Cassie

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Everything posted by Cassie

  1. Should I quit Adderall?

    You said you will have no responsibilities with regards to work or school this summer - that sounds like the perfect time to quit Adderall. I wish I would have quit three years ago while I was in between jobs, instead of three months ago while I had (and still have) a full time job with a horrendously long daily commute. The problem was that three years ago I didn't even realize I was addicted to Adderall. I knew I was dependent on some level, that I needed it to function every day, but I didn't clearly see the problems Adderall was causing me until much later. I still kick myself for not seeing it sooner and quitting during the seven months I was unemployed. Sure, I was going to graduate school at the time, but it would have been so much easier to quit without the burden and boredom of a 9-5 job, because that's the environment that makes me crave Adderall the most. It sounds like you already see the harm Adderall/Vyvanse is causing you. If you quit this summer while you have this ideal opportunity of being work and school-free, you can save yourself a lot of pain several years down the road, when you want to quit again but are shouldering more responsibility. Or you can take the summer off, go back on Vyvanse, and find yourself in the same predicament next summer. Keep in mind how quickly the body builds tolerance to amphetamines. Any 'reset' to your tolerance level is going to be very short-lived.
  2. No Energy for Going Out

    I struggle with my sociability too, and I'm three months off Adderall. It's almost like I don't quite have the energy yet to work and go out, and since I need my job I'm going to prioritize that one. I used to go bar hopping every weekend on the pills too. And boy, did I love to drink on Adderall! I could down beer after beer and never have the slighest hangover the next day. Off the pills I'm not a big drinker at all. Alcohol just makes me too tired without the stimulant-combo effect. I have no desire to go to bars or clubs anymore. But I also figure that I partied a hell of a lot in my 20s (I'm 31 now), so I'm not mourning that lifestyle too terribly. I've just moved on and grown up, I guess. If you were a social butterfly and/or partier before the Adderall, I'm sure you will be again. It's just a matter of time. I'm more of an introvert, so I know the Adderall brought out the hardcore partying-drinking side of me. My advice to you is to tell your drinking buddies that you just quit Adderall and that you'll be really tired for a while. If you don't want to mention Adderall specifically, just tell them you're stopping a medication and as a side effect you'll be tired and won't feel like going out for a while. This way you won't feel any pressure and they won't bug you about being a homebody for a while. Trust me, your friends will be there when you feel like going out again, especially if drinking was your primary activity.
  3. Oh This is Super Weird...LOL

    Hi Kristen, A little weight gain is to be expected when quitting Adderall, I'm afraid. The effects of sleeping and eating all the time during withdrawal, combined with a slowed metabolism, are probably going to cause you to put on a few pounds. I think the only people who don't gain any weight when quitting are those that were naturally thin to begin with. And being young helps. I was fairly thin before taking Adderall, and even I gained almost ten pounds in the first two months after quitting. But I also went from age 25 to 30, so it's probably unrealistic to think my body would never have changed regardless of the Adderall. If you enjoy running, that will help. Any consistent aerobic exercise, really. Healthy protein snacks will help, as will coffee, vitamins and lots of water. But some initial weight gain is usually inevitable. You can always lose it later, when your mind and motivation come back. At some point you may need to decide what's more important: being skinny or being sane and addiction-free. Many years ago, I worked at a debt negotiation firm, where we helped people settle their credit card and medical debt for less than they owed. It was an alternative to bankruptcy - less hassle. Like bankruptcy, it was a quick way to get out of a lot of debt, but it damaged your credit for a few years. That was the trade-off. Many of our clients were afraid of ruining their credit, so I would ask them, "What's more important: getting out of debt or having good credit? You have to prioritize, because you can't have both at the same time right now." The key phrase was "right now." A few years after a debt negotiation or a bankrutpcy, their credit would rebound and they would be debt-free. Your dilemma is similar. Ask yourself: do you want to be Adderall skinny or do you want to get your life back? You can't have both at the same time right now.
  4. need help badily

