View Full Version : Worried about my girlfriend - Vyvanse misuse?


ELaddprof5
04-11-16, 07:09 PM
A little background: My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 years, lived together for 4 years. A few years ago, we were both diagnosed with ADHD and started taking adderall. I am on 10 MG 3X/day and she was on 20 MG 2X/day. This seemed to work fine until late last year, I started noticing some changes in her behavior...

Trichotillomania: when she was in middle school, she had problems with trichotillomania and actually pulled all of her eyelashes out. She had quit doing this for so long and it wasn't even an issue anymore until last summer when she "accidentally shaved off her eyebrow" and had to pencil it in every day. I didn't realize she was lying about this until I noticed that the other eyebrow was gone too. Then parts of her hair, under her bangs, started going missing. Then parts of her eyelashes started disappearing.

Dermatillomania: So popping zits and squeezing blackheads seems pretty normal, but my girlfriend has started to pick at her skin until she is bleeding and scabs form and giant wounds appear on her face and chest. I realized this was a problem when she came to me very concerned about a place she had been picking at on her shoulder. She kept telling me that there was something inside of her and asking me if I could see what it was, but all I could see was a bloody mess. She had been digging into her skin trying to pull out an imaginary foreign object... This has only gotten worse over time. she has several scabs on her chin that are quite large and hard to cover with makeup, but this hasn't stopped her.

Sleep deprivation: so my girlfriend is in college and graduates next month. I can understand the occasional all-nighter... I know I've pulled a few of those in my life. But she never ever sleeps at night. Sometimes when I wake up for work at 6:00 she is just getting into bed and she has class at 8:00. She says she makes up for this over the weekend... and she does. She will sometimes sleep the entire weekend. From Friday at 12:00 to Monday at 8:00 (only waking up a few hours to eat and use the bathroom.) I've told her the dangers of this so many times. She claims that she knows, but she doesn't have any option.

Lying about medicine: So this one is the most obvious sign of her problem. She hides her medications. She will tell me that they are in the car or in her bookbag, but I can't find them there. She gets mad at me when I don't trust her, but she has lied to me about it before so I don't know if I should believe her.

All of these issues finally came to a confrontation when one day I snuck behind her back to count her pills and found out that she had taken six pills in one night (120 MG of Adderall.) She was upset, not angry. She said she was relieved that I finally knew what she had been struggling with. She promised it would get better. She gave me all of her medications to manage (a huge burden on me, but I was willing because I wanted her to get better!) We tried that for a while, but it seemed to only cause more conflict between us.

Finally, a couple weeks ago, she went to the doctor and changed to Vyvanse. I finally felt relief. I thought our problems were over... Until last week.

She was prescribed 40 MG of Vyvanse. She got her script filled on Monday. I noticed that she had stayed up late a couple of nights last week, but it's the end of the semester so I assumed that she was okay. I kept asking her about it, she seemed to be fine. So on Saturday, I was doing some laundry and her Vyvanse pill bottle fell out of a stack of towels in the linen closet... I looked and it didn't look like many were left. I didn't count and I could be mistaken, but I questioned her about it and she said she was fine. She swore she wasn't taking more than she should. I let it go.

Then she stayed up all night last night (Sunday night) and today, I decided to just look around and see if I could find any of her pills while she was away at school. I found the bottle stuffed in one of her shoes and it was completely empty... The only explanation could be that she took them out of the bottle to school with her, but why would she need them at night?

Anyways... she'll be home soon. It's obvious that she has a problem, but I just don't know what to do. She is such an amazing person and I don't want her to hurt herself. Should I confront her? or talk to her parents? Call her doctor? Plan an intervention? I'm worried that she's going to try to manipulate me into thinking it's okay. She would never do that on purpose, but if she has a drug abuse problem, it could be her addiction's fault!

I want to see her get better. Her ADHD is so debilitating that we thought for sure medicine was the answer for her. It was so helpful during the first few years, but now I don't know what has happened to her. Maybe I'm overreacting and this is normal... I mean, I take my medicine every day like I am supposed to, but I might not be the normal one.

HELP!

aeon
04-11-16, 10:07 PM
If she well and truly has a drug abuse and addiction issue with amphetamines, realize that your relationship, for all intents and purposes, is over.

She has one relationship now, and it is with her drug of choice. All else will be jettisoned, sacrificed, pushed away, and/or left to wither and die, as their meaning and value to her approach zero.

She’s already manipulated you. And that is no one’s responsibility but hers. She chose that, she owns that, and that goes for each and every choice and behavior she makes and exhibits.

You are not overreacting. Your worry, fear, and impending panic are all to be expected given the situation.

My advice? Whatever you choose to do, put your own well-being first. Take care of yourself, and maintain good boundaries. Understand she will not respect yours.

I say this as an addict in recovery who has been sober for 5,458 days.


