pkr

Empathy

19 posts in this topic

Hello,

I have a question. Has empathy been an issue for anyone? I used to be a very empathic person, but since adderall, I have almost completely lost that. I have had to remind myself to listen and try to feel what the other person is feeling. This used to be a skill of mine...people always come to me with their problems, and I had lots of patience and good advice. But now it's gone. I don't have the patience to listen, and feel like I don't care at all, when cognitively I know I should. I'm in the process of quitting..periodically I've gone days and weeks at a time without any, and am now down to about 7-10mg a day, only a couple of times a week. But I don't see any evidence of my old empathy returning. Please, if anyone has had a similar experience, I'd like some reassurance that it will return. I also just feel a general emptiness in my mind, which is very disturbing to me. In fact, that scares me so much, that I think it's my number one trigger to take it. I need an extra push to just toss them out completely, so if anyone has some insight on the general emptiness and empathy, and some encouragement that the empathy will return and the mind will refill at the point that I'm free of this garbage, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Lack of empathy and general feeling of emptiness? I'd say hell yes ... those are effects of amphetamines and they do get better. They also affect some people on SSRI antidepressants (one reason that these pills do more for the anxious, chronic worrier than for someone who is classically depressed. You won't lie awake worrying about your family or wondering what your friends think if you just don't care about those people quite as much).

On adderall I was not only less social and less giving ... it even got to the point where I had flashes of paranoia. Not the exotic kind of delusion that the CIA was following me; just suspicions that people were going out of their way to put me down or make my life hard, when there was a total lack of evidence that this was so. Thankfully, that is all gone. The "empty" feeling or lack of enthusiasm can take a bit longer, but it does get better. I am even paradoxically grateful for some of my feelings of loneliness, insofar as they mean that the craving for human companionship is coming back. On Adderall it was rather TOO easy to spend a weekend contentedly working on "projects" or just reading and surfing the Net, all by myself.

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I completely lacked empathy when I was on adderall. Usually I am a compassionate, sensitive person, but I become very heartless and impatient with everyone on it.

The funny thing is that I didn't see anything wrong with my behavior when I was on it. Other people would tell me that I changed, that I had no regard for anyone or anything. But I was so in love with the drug that I shrugged off those comments. I would become impatient when my friends or boyfriend talked to me-I just wanted everyone to hurry up and finish what they were saying, since I was always in work mode and in a rush to get everything done.

I've been off addy for over two weeks at this point and my personal relationships have improved drastically.

I have become much more patient and caring. I probably felt empty for the 1st week, but my mood is improving too.

I hope you start feeling back to your old self soon.

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I agree. Empathy goes out the window on adderall. It makes you focus on yourself only. It turns you into a zombie or robot or some kind of combination of the two.

And also the more addicted you get, the more preoccupied you become on how you are feeling (GREAT or horrible)- if you don't feel GREAT - it becomes hard to do anything else.

One of the biggest differences between now and before is the return of empathy.

People say I'm friendlier and more talkative and much more aware of my surroundings and my interactions with other people. Before, i would be in a conversation and then suddenly tune out and my thoughts would drift onto something i was focused and more interested on. It became hard for me to follow conversations. I didn't seem to care. I was physically present, but my mind was somewhere else.

I remember feeling really distant and lifeless but super enthusiastic about whatever pointless or mindless task I was doing. I think adderall made me enjoy things that would ordinarily seem really boring and get super excited and involved in things that now would seem like a waste of time. But it also sucked the life out of me and dehumanized me. I looked back at some pictures of myself when I was abusing I noticed that I had this look in my eyes was glazed over and kind of lifeless.

Im glad to feel alive and like a human being again now!

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I was physically present, but my mind was always somewhere else. I remember feeling really distant and lifeless but super enthusiastic about whatever pointless or mindless task I was doing. I think it made me enjoy things that would ordinarily seem really boring. But it also sucked the life out of me and dehumanized me.

This was so me.....and probably countless other addy users

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Thanks so much for your responses. I'm so thankful to hear that it's going to come back. I'd been cutting back slowly, and I've had zero pills for about a week. Suddenly, today I felt good-for many reasons, which I'm posting here mostly so I can go back and reference the list when I feel tempted.

1. I felt NO paranoia today. Why would I ever take something that is GUARANTEED to make me feel paranoid and crazy?

2. Food smelled and tasted pleasurable.

3. I was patient...and fully present...with my family.

4. I truly enjoyed the sun and the breeze.

5. I drove through my neighborhood and remembered a long lost feeling that I'd had ten years ago when I knew I wanted to live here forever. I'd forgotten how much I loved it until this morning. It stood out, because obviously I drive through it every day, and the scenery hasn't changed, just my perception of it because of these stupid pills! It makes me wonder what else I've been missing!

