View Full Version : I'm determined to fix this. (Depression, Methylphenidate abuse and self control)


deathofrats
06-19-16, 12:08 AM
Three years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD at the bright and sunny age of 28. It explained so much about my life, my constant inability to actually finish anything I start, my quick temper and low self esteem, and my tendency to focus on a small detail of something, not being able to step back and see the bigger picture.

So my doctor perscribed me 10mg of Ritalin two times a day. And very quickly I realized it just wasn't working well, so she upped it to 20mg in the morning and 10mg at night (so 3 10mg pills). And this worked pretty well for a while, even though after a few months I switched to taking it 10 mg every 3 hours so I'd have wider coverage throughout the day. Still, things didn't quite feel right, but I was hesitant to talk to her about it and gave that prescription and regiment a chance for around a year. And for the most part it was ok, even though I'd keep switching from the 2 pills AM 1 PM or one every 3 hours every so often. Taking 20mg in the morning was great, but the 10mg in the afternoon didn't work. Taking one ever 3 hours felt smoother throughout the day, but I didn't feel like it was actually helping the way the 20mg at once did.

So I talk to my doctor and she upped me to 2 20mg pills a day. And that seemed perfect. For a full year that was great. I had one or two times a month where I'd take an extra one at night and take what I considered a vacation from the medicine for a day to make up for it, but I didn't feel like my prescription was too low. And I was well past the euphoria stage of the medication.

And then a year ago my mother who me and my wife live with and who was fighting terminal cancer, started taking a turn for the worse. And I felt a pressure to improve the situation for my wife and daughter and parents consume me. I had to do as much as I could. So I started having more days where I took a third pill, to the point where I'd have 3-10 days without at the end of every month. I was burning through my prescription in 20 days by the end of it.

And I was blind to what I was doing, it wasn't helping me in any way. And, unfortunately, I started to feel the euphoria from the medication when I'd go back on after being off of it for more than a week. During this I started a prescription of Citalopram for my depression, but it didn't seem to help much. After 6 months of this my mother's last cancer med stopped working. And her doctor said things had progressed to the point where there was nothing else to be done. Very soon after that, a day after I got my latest prescription, she was put on hospice, with my wife and I acting as home health to give her her meds, keep her clean, feed her, and change her adult diapers or put her on a bedpan.

And, well, I used all of my meds in a week, staying up as late as I could every night. And at the time I thought I was doing it to make sure I was with her, but I've realized I was chasing the euphoria, taking a pill every time it wore off. I was taking 8 pills a day for a week. 160mg for a week. And then on the last day, at 2:30am, my mother died.

And since then I've been dealing with my grief, trying to get back to normal. I've done a lot of self reflection on the whole thing, still struggling with my medication but overall doing slightly better, getting back to having 3-5 days without it every month after 4 months. The first two months I was still taking well more than I should of, but eventually I realized how serious my problem was and made real progress towards improving my will to not just take another one.

But I think I've done real damage here. I'm still not taking my meds correctly. And, quite frankly, when I do I don't feel like it's working nearly as well as it was before I started using more than the 40mg per day. And I don't know if that's me fighting my addiction or me having built up a tolerance from the prolonged amount of time I was abusing my meds.

Either way, I've talked to my doctor. I didn't tell her about the full span of the abuse, but I told her the ritalin didn't feel effective anymore, and also told her about the week when my mother died, and that I felt it was time to switch medications instead of upping the dose, mainly because if this is a addiction problem, taking higher dosage will only make my issues worse. You see, since the ritalin doesn't seem to be as effective, I feel like my self control issues which it use to help with are just as bad when I'm on it. Having access to more of the medication I feel is dangerous at this point.

So, well, she decided to do a 10 day run of Focalin XR at 25mg a day. And after trying it for a few days I've found it doesn't seem to be handling my ADHD issues either. Which isn't terribly surprising to me considering it's basically just a more targeted ritalin. So, well, when I talk to her to see how it's doing I'm thinking I have a few options.

1. I could tell her the severity of the abuse and the length and see if a non-stimulant medication would be right for me, possibly having her doubt my adhd diagnosis and losing all chances at being treated right now.

2. I could ask her if she'd think one of the adderall family of drugs would be worth a try, giving my wife controls of my medication and making damn sure I don't have a chance to start abusing it.

Right now I'm leaning towards the second option. Ritalin worked for me for a long while, and I really thought I had found the correct dosage with the 20mg twice a day. If I hadn't started taking more than I needed, if I would have recognized that I was taking it more to deal with my depression than my adhd, I could have stayed on that for years if not forever.

