Addled

Scared to stop.

8 posts in this topic

I have spent tons of time time on and gained so much from this website, I feel that I must share my story for my own benefit and maybe for others too.  I have now taken Adderall on a daily basis for about 8 years (anywhere from 40-100 mg), and before that, on an intermittent basis for 4 years, for a total of 12 years.  I am only now realizing how addicted I am and how badly I need to stop taking it.  It's just so terrifying to think about not being on it.  I have weaned myself to 30 mg/day on work days for the past 2 weeks and will be attempting a sober weekend.  I plan to taper off.  Ironically I quit smoking cigarettes several years ago while taking Adderall, and I was only able to do that with gradually decreasing doses of nicotine replacement therapy.  Cold turkey was not an option for me and I think it'll be the same with quitting Adderall.  Even when I was a heavy smoker, I always knew that I would quit smoking, and  even though I've taken it for years, I know that I'll quit taking Adderall. 

The reason I want to quit is a series of health problems that have cropped up in the past 2 years.  It all started with a sudden 20-pound weight gain.  My formerly flat stomach suddenly looked 3-6 months pregnant, depending on how bad the bloating was.  My legs and upper arms were suddenly covered in cellulite.  I felt like I was carrying bags of water on my thighs.  I couldn't digest food.  I went to the gastroenterologist, multiple naturopaths, had weekly acupuncture for months, cut out every possibly reactive food from my diet, had stool, blood, and food sensitivity testing, and on and on.  I have spent 2 years torturing myself over this weight gain and continue to do so daily.  Despite all of my efforts, none of the symptoms have abated.  And even though I probably won't be able to find a healthcare practitioner who is willing to say so, I believe it's from Adderall.  I think taking stimulants on a long-term basis can result in so many issues as they affect everything in your body.  I've spent $1000s and the better part of the past 2 years chasing down every remedy and cure when the thing I need to do is stop. Taking. Adderall.  
 
Other issues (not a complete list): I have constant heartburn and am frequently short of breath (though I work out at least 3 times/week), I have to pee constantly.  My teeth seem to be shifting, I feel like shit all the time.  My eyes are glazed.  My liver enzymes are elevated.  My jaw is constantly clenched. I am constantly stressed out about cleaning and reorganizing, which creates more stress, which creates the need for more Adderall.  My hands and feet are always cold.  I'm always trying to do 10 things at once and stressing myself out.  I'm so exhausted ALL THE TIME, regardless of how much I took.  I feel like it's created ADD, I can't focus on any one thing for more than 20 seconds before I'm trying to do something else at the same time.  I'm so worried about irreversible health effects that I can't really even think about it.  It makes me compulsively spend money on absolute bullshit.  I have tons of debt and in part, it's due to Adderall.
 
The reason I started taking it was because at heart, I am a low-energy person.  I have always envied people who are able to just get up, go about their day, run errands or work or whatever without having to take a nap or lie down.  My whole family has this issue.  It's somewhat alleviated by exercising and eating healthy but nothing like the quick fix of Adderall.  Adderall been my constant companion for so long, giving me the energy to get through everything (work trip?  no problem, I'll have just refilled my script.  meeting girlfriend's parents for the first time?  as long as I have some Adderall, it'll be fine.).  I am so scared to not have it.  I depend on it so much for everything.  Any advice or words of encouragement or wisdom would be very much appreciated!  Even though I know I will quit eventually, it's coming to terms with the quitting that is the worst.
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Adderall was my best friend...until it wasn't. 

I depended on it for everything too--exactly the things you listed too. I became uncomfortable in my own skin without it. It was a crutch, and for awhile, it really did improve my life. I have ADHD and it alleviated my symptoms at the right dose. But Adderall slowly started becoming the answer for everything--bad day? Up the dose. Angry at my fiancé? Up the dose. Eventually I ended up abusing my script to the point of psychosis. 

I too felt like my teeeth were shifting! I am not sure if they have, but I am going to the dentist to find out what is up. I clenched my jaw so much too, and I would grind my teeth.

It really helped me to get medical help when coming off Adderall, it was too hard to do on my own. That's just me. Support was really key for me, and this forum has really helped. I entered an outpatient program and am still in treatment, which helps a ton. I haven't taken Adderall in 65 days, and it feels like a lifetime. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it. I do get cravings, I won't lie, and my ADHD isn't being treated right now which is hard. But overall, life is so much better, and I feel free! Adderall controlled everything, and coming down from it or running out was like a death sentence. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

Be easy on yourself and take it slow. I wasn't able you do all I wanted to for a little while, but slowly I started getting my life back. It has been hard for me to accept that improvement won't be instant, because Adderall fixed everything for me in an instant. But that is just not a realistic way for me to live.

I am very glad you are here! 

 

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Welcome to the forum!  I can relate to almost every thing you wrote, except for all the medical test bullshit.  I just knew that taking adderall was the cause of all of my poor health problems because I had always been a healthy person until the addiction.  There is a great thread here entitled "has adderall affected your physical health?" that you should read.  I also smoked cigs, but I could not quit while on adderall.  So, I cold turkeyed the cigs about the same time I cold turkeyed adderall 5 years ago.  Some people like you do better with the taper down process, and whatever works best for you is the right way to quit.   

