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My Last Words: Never Touch Adderall

Never. Touch. Adderall.

That’s what my last words to the world would have been if I had gotten into an eventually-fatal car crash or something  during my time on Adderall.

I don’t have many regrets in my life. Sure, I wish I could take back some of the stupid/hurtful things I’ve said and done to others at different points in my life. But when it really comes down to it, there’s only one thing I would go back and do over.

I can trace everything that I don’t like about myself — everything that I don’t like about my life — back to that first little, blue, 10mg Adderall pill.

Taking that first Adderall pill started a sublte yet horrid butterfly effect that I often fear I’ll never fully recover from.

When I was on Adderall, I would look in the mirror and see a question mark. I would see a tired, gaunt, bloodshot face looking back at me. I would try to be proud of myself for working so hard, for being so dedicated. But somewhere in the back of my mind a soft whisper would tug: “You know you’re not really growing. You know you’re not really moving forward like you think you are. You’re just treading water, but the pills make you think you’re swimming. You cannot begin to grow until you stop taking Adderall.”

Today, it’s been over a year since I quit Adderall. I look in the mirror, at the face and the body staring back at me, and it’s a completely different experience. I’m tan, clean-cut, natural, healthy. My whole body is stronger and more bulging. And when I look at my eyes, the question mark is gone. There’s no statement there yet, but I know there will be in time. I stare at this new me, and I have two thoughts:

1. My God how much I’ve grown in the last year. I have grown more as a person and hurtled farther towards my ultimate goals in one year off Adderall than in all seven years I was on Adderall combined.

2. Who might I have been if I had spent all of those years growing like this?

It’s that second thought that makes me want to cry in agony; in mourning for the person I might have been by now. And that’s what I think it comes down to — my case against Adderall —it hinders your natural growth as a person.

All of the lessons I have learned over the last year and all of the strengths I have built have been hard won. They have only come through pain and regular effort. I’ve been forced to grow and change my life because I was so suddenly disatisfied with everthing that I had built around me. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Adderall postpones this natural growth process; it anesthetizes you to mental pain, and by doing that it robs you of the natural movement away from pain and into areas that are naturally joyful for you. You become blind and deaf to the great journey of growing into yourself and chisling your spirit through willful effort and endurance of mental pain in service to a greater vision.

I wish so much that I had never touched Adderall. Even now, a year since my last pill, I still constantly compare my ability to do work and concentrate to what it was like when I was popping the pills.  Whenever I am dong work, I am always concious on some level of how much better I could be doing whatever I am doing if I was on Adderall.

That’s a hard hang-up to overcome, because it’s so ingrained.

If you find yourself in that same position I was eight years ago, rolling a little blue pill around in your hands, about to take Adderall for the first time. Stop. Put it back in the bottle. Never touch it again. Throw it away, shrug it off, and let your life play out how it was supposed to from the start. This is an experience you’re better off without.

As a crude analogy: You wouldn’t want to pop an extacy tab and have sex, because it’ll ruin sex forever for you…it’ll never be the same. Same concept applies here. Stay ignorant of this feeling for the sake of your own happiness.

If you hear nothing else I say on this blog, hear this: That pill will push you sideways in life, it will skew and distort all that you were meant to be, and you will regret it. If you haven’t already, never touch Adderall.

I promise you will be better off. You will never know just how much better off, but that’s kind of the point. Be grateful you never had to find out.

54 Responses to “My Last Words: Never Touch Adderall”

  1. Laura She says:

    Who are you, you inspiring saint!? – 13years and obcessed with trying to stop

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Laura! “Trying” to stop is your first mistake. Your brain is conditioned to need Adderall to TRY things; to put forth effort.

    When you TRY to wilfully maintain without taking a pill, you engage the part of your brain that craves Adderall and you make it harder on yourself.

    The trick is to do the opposite. To not try at all until you’re safely past the 30 day mark or so.

    You have to let go of the reins. You have to adopt a mentality of “bring on the chaos”. All you have to do is stay off the pills while the world around you falls apart and rebuilds itself.

    Only start to baby-step yourself back into “trying” again. You’ll have a good feel for what you can try to handle and what’s going to frustrate you to the point of seriously considering a pill.

  3. Laura She says:

    OMG. Amazing advice.

  4. Mike says:

    It is your noble heart that makes you want to take on too much too soon. This runs up against your suddenly crippled willpower and frustrates you to the point of failure.

    Let your mind heal a little before you push it too hard. I promise you that your mind will rebuild…you will be productive and willful and strong again. It just takes lots of time and patience with yourself.

  5. Jillian says:

    I am making my 2nd attempt at quitting once and for all. I’ve bookmarked this site. The space on my counter where my bottle of pills usually sits (within arm’s reach of my bed) now has a piece of paper with a quote written down that I borrowed from your site: “Success by Righteous Effort”.

    I started taking Adderall over two years ago when I started back to college as an adult student. I have straight A’s and was accepted to the top universities in the country (one of which I transfer to in the fall). And I dropped out of high school so you can imagine the thrill of finding Adderall – and now the fear of leaving it behind to prove that I am capable on my own.

    If I may, I implore you to let go of some of the regret of the 7 years “lost” and beating yourself up about who you “might be” sans Adderall. For one, you may have never known how strong you are as a person without that experience; you were able to overcome such a horrid addiction (something few manage to do) and for that, your self-esteem/confidence should be elevated to a place that it may not have reached otherwise. You will likely achieve more of your goals/aspirations in life due to that confidence (that you should have). And secondly, without the 7 years of Adderall, this site would not be possible which will, undoubtedly, be credited (at least in part) for allowing others to find the strength to quit, thereby saving countless lives – 7 years not entirely sacrificed for nothing.

  6. Mike says:

    Godspeed, Jillian. Just make it 30 days. It gets much easier after that marker. Remember: don’t push yourself too hard. Let yourself be as lazy as possible until you drag yourself, half-asleep, across that 30 day mark. If you find yourself frustrated that you can’t do a certain task without Adderall, you’re doing it wrong; you shouldn’t be attempting the task in the traditional sense at all. It is not a matter of trying hard enough. It is a matter with becoming OK with not trying at all. Until you’re ready.

    I can certainly understand the draw of Adderall to you. If it is any consolation: I have straight-A’s right now without the pills. Adderall just forces you to apply your natural capacity to any given task in front of you. The trick without the pills is figuring out how to summon those same qualities willfully and naturally, rather than having the pill do it for you. But it is still the same capacity. You are still every bit as capable, if not moreso, without the pills; it’s just a bit harder to tap for a while after you quit. But it gets better in time.

    BTW: I take less classes than I could probably handle with Adderall. But I also have a much more balanced life. I’d rather be a part-time straight-A student and still have time and clarity to exercise 6 days a week, write, cook dinner every night, go to bed on time, etc than be a full-time straight-A student with Adderall and have my life be a rollercoaster of up and down days.

    Anyhow, you’ll figure it out. But you may need to lighten your load a little and ease back into school to get used to doing it without Adderall.

    Thanks so much for what you said about me mourning those 7 years. I do feel like I’ve balanced the equation a little with this website. Really, my mourning/severe regret only exists because I’m not done transitioning yet. Once I figure out a way to achieve this certain dream life I have in mind, then I’ll be able to see all this as part of some grand experience. But right now I’m still afraid I’ll never make it to that dream…I’m afraid I ruined it before it ever had a chance to be born because of some of the choices I made related to my Adderall use. My regret is tied to that fear.

    But you’re right: Maybe if I had never had this experience I would have lived a mediocre life because I would have never swung to both extremes (repressing then embracing my greatest dreams and self).

    Time will tell.

    Glad to have you as a reader.

  7. Jillian says:

    Yesterday I did not take my pill (I take Vyvanse – the long-lasting version of Adderall), attempting the “cold turkey” route, which has failed in the past due to the overwhelming withdrawal symptoms. I was extremely tired and lethargic and pretty worthless at work. Miserable. I have taken this everyday for over two years now. My friend who quit Adderall insists the slow tapering off route is the best way to quit and avoid the horrid withdrawal. I think the key with that is keeping the mindset throughout the tapering off period. FYI, I managed to quit Adderall for a month (about 5 months back) and was miserable, non-productive, etc. and went back on it. My friend said that I did not step down (taper off) slowly enough and I think she’s right. I’m afraid the “cold turkey” route inflicts too much physical/emotional distress to be successful for me. I had a headache yesterday and today so I took 1/2 of the capsule and plan to continue that this week and then 1/4 the next, etc. which is still pretty quick to come down but better than cold turkey.

