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Ritalin, ADHD & Drug addiction

Ritalin, ADHD & Drug addiction2011-01-17T14:06:39+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Ritalin, ADHD & Drug addiction

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  • #88988

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    A risqué subject, i’m sure…

    I was diagnosed with ADHD (comorbid: Dyspraxia) when I was 5 (now approaching 25) and was prescribed Ritalin, which I took until… I don’t know, I just stopped taking it in my early teenage life.

    There are a lot of blanks, but I got married, divorced and then aged 21 washed up in rehab with a nasty drink problem and a habit of shoving anything white up my nose.

    Now i’m 3 1/2 years clean/sober, but i’m having immense trouble working my 12 step program – it’s hard enough without ADHD on top of it. I know i’ve been ready to do the steps for ages, but i’m completely incapable of focussing on taking a detailed moral inventory.

    I’ve also just started my first real job since getting clean (I used to be an insurance underwriter until my little habit got me fired!), and i’m finding it hard to focus there as well.

    All the indicators point me towards medication – that my quality of life could be substantially improved with meds, but I’m scared of putting anything into my body that isn’t produced ‘in house’ already (such as insulin/hormones/whatever). I don’t even take painkillers anymore!

    I also can’t get over the feeling that Ritalin is somehow to blame for my addiction. I know loads of people in AA/NA who were on Ritalin as kids, while I think it’s the personality type not the drug in a lot of cases (impulsive, fun loving -> more likely to take drugs -> more likely to develop a dependancy) it’s still a nagging concern.


    TL;DR – Is Ritalin (or any similar medication) likely to cause any problems for a recovering addict?



    Post count: 14413

    Jackyboy86, I’m NOT an expert by ANY means, but I can say I identify completely with your fears.

    I’ve had my own problems in the past with substance abuse. I can’t say for sure if I were ever a true “addict” though. I did question it for a while, a couple of different times, once in my late twenties, and once just a few years ago (I’m fifty now).

    I did come to the conclusion that I’m most likely not an addict, but more of a person who had some problems with drinking and drugs a few times. More than once though, I have been able to get trough some very rough experiences without the “aid” of substances, including alcohol.

    Still, there are times when I feel a mild desire to just “take a vacation” and get stoned or “snookered.” These days when that happens, I think about the times I have done so, and reflect on what happened afterward. That alone causes the desire to fade.

    I do like to drink though. Occasionally. And I DO mean occasionally. The most recent “episode” of drinking more than I should began about eight months after my mother passed away six years ago. I hadn’t been drinking regularly for many years by that time, and hadn’t (and still haven’t) indulged in any other drugs since about 1990. This last time the drinking started slowly. Before I knew it, I was drinking nearly every day, not much, but every day. Sometimes, it was too much, but not often. My wife started expressing some concern about it.

    Long story short, about eight months ago, I bought a thirty pack of beer (standard for our once per month grocery trip). Five or so months later I noticed I hadn’t finished it. It’s gone now, but for some reason my appetite for alcohol just seemed to fade on its own. It probably helped that for some reason two drinks would literally wipe me out. It would put me to sleep, or just cause me to feel so lethargic, it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t making me “feel good” anymore, so I just quit doing it so often.

    I still drink on rare occasions, but never more than a couple because I just don’t want to anymore. Seems my system brought me back to normal on its own eventually.

    I don’t mean to bore you with a long life story, just to give you some perspective of where I’m coming from. I’m not an addict, but have had some problems.

    I don’t LIKE feeling drugged anymore. And, I am always wary of taking anything that might contribute to repeating my past mistakes with drugs.


    This is what I’ve learned about drugs for ADD, or any other cranial disorder (I hate the word mental!).

    This is the message I’ve gotten from videos here, and from my own doctors. This is my personal interpretation of all those messages.

    The drugs given for ADD and similar purposes are NOT SUPPOSED to make me feel “stoned,” “like a zombie” or make me feel like I want to take more of them! They shouldn’t make me feel as though I might get into trouble as I have in the past.

    If they do, I’m either on the wrong drug, the wrong dose, or both.

    THAT said, there IS a risk I could end up feeling that way with some drugs and certain dosages. If I do, I should contact my doctor IMMEDIATELY, and get in to see about making an adjustment or change in drug.

    It’s GREAT that you are aware of the risks because of your past, because you are more likely to DO something about it if there ever is a problem, but I really believe strongly that you should NOT let that fear stop you from talking seriously to a doctor about the possibility of drug therapy.

    Remember what one of the doctors said in one video here on the site. “Those with ADD who DO NOT seek therapy, are TWICE as likely to become abusers.”

    And that may partly explain why you and I both did.

    Seriously, talk to your doctor!

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