    Comparing l-tyrosine to adderall is like comparing advil to oxycontin. It's an over the counter supplement, like a vitamin, and it won't get you high. I take two 500 mg pills a day. I believe that's the dosage suggested on the bottle.
  5. Hi guys, In Mike's article about the common characteristics of Adderall users, one of the character traits I feel we share is insecurity. I agree with him that many of us intelligent, capable people use Adderall as a crutch to mask our own deep-seated insecurities and conform to society's idea of 'normal.' Yesterday, while I was bored at work, I stumbled upon a fascinating article that changed my perception of my own insecurities. In it, the author suggests that what we (and perhaps modern culture) perceive to be our worst flaws are actually our core gifts, and that pain arises from either building walls around them or expressing them in ways that exceed healthy boundaries in our relationships with ourselves and others. He explains that his greatest insight as a therapist has been seeing his clients' strengths where they see character flaws, weakness and insecurity. Really, the article is about self-acceptance - to perceive your weaknesses as strengths is to see two sides of the same coin - that kind of thing. I'm rarely enamored or inspired by an advice article, but the way this author explains these concepts really hit home for me. Check it out and tell me what you think: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-love/201109/how-your-greatest-insecurities-reveal-your-deepest-gifts Cassie
  6. Experience with Wellbutrin?

    I took Wellbutrin for a year before I got my hands on an Adderall prescription, and would take leftover pills when I was between Adderall prescriptions (i.e. ran out early). It increased my energy and focus, but it also made me anxious and it gave me horrible hangovers if I drank any alcohol on it. Even if I just drank a couple beers, I would have a terrible headache the next day. When I looked up this side effect I saw that Wellbutrin is hard on the liver, so that makes sense. If taking Wellbutrin is the only way you can stay off Adderall than go ahead and take it. It's not addictive. It doesn't feel like Adderall. You don't have to wean off of it like other antidepressants. But I'm with quit-once: why go from one pill to another and reinforce the idea that you have a 'disease' that can only be 'cured' with medication? Here's some food for thought, from the book "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart" by Dr. Gordon Livingston, a rare anti-pharma psychiatrist: "In our efforts to be commpassionate and helpful to those suffering from anxiety to depression and to destigmatize these conditions, we have equated them to physical illness requiring medication. It is true that the current crop of anti-depressants has proven remarkably effective. The downside to the medical approach is that illness in this society is a responsibility relieving state" (p.30). "A common example of a diagnostic fad is adult ADD. Disorganized, daydreaming procrastinators now have a medical explanation for their inattention AND an effective treatment: stimulant drugs. People uniformly report that their spirits are better and that they get more done when taking an amphetamine. To which I can only reply, 'Me too.' The point is, in an effort to destigmatize genuine mental illnes (severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder), we have created a plethora of diagnoses that are really just descriptions of certain patterns of behavior. That some of these appear to respond to one sort of psychotropic drug or another just confirms our belief that they are 'diseases' (p.33)" Here is one more insightful quote from the book. This is what Dr. Livingston tells his patients who come to him seeking medication: "The good news is that we have effective treatments for the symptoms of depression; the bad news is that medication will not make you happy. Happiness is not simply the absense of despair. It is an affirmative state in which our lives have both meaning and pleasure (p. 7)" Preach on brother, I say.
  7. I have a suppplement called Crave Control that helps somewhat. It's a blend of tyrosine, phenylalanine, glutamine, 5-HTP, vitamin C and B6. You can read the description here: http://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/crave_control.html . It's $40 for a bottle of 240 capsules. It says the serving size is 8 capsules per day, but I've never taken more than 2-4 per day, so the bottle has lasted me a long time. It has helped me combat some of the brain fog.
  8. Ugh- The hunger!

