'focusing drugs' (adderal, Ritolin, etc.)

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Briareos
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06 May 2015, 11:51 am

TL;DR: been taking focusing drugs almost my entire life, currently wish I didn't have to take them. But its challenging to focus/operate independently without them after being on them so long. I'd like to start a drug free life, but I don't know what I can do.

I've been prescribed focusing drugs for ADHD symptoms for basically my entire school career. I started with Ritolin at 10mg, then eventually 15mg, then 20mg as my body's resistance built up. I tried Concerta briefly in middle school, but switched back because it was weak sauce comparatively. Eventually Ritolin wasn't doing as well as it did in the beginning and I switched to Adderal 15mg around high school, and I've been off and on it ever since.

How I Feel About It:
of course as a young child I thought it was great; it helped me with school, and with homework when I needed it. I didn't like the side effects though, as I acquired a lack of appetite while it was in effect (I often didn't eat my lunch/pack one because of this), it kept me awake/gave me insomnia, and I would get highly stressed/anxious if I took a higher dosage.
I would often take a pill in the evening just to get that sleeplessness effect and help me plow through homework. Middle school was especially bad; I pulled quite a few all nighters on assignments I slagged off to the last minute, due to non interest in the subject, or inability to complete them to my standards. My sleep schedule was heavily impacted, I would've fallen asleep at my desk if I didn't take a pill the following morning.

I started to dislike having to take Adderal in high school, and for a good while I went to school drugless. Doing this left me with little drive for anything but video games, I felt rather lethargic, and often pretty tired. The late nights staying awake didn't go away, so my sleep schedule was still wonk. I eventually went back on Adderal after failing a couple classes, because I needed once again to plow through high school and graduate.

I've been in and out of college since graduating, trying to find my career path, and the Adderal has helped me channel my focus, but if what I'm learning/doing starts to lose it's interest, it can work against me as I want to avoid doing that thing, and absorb myself in any form of entertainment. It also doesn't help (probably) that I've been smoking Cannabis since age 18 to help wind down, or just to do when I had nothing better to do. My short term memory wasn't excellent before, but I suspect its A little worse now.

ANYWAYS.
My point is, I'd like to go drug free. The pot smoking might stay or go, but I'll figure that out later. I want to figure out what I can do to possibly ween myself off these focus drugs, and reduce my dependency. I'm worried about the long term health effects these pills, I want to avoid further mental illness and dysfunction and I feel the medication has the potential to enable that. Again, when I'm not taking my Adderal, I feel unmotivated and lethargic to do even basic tasks. Its also rediculously expensive - $75/20 pills - , and it'll eventually become an expense I'll have to pay for as opposed to my parents.

So does anyone have experience breaking away from these types of drugs? Any advice? If its at all relevant please share...


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goldfish21
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06 May 2015, 12:06 pm

TLDR, gtg to work, but:

I took Dexedrine for 3 years. At first it was a Godsend, and it helped a lot for most of that time. But then it made things worse & I eventually figured out why/how etc. Changed everything (diet, probiotics etc) & now haven't taken Dex for about 2 years - and no longer need it for focus, strength, stamina, positive perceptions or any other benefit it gave me. Feel free to pm me for details on what I've done to treat myself via diet/herbs/probiotics etc that's done a whole lot more good for me than focusing drugs ever could.

edit: I still smoke pot, too. 8) More recreationally than medicinally, though.


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Briareos
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06 May 2015, 1:13 pm

Thanks, I think I will. I've always wondered how different things would be if I wasn't prescribed these drugs. Would I still have focusing issues? Would it be better or worse? No one can really be sure, but the future I have in mind would be better if I didn't need over-the-counter Speed.

I recreationally smoke pot too (its certainly not medicinally prescribed to me), it just so happens to bring me down out of the wired state Adderal puts me in.

PM coming your way


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goldfish21
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07 May 2015, 1:49 am

Briareos wrote:
Thanks, I think I will. I've always wondered how different things would be if I wasn't prescribed these drugs. Would I still have focusing issues? Would it be better or worse? No one can really be sure, but the future I have in mind would be better if I didn't need over-the-counter Speed.

I recreationally smoke pot too (its certainly not medicinally prescribed to me), it just so happens to bring me down out of the wired state Adderal puts me in.

PM coming your way


I never took a high dose. I intentionally kept my dose as minimal as possible since I only wanted to use what I Needed and nothing more. I started with 5mg IR/day, then after several months went to 5mg IR twice a day, then several months later 10mg IR twice/day (which is still low) & then at one point when I thought the Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) wasn't working I tried upping it to 15mg/dose for a few days to see if it helped - it didn't.. you'll read why and what I figured out next in my email.

