Blue Adderall pills pouring out of a medicine bottle.

My Adderall Addiction and How I Quit

The Saga of My Adderall Addiction

A year ago I overcame a severe Adderall addiction. Very severe.

Looking back, it’s baffling to imagine living with such a ridiculous addiction to Adderall. Such an immense level of dependence. Waking up was impossible without Adderall. As was socializing. As was writing. As was enjoying life.

Adderall addiction doesn’t get much attention from the media. It may be hard to view ADHD medications like Adderall as something from which a serious addiction or dependence can form. They’re neither viewed nor discussed in the same terms as similar street drugs like meth.

But make no mistake, Adderall is just a trusted brand of speed, and is every bit as addicting.

Young adults today were largely encouraged, and even forced, to use drugs like Adderall growing up (around the same time we were having D.A.R.E. and the evils of marijuana shoved down our throats). So they don’t share the same negative connotations with their relatives on the streets. But Adderall and other pharmaceutical stimulants are just as dangerous. And indeed, that they don’t carry such negative connotations makes them more so.

∴ ∴ ∴

I was taking anywhere between 150-270 milligrams of Adderall in a typical day. To put that in perspective, the maximum daily dose any reputable doctor will prescribe is 40 milligrams (usually).

Yeah. I was consuming an egregious amount of this shit. On my best days I was using three times more than the maximum daily dose. Ugh. I want to vomit just thinking about it. People have died from less.

I was so addicted to Adderall, I came to accept I would never quit. That I could never quit. Life without Adderall was unimaginable. Unbearable. I believed, and accepted, I would die before age 40 as a result; probably sooner. I understood the immeasurable level of harm such extreme Adderall abuse was inflicting on my body and mind.

Though I was bothered by such thoughts, they did nothing to dissuade me from continuing the addiction. I loved Adderall. I loved the way it made me feel. Made me think. Made me act. If a shorter life span was the cost of feeling this way, so be it.

Conversely, I hated not being on Adderall. Periods of time without it (never longer than a week) teemed with depression, self-loathing, and sloth. It wasn’t just my love of Adderall that made me unable to imagine quitting, but how dejected I felt without it.

To clarify, Adderall wasn’t the only facet of my addiction. The two enantiomorphic halves of amphetamine which make up Adderall, dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine, are quite mild compared to other stimulant drugs (when used correctly).

Three flavors of Amp Energy: Original, Orange, and Cherry.
Photo by James Kalìwæ // Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Anyone who has experience with Adderall knows that caffeine intensifies its effects threefold, if not more. A small eight ounce coffee will do this. Combining Adderall with a full sixteen ounce energy drink results in a cocaine-like high. Amp Energy was my favorite. I drank two or three a day (about 280-420 milligrams of caffeine).

Tobacco is the other thing. For some reason, stimulants like Adderall impart an insatiable desire to smoke tobacco. This has been documented by scientists for years, but has never been explained. Regardless, I was smoking more than a pack a day.

Oh, and marijuana! Of course! Being high on weed and Adderall at the same time is quite a treat, I must confess. The high produced is like a Godsend for creative types. All the creativity and open-mindedness of a weed high, with the motivation and clarity of mind to actually do something with it. My best articles on this blog were composed under the influence of varying combinations of these four drugs. But Adderall was the one I needed. My poisonous muse, if you will.[pullquote]I had an Adderall prescription. I was invincible. I could do anything. The sky was the fucking limit.[/pullquote]

In addition to these unhealthy habits was my Mahatma Gandhi level of food consumption. Adderall is a potent appetite suppressant. It overpowers the opposing “munchies” effect from smoking weed. What I did manage to choke down was shit. Microwaveable meals. Processed meats. If my body was somehow sentient, it would’ve thought I was captive in a labor camp or something. There’d be no other explanation for the lack of quality food and sleep it was getting.

As for how I kicked the addiction? I didn’t know until I finished this article. At first, this paragraph was all about how perplexed I was that I quit by myself. How it wasn’t a revelation about my health or future that spurred my change of behavior. I knew the deal. That Adderall was shortening my life span. Destroying my health. It dawned on me long before the day I quit that my addiction wasn’t sustainable.

But for some reason, I committed to quitting Adderall that day. I threw away my remaining pills and committed to enduring the withdrawal, which lasted months. I didn’t know what empowered me to quit until I retraced the whole fucked up story in writing.

It’s a doozy.

Follow James on Twitter.