    Since I've quit Adderall I've really had to watch my portion sizes. I gained about 9 pounds in the first two months, and have lost 5 in the third month because I'm finally getting my portion sizes under control. In addition to boosting metabolism overall, I think that Adderall speeds up the appetite signaling process from your stomach to your brain. Whenever I ate on Adderall, I just got full so much faster. Now, I can eat the same sized meal, and I'm still hungry. But, if I wait 30 minutes I'm not hungry anymore. This was a big challenge to me in the beginning. I'd eat a normal sized meal, still feel hungry, and eat something else. And I gained weight. Now, I give myself a half an hour after eating to determine if I should eat more. I almost always realize I'm full after that 30 minutes and don't want to eat anymore. So now, my portion sizes are about what they were on Adderall (which was normal portion sizes, three meals a day), and I'm losing the extra pudge. I've just had to adapt to a longer stomach-to-brain signaling time, and I've learned that feeling hungry doesn't require an emergency "I need to eat immediately or I'll die" response. Good luck. You probably will gain weight in the beginning. Just know that it's temporary and you can always lose it later on Cassie
  9. Does Nicotine Drive the Speed Train?

    This is an interesting thread. I don't smoke, but I did the same 'chasing' behavior with caffeine while on Adderall (Vyvanse), so perhaps it's a similar dopaminergic mechanism. I would take Adderall, chase it with coffee, take more Adderall, then start to feel spacey in the afternoon so drink more coffee or Red Bull and then maybe take another Adderall. It was a vicious cycle. I craved caffeine all the time on Adderall because I always felt that the Adderall wasn't enough - like I always needed some extra boost. Off the drug, I have a cup of coffee in the morning and I don't want any more during the day, even if I'm really tired. I remember one day, I took a normal amount of Adderall but drank way too much coffee. I was driving home from work and was stopped at a light leading to the freeway. My right leg started shaking uncontrollably and I almost had a panic attack. I thought I was going to have to call 911 because my leg wouldn't stop shaking to control the gas pedal. Eventually I talked myself down (it was a long light) and was able to drive, but I was incredibly shaky throughout the drive home. That was a really scary moment in my mental and physical state. One of the reasons I'm glad to be off Adderall is the anxiety and compromised reaction time I felt while driving. I'm glad I never got into an accident. Anyway, congratulations to you guys for quitting smoking. That's a big accomplishment, and you're saving a lot of money I'm sure. Cassie
  10. Stuck in the middle

    Hi, It will take you a long time to feel like the mental fog has lifted. It is totally normal to feel like crap for the first few months, in my experiences. I also experience air hunger from time to time, but for me, stimulants like Adderall or caffeine exacerbate it, so we are different in that respect. Do you drink a lot of coffee? If I drink too much coffee I get air hunger, more so than when I took Adderall, so I am careful with my caffeine intake. I also recommend yoga. Since I've been doing yoga several times per week, my breathing and my mental clarity is much improved. It takes a while of consistent practice to feel the changes, but if you stick with it, it will greatly help your anxiety, and it is a long term solution, unlike taking pills. If you can't afford to go to a studio, you can always get a couple DVDs and do it at home. I like the Wai Lana yoga DVDs (Wai Lana is the name of the instructor). As for freaking out about messing up your brain, remember that the brain is malleable and stop scouring the Internet for anecdotes or pseudoscience suggesting otherwise! Don't psych yourself out. The brain's plasticity has been well established in neuroscience for several decades now. A book I would highly recommend reading is "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor. http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/B004HEXSLI . It's written by a brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke in her 30s and made a complete recovery. She had to relearn everything, from walking to eating and even had to relearn what the purpose of everyday objects were. For example, she had to learn that a 'fork' was an eating untensil and you use it to get food from your plate to your mouth. She describes how she had to remake every tiny little connection in her brain, and that the reason she was able to make a full recovery (surprising her doctors) was because, as a neuroscientist, she believed in the plasticity of the brain. I really hope you read this book - I promise it will humble, enlighten and inspire you. Good luck! Cassie
  11. 2 months and depression/fatigue at it's worse

