View Full Version : Can you be addicted to your meds even if you don't abuse them


karbouris
09-20-15, 01:30 PM
I'm just wondering because I don't abuse my medication. But I go haywire if I don't have something. I crave it, something. Adderall Ritalin dexidrene caffeine w/e. I have to have something to motivate me, wake me up and get my day started. If I don't I become extremely lethargic agitated and depressed. I'll crave energy drinks really bad. Everything takes sooooo much focus OmG I'll socially isolate myself without a stimulant because socialization takes a lot of focus and attention. Also I get intensely angry and hypervigilant if a doctor
Suggests Wellbutrin or straterra. But I was on straterra from 13-19 and Ritalin 6-12. And I've bounced around stimulants since I was 21. lDoes that mean addiction or I'm actually add?

aeon
09-20-15, 03:15 PM
By definition, no.

What you describe is dependence, most certainly, and this is to be expected and within what would be labelled normative given clinical treatment.


cheers,
Ian

willow129
09-20-15, 04:08 PM
:goodpost:
Also, I'd probably get annoyed too if someone wanted to switch my meds when what I am currently taking is working for me (stimulants also)

willow129
09-20-15, 04:14 PM
Oh! ALSO - I've begun to think about dependence as: something that helps me achieve what I need to achieve in my life, and if totally lacking from my life, I do not work as well - without it by comparison I am impacted negatively.

and addiction as: something that, maybe without it I might not work as well, OR maybe I actually work better without it - but the key is WITH it there is a significant negative impact in some place in my life - healthwise, socially, careerwise...etc.

I hope that's a helpful way of looking at it...

psychopathetic
09-20-15, 04:54 PM
I brought up fears of becoming addicted to adderall to my doctor months ago. She explained to me that addiction is a result of abusing something...which is not at all what I do.
She told me it's not addiction...it's dependency, and she further tried to explain to me how dependency is natural and not a 'bad' thing. It's just normal.

I have type 1 diabetes and have to give myself a couple forms of synthetic insulin. I NEED this insulin or else I start getting very sick.
It's not that I'm addicted to this stuff. It's just something I need. My body is dependent on it.

bldt
09-20-15, 06:02 PM
Oh! ALSO - I've begun to think about dependence as: something that helps me achieve what I need to achieve in my life, and if totally lacking from my life, I do not work as well - without it by comparison I am impacted negatively.

and addiction as: something that, maybe without it I might not work as well, OR maybe I actually work better without it - but the key is WITH it there is a significant negative impact in some place in my life - healthwise, socially, careerwise...etc.

I hope that's a helpful way of looking at it...
I tend to agree what your saying here except socially.I don't think you have to be addicted to stimulants for then to have a negative impact on your life socially.I have heard to many storys of on this forum of relationships, particularly marriages,that run into problems,once someone is diagnosed late in life and begins taking stimulants.So I would say I agree with your response,except that sometimes friends and love ones,don't like the new you,once you taking stims and start to feel better, or they blame the med because it is not a cure all.I also think that the meds make you look at things differently then you did before which could impact a relationship.Some will say your not the same person anymore.Well of course your not, that person was clueless.I think all these things can be considered negative,even though they're positive for you.

daveddd
09-20-15, 06:13 PM
I tend to agree what your saying here except socially.I don't think you have to be addicted to stimulants for then to have a negative impact on your life socially.I have heard to many storys of on this forum of relationships, particularly marriages,that run into problems,once someone is diagnosed late in life and begins taking stimulants.So I would say I agree with your response,except that sometimes friends and love ones,don't like the new you,once you taking stims and start to feel better, or they blame the med because it is not a cure all.I also think that the meds make you look at things differently then you did before which could impact a relationship.Some will say your not the same person anymore.Well of course your not, that person was clueless.I think all these things can be considered negative,even though they're positive for you.

if someone blames the meds because they aren't a cure all , its the person blaming causing the issues not the meds

willow129
09-21-15, 06:34 PM
Hmm bidt...