Next Page →

  • Hazura Jane

    Very solid article. Thank you for putting your experience out so others can learn from it. The amounts of Adderall ingested by you, and some of those commenting, is horrifying. I realise you ramped up to that level, but wowsers, Gadget, that’s a LOT of Adderall. Did any of you feel like Adderall insulated you from your emotions?

  • Christy Haley

    This speaks to me on so many levels. Truly a profound and eye opening post. Beyond relatable to my personal affinity/addiction to adderall… as I lye awake at 2AM after bingeing 60 mgs in 13 hrs….stepping outside every 30 minutes to smoke a cigarette, rummaging through the internet to look for some help (any help), guidance, advice, or uplifting stories from other fellow adderall users who’ve successfully overcome their addiction. I’ll be honest, it was discouraging to read that you eventually succumbed to your addiction. I feel for you. I AM you :( You deserve a standing ovation for being so forthcoming regarding your relapse. Definitely takes courage to admit. But it is sadly comforting to read your words and know that I’m not alone in this addiction to amphetamines.
    I can imagine you’re feeling shame and regret, as all of us do.
    I’m 5 years deep into adderall use and abuse (mostly abuse) with upwards of 80-90 mgs a day when I have a pill bottle filled to the brim with what seems to be a never ending supply.. until my supply vastly dwindles away in 7 days. Repetitive cycle over and over and over. No remorse at all whatsoever for the dollar amounts spent on those little orange pills.
    No one talks about amphetamine addiction. I’m convinced my psych and physical health is forever fucked up beyond repair. Can anyone relate? The rapid heart rate and tachycardia are BY FAR the worst physical side effects of this shitty mind altering stimulatant.
    Psychologically, i am a complete closed-off, unemotional, non-empathetic shell of a human, walking around like a robot zombie.
    Can anyone relate to physical symptoms such as; heart, thyroid, metabolic and fertility issues after being on this drug for a long period of time?

    I recall several times that I legit thought I was having a heart attack (one particular time I called 911 and went to the ER.. to have them tell me I’m having a panic attack Lol!) I’d never had one prior to adderall either. Ativan couldn’t even bring down my rapid heart rate of 130. Ever since then I’ve had crippling anxiety/heart issues every day, but am too scared to find out if there truly is something wrong with me. Adderall created my anxiety.
    My dirty little secret is my addiction. It feels sooo right, yet so wrong. None of my family or friends knows how bad it’s become. It’s sick and fucked up, but will it ever stop?
    I am in love with this pill. More than I am in love with my amazing SO. Why is he still with me? I can’t understand how any one person can stand to be around me when I’m an emotionless robot…? Why is this habit so hard to kick?

  • Jake
  • Jake
  • Jake
  • Jake
  • Jake
  • Alejandro

    Thanks for sharing your story. It has inspired me to take serious steps to quit. I am prescribed 20mg 3 times a day (as needed). I followed that dosage for a while, but after the effect of the (total) 60mgs wore off, I started taking more… and it has spiraled form there. I take Adderall for the same reasons you did – mainly for school because I could get SO much done. I never really took it to necessarily get high, I take it to start my day and my activities, socialize with friends, and focus for school work. I will tell myself, “Ok, all you need is 20mg, or even 10mg, today because you don’t have any homework or especially demanding tasks”… I always just end up taking 60mg and then more later when that wears off.
    Anyways, thank you so much for sharing your personal story with others, it was brave, helpful, and insipiring.

  • Sam

    I some how became this crazy adderall fueled lunatic I take 3-20mg at a time at a minimum of 8-10 a day I need to know how to over come this crazed addiction I’m 27 with 3 kids and it’s hard to even take care of them without Addie’s I’m lost I need any help I can get any suggestions are welcome