    I have not enjoyed my accomplishments (acceptance to Berkeley, UCLA, etc. scholarships, no less) because I feel that I can’t be sure I would have received them otherwise (was it me or the pill that’s responsible??) The same friend does not think I would have been accepted to Berkeley sans Adderall (hard to get mad at her – I asked her opinion, boy did I get it!) I quit smoking 10 years ago after 9+ years of smoking, quit drinking 4+ years ago but seem to have replaced alcohol with Adderall (and Klonopin to counter its effects at night and go to sleep/relax). Traded alcohol for pills, I guess. Ugh. But I am searching for truth (philosophy major) and virtue is something highly regarded by me; this is a major source of guilt and it simply has to stop.

  8. Mike says:

    Hi Jillian,

    There’s no shame in the step-down method, as long as it ends up working. I would imagine that the challenge is not to step-up when the going gets tough. 1/2 this week and 1/4 next week sounds really fast to me, but hey, if you can do it go for it. If I were to have planned a step-down dosage schedule for myself I would have probably given myself nearly a month to get used to each reduced dose, and I would have tapered the doses so slowly that I barely noticed that I was stepping down (and that way I wouldn’t constantly think about it).

    I’d love to hear your friend’s advice for a step-down plan, or at least an update from you on how the weekly step-down worked out for you. I’d eventually like to offer a nice, tested step-down dosage plan somewhere on this site to compliment the cold-turkey plan.

    Still though, I would think that it would still be a big moment when you go your first week without any pills at all.

    Are you still taking the Kolonopin? I wonder if that couldn’t be contributing to some of the headaches and such. If you are, do your really need it if you’re not taking the pills? I would think taking a relaxant with less Adderall is just going to exacerbate the lethargy produced by stepping down your Adderall dosage.

    Your comment about not enjoying your accomplishments definitely hits home for me, as I’m sure it does for others on this site. A good friend of mine once said “I never liked Adderall. It was too good. It felt like cheating.” That always stuck with me. I promise you, once you quit you will reclaim the virtue of your accomplishments tenfold. They will be hard-won, but when you look back at your new accomplishments they will feel clear and untainted by guilt…they will be all yours. They and many others will belong to the new, stronger you.

    Adderall does not increase your capacity. It just pushes you to your natural edge at all times. Anything achieved on Adderall can be achieved without it; the missing piece is summoning real passion, drive, and will power…and you cannot do that for all things….only things you care about. So if you still care deeply about getting into UCLA, Berkely, etc and succeeding there…you will find a way.

    If you went from smoking/drinking to Adderall, then what you are seeking is lubrication. All of those are substances that allow you to tolerate your life. Life is good, as long as you’re a little tweaked out on Adderall. Life is good, as long as you’re a little buzzed. Life is good, as long as you can have your smoke breaks. Without those crutches/lubricants you’re forced to face the friction and intolerability of the life you’re leading. It can be a big deal to face the prospect of life without lubrication. It’s more painful but it keeps you moving faster.

  9. Jillian says:

    Hello. Well, it’s been about a week of the “step down” method and the headaches have been awful; I can’t imagine the migraines I would have going “cold turkey”. I know I am probably “stepping down” too quickly (my daily mg. intake should decrease slower) but it’s like when you want to lost weight – you want to lose it now! Anyway, I look forward to not waking up w/ a terrible headache. Been lasting throughout the day, too. Although it’s been cloudy the past few days – maybe sinus pressure contributing? Who knows? When I quit smoking (10 years ago) on my 2nd or 3rd attempt, it was done w/the patch. I think you are supposed to use the patch for about 3 months – I used it for 5 weeks (a low dose patch) and never touched a cigarette again. I hope my quick “step down” method proves as successful. My mindset has not changed even though I’m feeling icky. I went to the UCLA orientation the other day (14 hours long) and got all excited about proving to myself that I can be a success on my own. Anyway, the klonopin is still in the picture. I will have to kick that next. Like I said, I obviously use it to get around not drinking. And last night I took it to ensure I would be able to fall asleep since I’ve been sleeping poorly also. More updates to come. Thanks again for the inspiration – I can’t find a single person to support me on this. I guess everyone prefers me drugged and fears I will fail miserably w/o adderall. I know it had an anti-depressant effect for me and my personality was much more agreeable w/it. But on the inside I felt/feel fake and guilt-ridden.

  10. April says:

    I hope you are doing better Jillian. I have just gone through a week of withdrawls from suboxone…my doctor gave me adderall to help with the detoxing. Unfortunatley I was having such a hard time getting off it I took more than the recommended dose. So now it seems like I got through the suboxone withdrawl and now I have to get myself off the adderall. It is very frustrating because I just went through so much to get to where I am now. It feels like I am doing it all over again. I am down to 2 10mg’s a day split up. its very hard to have no energy….any advice?

  11. Mike says:

    Hi April,

    They keep stepping you from one drug to the next. Eventually you’re going to have to face a drug-free withdrawal head-on. To maximize your chances of success, make sure you’re only having to face the withdrawal for one drug. I do not not much about opioid addiction/suboxone, but I would reccommend staying where you are right now (current Adderall dose) for a week or so until you are sure that all the remaining opioid/suboxone is completely out of your system. Then get off the Adderall.

    Other points of advice:
    *You’re not supposed to have any energy while going through withdrawal. Don’t fight it. Just let it play out.
    *Stay at that 2x10mg level for now. Start stepping down when you you’re sure that the suboxone is out of your system (ask your doctor for a time frame). BUT NEVER GO UP IN DOSAGE. Once you have stepped down to a lower dose force yourself to adapt to it. Stay heading downwards. The second you go back up in dose the step-down method falls apart.

    You really sound like you’re courageously taking on your chemical addictions. It’s a hard road and their are lots of new challenges that you have to break through even after you’ve made a lot of progress. But I can’t begin to tell you how “worth it” this path is. It pays off in spades.

  12. Jillian says:

    Hey April,

    I’m still stepping down from Vyvanse (adderall in a long-acting capsule).I went from one 50mg capsule/day to half the capsule for a few weeks and now I’m taking about 1/3 of the capsule (mixing in water). Having a hard time finding motivation to do things and trying to remind myself I will eventually be fine. I will go back to daily cardio which was once used as my “depression moderator” – it used to help. I got lazy with exercising since adderall did the job of keeping me super thin and “high”. I’m drinking my strong Starbucks coffee as we speak and I force myself to exercise no matter what. I dumped the entire bottle of vyvanse in the garbage but kept about a dozen or so capsules to step down. Good luck to you. The Klonopin will have to be addressed after I get over this. That doesn’t bother me as much, to be honest with you. But I know someday I will lose the need to “check out” as I do now.

  13. Brandon says:

    Hi, I started taking adderall about 2 years ago. I dont have a perscription. My wife has a perscription. I always had a problem with her taking it but she would just sa “this is my medication, the doctor says I need it.” I could not keep up with her. I would come home after long hard days at work in construction and just need to relax a little and she would constantly nag me because I was “lazy” or “didnt help out around the house and with the kids” enough. I felt like I did my part in the relationship but I only had so much energy to go around. She started to become bitter towards me and threaten in subtle way that she was going to leave me bacause I was lazy in her mind. I ran a construction company and was a good husband and father, i kept telling myself. But not wanting to lose my marriage I started taking adderall just to keep up. 2 years later I look back and can see how my life in the external and also myself as a person has been in a downward spiral. I take adderall every day and I realize it has had devastating long and short term affects on my life. I am honest enough with myself to know that I am addicted. I have got angry at it and quit afew time, but never more that a few weeks. I find myself drinking also, to take away some of the affects of the “crash” I feel like as long as I am with my wife and need to “keep up” with her I cant stop taking it. Sometimes I feel like leaving her and separating myself from the steady supply,and pressure is the only way to end my addiction and take my life back. But that is easier said than done. I love her and we have 4 small children. I dont want to break up my family. I have lost all my self confidence around people. I am underweigh and look sick with constant black circles under my eyes from constant sleep deprivation. At this point I drag myself through my daily routine like a numb zombie. I am not the person I used to be any more..

  14. Mike says:


    Your wife is delusional. She’s convinced herself that the pill isn’t really doing that much…that most of what she accomplishes is by her own strength…only a little bit is due to the pill. Her ego defense mechanisms have had plenty of time to come up with arguments and rationalizations.

    When you live the Adderall life long enough you begin to identify yourself as the type of person you are on the pill…you stop separating who you really are from who you are on the pills…you start acting as if the two are one and the same. They are not. Not by a long shot.

