mcmc

Taking 1 month FMLA to quit adderall after being prescribed for 11 years

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Desperately seeking advice.

Started at 10mg when I was 16 and it drastically improved my life; academically, physically, and socially. I remember thinking if I was prescribed it at a younger age I wouldn’t have had to go through the hell of being an overweight C+ student who struggled through every day of their life just to keep up with “normal” people. 

By the time I graduated college (22) I was taking 45mg. I was becoming much more dependent on it just to get through everyday activities, but I don’t think at that point it totally dictated my life. Yet. All it did was keep me in pace with the rest of the crowd, nothing outstanding. 

Started my first job out of college and my dependency skyrocketed. As of today (27) my preferred dose is 70mg (only prescribed 50) so I run out early, try to find more, or let myself go bedridden on weekends. I recently started having spontaneous panic attacks, really high blood pressure, and became really socially disconnected from my husband and friends which led me to my decision that something needs to change immediately. 

I can’t survive a workday without adderall so I’m taking 1 month of FMLA to fully detox then have no clue what my steps are.

Please share any advice.

 

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Good luck! I think it’s a good idea you are taking a month off. I was on the drug for about a decade as well. The first month detoxing isn’t pretty. I was bedridden for at least a month. I could barely shower those days. The second month started to get better. Soldier through that first month and power on!!

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hi @mcmc

congrats on your decision to take your life back. you're right - something needs to change immediately.

i'll be honest with you - over 10 years on Adderall is a long time. 1 month may be enough to get through the "can't keep my eyes open" phase, but if you intend on keeping that job, you need to have a serious plan in place for cutting back on responsibility and making it through the day with the least amount of effort. this could be difficult if you've made yourself known as an Adderall work machine, but perhaps that means you have a good enough relationship with your supervisor to explain your situation (after all, you're taking FMLA for a reason). it's really a game of managing expectations

many people here have had success with complete cold turkey, but just know that everyone's situation is unique. don't automatically rule out a taper, and don't automatically rule out something like Wellbutrin. the key is to stay quit , not do it in any specific way.

good luck and stay close to the boards. we're rooting for you (:

 

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Thanks @sleepystupid

Sorry for the novel in advance.

I realized after reading other people’s stories that one month isn’t going to cut it. I’m going to ask my doctor if I can do a month of working from home after FMLA to give myself a buffer. Then after that my next step is finding a  new job that won’t require me to take adderall. I’m starting to think that I simply won’t be capable to do the job I have now without it. 

And to your point, unfortunately I am known as a work machine at my job. But I’ve also realized that my tolerance skyrocketed since I started here because I needed to create artificial interest and motivation in my job which I’m pretty sure I would hate  if I wasn’t hypnotized by adderall (IT analyst-requires a lot of brain power and technical writing...I hate writing but ended being so good at it that I teach a writing workshop for junior analysts...thanks adderall!)   

I tried tapering but didn’t have the will power. I would take half my dose and be underwhelmed when it kicked in and reach for another pill or even drive home to get another pill. That’s when I knew I had a problem. If I get a taste of it I need all of it. 

How does Wellbutrin help with quitting adderall? Have you tried that method? 

I’m already starting to question if my goal is to quit or to just lower my tolerance..

 

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Welcome mcmc.  Smart move on the FMLA. Def see if your doctor will back you working from home for a month too. Good plan. I’m also an IT Analyst and also took for over ten years. I’ve been off for two years now. I kept my job but my reputation suffered because of my slower job performance.  I don’t enjoy my job but it does pay decent so I stay. I’m curious if you leave your job what will you do?  To answer your question, Wellbutrin seems to help people come off adderall because there is a bit of a stimulant effect with it.  I’m excited for you to rediscover true connections with people again!  You’re doing the right thing by quitting.  Please keep us posted on your journey! 

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20 hours ago, mcmc said:

I’m already starting to question if my goal is to quit or to just lower my tolerance..

honestly the only way to effectively lower your tolerance is... well, stopping for a while. but keep in mind - you've already admitted to chasing a high and not having the will power to taper. even if you manage to lower your tolerance, it will not bring the high back. basically what i'm saying is that this is not going to work for you.