  • Chris

    Hello, first of all thank you all for sharing your stories which I will hold as means to change my life around. Where do I even begin lol i’d love to make my story quick and simple considering I have a homework assignment I should really get back to, but then again, if not here, Adderall will drive me towards anything not having to do with my priorities… So i’m currently a twenty year old business major who has now been using Adderall daily for about three months… what a scary thought. First of all, let me start by stating that I don’t know exactly why i’m writing this, i’m not the type of person to create a blogging account just to comment on an article that my anxious self came across while breaking my addiction to myself for the first time. Although i’m not quite sure, i don’t believe I seek a reply (or maybe I do, idk), I believe i’m writing this because first, its nice to be honest with myself and others about what is really going on in my head for a change. You see, I live with my overly paranoid mother, my distant father (i have to give him credit…. Lately he’s making a bigger presence in our lives) and my sister who I can easily describe as my best friend. Problem is, talking to my sister, who barely smokes, about my situation scares me, probably because it’s her opinion about me that I value the most
    (I don’t filter any other conversations with her, her and I are like open books to one another). Adding to my background, i’m a very independent guy (I like to conclude) or idk, maybe i’m just a shy guy, and I add this about myself to explain how I don’t really express my emotions and thoughts to anyone, but that’s not the point. What i’m trying to get at is that i’m mostly doing this to vent, although i’m an anonymous blogger writing this comment, the possibility that my thoughts may actually lift someone’s spirits makes me genuinely happy, which is rare nowadays. As a child, the thought of trying any type of drug was insane and its actuality was far from possibility, but as years passed and I made new friends in high school, those thoughts became irrelevant and before I knew it, I began to smoke weed. It started as a monthly thing, later turning into a weekly habit and slowly but surly, I became the pothead that I am today. Honestly, I type that without shame, aside from that fact that it’s a huge secret that I keep from my mother, weed isn’t really affecting me in a negative way, if anything, it calms my anxious train of thought after a stressful day. What i’m here to talk about is Adderall, the drug that i’m not prescribed to and costs me about $100 every two weeks (sometimes more) for my personal use. At first, I only used the stimulant for school purposes, but now I can easily pop two or three 30 mg pills a day and it’ll barely satisfy my craves.The first time I took any sort of stimulant was during my senior year of high school which I used to stengthen my chances at a high score for an SAT attempt. I’m a smart guy, I have no doubt about that, but a tablet that makes me WANT to study? Now that’s sweet to my ears. So I began my college career in 2014 and for the first two years taking Adderall was an occasional thing for me, slowing increasing in frequency. My addiction began about four months ago, this is around the time that I began training for a new server job that I managed to land (I forgot to mention, i’ve been a server since I was about eighteen in PF Changs, later moving to this new restaurant that is known for its fine dinning experience). So as the training week passed, I depended on Adderall to help me memorize this new menu and to also create a confident and appealing persona, but in all honestly, I felt like I was out of my league. Eventually, I passed and I was officially a server at this new job. It’s been about three months now and I can only account for about three or four shifts out of so many that I have gone without the influence of Adderall. This new job which was supposed to promote positive changes actually became a burden in my life supplying a physically and mentally demanding work environment. If that wasn’t bad enough, a huge drift began to occur between my close friends and my sister, the one person who I could fully share my natural personality with. My job is not to blame for my addiction, but it is important for me to establish a point where this reliance of a stimulating outside source began. Coming across this article made me realize that this isn’t a wise path that I should keep following. I’ve decided to let my sister in on my big secret as soon as the time feels right, or better, as soon as both our schedules are commonly free, that’ll have to do. I’m sure it’ll be extremely difficult and degrading, but thats the opinion shift that will matter to me enough to trigger a change. I’m the type of person that suppresses my personal problems, I hate being honest with myself and I’m not good at taking in the truth when it doesn’t accustom to my desires. When my sister or my mom confronts me about something I need to work on, i’m very quick to change the subject in an attempt to evade my pending responsibilities, whatever it may be. In many ways, I have to grow up. I’d love to go back in time and flush that pill down the toilet instead of getting a taste of the merciless forbidden fruit. I’m not sure if i’ll be able to stick with my current desires, I know that soon, tomorrow or probably later today, temptation is gonna come and try to feed my addiction, but the mentality that we (addicts) must all persist and live by is knowing that this path of abstinence is better than the other. I’m currently on Adderall, and in all honesty, I don’t believe that I would’ve had the desire or drive to write this comment without the extra amphetamine that I abused previously today. What scares me the most is the inevitable thought that i’ll never feel that euphoric feeling that Adderall supplies, or that my brain will never produces enough natural dopamine to stimulate the pleasure that Adderall produced, all in an attempt to relapse and disregard improvement. Those fearful thoughts wander deeper into my subconscious accepting that i’ll have to walk around with a smile that I don’t genuinely want to express, not only while I serve tables at work but more importantly, my mother, who believes that i’m pure and loyal to her ethics. I finish this comment with the incredibly terrifying assurance that these upcoming days are going to be filled with depression, but with the hope that whoever I was before is joyful and virtuous enough to overcome such chemical imbalances. At the end of the day, we are all just biological products of life’s continuing cycle and while our selfness guides us through our troubled days, I know that this mental vice is powerless without my own will to empower it.

