I am pretty sure that I have ADD; my brother and I were born with a bit of tourettes and have enough of the OCD and tics as well. I never took any form of drugs at all before college and i scraped my way by, but that was only because I was smart enough to ace the tests and do virtually no homework or essays, giving me a C average most of the time. Then I got to college and, after screwing up the first two semesters, one of my friends introduced me to adderall. My grades literally skyrocketed from Fs to As, and it all happened the very day I started taking it. That was two years ago, and since then I've gotten a prescription from my doctor and been taking it at an increasingly regular pace since then, not increasing doses, but I've been slowly losing my earlier resistance to the notion of being dependent on an amphetamine to help me deal with life. I am a psychobiology major, so day in and day out all I can think about is the trade-off between succeeding in life's traditional sense (I am basically outperforming my entire class), and the fact that i am washing amphetamines all over my brain on a daily basis now. My family has a history with addiction (my brother is in rehab for heroin) but I thought I'd been controlling my intake. I still go through cycles of heavy use and abstinence, depending on my workloads, but it averages out to my prescribed dose of 20mg a day or a bit less for the past 2 years. My friends and dad tell me to stop taking adderall and some even react with surprise or disgust when told that I take at least one 10mg a day now, yet I don't know if I can respect their opinions because each and every one of them has an addiction of his own, yet I am the only one who reaps a reward from my "drug use".
Is it worth it to take amphetamines to fit into society's mold of success (which is exactly what is happening)? And will my brain fry after 20 or 30 years of stable use even at this low dose just as a meth or coke addict's does after their few years of binging?
Taking medication for a disorder is not a shameful thing. Many people take pain medications and become dependent on them. This is not the same thing as abuse. When a medication is taken as prescribed it is being used therapeutically. You are using your adderall as prescribed. Dependency may occur. I don't look at this as addiction.
There is no way to compare adderall use to cocaine or meth. abuse. I have not seen any long term studies about stimulant use over a lifetime. Most drug addicts use as much of the drug as needed to achieve the high. This type of abuse causes huge spikes in blood pressure. These sharp spikes in blood pressure wear and tear on the blood vessels. Eventually something will go bad - usually in the heart or brain. When you use adderall there is not the sharp spikes with blood pressure. This is not to say that there is no risk. I don't know that. I do know that taking a medication because you need it is fine. Why do you feel that you are trying to "fit" into societies mold of success? ADD/ADHD is a real disorder with real symptoms and real deficits. Taking a stimulant so your brain will function properly is no different than taking glucophage so your body will utilize insulin properly. Alleviating the symptoms of ADD is not fitting into a mold. When your brain is in a fog and you are disorganized, forgetful, and unable to focus you are living with a disability. You are not taking performance enhancing drugs. You are taking medication that allows your brain to function at a normal level of performance. Big difference. Until neuroscience can find a way to fix the prefrontal cortex and tweak the neurochemistry, medication is the only choice at the moment. You can try some of the alternative medicines for ADD. Whatever way you decide to go, there should not be guilt or shame driving the decision. Living your life at your full potential is important and if adderall is the way to achieve that due to ADD then carry on.
First off i would like to say that you have answered a question that i have been wondering for about a year now. I have experieced a nearly identical situation with adderall. I can't really add much to what you have to say because you have described my situation almost perfectly, up to the part where you first started taking it anyways. I too have had bits of ocd and slight focus problems throughout my life, I found comfort in music for most of my focus problems, but they have been there my entire life. I grew up and went through school making As and Bs never opening a book, or cracking a book. I was told that i almost had a photographic memory, but seeing as i didnt know what that was most of my life i never worried about it covering up the symtoms of an actual disorder. Throughout most of my school years i never had any trouble with doing the work, up until last year where i started taking my first college courses, or college-highschool courses. I was doing way worse than i had ever done in any other classes, and i knew it wasnt that i didnt have the capability, but i just lacked the desire and focus. My first encounter with adderall was also through a friend. I only took it for about a month, but i seen a jump of at least two letter grades in all my classes in just that small amount of time. I had gained the ability to finish things that i had started, and my musical projects were getting loose ends tied up that were lacking for years. I wasnt for sure if it would be right or not for me to ask a doctor about taking the drug since i would have to admit that i took it when it was non-perscribed. Out of guilt about dependancy i stopped taking it, and because of the scarceness of it. Seeing this email was an eye opener, i know that the drug isnt right for everyone and that every person is different, but it worked tremendously for me. I still don't take it though.. i'm not for sure how to approach my doctor with questions or situational comments about taking adderall or how to even begin telling him that i know it would help me, but seeing your article made me realize that its ok to have liked something that actually worked, even if it was non-prescribed.