    I cannot tell you how many people I looked down my nose at on Adderall. Stupid, lazy, directionless…just throwing their life away on the simple pleasures when they should be working or doing something productive. God how I used to damn them all…and feel so righteous. God how delusional I was.

    I’m sure you’ve said this in a round-a-bout way or directly, but I would dare your wife to go a month without an Adderall and still call you lazy.

    The sad thing is you can’t pull this card as easily now.

    Before, when you were working off your own willpower and she was on the pills, you could have given her that challenge. With her coming off the pills and you still your natural self she would look at you like you were superhuman.

    But now you’re both down the rabbit hole and you’re the only one that’s wise.

    And your doctor is not going to be any help because he’ll just look at you quizzically when you share this problem with him and recommend some alternate drugs for you.

    Look, you’re going to be hard-pressed to talk her out of this (as you’ve probably discovered the hard way). You’ll never get through until she sees it on her own.

    I remember the relationships I had on Adderall. It was exactly as you describe, except in your wife’s shoes. It was OK, because I was the man…being so driving and work-crazy just made me seem more unobtainable and attractive to a girlfriend…until they couldn’t take it anymore.

    But in your case, with her being the girl and on Adderall, she’s taking on the role of the productive man in the relationship. And that’s bad for both of you.

    Look, forgetting the kids for a moment, you could leave. Tell your wife she can have her productivity. Take comfort in the fact that she’ll never find happiness in a relationship with somebody else if she keeps looking for somebody who can equal her Adderall-induced, over-busy lifestyle. There are only two types of people who will fit that bill for her: 1. Somebody else on Adderall or 2. Somebody who can do that naturally. #2 is ultra-rare and wouldn’t work out anyway. An Adderall hero is no match for a pure-blood hero (twitch, twitch). Right now you’re trying #1 and that’s not working either because it’s killing you.

    So here’s my advice.

    You quit. Whether you feel like it or not, you’re awareness of the truth of this situation makes you the wise man and her the silly little girl for continuing to rationalize her behavior and pretending like it’s OK and normal. So you have an opportunity to do the right thing before she does, thereby restoring your position as the man who wears the pants (which is what you both want).

    The bad news is that it’s not going to be easy because you have to quit and recover from your own use first.

    But put your foot down. Tell her that you’re quitting because your drug-fueled lifestyles are not right and they have never been right, and you’re going to stop it because your conscience can’t bare it any more. And you hope she follows you, but at this point you’re doing this for yourself. Don’t let her guilt-trip you. You have to play the long-term with her. It may be that you quit, become super-worthless for a while until she up and leaves, then as you’ve recovered a year later she realizes Adderall is bad, quits, and realizes what a right move you made, and respects you for doing the right thing all along. It may come to that.

    I hope that it doesn’t have to though. I hope you can dare her to go without the pills for even a week and show you how driven and productive she truly is. Make sure you stay on the pills that week so she can see the contrast. So she can look up at you and think “well that’s not fair, you’re on the pills”. That should take her down a couple of pegs.

    Do not take her assaults on your productivity personally, as much as they sting. She has no right, as much as she thinks she does.

    If she refuses to see the err of her Adderall taking, then you may have to let the issue go with her temporarily. She might not be ready to see that right now. She might be too early in her evolution as an Adderall taker, when her love for the drug is at its strongest….when Adderall feels righteous. There is such a thing as a honeymoon phase with Adderall, and it can last years. You can’t crack her during that time. Because Adderall can do no wrong. Because now she can’t imagine life without it. She doesn’t want to go back to the way she was — to the person she was — without the pills…she likes her new self better, and sees no harm in continuing to live like this. That can be a tough nut to crack, because her ego is so invested in Adderall…you’ll have to beat back all of her defense mechanisms…and that might not be doable for you right now. Plus, if she’s early in her Adderall taker cyle, Adderall has probably done much more good than harm to her (that she’s noticed). It takes a while on Adderall to really get a sense of how badly it is rotting you from the inside. If she doesn’t have that sense yet it’ll be hard to show it to her.

    I don’t know what to tell you about the kids, except to say I have seen incredible harm come from people suppressing their own issues for the kids sake…you’ll be better off working them out so you can give your kids happy, healthy parents for the majority of their lives.

    Look, Brandon, bottom line is you have to find a way out of this for your own sake, and if that means a period of separation from your rationalizing, misguided, speed-freak wife, then so be it. You’ll be the better man in the end.

  15. Jillian says:

    I read this over again and just to reiterate: I don’t believe the growth you experienced over that one year would have occurred with the same frequency over the 7 years had you never touched Adderall. Because w/o the Adderall experience, you may not have realized you had such growth potential. You may have simply taken it for granted, which is what I did for years (lazy, complacent) without Adderall. It took the Adderall experience to even see that there was a challenge to begin with.

  16. Matt says:

    I can’t believe I ran into this website. It’s too specific to believe.

    I spent 7 years of my life consumed by that pill, but I’ve been off for a year now. It’s nice to know there is someone out there who went through the same struggles and had the same thoughts. This past year has been great and I’ve changed definitively as a person. It has been tough…very tough so far, but I wouldn’t go back to Adderall for any reason.

    I quit cold turkey over a year ago because I had had enough. I was through with feeling empty inside. Nothing was fulfilling. My priorities have changed completely since that time and the adjustment has been difficult. Some days I wake up with a natural, exuberant energy. Other days that energy is completely gone and my mind races back to the Adderall. Those are the bad days.

    What always gets me is looking back and seeing all the wasted time I spent suffering. It made me so awkward and full of negativity. Now I wonder if I’ll ever fully recover. Am I permanently damaged? I haven’t really found that out yet, but your experience has helped me tremendously. Thank you.

  17. Mike says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your comment. Great to have another success story on here! Unfortunately, the emotional up and down cycle you can find yourself in after you quit Adderall, combined with your newfound focus on revamping yourself and growing into your new skin…it can all lead to awkwardness. You’re re-finding your place in the world. You’re figuring out who you are all over again. Add a healthy dose of self-doubt, regret, and depression to that mix and it’s a recipe for a strange and shaky foundation to try and approach people from.

    1. Solidify your foundation with successes. The more you build yourself back, the more personal successes you have to draw from, the more of an independent person you are…you stop looking for success in the form of approval from others….you stop feeling so self-conscious and you get more happy and comfortable with your new skin.

    2. Force yourself to socialize as much as possible, especially when you don’t feel like it.

    3. Try to avoid falling back into the down cycle if you can…that’s what creates most of the awkwardness, IMHO.

    You are not permanently damaged. You will not only fully recover, but you’ll surpass where you were before. I had the same doubts around the 1 year mark. They are only now starting to really dissipate, as I approach the 2 year mark. These days, I almost work harder than I did on Adderall, but as you said…your priorities are completely different. But that’s the wonderful, encouraging part. I work hard, but it’s mostly on stuff I care about.

  18. ADHDguy says:

    I just read this blog and I have to say I am really concerned.
    I never took Adderall, but I currently take it’s sister drug Vyvanse, made by the same company as Adderall (Shire) 70mg/day, the max dosage. It is akin to snorting cocaine for me and it’s being prescribed for my ADHD.

    I came off of Straterra (non-stimulant) in January because my insurance no longer covered it. I was really concerned about taking a stimulant/amphetamine because of my history of cocaine/alchohol dependency as a teen. I am starting to see in myself the traits you pointed out seeing in your face. I have dark circles clear down to my cheekbones, I’m wiped out all the time, and I am at a point that I can’t complete anything w/o Vyvanse. I totally look like I’m blowing chalk again!

    Being ADHD ,I scored 160 out of 224, (while medicated!) it takes allot of effort to complete even the most menial tasks; much less staying focused at work, or focusing when I’m with my girlfriend, trying to get housework done etc (my point is I’m off the charts).

    I guess what I am trying to say is I am starting to feel like I did when I was doing blow. Cocaine always focused me and I recently read the reason I always wanted the “altered state of mind” is because cocaine focused me. But like I said, I’m starting to feel like I’m blowing rails again. It gives me much needed energy, focuses me, pushes me to get things done,,, that being said, at the end of the 14hour release time of the drug I totally crash.

    I’m really scared to think about what my life will be like w/o Vyvanse, but I gotta tell you I don’t feel like myself anymore. I feel like the drug is doing it all for me, kinda like a conduit, and I’m just walking around totally tweeked.

    I want to come off of Vyvanse, but I’m totally worried I’ll lose my friends, girlfriend, and job (again) because I’ll go back into ADHD mode.