  • Cameron Wolfe

    Man it’s crazy, almost surreal, to read your story because it is identical to what I’ve gone through the last two years. I can tell our personalities are extremely similar which would make sense, but this was really comforting to read and brought up some much needed emotion. I hope you’re doing alright. I’ve got a long road ahead as I’ve just hit that, hopefully, tipping point.. I’m in my last year of a ridiculously demanding undergrad and I can’t keep using adderall.. I believe it’s possible to quit and still graduate but the idea is overwhelming.. Wish you the best, I hope I can find it in me to first quit and second graduate.. What a world we live in.. You’re/we’re not alone in all the pain and emotion, we’ll make it.

  • Здравствуйте

    Holy shit, I read this word for word and it is so relatable It was like exactly the same as what my conscience was telling me at the peak of my addiction. I was taking prob about 5-7 30mg IR pills every day drinking up to 5 to 8 monsters or any energy drink available along with 2 packs of ciggeretes, avoiding work, putting all my time and effort into becoming a COD GOD (rofl well besides the fact I made a fuk ton of people laugh) and just staying inside 24/7 avoiding phone calls from family and friends, staying up for 3 nights straight hallucinating and talking to myself involuntarily (I guess it’s the body’s way to keep your brain awake from lack of sleep). I legit felt like the definition of a METH ADDICT. It was inSANE. I didn’t buy food because I knew
    having adderall would compensate for the desire . I would randomly fall asleep out of nowhere right after wasting a pill to keep me up and going, and sleep for 20 hours EVEN while I was working as a driver, and that shits no joke. The personality thing totally caught me off guard, I didn’t think anyone else would have ever cared to notice just as long as they we’re “feeling good”. I noticed my personality was evolving into something I just got used to because at that level of addiction (alcoholics), you don’t wake up and immediately run to your typical daily routine until you get that fix again, but the concentration is outrageous, I love the feeling of enjoying doing something nobody likes at an above acceptional rate, was just so motivating. take more to aquire the picture perfect example followed by the chatterbox social wreck of a conscience you create haha, and might I throw in the fact that one song is stuck in your head on repeat the entire fulking day.

    So moral of my story adderall = a regulated and controlled form of meth. I’ve tried both, to be honest because the withdrawals and cravings of the adderall we’re so intense I saw no other way out but to try it and the end result of that was the method stopped the cravings 100% but it felt so much weaker (including the fact I was airing that bitch out hardcore to compensate the week I was without addys) that it actually brought my tolorence down significantly in one day and I was able to go three days without cravings before it came back and did it again and eventually I was able to cut it completely. So it’s now been about 5 months since my last refill and I still get random cravings here and there but other than that I feel like I could relapse any day which I would HATE to happen considering I just relearned myself, gained a good amount of weight and always eager to go out and make something of myself, but the same shit is heavily available on the streets in some shape or form.

    It all starts with a prescription kids…

  • Nikki

    To make a long story short, I quit adderall almost 3 months ago, and I cannot seem to shake this extreme fatigue I’ve been experiencing. I’m at my wits end! I’m so frustrated with my complete lack of energy and it seems to me that this tiredness should have subsided by now. Can anyone offer any information on whether this feeling is still normal for 3 months after stopping the adderall? Or could there possibly be something else that’s wrong with me physiologically that has nothing to do at all with stopping this medication.

  • Caroline

    I could not relate more. I know that all of us struggling with add or adhd, have most likely abused our prescriptions. Especially if you have an addictive personality. I do. Adderall is something I’m questioning, I have been on it for years. I have an autoimmune disorder that makes me very tried so of course stimulants make my day easier to get thru. I don’t like feeling dependent on the meds though and hate the side effects. Thank you for the article, it will surely help while I decide what to do with my future. In regards to quitting my Adderall or staying on it and hoping things will get better…though I doubt that will be the case. Glad to know I’m not alone. Researching a lot today trying to find help or alternative medicine.

  • kc

    Yo good article, it really spoke to me. I’m going through same situation and have had the exact same feelings on adderall, when it starts consuming your life, nothing else matters. But im glad i decided to quit. and i know i can, because i hate what it made me become. thanks for sharing your story

  • Katie

    I can SO relate! I’ve been in the same place. Honestly the only time I’ve ever been able to stop is while I was pregnant. Other than that I’ve been very much addicted for over 6 years at this point. It’s a love hate thing for me. I hate that I can’t be “ok” without having them.

  • Sam Al-Ham

    hi, i’m “ruinedlife”. now i’m 6 months sober in about 2 days. i think you need to go to a rehab for treatment. meth adderall vyvanse ritalin, they’re almost the same shit. adderall is very destructive. remember when you were a happy person. remember the person who didn’t need drugs to feel alive? this is going to be very difficult. you can’t do it on your own. i think about adderall everyday. the pill put me through a year of hell. i can’t afford to lose more time on it.