    I know what you mean about the prolongued fatigue. I didn't feel like I had any physical energy for over two months after quitting. I felt like the second month off Adderall was even worse than the first, energy wise. This is my second time quitting. The first was a year ago. I went two months and then relapsed because I wasn't feeling the slightest improvement in my energy level; in fact, I felt like I was regressing. This time around, I did the following things differently: 1) Regular supplements. I've been taking l-tyrosine twice daily since I quit this time. The first time I only took it intermittently. It helps your mood slightly; plus you get the placebo effect of taking pills. 2) Light exercise. The first time I quit, I forced myself to jog every other day, even though I hate jogging off Adderall. While this kept my weight down, I think it tired me out even more. This time around, I've been doing a daily 20-30 minute leisurely walk. It's not burning as many calories so I'm eating less to compensate, but I have more energy now than when I was forcing myself to do more intense exercise. 3) Massages. I've been getting a weekly deep tissue massage. I go to a massage school near my work so it's only $25. I believe this has helped tremendously in healing my body. 4) Yoga. Since my second quit, I've done Bikram yoga twice a week (at a studio and at home). About two weeks ago I decided to do it every day for a month. After seven straight days, I finally felt like I had normal levels of energy again. This was at 73 days clean. I had to stop for a few days due to knee pain, but resumed doing the yoga every other day. 5) Baths. I've taken lots of hot baths since quitting, at least once a week. I hope this helps. Even if you're not motivated to exercise (like me), it won't take a lot of effort to go for a 20 minute walk every day and do some yoga poses at home. Don't push yourself and take care of your body. I believe it's a lot easier to change your body than it is to change your mind/thoughts, and by changing your body your mental state will improve. For me, once I was out of the woods with the (very long) physical withdrawal, I felt much more optimistic about my recovery, my confidence level, my social life, etc. Cassie
  12. The Two Month Itch

    I just wanted to say a long overdue thank you for your replies. I ended up relapsing and took Adderall for another 9 months before quitting again. It has been a lot easier this time around since I knew more about what to expect. Also, when I quit before I wasn't really quitting for myself, I was quitting for my relationship. My husband, who is a very wise man, told me back then that unless I quit for myself and myself only, I was not really ready. He was right. This time has been infinitely easier because I really was ready this time - it was not a split decision. I am 73 days clean now, so past the point of where I relapsed last time. It has taken this long to finally feel like I have physical energy again. I could not have done it without this site, so thank you Mike, and to everyone who has read this and my other posts on the site. Cassie
  13. Trying Again!

    Spartan, I can relate to your feelings of work and exercise off Adderall. On Adderall, I ran 20 miles a week and was in amazing shape. I loved running and was motivated to run almost every day. When I quit, I suddenly discovered that I could barely walk, let alone run. I went from jogging 3-4 miles outside everyday to forcing myself to walk on my treadmill for 20 minutes a day, at 3.0 mph, in front of the TV. And even that felt torturous. Sometimes I had to settle for every other day. I'm sorry to say this, but it took over two months for me to feel like I had any physical energy again. I took Adderall for 5 years. During the first two months, I could barely walk on the treadmill as I mentioned above, and it took effort just to get out of my chair at work during the day and go walk around. I felt like I became glued to any chair I sat on. I'm 73 days clean and finally feeling energy again. I relaped once before at the two month mark because I couldn't handle the physical fatigue, so I knew what to expect this time around and wasn't as anxious about it. I knew I would no longer enjoy running once I quit again, so I got lots of shows lined up on my Netflix queue for my pathetic walk-a-thon. Since I quit, I've done Bikram yoga twice a week and that has helped a little, but about a week ago I decided to challenge myself and do it every day for 30 days. I'm day 6 into it, and I can say that my body finally feels alive again. I have Adderall levels of physical energy now due to the daily yoga (I alternate practicing at a studio to doing the same routine at home, using an audio podcast). Anyway, I hope this helps a little. You are definitely not alone in your struggles with exercise. For me, the prolonged physical fatigue (and subsequent lack of motivation to exercise) was the hardest part of quitting Adderall. Cassie
  14. Books on recovery..