I want to fix this problem, if I could go back and stop myself from going down this road in the first place I would. I honestly didn't know nearly enough about myself and didn't think I'd that easily fall into an abusive spiral. I have my depression in check now. I want to fix the damage I've done here. And my wife understands and supports me here, even though this whole thing has had a tremendous toll on her throughout.

So I guess what I'm wondering, what is the right thing to do here? Am I setting myself up to fail yet again by getting switched to a different family of stimulants? And do any of my actions make any sense here, or am I just rationalizing abusing my medication by bringing my grief into this? Has anyone else had this kind of issue and been able to come back from it and use their meds in the correct way for the long run?

deathofrats
06-19-16, 01:03 AM
I'd also like to add, I'm completely open to the idea that this whole ordeal might be a sign that I've been misdiagnosed. My wife is fairly certain I have ADHD, and I sincerely feel like the medication was working as intended for over two years. But if I didn't at least question it at this point I think I'd be being foolish.

Pilgrim
06-20-16, 10:01 AM
My 2 cents,
I think we have all fallen into the trap of thinking the medication will fix everything.

I think dealing with your mothers situation was difficult and I don't blame you for reacting the way you did. Funnily enough there is a point with Stimulints that it's actually counterproductive. Goodluck to you and keep your support network close. I was in a similar situation not long ago and it's really hard. I don't know if this helps but I learnt through bitter experience to get more ' me ' time. This was the point where I just stopped worrying about things.

Fuzzy12
06-20-16, 10:09 AM
Addiction can often be a symptom of adhd. We tend to be more prone to it so that shouldn't make you doubt your diagnosis really.

Im really sorry about your mom. Taking care of her must have been super tough and I think it's great that you are self aware and critical enough to recognise your abuse and to want to do something about it.

I think switching to a non stimulant option for a while might be a good idea. Also if you stop taking ritalin for a prolonged period of time it should become effective again when you start using it again.

Also you might want to consider therapy. It sounds like your life is fairly stressful and you might learn techniques to deal better with stress.

Like pilgrim said, it sounds lile you could really do with a bit of me time.

Best of luck!!!!

deathofrats
06-20-16, 06:08 PM
Funnily enough there is a point with Stimulints that it's actually counterproductive.

This is the thing that I didn't ever take time to realize at the time.

I was on a good regiment before I started abusing them. And it really hurts to think that for the last 6 months of my mom's life I was actually making myself less there for her by abusing my medication. Not only that, but it made my wife, which thank god for that woman, have to pick up the pieces left behind whenever I'd be off my meds or, well, basically high on them.

Pilgrim
06-21-16, 07:17 PM
This is the thing that I didn't ever take time to realize at the time.

I was on a good regiment before I started abusing them. And it really hurts to think that for the last 6 months of my mom's life I was actually making myself less there for her by abusing my medication. Not only that, but it made my wife, which thank god for that woman, have to pick up the pieces left behind whenever I'd be off my meds or, well, basically high on them.

I think there's a fine line when the medication starts being counterproductive. That being said I must watch carefully when my world starts shaking a bit. Even the slightest tremor can have catastrophic consequences.

My life was pretty bad before this anyway. Was really down, major depression. I got my **** together but I find when something difficult/ emotional comes up, I have to learn stuff to deal with this. And sometimes I can't, I'm not bad but I can only learn at a certain pace. My own experience is I'm trying to recreate what didn't happen in the last 10 or so years. And deal with the stuff I really made a mess with, most stuff is self esteem stuff. Thank god you can deal with that, I never knew how to do that.

My real Achilles heal I guess is the emotional stuff, I just don't get, then I can be very emotional, and that's not bad. When you abuse the medication thinking that it will take your emotional pain away, it's trouble.

deathofrats
06-21-16, 08:16 PM
Well, I talked with my doctor and now I'm going to be starting a 10 day trial of Adderall XR 15mg a day. Hopefully this isn't too strong of a dose, and we can work on finding something that had the same effectiveness as the Ritalin while not giving me the euphoria that I started to need.

That's the real danger for me, is confusing the euphoria for the beneficial effects and chasing it. I just want to be able to think clearly and direct myself to do what I need to do.

sarahsweets
06-22-16, 03:28 AM
I think you need some outpatient drug rehab. The addiction to ritalin could easily transfer to another substance because its hot the substance itself, its the addict that is taking it. But this doesnt mean I think you can never take stimulants again- just that you need to get to the root of why you abuse the meds and how you cant avoid abusing them in the future.

deathofrats
06-23-16, 12:19 PM
I think you need some outpatient drug rehab. The addiction to ritalin could easily transfer to another substance because its hot the substance itself, its the addict that is taking it. But this doesnt mean I think you can never take stimulants again- just that you need to get to the root of why you abuse the meds and how you cant avoid abusing them in the future.

