View Full Version : amphetamine dependence and withdrawal


Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 08:48 AM
I've been taking 25mg of dexamfetamine for over a year bowt. Initially, I used to take med holidays on the weekends but then I started taking my meds on weekends as well so that I could get something done rather than just argue with hubby about tiny little issues. Anyway, things were good. Really good. Both at home and at work.

Lately, ive noticed less symptom control from my meds and I also started wondering what would happen if I ever need to stop taking meds so I've tried a few weekends without meds. It's a nightmare. I'm so tired I can hardly move. Zero motivation. My brain seems so muddled, I can hardly think. But the worst are the mood swings. I'm overemotional, grumpy and I feel angry and hurt for the tiniest of non-reasons. It seems as if not just my symptoms are back but worse. I couldn't have been this bad before I started taking meds. The moment I take my meds, I'm ok again.

So what is this then? Are they withdrawal symptoms? Is this common at therapeutic doses? Anything I can do?

I've got a doctor's appointment in a few weeks where I will discuss these issues and probably also how I could slowly wean off the meds to avoid these symptoms if I have to. Till then maybe I should just take them every day. It just sucks. I hate feeling dependent. Have i done irreversible damage to my brain?

Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 08:54 AM
Or was I really like this before? Hubby thinks it's withdrawal symptoms but then maybe he's forgotten how useless and sensitive I used to be without meds?

The strange thing is on days when I'm highly stimulated by something external, I'm fine without the meds. We went on a hiking holiday last week and I didn't take the meds for 5 days with no problems whatsoever. I had a headache but that was all. No moodiness, no brain fog and tons of natural motivation to do something I love and find exciting. The exercise probably helped too.

Pilgrim
05-31-15, 09:19 AM
I'm in a similar boat. I like to get stuff done so I'll take it on the weekend. The only thing I've found is planning something relatively enjoyable to give me my med brake. I was with my family all day today. If I stay at home it can be bad news.
Goodluck

VeryTired
05-31-15, 10:12 AM
Fuzzy, big sympathy.

My partner has experienced something very similar. I think your body gets used to functioning with the meds, so the first few days without them really are tougher than life pre-meds was. But something else is also true.
Being on meds gives you clarity you never had before about life. So in a way it raises your expectations of how you should function, but it also gives you practice at functioning better, and that clarity probably also lets you build better skills for handling difficult situations.

So on the one hand, without the meds you're missing an important support, but you are also the beneficiary of learning and growing that remains in effect whether or not you take the meds.

Also, my partner's dr. Instructs him to take a two-day medicine holiday every month. When he stays on schedule with that, the holidays are no big deal. But if he gets a week or two behind, then it's bad. The effectiveness of the meds diminishes severely, and then he feels awful during the holiday. The difference between keeping to the schedule and not doing so is huge.

Some people can take their meds forever and not need a break. They're lucky. But lots of people need to have schedule discipline or they get in trouble. They are less lucky, but the huge advatages the meds can give still make it worthwhile to struggle with scheduling the necessary holidays.

Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 10:56 AM
I'm in a similar boat. I like to get stuff done so I'll take it on the weekend. The only thing I've found is planning something relatively enjoyable to give me my med brake. I was with my family all day today. If I stay at home it can be bad news.
Goodluck

Yes, I think that's the trick. I need to do something naturally stimulating and stress free and if possible stay away from other people. A bit difficult now tha t parent season is starting soon.

Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 11:02 AM
Fuzzy, big sympathy.

My partner has experienced something very similar. I think your body gets used to functioning with the meds, so the first few days without them really are tougher than life pre-meds was. But something else is also true.
Being on meds gives you clarity you never had before about life. So in a way it raises your expectations of how you should function, but it also gives you practice at functioning better, and that clarity probably also lets you build better skills for handling difficult situations.

So on the one hand, without the meds you're missing an important support, but you are also the beneficiary of learning and growing that remains in effect whether or not you take the meds.

Also, my partner's dr. Instructs him to take a two-day medicine holiday every month. When he stays on schedule with that, the holidays are no big deal. But if he gets a week or two behind, then it's bad. The effectiveness of the meds diminishes severely, and then he feels awful during the holiday. The difference between keeping to the schedule and not doing so is huge.

