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.