Smhjen

Dopamine serotonin- can someone help me out with that the hell is going on in my brain?

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From what I understood, adderall increased the dopamine levels in your brain.. Which make you feel good. However, after reading some stuff online I've read that serotonin is the chemical that controls depression/appetite.

So are both of those chemicals low when quitting adderall?? What's going on in my brain right now?

Can I balance stuff out in there without taking antidepressants?? Smh

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How are you Smhjen? Are you still tapering down?

 

 

 

Yes, adderall does effect both dopamine and serotonin

 

L-tyrosine and 5-htp will help both of them

 

Also, I have heard that you shouldn't be on adderall and antidepressants at the same time, but some on this site have quit cold turkey and then gone on anti-depressants to help cope.

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Hey, I'm good. Yeah still tapering. going down to 10mg this weekend. feeling ok. Have good days, have bad days. I do feel better when I don't eat carbs/sugar. Need to get some supplements though. only taking a b 6/12 vitamin or whatever the hell it is.. Haha.

So overwhelming.

The dr last wk said she would prescribe me antidepressants but I told her I didn't want to go on them to get off another drug.. I'm so over popping pills. :/

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Hey there,

 

microbiologist here (not that adderall has anything to do with microbes :P). 

 

Essentially adderall works in multiple ways. First off, it mimics dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in chemical structure. On top of this, it also increases the amount of dopamine that is secreted between neurons, which is responsible for the artificial feelings of euphoria you felt during just about anything you did while on adderall.  Dopamine is the driving factor behind our motivation; it is our reward system. Just ate your favorite ice cream? Dopamine is released. Just conquered a test that you have been studying for for weeks? Dopamine is released. Just had sex with your partner? Dopamine is released. Just took adderall? AN IMMENSE amount of dopamine is released.That's why when you took adderall, it didn't really matter what you did, it just felt good. Things that were perhaps uninteresting to you before the drug suddenly seemed interesting. Problem is, when you take adderall, in attempt to maintain homeostasis (balance things out), your body will reduce the amount of dopamine being produced as well as being released. That is why when you stop taking adderall, you likely experienced a crash where you were unable to feel. After maybe a half day, you  probably felt normal again. With extended use of adderall, however, some of the dopamine transporters and receptors throughout your brain can actually be damaged through neurotoxicity. That's why, like most of us on this site, we experience a severe feeling of readjustment after quitting. The good news is neuroplasticity does exist; your brain has the ability to adapt, and the main requirement for this is time. Unfortunately there are no catalysts to accelerate the process other than adequate rest, clean dieting, and exercise. Some supplements, such as L-tyrosine, can help alleviate some of the symptoms, but nothing is going to substitute for time. This also explains why certain things that didn't seem so appealing before seem quite appealing now, such as alcohol. Alcohol actually works on dopamine as well, although in an entirely different cellular mechanism. Try to refrain from taking too much of anything to fill the dopamine void left by adderall. Just be patient. 

 

To help clarify between serotonin and dopamine, both of these neurotransmitters are responsible for well-being. Neurotransmitters work in a complex, tree-like manner so a lot of intertwining does occur. An imbalance in either neurotransmitter can cause depression. In your case, you more than likely are feeling the way you are due to the dopamine depletion caused by adderall. Dopamine depression is characterized as very anhedonic (life lacking the spark it once had), a severe lack of motivation, lethargy, inability to focus, and often anxiety. Serotonin-based depression, on the other hand, is often a feeling of blues; everything in life seems as if it has had a cast of gray drapes placed over it. The two are honestly quite similar, but there are some distinct differences. It is possible for your serotonin levels to be insufficient due to natural causes (like many depression episodes are), but they are likely not anything to be concerned over. They will rebalance themselves once you begin to feel a spark in your life again. Once you're able to start enjoying the things you used to enjoy, serotonin levels, as well as other neurotransmitters, will begin to balance in harmony once again. Just give it time. I commend you on rejecting the antidepressants from your doctor. The majority of antidepressants work on your serotonin levels, and as I have mentioned before, your serontonin levels are not likely the culprit here. Stay strong and take great care. :)

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Wow, thank you for taking the time to write and explain all of that. I appreciate it! 😊

So could I have or anyone else f*cked up the dopa in my brain forever by taking adderall for so long? Will I ever be back to 'normal'?