I Wish You Well,
Ian

sarahsweets
04-12-16, 05:04 AM
I agree with Ian and I come from a place of recovery from alcoholism. There doesnt need to be any excuses about how much she takes or justifications about when and why, and whether you or her doctor know whats been going on. She has chosen to hide her pill bottle on more than one occasion, and the only reason anyone would do this is to deceive someone,and secretly manage their meds with no input from someone she lives with or her doctor's knowledge and approval.
They say our secrets make us sick and this is because everything we do is measured against our personal moral code, which is distorted in active addiction.
I am not sure what you can do from a boyfriend perspective but you could let her doctor know. I say this not to be cruel to her, but to protect your home from activity that could be illegal in some cases, and because if she takes all of her own meds, then yours are next.
That is a fact. Addicts will do anything to get what they want including stealing from loved ones. And then it goes from stealing, or doctor shopping, to street buying. Then it becomes a financial burden and who knows where it will go after that.

mctavish23
04-12-16, 10:03 PM
FYI,

March 25th marked my 28th Recovery Birthday from Chemical Dependency. All of my

physicians are Informed as to my CD condition, and have been for the entire 28 years

I've consistently treated my ADHD with meds. At one point a number of years ago, I

was taking 100mg of Adderall daily, which was putting me to sleep. That led to

switching over to Vyvanse, as I'd already been on Ritalin, etc. After about 10 years

now, I am currently taking (2) 70mg capsules of Vyvanse every AM (70 is the highest

dosage). I also take (2) 75mg capsules of (brand name) Effexor. They both work well,

with no side effects. Suffice to say, that over 28 yrs., I've tried just about everything

available. So my current regimen is based on years of trial & error.

Just before a stroke forced me into retirement, I made a professional presentation to the

local Drug Court Team on the research which overwhelmingly supports "The use of ANY

stimulant for the treatment of ADHD, from an Informed Physician, DECREASES the RISK of

a Substance Use Disorder (SUD)." The evidence (research) based reason is because

stimulants (of which Straterra (Atomoxetine) is NOT one), DECREASES Impulsivity.

I'm retired and NEVER practiced on the net, so I'm NOT telling you what to do. The fact

that someone's dosage has steadily increased, does NOT imply automatically "misuse."

Hope that helps. Good Luck.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

Jiberish
04-25-16, 06:36 AM
Vyvanse is popular because as I understand it, it is hard to abuse......(slow on slow off). Plus you have to metabolize it prior to it being effective, you can snort it but it doesn't do anything etc.

In a bigger picture, studies show that untreated ADHD can lead to horrible substance abuse and addiction. It basically states a form of self medication to the point of dependency. So one could argue, until the ADHD is under control, her likelihood of abusing other things might actually be higher. If perhaps her current meds just aren't doing it, perhaps its time to try something new (which I myself have been reaching out for help on here). Genetics plays a big role as well...... perhaps you just talk to her about it, and see how she reacts. (keep in mind, this can go one of two ways lol). A good place to start is what ive noticed in general, drugs sometimes are a way to fill a void.....any life changes, stress at school etc? I hope the best. Addicts and alcoholics are some of the best people I know when they are sober, I have a huge empathetic part in my heart for them. Perhaps therapy, such as couples therapy to address the issues?

Hope the best for you, as well as her.

ELaddprof5
04-25-16, 01:51 PM
Wow. Thanks for the responses! I really needed this boost of support to push me in the right direction.

A quick update: when my girlfriend came home, I confronted her about her medication usage. I tried to be very calm and clinical about it, but I let my emotions get to me and I ended up explaining how I was hurt and how I feel about it and "what did I do to deserve this?" I know I shouldn't have focused on myself so much, but I was angry. She confessed everything: her self-loathing, her unhappiness, her general discontent with life, her disappointment in herself, how she doesn't deserve me, her embarrassment, etc. She said "this is the real me. I'm letting you see me for who I am." And I told her that I accepted her for who she is, but her addiction is not a part of her. It's a disease. It turns out, she had taken all of her months supply of vyvanse in less than a week. It terrifies me to think about the harm that she could have done to herself. She's tiny. She's short and only weighs like 90 pounds. She could have killed herself. Anyways, after we screamed at each other, apologized to each other, confessed how we felt, and expressed our concerns/emotions... She told me she was done. She wasn't going to get any more refills. She wasn't going to be faced with it anymore (out of sight, out of mind.) I was relieved, but worried. How could she quit cold turkey? Won't that mess up her life? I told her that it was ultimately her decision, but I thought she should probably consult with the doctor before doing anything like that. She said no, she was fine. She was out of pills anyways. So I accepted that.

Fast-forward two weeks: yesterday, she was acting different. She was studying without complaining. She offered to do the dishes (which is fine, but weird considering she had been in bed for two weeks straight.) So I counted my pills... She has taken nine. I couldn't even look at her after I found out. I didn't talk to her about it either because I didn't want to get her all worked up before her exam and I was angry with her. So I hid my pill bottle so she wouldn't take anymore and I'm going to talk about it when I get home from work.

What do I even say? I know now that I need to set boundaries and be direct with her about I what is and is not acceptable (something I haven't really done before.) Do I lock my pills up? Do I talk to her about rehab? I've called a few rehab clinics nearby, but they don't even offer any inpatient treatment for stimulant abuse. Talking to her family feels deceitful. Maybe I could talk to one of her closest friends? Any tips on the best way to communicate with a drug abuser?

