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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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Florida Is Starting To Rethink The Whole Reefer Madness Narrative And I'm Diggin' It

It's a dope change of pace.

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vicalv
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Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will allow people with medical marijuana cards to smoke weed legally and, personally, I think it's dope.

I didn't even know people with medical cards in Florida couldn't actually smoke the weed they were prescribed until earlier this year. My friend who suffers from lupus just started smoking hers after the bill was passed. The stinky plant comes in a prescription pill bottle and she's supposed to vaporize it, kind of like a humidifier. I went with her to a dispensary (no laws were broken, I waited in the lobby) and she explained the whole process behind it. Apparently, there's a lot of ways people consume weed. There's cannabis pills, edibles, patches, dab pens, the list goes on. Like, what?

I mean, that's cool and all, but I couldn't wrap my brain around it. What's the problem with the act of smoking? The end goal has the same effects. Granted, it can mess with your lungs, but cigarettes are legal. Vapes are legal. Think about it: the things that are actually legal to smoke don't have any positive effects. Do you see the disconnect?

I still don't fully understand the negative stigma behind weed. Yes, it does for sure mess with your memory and yes, we don't know a lot about it in general so it's hard to say the drug is 100% safe. But then again, JUULs are legal and we don't even know those long term effects. There are so many awful drugs the FDA has approved and yet, they can't get fully on board with weed. Xanax is a highly addictive, dangerous as hell drug if it's abused and it's rarely monitored. Some doctors hand it out like candy. Even Tylenol is awful.

No one has died from weed. How many people have died from alcohol poisoning? I'm just saying you never hear about a stoner overdosing on weed—it's just not a thing.

What we do know about weed is that it does have some positive effects on people's health and it can actually help those in real pain. Even people with cancer are suggested to smoke weed to help with their symptoms, so what's the issue? I'm glad Florida is starting to recognize that this stigma is old-fashioned and is starting to move away from the devil's lettuce narrative.

I'm not saying everyone should dress head to toe in weed paraphernalia and spark a blunt in the middle of Downtown, Orlando (although, that would be interesting to watch) and I am not condoning any illegal use of marijuana, but I think the Reefer Madness mindset is extremely outdated. People who actually need weed for medical issues are not using it recreationally, so any prior beef with Mary Jane should not affect their health.

Florida is finally making changes for those who medically need it and it's lit.

vicalv
vicalv

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