When I have heard about meds having a negative impact on relationships it has been because either that person hadn't found the right meds, or they were taking a dose that was too high or too low. Negative things might be: partner is irritable, partner is zombie-like, partner is hyperfocusing...all those things, when they happened to me, were tip offs that something was wrong with the meds.
So I think if that's the case that's a separate issue from dependency vs addiction, however, if the dose isn't right, it could potentially lead to abuse, maybe.

Little Missy
09-21-15, 06:36 PM
Hmm bidt...
Negative things might be: partner is irritable, partner is zombie-like, partner is hyperfocusing...

Golly, just reading that would make you hope they didn't call Ghostbusters!

dvdnvwls
09-21-15, 09:38 PM
bldt: I think it's often the diagnosis itself, and not the medication, that causes problems in the relationships you've described.

Powderbucket
09-22-15, 09:23 AM
I think that maybe if you feel the need to convince yourself that you're not addicted to something, you probably have some kind of problem... More of the psychological side though, not necessarily substance dependence per se.

I don't think addiction is about a definition, I think it's more about a way you feel about something, or possibly how others perceive you if you can't really see it yourself.

dvdnvwls
09-22-15, 03:04 PM
I think that maybe if you feel the need to convince yourself that you're not addicted to something, you probably have some kind of problem... More of the psychological side though, not necessarily substance dependence per se.

I don't think addiction is about a definition, I think it's more about a way you feel about something, or possibly how others perceive you if you can't really see it yourself.

What you're saying is possible, but not necessary. In the case of amphetamine and methylphenidate, there has been so much uninformed chatter about them being supposedly so addictive, that some people (especially those with a tendency to be anxious, which includes a lot of people with ADHD) get worried that maybe they're who those people were chattering about.

aeon
09-22-15, 07:00 PM
Amphetamines and methylphenidate rarely lead to addiction when taken as prescribed for ADHD.

Taken for other reasons, in differing dosages, at differing frequency, and by other means of administration, well, then all bets are off.

In particular, any means by which said drugs cross the blood-brain barrier sooner and in greater amount yield greater addiction potential in susceptible individuals.

I say susceptible individuals because no drug is addictive in and of itself, and its potential in this regard is always contextual with a given user, and how, when, and how much they use it.

Cultural attitudes in regards to psychostimulant addiction fears are certainly influenced by, and stoked by, federal policy (War on Drugs), the Drug Prohibition Act of 1970, the media, those who believe pleasure is a bad thing, those who believe easy-had gain is a bad thing, as well as those who have a penchant for fear mongering and the sowing of uncertainty and doubt as they judge and seek to shame others.

Donít let all that noise cloud your rational judgement and what the peer-reviewed science tells us.


Cheers,
Ian

dvdnvwls
09-22-15, 10:00 PM
There's nothing wrong with easy gain even as a general concept, but it's especially a very good thing when what's being gained is capability for ordinary tasks.

sarahsweets
09-27-15, 05:52 AM
I think there is a lot of confusion between dependence and addiction. To me (my own personal definition) addiction implies the physical craving combined with the insanity and compulsion to use more and more of a substance, along with the obsession you can have about the substance. Physically I was addicted to alcohol. Psychologically I was obsessed with thinking about it, getting it and using it and it was always using too much of it.
I am dependent on my bipolar and meds because they help treat my mental illness and adhd. If I suddenly stopped taking them I would physically feel bad. However my mind is not occupied with how to get more and more meds, and how I can abuse them or make them worker quicker or better. I hope that makes sense.

daveddd
09-27-15, 10:43 AM
I think there is a lot of confusion between dependence and addiction. To me (my own personal definition) addiction implies the physical craving combined with the insanity and compulsion to use more and more of a substance, along with the obsession you can have about the substance. Physically I was addicted to alcohol. Psychologically I was obsessed with thinking about it, getting it and using it and it was always using too much of it.
I am dependent on my bipolar and meds because they help treat my mental illness and adhd. If I suddenly stopped taking them I would physically feel bad. However my mind is not occupied with how to get more and more meds, and how I can abuse them or make them worker quicker or better. I hope that makes sense.