I am one of those who benefit professionally from taking it, and lose socially from taking it. I lose an important part of me while on Adderall, so I stopped taking it after two years of daily.
I am in my fifties, diagnosed ADD at 49. Stopped the drugs when 51. I can tell you two things. First, I would be a better employee today if I was on: I would be less of a person as well. Second, the two years of dosage actually permitted me to change some patterns. the long-term effects of having the regimen permitted me to undo some very uncomplimentary daily practices and viewpoints that held me back. I kept my job after stopping and kept my new interest in life.
Point is, there comes a time when you set the synthetic goals aside and look for the human within you. Amphetemines are documented to deter and restict that process in lieu of more easily accomplished goals: immediate gratification vs. fundamentals and joy. Hitler is said to have lost himself there under this type of drug, and the list of wackos out there who bent themselves on speed is legion. I know many who have benefitted from Adderall (myself included), and I deeply wish it had been around when I was your age. I might have been President today.
So trade-off it is - you are correct, and I know I would have, in many ways, been right to stay on and was right in many others when I went off.
I'm sick of hearing and reading about what people are saying about adderall. SHUT THE FRIK UP all of you! its a prescription medication for psychological disorders. its not some rave drug. gah daing. just because youve heard of "few" people abusing it and going off the top with it doesnt mean thats what it's purpose is! jeez! a medication is a medication, its not anyone's business except the prescribed person's. im serious, ive taken this med for years, i havent experienced any of the crud you guys are saying about it, all of the med bashing yall are doing is mainly out of spite and really bad assumptions and it kind of sounds like maybe yall have some kind of hypochondriac issues towards certain meds. every type of med has some media hype on it. adderall has a lot because its a class II controlled substance, big frreekinging deal. if schitzophrenia or diabetes or arthritis medications had CII written on its label they would probably have the same med bashing hype like adderall does, but it doesnt mean the meds are bad, its just that people are very negative and like to 'hate' on things they dont know too much about. stop hating and bashing these medications. just because the word amphetamine has a very miniscule irrelevant background and/or history does not mean anything, adderall is ONLY derived from amphetamines.. its not meth and its not something to get high off of and it doesnt destroy everyone's life. so shut up and if you want to bash on something how about you get all the facts and stop blurting out your useless opinions and stop trying to "scare" everyone.
Wow!! Personally I have been on this med for a about a year and YES there are ABSOLUTE chances of abusing this medication under certain circumstances. In my teens and early 20's I self medicated with hard drugs for a what I thought was an underlying anxiety disorder and with my families history of metal instability I thought that was just how I was. As I have gotten older I have educated myself to some of this and found that in my own situation ADD kept coming up. So I saw my family DR and we did some tests and I was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 29 and prescribed Adderall. Now the reason I say that this drug can be easily abused is because like Cocaine it is a stimulant which is what makes it effective for individuals with ADD and what makes it fun for individuals without ADD. Some individuals may not have been diagnosed properly and we were driven to self medicate for a condition we did not understand. Hence giving alot of us addictive personalities. Although Adderall helps to maintain a certain calm and focus that i have never known it also creates a sort of "good feeling" that reminds me of Cocaine and therefor I find in stressful situations I feel the need to "self Medicate" again. This time with Adderall. So to say that all these people are just "hating" and "med Bashing and hypochondriacs" Is not a fair statement. Just as unfair as you feel these judgements made about adderall are. If it were not a Dangerous Drug it would not be classified and controlled the way that it is. Is it helpful in individuals with ADD? Absolutely, however it can be dangerous and EVERYONE, people with ADD and without need to understand that and treat it as such.