20 hours ago, mcmc said:

How does Wellbutrin help with quitting adderall? Have you tried that method? 

yes. i am still on Wellbutrin as it helps with my depression, but in regards to Adderall recovery it can reduce the discomfort through acute withdrawal. it's not a miracle drug, and the effect is subtle. you can't get high on it and as long as you're not taking too high of a dose, it is very well tolerated. it is certainly an option to consider with your doctor.

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Thanks @Subtracterall. I think I want to start cold turkey at first then if I feel like I need it I’ll look into Wellbutrin. 

And to answer your question about my next job-I’m not really sure, but possibly IT project management. I still need to learn more about what skills I actually have vs. what skills I only have when I’m on adderall and the few times I’ve attempted to do my current job without adderall started to show me that. 

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@sleepystupid you’re right. I need to quit. I think I am just starting to get cold feet. I start FMLA next Monday (6/24) so that will be my “day one”. 

I know if I don’t quit now I’ll just have to go through this process all over again however many years down the road.

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52 minutes ago, mcmc said:

And to answer your question about my next job-I’m not really sure, but possibly IT project management. I still need to learn more about what skills I actually have vs. what skills I only have when I’m on adderall and the few times I’ve attempted to do my current job without adderall started to show me that. 

i think you should hold off on your assessment of "Adderall skills". i don't think there is such a thing, but that's hard to see until you're out of it's grasp. Adderall makes everything more interesting, but it doesn't exactly make you better at something. the problem is actually one of reference or comparison. for a long while, you will compare doing things sober to doing things on Adderall. it's hard to forget. but with new things? there's no point of reference. you can't compare it to how it felt on Adderall. that's why novelty is so important during recovery - finding new hobbies, interests, even a new career.

i'm not sure what an IT Analyst does specifically (i think it varies a lot?), but it sounds similar to Product Management (which is what I do). gathering user requirements, converting them into functional specs, being the glue between engineering, designing and operations... it's a hectic but rewarding field! it sounds like that's where you're headed - maybe take some time to broaden your skills, take an online class or two, but most importantly - take it easy for a little while. (:

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Welcome friend! I identify a lot with your story. I'm also 27F, was put on the meds when I was 17, and work as a database engineer/analyst/front end dev.

Some differences in our story, though: I was a binge abuser (100s of milligrams a day), which might mean different things for our recovery timelines. I was super concerned about work/academia when I quit, not being able to perform professionally was probably my biggest fear and hurdle. One of the biggest feelings I had when I first quit was a constant notion of being overwhelmed, the world and its responsibilities just felt like too much. I attributed that to, at my core, being a poor fit for my job and only landing in my field because of the adderall (you expressed something similar). But in retrospect, working at mcdonalds would have stressed me out just as much during the first few months. Now that I'm almost at 3 years clean, I think coding IS a good fit for me, and quite frankly I'm better at it now than I was when I was on the meds. Don't throw in the towel on the career just yet, in my opinion. Be gentle with yourself and anticipate some tough days, but maybe just hold off from accepting your feelings as facts for the first few months of your quit.

Soldier through. 

And keep us updated! This place helps so much. We've been there and we're rooting for you <3

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On 6/20/2019 at 9:09 AM, sleepystupid said:

don't automatically rule out a taper, and don't automatically rule out something like Wellbutrin.

I started by trying to do a 10% taper every week. I made it to the 2nd week and realized I was personally better off going cold turkey. Definitely a good idea to try though. I also ended up going on anti-depressants (Prozac) not too long after quitting adderall. My new psychiatrist thinks that my ADHD symptoms could have actually been stemming from depression and anxiety. I still don't have the dose figured out and I'm still struggling but just wanted to offer a little bit of my experience to help.

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I am 15 days clean today. It wasn’t as bad as I expected but I’m still pretty tired all day. Is it normal to still feel like this 15 days in? Thank god I took a month off work!

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