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Hi everyone, It has been nearly 3 years since my original post on here, declaring my plan to quit dexamphetamine after being on them for 13 years. I imagined myself being on here a lot through the journey, but it turned out I preferred to leave the whole thing behind and move on entirely. Now I am ready to share my story in the hope it can help others. I stuck to my plan and weaned down my dose over a period of about 6 months (from 6-7 pills per day down to 2 per day) then quit completely. (I was prescribed 10 per day and for some earlier years was taking this much, yikes!) To actually quit, I took a month of annual leave and started with a weekend meditation retreat, highly recommend this if it is at all possible. Great way to start to enjoy the feeling of slowing everything down and being in the moment. I thought in this first month I would want to sleep all the time and get really depressed, but I didnt. I meditated and exercised everyday to get some healthy habits going, and realised natural endorphins are amazing! Oh and I also quit a daily weed smoking habit at the same time. My partner at the time was very supportive cheering me on, which helped a lot. It was like I was getting to know my true self for the first time, which was actually a beautiful experience (and still is!). Going back to full time work was not as hard as I had imagined it would be (I work as a dietitian). Nobody seemed to notice. It hasn’t however been without some immense challenges which I am still dealing with, and Im sure would be different for everyone. One thing to bear in mind is that I was put on dexies as a treatment for bulimia at age 22. I was told I may have also had ADD but I don’t think so. So my biggest challenges since quitting have been anxiety and insomnia. I had been self-medicating with weed for many many years and stopped that cold turkey. I had also been taking sleeping pills, mostly over the counter but also prescribed, for many years while on the dexies. So I really messed with my sleep wake cycles. Looking back, it is unbelievable how much I was able to function with no sleep and no dexies! So many days I just managed to get through the day somehow, it was almost like I was a robot superhuman I would have 1 coffee in the morning, that was it. Now it has been 2 1/2 years and I haven’t looked back. I have moments where I am filled with joy everyday and just so grateful to be able to function without drugs. The only things I take now are melatonin and L-tryptophan, which both help with sleep. Although I don’t think it is bad if you do need other meds to get you through this process, whatever it takes it will be worth it! I still struggle with sleep and anxiety but it is overall improving. I wake up every 1 - 2 hours, but now I am often getting back to sleep more easily. I see a craniosacral therapist every 3 weeks who is amazing and helping to repair my nervous system. The other thing I have to admit is that I completely stopped socialising for about a year. This was necessary for me, I had to simplify my life as much as possible, and working full time took most of my energy! On weekends I would actually enjoy meditating and doing housework and cooking and just being in a relaxed state, and of course Netflix helps enormously I still get anxious if I make plans so my close friends know I am better with deciding to catch up on the day. I then also had a relationship break up - I left my partner as I had become such a different human. Once I had a clear head off all the drugs, I slowly realised I couldn’t picture a future together (I was also paying for everything for our whole relationship of 4 years and it became clear this was never going to change). So for the past year I have been living alone and actually loving my independence. Not having any social responsibilities attached to a partner has been a relief for me too. This is still something I need to work on, as I don’t really have much desire to socialise, especially not at night, as I am quite tired by then and I like going to bed early! But I have reconnected with a few very close friends and left the masses behind. I also really enjoy time with my family now, which I didn’t before because I was always hiding something! So I know this is a long post, I would just like to mention the tools that have helped me throughout this process. 1. Donna Eden 5 minute energy medicine routine - I do this every morning - it makes you feel so good. Sometimes I do it after lunch at work as well. I have read her books and did one online course but you can just follow along with the 5 min routine on you tube til you learn it. 2. Yoga most days at home - I love Yoga with Adriene on youtube, she is great! 3. Daily exercise - so important to get the endorphins flowing and feel empowered and energised - I love walking and listening to a good podcast (highly recommend WTF with Marc Maron) 4. Qi Gong - I did this almost daily for the first year - on youtube Lee Holden morning and evening qi gong sessions are great. Still go back to this when I feel anxious or stuck in my head, its like hitting a reset button. 5. Meditation - I use the Insight Timer meditation app - it is amazing so many great guided meditations on there. 6. Listening to self-help podcasts - I love Tara Brach and listened to her podcasts a lot while going for walks in the first year. Her meditations are great too and all are available on her website for free www.tarabrach.com 7. EFT tapping - when I get into a bad patch - I use tapping as it seems to shift my energy quite quickly. Heaps of tapping videos on youtube - I really like Brad Yates. 8. Healthy eating - I did find my appetite increased off the meds (but not as much as I expected). Regular healthy snacks and proper balanced meals - loads of veg/salad, 1/4 plate carbs 1/4 protein with lunch and dinner to help feel full. I have put on about 2-3 kg since I quit, and am working on adopting a healthy body image and accepting this. 9. Ecstatic dance - I started this about 1.5 years in when I was yearning to connect with people but not feeling up for socialising. You go to a class and you dance your heart out and connect with all these people without having to have a conversation, suits me perfectly! Helped a lot when I started feeling very lonely and isolated. 