How Adderall Changed Me

How Adderall Changed Me

Is this what addiction looks like?
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Every day the same experiment starts. Is it going to be a good day or a bad day? My good days and bad days may not be determined like your good days and bad days. Did my tolerance change? Can I take more? Will I want to eat today? Will I enjoy the foods I used to like? Is this going to last longer than yesterdays? Being diagnosed with ADHD in college showed me that it is a real disease and it’s not a made up pharmaceutical scam to prescribe medicine to hyperactive children. But there needs to be another solution to this fast-growing problem other than medication. The messiah of all pills, Adderall, a class 2 stimulant, not only changed how I did in school, but it changed me.

Just like a drug addict, once you experience your life with it, you can’t seem to live without it. Once you’ve been on the other side feel the effects, why would you ever go back? Just like any drug, Adderall is a quick fix for a long term problem. I take it. I focus. I crash. I take more. Repeat. This viscous cycle of taking Adderall seems great at first, but it doesn’t last. The first time I took enough Adderall to feel the effects, it almost brought me to tears knowing that I have the ability to be like everyone else. I saw the world in slow motion instead of my brain working 10x harder trying to categorize and organization information just to keep up with daily life. It gave me the ability to think about one thing without millions of other thoughts flooding my focus that I felt I couldn’t control. The luxury of having to not working as hard was addicting within itself. I could walk out of a room and not forget anything or remember to go back and get something that I left. I felt 2 steps ahead of myself and not 2 steps behind. But like all good things, they must come to an end.

Experimenting is essential when testing out a drug, but not on yourself. I discovered I can’t drink coffee anymore because my heart will beat too fast. People would ask me “what’s wrong?” when they thought I was letting out a sigh, but I was trying to catch my breath to relieve chest pain. Overstimulating your body is just one of the easy mistakes you can make while on it. Once the effects where off and you take another, you are completely unaware that it’s still in your system and now you have double the dosage. The viscous cycle continues of waiting to see when your tolerance goes up and your body plateaus without feeling the effects anymore. Since Adderall doesn’t stay in your system for more than 24 hours, each day can be different. Some days I only need one, some days I need 2 or 3. I wonder if there will ever be a consistent dosage that will work. Tolerance levels go up and the numbers on the pill go up, when is too high? What happens if you burn yourself out? I don’t want to know.

Like any drug, the high is very high and the crash is very low. The crash of coming off of Adderall is like having every feeling at once; hungry, tired, angry. Once I finally wanted to eat, I was still disappointed that nothing seemed appetizing to me. I was a healthy, adventurous eater, but now I eat like a picky 5-year-old. And if I did eat I would be so nauseous I would never want to eat again. I unintentionally lost 8 pounds in a week in an unhealthy way... Most of that was water weight considering I had to force myself to drink a glass a day. If I were take the Adderall passed a certain point, I would be up for the next 24 hours. No sleep, no food or water; it sounds more of like a survival mission than college.

Not only did Adderall change my body, but it changed my mood. When I’m on Adderall nothing can get in my way and I’m completely unware to things around me. Off Adderall, the irritability and anxiety consumes me. Now that I know how I operate on Adderall, I’m easily irritated with such small things that shouldn’t bother me. It gave me a constant need for control; people not moving or thinking as quickly as me made me angry and lash out. Arose a new problem, OCD. Adderall stopped those millions of thoughts in my head, but if I were flooded with enormous amount of pointless information I would have to write it down in order to move on with my day. I would relieve temporary anxiety by cleaning, organizing and making lists. This cycle continued over and over again. I became uptight, stressed and rigid instead of my go with the flow carefree self.

I ask myself everyday if Adderall is worth the side effects. Is it worth yelling at my roommate because she moved my perfectly in place piece of paper? Is it worth being unhealthy to be able to do well in school? Will I ever find that balance? Will I ever go back to my normal self again? Think twice before abusing Adderall, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Cover Image Credit: fordhamobserver.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Stop Demonizing CBD Just Because You Associate It With THC

CBD doesn't get you high, do your research.

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I'm sure you've heard about CBD already, but if not, then let me break it down for you. Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, but unlike the THC in the marijuana plant, it doesn't have any psychoactive properties.

CBD doesn't get you high.

When extracted from the plant, CBD has proven to be effective in the medical field. It has shown to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy, in the management of pain, in reducing depression and anxiety, and relieving cancer symptoms, among a host of other uses. New research from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has revealed that CBD may be beneficial for society as a whole, too.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital conducted the study to understand how we can fight the opioid epidemic through the discovery of alternative treatment options by assessing the potential effects of CBD on craving and anxiety in heroin users.

42 drug abstinent men and women between the ages of 21 and 65, who had recently stopped using heroin, were recruited for the study. Two groups were formed out of the participants: a control group that received a placebo and a test group that received CBD doses ranging from 400 mg to 800 mg per day. After administration, participants were exposed to neutral environmental cues and cues that would be considered drug-use inducing over three sessions. The cues in the environment were tested because an addict's environment and the cues it gives are the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.

The results of the research hold great promise for the future of CBD.

Participants who were in the test group and given CBD had significantly reduced cravings for heroin, and noted feeling less anxiety when exposed to drug-use inducing cues. Moreover, the CBD had a lasting effect on this group as it continued to reduce cravings and relieve anxiety for seven days after the last dose was administered. In essence, this is the most important takeaway from the research: CBD had lasting effects well after it was present in the body. Numerous vital signs like heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were taken to ensure only objective results were obtained since cravings and anxiety are subjective feelings. Another finding was a reduction in participants' heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, which would have both increased in the presence of anxiety-provoking images.

I think the evidence points to a logical conclusion: CBD is safe, it is effective in treating opioid addictions, and it is beneficial for those who experience a host of issues from pain, to anxiety, to epilepsy or to illnesses. Now is the time to keep pushing for legalization to continue larger scale studies and introduce CBD as a valid treatment option.

"A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll and enormous health care costs." - Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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