• Jenna Morse

My struggle with Adderall Dependence

School was always difficult for me so when I got diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, I felt like I finally had an excuse. I had heard about how Adderall helps you do homework faster and focus in class. For me, Adderall made me feel normal and I was finally able to listen in class. I am a very naturally scattered and distracted person but Adderall took all of this away. I took Adderall XR, which is an extended release pill that would last longer then the instant release. I took these pills for about 3 years.

When I first started on the medication, I didn’t notice any side affects but at this time I wasn’t eating a very clean diet. I was eating a lot of junk, staying up all night, and abuses substances regularly. During this same time, I found out my dad had a life threatening illness. This news only furthered my problems. I was deep into being disconnected with reality.

The next school year rolled around and I decided I would give up drinking for a while. I continued to take the Adderall because I truly believed I could not pass my classes or even attend class without it. This was the year that the side affects started to impact my life in a very negative way. I ate really clean during this time even though I was not quite vegan yet. I think this is why the Adderall affected me so much more. My body was wondering why I was trying to eat healthy, drink little to no alcohol but continued to feed it a ‘legal’ methamphetamine. I was stressed about my dad being sick, having roommate issues and all around emotional problems. I believe now that the Adderall enhanced my already present emotional issues during this time. Each morning I would make a smoothie, only to throw it up thirty minutes later. I could not keep food down. There was a period where I didn’t eat anything for 3 days. Not on purpose. I just couldn’t because I would throw it all up. I was underweight and sick but somehow still doing well in school.

I was an emotional wreck and my moods fluctuated from balling my eyes out to screaming and pissed off at someone for no real reason. I didn’t have very many friends at this time but the ones I did have told me I was not the same on Adderall. I cut back to taking it five days a week so my friends were able to distinguish my personality on Adderall and off of it. Looking back now, I was a completely different person on that horrible pill.

Fast forward a year, I can’t remember what my breaking point was but I just woke up one day and told myself I couldn’t live that way anymore so I stopped taking Adderall cold turkey. For the record, I don’t advise doing this because the side affects are much more gnarly when you don’t wean yourself off. I seriously shocked my body. I stopped taking Adderall and became raw vegan all around the same time. I could not get out of bed for about three months. It was an everyday struggle.

I remember drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee or black tea per day just to keep my energy going. My emotions were completely out of line too. I would cry randomly and not know why. Adderall messes with your dopamine receptors and depletes your central nervous system by over stimulating it. Adderall causes your brain to release too much dopamine at a time. Dopamine is like your happy feelings so once I stopped Adderall, my brain didn’t know how to produce dopamine on its own anymore. It took about a year after I stopped taking it to feel completely normal again.

It has been since late 2015 that I stopped taking Adderall and I still struggle with anxiety to this day, which I never had until I started taking it. I have learned natural ways to take away anxiety but Adderall really screwed up my thought patterns, digestive system, mental health, etc. I am still healing my body from it as well as years of a bad diet and substance abuse. My plant based vegan diet has helped me heal from everything tremendously as well as my precious Kangen Water. Both are amazing for detox.

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