  • Sam Al-Ham

    Adderall was a big mind fuck. iv had experiences with bud, alcohol xanax and lsd but adderall was just evil. my adderall use made me feel confident. i was capable of doing anything as long as i had adderall in my system. adderall made me super organized. i would kill noobs on Uncharted 3 with 15 kills- 2 deaths. my tolerance grew and my comedowns became worse. when i had a long school project, i would wait to do in on the last day (12 am) ,pop 4-5 pills then finish my 3-4 page essay in a short duration. at first, i didn’t see any problem. i just felt good and thought that i lived life the right way. I was only supposed to take 10mg xr but i took like 60 mg to 80 mg in a day. sometimes, i took less. This guy knows what’s up. I definitely used to drink coffee with adderall . the combo made me super stimulated. i remember taking 30mg of adderall with a red bull . the adderall buzz was a bit altered but it was intensified by 5 times maybe. withdrawals from adderall and caffeine produced this annoying muscle twitch. your mind is lost in a really dense fog. you become really depressed. you lose hope. the only way to fight withdrawal was by popping more pills. after a year of abusing adderall, it became clear that i had a problem. I was no longer happy. nothing seemed interesting unless i was on adderall. i lost too much weight. even around friends, i was distant. my addiction lasted a year. it could have been so much worse. i sold my ipod for 12 bucks to buy like 3 vyvanse from a kid. my grades shrunk like my weight. i didn’t even use adderall for school purposes anymore. i’m sure that the author of this article knows exactly what i’m talking about. on adderall, i thought that i had too much time that i could do my work later. instead of doing my school work, i played my guitar from 9pm to 4 am. i couldn’t even sleep. i would go to school without any hours of sleep. id crash pretty hard the next day and sleep in my class. i stopped using adderall in the summer of 2015 and i haven’t touched adderall ever since. i started binging on caffeine. caffeine is nothing compared to adderall but at least it gives a little bit of energy. my mind is still hazy as shit from caffeine. i think that caffeine prevents me from fully recovering. so james, do you think that i should quit caffeine and see if it makes a difference?

    • Hey Sam, thanks for chiming in! :) Sorry it’s taken me a few days to respond.

      Your comment is a good example of why I was so motivated to write this article in the first place. As I’m sure you can relate, during my struggle I’d often search Google out of curiosity, to see if I could find anyone with similar experiences as me. I remember being very surprised at how little had been written on the topic. Apart from message board discussions, there was just a few – like 2 or 3 – substantive articles on the subject (at least substantive experience-based articles). Other than this one and another one I can’t even find, there was pretty much nothing. Yet common sense told me (given that, all things considered, us humans aren’t all that different from one another) there had to be a whole shit ton of people out there struggling with Adderall addiction in very similar, if not spot on, ways as I had. I guess this article was my way of testing that thesis. :P

      Seriously though, it’s eerie to read how similar your experience with Adderall is to my own.

      Anyway, to answer your question:

      i think that caffeine prevents me from fully recovering. so james, do you think that i should quit caffeine and see if it makes a difference?

      Yes, absolutely. Caffeine is a drug, after all – albeit way lame compared to Adderall. Especially considering that you, like me, used caffeine to intensify your Adderall highs; it’s not a good idea to continue using a drug that you used in conjunction with one you’re trying to stay off, if that makes any sense.

      But other than that, even though caffeine is less intense than Adderall, it still has its effects. Kicking the caffeine will, with time, allow your body to get back in its natural rhythm, and derive energy from itself naturally, rather than relying on an outside chemical to keep you alert.

      That’s just my two cents, however. Every drug affects every individual differently. In my case, when I quit I pretty much kicked the caffeine too (I mean I’d still drink Coke and the occasional coffee, but I made an effort to stay away from it – I figured since I already knew the withdrawal from Adderall was gonna suck, I might as well just go all out and stay away from caffeine too).

      Hope that helps. Good luck, friend. :)

  • toxicquixotic

    I’ve read this article several times over the past year and it has been a great source of inspiration for me. I have quit adderall myself, just recently. Not by any moral imperative or through willpower. I would never quit if it weren’t by necessity. I love adderall so dearly and know it’s fucked up it is that I mean that so sincerely, but I do.

    So coming from a still very addicted place, my solution has been to replace it with Wellbutrin / Bupropion. To the point like it’s cheating how crazy fast and effective it has been for me, at both curbing the severe depression that comes with quitting as well as substituting the positive effects that adderall did have.