You may be right. And if I start feeling the need, even thinking about, abusing the Adderall XR I'm going to stop, talk to my doctor, and see what we can do so I can get help.

I don't want to be an addict, and I'm well aware that the addiction is way more harmful to me than not having my ADHD treatment.

Akrunner88
07-19-16, 11:48 AM
I went through the same issues with abusing the medication.

My background, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 22 and prescribed adderall, 10mg 3x a day for 30mg total.

This regimen worked well for me until I was about 24. During this entire period, I worked two jobs (60-70 hours a week) AND went to school part time at night. Never felt the urge to take more than the daily dose, never had severe withdrawal systems.

Then my job changed and I was promoted into a high pressure, fast paced environment where learning scientific methods for chemical analysis was part of the job. These methods are not difficult, but the high pace and pressure for quick result turnaround times, along with taking in all kinds of new information, in conjunction with working long and odd-ball hours (I'd get called in for overtime work frequently at 2AM) lead me down a bad path. At first it started like you, I'd take one extra a day and make up for it on my days off. Then I was running out of my medication a week early, and then two weeks early. This whole process continued until I was about 26.

The two weeks I'd be off adderall were always hell. But the two weeks I was on my productivity levels were through the roof to the point where I got promoted and transferred across the country. Usually by the very end of week 2, I would start to feel like my pre-adderall ADHD self, a level where I could get my work done properly. But then I'd refill the prescription and start the cycle of abuse all over again.

During the entirety of my adderall usage, my diet and exercise fell to the way-side just because I had so much cramped into my day to day activities with school and work, and then just work. But the adderall suppresses your appetite as it is. No one, on adderall or not is going to feel good the next day after not having eaten or slept well the day before, which I think was a primary contributor towards starting the abuse. I would have to take more adderall to make up for the lethargy I felt from poor nutritional habits.

Needless to say, I've been off the medication for a while now and explored other options, including cognitive behavior therapy and extensive research into "ADHD diets" to find out what foods and at what intervals of eating would regulate my body. That, combined with exercise and overall life balance.

If pre-adderall me was fluctuating at between 40-70% throughout the day, and adderall me (before the abuse) was operating at 100%, I feel like the cognitive behavioral therapy, coaching, diet, and exercise has me operating at 80-90% of my adderall usage. In fact, I wish I had really known more about ADHD before taking the medication as I would have explored these options first, and THEN put myself on the medication. I feel like my cycle towards abuse could have been thwarted had I known the dangers. The physician who prescribed the medication to me didn't really do a good job diagnosing me with ADHD, I got my real diagnosis from a psychiatrist years after having already been on the medication to make sure I really had ADHD (which I do).

This post isn't to discourage medication at all, as I feel that under a proper plan, diet & exercise regimen, cognitive behavior therapy, and an awareness of the dangers posed by adderall I could have avoided the trap I got in.

But like you, I knew what I was doing was wrong, but the addiction was too strong. I had to finally admit to my doctor that I had been abusing the medication, and I was blacklisted in the state I live in (all the systems are connected so I can't just go to a new doctor). I now cannot obtain the medication, but admitting my abuse was the only way I was able to stop myself and I'm much better off for it.



The recovery from it took a full two months, with the first two weeks being the most difficult. The first week is always pure hell, lethargy, depression. The second week the depression would go away for me, and my sleep patterns start to become more regulated, but I would have intense trouble focusing until about the beginning of week three. The physical and psychological cravings to the drug didn't stop until about two-three months and would pop back up again periodically from time to time. But after having been off the meds for over a year and a half, I have zero desire to ever take them again and can confidently say I feel "normal", or as normal as one can be in conjunction with the alternative lifestyle changes I've taken up.

Like you as well, adderall was originally a god-send to me and helped me explain many issues I'd had in my life up until then. So quitting the medication took a toll on me psychologically, where I thought I'd go back into the same patterns prior to my original diagnosis. But therapy and life coaching/dieting really did do the trick.

jfalk331
12-12-16, 05:23 PM
I have similar experiences. feeling like this must be the end if nothing. noticed they have support groups on facebook now, but seems weird. saw new one for stimulant abuse. everything i see is blurry, maybe it would help.