Hi All, I started taking Adderall about 3-4 years ago. It was awesome. For the first time in my life I felt productive, focused, and energetic. I ran into some personal issues along the way, though, and eventually the stress became too much because I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. I bottled everything up, somewhat literally…I kept everything a secret, even the fact that I was taking Adderall. My gf and mother didn’t understand and thought that I just like it for the rush it gave me, not knowing what it had truly done for me in my work and graduate school.
So anyway, about 8 months ago I go into see my doctor asking for more Adderall and she doubles my dose to 20 mg. I had some underlying personal issues I didn’t share with her, fearing that she wouldn’t prescribe it to me. Within 3 months the stress and emotions became so intense, that I began taking more than prescribed, and ended up not sleeping for a few days. Then I suddenly stopped cold turkey and things got weird. I became somewhat delusional. I got in a huge fight with my girlfriend and the next day, I had my brother take me to the hospital because they thought I was having a nervous breakdown. Then I started venting everything, leaving nothing out, explaining everything that had been bothering me. All of the sudden I was being admitted for a week in the hospital, and was told I would never be prescribed Adderall again. About a month after getting out I felt like crap so my doctor told me that Wellbutrin was my next best option. Within the first few days it felt great. I went on a business trip which was very stressful and again I didn’t sleep. When I got home I felt really depressed to the point that I was crying. My girlfriend was smoking weed and I asked if I could have some. Next thing I know, I’m having another episode and am being admitted back into the hospital. The next 5 months were pure hell. I accomplished absolutely nothing. They put me on everything under the sun — lithium, risperidone, and oddly enough wellbutrin – even though it had caused me to have a psychotic episode. I slowly pushed back and got off all the drugs, and even got to the point where my doctor prescribed me methylphenidate 10 mg but the effects I feel nothing of. Literally it does nothing for me — a couple of days I’ve taken more than prescribed, up to 60 mg but still I didn’t get anything done. I’ve requested that I get the tablets instead of the capsule because I think those will work better…I took them in the past for about 6 months and they seemed to work moderately well. I think the capsules just spread the medication over too long of a period to feel anything. Anyway, I’m always tired and am not accomplishing anything. I’m anxious about how I’m going to move forward with my life. She won’t prescribe me Adderall and won’t increase my Ritalin without putting me on mood stabilizers, which won’t do any good. She suggested that I get a second opinion from someone else in her practice, so I have a shred of hope. It’s hard to talk to about this with my family and gf because they just think I’m addicted and they don’t hear me out. What makes it even more annoying is that my gf gets a HUGE Adderall prescription every month. I don’t even know where it goes but I definitely know she isn’t taking all of it. I’m pretty sure she shares it with her friends, and then complains she’s tired when she runs out. And she’s smoking weed every night. But yet I’m the one with a problem. I had some problems with alcohol in the past, but I’m past that now and haven’t had a single drink in over 6 months. I just want to get back to feeling focused and productive so that I can feel confident about my work and school. Right now I feel helpless and spend most of my days doodling in my journal. I’m about to start travelling again for work so I won’t be able to hide out any more, which is basically what I’ve been doing the last 5 months. Oh, and I should mention. About a year and half ago I was pulled over for DUI and I still don’t have a license, so most of the time I am left alone because my girlfriend is ALWAYS at work. I didn’t share the DUI with my family and the stress of fighting it and keeping it a secret caught up with me. Once the doctors found out I was instantly labeled as someone with a substance abuse history. Any suggestions on how to approach this situation? Thanks in advance for your insight.lindsey3Member
Hi runningman, I’m sorry that you are in a place of great stress, with new work challenges just around the corner. Reading your post the thing that strikes me the most is your focus on the amount of self medication and prescribed medication that you and your partner have experienced over a number of years, and that you have experienced a terrifying psychosis. You say that other people think that you have a substance abuse pattern / history – but the important question is – do you think you have a substance abuse problem?
Personally on a quieter level, I know that I drink huge amounts of strong fresh coffee each morning, take methylphenidate hydrochloride, smoke cigarettes all day and drink cold white wine in the evening – I am coming to terms at the moment with how much I medicate and stimulate myself just to get through the day. Something has to give! At 54 I’m only just ready to address this – only five months into diagnosis.
I urge you to find a talking therapy that works for you. Therapy helps us to identify our own needs and difficulties, and a trusted therapist offers a place to be honest and is non judgemental – in time you will identify for yourself what you need to do to achieve what you want. You can achieve a sense of balance and empowerment through therapy that medication on its own can’t.
Try it! xrunningmanMember
Hi Lindsey, thanks for your reply it means a lot. To answer your question, no, I don’t think I have a substance abuse problem. Have substances gotten me into trouble in the past, yes, but I’ve grown up quite a bit especially in the last year. I am not an alcoholic – haven’t had even the slightest urge to take a drink in 6 months. I am 100% committed to staying sober for the rest of my life because good has ever come from me drinking alcohol. The same goes for smoking. I have been on several medications and gotten off all of them, because I didn’t like the way they made me feel. The only medication I would like to be on is Adderall, because of what it’s helped me accomplish on the time that I was on it, and I am flat out not the same without it. To be honest, I didn’t fully understand the risks and took it for granted and because of that I got into trouble and lost the privilege of taking it. But I don’t think I should be penalized the rest of my life because of that. So I’m looking for advice on how to talk to my doctor about this when I go in for a second opinion.
In terms of therapy, I did a 16 week group program that met 2 hours a week. Also I’ve been to AA a handful of times. While I was in the hospital (2 weeks cumulatively) I attended multiple group therapy sessions every day. Since then I have been to see a therapist a handful of times….I’ve tried everything the doctor has told me to do (breathing exercises, meditation, etc.). I feel as though I’ve come to terms with the things that were causing me so much stress, and which led to my episodes.
The bottom line is that I’m still having problems focusing and getting things done. It literally will take me an entire day to get something done that if I were on Adderall might take me a few hours. And my quality of study/work is not even close to what it was before. That is why the doctor agreed to put me on methylphenidate.
I think if were prescribed Adderall going forward I would be much more responsible. Would there be a day or two when I had nothing going on, and I take it anyways, enjoy my coffee and do whatever I feel? I’m not going to lie, yes that would probably happen. But I think my dedication to remaining sober from other drugs and alcohol and following the doctors orders will supersede any temptation to abuse the drug going forward. It serves a very specific purpose to me that I am downright struggling without.
Thanks again for your reply. Any other insight would be appreciated.
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