BeHereNow

Long-term quitters: Any lingering issues?

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I should preface this post with a warning to anyone who is new to the quitting process.  The further I away I am from my adderall days, the better I feel and am. There is no doubt about that.  In fact I feel a hundred thousand times better now than I did five years ago, or even three years ago.  

That said: I'm wondering if any longer-term quitters continue to experience issues that might or might not be related to quitting.  

Life is complex, everyone is different, we all began our addictions under different circumstances, and our minds and bodies are all different.  Life itself is a roller coaster.  And human health is as well.

So I'm trying to determine whether I might still be dealing with some lingering, long-term effects from quitting, or if it's just a slump in life.  Comparatively, this stuff is very low-grade and I'm much more capable of handling things.  I can't tell if I'm in just in a life slump, or if PAWS is still a possibility 5.5 years out.

Basically, I still have sleep issues some nights, as well as anxiety and sometimes bouts of depression.  I wonder if I'm back at my pre-adderall baseline with these issues (which I've had on and off all my life), or if I might have caused some long-term damage that made these things worse.  Like I said in another post, this might be a simple case of burnout from a very intense year of work and stress.  Right now I'm finding it very hard to get motivated to do even basic things like cleaning, running, or otherwise moving my body.  I've gained a ton of weight again (after having lost it all and then some, and keeping it off for years) so that generally doesn't help with anything. 

I think I might really need a vacation.

But sometimes I look back on my life a decade ago, and I remember feeling this sense of happiness and zest and hope for the future that seems to be gone forever.  Maybe THAT too was a phase.  And I will add that I've had phases like that POST-adderall.  So maybe I'm just burned out and/or getting older (I'm 35.)  But some days I really do wonder if I burned my brain a bit, and if these are issues I have to live with for the rest of my life.  

Curious to hear others' experiences, and thanks for listening! 

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Hello there, I am 1yr off Addy and can tell you I have the same concerns and similar symptoms only likely a bit stronger. Depression is strong and cognitive fluctuations are concerning sometimes... Sleep sucks for me... The only thing that brings me peace is downtime or like you said "a vacation" unfortunately there are still bills to pay and I have not choice but to keep plugging forward no how miserable I wake up. Some weeks I get more exercise and tune my mind away from the symptoms and I seem to feel a lot better those weeks however I will often push myself too hard when feeling my best and somewhat end up overloaded mentally and just need a down day following...

Anyway, I can see improvements in many areas since stopping, like just now I am starting to finish tasks and projects that I left in the dust a year+ ago. I am not super motivated to do them however I have at least found enough drive the get things done... Reward system is pretty shot, above all I wish I could get just a small part of this back... Life is pretty "blah" even when good things happen for me...

Sorry I am not further along in recovery to give you more information. I also hope to hear from people in the 2-5yr range to see how they feel... I hope it gets better however is some things just don't I suppose that is comforting as well as at least there is comfort in knowing were not alone in the problem and can at least define the cause...

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@BeHereNow  i totally get it. i'm 2.5 years off stims, 33 years old with depression, social anxiety and a fear of change. i know for a fact i'm in a slump, and it is absolutely a result of burnout (among other things). i've known it for a while, but i think there's this fear of inadequacy that prevents me from moving on in my career and life.

of course this is still an objectively better state than the adderall days, but i have not yet experienced any dramatic change and improvement in my life situation as others have reported. i don't have any proof that i am "back to baseline", but i have to believe that i am. i don't want to give myself an "out", whether that's conscious or sub-conscious- my problems now are the kinds of problems everyone has. a mid-life crisis perhaps? 

i'm not sure i'll ever be able to recapture the zeal that i had in my early 20's, even before adderall. but i'm not sure that's realistic- that guy wasn't a real adult.

take that vacation. pick up a new hobby. this too shall pass (:

 

 

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BeHereNow,

First and foremost, I just have to say how freaking proud I am of you!!  I remember when you first started coming around and it's so awesome to see you made it 5.5 years!!! WOW!!  Great job!!  BUT you finished grad school without adderall??!!!  That's AWESOME!!!  Congratulations!!

