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ADD Patient Discusses Adderall Addiction

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Atlanta, GAAlthough Dave was never formally diagnosed with ADD or bipolar disorder, he took Adderall for years. "In my amateur opinion, people who take this drug describe Adderall bipolar symptoms similar to bipolar mania, and that is why they are addicted to this drug—they love the high mania state," he says.

Dave (not his real name), 29, started taking Adderall when he was 17 and weaned himself off the drug seven years later—it wasn't easy. "Adderall makes you very productive but it hinders your ability to prioritize," Dave explains. "Discomfort is an important part of life and Adderall strips certain feelings and emotions and you stagnate.

"In my case, Adderall was kryptonite for over-achievers—it boosted my productivity and that is what drove my addiction. Of course, college students love it and it was so easy to get Adderall. Over 50 percent of people I talked to got Adderall from a friend, not a doctor.

"I don't blame the doctors—they are people too, they aren't perfect. And a lot of doctors are more liberal with their prescription pad than others. We soon found out that some doctors are extremely conservative about prescribing it while others are more liberal. The quickest way to figure out where to get Adderall is go to your friend's doctor, that is how I got my prescription."

Dave didn't get tested for ADD when he was prescribed Adderall. He says the doctor simply asked if he had trouble concentrating. "When you have a few minutes to fix someone's life-long problem, a pill is the quick fix," Dave says. "The patient can't afford to see a psychiatrist and some doctors are lazy. I understand the doctor's perspective and don’t think it is entirely their fault.

"If I had to blame anyone for the problems caused by Adderall, I would blame the education system that pressurizes otherwise good kids into feeling that they need to be pumped up on speed to meet the demands of their college. And that extends into the workplace.

"As for prescribing Adderall to children, that's a whole other issue. I know people who have been on Adderall since they were eight years old and they are now in their 20s. The methods you learn to get things done, such as homework, become life-long habits. You can't get anything done without it, you can't make your grades without it.

"Putting kids on Adderall without giving them a choice bothers me but I am sure it is a godsend to many parents who don't have the time to spend with their kids.

"If you want to ask your doctor about Adderall, ask your kid first. Put your kid on it for a week and ask how they feel. The mother says her kid has calmed down, the doctor said he calmed down the kid. But when that kid becomes an adult, and if quits Adderall, the adult says he felt like a zombie all his life.

"When I quit Adderall, it was like I sold my life to buy back my soul.

"When I quit, it was like falling down a hole and trying to climb back up. I believe that willpower is the hardest thing to rebuild. And that is what you have to do when you quit Adderall: it is like breaking the spine of your brain. You have to learn how to create, work, and try all over again. Name any depressive symptom and that was me during the time I quit, but only while I was at work. Outside of work, I was happier and more in tune with my relationships, right after I stopped taking it.

"Adderall is all work and no play, and quitting Adderall is like all play and no work. When you are on Adderall, you think that people who leave work at 5pm on Friday are slackers. But when you quit, you are the first to leave the office.

"I'm not a big fan of lawsuits, including Adderall lawsuits, because I think a certain degree of responsibility is on the patient. But it's another matter when kids are prescribed Adderall for behavioral problems and their doctors don't know its addictive nature—they weren't told that by the Adderall sales reps. I think people on Adderall need a lot of help, both to get off the drug, and to file an Adderall lawsuit."

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