    My question is (finally,, sorry about the sidetrack, that’s my ADHD)how do you get through life w/o the meds?


  19. Mike says:

    Hi ADHDguy,

    Thanks for your comment! If you’re severely ADHD, you’ve got two basic choices: Medicate it or channel it.

    Without meds, focus-intensive jobs are going to be torturous, miserable, and nearly impossible to maintain. But there is such a thing as a highly-stimulating job (basically anything that’s not in front of a computer all day). If you’re going to try life with unmedicated severe ADHD, my advice is to find such a job….or invent one.

    What you read about ADD people being attracted to illegal stimulants like Cocaine because they focus you is very true, and likely explains a lot of your coke problem. I’ve heard the same thing said about bipolar people (they like stimulants because it keeps them in the “manic” (happy) phase).

    Either way you read into that, you need to do something about your ADHD. And again, either stimulate it with medication or stimulate it with a more stimulating life. It’s staying in the middle — trying to go unmedicated in an under-stimulating life — that makes people miserable.

    Was Straterra working? If Staterra was working for you, maybe find a way to get back on that. I’ve been pretty militantly anti-med on this blog, but I don’t want to do that at the expense of your ultimate happiness. If you’re severely ADHD, and all you need is a little non-stimulant straterra to make you happy and you don’t feel like you’re suppressing yourself, then go for it.

    On the other hand, if you’re committed to coming off meds completely…if that’s what really feels right for you, then by all means: go for it. But know that in addition to dealing with all the little side effects (withdrawal, depression, etc.), your greatest challenge will be creating a new life that is stimulating enough to compensate for your ADHD.

    If you’re worried that you’re going to lose everything by coming off, consider stepping down very slowly and give yourself time move your life towards where it needs to be to satisfy your progressively-unmedicated self (read: work on changing jobs, find side passions).

    And finally (see, I rant too), to answer your question: How do I get through life w/o the meds? I take it one step forward at a time, I try to keep my obligations low and my time for working on my passions high, I exercise like a sonofabitch, I break up tasks into chunks so they’re not so overwhelming, I develop little ways to outsmart myself into doing the right thing, and above all I try to stay focused on what I want my life (and my self) to be in the future — it’s when I loose that focus on/hope for the future that I start to stumble horribly.

    In short: I try not to add anything to my life that doesn’t make me feel more alive, and spend the rest of the time trying to remove the things that make me feel dead.

    It’s still very much a work in progress. I’m not nearly where I need to be yet, but that’s more because of other circumstances…not so much because I’m not mentally ready to be there.

  20. Tyler Ward says:


    My name is Tyler Ward. I am 22 years old and I took ritalin, focalin, adderral, vyvanse, and every other adhd medication since I was 8-11 (I really do not know what age I started it all… it was VERY YOUNG). Suffice to say, I feel like this website is a godsend. I have been trying so hard to get my parents to take my little brothers off these drugs. I am a senior in college. I am a Finance major so my major involved a ton of analytical work that I could not do without my ritalin/focalin. I realized I enjoyed the subject matter but it wasn’t worth my overall health and long term hapiness. I worked out all the time in high school and used to be somewhat of an athelete. After a while on ritalin, I became a fat lazy slob that was 30 pounds overweight and not at all happy. The only time I was happy was when I got to the peak of my adderal high and smoked a cigarette or got one of the grades back that I performed so well on because of my self induced high from various psychostimulants. I always knew I was doing something wrong. I always knew these were bad for my body. However, it was completely legal and my doctor prescribed it to me. Furthermore, I was worried what would happen to me my senior year if I quit taking my pills and tried to perform well in school using my own natural god given capabilities (no way right?). Well this post will not be all some sad somber post. My post is actually a success story.

    See, my senior year, I was working for a financial portfolio company where we managed 3 million in assets and debts. As I sat in front of the computer one day looking across a boring array of the financial data, I was trying to make sense of it and get a second report done. Probelem was: my psychostimulant that I had taken that day had worn off. I thought about taking another, but the last time I had done that, I got sick and didn’t sleep right for a few days so decided not to risk losing my job again. I thought about how I was juggilng each day with sanity and insanity. I struggled each day unsure if I was going to fail or succeed in what I was going to do that day in time before my pills wore off. Keep in mind, I was working 20 hours a week and going to school 19 hours. I finally snapped.

    I didn’t just make an all out free fall in some manic manner like I wanted to. I wanted to just drop it all and run away. I had an abusive girlfriend and my parents clearly woudn’t understand why I was stopping these pills when I seemed to be doing so well. (I had a 3.8 GPA at a prestigous private Florida school and I was going on to quite possibly get a job right out of college making $75,000 a year or more. Why would I change it all now?

    The answer was that I was going insane and I knew that I couldn’t live the rest of my life like this. I didn’t stop it all at once. I had some backup plans. I had started a company that I never go around to running because I felt like it was a hobby and not a way to make money (I think that was a mixture of psychostimulants and life telling me I was going into danger zone). I guess I figured if I dropped it all and ran away I would have to leave my company. Instead, I put in my two week notice and joined a gym. I sat in the sweat room for two hours a day feeling like I was sweating all the toxins out of my body after a long workout. I switched to eating all organic healthy foods. I began even showering with organic soaps and body washes and shampoos to insure that I was releasing excess chemicals from my body and not adding any. I quit drinking (and boy did I enjoy drinking- ask anyone who knows Tyler Ward and they will tell you I quite possibly throw the biggest, wildest parties in Volusia county). Let me rephrase that: I cut out excessive drinking and cigarettes… I still grab a craft brew or two every once in a while and/or smoke a good cigar to reflect on my accomplishments (I make sure that this is no more than once a week).

    Suffice to say, I lost 35 pounds, got a six pack abs, I ate so many carrots my hands and feet turned orange because my doctor said I was eating too much beta carotene… now this is quite easy to do actually when you eat healthy because 8 0z. of carrot juice is a pound of carrots! Add that to drinking some wholesome V8 juice (which is 25% carrot juice) and snacking on some wholesome carrots in the afternoon.. I was probably eating about 3 pounds of carrots a day and had no idea. I cut back to half a pound and I am now normal colored. My company is starting to take off now and I am about to graduate college. My GPA has dropped from a 3.8 to a 3.4… but just think… what were those .4 points worth? A whole new life I tell you. They were worth every bit of a whole new life.

    I look back on my life and see what our lives were on ritalin. I wish I had never taken psychostimulants and I wish they were illegal. Then I think, where would we all be anyway? We are who we are as a product of our pasts and I would not change much about the way my life has turned out. I hope that you do not live with a burden of regret because you took ritalin. You, just like me, thought you were doing good for yourself either through bringing yourself false success or hapiness. However, they say steak tastes a million times better to the Haitian americans who grew up eating dirt cookies. Maybe our success will all taste better because of what we had to overcome. I seriously doubt I would be as healthy and successful as I am today if I had not had to overcome such a serious obstacle and drug addiction in my life. Thank you for making this site. I broke down crying numerous times writing this and reading this.

    Thank you,
    Tyler Ward
    Giddy Glassware LLC

  21. Mike says:

    Tyler, my friend, that was epic. If you don’t mind, I’m going to feature your story on the front page for tomorrow’s post.

  22. ERIN says:

    Wow, I’m speechless.


    Your story is incredible. I can relate to so much with you. You’re an inspiration. 🙂

    I’m 100% clean and sober for 14 days straight now. I can’t believe how much I loved a drug that made me so miserable. My psychological state of mind was an utter mess on adderall. You mentioned being with an abusive girlfriend. I just banished nearly everyone in my life b/c I had so many unhealthy relationships. Every single person I recently cut out of my life was abusing me in some way or another. This abuse is what finally got me off adderall. I simply couldn’t take another swing from anyone. I was at an all time low and wanted to end my life. It’s bad enough when we already feel like the scum of the earth b/c we know we are addicted to these pills and it’s not really us that’s responsible for all of our success.

    People would always compliment me and make jealous remarks about my weight. Id’ tell them, “Look, I don’t even workout. I’m skinny fat.” I knew I didn’t work hard for it. It was effortless and I hated myself for it. I finally had the body I’d always dreamed of, but I felt uglier inside than I probably ever did heavier b/c I knew I was a pill popping junkie.

    Adderall makes you abuse yourself in every way shape in form. It robs you of your self esteeem, happiness, growth, pride, respect, and health. As you become more dependent on the substance, you lose less and less of who you are and end up hating yourself in the process. I got to a point where I truly had 0 faith left in my own ability without them. I felt like such a fake shell of a human being I let people walk all over me and totally dominate me in every way shape in form.

