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I think ADHD was the reason I was abusing substances
  1. #1
    spincycle81 is offline New Member
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    Default I think ADHD was the reason I was abusing substances

    Hi everyone, I'm an infrequent poster here but I lurk and read a lot - especially so when I was in active opiate addiction. I feel like I need to get some things off my chest; to put my thoughts on the page, so to speak.

    A little bit about me - I have a history of some years of opiate and benzo addiction and dependence. I "quit" opiates a couple of years ago, and stayed clean for a good long year at least, but eventually found myself right back in the destructive habit. I always felt like I needed something more in my life. I was unhappy with where things were and felt helpless to change things on my own. Opiates and sedatives were the only things that provided me with temporary relief of this feeling, but as most or all of you know, I wasn't actually helping anything by abusing drugs.

    A few months ago a doctor friend of mine who had started to notice some bad tendencies of mine and who had sensed that something was wrong asked me some questions off hand and gently encouraged me to see a psychiatrist for an ADHD evaluation. After a few weeks of procrastinating and reading everything I could about ADHD, I decided to do it. I never believed before that ADHD was even real, but after having just about every single thing I read about the disorder completely resonate with me and my life, I couldn't deny that my friend might have been on to something. I eventually was diagnosed and put on Adderall.

    This was four months ago. Since starting the adderall, I've lowered my daily dosage of clonazepam from 5mg(!) per day to currently 0.5mg and going down. I haven't touched opiates in that time, and I'm so relieved to be able to say that I haven't even had cravings to use. This was remarkable. All of my clean time before being diagnosed was peppered with intense urges to start using again and there was more than one time that I got to the doorstep of using opiates again before stopping myself. Like I said before, eventually I caved.

    The cravings have been gone for the four months I've been treated for ADHD, and I'm proud to say that I have not once misused my Adderall prescription. I'm off caffeine completely (I used to drink unhealthy amounts of coffee and energy drinks), and aside from the clonazepam which I'm getting off of safely, I don't put anything in my body aside from healthy food, water, and my medicine.

    I feel like the person I should have been all of my adult life, but I'm still scared. With all of the wonderful things that have happened to me, I'm still scared that the addict that I am without my medicine is eventually going to come through and destroy everything I've built. It's always in the back of my mind, but with the absence of cravings, my newfound ability to be bored without going crazy, and the amazing positive changes in my life, I still stay optimistic most of the time.

    I haven't raised my dose of Adderall at all since I started taking it. I don't feel "sped up" on it, in fact quite the opposite. I don't feel euphoric while on it, either. I just feel (what I think is) normal.

    How do I stop being afraid of destroying myself again? Or could the fear be a positive thing that helps me stay on track? I wish so badly that I didn't have to take this medicine; that I could be this person with no drugs in my system. The truth, however, is that I can't. I know beyond any doubt that if I go off the Adderall that eventually, maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually I will go back to being the self-destructive addict that I've been for most of my adult life.

    Thanks for listening...it really feels good to get my thoughts into words even if nobody reads this.

  2. #2
    Autumnhopes is offline Member
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    Hello spin cycle,
    That's pretty wonderful. I feel a lot of us self medicate looking to help ourselves. But that's great you found what you needed & I hope it continues. Best wishes. Please continue to post & keep everyone updated.

  3. #3
    spincycle81 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autumnhopes View Post
    Hello spin cycle,
    That's pretty wonderful. I feel a lot of us self medicate looking to help ourselves. But that's great you found what you needed & I hope it continues. Best wishes. Please continue to post & keep everyone updated.
    Thanks, Autumnhopes! I love feeling for the first time ever like a normal, productive adult. It's so much better than the constant highs and lows of addiction. I can focus on my life and on others, which is something that I never really did before.

    I will admit - another motivation for writing this was in the hopes that maybe someone will read it and benefit from it. If not for my friend, I know that I wouldn't be so happy with myself and with my life right now.

    I read a journal that said that while ADHD adults are far more likely to have a substance abuse problem, once they go on medication for ADHD that they are no more likely to abuse it than the general population. Less so, even, since it doesn't give us the same type of euphoric high that most people get (in normal doses, that is). Our thoughts become organized and we're able to see past our next meal, so to speak. Having my ADHD impulsiveness treated was a Godsend.

  4. #4
    Autumnhopes is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by spincycle81 View Post
    Thanks, Autumnhopes! I love feeling for the first time ever like a normal, productive adult. It's so much better than the constant highs and lows of addiction. I can focus on my life and on others, which is something that I never really did before.

    I will admit - another motivation for writing this was in the hopes that maybe someone will read it and benefit from it. If not for my friend, I know that I wouldn't be so happy with myself and with my life right now.

    I read a journal that said that while ADHD adults are far more likely to have a substance abuse problem, once they go on medication for ADHD that they are no more likely to abuse it than the general population. Less so, even, since it doesn't give us the same type of euphoric high that most people get (in normal doses, that is). Our thoughts become organized and we're able to see past our next meal, so to speak. Having my ADHD impulsiveness treated was a Godsend.
    Good thoughts spin cycle!! I've had a problem w opioids for years & wondered if I was also trying to help self medicate if some kind of way . My thoughts are always all over & I find it impossible to focus. What symptoms led you to seek help & get a diagnosis. How did they narrow it down?

  5. #5
    spincycle81 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autumnhopes View Post
    Good thoughts spin cycle!! I've had a problem w opioids for years & wondered if I was also trying to help self medicate if some kind of way . My thoughts are always all over & I find it impossible to focus. What symptoms led you to seek help & get a diagnosis. How did they narrow it down?
    I don't want to get into too many specifics here because I'm mindful of the dangers that can arise when people try to diagnose themselves. The best advice I have is that you do some research on ADHD, sticking to reputable sites, and if it sounds like something you might need help with, make an appointment with your primary or psychiatrist and tell them what's going on.
    Autumnhopes likes this.

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