18 posts in this topic

I have been lurking this website and this forum for over a year. I have contemplated sharing my story for so long but couldn't make myself do it-maybe because being honest would make everything real- but at this point, I know I have a problem. 

I never thought that I would end up here. I started taking Adderall in 2012 because the nurse practitioner thought I had legitimate ADHD and I did as well. For the first year, I didn't abuse the drug. I only took it when needed and every month I usually had at least ten extra pills.  Slowly, over time I gradually increased my dosage. Sometimes it was a little bit extra here and there- nothing too extreme but somehow I ended up here- prescribed 30 mg IR a day and taking up to 60 mg IR, maybe even more. I lost weight, became really irritable and lost sight of who I was. I ran out early all the time and would just sleep it off for those few days, lie about how things were going and then pickup my script. Over time I needed benzos so fall asleep and to take the edge off of the crash. My prescriber got so frustrated with me that she cut off both prescriptions. I found a new psychiatrist and told him I had trouble with it in the past (a somewhat sanitized version) and he agreed I could take it as long as I was honest with him and didn't any extra. 

 

Of course, I fucking blew it. But this time, instead of lying, I decided to be honest. I came to his office and told him I was taking way more than prescribed and that my life had gotten out of control. I'm on the "taper down" method. I should be off altogether in a month. I'm currently taking one 20 XR a day and I wish I could say that I only felt mildly uncomfortable but the truth is it barely affects me and feels only slightly less better than not taking anything at all. I'm tempted to take more but I can't lie to this guy. 

It's hard for me to articulate how truly alone I feel. It's not the fact that I let this get so out of control (ironically, I thought the Adderall was the only thing holding my life together, until it was ruining it), it's just the path that lead me here. A good portion of my life I have been so deeply and profoundly depressed and this was the only thing that helped. But something deep inside of me knew that I couldn't fix the underlying issues that lead me here without being sober. I'm just worried that I ruined my life. The brain fog, the tiredness and the crushing depression are so intense that sometimes I'll just sit with my head in my hands, as if I can't even contain these feelings. I rarely cry, but there are times when I start crying and can't stop. I realized that this is probably the tip of an Everest sized emotional iceberg that I've ignored for so many years. I'm so afraid. And beyond feeling afraid, I have never, ever felt so alone. I know that no one sitting on the other end of this and reading this could ever really say that I will be "ok", but to know that someone else knows what it's like to not only be deeply intertwined with a drug they thought saved their life and lose it, but who knows what it's like to feel like there was something deeply and pathologically wrong with you that lead you down this road in the first place would feel comforting. Or that someone out there read this. 

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Hi,

i read your post. I do not have time to reply in depth to you right now but want you to know you are not alone. I experienced exactly everything you have written here and know exactly how you feel.

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Hey there,

I know how you feel. I've had depression since puberty, and I understand how it feels to come off adderall on top of already being depressed. Sometimes I just sit at my desk with my head in my arms, and sometimes I cry, too. Difficult is an understatement. This is the definition of misery.

But you're not alone. Everyone on this forum is in that place, or has been in that place. I keep telling myself that if I can just get past the dopamine deficiency, then I'll be able to take care of my depression. I think it helps, just a little. I'm tapering off, too. I went one month cold turkey, and now I'm two months in at a fast taper. I haven't told anyone in my life; my family would have a fit if they knew I'd gotten hooked on adderall, and they certainly wouldn't help me. I know how it feels to do this alone.

The first month is the hardest. Just take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. It's agonizing, but you can do it. If I can get through the first month, anyone can. It's possible. You've got to endure, though; it's hard. It's so hard. But it's possible.

Hang around these forums whenever you feel like you want to tear out your hair and scream. I spend hours lurking here when I'm having bad days. Just don't forget that you're not alone! Feel free to message me anytime if you want to talk.

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On 10/23/2017 at 9:16 PM, ownerofalonelyheart said:

It's hard for me to articulate how truly alone I feel. It's not the fact that I let this get so out of control (ironically, I thought the Adderall was the only thing holding my life together, until it was ruining it), it's just the path that lead me here. A good portion of my life I have been so deeply and profoundly depressed and this was the only thing that helped. But something deep inside of me knew that I couldn't fix the underlying issues that lead me here without being sober.

it is the loneliest feeling in the world, because our addiction and abuse is so intensely personal- especially with adderall, there's a reason it happened. i experimented a lot back in college with all sorts of drugs. i was the "experienced" drug guy, could handle my shit no matter what. i had never been addicted to anything until adderall came along. it changed everything in my life.. all the things i'd dreamed about being seemed within my reach all of a sudden. that desire was so strong i actually went in knowing that i could get addicted, but rationalized it as the sacrifice necessary to achieve my dreams.

well we all know how that ends up.. it wasn't until after quitting that i reflected back on my life and realized id been self-medicating a depression my whole life. i was never happy with who i was, which is possibly why i had such fanciful dreams of being something else. depression is a very tough thing to conceptualize- it means something different for each person, but trust me when i say i know what you're going through. 

it may feel like adderall was the only thing that could fix you, but unfortunately once you cross over into abuse there is no coming back to a therapeutic routine. i couldn't even handle the taper down without binging all my pills.  i think you'll find many of the people here advocate for the cold turkey approach, but as long as your doctor knows, that is the biggest step. from my own experience, i can say that Wellbutrin helped a great deal in the early recovery process, and still does to this day for me. perhaps you can discuss this with your doctor as a treatment for the underlying depression.