Some people can take their meds forever and not need a break. They're lucky. But lots of people need to have schedule discipline or they get in trouble. They are less lucky, but the huge advatages the meds can give still make it worthwhile to struggle with scheduling the necessary holidays.

Yes, when I used to take a break every weekend the effect wasn't so bad though there was definitely a reduction in functioning and bad emotional dysregulation. Now I've been taking the meds pretty much every day for 3-4 months though I do normally take a reduced dose in the weekends (usually 15mg) mainly because I forget to take them.

Maybe I should try taking a break every second weekend or just one weekend a month like your partner. Anyway, I think I might have to stop them soon completely anyway, which is why I'm a bit worried about the whole thing. or I was thinking of taking 15mg on Saturday and then nothing on Sunday.

You are right. The learning that occurs when medicated does remain and also the reduction in frustration and misery that has resulted from being medicated benefits me during med holidays as well. I get very moody off meds but I'm not depressed though I do worry that if I don't take the meds for a longer time, the depression might return.

VeryTired
05-31-15, 03:22 PM
Fuzzy--

Nothing could be more personal than your medication, how you take it and how you feel. Normally I would say, don't discuss this with us, discuss it with your doctor. But I know from so many prior posts of yours that your doctors are pretty useless to you when you need their attention and counsel. Which is such a shame! This is the kind of topic that can be so well addressed by an individual and her physician.

Nevertheless, I'm going to offer some more mere lay-person's observations: your title for the thread seems to come with a value judgement, and don't I think that's a good thing. Also, I recall some previous posts from you that seemed to imply that your medication is not necessary or necessarily valid or wholly healthy. Those seem to me like unfortunate confusions.

I don't call my need for my glasses and my antihistamines a dependence, and diabetics don't say they are addicted to insulin or have withdrawal if they stop taking it. If you need stimulant medications to treat your ADHD, then it's a similar case. It's clear to all who know you that when you started taking this medication, it did exactly what it was supposed to for you. You have ADHD, and it helps you. That's excellent, positive and healthy.

So, you should be taking your meds as prescribed, to make your own life better. There shouldn't be any judgements made about dependency. You didn't choose to share with us why you might be stopping the meds in the future (although I can think of some possibilities), but I urge you to consider doing whatever is best for you, what supports your own well-being, mental health, productivity, and overall happiness. Based on what you report here, taking your medication as often as you can (most days unless you are having a planned medicine holiday) sounds as though it would be what works best for you.

I don't know what your doctor said about the idea of taking reduced dose some days, but my partner was counseled by his doctor to take this while normal dose every day, consistently--except when he is having a holiday, when it's important to take nothing, for two days in a row. Doing this provides excellent results--doing anything else does not, for him.

VeryTired
05-31-15, 04:59 PM
sorry--there's a typo in my last paragraph.

I meant to say that my partner is supposed to take "HIS WHOLE NORMAL DOSE," not as I accidentally typed "this while normal dose." Oops!

willow129
05-31-15, 05:09 PM
Sigh...Fuzzy, yours is such a different take on this than the response to a thread I started earlier this month.

"Have no fear! I moved four years ago and could not get any family doctor to prescribe Adderall for me, without seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist (even worse.) I had been taking 25 mgs. of Adderall XR, 2 X a day, every day for over seven years. I did not have any withdrawal symptoms. So, trust me it is not addictive. " from this post: http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1732811&postcount=3

This is very confusing...

Does the withdrawal affect some people more than others?

Pilgrim
05-31-15, 07:31 PM
To be honest, if you had asked me 2 years ago is it addictive I would say yes. Now maybe not.
I have to take these little med brakes so I can readjust, but it's not as significant as one may think.
I can't handle any stress but if the company's pleasant I could handle a couple of days.

MrsNewton
05-31-15, 11:12 PM
The thing with stimulants is that our brains truly need them, so the dopamine they give us isn't in excess like with everyone else. The idea is for our brains to get enough dopamine to function. On a proper does of stimulants the ADHD brain isn't getting too much dopamine and therefore won't become physically dependent.

In a NT, or in someone who takes too much or perhaps the wrong dose/med, when the extra dopamine is given to the brain and then taken away, the brain goes into withdrawal.

I feel like that too when I don't take my meds, but I think its more due to my brain not functioning at full capacity than to withdrawal.

sarahsweets
06-05-15, 11:55 AM
Physical dependence is not the same thing as addiction IMO.