I don't think where you're at has anything to do with the post adderall slump. To me it sounds like you might be just simply burn't out and tired.  I took one month of classes for grad school and decided to get out, lol.  It wasn't that I couldn't do it, but I had no life.  I'd work all day and study all night and I was just drained.  I didn't have any time to workout and I started stress eating which made me start gaining weight so I was like f- that and quit.  Anyhow, you stuck it out and did it!!  That's amazing.  Good for you!  But I can see how you'd be really bumming if you applied for all these jobs after all that work and not having much luck.  I think once you find a job you want and get settled in your career, you'll get back into a normal routine and feel better.

Hang in there!!!  Oh, and just wondering if you are networking much?  Are you on linked in?  Are you part of any professional networking groups?  I just no for myself of all the jobs I ever landed it was through someone I knew.  We have a group here that's really great. Check it out.  https://www.cypclub.com  See if you can find something like that if you haven't already maybe.

Keep us posted and good luck to you!!

 

<3 LT

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Thanks friends.  This is really helpful.

LilTex, you are probably right.  I did finish grad school!  For some reason I can't seem to feel proud of that, but apparently it's a common phenomenon.   Post-dissertation trauma and depression (or just general slump) are well documented.  And so is the "dissertation 30" (kind of like the "freshman 15.")

The whole thing took me over 7 years (if you look into my previous postings you can read more about my story.)  For some reason, I refused to quit.  I guess I love my field and I love teaching, and I'm pretty decent at it.   I've learned a ton and I don't regret it.  But in many ways I am a trauma survivor for it.

That said, I have decided that I would never, ever suggest grad school to my own students.  I care about them too much.  They're too good for that.  Too smart. Their life energy is too precious. 

For anyone doing academic work, this is a must-read: https://www.chronicle.com/article/AbusersEnablers-in/241648   And this: http://academiaiskillingmyfriends.tumblr.com/

Abuse is rampant in academia.  To start, like you said LilTex, those grad classes are horrific!  So much competition, so much toxicity, so many professors taking out their own issues on us, and so many "bad grades" for students who do quality work but dare to do something differently (or who are arbitrarily disliked by a given professor.) 

Let's just say that I mastered the art of getting incompletes and extensions.   And napping.  And eventually I learned to cry, but also to save my tears for the ladies' room.  

Physically, training for grad school meant training my (formerly triathlete body) to sit still all day, every day.  

Then there was the time when (right after quitting adderall) I had the extremely humbling experience of walking into a professor's office and telling him that I literally had no idea what was going on, and that it was all Greek to me.  He actually took pity on me, and he helped to the best of his ability.  I finally took off the mask of pretending I had any idea wtf was going on, and it set up for some version of success.  

Worst of all was my advisor. I literally spent years in an (non-romantic) abusive relationship with her and didn't recognize it until the end.   The consequences of an abusive relationship are horrific, and it's multiplied when this person has power over your career.  That's all I can say here.  But if anyone wants to talk about this, or is going through it, feel free to message me. 

I probably wouldn't have had the courage to do this when I was on adderall, but in the end I switched advisors, and in the end I finished.  I've gained a level of tenacity I never had before.  I'm willing to fight for the people and things I love. 

Finally there's the job application process.  I have applied to 30+ jobs this spring alone.   Collecting rejection letters is pretty demoralizing after spending 7 years in grad school.  I have something temporary now, but I get to restart that whole process in the fall.  

So yeah, I guess it's no surprise that I'm in a slump and need a vacation.

On the plus side, out of the 7 years I spent in grad school, I only spent 2.5 of them on adderall.  I learned a hell of a lot more after quitting, and I'm much smarter for having done so.  At least I can say this.  Even if I have to reckon with permanent brain damage, I can still say that quitting adderall made me smarter.  

