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Top 10 Quitting Adderall Movies

1. Garden State

There’s a quiet that comes over you when you quit Adderall. You can stand alone and feel completely calm. No racing thoughts. No crazy ideas. Just stillness. And mild detachment. Garden State captures this tone well. And it should, since it centers on a main character who has just come off a lifelong prescription to lithium. The events you see in Garden State represent the character’s first experiences off-meds, and I promise you it will hit close to home with your post-Adderall mood.

Garden State is one of only two movies on this list (the other is Equilibrium) that are explicitly about quitting prescription meds and looking at the world through your own eyes for the first time.

I saw the post title [Quitting Adderall Movies] and immediately thought of Garden State


2. Office Space

In Office Space, the stressed, overworked Petter Gibbons is hypnotized into not giving a shit anymore…about anything. TPS reports due? Pfft…fuck those. Boss wants me to work on Sunday? Nah, no thanks.  Peter starts to focus on what’s really important (asking out that cool waitress, hanging with his friends, etc), while not caring at all about all of the little minutiae that used to crush him.

After years of working like crazy on Adderall, it feels awesome to look at the clock, notice that it’s technically quitting time, think about all the work you have left to do, and then realize how laughably little you care and go home.

3. Equilibrium

In the post-apocalyptic society of Libria, the leadership has decided that the source of all war and cruelty is human emotion. So the government chemists invent a pill (Prozium) that numbs emotion and lets the entire population progress through their lives like contented robots, free of the wild highs and lows that used to plague the human experience.

I won’t spoil anything more for you, but I’ll just say this:

  1. Christian Bale.
  2. Insane gunfights.
  3. Poignantly relevant to your quitting Adderall journey.

4. Spun

With Jason Schwartzman, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, and John Leguizamo…

It’s about a group of meth addicts, and the behavior is pretty extreme, but I think there are many parallels to adderall use, particularly in the way the characters create their own little worlds, and seem to believe that they appear normal to others. There is a particular scene that, after days of everyone binging and staying awake, cuts to each character in their different locations finally sleeping peacefully that really gets to me. Highly recommend.


5. Requiem For A Dream

Requiem for a dream is the the ultimate anti-drug movie. Though mostly about heroine, it features one character (the mother, pictured above) who gets hooked on prescription amphetamines and ends up lapsing into a way-to-familiar psychosis.

Its a super dark movie but for me reminds me of the psychosis effects that drove me away from Adderall. Once I had quit for awhile, it was kind of like breaking up with a bad boyfriend/girlfriend… you forget all the reasons you did it and just remember the good times and kinda want them back. Reqiuem For A Dream was a pretty powerful reminder of why I was doing what I was doing.


6. The Salton Sea

In the The Salton Sea, Val Kilmer plays meth addict Danny Boyle. In addition to being one of the better meth/drug scene movies I’ve scene, it is also not just about meth. There’s more to this story than meets the eye. It’s not just Val Kilmer being a tragic meth addict the whole movie. It’s more. And you’re definitely going to identify with one scene where a couple of tweaked-out girls spend a whole night rearranging a sock drawer.

Incidentally, being a Val Kilmer fan, I always thought that he probably tried meth a time or two for this role. He’s known for being a method actor. Plus there’s the fact that he is now an outspoken anti-meth advocate.

Salton Sea has got to be by far, one of Val Kilmer’s best performances.


7. The Big Hit

Melvin Smiley, top contract killer, chugs a bottle of antacid while his manipulative girlfriend guilt-trips him.

I’m probably the only person in the world who loves this move (I was 15 when I first saw it…and it’s been endeared to me ever since). Everybody knocks it as “just a throw-away action flick”, but maybe you, my dear Adderallic reader, can see it the way I saw it and enjoy it like I did.

I’ve pointed out before that most Adderallic’s have approval-addict tendencies — they over-commit themselves for the sake of pleasing others. But they also tend to possess above-average intellect and talent.

In short, most Adderallics are self-enslaved stars.

Well, the main character in the Big Hit (Melvin Smiley, played by Mark Whalberg) is an approval-addicted hitman who is also the best hitman on his hit squad. Because he’s talented, everybody depends on him. But because he’s an over-extended approval addict, he lets other people walk all over him and he’s always stressed. He even confesses at one point “I just can’t stand the idea of anybody not liking me!”. That totally hits home for me.