    This past week has been amazing. It’s as if I woke up from a 6-7 year coma. Today, I had 4 people standing around my desk at work and they wouldn’t leave because they were having so much fun listening to me. I forgot this person existed. I’m not gonna lie. I’m pretty funny. I forgot I had a sense of humor. I’m full of energy, wild, and spunky. I’m like a magnetic force in my real skin. People actually LOVE being around me and can’t get enough. This is the exact opposite of what adderall did to me. At the very end of my addiction I actually went to see a psychic. She told me I was at 90% negative. She said I was in utter trouble if I didn’t get help for my problems fast. It was only going to get worse. She said I’d been nothing but negative for the past 5 years straight. She even went on to say that people knew I was a good person when they’d first meet me, however, I had a host of estranged relationships at present. She said, “You’re at the point that after someone new gets to know you for longer than 5 minutes….oh…they run like hell.” This wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for, but damn..she hit a homerun with that statement.

    Anyhow, the great news in my life is that I’m off the roller coaster for good. I LOVE myself again clean and sober. I don’t care much about much right now besides the fact I’m happy again. It’s amazing to imagine I let a substance steal that from me for 6-7 years, but if anything I think I’m going to be thankful in the long run I went through all this. Happiness has NEVER felt so GOOD.

    God bless and take care!


  23. johns mother says:

    my son quit adderall on july 19th with a gunshot blast to the head.
    i am devastated as are his sisters and niece. my only son and firstborn child. 🙁 We will never be the same again. I found him.

  24. Mike says:

    Jesus. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say, because I can’t even begin to comprehend what you’re going through. How old was he? Did he leave a note explaining his actions?

    I don’t know if this would help, but if you want to write up John’s story…I will post it on the front page of this site. Maybe it can help some people.

    Take care.

  25. Johns mom says:

    My son was dx add when he was about 11. I think he was just super smart and bored. He ended up on meth thanks to his father in southern california as a teen. After that when he started making some money, he started cocaine and crack on and off over the years. This past couple years he was on a roller coaster of cocaine, adderall, vicodin, klonopin, dilaudid, valium…everything illegal but the adderall. The doctor who prescribed the adderall didn’t really give a shit about him and continued to refill his rx’s without seeing him most of the time. He also had hypertension and wasn’t taking those meds either. His father died at age of 40 with congestive heart failure due to use of cocaine and meth/smoking and drinking. He was a computer programmer way back when and made great money too.
    I found my son July 19th 2010 in his semi tractor with his head blown off by a gunshot. His wife bought him the gun. I begged him to get treatment, real treatment. Adderall isn’t treatment, it’s a high. I think ppl who have add or adhd just need to learn to channel their energy and use their brains in ways others aren’t able to, that is, learn to process differently. I think many people who are dugged up early in their lives just aren’t able to learn to live without those drugs and are absolutely dependent on them, which is really, really, sad.
    I stll cry every day about finding my son like that. I see him every morning I wake up with his brains splattered all over his bunk in his truck. And to make matters worse, the coroners office was outsourced Sept 1st 2010 to a private hospital because they weren’t doing their job. When I got the tox screen back, he was positive for cocaine and klonopin. They let him go to the funeral home without an autopsy. It is possible his wife had him killed, but because of the inept dept of Medical examiners in Kalamazoo county michigan, I may never know how my son was killed. They said it was a shot between the eyes, but when I found him, there wasn’t a drop of blood on his face, his eyes, ears, mouth, nose and half his forehead was intact. NO holes in his face what so ever. He just looked like he was sleeping. Why do I have to go through this? Trying to find out how my son died and the fact that the Sheriff dept just made up some phoney report with the coroner’s office? Just another dumb addict? Thanks adderall. I really appreciate all you’ve done for my son.

  26. Johns mom says:

    My son was 33 and really super intelligent. I’ve had two ex-cops look at the photos and read the report and they both said what the coroners office said is IMPOSSIBLE considering the photos and what I saw when I found him. So on top of my dead son, me finding him, and the coroners office not doing their job, I’ll be seeking out a lawyer soon.

  27. Mike says:

    @John’s mom,

    That’s awful. I really hope you find out what happened, and find out some peace.

    Listen, I feel really out of my depth here, so if this is inappropriate let me know, but I have a couple of questions…

    1. Which came first: the Adderall or the other drugs?
    2. Was his father also diagnosed with any mental conditions?

    Sometimes ADD and bi-polar people try to self-medicate with heavy drug use, rather than channeling it into something productive (as you mentioned) or sticking to a good doctor/therapy/treatment.

    I’m kind of wondering if that wasn’t the case with your son and his father. Or were there other factors that led them down the drugs road?

    Also, on that horrible memory of finding your son: Every time you recall that image, you strengthen the connections in your brain that are able to recall it…you keep it fresh.

    If I could offer any advice, it would be to stop recalling that image. When it bubbles up, switch immediately to recalling something else, something happier. Do not let your brain go back to that image. Eventually you will be able to condition your mind to jump immediately off that image when it encounters it.

    If you do this enough, the image will fade a little in your memory.

    If you don’t let your brain think about it, your brain will eventually stop trying to think about it. Don’t indulge it…unless you think doing so will be therapeutic.

    If you switch to a happier image, that image will stay clear, while the horrible image fades.

    Basically this is willful repression, and I’ve used often to much benefit.

    I know that sounds counter to the whole “don’t repress it…deal with it head-on” traditional mentality, but it works for me.

    And if I were you I would probably feel like the image of my son’s body was something I just didn’t want in my brain. I would want to remember him whole, and then gone.

    But again, I’m way out of my depth here. Just trying to help. I’m sorry if I’m over-stepping.

    Please take care, and keep us updated.

  28. Johns mom says:

    Unfortunately in this case with my son and with me finding him, my remembering what I saw that day is imperative in me finding out how he died. (The ME photos were hours later and he looked vastly different then then when I found him.) They said he put the gun between his eyes and pulled the trigger, but he had no holes or blood on his face what so ever when I found him NOTHING, so the point is is that the medical examiner investigator office wrote up a phoney report/didn’t do their job and had I not found him, I would have had this idea in my head that he did exactly what the medical examiner investigator said he did, which is not true. Not only that, I found a shell on the floor, where did that come from? You have to cock the mossberg 500 shotgun to get that out of the spent chamber, who did that and what was left in the gun? I want to know this and other things relative to the manner of his death. I can’t imagine any mother just writing it off like the ME office did regardless of whether he was on drugs or not. The law in Michigan states that physical investigation must occur in cases of “sudden, violent or unexpected” deaths where an MD was not supervising within 48 hrs of the death, and my son’s death was all of the above. So they broke the law, and not only in my case, but the Director of the Health Dept told me for two hours on the phone back in early sept. there were “dozens” of people who have had to go through the same thing I am going through because her ME dept wasn’t doing their job. THINK ABOUT IT…. what a horrific thing for anyone to have to go through!

    I know what I saw, and my son did not do what the MEI said he did. When I found him his entire face was intact. Even the same investigator from the ME office later admitted to me on the phone he thought it was “unusual” and I asked him, what was unusual? He replied: That his eyes were still there, because the slug….” and I said, What’d you say, slug? He used bird shot, so again, the investigator didn’t do his job. I found bird shot pellets in the bunk later on while I went back to get more things out of his truck and do my own investigation, and I found the shell with a big fingerprint on it… I wonder whom that print belongs to? The sheriff office didn’t do their job either. They just figured out it was another drug user loser and closed the book without so much as an investigation on the body or the scene. My son and family deserved much more dignity, respect and legal investigation than that. He was such a good person who didn’t deserve this to happen to him, and it was my fault for bringing him into this world and have to go through all of this sadness. I should have known better. Until this case is officially closed, and I find out how my son died, I won’t rest in my investigation, which just prolongs my agony, angst and grief.

    Anyway, my remembering my son in that capacity is crucial to my case against the county health department who shut down their ME office sept 1st due to them not doing their job and for me and my family’s emotional distress in finding out the manner in which he died. Really, I’m not paid to find out how my son died, and I shouldn’t have to go through this because it isn’t my job. I am trying to find out how my son died because of their ineptness and negligence and all of the county adminstrators KNOW THIS. I seriously doubt however that anyone else has dealt with this problem in this capacity and I’m pretty sure they don’t want to deal with it either.