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I just got back from Breakthrough at Caron. One of the most powerful experiences of my life. Worth every penny. I couldn’t suggest going any stronger, especially if you’ve got some time (at least 1-2 years, so you know what you’re dealing with isn’t just PAWS) and are dealing with lingering issues. I’ve just learned that many of mine are emotional and not related to ADD, and have clarity on what I need to work on going forward. I’m no longer punching at shadows. 

I am SO full of hope right now. 

https://www.caron.org/our-programs/breakthrough-at-caron

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14 minutes ago, hyper_critical said:

I just got back from Breakthrough at Caron. One of the most powerful experiences of my life. Worth every penny. I couldn’t suggest going any stronger, especially if you’ve got some time (at least 1-2 years, so you know what you’re dealing with isn’t just PAWS) and are dealing with lingering issues. I’ve just learned that many of mine are emotional and not related to ADD, and have clarity on what I need to work on going forward. I’m no longer punching at shadows. 

I am SO full of hope right now. 

https://www.caron.org/our-programs/breakthrough-at-caron

I have a close friend that went thru the entire program after many years of AA and soberiety... He was still struggling and has told me Breakthrough transformed his life more than anything he ever did.

I have never seems someone change so drastically for the better in such a short period of time! I really have no excuse as to why I have not tried it... 

 

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There is just one thing that still concerns me seven years after quitting: having the confidence and motivation to tackle new endeavors, especially if it requires complex problem solving skills.  I became addicted in my forties, so I have many years of pre-adderall adult life to compare with how I feel now.  In the nineties, I earned a masters degree, started a business, became a consultant, and built a cabin, all in addition to holding a regular career job.   I cannot fathom doing any of those things now  - maybe because I don't know the right people to help me with it or maybe because I simply lack the dopamine reserves to just get shit done.   I am pretty good about keeping up with the daily chores and doing my job.  My physical health returned to normal and I haven't seen a doctor since quitting.  I sleep OK, and I haven't gotten addicted to anything else.  I just wish I could just get off my ass and get more stuff done.  OK, there might be another issue- and that is my memory, observation skills, and problem solving ability.  None of that is where it was pre-Adderall, BUT, I am also 20 years older, so I'm not sure how much of my mental decline is due to aging, addiction, or other past and present substance usages.    

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18 hours ago, quit-once said:

There is just one thing that still concerns me seven years after quitting: having the confidence and motivation to tackle new endeavors, especially if it requires complex problem solving skills.  I became addicted in my forties, so I have many years of pre-adderall adult life to compare with how I feel now.  In the nineties, I earned a masters degree, started a business, became a consultant, and built a cabin, all in addition to holding a regular career job.   I cannot fathom doing any of those things now  - maybe because I don't know the right people to help me with it or maybe because I simply lack the dopamine reserves to just get shit done.   I am pretty good about keeping up with the daily chores and doing my job.  My physical health returned to normal and I haven't seen a doctor since quitting.  I sleep OK, and I haven't gotten addicted to anything else.  I just wish I could just get off my ass and get more stuff done.  OK, there might be another issue- and that is my memory, observation skills, and problem solving ability.  None of that is where it was pre-Adderall, BUT, I am also 20 years older, so I'm not sure how much of my mental decline is due to aging, addiction, or other past and present substance usages.    

I feel you! 

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Update: The revelatory "high" after getting out wore off (Pink Cloud 2.0), I experienced some agita, and now I think I'm in a period of synthesis where I am growing and becoming an even better version of myself than I could have hoped for in early recovery. 

Keto/Carnivore for weeks now, at my lowest weight in two years. Business on fire. Operating at a new level cognitively. By this, I don't mean getting off talking at people. I mean processing and articulating ideas with equanimity in an effective way. 

Big fan of Jordan Peterson's new book. 

Getting off and staying off Adderall is SO hard. But if you can stick it out through those first couple years, tremendous growth is possible. 

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7 hours ago, hyper_critical said:

Update: The revelatory "high" after getting out wore off (Pink Cloud 2.0), I experienced some agita, and now I think I'm in a period of synthesis where I am growing and becoming an even better version of myself than I could have hoped for in early recovery. 