i think this makes sense


except i dont think the physical part matters ( to call it addiction), the obsession of getting more and compulsion sounds perfect though


crack and meth are not physiucally addictive, just mentally

and usually a physically detox will not make any addict quit

Pilgrim
09-28-15, 05:07 PM
I think there is a lot of confusion between dependence and addiction. To me (my own personal definition) addiction implies the physical craving combined with the insanity and compulsion to use more and more of a substance, along with the obsession you can have about the substance. Physically I was addicted to alcohol.


I reckon this sums up well what ADDICTIVE behaviour is.
My Psyciatrist once said that you've got to be able to function without it. What he was really saying was you have to have points in your life when you go without it.
At one stage I was definitely very dependant where I thought about them all the time. I was however so depressed before and during this time I was sure this had a significant part to play in my love for meds.

I told my doctor this, and he said, ' no your addicted ' gave me a little frown but never took me off medication. He didn't want me to become addicted to cover his *** but He could see that I needed them and their was nothing else. I like him , but a lot of mental health professionals don't understand WHY .

; why not use science and technology to help.
The funny thing is the establishment, and this is medical hierarchy , does have a biased against stimulants. I do agree they are not the only alternative but they can provide so much relief.

You've sort of got to take them in secret and fight others opinions. What a joke.

My problem is what it is but I'm not going to feel guilty.

Daydreamin22
09-28-15, 06:07 PM
Totally agree with Pilgrim and I would go further and say that lots of information that the patient and professionals should be required to know in order to make informed decisions about this stuff isn't there when needed.

Powderbucket
09-29-15, 03:47 AM
My Psyciatrist once said that you've got to be able to function without it. What he was really saying was you have to have points in your life when you go without it.
At one stage I was definitely very dependant where I thought about them all the time. I was however so depressed before and during this time I was sure this had a significant part to play in my love for meds.


Yep, sounds about right. My psychiatrist, however, thinks that there's nothing wrong in loving your medication because it makes you happy. She says that that's what it's there for - to make you happy because you can't cope like normal people.

But it's funny, because I do think I MIGHT be able to be off my meds, depending on my lifestyle.

Let's say I lived in a beach house, by the sea. I was a musician and had money and could support my family. Life is stress-free and wonderful and full of love.... ----> Well then no, I probably don't need to take my Concerta.

So unless my life meets the above situation, I am dependent on Concerta for this wonderful life-loving feeling I have now in my 8-hour desk job. It's SO much better than feeling miserable, frustrated and depressed.

Pilgrim
09-29-15, 04:54 AM
I'm glad you said that about your Psyciatrist. I do believe that ADDers struggle emotionally poorly.
This is where medication comes into its own.

I watched my grandmother drink herself to destruction and I could tell at a very young age there was someone there trying to express herself but she never could.

Daydreamin22
09-29-15, 06:14 AM
Yea, you can. Most often with prolonged prescription use. Hence the black box warning.

sarahsweets
09-29-15, 07:48 AM
Yea, you can. Most often with prolonged prescription use. Hence the black box warning.

If by prolonged prescribed consistent use, then do not think the evidence supports this.. If you are talking about long term, high dose recreational use, then I agree.

Powderbucket
09-29-15, 09:41 AM
The more posts I read the more I seeing all of this as more of a psychological thing.

This reminds me of the self-fulfilling prophecy theory, whereby you start to exhibit certain properties because people are telling you that you are such-and-such a way.

So with all the glorious and wonderful publications of how ADDICTIVE and DANGEROUS ADD medications are, you're always keeping this in the back of your head. If the articles were not so apparent, I don't think half as many people would develop addictions to their medication.