    My son’s wife and boyfriend could have done it too… she did buy him the gun, and he was a felon and she knew he was unstable. I think she talked his friend/her new boyfriend into killing him for her. He too is a user and if anyone breaks silence due to guilt it would be him. only time will tell regarding whether or not it was murder.

    Regarding the ADD, his father died early from congestive heart failure from cocaine use at 41, smoking and drinking yes. That side of the family also had aunts and uncles Dx’d with ADD/ADHD and yes they all had drug and alcohol issues/heart problems with the paternal grandfather as well. Nothing on my side of the family with drugs but my dad and all three of my brothers had drinking problems. My mother and I never did/don’t.

    My son found his dad dead out in southern cal, he was only 17. But he knew he was dying, we all knew it, and so did his dad. It wasn’t unexpected.

    Sometimes I wonder if my son really did kill himself, if he had his wife lead me to find him on purpose to make me suffer what he did in finding his father. There are so many things that go unanswered when something like this happens, and so many things a person will wonder about after the fact. It is a truly horrible experience all the way around, especially for a mother or father to endure, to lose a child.

    My son’s father got him involved with drugs as a teenager and for that reason I tried to keep him away from his father for the first twelve years of his life or there abouts, then his father got him for a while and took him to southern california where he became a meth user. I tried to bring him back to michigan when he had escaped from juvie there, for detox/treatment but he was so screwed up and not my son, I had to leave him there up in Barstow at the police dept to send him back to juvie in Orange co. Seriously, back then, he didn’t even look like my son, he was so wasted away from not eating I was totally freaked out by him and his bizare behaviour/appearance, hacking up blood and trying to pull the truck off the road and kill us both as i tried to get him out of So.Cal and away from the drugs/into rehab. He was not my son then, and after that, only small bits of him came through him later as the drugs spoke more often than he did. He didn’t want to be on those drugs right up until the end, and he kept wanting to “run away” from them and the dealers. He even turned in some of the dealers here but they are still out selling.

    He always wanted to move away, but the drugs are everywhere. All it takes is one dealer, and there are thousands of them waiting to prey on an addict.

    He had a horribly tumultuous life due to drugs and the fact his brain didn’t have the right chemistry to afford him a sane place in our society. I think it is wrong to put drug users/addicts in prison, it’s an illness, worse than cancer, as it lingers longers and those afflicted suffer immensely to the point of oftentimes killing themselves, which they are doing slowly any way by using.

    I think our government should concentrate more on the dealers then users. Putting users in prison isn’t the answer to the problem. Either legalize it or stop the makers/dealers. Why punish people who have an illess, especially with speed when many can’t control their addiction? They don’t put cancer patients in prison for smoking pot do they? Our society needs to change the rules and help those who have addiction problems before they end up like my son, IF in fact he killed himself or not really, he did have a drug problem/brain chemistry issues.

    Thanks for the support and the advice.
    John’s mom

  29. aunt says:

    I dont even know what to say. Shire pharm is a bunch of murderers. They know about their product, yet they continue to market it. $750mil/year is alot to give up, I guess. I am so sorry for all of your pain and I am glad that some of you are thinking or able to get off of this medication.
    My absolutely beautiful, intelligent, non-add nephew was mis diagnosed by his family dr & given a prescription for adderall xr. 3 weeks later he killed himself. he was 20years old. without warning or provocation. no note. nothing changed in his life except for that fu**ing adderall. he had no history of depression or suicidal ideation. You tell me. Mike, please email me privately. I would love to discuss things with you.
    thank you

  30. so lost says:

    Hi, I’m 29…two years into my career as a physical therapist, and have never felt so alone in my life. I was prescribed adderall during my first semester of graduate school. Since then, I have become significantly less social, isolated myself in many ways, and become very depressed. I never drank alcohol alone, until I started taking adderall. I wish more than anything I had never been prescribed this medication. I had no problem getting through high school or UGA without it. And taking it to get through an accelerated masters degree program was defintitely not worth it. I realize some people don’t face this issue at all. But my experience has been difficult, and much different. I never thought I would even be able to write this post…so if anyone could direct me in any way…as far as the best way to come off of it…whether it be a counselor, book, website, words of encouragement, or whatever…I would appreciate it more than you could know. Thank you for taking the time to read my message…lizzy

  31. Mike says:

    @John’s mom

    Sometimes I wonder if my son really did kill himself, if he had his wife lead me to find him on purpose to make me suffer what he did in finding his father.

    Absolutely not.

    I totally agree about needing some serious societal reforms as it relates to drugs, especially since so many drug users are chemically imbalanced people just using drugs in a misguided attempt to compensate, like your son and his father seem to have been.

    Anyhow, take care and please come back and let us know if there are any updates in the case.


    That’s awful. I’m so sorry. What a waste. It’s actually kind of strange to me that he spiraled downward that fast. Are there any more details on that?

    Also, as far as Shire goes: I blame the unfortunately-configured system much more than the drug companies. Doctor’s don’t have time anymore to really treat people. The patients are at fault too…everybody wants a quick fix, and pharma gives doctors a way to provide that. Still though, I think there should be more restrictions on how aggressively big pharma can push their pills.

    I’ll send you that email and we can talk further if you’d like.

    @so lost/lizzy

    Hey I’m in GA too! I have two friends in grad school at UGA right now. Anyhow, look, the important thing is that you choose your direction before you started popping the pills. That’s good. That means you for the most part you still have your path in life…you’ve just eaten away at your natural self for a little bit. Now that you’re in your field working, your life should be a bit more stable than in school (regular hours, no homework, etc).

    Plus your job is more physical (right?) than say an accountant or computer programmer. You don’t have to be crunching numbers and math problems all day. You just need to be solving body problems, motivating patients, etc…all of which you’re well trained for.

    Which means your main barrier to quitting is going to be staying awake for your job until your brain chemistry recovers, which is easily doable with enough coffee. You may also have trouble remembering treatment plans/patient histories/etc, but a good note-taking habit can make up for your shortened attention span (which in a way affects what things you remember).

    I know you may feel pretty lost right now, but from where I’m sitting you’re actually in pretty good shape to quit. All of those feelings of being under-social/not yourself anymore…quitting Adderall fixes those pretty quickly.

    You can try the wean-off method or cold turkey. I think in your case you may be able to handle cold turkey, but might as well try the wean off method first since it’s more sane. If you do go cold turkey, just give it a full 30 days before judging it. All bets are off, brain chemistry wise, until then (because it takes 2 weeks to a month for your brain to rebound from the dependency).

    Then there may be other problems related to the fact that you’ve never done your job sober before. It’s essentially like doing the job as a different person. You have to re-learn certain things. The good news is that you keep all the past knowledge that you accumulated during your Adderall years. I don’t know what you’re in for in this regard, since I’ve never known a physical therapist before, but I think you can do it.

    Try quitting. Then come back here and report any difficulties you have. I’ll try to help if I can, once I learn the specifics.

  32. aunt says:

    No, Mike there are no more details. We have talked to EVERYONE he came in contact with the weeks before. He spent his days going to school, working & at home studying We talked to friends from school (one of which he spent everyday with), co workers & family and there was NO CHANGE There was nothing that occurred that would have caused this. NOTHING CHANGED IN HIS LIFE EXCEPT FOR THE ADDERALL! Something needs to be done about this drug & the “handouts” by doctors. ..and yes, please email me! Thanks!

  33. chris says:

    3.30 am. 99 1/2 hrs since my last refill w/ maybe 6 hrs of sleep. I’m 35, been mediated since late 70’s (ritalin, dexa something and for the past 18 yrs: adderall). This monthly cycle of filling a script, then a 2 to 3 weeks binder with a 10 day comedown has me in desperate times. The inspiring words written here comfort me more than I thought could ever be possible.

    I finally Googled adderall and this page comes up. I know now I am not alone.

    1993 was my freshman yr at the university of scranton and I was doing poorly in my classes. My Dr decided to try me on an experimental/prototype med we know as adderall. I guess I grew immune to whatever I had been on previously (I honestly don’t remember). Back then people labeled u a ‘spaz’. So I kept it to myself.

    Having been diagnosed add or adhd by Rutgers u when I was a kid, I grew up expecting to need meds my whole life(I still think this way). After graduation, I realized desk work wasn’t for me. Been doing contracting and handyman work since. No goals anymore. No ambition. No friends left because of my paranoia that everything that happens around me is meant to hurt me. I’m tired of feeling like bugs are crawling on me. I’m tired of picking at my skin so aggressively that I bleed. I’m tired of smoking 2 packs a day b/c 2 stimulants are better than one. Im tired of scheduling work around my two good (high) weeks. I’m tired of hoping I make enough to pay rent, cigs and the 120 needed to fill the 90 pills (30mg) that will keep content for another 30 days.