(:

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Understand u 100% it sucks that something made you feel alive, less depressed, motivated has let you down. I look at it like this addy was a jounrney in my life I was meant to take but that time has passed. I’ve learned from it and moved on. I did amazing things on that drug in my peak things I’ll probbably never do again. But looking back the amazing things accomplished I overlooked what was important. If I just slowed down thought about what I was doing just once. Instead I was on a mission to show off my talents obsess over minor details and forgot why I was even doing these things. Yes I benefit from some of those things I did  but overall made bad investments  many that were a complete and total waste of my time. I’m not going to lie even at 23 months when I have a big job I wish I could get that bump of energy and focus. For the first year that’s what I did just on big projects I took a pill. But at the end I needed it to get out of bed everyday and accomplished hardly anything my brain was unable to focus it created horrible  ADHD. Quitting sucks but it sounds like it’s your time and a lot of people on here can help. 

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Yup. Agree with you 100%.  I'm just at 3 months after being on for 17 years.  Unbelievable really.  And what I just realized after reading your post is that I felt like Adderall made me like or enjoy myself and being by myself, now being by myself...I am really BY MY SELF and it does feel really really alone...lonely.  But don't have energy or motivation to do anything about it...  Definitely good and bad days.  Physically I can't imagine taking that stuff again...that's the part I have to remember when feeling like this...good luck to all of us.

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Agree as well. I am at almost 6mo and I had a couple weeks where I felt pretty good, yet now I am at another low now. This recovery is very up and down and yes very lonely. Exercise I do believe helps a lot however some weeks it just seems impossible to take that step among just barely functioning.

Doctors do not understand how bad this drug is, when I question them on it they always tell me there are not enough "credible studies" and that it has been used successfully for decades. While I can find many articles googling many are abstract and others are on meth which doctors do not view as the same. I believe no "credible studies" are done as there is no "profit" for big pharma in taking a drug off the market... Unless a competing big pharma company did one to eliminate a competitor.

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3 hours ago, EricP said:

Agree as well. I am at almost 6mo and I had a couple weeks where I felt pretty good, yet now I am at another low now. This recovery is very up and down and yes very lonely. Exercise I do believe helps a lot however some weeks it just seems impossible to take that step among just barely functioning.

Doctors do not understand how bad this drug is, when I question them on it they always tell me there are not enough "credible studies" and that it has been used successfully for decades. While I can find many articles googling many are abstract and others are on meth which doctors do not view as the same. I believe no "credible studies" are done as there is no "profit" for big pharma in taking a drug off the market... Unless a competing big pharma company did one to eliminate a competitor.

It’s getting to the point majority do not trust doctors. People wonder why so many don’t even trust vaccines these days. Well doctors give meth to kids, SSRI suicide pills to the depressed so what faith we have in them? Biggest problem is Big pharma owns all the media so nothing ever gets really talked about. Look mass shootings keep happening yet not one news outlet questioned if a single shooter was on a antidepressants! 

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Yes it is sad but true... I have had at least 5 doctors even including the 1 that supports me quitting tell me "that it is possible I need adderall to function normally"... I have decided no doc appts for at least 6mo so I will be at 1yr before discussing it again with them. 

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12 hours ago, EricP said:

Yes it is sad but true... I have had at least 5 doctors even including the 1 that supports me quitting tell me "that it is possible I need adderall to function normally"... I have decided no doc appts for at least 6mo so I will be at 1yr before discussing it again with them. 

I've had a few doctors over time tell me that quitting adderall was not worth it because I needed it to function. The said its all unnecessary suffering. I believed them for so long. Some bad days I still believe it and it's been 11 months with no adderall.........

 

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The basic problem is the longer you take adderall the more you need adderall and at higher doses. There are numerous studies that show that amphetamines are neuro toxic. This means that over time it kill's dopamine receptors. And no they do not regenerate. In an extreme case of dopamine receptor loss is Parkinson's, however typically in this disease they die on their own for unknown reasons.

With Adderall we begin taking it for ADHD or whatever reason needing dopamine stimulation to function the way we want, however once we stop not only have we been teased with the feeling of adderall and also we now have less receptors than when we first got prescribed adderall. Based on my reserch it seems that over time peoples brain adjusts to this new lower dopamine output however we will likely never be better than before we started the adderall. 