I think this is why my psychiatrist told me to love my medication if I want to. You have to stay positive, you have to look at it from a good, positive perspective.

Of course, this sounds slightly fairy-tale-ish, but I've been addicted to stimulants before, and now I'm not, and it's because of a psychological change that happened.

Daydreamin22
09-29-15, 08:01 PM
You can get addicted by prolonged prescribed use, and probably short term prescribed use happens as well.

sarahsweets
09-30-15, 11:20 AM
You can get addicted by prolonged prescribed use, and probably short term prescribed use happens as well.

I'm sorry but this just isnt the truth. When it comes to treatment on a long term plan, you will not get addicted. I have been treated for bipolar with meds for over 10 years and I am not addicted to any of them. When I took xanax I wasnt addicted. I think this is where the differences between dependence and addiction come in to play. Of course anyone can get addicted to anything, but being on a long term medication doesnt make a higher incidence of addiction.
In fact there have been studies that confirm that addicts properly treated with medication are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, and less likely to develop addiction issues because for once in their lives, the adhd is finally getting treated the right way.

Lunacie
09-30-15, 11:39 AM
You can get addicted by prolonged prescribed use, and probably short term prescribed use happens as well.

Studies show that there really isn't any risk of addiction unless you have a
family history of addiction (such as alcohol).

Many people have been taking stimulants - as prescribed - for many years
without becoming addicted and feeling a need to abuse their meds. If you
aren't feeling a need to abuse the meds and take more and more of them
over time, then you're not addicted.

If they simply make you feel better, clearer headed, more productive, then
you are dependent on the meds and they're working like they're supposed to
... but you're not addicted.

Fuzzy12
09-30-15, 12:12 PM
I often wonder between the difference between addiction and dependence. I wonder if a good definition of addiction is that if you continue taking a substance, or increasing the amount of a substance that you are taking, purely so as to not experience withdrawal effects from that substance then you might be addicted.

If you are just taking it as directed because it helps with symptom control and you obviously would rather have your symptoms controlled than not, then I wouldn't say that you are necessarily addicted. You are just dependent on your meds for symptom control.

Adenosine
09-30-15, 05:10 PM
One problem is that our society demonizes recreational drug use in a manner too severe, one-sided, and dogmatic to prevent some of it from spilling over into the medical realm that people with our condition reside in. It's what happens when you treat stimulants (and other drugs) as evil, semi-sentient, soul-devouring beings instead of inanimate chemicals* that happen to possess some dangerous properties.

*Which I am not advocating the non-medical use of, but you get the idea.

Little Missy
09-30-15, 05:13 PM
One problem is that our society demonizes recreational drug use in a manner too severe, one-sided, and dogmatic to prevent some of it from spilling over into the medical realm that people with our condition reside in. It's what happens when you treat stimulants (and other drugs) as evil, semi-sentient, soul-devouring beings instead of inanimate chemicals* that happen to possess some dangerous properties.

*Which I am not advocating the non-medical use of, but you get the idea.

okay, if you say so. :scratch:

Adenosine
09-30-15, 05:28 PM
okay, if you say so. :scratch:It's the difference between saying that something isn't generally good and tarring everyone who engages in it with the brush of the worst individual examples. It's sort of like:

"Underage drinking is a significant social problem."

vs.

"The majority of people who have a drink before the age of twenty-one become raging alcoholics."

The former is reasonable. The latter is a scare chord, one not unlike the instinctive contempt some people feel when they realize what those ADHD meds actually are. It doesn't lend itself well to exceptions, even when they're approved by the law.

Pilgrim
09-30-15, 09:32 PM
I have thought about this very issue ,worrying I'm to dependent on Dex.

In short no, you can be addicted to your med without abusing it. But here's the rub how much is enough and how dependent are you.

I would say if you need it to survive it can't be wrong.