    Two books I re-read often are 'Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart' and 'And Never Stop Dancing', both by Gordon Livingston. The author is a psychiatrist who is against giving people pills to solve their problems. These aren't shallow self-help books - they are compilations of stunningly truthful essays about human nature. Everything this guy says is right on. Another book I read often to remind myself of the side effects of Adderall is the classic novel 'Flowers for Algernon'. While it's not about drug use, the parallels between Charlie's surgical procedure and performance enhancing drugs like Adderall make it timely and relevant every time I read it.
  15. Adderall ruined my health!

    None of you are fucked for life! The brain is plastic. Science has known this for 20 years now.
  16. Weight gain when quitting unavoidable?

    I just wanted to add, if you find healthy foods that you enjoy, it won't be as hard to keep the weight off. I'm not a big salad fan, but I like grilled veggies like eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and bell peppers, so I'll grill them and have them as side dishes during the week, or make paninis. I also like Kashi cereals. They're tasty and high in fiber. If I have a bowl for breakfast it keeps me full until lunch. You may want to be careful about eating too many 'low-fat' snacks. The fat is what makes you feel full. That's why I like eggs, nuts, string cheese, edamame, etc. You don't need to eat a lot because the fat is satiating. It's also better to eat foods in their natural state rather than foods laden with chemical additives to make them 'low-calorie' or 'low-fat'. Several studies suggest that artificial sweeteners stimulate hunger, and that people will eat more of a food if it's labeled 'low-calorie'. And, the more processed a food is the worse it is for your body (read Michael Pollan's 'In Defense of Food' or the more concise 'Food Rules' for excellent insight into the reductionist science of nutrition). I've also noticed recently that I look thinner when I eat three square meals a day and don't snack, vs. several small meals throughout the day. That way of eating seems to better for my metabolism (it's also the way I ate on Adderall), so experiment and see what is better for you. Try to follow some of Michael Pollan's Food Rules: shop at the outer edges of the grocery store (all the processed junk is in the middle aisles, whole foods are on the perimeter), don't eat packaged foods that have more than five ingredients listed, and don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
  17. Weight gain when quitting unavoidable?

    I gained a few pounds the first two weeks of quitting, but then my weight normalized. These are the things that have helped me. 1. L-tyrosine. I take one pill (500 mg) in the morning about 30 minutes before breakfast, and another pill 30 mins before lunch. I find that l-tyrosine suppresses my appetite just as much as Adderall did. 2. Coffee. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant. I have a cup of coffee every morning when I get to work, and sometimes another cup in the afternoon. If you don't like coffee, sugar-free Red Bull is a good alternative. No more than one a day, though. 3. 100-calorie popcorn bags. When I want to snack out of boredom, I have a 100-calorie bag of microwave popcorn. It takes long enough to eat that it satisfies my carb craving, and it's only 100 calories. 4. Fruit and veggies. Try to add fruit or veggies to every meal without worrying about anything else, and you'll start eating healthier. 5. No liquid calories. I only drink water and coffee during the day, and occasionally a glass of wine with dinner. Not drinking your calories will help you lose weight. 6. Protein snacks. Hard boiled eggs, almonds, beef jerky - protein snacks will help you feel full and are healthy. I typically eat a hard boiled egg if I need something to tide me over before lunch. It's easy to make a bunch and keep in the fridge. 7. Don't eat out. I bring my lunch to work every day and eat breakfast and dinner at home. If you make your own food, you naturally won't eat as many calories. If I do go out to eat, it's usually sushi or something fairly light. 8. Fun exercise. I do hot yoga twice a week and go hiking on Sundays. That helps to keep me in shape. I hope these tips help. Not gaining weight may have been easier for me because I don't have a sweet tooth (I've never drank soda or eaten candy or sweets) and I've always been a pretty healthy eater, but I do love carbs and would overeat if not for the natural appetite suppressants of caffeine and tyrosine!