    The withdraws

  34. chris says:

    3.30 am. 99 1/2 hrs since my last refill w/ maybe 6 hrs of sleep. I’m 35, been mediated since late 70’s (ritalin, dexa something and for the past 18 yrs: adderall). This monthly cycle of filling a script, then a 2 to 3 weeks binder with a 10 day comedown has me in desperate times. The inspiring words written here comfort me more than I thought could ever be possible.

    I finally Googled adderall and this page comes up. I know now I am not alone.

    1993 was my freshman yr at the university of scranton and I was doing poorly in my classes. My Dr decided to try me on an experimental/prototype med we know as adderall. I guess I grew immune to whatever I had been on previously (I honestly don’t remember). I literally filled out a 20 page application to join the program. Back then people labeled u a ‘spaz’. So I kept it to myself.

    Having been diagnosed add or adhd by Rutgers u when I was a kid, I grew up expecting to need meds my whole life(I still think this way). After graduation, I realized desk work wasn’t for me. Been doing contracting and handyman work since. No goals anymore. No ambition. No friends left because of my paranoia that everything that happens around me is meant to hurt me. I’m tired of feeling like bugs are crawling on me. I’m tired of picking at my skin so aggressively that I bleed. I’m tired of smoking 2 packs a day b/c 2 stimulants are better than one. Im tired of scheduling work around my two good (high) weeks. I’m tired of hoping I make enough to pay rent, cigs and the 120 needed to fill the 90 pills (30mg) that will keep content for another 30 days.

    The withdrawls I endure every month lead me to believe that is life for me w/o adderall. I would love to try the step approach but I don’t trust myself and have no one to help regulate it with me. I would try the cold turkey approach, but how do I make any money when I know I’ll be comatosed for months? The other issue I have to deal with is internet porn. In today society, u need the net similar to need water to survive. It’s only by way of my smartphone I am able to write this out w/o being distracted.

    I have the ‘want’ but not the ‘will’.

    Suicide is not an issue because of my fear of failing an attempt.

    I’m literally 1 step from a cardboard box under a bridge next to a barrel of burning wood.

    If anyone has any thought please share. Thank you

  35. chris says:

    I forgot to mention what finally pushed me over the edge. Last night I forced myself to get some sleep for the first time in 70 some hours by taking a couple of sleeping pills. When I woke up the next morning, literally did not know what was going on, where I was and why I set my alarm for 4am. 15 mins later, I stumbled into the kit to see that I had made steaks and pancakes at some point the night before. I still have no recollection of any cooking and just glad I didn’t burn the house down

  36. Angela says:

    This website is a God-send. I am trying to gain the strength to begin my journey without ADHD medications and the information and experiences here are invaluable. I am not alone. Mike, you’ll probably never know how many people you have helped because of your transparency about Adderall addiction. Thank you!

  37. Rob says:

    A lot of good advice. No doubt.

    But a voice of reason needed here. Adderal has had a fantastic effect on my life. Far outweighs the negative for me.

    Stick with the minimal dosage, take the weekend off of it and just be productive when you need to be. And relax about it.

  38. Mike says:


    That’s great. Glad it’s working for you. And for anybody who wants to stay on Adderall, what you’re describing is exactly the way to do it. Just be regular about it and take only as little as you absolutely need.

  39. Hilary says:

    If there was a world of “Social Media” many many years ago I wonder where I’d be. I can tell you where I am now, and am so grateful for everyone who has been posting their experiences.

    I started all this with the realization I could tell a doctor what RX I need and why… like asking for Biphetamine (Black Beauties) to help a 15 year old, 110 pound girl loose weight. And with that script came the ability to focus, workout and become all that those popular girls my age came by naturally. I don’t know if they had Adderall back then, I wasn’t diagnosed until into my 40’s. By then, as many have, I progressed into Methamphetamine.. it was easier and less expensive to bypass the Dr. visits, especially with the FDA cracking down (no pun intended) on the latest drugs of abuse.

    Speed worked for a long time because my vanity kept me from becoming the stereotypical “tweeker”…I was an exercise instructor, ran 10k’s, didn’t drink or smoke, kept all my teeth and was known as the “healthy beach girl” who had it all. Progression #2 was rehab by choice, but I was branded permanently on my chart (and head) forever as the Addict I’d always been. And with that diagnosis it is almost impossible to get a Dr. to prescribe me something that worked for my ADD, depression, anxiety and insomnia.

    I don’t recall exactly when I discovered opiates giving me the same relief, confidence, focus, ability to do well physically, emotionally, intellectually, with occasional glimpses of imagined or real spirituality. The reverse effect (of downers becoming uppers) helped me continue my charade of manipulation. Until it stopped working.

    Ever the optimist when it comes to an easier, softer way, I found and was accepted into a Suboxone implant study. It has taken away the obsession for the opiates, truly saved my life. But it didn’t take long for this quiet mind to crave “just a little” of my comfortable scattered brain. I have been on Adderall for 2 months. I don’t take it as prescribed. Of course I have now added the Clonopin and Ambien to make sure I have my “beauty rest”. Now, who else has enjoyed their beauty rest sleepwalking and eating everything in the kitchen with no memory except for the crumbs left on your face and mattress??? I have had enough AA in my life to intellectually know what is going on but unwilling to do the work to help myself.

    I don’t just fear the days ahead of feeling tired, unable to get to work, unworthiness, and hearing that whining sound of a hypochondriac searching for the day’s excuses. My biggest monster of all fears returns in the guise of an eating disorder to remind me I’m not just lazy but I’m FAT! And how to stop the food cycle?

    I’m 53 years old. Since I was 16 I have been wishing for the “magical” 3 days “just to rest” so I can detox. There does exist a little “voice” inside you that honestly tells you what the correct thing to do is. I haven’t been listening to mine. I don’t want you guys to be 53 and me. I’d love some one to share with. i wish meetings were like this. Please find any similarities in this and write back, maybe by saving my life I can save yours.

  40. lisa says:

    I really need to talk with you, is there any way you could call me, I am looking for answers and I think you may be able to help me with my little boy who was on adderall for 9 years, and has been off for 19 days, please please email me, i would like to talk, if you would please, email me and I will give you my phone number.

    desperate!!!! while him and I are dying inside from this.

  41. Lisa says:

    please email me at lisaprado@comcast.net I would so appreciate it, I think you may be able to help my son….please….

  42. Daphne says:

    Just found this page looking for ways to bend the will of the universe and figure out a way to get my brother off Adderall. He’s in his 30s, lives in an area that’s having a shortage, swears he needs it for work, and although I’m known as totally anti-medication* I haven’t even told him to get off it, because I know it’s really none of my business (*I am a “slacker,” oh ho ho).

    His parents kept him off this garbage all through school, and now it’s got him. What do we do as people in the outer orbits of someone we don’t want to see dead?

  43. Mike says:

    @Daphne – Your best bet is to remind him of the things that Adderall is costing him…the qualities in himself and the aspects of his life that Adderall keeps him from. It can be as simple as asking “Why don’t you ever paint anymore?” or “How come you never joke around anymore?” and letting that seed grow.

    If you can’t think of any negative ways that Adderall is affecting his life, then you don’t have much of a case. General arguments like “it’s dangerous” or “it’s unnatural” don’t really work on somebody who feels like the the pill has made them a superstar producer (especially if they’re insecure about producing naturally).

    If Adderall is only helping your brother, then there is no reason for him to quit. You shouldn’t push it unless you see immediate, tangible detriment. Don’t go down this road otherwise. If he’s one of the ones who actually needs it, you’ll just confuse and stress him unnecessarily by guilt-tripping him about it.

    But if it is clearly holding him back, then remember that Adderall is wrapped tightly around his ego. To unwrap it, you must give his ego a new and damning perspective that it cannot evade forever. As his sister you’re in a good position to come up with such a thing (because you know who he was before the pills, and you know what’s changed), but ultimately it may be a conclusion he has to reach for himself in time.

    Good luck!

  44. Daphne says:

    Thanks Mike, his main problem now is that due to the shortage in his area. I don’t see him enough anymore to know if it helps when he’s taking Adderall, but it’s upsetting to hear what goes on when he can’t his prescription filled. He has a family, and it took time to get the job he has now so I can understand why he’s afraid to lose it.