People will always look on ADD and never really understood what you have to experience.
I started to shut down mentally, psychologically and then I couldn't support myself.
Without medication I couldn't move forward.
That being said if you depend on meds to much it can start to erode your self confidence as well.

Lunacie
09-30-15, 09:53 PM
I have thought about this very issue ,worrying I'm to dependent on Dex.

In short no, you can be addicted to your med without abusing it. But here's the rub how much is enough and how dependent are you.

I would say if you need it to survive it can't be wrong.

People will always look on ADD and never really understood what you have to experience.
I started to shut down mentally, psychologically and then I couldn't support myself.
Without medication I couldn't move forward.
That being said if you depend on meds to much it can start to erode your self confidence as well.

Why is it considered worse to depend on stimulant meds than on hypertension meds?
Or to depend on a wheelchair or a prosthetic leg?
Needing those things to cope with daily life shouldn't be detrimental to one's self confidence
any more than having to wear eyeglasses or contact lens.

sarahsweets
10-01-15, 04:26 AM
I have thought about this very issue ,worrying I'm to dependent on Dex.

In short no, you can be addicted to your med without abusing it. But here's the rub how much is enough and how dependent are you.

I would say if you need it to survive it can't be wrong.

People will always look on ADD and never really understood what you have to experience.
I started to shut down mentally, psychologically and then I couldn't support myself.
Without medication I couldn't move forward.
That being said if you depend on meds to much it can start to erode your self confidence as well.
Once again, "too much" is subjective. Whats considered too much? Daily use? Length of time?

Abcdef
10-03-15, 03:43 AM
If your dependent on the drug to see out the day (a better day :)) I think 99.9% of us are guilty as charged.

Why would we seek help otherwise?

For me personally, a low dose of dex works best. It's no miracle cure and I have to eat decent and exercise regularly to see the benefits in full effect.

Reference from google: Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping)*that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health*

*The exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve*

Similar sounding words, but completely different meanings.

TangledWebs
10-03-15, 03:49 AM
People with ADHD do have a higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse problems. If you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse issues, your doctor is going to want you to switch to a non-stimulant medication since they do not have a high potential for abuse and dependence.

I've been in the same boat you're currently in. I have a history of alcohol abuse problems, mostly binge drinking, and I've had my Adderall XR taken away a few times. Functioning without Adderall is extremely difficult. I changed doctors, left out my history of alcohol abuse, and now I'm being prescribed Adderall again. I've never abused Adderall, so I'm not being a sneak or anything. I even take days off when I want to be silly and free, which is usually at least once a week.

Try downplaying how great Adderall makes you feel and how much you need the drug. Honestly, if your doctor is giving you a hard time, I would advise you to find a new one.

TangledWebs
10-03-15, 03:51 AM
By definition, no.

What you describe is dependence, most certainly, and this is to be expected and within what would be labelled normative given clinical treatment.


cheers,
Ian

Yep! Dependence, not addiction.

dvdnvwls
10-03-15, 12:20 PM
Once again, "too much" is subjective. Whats considered too much? Daily use? Length of time?

I think it's not so subjective as all that... though certainly it isn't clear-cut either. I would draw the line at medication to improve function. Start with a low dose, raise it progressively, and when at a certain dosage your function stops improving, reduce it back to the last one where it improved, and stay there for as long as practicable. Contrast that with constantly increasing dosage for its own sake.

Adenosine
10-04-15, 03:20 PM
I think it's not so subjective as all that... though certainly it isn't clear-cut either. I would draw the line at medication to improve function. Start with a low dose, raise it progressively, and when at a certain dosage your function stops improving, reduce it back to the last one where it improved, and stay there for as long as practicable. Contrast that with constantly increasing dosage for its own sake.Exactly. Rational, objective-driven usage instead of blind compulsion.

sarahsweets
10-05-15, 03:36 AM
Exactly. Rational, objective-driven usage instead of blind compulsion.

I love this. "Blind compulsion" I am going to add that one to my list.