lolbats

Anyone have experiences quitting a low dose to share?

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Hi all, first time poster here. First off, I'm incredibly thankful to all of you who post on here and make me feel less alone! I'm currently 10 days clean and struggling a lot.

My (boring) story: I started taking adderall in college to study a few times a week but never had any real issues stopping. I continued to use it casually a couple times a month when I was under a lot of pressure for several years after that. About 3 years ago I finally decided to get myself a prescription, stupidly thinking to myself: "You've been taking this casually without developing any kind of dependency for YEARS. Now you won't have to ask a friend when you want it! You'll just have it on hand whenever you need it." I was working a high-pressure full time job, and I was pursuing a successful creative side hustle as well. Within six months, I not only was taking it every day, but I felt like I NEEDED it to even make it through the day. I was constantly being rewarded for overworking myself, and I felt on top of the world. That lasted a very brief period, though-- within a year or so, I was still feeling exhausted despite taking adderall every day, I completely lost a sense of what I was motivated by, I started to feel alienated from my boyfriend, I constantly felt like I was teetering on the brink of a crash. My work started to suffer. Adderall scrambled my brain and my sense of time. I was late for everything and even more scatterbrained than before the adderall. Plus, every single day I felt like a junkie, sneaking off to the bathroom to sprinkle a few more XR beads into my hand and licking them off. 

I've hated this feeling and I could only see it getting worse as the months went by. I've been trying to quit for a year now, but most of the time I can barely make it 2 days. But I know now is the right time for me to stop: I quit my stressful, unfulfilling day job right before COVID. Because of quarantine, I don't have a ton of work at the moment and I don't have many responsibilities. It's fine for me to take naps every day. It will never get any easier than this. 

I KNOW how powerful this drug is and how hard it is to quit. I somehow thought it would be easier, though. For one, I never really abused it -- I restricted myself to 10-20mg per day. And I've only been on it for about 3 years, so I don't have the intense prolonged adderall wiring that some people do from using for a decade. And yet I'm struggling SO badly. I have no energy. I can't force myself to do work even though I have a deadline this week. My digestion is awful. I'm cranky and constipated. I'm forgetful and lazy. I can barely respond to an email.

I know that it takes time and I'm being impatient. But does anyone have experience quitting a lower therapeutic dose, and does anyone have any experience or words of encouragement to share for getting through work assignments these first few weeks?

 

 

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Hey Lolbats!  Congrats on making the decision to quit!  No better time than today, especially since you no longer have that stressful day job. Your story is interesting because you used for 3 years at relatively low dosage and yet you still have the same issues as the rest of us.  But you should probably have a shorter recovery period. I used 20-30 mg per day for 15 years or so, and I am giving myself 2 years to reach some sort of baseline. It will be super interesting to see how it goes for you.  Thank God you surrendered when you did because you will have saved yourself from all sorts of suffering. Welcome to the journey back to health! I looked at my first month off this drug as a form of disability. After several months, I looked at it as partial disability. At 16 months, I have returned to work "full duty" but I still get days where I cant function. Acceptance is the key. Not rushing yourself or giving in to unrealistic expectations of performance. There are so many great posts with timelines. Even at 3 years, your dopamine system got hijacked and will need time to restore itself. From my experience, we have injured our brains and that body part needs time to heal. The good news?  LIfe is generally better and more rewarding than it was taking adderall. Egos get deflated, a new perspective sinks in, and life gets better and better as the quality of our relationships improve. As for career, give yourself plenty of time to heal before you set new goals or put pressure on yourself. Its ok to feel disabled. You are! I wish you the best of luck on this journey. Pray, eat well, move your body, hydrate, and take care of yoursef. Its ok to be selfish during this period of your life. Look forward to hearing more about your progress. 

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welcome to the forums @lolbats !

On 10/12/2020 at 7:59 PM, lolbats said:

Adderall scrambled my brain and my sense of time. I was late for everything and even more scatterbrained than before the adderall.

this is always such an interesting twist to the Adderall journey. for many of us that didn't really need it, it actually ends up GIVING us ADHD. i remember thinking "holy shit, maybe i DO really need this medication?". that behavior also confirms your doctor's diagnosis so here's another script! it also gives others the impression that we truly have ADHD! i never had to face the fact that i was just a speed junkie, cause there was all this reinforcement that i genuinely seemed like i needed medication :lol:

glad to hear that you recognized the warning signs early - as you say, there is no better time to quit than right now. to be honest, the first few weeks are going to be rough no matter what you do. if possible, take some time off - like 3 days plus a weekend or something. managing your workload in the early recovery stage is mostly about minimizing and prioritizing. do the absolute bare minimum you have to, and only do things that are urgent or critical. i'm not saying to necessarily procrastinate your work, but you need to give yourself some breathing room. if you can, try to leave your apartment or room to get work done - relocate to a coffee shop or really any other setting, and pound out your work in a concentrated burst, then reward yourself with a well deserved nap (:

gl and keep us posted!

 

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Adding to sleepystupid, the last few years of my adderall career, I noticed a huge problem with the medicaitons itself. The quality of the drugs turned into total crap.Different manufacturers came up with different products.  Some of them were pure poison to me. Total ADD symptoms from hell. I had to take full bottles to my doctor and give them to him so he could write a new persciription. That sh.. was super scary and toxic. It took me awhile to figure it out...I think aerobindo was the scariest of them all. I always had to buy the generic.  So its true, some of those meds are very toxic.  

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Thanks,  speedracer and sleepystupid! I really appreciate your perspective. 13 days today! This is the longest I've gone without taking it in many years-- even before I had a prescription, I still took my friends' pills a few times a month. It feels good. I also cancelled my appointment with my psychiatrist today, knowing that I'd be tempted to ask for a refill. I'm still having trouble on a day to day basis (my sleep has gotten really bad these last few days), but here are the MAJOR upsides I've been experiencing:

-The great relief I feel at being able to trust that the thoughts and feelings I'm experiencing now are really MINE, not the byproduct of a drug. I might be a foggier version of myself, but at least I am myself, not a projection of a chemical.

-Not feeling like I'm holding in a big secret about being on a drug all the time.

-Not being anxious wondering whether or not I'll ever have the strength to quit. Look ma, I'm quitting NOW! 

-The evenings. Instead of a claustrophobic, anxious, crash feeling, I roll into the evening feeling about the same as I had felt all day.

-The ability to truly relax. Even while "winding down" on adderall, I was still clenched because of the lingering effects of the drug. Even though I'm sluggish, it's actually quite pleasant to loosen the laser grip I had on every waking moment. 

-Not having to deal with the physical side effects: The gross smelling sweat, the weird breath, the headaches and dehydration, etc

Another thing that is helping me is reminding myself that COVID/quarantine is a blessing because it's facilitating my ability to quit. Given the state of the world, everyone is pretty low performing right now. Now, off to try to meet my deadline...

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