much better than I was a year ago when this all started spiraling out of control. 

 

A lot of the techniques I've been learning to cope with my addiction (CBT techniques, leaning on a support network) have also helped my depression. I still have yet to find an antidepressant that does ANYTHING, which is frustrating, but ultimately my life is better without Adderall.

 

Are you seeing a counselor for depression? Someone who fits with your own philosophy/approach (whether that be CBT, or just someone compassionate who can provide gentle perspective)?

 

I agree with the other posters that Adderall and shock therapy are NOT your only options. See a different doctor, and hang in there! 

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