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Leroy Brown

Wow. I found you all. I'm trying to quit Adderall.

4 posts in this topic

Can’t believe I found this support group – been looking for something like this for a couple of years now. There’s so much that I want to write, but will stick to the basics for now. Here goes…

Tomorrow I turn 29 and I want to not only be off of this junk by my 30th birthday – I don’t even want it be a part of my daily thoughts.

Before I get to the ADD meds…

When I was 20, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. I was prescribed Effexor XR 75mg @ 2x/day. Took that until I was 26. It “stopped working†when the girl I loved cheated on me. I was advised by a nurse practitioner to “quit cold turkey†before I could switch medications. I did…and then had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the ER. It seems I haven’t really been mentally the same since (I can elaborate on this in another post) and that was 2 and ½ years ago.

ADD Meds…

I’ve been taking some form of ADD medication since I was 23. At that time, I was tested by a psychologist and tested “off the charts†for ADD. I don’t buy that now – I just wanted some stimulants to get me through my senior year of an intense double major and likely had attention-span issues like most people in the Internet generation.

I was initially prescribed Concerta 36mg @ 2x/day. At some point (for insurance purposes), I transitioned to Adderall XR 20mg @ 2xday and then finally to (short-acting) Adderall 20mg @2x/day. Last summer I decreased myself to 20mg @ 1xday and since March of this year, I’ve weaned myself down to 10mg (1/2pill) @ 1x/day and many chocolate espresso beans when I have a stash. : ) I struggle with the 10mg and occasionally have bumped up to 10mg @2x/day “to feel betterâ€.

Pertinent Medical history…

History of multiple TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries) – 14 or 15 concussions. One severe car accident with major head trauma. CAT scans did not show brain swelling. I’ve smoked marijuana (very casually) since I was 19 or 20. I rarely drink alcohol. Very rarely will eat psychedelic mushrooms in very small quantities. And of course the depression.

Why I used it…

I loved it at first. Totally helped with my depression and I became a machine athletically and professionally. I got so much done and learned so much because of those crazy little pills. I’ve never been one to take more than was prescribed, but also think that I didn’t “need†as much as was prescribed.

Why I want to get off of it…

I have become dependent on a pill to be effective as a human being – I’m okay with the anti-depressant because it is hereditary and is indeed a biological issue for which I am thankful for modern medicine. It’s bizarre that I actually have to wonder if all of my personal and professional accomplishments over the past several years were “me or the drugsâ€. It’s bizarre that I have to wonder if friends I’ve made over the past 6 years actually know “the real meâ€. The potential and unspoken long-term effects scare me and I want to minimize what damage I’ve already done. I can’t focus very well on it anyhow. Concisely put, I feel like I've been living a lie and am scared of the long-term effects of Adderall.

Why I’m scared of getting off of it…

Will I lose all effectiveness as a human being?

Will I use all of my energy fighting depression?

Has my brain lost its ability to function?

Will I become an obese, lethargic blob?

Am I going to be able to actually re-discover my passion in life?

Will I have enough energy to pursue my outdoor adventures in the mountains?

If you made it through the whole thing - thank you for reading. I could write so much more but have already blasted out an essay that would test all of our attention spans (I still have a sense of humor : ).

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Funny, I've noticed that many of us took Adderall for 5-6 years when we decided to quit. That seems to be the breaking point for a lot of people. I took Adderall daily for 5 years and tomorrow will mark 6 months off of it. It took several tries before I was able to quit for good. Quitting is hell and many of your fears are accurate. You will gain weight, feel lethargic and be racked with depression and anxiety for quite a while. I didn't have any physical energy for the first three months. My body felt extremely heavy all the time. I'm just starting to feel interest in life again after 6 months. I ate healthy and worked out regularly and it took that long. If you really want to quit you will need to make it your top priority, maybe take some time off work in the beginning so it's not too much of a blow. But the fatigue and mental deficiencies are just temporary. I have more energy now than when I was addicted, and I've lost the post-Adderall weight. The brain gradually repairs itself - you just have to be extremely patient and know that it might take you 6 months to a year to feel rebuilt. The longer you wait to quit the longer your recovery time is going to be, so better to get it over with now!

P.S. I also told myself I wouldn't still be on Adderall when I turned 30...and I was 31 when I stopped. That turned out to be a weak motivator. What really made me quit was knowing that I had to get off the pills in order to move on with my life and grow as a person.

Cassie

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Funny, I've noticed that many of us took Adderall for 5-6 years when we decided to quit. That seems to be the breaking point for a lot of people.

Interesting...I wonder why?

I took Adderall daily for 5 years and tomorrow will mark 6 months off of it.

That's awesome- stay strong.

It took several tries before I was able to quit for good. Quitting is hell and many of your fears are accurate. You will gain weight, feel lethargic and be racked with depression and anxiety for quite a while. I didn't have any physical energy for the first three months. My body felt extremely heavy all the time. I'm just starting to feel interest in life again after 6 months. I ate healthy and worked out regularly and it took that long.

Thank you for being honest. I had a hunch it'd be that bad. How do you think the fact that I've been at 10mg/day for a couple months will impact that process, if at all? Were you ever diagnosed with clinical depression prior to taking Adderall?

If you really want to quit you will need to make it your top priority, maybe take some time off work in the beginning so it's not too much of a blow.

In September (contract-purposes), I'm quitting my white-collar administrative job that's 2,000 miles from my home, and taking a mindless, labor job and moving back home. Yes, I want it that much.

But the fatigue and mental deficiencies are just temporary. I have more energy now than when I was addicted, and I've lost the post-Adderall weight.

Thank you for adding this - very encouraging.

The brain gradually repairs itself - you just have to be extremely patient and know that it might take you 6 months to a year to feel rebuilt. The longer you wait to quit the longer your recovery time is going to be, so better to get it over with now!

From my current lens, both are equally as scary, but I know that I have to do the former.

P.S. I also told myself I wouldn't still be on Adderall when I turned 30...and I was 31 when I stopped. That turned out to be a weak motivator. What really made me quit was knowing that I had to get off the pills in order to move on with my life and grow as a person.

Agreed.

Thanks, Cassie!

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I think if you've successfully weened down to 10mg/day, your quitting process will be easier than most. Although, I was not on huge doses - 20-40mg of Vyvanse, which is probably equivalent to 10-20mg of Adderall (although Vyvanse felt more potent to me than Adderall). But I was not consistent with my dose. I used to play around with it a lot, so you will probably have an easier time than I did. I was so psychologically addicted, I was convinced I couldn't do anything without it.

I did take some anti-depressants in my early twenties, but my depression was a lack of interest in my career and disappointment with life decisions, not some sort of 'chemical imbalance.' Viewing depression as a physical disease requiring medication ignores the social context of our lives. We are as much a product of our environments, habits and attitudes as we are our genes. I prefer now to get down to the root of my problems and use exercise/yoga/meditation to work on depression.

It sounds like you definitely have your head in the game and are serious about quitting Adderall. It's great that you have a plan for getting a less stressful job that has you moving around during the day. That will help immensely. Good luck and keep posting!

Cassie

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