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  #1  
Old 06-11-18, 11:19 AM
vaneurysm vaneurysm is offline
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I think Dex may have just saved my life

Hi All,

I am new here, just wanted to share my story and see if anyone else has had any similar experiences.

Diagnosed ADD as a child, on Methylphenidate for 13 years through school.
Even then, medicated, I always felt I didn't quite fit in.
Typical story, 'he seems to be smart but doesn't apply himself'.
I made it through with 'ok' grades.
Went to Uni, however dropped out after 6 weeks.

My adult life has been quite messy though.

I stopped taking medication not long after I turned 18. I was convinced I didn't need it. Also my father who I love to death was always convinced that I didn't need it either.
So I put ADD behind me and didn't think about it again until recently.

Not long after my 19th birthday I developed a severe anxiety, panic/phobia disorder. At certain stages it bordered on agoraphobia. This is still present to a degree, but some CBT 5 years ago helped a lot.

At 26 after an extremely low risk sexual encounter I was convinced I had caught HIV. I spent 3 months of my life in a constant panic attack. Lost massive amounts of weight (30+ pounds) in those 3 months. (I wasn't overweight to begin with).

Then the alcoholism started. From 27 through until about a month ago (I am in my early 40s) My brain has been obsessed with alcohol.
It started when I moved in with my ex who drank every night. Before that I was a weekend warrior, but now it had become ok to get drunk 7 nights a week.
After we broke up though... the damage was done. The habit was formed.

I met another woman who helped me reel it in, but it was ever present. I was always trying to crowbar drinking in where ever I could fit it.
I did CBT, ACT, outpatient, tried quitting altogether multiple times, nothing seemed to work.

Late last year I became quite despondent, tired of fighting alcohol. I couldn't seem to stop the impulsiveness that led me to drink. My brain just couldn't connect with the weight of the potential consequences vs the few hours of relief I would get from drinking.

So one day late last year, I contacted my brother (Who also has ADD) and asked him how dex was helping him as an adult around issues with impulse control.
He sent me a simple text back that potentially saved my life... 'It is a lot better when I am on dex, I notice it is worse when I forget to take it.'

I thought... 'holy ****... is this ADD? Do I still have ADD?' So i started doing research.
I learned that ADD and Substance abuse go hand in hand for a lot of people.
The more reading I did, the more it made sense. The social anxiety, talking over people, drifting off during conversations, laziness, procrastination, feeling like I didn't fit in etc.

So I made an appointment to see a Psychiatrist who specializes in ADD. It took 6 months to get an appointment though.

I had my first appointment 2 months ago. He put me on Methylphenidate again. It did nothing except cause the most horrible comedowns. Really introverted/depression type feelings. Awful. If anything it made me drink more to try to counteract the comedown.

After that I thought I was ******... I was so hopeful that ritalin would help. I was doomed to have to try to fight drinking until the day I died... I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep living like this...

The worst of it was the drinking while at work. I couldnt stop myself from going for a drink as soon as the bars opened at 8am. Every day I would tell myself I wouldn't... but I kept doing it.
I was walking a very fine line that had I got caught, I probably would have lost my job.

So I had a follow up with my Psychiatrist, told him the ritalin failed and that I was probably just an alcoholic and I was destined to destroy my life whether I wanted to or not.

He suggested Dex. I told him there was no point. He insisted... so I said 'ok' I will give it a try.

I went home, started my way into another 6 pack of beer and 3 beers in I thought, **** it, might was well try this dex.

Holy ****. The change was instantaneous. I actually almost didn't feel like finishing the six pack. (spoiler alert: I did)

However since then, I have been taking Dex daily and my desire to drink has almost completely disappeared.
I have not had the urge to leave work and drink for over 3 weeks now.
Also other areas of my life are so much better.
I can concentrate and apply myself to tasks, I am interested in hobbies that I could only enjoy when drinking but now without alcohol.

It's ******* amazing.

Apparently I have been living my entire adult life on 'hard mode'.

Anyway, that is my story.

Hopefully the Dex keeps working.
It has literally saved my life from Alcohol.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-18, 01:38 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaneurysm View Post
Hi All,

I am new here, just wanted to share my story and see if anyone else has had any similar experiences.

Diagnosed ADD as a child, on Methylphenidate for 13 years through school.
Even then, medicated, I always felt I didn't quite fit in.
Typical story, 'he seems to be smart but doesn't apply himself'.
I made it through with 'ok' grades.
Went to Uni, however dropped out after 6 weeks.

My adult life has been quite messy though.

I stopped taking medication not long after I turned 18. I was convinced I didn't need it. Also my father who I love to death was always convinced that I didn't need it either.
So I put ADD behind me and didn't think about it again until recently.

Not long after my 19th birthday I developed a severe anxiety, panic/phobia disorder. At certain stages it bordered on agoraphobia. This is still present to a degree, but some CBT 5 years ago helped a lot.