And that is one of the main reasons I love this otherwise-hated movie. Because I so closely identify with the main character. And because John Woo knows how to direct a kickass gunfight.

8. Walk the Line

Walk the Line, if you don’t already know, is the Johnny Cash biopic staring Joaquin Phoenix. It’s an exceptionally well-done movie on the whole, but for our purposes here it also covers Johnny Cash’s addiction to (and recovery from) “pep” pills. True to life, the real Johnny Cash battled an amphetamine addiction during a big portion of his prime performing years, and was even arrested for carrying them around once (mugshot here).

9. Crank

As for the movie Crank…I was thinking along the lines of how I felt when I used to actually take Adderall (pls note-I took excessive amounts!). Chev Chelios had to keep his adrenaline constantly going in order to stay alive and I also believed at the time that I wouldn’t be able to function without Adderall so I just kept taking more and more as my tolerance grew. I always felt like I was on a mission of some kind or another. There was always a project (or 10) that I was working on. I was like a crazy energizer bunny. I didn’t know how to just relax and I sure as heck didn’t know how to “stop and smell the roses”.


10. Empire Records (just the Liv Tyler parts)

Empire Records is an early-90’s classic that birthed several new stars and starlets (Ethan Embry, Liv Tylyer, Joey Loren Adams, that girl from The Craft, etc.). It’s a fun movie, but overall it has nothing to do with quitting Adderall, except that Live Tyler’s character — as a subplot — is hopped up on prescription amphetamines the whole movie, until a dramatic confrontation with Joey Lauren Adams at the end where she utters the hits-super-close-to-home line “I’d be perfect too if I was on speed all day!”.

BONUS: The Lord of the Rings – My Precious!

The Lord of the Rings my precious, duh! I just saw the movies for the first time. They were watched among all the other movies I’ve seen in my post-adderall month-long television marathon. Perhaps I wouldn’t have seen any underlying parallels to drug addiction had I not recently quit taking adderall. The obsession and rapture Frodo has over the ring is not unlike my addiction with Adderall.


33 Responses to “Top 10 Quitting Adderall Movies”

  1. CosmiKitten says:

    Yay! Love it. Now I know which movies to rent when I quit and I’m a useless couch lump for a few days

  2. Furlong says:

    aahahahahhaha! I seriously laughed my ASS off when I saw the bonus

  3. Mike says:

    @Furlong – I know! I can’t take credit for that one, though I wish I could. That was all forum user sboo. I laughed my ass of too. It’s so perfect.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t get me wrong these are great movies. However there has been alot of studies and documentaries lately showing how just seeing a drug can release crazy amounts of dopamine in a former users brain. They did a scan of a 1 year sober addict viewing pictures and when they threw a pic of their drug of choice in there the brain waves went crazy. Sometimes thats all it takes is just seeing drugs or watching movies about them to make people really want to do them and relapse. Maybe its not the best choice. I would stay away from all things related if you are persistant about quitting. Take me for example, years ago I used to have a problem with meth but had quit for a long time. Me and some friends watched Spun and afterwards thought it would be a good idea to do some for the hell of it. It turned into being awake for 7 days and the worst week of my life

  5. mewindow says:

    It hasn’t open yet but thetrailers for that new film “Limitless” looks like the ultimate adderall film.

  6. If you’re really serious about quitting Adderall, don’t see ‘Limitless’. It will make you want to take it more. If you’re not serious about it though, it’s a very entertaining film.

  7. Mike says:

    Yeah, I really want to see Limitless as soon as it comes out on DVD. I’m sure I’ll be able to do a full article on the involved Adderall themes!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Anonymous’s post. Luckily, I haven’t relapsed, but I could see how watching these movies could end up being a major trigger for people. I had serious adderall cravings after seeing Limitless. Just wanted to put the warning out there.

  9. InRecovery says:

    LOL! I seriously thought I was the ONLY one who made that connection of the “My precious” ring to adderall and prescription pill abuse. I am convinced the writer of Lord of the Rings was an addict and the ring was symbolic of his prescription. Glad to know others think so too!

    I heard about Limitless and its sort of connection with adderall. Haven’t seen it yet, and that is the primary reason why…

  10. Mike says:

    @InRecovery – Adderall is totally like The One Ring! Powerful and terrible all at once. Limitless is EXACTLY Adderall. Full feature article on that coming soon!