    I’ve worried about him all our lives, I guess all I can do is keep hoping he does what’s best for himself and not what other people expect him to do.

  45. Ali says:

    Wow, I am so, so glad I found this website when I did. I have been dealing with “treatment resistant” depression since I was 18. I am now 34. I have been on every anti depressant, tricylic, even anti psychotic out there. Last October, I started using pain meds to self medicate. Well, that got a hold of me quick and the short story is I became addicted and got off them in July. Still not feeling a whole lot better, and guess what my doctor just prescribed two weeks ago. Adderall. For ADD/treatment resistant depression. Something felt totally off about this medication to me. Now I know why from reading your website. I was just on the brink of getting addicted to Adderall in place of pain medication. There is no way in heck I am going to keep taking this stuff based on your experience and my addictive personality. No way. I knew something was off about me being on this medication, now I know what it is. Thank you. You may have just saved me a lot of pain and due to my tendency to become addicted, you may have just saved a life. Since I only have been on it two weeks, I think I have a chance of getting off it fairly easily. This is not going to go any further. Thanks again.

  46. Anonymous says:

    RE trying adderall for the first time “Throw it away, shrug it off, and let your life play out how it was supposed to from the start. This is an experience you’re better off without”.

    “As a crude analogy: You wouldn’t want to pop an extacy tab and have sex, because it’ll ruin sex forever for you…it’ll never be the same. Same concept applies here. Stay ignorant of this feeling for the sake of your own happiness”.

    And do not “GROW” as a person on adderall, as you put it.

    What on earth are you trying to say here?

  47. simesan says:

    A few months ago my psychiatrist prescribed me Adderall so that I wouldn’t fall asleep while driving long distances (driving makes me sleepy, as it does reading). She said the drug might curb my appetite and help me focus. What a bonus to lose the extra weight! It didn’t happen, though. Adderall makes me irritable and extremely anxious after 2 or 3 consecutive days. So I only take it if absolutely necessary.

    The first time I took it, it was wonderful! I wouldn’t say it was a high, but I guess it was close. I can’t say much about drug highs because I didn’t grow up using any. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, and smoked pot once in my life. At 45, I’m a little too old to start fooling around with illegal substances.

    A few years after moving to the U.S. I started attending college. I thought I was going to fly through it, as I was so happy to begin. But things didn’t go as well as I expected. Soon I realized that I read more slowly than the average student, and that I couldn’t attend school full-time and still maintain a high GPA. The humiliation of being surrounded by people who work and study full time, and still manage to get straight A’s is hard. Math classes aggravated my depression even more.

    Before college, I only took an antidepressant. Now I also take anti-anxiety medication, a mood stabilizer, and I often need sleeping pills. If I can barely deal with being a part-time student, how will I ever have a successful career?!

    I’m sorry to know that so many people struggle with addiction to this medication. I had no idea what I was going to read when I found this website. I was just looking for the necessary dose to commit suicide.

  48. Natalie says:

    Holy crap this is scary stuff. I was prescribed Nuvagil a few months ago to combat severe, long term exhaustion that we were unable to pinpoint through many tests. I dont really know how it works (they say they dont either) but it definitely does help me be a little more energetic and motivated.

    Unfortunately, my insurance just changed and they no longet cover this $600+/month med so my dr. recommended Adderal. Now i’m completely terrified of taking it…. ???

  49. Robert says:

    I have been abusing adderal for a while about 3 years. Started off on 1 20 a day then quickly started taking 2-30s a day, within thr past year i saw my tolerance growing and switched to 70 mg of vyvanse but that was not doing the job so my dr gave me 10 mg aderal with it, then 20mg with 70 mg vyvanse and I was good for a little, then I started getting adderal elsewhere and somehow am taking 140 mg vyvanse and 120 mg adderal a day….I need to quit, and decided to taper down, any advice?

  50. Roger says:

    i have to say the first two weeks of quitting adderall is the hardest- uts one the most agonizing things ive ever done- but its worth ive never felt more confident as i have now though im still upset at the life ive pissed away- but its a process n the best part is its been over three since my last pill

  51. Ben says:

    I couldn’t be happier to of found this website. I hope I can find some help, or atleast some more people that can relate to me.

    My Adderall intake began freshman year of high-school. During this time I was over-weight and constantly being bullied. I lived at a boarding school and was really subjected to torment in which there was no way for me to escape. I lived and breathed bulling and it effected everything. I lost all confidence in myself. My grades and ability to socialize dropped dramatically. My dorm parent/latin teacher new that I was getting brutalized, but did nothing about it. However since I was doing poorly in his latin class he recommended I get psych testing. I did so and was prescribed adderall twice a day. 20mg in the morning 10mg in the afternoon.

    The bullying persisted, but my mood and academics improved. I loved Adderall! It kept my mood up and of course helped my grades. It was more than a drug for me, it seemed as though it was a life saver. Looking back now I believe it was a way to deal with the bullying without actually doing anything.

    I continued my adderall throughout highschool, twice a day everyday. I lost alot of weight, and I did great athletically and academically throughout my high-school career. I was always elected on student council and senior year I was elected student-body president. I really had a lot going for me, but never really new who I was. I often looked in the mirror to ask my self why I didn’t have the confidence that I thought these achievements would bring. I felt like I was a fake person.

    I persisted with the Adderall. I believed that it brought me all these great things; Three varsity teams, Good grades, Dorm proctor and head of the student body. Looking back it probably did bring me all those things. But because of the great success, I kept ignoring the fact that I didn’t know WHO THE FUCK I WAS.

    Because of Adderall I got into a prestigious private college, which I never believed would be possible. I took Adderall all the first semester and did well, but my time of functioning like an amphetamine fueled robot was up. I couldn’t take it any longer. I’ve heard people say “just be yourself”, but always thought it was bullshit. During my first semester I really didn’t know what the hell was going on. I just knew I didn’t really understand myself. I realized it might be the Adderall. But how could something that has brought me such success and fixed my social problems, make me feel so empty. It didn’t make sense, but I had a hunch that it might be the root of the problem.

    I stopped my Adderall intake the second semester. My grades dropped and I began to realize that with the help of Adderall I dug a deep ass hole for myself, regaudless of the success that it brought me. To be honest after this realization I went a bit crazy. I believe my memory of this time gets a bit hazy because I was depressed. I realized that Adderall had really greased the wheels for me in life and I needed to prove to myself that I could achieve things on my own. So I decreased the Adderall intake. Im not sure how much I was taking at the time, but I know I wasn’t taking it daily like I was. I started using it when I deemed it necessary like before all nighters and workouts. I did well freshman year; I had many friends, I had a girlfriend and I broke records and won awards in crew. However, I was miserable.

    The next year I reached a new level of insanity. Absolutely working my ass off in everything. I tried to be as hardcore as possible. I tried to party the hardest and row crew the hardest, but at the same time maintain my school work. In the interest of rowing crew the hardest I lost a ton of weight. I was dangerously skinny. Im 6’7″ and probably weighed under 200 pounds of just muscle and bone. I Realized that nothing was bringing me any happiness no matter how hard I worked. I didn’t know what was wrong. I still was in disbelief that Adderall could have caused these feeling of not knowing who I am at my core. I took a semester off in hopes that it would help me. It did not

    Modern Medicine does not document the feeling of “not knowing who you are”. I began to look for answers in other places. I took on the idea that I might be gay and that accepting this might be the answer to all my struggles. I immediately took to this idea and I began truly believing I was gay (crazy I know). I began to see a therapist at school and explained to him that I was gay and couldn’t accept it. This went on for awhile. This idea still plagues my mind. Junior year of school I began abusing Adderall bad. Adderall up the nose before every workout and party. I was in a deep deep depression. My grades dropped, I didn’t know who the fuck I was and I quit the crew team for my own safety. Life sucked (still kinda does). I withdrew from school and lived at home with my parents for a year. During this year I got constant therapy and even went through E.C.T, which really sucked. I tried going back to a state school recently, but withdrew again. I would have been able to do it, but I still don’t know who I am and that takes president over any external achievements I now realize.

  52. Lucas says:

    Man, what a fag.

  53. Jon says:

    I just started Adderall this month and I’m already ready to stop.. I’m glad I found this site.

  54. Jack says:

    I’ve been doing adderall for a couple of years now. It started as a friend helping me study for finals and it progressed into that same friend getting me to try it recreationally when I was really drunk. After that, I decided that I needed my own prescription. I need to stop and I recognize that for sure, but I need to do it after this semester, when I graduate college. Do you have any advice for a postponed end date?

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