Little Missy
04-25-16, 03:51 PM
Tell her you will call the police. It is a felony to steal CII medications.

sarahsweets
04-25-16, 03:58 PM
It turns out, she had taken all of her months supply of vyvanse in less than a week. It terrifies me to think about the harm that she could have done to herself. She's tiny. She's short and only weighs like 90 pounds. She could have killed herself. Anyways, after we screamed at each other, apologized to each other, confessed how we felt, and expressed our concerns/emotions... She told me she was done. She wasn't going to get any more refills. She wasn't going to be faced with it anymore (out of sight, out of mind.)
There isnt an addict alive who hasnt said this, meant it and then relapsed. She cant do it alone. Let me say again. She CANT do it by herself and she has proven to you that she cant. YOU cant do it for her no matter how much you would like to help. Accepting this from her is enabling. If there are no consequences she will keep doing it again.


I was relieved, but worried. How could she quit cold turkey? Won't that mess up her life? I told her that it was ultimately her decision, but I thought she should probably consult with the doctor before doing anything like that. She said no, she was fine. She was out of pills anyways.
Again, she cant do it, she has proven she cant do it and I suspect she doesnt really think her problem is a problem. Besides, all you guys did was fight about it. What bottom lines were set? What will happen if she takes them again? If you havent set a clear boundary, she wont stick to one.

So I counted my pills... She has taken nine. I couldn't even look at her after I found out. I didn't talk to her about it either because I didn't want to get her all worked up before her exam and I was angry with her. So I hid my pill bottle so she wouldn't take anymore and I'm going to talk about it when I get home from work.

This is what I meant. She will keep doing it because she is an addict. And you should have addressed it immediately no matter how stressful it would have been. Letting her get away with it in the short term doesnt help her and putting off the inevitable wont help you in the long term.

What do I even say? I know now that I need to set boundaries and be direct with her about I what is and is not acceptable (something I haven't really done before.) Do I lock my pills up? Do I talk to her about rehab? I've called a few rehab clinics nearby, but they don't even offer any inpatient treatment for stimulant abuse. Talking to her family feels deceitful. Maybe I could talk to one of her closest friends? Any tips on the best way to communicate with a drug abuser?
The time for boundaries is over. She didnt need a boundary set to know she shouldnt take your medication. The bottle has your name on it, and it is yours. She wanted it, what she wanted trumped what you needed.
As far as rehab there are plenty of rehabs that deal with stimulants- think meth,speed,cocaine. Just because they dont say they deal with vyvanse or adderall doesnt mean she cant get treatment.
As hard as it is, an ultimatum is in order.
I know for me, because I am an alcoholic, we cant have alcohol in the house because it will bother me. Not sure what you are going to do about your meds.

Pilgrim
04-25-16, 04:19 PM
I think there is some great guidance above. What I find interesting here is the concept of maybe her ADD isn't being treated quite well enough. I can relate to this and the constant abuse of whatever she abuses is a halfhearted attempt to fix her problem.
I think what Sarah said is hitting the nail on the head. If you can support her, in every way.
The worst thing you can do is discount her. If I can think of a couple of other events I will add to this.
Goodluck

Jiberish
04-25-16, 09:28 PM
Sarah Nailed it on the head. NA/AA is a we program not an I program. Get her involved if you can. Keep your head up as well!

dvdnvwls
04-25-16, 10:11 PM
Not sure what you are going to do about your meds.

Keep them elsewhere, or lock them up, I guess. :(

Sickle
04-30-16, 03:38 AM
I had an ex like that and I didn't know because I was inconsistent with taking them and I kicked him out. I had another friend try it to for her MCATS and I lock them up now.

SMKADHD2007
05-07-16, 12:54 PM
I feel the need to chime in as someone who is currently battling alcoholism. I'm 29 and my bf is aware of my ADHD and my impulsive need to drink to calm myself. I've done all of the above that your girlfriend is doing from hiding empty wine bottle and beer bottles to digging into his whiskey (I hate whiskey). The hardest part is admitting you have a problem and actually seeking help. It's taken me two years to go from getting "drunk" every night to simply getting "buzzed" and it's a work in progress. The high from Vyvanse is similar IMHO to a mild ecstasy buzz (I quit that years ago once I was diagnosed with ADHD) and I can see how she could get hooked. ADHD in my history manifested itself with depression and a year ago today I started taking ciprolex for depression and it honestly has made a huge difference. I've been able to make leaps and bounds regarding addiction with it (again still a work in progress). All the things you said your girlfriend told you I used to feel and voiced it to my bf (who doesn't have ADHD or depression) and I've done all of the same things you've mentioned. In my experience adhd leads to depression and feelings of inadequacy I shove under the rug with substance abuse. It may or may not be beneficial to address the possibility of depression. Also if it runs in the family I'd suggest seeing a doctor who specializes in depression and adult adhd for a proper diagnosis.

I wish you the best of luck, it's a long and lonely road for you and your gf in the relationship if you can't work through it together.

I hope this information helps.

- Sus