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Despite what some people may lead you to believe, the brain is entirely capable of making a full recovery, but things obviously vary from individual to individual.

 

There is a plethora of scientific papers regarding the brain's innate, yet 'limited,' ability to recover from stimulant abuse (although often on other mammals, such as rats), but there are several things wrong with what they purport. First off, very few, if any, of these scientific papers follow the patients' recovery for longer than fourteen months. Second off, most of these papers focus on methamphetamine abuse. Although the two substances are literally just one constituent different in terms of  chemical structure, there is a difference in how the two chemicals are metabolized.Third, as I said before, many of the "research subjects" are often rats or monkeys. Fourth, many of the tests subjected the animals to absurd doses of amphetamine. In a study conducted on vervet monkeys, 2 x 2 mg/kg doses were used on the animals. For me, that would translate to taking 336 mg of adderall daily for a few weeks. And lastly, there is no way to directly measure the amount of dopamine being metabolized by the brain, so the studies instead use indirect measurements such as the density of dopamine transporters present. Now, even with ALL of that said, despite the flaws behind translating this to human use, the test subjects still showed improvement; it just took time.

 

In one study conducted on methamphetamine abusers (humans) that I found, there was some great improvement among some of the subjects after a very long period of abstinence; we're talking fourteen months. Even then, with the subjects that showed marginal improvements, there are still plenty of reasons behind why some were only able to heal to a certain extent. The researchers were at the mercy of the test subjects. It is impossible to account for any relapsing that may have occurred. Obviously any of the patients that may have relapsed would show considerably less improvement. Secondly, the amount of abuse and the duration of abuse was highly variable between the patients. Someone who abused the drug for ten years would likely heal much slower than someone who abused the drug for say three months.  And lastly, the sample pool was very limited. Also, like I said earlier, the indirect measuring of dopamine transporters for dopamine activity is inconclusive. 

 

To sum it up, please please please do not let anyone (or yourself) scare you into thinking that the damage incurred is permanent. The damage is not permanent. The brain is highly plastic. Always remember that the brain controls the mind, but the mind also controls the brain. They work together in harmony. What I mean is that if you scare yourself into believing you cannot heal, you will develop very unhealthy neural pathways; you will be utilizing the brain's amazing neural plasticity for harm. On the other hand, if you do everything to your ability to heal yourself, you will help accelerate the process. What I mean by that is practicing "in the moment" exercises. Train your brain to relearn some of its natural cognitive abilities. As hard as it may be, you need to have a proactive approach rather than a passive approach. Good luck to you.


Vervet monkey source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9359594

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Great Post!

Hey there,

microbiologist here (not that adderall has anything to do with microbes :P).

Essentially adderall works in multiple ways. First off, it mimics dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in chemical structure. On top of this, it also increases the amount of dopamine that is secreted between neurons, which is responsible for the artificial feelings of euphoria you felt during just about anything you did while on adderall. Dopamine is the driving factor behind our motivation; it is our reward system. Just ate your favorite ice cream? Dopamine is released. Just conquered a test that you have been studying for for weeks? Dopamine is released. Just had sex with your partner? Dopamine is released. Just took adderall? AN IMMENSE amount of dopamine is released.That's why when you took adderall, it didn't really matter what you did, it just felt good. Things that were perhaps uninteresting to you before the drug suddenly seemed interesting. Problem is, when you take adderall, in attempt to maintain homeostasis (balance things out), your body will reduce the amount of dopamine being produced as well as being released. That is why when you stop taking adderall, you likely experienced a crash where you were unable to feel. After maybe a half day, you probably felt normal again. With extended use of adderall, however, some of the dopamine transporters and receptors throughout your brain can actually be damaged through neurotoxicity. That's why, like most of us on this site, we experience a severe feeling of readjustment after quitting. The good news is neuroplasticity does exist; your brain has the ability to adapt, and the main requirement for this is time. Unfortunately there are no catalysts to accelerate the process other than adequate rest, clean dieting, and exercise. Some supplements, such as L-tyrosine, can help alleviate some of the symptoms, but nothing is going to substitute for time. This also explains why certain things that didn't seem so appealing before seem quite appealing now, such as alcohol. Alcohol actually works on dopamine as well, although in an entirely different cellular mechanism. Try to refrain from taking too much of anything to fill the dopamine void left by adderall. Just be patient.