7. I felt a genuine sense of comfort, that had been long gone.

8. Today I didn't once wonder what it's all for.

9. Nothing I did today made me hate myself.

I sensed something shifting when two days ago I cried watching a Hannah Montana movie with my daughter! Ha! :) I've been taking N-Acetyl Cysteine, Curcumin, and a tiny amount of Sam-E this time. I have no idea if it's making a difference, but all I'm hoping for is that I still feel this way tomorrow. I'm definitely feeling mentally sluggish, but I'm fairly certain I'd prefer all of my days to be more like today than what they've been for the past four years.

Thanks again!

P

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Thanks so much for your responses. I'm so thankful to hear that it's going to come back. I'd been cutting back slowly, and I've had zero pills for about a week. Suddenly, today I felt good-for many reasons, which I'm posting here mostly so I can go back and reference the list when I feel tempted.

1. I felt NO paranoia today. Why would I ever take something that is GUARANTEED to make me feel paranoid and crazy?

2. Food smelled and tasted pleasurable.

3. I was patient...and fully present...with my family.

4. I truly enjoyed the sun and the breeze.

5. I drove through my neighborhood and remembered a long lost feeling that I'd had ten years ago when I knew I wanted to live here forever. I'd forgotten how much I loved it until this morning. It stood out, because obviously I drive through it every day, and the scenery hasn't changed, just my perception of it because of these stupid pills! It makes me wonder what else I've been missing!

7. I felt a genuine sense of comfort, that had been long gone.

8. Today I didn't once wonder what it's all for.

9. Nothing I did today made me hate myself.

I sensed something shifting when two days ago I cried watching a Hannah Montana movie with my daughter! Ha! :) I've been taking N-Acetyl Cysteine, Curcumin, and a tiny amount of Sam-E this time. I have no idea if it's making a difference, but all I'm hoping for is that I still feel this way tomorrow. I'm definitely feeling mentally sluggish, but I'm fairly certain I'd prefer all of my days to be more like today than what they've been for the past four years.

Thanks again!

P

I started taking Sam-E last Friday and I started noticing positive effects right away. My depression has decreased quite a bit and has helped with the Adderall withdrawal, which I ceased the Friday before last. How long have y

ou been taking Sam-E?

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I started taking Sam-E last Friday and I started noticing positive effects right away. My depression has decreased quite a bit and has helped with the Adderall withdrawal, which I ceased the Friday before last. How long have y

ou been taking Sam-E?

I've been taking it on and off for years. It does amazing things for depression and doesn't get nearly the attention I think it deserves. Far better than any SSRI or St. John's Wort. I would like to have stopped taking adderall long ago and only taken Sam-E, but I haven't been able to get myself there (until now, hopefully). One possible negative that for me is a problem is that if I take it with adderall, it can put me in a (relative) rage, so I have to be very careful with the dose. I'm always playing with the dose, because it builds up in your system, and you can get to a point where you find yourself super angry with little provocation.

I want to say that it has that potential without the adderall, but that the adderall lowers that threshold? But it's been four years on adderall, so I can't remember for sure. Anyway, I'm playing with the dose again, being completely off adderall. Typically I take 400mg for about three days, til I feel a little edgy. Then I stop completely for a few days and let it work it's way through. Those are the best days, and I probably go a week or so before I take a maintenance dose of 200mg maybe once or twice a week. It would be nice if it came in a smaller dose, because I tend to forget about it until my husband notices and asks me if I've been taking it. :) Then I start all over. I'm always surprised that more people haven't tried it. I wonder if they just don't know about it, or if they just feel more comfortable with a prescription antidepressant. It's great that it's working for you! And you just started? Would you mind keeping me posted regarding any 'build-up' scenario? I'm curious if everyone experiences edginess with higher doses.

Have a good one!

P

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I want to make a comment about empathy.

There are times when having less empathy can be a good thing - let me explain. I used adderall to combat depression and also to be the superman I needed to be while helping my mother through her final years of old age. I knew at the time that I was less emotional and had less empathy, but was that a bad thing? I believe that having less empathy enabled me to be more objective in every angle of her care. By not getting caught up in the emotional turmoil of seeing Mom's health in a long and gradual decline I was able to focus on the tasks at hand - like researching all of her medications, interactions, and different diseases and ailments. Adderall gave me the energy and endurance I needed to do the work and upkeep around her home when I came by every weekend (I lived in another state). I would take her to her doctors appointments when I could and help make informed decisions regarding her care and treatment. Adderall gave me incredible patience and I never got angry or frustrated with my elderly mother (except that one time in the grocery store). Even while she was in the nursing home, I would review and research her medications and medical care and have informed discussions with her doctors. Adderall helped me to overlook the hellish conditions of a place where people go to die.

The reason I found this topic interesting was because I had a conversation with her about empathy one time and it went something like this:

Mom: You would have made a good doctor. You have done far more for me than all of my doctors combined.

Me: I would make a lousy doctor because I don't have enough empathy and I really don't enjoy dealing with people and their health problems.

Mom: But that isn't true - You have plenty of empathy for me

Me: That's because you're my mom.

Having less empathy isn't always a bad thing, especially when emotions could influence your decisions.