10. Finally I have recently discovered epsom salt baths are a really nice way to relax if you are anxious, and a lovely way to unwind after work, or just to pass the time and nurture yourself So you can see I have really devoted my whole life to my healing for the past few years, it isnt easy but I truly love doing all those things. And it was necessary to use every tool possible after being on the meds for so long. I really hope this brings hope to anyone still contemplating quitting or those going through the process, if I can do it after 13 years on meds, anyone can! I honestly cant express how much better life is off the meds. You can truly connect with yourself and others on a much deeper level, it is beautiful. And I am accepting this is a slow process, I still have a long way to go but I will eventually find my way back to living a more social life again. If you made it this far, thanks for listening All the best to you all, Vanessa
Hi everyone, It is about time I started participating on here, as Iâ€™ve been stalking these forums for years! This community has given me so much hope and comfort that I am not alone. I am so grateful to Mike for creating this amazing website, and I hope I can make a useful contribution that will help others as well as lean on you all for support when I need it. So here is my storyâ€¦ I am 34 years old and have been taking dexamphetamine for 12 years. It started in my last year of university. I had an eating disorder (bulimia) and saw a psychiatrist who specialized in this area. The first thing he did was prescribe dexamphetamine, which is apparently used as an â€˜off-labelâ€™ treatment for eating disorders here in Australia. He also said I probably had â€˜a touch of ADDâ€™ (WTF?!?). I had taken dexies before as a party drug, so I was like yeeeah bring it on! Thinking I will just use it for a short time to get over the bulimia addiction and then have access to a party favor I could share with my friends. Big mistake. Although my eating disorder was cured overnight, it was merely replaced with a different addictionâ€¦ to stimulant meds. My dose was quickly increased to 10x 5mg pills per day (the max prescribed dosage is 12/day or 60mg for adults). I only took this much (or sometimes more) to party on the weekends, but on average I would say for about 8 years I was taking 8 pills per day (40 mg). (I think the conversion to Adderall is 10mg addie = 7.5mg dex) Over the past 4 years I have wanted to get off this horrible drug and started trying to take less. Although I tolerated it very well for most of that time, and it greatly helped my confidence, mood, motivation, productivity, just about everything! I realize it is unsustainable, and is holding me back from moving forward with my life. Eg maybe I want to get married, have kids, travel the world?? I canâ€™t make plans because I donâ€™t know who I will be when Iâ€™m not on this drug. And Im too busy going about my daily activities like a freaking robot! In the last few years it has also become less effective, yet the side-effects are worse, especially the insomnia. So I also take regular sleep aids and this viscious cycle has to stop! My first step was to confess everything to my boyfriend, who has been amazingly supportive. I had been living a lie for the first 18 months of our relationship, I thought he would be so disappointed in me, but he has been very understanding. That was about 9 months ago. From there I started to cut down my dosage further â€“ however found I stepped back up again. Finally I had a â€˜break downâ€™ moment a few months ago. The reality of my situation slapped me hard in the face... Full blown, rocking back and forth mental patient moment... Holy shit! I realized I have a big challenge ahead and I made the decision to be accountable and face up to it. I had been living in blissful denial for too long. While I was aware I was taking pills to get through the day, I was able to shut that part of my mind off and just get on with it. So for the past few months I started to get serious about tapering. Though I am doing it very slowly â€“ reducing my dose by 5mg (1 pill) per month. So far I have been strong and stayed on track â€“ 1st month 5 per day, 2nd month 4 per day. Iâ€™m now into my first week on 15mg / day (3 pills per day). Iâ€™ve had really bad anxiety, which has made my sleeping issues worse. But for the most part, I am functioning well on the lower dose. Makes me realize I was on way too high a dose before! Of course, this is nothing compared to completely quitting. I know that lies ahead. I have just started seeing a psychologist who is doing a brain rewiring program with me, and hopefully this helps (will tell you all about it in another post!) Iâ€™m also having 1 â€“ 2 coffees per day since tapering my dose, this helps with work. And I take magnesium twice daily â€“ this helps my bowels, which have also slowed right down since reducing my dose. Iâ€™ve practically stopped socializing altogether lately too. I find if I make plans, I get so anxious about not being my excited bubbly happy self (ie highly medicated) I completely freak out and panic. Then I have to let people down. Iâ€™m content with being a hermit for a while â€“ work, eat, couch, sleep. Luckily my partner enjoys a good couch-fest too! And Iâ€™m already enjoying down time with family more than I used to when I was too wired. Iâ€™m still smoking cigarettes (one demon at a time!), which I want to quit eventuallyâ€¦ and I also smoke weed most nights too, which I really enjoy, but will give that up too if its making me too foggy during the day. Phewwww!! So there is my story. Sorry it is so long!! I look forward to sharing my journey with you. I hope this will relate to others in Aus as there is not much info out there on dex addiction. And it is prescribed like freaking paracetamol over here. Thank you all SO MUCH for your support and giving me HOPE J PS I chose my name as I want to be RESILIENT (and need to be!) and I also dream of being a CAT so I can sleep 18 hours a day!