At 26 after an extremely low risk sexual encounter I was convinced I had caught HIV. I spent 3 months of my life in a constant panic attack. Lost massive amounts of weight (30+ pounds) in those 3 months. (I wasn't overweight to begin with).

Then the alcoholism started. From 27 through until about a month ago (I am in my early 40s) My brain has been obsessed with alcohol.
It started when I moved in with my ex who drank every night. Before that I was a weekend warrior, but now it had become ok to get drunk 7 nights a week.
After we broke up though... the damage was done. The habit was formed.

I met another woman who helped me reel it in, but it was ever present. I was always trying to crowbar drinking in where ever I could fit it.
I did CBT, ACT, outpatient, tried quitting altogether multiple times, nothing seemed to work.

Late last year I became quite despondent, tired of fighting alcohol. I couldn't seem to stop the impulsiveness that led me to drink. My brain just couldn't connect with the weight of the potential consequences vs the few hours of relief I would get from drinking.

So one day late last year, I contacted my brother (Who also has ADD) and asked him how dex was helping him as an adult around issues with impulse control.
He sent me a simple text back that potentially saved my life... 'It is a lot better when I am on dex, I notice it is worse when I forget to take it.'

I thought... 'holy ****... is this ADD? Do I still have ADD?' So i started doing research.
I learned that ADD and Substance abuse go hand in hand for a lot of people.
The more reading I did, the more it made sense. The social anxiety, talking over people, drifting off during conversations, laziness, procrastination, feeling like I didn't fit in etc.

So I made an appointment to see a Psychiatrist who specializes in ADD. It took 6 months to get an appointment though.

I had my first appointment 2 months ago. He put me on Methylphenidate again. It did nothing except cause the most horrible comedowns. Really introverted/depression type feelings. Awful. If anything it made me drink more to try to counteract the comedown.

After that I thought I was ******... I was so hopeful that ritalin would help. I was doomed to have to try to fight drinking until the day I died... I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep living like this...

The worst of it was the drinking while at work. I couldnt stop myself from going for a drink as soon as the bars opened at 8am. Every day I would tell myself I wouldn't... but I kept doing it.
I was walking a very fine line that had I got caught, I probably would have lost my job.

So I had a follow up with my Psychiatrist, told him the ritalin failed and that I was probably just an alcoholic and I was destined to destroy my life whether I wanted to or not.

He suggested Dex. I told him there was no point. He insisted... so I said 'ok' I will give it a try.

I went home, started my way into another 6 pack of beer and 3 beers in I thought, **** it, might was well try this dex.

Holy ****. The change was instantaneous. I actually almost didn't feel like finishing the six pack. (spoiler alert: I did)

However since then, I have been taking Dex daily and my desire to drink has almost completely disappeared.
I have not had the urge to leave work and drink for over 3 weeks now.
Also other areas of my life are so much better.
I can concentrate and apply myself to tasks, I am interested in hobbies that I could only enjoy when drinking but now without alcohol.

It's ******* amazing.

Apparently I have been living my entire adult life on 'hard mode'.

Anyway, that is my story.

Hopefully the Dex keeps working.
It has literally saved my life from Alcohol.

Do you mean dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) or dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)?

My sister, who is an alcoholic, is drinking again. She doesn't know she has ADHD-I like me and I have never talked about it with her. I know/knew that I should and thought about it often. Your post has really given me a kick in the a** to forget about my shame and tell her! This could be win-win!!


Thank you!!!
__________________
ADHD-Inattentive, Adjustment Disorder w/Mixed Features of Anxiety and Depression, Dyscalculia (Math disability), Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, Adult Child of an Alcoholic.
Strattera 100 mg, Wellbutrin 450 mg XL, Klonopin 0.5 mg as needed.
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Shame derives it's power from being unspeakable.
Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.
Shame cannot survive being spoken. It can't survive empathy.

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  #3  
Old 06-11-18, 02:10 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

Thank you for sharing your story. I too am an alcoholic in recovery (5.5 years) and I can attest that substance abuse is very common with adhd. I can only speak from experience but not having the desire to drink is temporary. As you adjust to the medication stuff like that always manages to poke its head through and F up our lives easily.

I believe you would benefit from some kind of substance abuse help. Not necessarily rehab, maybe intensive outpatient or a 12 step program. I use a 12 step program and it saved my life but some people do not appreciate the spiritual part of the program.
I should have gone to rehab- self detoxing was about the hardest thing I had to do. I should have been medically supervised because seizures are a large risk with detoxing or going "cold Turkey" at home.
But its the program that saved me. Maybe you can find an addictions therapist to work on things but I think its a mistake for you to try and handle it on your own.
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  #4  
Old 06-11-18, 02:23 PM
vaneurysm vaneurysm is offline
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

Quote:
Originally Posted by finallyfound10 View Post
Do you mean dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) or dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)?

My sister, who is an alcoholic, is drinking again. She doesn't know she has ADHD-I like me and I have never talked about it with her. I know/knew that I should and thought about it often. Your post has really given me a kick in the a** to forget about my shame and tell her! This could be win-win!!


