First of all, I must say that this site is such a godsend. This subject has been so taboo in the past, but having this site....it is comforting to know that I am not the only person out there who is dealing with this drug and its major negatives. All of you are wonderful for sharing your stories - I cannot tell you how much that has meant to me.
My name is Liz and I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 14 (I'm 28 now). I was on Ritalin, took vacations from it with no issues, then went on Strattera in college and was on that for about 4 years, then spent a year off meds. I went to a new doctor and asked to be put back on ADD medicine - she put me on Vyvanse and wrote me a prescription for one 10mg of Adderall a day (this was for when the Vyvanse wore off.. I worked pretty long hours at a demanding job, so I guess I thought it was necessary). It was wayyy more medicine than I needed - I think I spent the next year high, and I didn't even know it (my poor husband!!). Like everyone else, I felt amazing and could do everything (or so I thought). In this time I quit my job and started grad school (I'm going to finish my masters in Economics in December). Anyway, I was researching ADD treatments on the web and found information on neurofeedback - I don't know if any of you have heard of it, or have done it, but it has worked WONDERS for me. I'm sure some of you are familiar with the TOVA test they use in diagnosing ADD - you have to click a button when a box flashes on a computer screen - test is 20 min and is agonizing even for someone who does not have ADD. Anyway, since starting neurofeedback (I've had well over 60 sessions), my results on this test keep improving and are well into the normal range, and I am able to do demanding grad school work without medication (i.e. if I take one normal-release Adderall at like 8am I can still focus on schoolwork 12 hours later. Before this, there is NO WAY I would have been able to do it. But I am digressing.
As a result, I am at a point when I can stop taking medication - this is where the trouble began. It's not that I'm exhausted all the time, but I have been MAJORLY depressed. I spent basically all day Monday and Tuesday crying my eyes out. I had to go in for an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist (I see a different doctor now; it's not the same one who first put me on Adderall) and told him everything - that I had disposed of the drug and I was ready to go off of it (I decided to finish it up last week and quit cold turkey). THAT was a DUMB idea (for me, at least). Disaster. I have issues with depression anyway, but that is usually fine (have been on meds for that as well and it works great). He told me that it made sense that I would be very depressed after quitting cold turkey; as other people have said on this site, the brain does not produce dopamine the way it did before you start taking the Adderall. He suggested that I start weaning off Adderall in December, after I have finished school. This psychiatrist also has a neurology background; he is known for being a 'wiz' with brain supplements. I asked him what I should be taking when I start weaning off of Adderall, and I think that any of you going through the quitting process could REALLY benefit from this information:
These are supplements that help your neurotransmitters
1000 mg of L-Tyrosine per day (in the morning, without food, this could keep you awake if you take it at night)
1000 mg of L-Glutamine per day (morning, but with or without food)
1000 mg of L-Phenylalnine per day (morning, with or without food)
You can take all of them together (I asked about that). Also, as far as weaning, for me anyway, I'm going to cut down by 5 mg on my daily dose every week - this is what he said I should do.
The usual disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Just in case:)
Another thing I have found helpful for days that I don't take Adderall (and this also works well for hangovers;): this vitamin called Ultra Energy Plus - it Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B-5), Chromium, L-Glutamine and L-Tyrosine, plus some other things.
I hope some of this information is helpful. GOOD LUCK to you guys going through this process - I hope at least a little bit of this information is helpful.