Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Adderall—Why Do I Feel So Guilty?

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by AngelM, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. AngelM

    AngelM Senior Member

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    I’ve posted about Adderall before, but wondered about others’ experience with the drug. I feel that Adderall is my dirty little secret—even though there is absolutely no reason I know of that I should feel such guilt. Adderall has been used for decades, and I take it only as prescribed, never abuse it, and was diagnosed with AADD years before I was diagnosed with ME/CFS. And the drug works well, and has done for many years. However, I notice that I have gotten to a place after taking Adderall for more than 12 years where I literally cannot function without it—I feel too weak to get out of bed and my brain is useless until I have taken my morning dose. Even with the Adderall, I struggle with fatigue every day, but without it, I feel absolutely miserable. I assume my morning hangover is a common side effect of the drug exiting my system during the night. I understand Adderall has a short half life) and that if I stop taking it, my body will adjust to normal (whatever that is for a person with CFS?) within a week or two. I also understand that the first 24 to 48 hours without the drug can be difficult—and that I should expect some depression—a normal, though temporary, part of the withdrawal process.

    I’ve researched Adderall at great length, and can find no serious clinical reason to discontinue it. There are, of course, horror stories, but those are mostly anecdotal and usually involve normal-functioning people (who do not need the drug) abusing it. Or people buying it on the street, where the chemicals and mgs per dose are anybody’s guess—then having a bad reaction.

    But I remain conflicted because I hate having a dependence on any drug. I keep telling myself that people with Diabetes must take their medication daily in order to function, and that I am no different from them in taking Adderall daily—and as long as I act responsibly and am under a doctor’s care, I should be fine while taking it. So why do I feel so guilty? Is it because I am always having to justify to people who do not know I have both AADD and CFS that I take the drug because I need it? Anybody had a similar experience with CFS and stimulants?
     
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  2. RebeccaRe

    RebeccaRe Moose Enthusiast

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    I understand your feelings. I don't take stimulants anymore (I was prescribed Nuvigil for fatigue after I got sick, but eventually went off it due to side effects), but I have been on antidepressants for many years and feel a similar sense of guilt and frustration with myself. Why can't I just will myself to be stronger, to function better? How come everyone else can function but me? Am I weak because I need to take this drug? Is it an addiction? Do I actually need it, or do I just feel like I need it? These are the questions that haunt me some days.

    I know what my mother would say: 'if it improves your quality of life, and if it doesn't have side effects or risk of harm, why wouldn't you take it? What would you be trying to prove by going off it and making your life miserable?' My mom was very wise, and I try to remember her wisdom when I'm feeling down.

    I think this is a common feeling among people who take these kinds of medications. And I imagine that there are even some people with diabetes who feel the same way about taking their medications.
     
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  3. AngelM

    AngelM Senior Member

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    I agree! So why must we feel guilty, not only about being sick, but about the measures we take to cope with our illness? Actually I have yet to speak with any physician who believes Adderall is problematic. It is my family—people who know nothing about these drugs other than stories they’ve heard second hand or on the news. Interestly, my sister, who seems to be at the center of this whole addiction controversy, admits that she took Adderall for two years ehile she was in law school. Now she speaks as a resident expert on the drug. The truth is that her experience with the drug was totally different than mine. She did not physically need the drug, took it for all the wrong reasons—and yet I am the one with drug problems? I actually spoke at length with a neurologist on Friday (who also is very knowledgeable on CFS) about my concerns with Adderral—whether it was actually causing my symptoms to be worse. He said, “absolutely not.” He saw the drug as useful, not dangerous. I was very relieved—although even the opinion of a respected neurologist will not repair the damage done to my reputation. It hurts. But I need to let go of this ridiculous guilt.
     
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  4. RebeccaRe

    RebeccaRe Moose Enthusiast

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    So the next time your family tells you that you have a drug problem, you can just completely zone out as you say vaguely and noncommittally: "Mmmm hmmmm, that's very interesting. Yes, I'll take that under consideration." Meanwhile, think as loud and as strong as you can: "My neurologist, who is much much smarter than you, says that it helps me and doesn't hurt me, so there!" As satisfying as it might be to say that out loud, it's probably best to keep it in your thought bubble. And all I can say about your sister is: seriously?!?!?!????

    Whenever a doctor says something helpful that you need to always remember and repeat yourself over and over, I say that you should cross stitch it onto a pillow. Maybe you don't have the time, energy, or patience for cross stitching, but just imagine the words your doctor said to you on a lovely pillow (maybe decorated with flowers along the borders).
     

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