Keto/Carnivore for weeks now, at my lowest weight in two years. Business on fire. Operating at a new level cognitively. By this, I don't mean getting off talking at people. I mean processing and articulating ideas with equanimity in an effective way. 

Big fan of Jordan Peterson's new book. 

Getting off and staying off Adderall is SO hard. But if you can stick it out through those first couple years, tremendous growth is possible. 

Awesome stuff.  I've also been listening to Jordan Peterson's book 12 rules on audible for a few weeks now.  Powerful stuff.  And I too have been doing Keto/Carnivore for several months and feeling awesome.  Getting stronger in the gym and weighing less/leaner every week.  I was about 255lbs when I quit Adderall and now I'm under 180 now.  Keep it up!

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“Basically, I still have sleep issues some nights, as well as anxiety and sometimes bouts of depression.  I wonder if I'm back at my pre-adderall baseline with these issues (which I've had on and off all my life), or if I might have caused some long-term damage that made these things worse. “

 This sounds exactly like I feel and I’m over 2.5 years so if your like it at 5.5 years bet I’ll be the same. It’s frustrating all my life been looking for answers I’ve felt I need something to help me just always felt out of balance and that’s how I found addy. Ive looked at options lately to combat my depression lack of focus posted about trying Kratom for a solution last night as a option then realized maybe it’s not a good suggestion for people on here. I’ve also thought of going to a low T center to see if that’s a issue but I’m pretty sure it’s not because I have good sex drive and can work out just fine. Plus if you start taking testosterone your body stops producing naturally so your pretty much forced to pay up rest of your life or have a major withdraw in hopes your body will start producing I’m betting that withdraw similar to ours. 

 I don’t know man you do everything right far as diet exercise not drinking ( still do on occasions) and u still feel low energy and unfocused like what else can you do? They say your depressed u can find help well that’s just a flat out lie. Antidepressants don’t work , talking works some but with a professional cost a lot of money and time. What worked for me was fucking adderall also pain pills made me fucking happy until it all went out of control.

Battling lifetime depression and unable to now focus and motivate has been getting me down lately. I want to make future plans set future goals but too lazy to focus and too scared I can’t complete them. I’m past the point of being easy on myself for withdraw because that’s fucking over and  I got to get shit done accomplish real goals not just sit around half the time being lazy yet patting myself on the fucking back like I’m doing so good. I’m not saying I’m looking to relapse so don’t anyone on here give me the fucking lecture about starting adderall again I know what will happen. Just wish something natural I could find that could help lift my depression a little bit help me focus just a little but guess I never will force to be like this until I die great, grand , fucking awesome. 

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Well said Frank. I deal with all of the issues you discussed. It’s very frustrating when you’re doing everything you can to maximize potential success across all fronts of life, and you still feel down and totally lost, it’s completely demoralizing. 

It’s like finally taking responsibility for your actions, recognizing there are no short cuts in life, being willing to put the work in, and addressing all the other bs cliche’s you hear growing up, but after all that, you’re still stuck wondering what’s it all for. Where are the results! Where’s the “fell good” in any of it... At least that’s the circle I’m often  in 2.5 years post addy. But not always...

I too have delt with depression and anxiety most of my adult life. I started using Addy in my late 20’s, I’m now 46.  So no doubt some of what I’m experiencing is not related to long term addy use, but no doubt some is. Of course I also had about 7 years on benzo’s during the nearly 15 years on addy, so my situation is different then many.

A word of CAUTION to any one considering using benzo’s to help get off stimulants; DONT! Addy is tough to beat, benzo’s are often far worse for nearly everyone who uses them. 

I’m not thrilled with how I feel and how my career is going right now, but  I’m still in a much better place then I was. And if things were to get infinitely worse, I’d still never ever go back to the Addy years, NEVER! 