    Merely kicking the ady has killed my ability to smoke cigarettes (no idea why it’s just a whole thing), combined with the Wellbutrin which is also a smoking cessasion aid, has the extra perk that I’ve lost my smoking habit. I even tried forcing it because shit I’ve been smoking 10 years what the fuck am I supposed to do with my hands. But I no longer crave the nicotine and am repulsed by their taste and feel.

    But therein lies the one downside. You lose your cigarettes too.

    • Hey toxic! I was very excited to see you comment, but have been too lazy to actually sit down and reply. :P

      Anyway, thanks a bunch for sharing. You’re one of the first bloggers I came in contact with after starting ewwty so long ago, so it’s very pleasing to know you’ve read this more than once, and that it has helped.

      Seriously though, while I’m proud of this article and I think it’s one of my better pieces in terms of quality, it’s very hard for me to feel as though it’s actually “helping” anyone. I guess it’s just hard to fathom how text on a computer screen could provide concrete “help” to an individual, especially when that text is your own. Regardless, I’m quite happy that you’ve drawn inspiration of some sort from it.

      I’m surprised to hear the way you talk about Wellbutrin; that was the first medication I was prescribed for depression. I hated it. It made everything so much worse for me lol but from what I hear, it’s one of those drugs that has vastly different effects on everybody. I’m prescribed Zoloft now, but I gotta say, it doesn’t do much in terms of combatting the depression that comes with Adderall withdrawal. Or maybe it does and it’s just hard for me to notice.

      Anyway, thanks again for the comment! :)

      • Elle

        Have you tried Lexapro? I too was taking Zoloft and the effects like diarrhea were non too desirable. Lexapro has absolutely NO undesirable side effects for me.

  • Katie

    Hi James! It’s Katie. I commented a year ago. I just recently got back into an old email I used to post the comment on and today I signed into it just out of curiosity. WOW at all these comments! The struggle WE ALL share. I still am everyday. Since that comment boy have I been through a crazy time but my addiction remains with me. I do believe I will struggle with it for the rest of my life.

  • Loo Thomson

    I somehow landed on this article in my insomniac state and its exactly what I needed to read. This just helped me more than you could ever know, thank you

    • I’m super glad to hear that buddy, thanks for reading! :)

  • Allie Hockman

    I’m really surprised to hear about Adderall addiction at all. I would forget to take it with no consequence as a kid (other than my ADD returning) and when I turned 14 I literally just stopped taking it because it sped me up in a bad way. I had no withdrawal or anything. Just stopped.

    • Christy Haley

      Why even comment on this if you can’t relate and have nothing useful to bring to the table?
      Good for you on being able to stop without any withdrawal symptoms! That’s pretty neat!….
      But as you can see, from all of the former commenters, your 1 sentence post is not at all relatable of useful.
      Go to another forum that suits your condescending righteous demeanor.


      • L Hockman

        I’m sorry you read it as condescending or righteous, it wasn’t meant to be. =/ Hope you have better luck with stuff.

  • John Wolsiefer

    I can relate so hard to this! Lost my ex because her addiction and it started off with adderals. Her and her friend were taking a script of the strong orange/peach ones and would be out in like a week. It got so hard to deal with living with her it was insane once she started using the pills and had lived with her about 6-7 months without a single argument before she got on them. Like you spoke of she too was obsessed with energy drinks. It made her delirious and desperate and totally irritable when they ran outta drugs shes 25 and pretty cute and stooped so low as to sleep with a 55 year old for weed. Pretty sure she thinks its not a big deal and has no idea how it effects her or the people around her. Its crazy people like you said dont look at it on the same lvl as heroin or meth. But its its own beast girl even cheated on me with some heroin addict who gave her stds TWICE before i met her. Insane the control drugs take over peoples lives.

  • Karen

    Thank you for writing this.

  • addernone

    This is a fantastic article. I can relate to many aspects of this, as I’m sure others can as well. I’m one of those cases where I have legitimate ADHD, but I still want to quit. I have a few minor differences in my motivations and concerns about quitting that may only effect ADHDer’s like myself, so I figured I’d share my experience briefly.

    I’ve been on and off for years – took ritalin / adderall during the years where I didn’t have a choice (my parents were pressured very heavily into putting me on it by my school – if I ever write a blog about quitting this is something I’ll be sure to provide my opinion on in detail), decided to stop in high school, went back on it in college but would only use it for cram sessions, started taking it consistently when I got a full time job (about 8 years ago). I take 50-60mg a day which 60mg being the current max daily dose, so by clinical means I’m not abusing it. That being said, I’m abusing it. I take it to play video games, take it to be able to sober up if I need to rally after day drinking, etc.