That brings back memories.. often if my afternoon dose of Dex was wearing off and I still had some work I needed to get done or something social I had to attend etc but didn't want to take any more Dex and be up for hours, I would have a couple tokes of pot and it seemed to sort of re-amplify the effects of the Dexedrine for another hour or two as well as allowed for a really smooth come down. Although, even without pot I never really had any harsh come down effects since I never took any more than I needed And Dexedrine doesn't contain the L-amphetamine salts that Adderall has in the other half of it's makeup - which are responsible for more physical effects, and in turn I'd imagine would come with stronger physical withdrawal effects.


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SideOfTheHill
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07 May 2015, 7:31 pm

Sort of - after taking Adderall for 10 years, I missed an appointment with my doctor, and somehow it stretched into around four months of not taking it.

At first I barely noticed the lack, but after a while, I realized I wasn't getting anything done; I didn't even have any projects going on, and could not think of any that appealed to me.

So, I went back on last month, but now I'm afraid I missed another appointment, ugh.

Still not getting anything done, but I'm back to showering more often, and I've had bursts of confidence. It is what it is. I'm going to try to continue taking it. If I can ever get another appointment, which I hope I will.



DataLore
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07 May 2015, 8:42 pm

Is it a good idea to take these kind of drugs when you have social anxiety and bouts of insomnia? I just have this gut feeling that the focus provided will really help me in so many areas of life, but it seems almost counter intuitive in a lot of ways too. Any input will be hugely appreciated.



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07 May 2015, 9:25 pm

Adderall, Ritolin, Vyvance definitely do work. They will increase your focus by a lot and when you take it for the first time, you will get a high feeling like you feel really good for no reason. That's why they call it poor man's cocaine. They do have the potential to become addictive so watch out.

One more thing. Be very cautious with taking ADHD medications if you are prone to having meltdowns OR when you get angry you become violent towards others or property. Because withdrawal symptoms are agitation and being in a bad mood. Trust me, I took vyvance my entire 8th and most of my 9th grade year and one day in 9th grade I forgot to take it and I vandalized my entire school because I was so upset for no reason.



DataLore
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07 May 2015, 9:49 pm

Poor mans cocaine.. I like the sound of this! I've been depressed for ages but the lack of focus goes waaaay back even before that, but to kill two birds with one stone would be nice. Not particularly worried about meltdowns, because I just tend to curl up on the floor blocking my ears and unable to move for hours.. so not particularly violent or angry. ^^'

Addictive doesn't worry me too much either because I'm generally adverse to taking medications, so I doubt I'd overdo them even if they made me feel great. My doctors have been trying unsuccessfully to put me on drugs that could cure various symptoms that were also addictive anyway, so at least I have experience with withdrawals. I was on venlafaxine not too long back and managed to go cold turkey off it. Yes it was awful, but it's good to know I can do it if adderal or ritolon wasn't working out.

I've just got such a good feeling about these, and I think the docs have been attacking my problems with the wrong genre of drugs entirely. Definitely gonna talk with someone about trying these.. could be life changing! Thank you for the warnings though, it's good to know what to expect worse case scenario. Luckily I don't have anywhere I go regularly to vandalise that's public property. :lol:



goldfish21
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07 May 2015, 10:21 pm

The poor man's cocaine?

Nah.

More like the socially acceptable addict's meth.. considering they're all amphetamines, just administered in therapeutic doses approximately 1/20th the typical street addict's hit.

Granted, there are other applications, too. The US Air Force gives their bomber pilots Dexedrine to give them the strength, focus, stamina and so on required to complete bombing missions and return safely back to base.

Still, IMO there are much better, healthier, safer ways to treat our symptoms - ie diet/probiotics etc that are also more effective. But people want a quick fix solution in a pill instead of having to do any hard work to get what they want. I get that. I used to pop those pills.. but not anymore & never again.


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07 May 2015, 11:07 pm

I am potentially in a position to try ADHD meds in the near future. I want to at least. Right now I have caffeine, and while it can be like a godsend, I have a very low tolerance and tend to overdo it. I doubt I would overdo a prescribed medication though; when its quite obvious that I shouldn't do a thing, I won't do it (like eat gluten on purpose, for instance.)