When it comes to antidepressants, I don’t have an all or nothing viewpoint. That is, I don’t think using an antidepressant that helps is a bad thing. So many of us that have lived through the hell of beating Adderall or (benzo’s, opioids,etc.) develop the position that all drugs are evil. Understandably so! But the truth is, there is a significant difference between using/abusing schedule II drugs, and using antidepressants. Yes I’ve had some bad experiences with AD’s, namely of the SSRI varieties. But I’ve found a low dose of Mirtazapine (Remeron) to help me a great deal. And I’m not ashamed of that, or think that it means I’m not “sober”. 

The brain has an amazing ability to heal itself, but it also has an equally amazing “memory” of pleasurable experiences. Whether or not the pleasure was drug induced. So life after Adderall is always competing against a euphoria standard that is not realistic. 

It’s ironic that I often hear people say “I’m finally starting to enjoy my old hobbies..” Sometimes I wonder if people are subconsciously responding to big pharma’s AD ad campaigns that often suggest that if you don’t enjoy things you once enjoyed, perhaps you’re depressed.. Here’s a novel idea, our interests change! Sometimes you have to change things up a bit. Going back to the same old things looking for that great spark, can be like getting back with an ex-spouse or girlfriend hoping to find the pleasure you experienced when the relationship got started; it ain’t gonna happen.

So somthing I’ve found to help is to try some new things. Volunteer doing something you have never done before. Go somewhere different, talk to different people... It’s a bit awkward at first, but you might just surprise yourself and discover a bit of joy.

I’m writing and rambling so much on this post,  I’m having flashbacks to addy induced nonsense, lol

Keep on fighting the good fight everyone! God bless!

 

 

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I don't want to be depressing however this is pretty factual... I have done a lot of reading and if you look into dopamine loss after amphetamine use you will find that adderall use as an amphetamine (same thing) is neurotoxic and does cause dopamine cell loss... In fact in DAT scans it is common that they find a 30-50% reduction in dopamine uptake in post amphetamine users, thus is even documented to also not appear to improve in scans even after a year of quitting. Adderall floods the dopamine system and besides being toxic, dopamine receptors begin to shut down because there is so much dopamine they basically have no purpose as there is more than enough dopamine present with the adderall being consumed. However there is an many that say some of these cells come back into action after ceasing the medication as the brain struggles to function on this new low... 

In the end I would say we are all worse off than in our pre adderall initial adhd days due to the fact these cells have been over taxed and some depleted... I do believe the brain adjusts to the new lower level over time as well as some cells rejuvenate themselves.. In the end these stimulants are bad. Actually the more you avoid all stimulants even holding the 2nd and 3rd cup of coffee as these stims are just temporally giving relief and again inhibiting the balancing process. I 100% believe that adderall use over a lifetime is not sustainable and will basically cause an early onset of drug induced Parkinsonism. 

I do feel cognitive balancing occurring after my 1yr milestone... However I still struggle daily. My main issues besides low energy and some sleep issues, I find small things can trigger almost instant depression or frustration... Also balancing sleep is very important, I did a sleep study that showed some sleep apnea and that was waling me up. I have not adjusted to the CPAP I got however if I sleep on my side it reduced this a lot. Use a sleep aid if needed, we are all trying to be drug free here however if your not sleeping well recovery is almost impossible... 

 

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Kratoms not a good idea. You can abuse that shit too. Which I did during my adderall days. Kratom was one of the downers I used and that shit is potent. To me it was just a strong or stronger than hydro and oxy codon. The only difference is it won't kill you but I'm pretty sure it still does a number on your brain. I'm 17 months clean off adderall and I'm still recovering. The cocktail of shit I was using really did a number on me. I can relate to feeling like you always need something from even before I found adderall I was much more manageable drug user and pretty much perfectly functional. Sucks now post adderall not using anything expect occasional alcohol and nicotine. Never thought I could fuck my self up this bad. I guess being young and dumb thinking I was invincible.. nobody could of taken the amount of shit I was taking and not had some sort of mind fuck. Anyways, at least I'm only 25 and maybe ten years from now at some point I'll hopefully find some way out of this. Just thought I'd share my experience with kratom. Did it for about two years straight and that stuffs no joke, gets you high as shit. 

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