    The first time I tried to quit was a little over a year ago and it didn’t go well. I was off for about 5 weeks. 2 weeks of heavy withdrawal followed by a lingering, but fading, lethargy for a another 2 weeks or so. The problem I ran into was that I had set my life up around a performance expectation that was unrealistic. I literally could not perform my job at the level that I had been consistently performing for years and it completely confused everyone. I told my boss the truth – that I was going to see how things went if I came off my ADHD med – and he was understanding at first but became frustrated over time. He didn’t understand what coming off my ADHD med meant. Aside from the immediate lack of performance from the withdrawal, I’m not the sharp minded, solve everything guy when I wasn’t on my medication. I was still intelligent, but had trouble both starting and finishing projects and could not articulate the thoughts in my head in the same way – I could deliver the same information just in a less confident and some what scattered way.

    After this experience, I decided I needed to lower everyone’s expectations around me so that I could come off adderall without burning my career to the ground. I’ve been slowly setting that up for a year now. I moved to another state (something I was already planning on doing) so it gave me this opportunity. I’ve been putting in about 6 hours a day of actual work with the thought that I can deliver the same results working 8 hours off adderall (as opposed to putting in 9-10 hours of adderall-induced work before which was an impossible performance level to maintain without adderall). I don’t simply take every project handed to me and blow it out of the water anymore either. I’ve had to actively curb the perfectionist that adderall brings out in everyone. I’ll slap things together in circumstances where no one will care if they are slapped together. And I never work late anymore – ever. No one expects to me to be the guy who they can give something to that is due the next day anymore. Before I would oddly enjoy that scenario because I would have a justifiable reason to get jacked on adderall for 12 hours. Adderall is a real mind fuck like that.

    At this point, I’ve cut down to 40 mg a day. I do that by leaving the pill bottle at home and only bringing 4 pills with me to work. This forces me to ration it, at least for the majority of the day, and also allows me to know how many I’ve taken so far that day. I can’t count how many times I’ve felt a little bit tired, and just popped another 10mg tab not even thinking of when I had last taken one. I’m getting ready to stop after 40 mg because I don’t think I can ween down any further. I’ve tried, and I just somehow end up taking 50mg instead of the 30 I was planning. I don’t think it’s possible to ween off adderall without someone managing your dosage for you. Regardless, cold turkey from 40mg will start in the next 48 hours or so.

    Anywho, thought maybe some of you guys can relate to this. If I successfully come off again, I’ll update you with a much shorter, much harder to follow post – then you’ll know I’ve successfully returned to my normal ADHD-as-fuck self. I hope that this will be the case

  • MeMyselfI

    I knew quitting adderall was something I would need to think about as soon as I started taking it again. My last experience was enough but I wanted to get that high again to accomplish so many goals I had. But, that never happened. I just consumed myself in the wrong things. Working a lot, eating like crap, drinking to offset the energy to sleep… Then I’d be depressed about my life habits and inability to control my daily doses. I kept it all secret. I met someone and I didn’t want to be that person to them, I wanted my natural energy and happiness back… I was also tired of watching him sleep so soundly while I layed there awake and turning to high doses of sleep aides…So I ended up telling him about the adderall and that I wanted nothing more of it. He has been an amazing support giving me endless amounts of love. I had to take time off work because I knew how Id be off adderall…a useless pile of poo. Always sluggish, depressed, no energy, sloth mode. I knew for me it would only last about a week to get past the worst of the withdrawl symptoms like before even though I was taking it for 6 months this time ending at taking anywhere from 80-160mg daily. You can get thru it, but just plan on being a big turd for a bit. And stock up on healthier foods, drink lots of lemon water, probiotics. Do anything active to make your body feel good, even stretching. It gets better. You just have to reinforce that with yourself and preferably not have any adderall around. I tried to taper off but couldn’t. I’m at a week now of being off. It was hard but I did it. Feeling better and able to function although I’ve felt the need to lie down after my first meal due to crashing. But it’s getting better since I’ve been going to the gym and relaxing in the hot tub after my workout. My advice is to plan well for success! Take time off work and do this for you, for the rest of your life. It’ll take time to adjust to everyday activities again that you’re doing without adderall but if you need to make further life changes, rediscover your passion, etc so be it! Discover and embrace who you are naturally and what you can accomplish. Don’t be defeated by the pill. I know and have experienced the thoughts about taking the pill again, an excuse to use it and feel that high here and there… It’s just not worth it. You’ll just keep craving it. I’m focusing on finding a natural high now and appreciating the simple things in life. If I don’t feel good doing something then I’ll find something that does make me feel good instead of taking a pill to make the bad things better.