Thank you!!!
Dextroamphetamine, so Dexadrine in the US.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-11-18, 02:31 PM
vaneurysm vaneurysm is offline
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
Thank you for sharing your story. I too am an alcoholic in recovery (5.5 years) and I can attest that substance abuse is very common with adhd. I can only speak from experience but not having the desire to drink is temporary. As you adjust to the medication stuff like that always manages to poke its head through and F up our lives easily.

I believe you would benefit from some kind of substance abuse help. Not necessarily rehab, maybe intensive outpatient or a 12 step program. I use a 12 step program and it saved my life but some people do not appreciate the spiritual part of the program.
I should have gone to rehab- self detoxing was about the hardest thing I had to do. I should have been medically supervised because seizures are a large risk with detoxing or going "cold Turkey" at home.
But its the program that saved me. Maybe you can find an addictions therapist to work on things but I think its a mistake for you to try and handle it on your own.
Hi Sarah, you are right... I am currently under the care of a psychologist who specializes in addiction and has helped me in the past with alcohol. I will continue to see him to keep working on moving my life away from the booze.

Also I have made my wife aware of the day drinking that I had mostly been able to hide from her so she is helping me too.

I have done outpatient before where we did Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I tried AA but detested both the main message 'I am powerless' and also the spiritual side of it.

In regards to detoxing, for some reason, even at my worst, I have never suffered physical withdrawals from alcohol. I don't know if it is because I only ever drink beer or I am just lucky?

Thank you for your reply though, really good advice.
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Old 06-11-18, 03:52 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaneurysm View Post
Hi Sarah, you are right... I am currently under the care of a psychologist who specializes in addiction and has helped me in the past with alcohol. I will continue to see him to keep working on moving my life away from the booze.

Also I have made my wife aware of the day drinking that I had mostly been able to hide from her so she is helping me too.

I have done outpatient before where we did Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I tried AA but detested both the main message 'I am powerless' and also the spiritual side of it.

In regards to detoxing, for some reason, even at my worst, I have never suffered physical withdrawals from alcohol. I don't know if it is because I only ever drink beer or I am just lucky?

Thank you for your reply though, really good advice.
I don't know. I drank a LOT and regularly for over a year each time and was able to come off of it on my own with no ill effects. Beer can certainly put you into the alcoholic range, not saying it did just that it could. So can wine. And if you were really REALLY determined wine coolers.

A good support network can be your greatest ally. You have a good psychologist and it appears you have the support of your wife. Those relationships are priceless. You can't ask for much more.

The powerless always killed it for me. I have a friend who was very non functional and sought care and then was found to be medication resistant and so sought other options. After years and years, today she is happy and doing well. But she's always attributing her success to a higher power. I just want to shake her and scream "You are a strong, determined, beautiful woman and you made it through that all on your own!"

Sorry if anyone finds that offensive. But that's how it makes me feel.

Last edited by namazu; 06-11-18 at 05:29 PM.. Reason: Discussion of religious beliefs is prohibited on the open forum -- see ADDF guidelines.
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Old 06-11-18, 04:20 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

I think I've seen here on the forums, that if ritalin doesn't work and causes anxiety, dexadrine may be effective since it's not the same molecule.
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Old 06-11-18, 05:26 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

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Originally Posted by LyrinMeow View Post
The powerless always killed it for me. I have a friend who was very non functional and sought care and then was found to be medication resistant and so sought other options. After years and years, today she is happy and doing well. But she's always attributing her success to a higher power. I just want to shake her and scream "You are a strong, determined, beautiful woman and you made it through that all on your own!"
I know right! I feel I am copping out if I say something like 'I am powerless'. fk that noise.

Last edited by namazu; 06-11-18 at 05:29 PM.. Reason: consistency with edits to quote post above
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Old 06-12-18, 08:58 AM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

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Originally Posted by vaneurysm View Post
I know right! I feel I am copping out if I say something like 'I am powerless'. fk that noise.
Absolutely...I think the powerless part kicks in after the first drink....
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Old 06-12-18, 09:58 AM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

I dont think there is anything wrong with admitting one is powerless against alcohol.
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Old 06-12-18, 10:10 AM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

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Originally Posted by vaneurysm View Post
I tried AA but detested both the main message 'I am powerless' and also the spiritual side of it.
There are many paths to healing, and AA is just one possible path. It's a fit for some people, and not a fit for others.

I suspect the 'powerless' message is more about learning to recognize your limitations so that you can figure out how to work around them. In terms of spirituality, it can be psychologically freeing to place your fate in the hands of a greater power. Otherwise, you go through life having the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that your ADHD meds have helped you so much! I hope you stick with your treatment
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Old 06-12-18, 03:11 PM
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Re: I think Dex may have just saved my life

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I dont think there is anything wrong with admitting one is powerless against alcohol.
I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with it if it helps others. It isn't a good fit for me personally though.
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