Quitting is a process and you have begun that journey.  That should be very exciting and scary at the same time.  You absolutely cannot spend the rest of your life on adderall if you want to have a normal life and I think you have realized this, but you are still coming to terms with the upcoming divorce from a stupid pill that used to be your best friend.  Good Luck!

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Thank you for sharing your story. You and I took it for about the same amount of time. Your reasons for quitting sound very similar to my reasons. 

 

I know what you mean about being scared to stop. I felt the same way the whole time I took it. Like you, adderall stopped working for me those last few years and all that it seemed to do was make me feel sick but I still could not stop, until my body forced me to stop when the valves in my leg veins failed..  

 

Looking back though, I should not have been scared which is why I wanted to reply to you. Even tho I'm still in recovery, I feel better physically now.  And I have hope. I also feel real feelings again and have had several really hard belly laughs - you know when you laugh so hard that your tummy muscles get sore. That never happened on adderall. I guess my point is that you have so much enjoyable life ahead of you after you stop this poison. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the first few weeks are hell there is no denying that. It will be hell for you too I suspect but it's temporary and it will pass. The grass really is greener over here.  I'm excited for your quit! :) I guess that's kinda weird but whatever. Welcome to the boards!  

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Thanks so much for the kind words & encouragement!!  It really means a lot.  I had a sober weekend that was actually not too bad.  It's getting through the work day that worries me.  Other than going the bare minimum for a while, I would really appreciate tips and insight on that.

Rachel - 65 days (more now!) is so awesome, congrats!!  I can't wait for that day.  I really relate to you re the improvement won't be instant - I am so used to an instant pill so it's really hard for me to accept a slower pace and everything that comes with it.  For so long, whenever anything was hard, I just took another Adderall and buried it.  A lot of feelings are starting to surface.  What type of outpatient therapy are you doing?  Is it just counseling or more?  

quit-once - 5 years is AMAZING.  Kudos to you!!  You are so right, I am still coming to terms with it and I think I will be for a while.  When did it get easier for you?

Subtracterall - my body is forcing me to quit too.  The changes in my body have been devastating to me and I only recently connected the dots that Adderall was the cause.  What kind of recovery are you in?  When did things get better for you?

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your replies!  Thanks to Mike too for this amazing forum.

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It's difficult to say exactly when things got better for me because I had a relapse and I think I went into mild psychosis at the end (even tho I was on a low dose of approx 10-15 mg per day).  When I finally quit I felt very confused and disoriented and it has taken a while to get my head back on straight.  Still working on that a little lol. If you haven't read about PAWS be sure to. It helps explain some things. 

I'm not actually in a recovery program. I say I am in recovery because my body is still physically repairing itself.  I think it will take months maybe years before I am fully back to "normal" physically. I'm older now than when i started adderall so sometimes it's difficult to know whether I feel lower energy because I'm older or if it's because I'm not fully recovered physically from adderall.  It's probably a combination of the two so I'm keeping my expectations in check.

When I first quit there were days where my body was so happy it was like being sober was the new high and I wanted to shout it to the world!  That felt really good and helped offset the miserable days. 

Things that helped me get through working (i could not take any time off).  I slept in my car during my lunch break. I had two little pillows and a blanket in my car and would nap from 12-1PM and then eat soup at my desk after my nap.  Put lots of turmeric and cayenne pepper in my soup. Also what helped for work, I take a thermos of coffee with coconut oil and no sugar to get me going in the morning.  I pack my food for the day when I go to work:  fresh fruits and veggies, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried fruits (mainly cherries) and meats. I eat healthy food all day long so I'm never hungry or feeling like my tank is low. Drink water all day too.  I lay low as much as possible now. I was late on some things and I disappointed my boss and co workers with my poor performance and I am working to make it up to them but I'm also working on my "I don't give a flip" attitude and that has helped me not worry so much about missing a deadline or two. After all, other people have sucked worse and i am a valuable employee who cares about doing the right thing (positive affirmations). :)

I take a supplement from whole foods that I think has helped my brain get out of the fog. It has ginkgo and fish oil, velvet bean and some other things too.  I took l-tyrosine at first and it did make me feel happier but it also seemed to cause muscle twitches so I am not taking it anymore but it def helped with my mood.  I also take B12 when I get out of bed every morning. Sorry I'm skipping all over the place I'm not a very well organized writer. 

From what I have read though everyone is different so you gotta find out what works for you.  You sound like you are going to do really well off this stuff. I bet your body is going to be very pleased with your decision.  

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I can relate with all the problems. 

My hair is falling out. I pick at my skin, so it looks like crap. I have high blood pressure. I get heart palpitations. I could go on and on.

I hate wondering what life would be like had I never taken that first orange pill when I was 19.

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Have you tried NA meetings? They help you when you're feeling down, desperate & alone. 

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