Adderall – Good or Bad?
Adderall – Good or Bad?
Please read my prolog first. It is important in understanding my experience with Adderall.
An RN friend of mine with extensive psychology training recommend that I keep a daily journal when I began seeking an ADHD management solution. I started my journal just about a year ago. In it I recorded the feelings I experienced daily, the results of recommended ADHD remedies and most importantly insights on what makes me tick.
Many of my insights came from fellow ADHD suffers that post on this board, a complete ADHD evaluation, other psychological tests, several months of psychological counseling, ADHD books, other ADHD webs, drug info webs and my own experience.
I picked the best of the best from my journals. You’ll find them under the Journal heading. I guarantee one thing only: Everything you read is true and without embellishment. If you have experienced something different, it is because none of us are exactly alike and our responses will vary. I record the ADHD management strategy that is working well for me under the Solution heading.
I am prone to depression, social anxiety, OCD and impulsiveness. Let’s use an IQ type scale to quantify. I rate myself in the low 80’s in the four aforementioned areas.
My ability to sustain focus is another matter. Based on the TOVA test and my responses to several questionnaires, I come in at an Attention IQ of about 65. That puts me well within the retarded range.
1. I was badly addicted to methamphetamine between the years of 1969 and 1972.
2. My intellectual IQ is about 120.
3. I was seriously ill during the year 2005. That illness cost me my business, over $100,000 in cash and assets, worse of all it destroyed the structure and routine I had built up in my life.
4. My 35 year old battle with undiagnosed ADHD taught me coping skills and built emotional maturity neither of which would have been gained if I continued to abuse meth.
5. Self-deception often prevents me from seeing my true motives.
6. ADHD is an inability to keep thought threads in working memory.
7. Motivation is directly connected to the length of time I can keep a thought thread in working memory.
8. I learned how to suppress extraneous thoughts. The process is time consuming and results in hyperfocus. Then I cannot easily switch to another thread.
9. ADHD is at root. It drags down my emotional IQ and brings down my functional intellectual IQ to about 100.
Note: All of the above is an accurate definition of the composite problem I face.
Insights on Ritalin and amphetamine class stimulants
Based on research and experience
1. I cannot get physically addicted to amphetamines. Prolonged use of high doses will produce a sleep deficit that my body demands payment on with cessation. 2 or 3 days of around-the-clock sleep pays off the debt.
2. High doses of amphetamines are psychologically extremely addictive.
3. Therapeutic doses can cause instant death if a heart condition is present or the enzyme our bodies uses to metabolize the drug is deficient.
4. Prolonged use of high doses of amphetamines will destroy my nervous system. The most immediate manifestation is psychosis that includes hallucinations and paranoia.
5. Prolonged use of high doses of amphetamines end in premature death because of destruction of all organs with the heart usually giving out first.
6. The difference between the highest recommended therapeutic dose and the dose taken by abusers is great. It ranges from a minimum of 100 mg, but more typically 200 mg and up.
7. It takes several years of amphetamine abuse to kill a young otherwise healthy abuser.
Bottom Line: Therapeutic doses of amphetamines are remarkably safe within the context of pharmaceutical drug safety with the greatest risk being intentionally overdosing to get high or enhance performance.
1. Adderall is the most effective ADHD management tool for me.
2. Adderall should not be used to treat depression.
3. Adderall can enhance anxiety in some patients but it reduces anxiety in me.
4. Adderall can worsen my OCD tendencies if I do not keep the OCD in check.
5. Adderall should not be used to prolong endurance or override fatigue. The consequences can be fatal.
1. Adderall’s ADHD efficacy is remarkable. I can hold thought threads in working memory and switch tasks as easily as if my attention IQ was 100. It doesn’t make me smarter but it does enable me to perform at my intellectual IQ of 120.
2. Addiction and self-deception go hand-in-hand. My wife keeps my Adderall in a locked box and dispenses it to me daily. My doctor knows about my past abuse. I do not like to admit it but I have a weakness toward abusing stimulants. Squarely facing my weakness protects me from succumbing to it.
What Adderall Does Not Do
1. There are times when I must force myself to work on priority tasks because doing something else would be more fun. Adderall does not give me more self-control.
2. Adderall does not prevent everyday uncomfortable feelings. The ability to manage our feelings and desires is called maturity. The exception is when a brain disorder is at work. Then an inability to manage our feelings is a medical problem and is called a disorder.
3. ADHD often coexists with other disorders. Adderall has shown no efficacy for any other disorder other than narcolepsy.
You decide whether Adderall is good or bad. Of course, it is an chemical compound without moral properties so I mean as a good or bad ADHD management tool.
If you opt for counseling, make sure your counselor is female. Men, including yours truly, are terrible listeners. Your counselor’s ability to “hear” the feelings behind your words is key to helping you manage.