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Empathy is certainly a tricky thing. I think my lack of empathy with adderall stood out, in particular, because it was so counter to who I was before that. But certainly, my empathy has caused me plenty of trouble in my life. It's not necessarily a bad thing not to have it. In fact, I'm not sure a lot of doctors have much. My dad is a doctor, and he has none whatsoever. He cares, but he's not taking on anyone else's pain. And that's probably necessary to some extent. Just like everything else, there's a full spectrum of empathy, and you probably don't want to be too far to one extreme or the other. Adderall completely ameliorates it for me.

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I have gained a new perspective and learned a good lesson from this conversation. Thank you, pkr.

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I have gained a new perspective and learned a good lesson from this conversation. Thank you, pkr.

You are welcome! I hope you don't have any guilt about that time. It sounds like your mom was incredibly lucky to have you.

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Wow, I have also dealt with this issue while on adderall, including post-adderall as I am now 1 and a half months drug-free. This blogg gives me much greater insight. Let me explain just a tad... prior to reading these post I was/am still experiencing a great deal of difficulty dealing with "empathy." I can't seem to remember this being much of an issue for me pre-adderall, as it is post-adderall, which is ultimately what makes it such an issue for me. As stated above "it stands out." At this point, I don't feel as if i have ANY empathy! so...upon realizing this I tend to "lay it on thick" in order to compensate for my lack of empathy and understanding just where I should draw the empathetic-line. When I behave this way I'm not entirely faking it,I truly mean it, somewhere deep-down; Yet,I lay it on thick only because I feel remorse for not actually feeling any remorse or should I say any real connection.- hope this makes some kind of sense. Either way this post has helped me to understand...everything in moderation, thus I don't feel as bad. However, having no clue where that moderation lies is the entire problem these days..I'm guessing.

Freedom's Wings

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I never knew that it causes this, and it boggles my mind. Last year I spent a long time dealing with the "lack of empathy" feeling. Ever since I was a child, I had always been full of natural overflowing compassion for all life. The Adderall took away the natural feeling of being able to feel a more direct form of compassion. This just motivates me more to drop the pill bottle and face the truth of who I am in the mirror, because the fact is that this pill has covered up more than just my insecurities - but the redeeming parts of me too.

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This is the worst part about Adderall for me. I strongly value empathy and have long considered my natural ability to *feel* other peoples feelings and innately respond in a helpful, win-win manner as a core part of my self-image.

Adderall turns everything into a "task"; I've found myself being uncharacteristically detached / amoral / emotionally manipulative. Relationships rapidly deteriorate into win-lose "contests" when things aren't going my way (and I'm naturally non-competetive!).

...and then you crash, hard, and all of a sudden your arrogant haughtiness flips into frightening neediness, and the poor person you're dealing with either 1) doesn't know what the fuck to think, 2) considers you a delusional narcissist, and/or 3) recognizes the tell-tale signs of amphetamine (ab)use.

I've ruined two potentially awesome romantic entanglements *very quickly* via the above cycle within the past year. Friends, co-workers, family might let you skirt by with some degree of incongruence. But don't expect much by the way of true intimacy.

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This is the worst part about Adderall for me. I strongly value empathy and have long considered my natural ability to *feel* other peoples feelings and innately respond in a helpful, win-win manner as a core part of my self-image.

Adderall turns everything into a "task"; I've found myself being uncharacteristically detached / amoral / emotionally manipulative. Relationships rapidly deteriorate into win-lose "contests" when things aren't going my way (and I'm naturally non-competetive!).

...and then you crash, hard, and all of a sudden your arrogant haughtiness flips into frightening neediness, and the poor person you're dealing with either 1) doesn't know what the fuck to think, 2) considers you a delusional narcissist, and/or 3) recognizes the tell-tale signs of amphetamine (ab)use.

I've ruined two potentially awesome romantic entanglements *very quickly* via the above cycle within the past year. Friends, co-workers, family might let you skirt by with some degree of incongruence. But don't expect much by the way of true intimacy.

Well said and I agree completely,

It's actually impossible to fall in love while abusing/probably normal use of adderall. Being in love and attachment is actually caused by the increase and effect of dopamine, you can't feel that if it's all drained.

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I never knew that it causes this, and it boggles my mind. Last year I spent a long time dealing with the "lack of empathy" feeling. Ever since I was a child, I had always been full of natural overflowing compassion for all life. The Adderall took away the natural feeling of being able to feel a more direct form of compassion. This just motivates me more to drop the pill bottle and face the truth of who I am in the mirror, because the fact is that this pill has covered up more than just my insecurities - but the redeeming parts of me too.

I kind of wish I was that way, I've never had much empathy for anyone.. I've always had to fake it.

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Today on Google Health News, I read a summary of a research project that determined that empathy and analytical thinking were mutually exclusive thought processes. I thought back to all the great posts on this discussion thread and decided to review this topic. It looks like our discussion on this topic was spot-on. Adderall makes one over-analyze just about everything so it should come as no suprise that adderall abusers would notice their lack of empathy.

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Very interesting! It's probably some sort of survival mechanism. Emotions have got to be just a distraction to the fight or flight, response.

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