Unfortunately as someone looking to get onto drugs, (or at least try them out, see if they help), I'm not sure I have much advice. I know what doesn't work more, list of things that don't work:
-feeling ashamed and guilty over not accomplishing things
-saying you're going to do too many tasks that you suspect, at the moment in saying you'll do them, you won't do
-filling an entire day with boring tasks unless you're going to like, drug yourself through that day
-mixing work environments with play or home environments: do homework at school, computer games at home, that sort of thing; I have found doing this infinitely helpful
-strict routine
-no routine
-try to 'fix' yourself
-try to improve upon those basic things you are bad at, eg: don't try to make a routine of cleaning your toilet every week; cleaning your toilet is unimportant and to spend more than a passing thought about the cleanliness of the toilet is a total waste of your time.

Things TO do:
-when feeling stuck, change it up. Very important. Doing part of an odious task right now is better than doing none of the odious task right now, so do not feel bad for quitting part way through something.
-bare minimum for boring things. Seriously. Hate housework or cooking? Do enough so you have clean underpants and are eating within your budget; that's it.
-Complicated things are inherently more interesting than simple ones, so don't be afraid to try and tackle large projects or work on grand ideas
-Sometimes I think that the power of positive thinking perhaps one of the strongest things for adhd-ish issues. Because it's not so much positive thinking but just stop hitting your head against the wall. Just...stop. Then do a bit of a mental search for what else seems cool at the time. Then do that thing. You actually have a gift compared to most people; the ability to become deeply engrossed in something neat couple with the ability to switch from one thing to another. Some people can't stop a task when they're partway through, some people can't switch things up; you can. This is actually a strength in some circumstances.
-See the weaknesses that you have, then avoid as many things that require that sort of thing a lot. To repeat: do not keep trying to fix yourself. 'Just apply yourself' doesn't work for you, so stop thinking that it will.
-Self-improve by getting better at things you're already good at doing It will feel empowering because it IS empowering eg: You're interested in this new thing? Do the best f*****g job you can at it, push yourself in these moments when it's exciting. THAT'S the time to do it, not when it's boring.
-If you need drugs for it to catch your attention, don't pursue it
-Search for interesting things. There are so many careers out there that are based off problem solving, creating, complicated things that your mind loves to do.
-Plenty of games are not actually complicated enough to be entertaining mentally, but I bet you still play them out of habit. Note this, the power of habit and how you'll still do things that you don't want to do because of it. Then make things like eating, showering...necessities for living, habit, as best you can at least. Pay attention to what is a necessity and what isn't
-Take as much help as is offered, and don't be afraid to ask for it. Delegate, and if you can, pay for the services of someone else to do things if you can afford it, (I can only think of homeowner things like mowing the lawn and shovelling snow, but you get the idea). Believe it or not, some people LIKE sorting and cleaning.


Anyways, on one of my various readings of things in the past couple of months, I found an article (can't find it again, that's how it often goes, I should bookmark these things) about the possibility of using comorbid antipsychotics and stimulants. In the very basic sense of this, one would think this is useless since one, in general, increases dopamine while the other decreases it. But antipsychotics decrease the 'spike' that being interested in something gives dopamine, while stimulants increase the baseline of dopamine...in essence taking them comorbidly might reduce withdrawal and habituation to either of them as they both will balance stuff out. Just kind of neat.


Tangentially related: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 7707001278
I'm confused by wtf I have, and I've seen that schizophrenia's negative/cognitive symptoms are actually quite similar to many ADHD symptoms, so this is an interesting read regarding differences in what 'attention' actually is.


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Noca
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09 May 2015, 10:31 pm

I took them for a year of college. I went from a C student to straight A's. The drugs gave me the ability to finally focus and align and organize my thoughts. They also gave me the social and writing skills that I never had before.

However the drugs ravaged my body. They destroyed my appetite, altered my taste of food, made my mood into a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and eventually burnt me out. I had to quit them. I had tried Adderal XR, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, Ritalin IR, Ritalin SR, and Concerta. They were all like payday loans. Mortaging the future for the present short lived benefits. Eventually the drugs came to collect what I owed them.


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10 May 2015, 1:07 am

Noca wrote:
I took them for a year of college. I went from a C student to straight A's. The drugs gave me the ability to finally focus and align and organize my thoughts. They also gave me the social and writing skills that I never had before.

However the drugs ravaged my body. They destroyed my appetite, altered my taste of food, made my mood into a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and eventually burnt me out. I had to quit them. I had tried Adderal XR, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, Ritalin IR, Ritalin SR, and Concerta. They were all like payday loans. Mortaging the future for the present short lived benefits. Eventually the drugs came to collect what I owed them.


This post reminds me... taking Dexedrine was a LOT like the movie "Limitless" with Bradley Cooper.


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