  11. InRecovery says:

    Mike, Adderall is definitely The Ring. One and the same. I finally saw Limitless. They might as well have called the pill adderall. I posted an interview I found about Bradley Cooper talking adderall and Limitless in the forums. He kind of dodges the question while acknowledging the symbolism in the film.

  12. InRecovery says:

    If you like old movies, I have another one to add to the list. I just saw “The Lost Weekend” about “The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout.” It won the Best Picture Oscar. Even though the main character is an alcoholic, I think any adderallic could see themselves in this guy who self destructs on screen over his obsession with alcohol. Awesome movie, too.

  13. Mike says:

    @InRecovery – Thanks for posting that interview! I’ve been meaning to write an article on Limitless forever. I’ve actually had the dvd sitting on my desk for probably two months ago (thankfully it’s through Netflix and not piling up late fees). When I finally do write it, I’ll definitely include that interview.

  14. EV-OO says:

    The movie “Limitless” reminded me of an extreme case of Adderall dependency..

  15. Molly says:

    I see all the comments about “Limitless”, I actually was scared to continue to take my meds when I watched it. Most characters die or end up looking like shit. It took a guy that had millions and millions of dollars to figure out a formula for him to be able to keep taking it and stay healthy (and we watch him in the middle get super sick.) I think it helps show several things that are bad with meds-I think his girlfriend is a voice of hope, she takes it one time and says its not ‘right’ how this makes you feel. I’ve only seen the movie once, so can’t give detailed answers, but I wouldn’t just discount it as a pro-drug movie.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Here is an oldie but goodie: “Less Than Zero” that was out in the late eighties I believe. It is a tragic story starring Robert Downey Jr. as a young rich coke addict from Beverly Hills who pays the ultimate price for his addiction. I thought the movie did a great job too of portraying the social and familial dynamics that contribute to addiction. Robert Downey Jr. is a recovering addict and his portrayal of a teenager’s spiral downward and attempts to quit was powerful. Only an addict can really identify with how we feel.

  17. Scott says:

    For me it was “Revolutionary Road”

    Everything I am, everything I’m supposed to be… how much of it was for them, how much of it was for me?

  18. Meg says:

    As soon as I saw the picture of Smeagol lovingly cradling the One Ring, I had a sickening flashback to the time I came home for spring break, fished out my hidden stash of Barr generic IR’s and inadvertently addressed them out loud as “my little blue friends.” Precious indeed. *shudder*

  19. Jillian says:

    Dear Mike,

    My spirit has been nagging me for 7 years now, I never forgot how raw and real I once was. My creative spirit though suceptible in it’s raw state to absorbing all the pains of the world, it was truth. Adderall killed that spirit and in place put a dead version of myself. It fools other people because it looks like me,sounds kinda like me- but something is off. This same phenemenon has occured with every other substance I’ve had a love affair with-and there have been many phases of horrendous self abuse. Always now, I drag this ghost of myself around,I’ve become so antisocial and painfully self aware of the fact that I have violated this beautiful soul, my potential and so strong my spirit is to still be nagging (though now a whisper) to return to her. Yet,one day it may go a way if I continue to ignore it so long. With heroin, it did for a bit-my real self had to look away because it was too painful to watch. What do I do? because, I am terrified of facing the world in my own body, I began “self medicating” 7 years ago and I have not grown since I’ve begun this drug riddled life. So, I would be facing my present life situation with the life skills of a 22 year old I would be facing now homelessness, joblessness, trauma I never properly healed, and much to much that myself at that age could even fathom. Adderall is a sort of buffer it protects me from feeling life head on but it also prevents me from feeling the good too.Adderall posesses my body for the cost of my soul.

  20. TheHopefulJunkie says:

    My precious!! That’s exactly how I was when I saw an adderall pill and when I thought I lost one or one was taken.. lol. I watched the Hobbit tonight too, so thanks for the funny but serious example. 🙂

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  22. Pillzfornever says:

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  26. NomoreADD says:

    Thank you all for helping me to see I am not the only one going through this challenge in my life. For me, Walk The Line was and still is the most eye opening movie for quitting Adderall. Adderall made me lose many things, friendships clients and my job. I knew I needed to quit when my relationship with my husband was going south. I was only on a 30 mg ER, a day, for over 10 years. I have stopped, 2 months strong and over 30lbs heavier, but I’m happier. My psychiatrist didn’t want me to stop, but I kept insisting.

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