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    Vyvanse abuse and addiction
    Crys117 posted:
    Hi everyone, About 4 years ago I made what I think the worst decision I could have ever possibly made. I went to a doctor to be evaluated for add. I found out at that visit I do actually have a very mild case of add. Basically the problem I have is staying focused. He prescribed me Ritalin. Now from previous experience using adderall recreationally I knew I would love having my own script of something some what the same. I always loved how adderall made me feel so happy, energetic, outgoing. I didn't not want to get up and go to work in the morning. Being prescribed Ritalin was terrible I abused it. I felt I had to start taking more and more to feel the effect. After about a year and a half of use I found out I was pregnant and completely stopped taking it cold turkey the day I found out. I scheduled an appointment the week after I delivered to get the script back. I promised myself this time I would take it right and I never did. About 6 months after I told my doctor I would take more than the dose prescribed and that I did not want it anymore. He then prescribed me vyvanse. For about a year now I have been on that and again abusing it. I have tried everything giving it to my fiancé, hiding it, not bringing it to work with me and somehow I find a way to always get more. I'm so sick of feeling like I have no control over my mind. Not to mention it has made my relationship suffer so much and I feel so guilty whenever I take more than I should because of my son and my family. I flushed my script tonight and really want to stop taking it. I just don't know if I can. Does anyone have any advise/ personal expirence? Or anything really that will help me and get me through this. Rehab is not an option because I do have to work. Any advice would be helpful, thanks in advance!
    Expert-Gina Pera responded:
    HI Crys,

    I'm sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

    There are many issues here, and I'm having trouble making sense of some of them.

    1. Why do you think you have only a "very mild" case of ADHD?

    2. It sounds like you had abused Adderall. I won't use the word "recreationally" because stimulant abuse is not recreational, it's drug abuse.

    3. You were prescribed Ritalin, which does not have the same "kick" as the amphetamine class of stimulants (Adderall, Vyvanse, etc.). So, you kept taking higher and higher doses to chase that effect. That is a problem for people who do not approach their ADHD comprehensively, with an emphasis on organizational strategies, healthy habits, and good sleep.

    4. You were later prescribed Vyvanse and you say you have been abusing that as well. Not taking as prescribed.

    5. How have you continued to work and take care of a baby? You must be functioning pretty well?

    6. What is the effect that you feel when you take more Vyvanse than you should?

    7. How many milligrams daily were you prescribed, and how many are you taking?

    7. Do you live in a major city, where there are sophisticated psychiatrists?

    Most people with ADHD do not abuse stimulants. But some people get the idea that the "super focus" or slight "tingling" feeling they get from the amphetamine stimulants is proof that the medication is "working." It's not.

    The proof should come in the doctor monitoring symptoms visit after visit to gauge progress. If you go just by that "superfocus" or "tingling" feeling, you're going to need more and more to get that effect. And that's when drug abuse starts.

    In my experience, the people who most tend to abuse the stimulants have bipolar disorder. Has that been ruled out for you?

    Unfortunately, it is very hard to get expert care for ADHD and the commonly co-existing conditions (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.). Much relies on the patient being pro-active.

    If you seek typical substance-abuse treatment, the risk is that the underlying psychiatric condition (whatever it is, bipolar, ADHD, etc.) will be missed.

    If you consult an average psychiatrist, without knowledge of ADHD, the risk is that you will be labeled a "drug seeker" without much effort to understand the underlying psychiatric condition. Yet, a new study confirms what many ADHD experts have observed for years: that the people who "abuse" stimulants (meaning, not having a prescription) probably have ADHD, too.

    If you truly have ADHD, it will be that much harder to quit the stimulants entirely, because your thoughts will be more disorganized and lacking focus. Yet, from what you relate, if you continue having the stimulants on hand, you will be unable to resist abusing them.

    Much will depend on the level of care you have access to. My best suggestion would be to try tapering off slowly. And talk to your doctor about an older formulation used to treat ADHD, Nortriptyline. I've never heard of it being abuseable; it has a different mechanism of action.

    But, if you can undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation, you might find that you have bipolar disorder alone, or combined with ADHD. In the latter case, treating the bipolar first is what's recommended.

    I wish you luck.
    Gina Pera, Adult ADHD expert
    Adult ADHD Expert And Author

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