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On 11/9/2017 at 0:43 PM, EricP said:

The basic problem is the longer you take adderall the more you need adderall and at higher doses. There are numerous studies that show that amphetamines are neuro toxic. This means that over time it kill's dopamine receptors. And no they do not regenerate. In an extreme case of dopamine receptor loss is Parkinson's, however typically in this disease they die on their own for unknown reasons.

With Adderall we begin taking it for ADHD or whatever reason needing dopamine stimulation to function the way we want, however once we stop not only have we been teased with the feeling of adderall and also we now have less receptors than when we first got prescribed adderall. Based on my reserch it seems that over time peoples brain adjusts to this new lower dopamine output however we will likely never be better than before we started the adderall. 

If that was true wouldn’t more of us who abused heavily for multiple years develop Parkinson’s disease? Researchers cannot actually test levels of dopamine in the brain they only use indirect dopamine markers and who knows how accurate those test are. So until they can and it’s proven on post adderall users I’ll choose to believe we can recover to normal. Although for me part of why I was prescribed this drug was depression so don’t think my levels were ever ‘normal’ to begin with. 

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2 hours ago, Frank B said:

If that was true wouldn’t more of us who abused heavily for multiple years develop Parkinson’s disease? Researchers cannot actually test levels of dopamine in the brain they only use indirect dopamine markers and who knows how accurate those test are. So until they can and it’s proven on post adderall users I’ll choose to believe we can recover to normal. Although for me part of why I was prescribed this drug was depression so don’t think my levels were ever ‘normal’ to begin with. 

i like to think of this more in an "ignorance is bliss"  way. once you know what it feels like to be "elevated" by amphetamines, you can't un-know that. it's a state that is certainly not normal, and in a way incomparable to any previous experience in your life. unfortunately for some (many of us here), it then becomes the state to which you compare everything else in life. 

i think we can certainly recover to "normal", but where normal lies on the spectrum of experience has definitely changed.

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On 11/17/2017 at 7:22 AM, Frank B said:

If that was true wouldn’t more of us who abused heavily for multiple years develop Parkinson’s disease? Researchers cannot actually test levels of dopamine in the brain they only use indirect dopamine markers and who knows how accurate those test are. So until they can and it’s proven on post adderall users I’ll choose to believe we can recover to normal. Although for me part of why I was prescribed this drug was depression so don’t think my levels were ever ‘normal’ to begin with. 

If you simply google "amphetamine increases risk of Parkinson's" many credible articles come up. Mind you some are more related to the evil twin meth... still the same mechanisms however. 

I have read a lot about the down regulation we are all suffering from as well possible nerodegeneration (loss of dopamine cells) thus due to the fact that amphetamines are neuro toxic. 

While you can't measure the specific dopamine level in the brain you can get a PET or DAT scan typically used to aid Parkinson's diagnosis which often report 10-30% less dopamine function (symmetrically, meaning both sides of the brain) in known past amphetamine users. Even up to 50% in extreme cases. Parkinsons patients typically begin reporting mobility related complications around a 50-70% loss. And typically it only affects one side first. 

Even a patient with 10% loss on these scans have reported extreme depression, concentration and fatigue etc. If this does cause dopamine cell loss as suggested, most of us if scanned are likely a bit compromised "under normal". This does not mean we will all have Parkinsons just means our risk is higher. The causes of Parkinson's is wide spread and still unknown. One of the largest suspects is pesticides and chemicals/toxins. It think amphetamines are certainly in a toxin category however that is just an opinion. 

I have reviewed this information with my neurologist and he agrees there are potential links however simply there are not enough studies completed to know the effects 100%. Basically we would have had to had a DAT or PET scan before Adderall then 5-10years later have another after taking it for years and then quiting long enough for the brain the recover before scanning again.

I have considered getting a scan myself however insurance won't cover all of it. If by 2yrs I still have symptoms like I have now maybe I would spend the money... However a scan would just be information as there is no real treatment for dopamine cell loss. 

Just a few links, there are many more you can google:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295903/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/pd/2013/308052/

https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/904

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2 hours ago, EricP said:

IIf by 2yrs I still have symptoms like I have now maybe I would spend the money... However a scan would just be information as there is no real treatment for dopamine cell loss. 

 

How long have been off it?

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5 minutes ago, EricP said:

Just 6mo.

It gets better just very slow process. Honestly it’s hard to judge what my six months  was like feels so long ago I guess could look back on my post but know I’m in a far better place personally. Far as happiness no I’m not the happiest person but then again this can’t all be blamed on stopping addy. Stuck in a bad relationship I can only imagine a better place could be in now with a true partner who helps me vs holding me back. We have nothing in common she is not supportive in my diet choices etc just together for a child that’s it. Probably why I’m on here all the time really can’t share much with her. 

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