To help clarify between serotonin and dopamine, both of these neurotransmitters are responsible for well-being. Neurotransmitters work in a complex, tree-like manner so a lot of intertwining does occur. An imbalance in either neurotransmitter can cause depression. In your case, you more than likely are feeling the way you are due to the dopamine depletion caused by adderall. Dopamine depression is characterized as very anhedonic (life lacking the spark it once had), a severe lack of motivation, lethargy, inability to focus, and often anxiety. Serotonin-based depression, on the other hand, is often a feeling of blues; everything in life seems as if it has had a cast of gray drapes placed over it. The two are honestly quite similar, but there are some distinct differences. It is possible for your serotonin levels to be insufficient due to natural causes (like many depression episodes are), but they are likely not anything to be concerned over. They will rebalance themselves once you begin to feel a spark in your life again. Once you're able to start enjoying the things you used to enjoy, serotonin levels, as well as other neurotransmitters, will begin to balance in harmony once again. Just give it time. I commend you on rejecting the antidepressants from your doctor. The majority of antidepressants work on your serotonin levels, and as I have mentioned before, your serontonin levels are not likely the culprit here. Stay strong and take great care. :)

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It helped me to view recovery from adderall addiction/dopamine depletion as a multi-year process, and to measure my progress in years, not days or months, because the brain's recovery is indeed a slow process. I like to think of it as losing weight. If you gained 50 pounds in a year, you wouldn't expect to lose it in a month. No, it would probably take a year. Same with addiction recovery. You can't be on drugs for 5, 10 years and expect to feel perfect within a few months time. It don't work like that. Put in the effort and you will truly be rewarded in time. Once I was sober for a year, time started flying by and I continued to reap rewards after 2 years, 3 years, 4 years...

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That makes a lot of sense Cassie. I'm almost at 3 months and I keep thinking I should be feeling so much better, but I'm not... I feel like crap. I guess I just have to keep my eye on the prize. I'll get there, slowly but surely...

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I don’t like to tell others what to do … but from my own experience, I would urge people NOT to jump onto antidepressants to manage the fatigue and depression you get while kicking Adderall.  Antidepressants can have their own long-term effects on brain function—causing both long-term dependence, and numbing of emotions and motivations.  Just like Adderall. 

 

I was first put on Adderall twelve years ago as an “adjunct†to antidepressants that “weren’t working anymore.† I now believe that my “need†for Adderall had a lot to do with the depleting effects of 20+ years of antidepressant use.  I’ve tried for the past five years to quit both, and it’s been wicked hard; it’s got to be done one drug at a time, and slowly … One of the reasons you don’t hear more about the withdrawal problems caused by antidepressants is that a major effect is … depression.  Which leads many doctors (and patients) to believe that what they’re seeing is just the original “disease†coming back, and proof of your “biological need†for the medicine. 

 

Neither of these drugs is a supplement giving you more serotonin, dopamine or any other neurotransmitter.  What they do is artificially disable your body’s processes for breaking down or re-absorbing the neurotransmitter, causing it to hang around the nerve synapse longer than it would naturally.  The nerve cells will eventually adapt by becoming less sensitive to that neuro-transmitter, causing you to need the drug in a different, more permanent way than you did when you first started taking it.  In fact, a lot of experts believe long-term antidepressant use can convert a situational depression into a chronic condition.

 

At the very least, I would say, make antidepressants your last resort.  Try everything else first.  And make sure you ask the doctor this: “How long should I take these pills?† If s/he tells you not to worry about that – or worse yet, says you may need them for life – GET A DIFFERENT DOCTOR. 

 

 

And thanks for the Vervet Monkeys, Renascido!  That study gives us some real evidence that the brain can recover in most cases—if you just give it time. 

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