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“I Was an Adderall Zombie with Tics”

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Dothan, ALBrandon has taken Adderall since he was about five or six years old for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although it did help him concentrate, Brandon says it turned him into a “zombie,” and now in his 20s, he has permanent facial tics.

Adderall has been linked to facial tics. While the drug manufacturer says they are temporary and will go away when the drug is discontinued, many Adderall users, Brandon included, suffer permanent damage, and in some individuals, the tics have led to Tourette Syndrome.

“People think I’m winking at them and I guess sometimes that doesn’t make my girlfriend too happy,” says Brandon, laughing. On a more serious note, Brandon says he started getting facial tics when he was about 13. His jaw moves out of control, his neck twitches and his eyes are constantly blinking.

“I remember that the tics started when the doctor doubled my Adderall dosage,” Brandon explains. “I was taking 30 mg., twice a day. Sure, it helped me concentrate but the drug also turned me into a zombie. I was zombie-fied in school. I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat. And if you tried to talk to me, forget it. I wasn’t fun to be around, I was never energetic, I was just there.”

Because Brandon, 22 years old, had been on Adderall since he could remember, the medication was part of his life: he didn’t consider going off it. And he had parent pressure. “My mom wanted me to stay on Adderall because it got me good grades in school, but when I went fishing or hung around my granddad, he wouldn’t let me take it. He thought meds were bad and I didn’t even need it around him.”

Brandon discovered online the link with Adderall and tics. He stopped taking it about a year ago because the facial twitches were “out of control.”

“My doctor tried to switch me to another med but I didn’t like any of them - I was tired of being a zombie. So I stopped cold turkey. Going cold turkey was easy. I never had a withdrawal problem because I never had a high, just the down. And now I’m perfectly fine with who I am so I don’t need any meds for ADHD. I wish I could have stopped taking Adderall when I was little but I had no choice.

“Now I feel more alive and active; I want to go out and do stuff now. But I’m still winking and my mouth still twitches so I think these tics will never go away.

“My eyes never stop, my jaw and mouth twitch about every five minutes. At night when I shut my eyes, it takes a long time to sleep and I usually have to stay awake until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. I stay awake until I’m completely drained and can’t function anymore so I only get about four hours sleep. Still, being off Adderall is wonderful - I feel like I can conquer the world.

“I’m a long-distance truck driver and it’s a good job for me. I’m fine operating a vehicle and I’ve been with my girlfriend for four years. She likes me winking at her. I have filed an Adderall claim because of the tics, but more than that, I want to tell people on Adderall that they can quit like I did. Get out of zombie land and quit before you wind up with tics!”


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