  • Christian

    Your words give me chills cause your absolutely right. Everything you say is what im going threw and how I live. Mainly what scares me is im only 28 and I have been on around 60-150mg of Adderall IR for 15 years, how in the world am I going to get that “mindset” to change what im so use to doing? After reading what everyone has said….you guys are family.

  • Tammy Stringfellow

    Thank you SO very much for your honesty! I was prescribed Adderall & Prozac 15+ years ago. Around the 2nd year I was addicted. Since taking the drug I have been diagnosed from everything from bi-polar to ocd, add, severe depression, to manic depression, etc, etc. I knew that adderall was causing these conditions but I never would admit it to my doctor. I also thought that I would just get different downers to balance the adderall side effects. I was on up to 9 different mess until I went into the hospital & then treatment. I still wouldn’t admit I had a problem with the drug because even if it was making me bat shit crazy I was still going to take it. I went off of it during my second pregnancy. I immediately got back on it after he was born. Since having two kids & staying at home I knew the med was only intensifying my stress of being a stay at home mom. All I did was yell at my daughter all day long. I knew it was the adderall making me like this but I still couldn’t stop. I decicided to take a break for one day just to see how I would do. I was tired but I felt alive. I could see that my daughter wasn’t bad. It had been me being agitated on the meds that made things so much worse. The day I took a “vacation” from the drug is the day my sassy 4yo daughter told me I was being a nice mommie today. This is the moment I realized it’s time to quit for good. I feeling tired today with flu like symptoms. I still haven’t been able to throw the bottle away. I want to quit SO bad. I’ve wasted so many years. When I googled adderall addiction your article was the first one I’ve read. The similarities are unbelievable. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you SO very much for this & your complete honesty.

  • Joy

    Joe what you wrote was VERY meaningful. Take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

  • Alessio 36

    I am deeply in love with a man who is addicted to Adderal, unfortunately he acts like it is not an addiction and makes jokes about having ADD (he’s a recreational user.) When he’s not on it he’s downright rageful and bitter and even sometimes when he is his moods swing like a revolving door. I won’t give up on him, I want to stay with him, no matter what, but this is really beginning to unnerve me. He’s also lost substantial amounts of weight and when he does eat it’s a binge fest. He drinks loads of coffee on top of the Aderall as well which only makes the mood swings more intense. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m not going to give up though.

  • Amanda

    Looks like I finally stumbled upon the right page this time. And to think I was so alone abusing adderall the way I do. Your right about quitting for someone else if your not going to quit for yourself. that’s the part that slapped me in the face. even if that someone else happens to be an animal :) it’s clear now he came into my life for a reason, to save it.

    Your a badass dude, and a great writer. I hope your healthy and happy.

  • Alpha

    Your article is my life. Even down to the video games. Only my game was HALO. This is a habit I haven’t been able to quit it’s destroying my life. I’ve lost a lot of friends over this and I think it’s time to finally rid myself of it.

  • Patrick I. Cheng

    Thank you for this piece. I’m trying to quit cold turkey myself and it’s hard. Will I be as confident as I was when I was on it? Will people like me as much? Will I be as ambitious? It’s tough, really tough, but I think quitting is the answer. It’s comforting to hear other people dealing with the same issues.

  • Sandy

    I have been prescribed adderall since I was 17, before I knew it my doctor was prescribing me 90mg a day. Within a week and a half they were gone. The rest of the month was miserable. I slept all day, I was depressed and when I had to work I felt my performance was never as good as when I was on adderall. I have been addicted to adderall for over seven years. In the last two years my doctor was prescribing me adderall, zanex(which would help me sleep at night), and vicodine (which I would take when I ran out of adds so the withdraws weren’t as bad). A 4 months ago I stopped going to my doctor. Cold turkey.
    I went through the physical withdraws but mentally I’m still struggling. Sometimes I have dreams that someone will give me adderall and when I wake up for a split second I think it was real like an adderall would be in my purse or on my nightstand, when reality sets in and I realize it was just a dream I wonder if these nightmares will ever end. I still suffer from
    Slight depression, thoughts often run through my mind like sober me will never be as productive and assertive and organized as the person I was when I took adderall. Since I’ve quit I put on weight, lost alot of so called friends who I knew only hung around because of what I was prescribed not because they like me as a person.. Things have gotten a little easier but is it is it normal to still feel like this and have nightmares going on 5 months of being drug free?

  • Joe

    I’m too spun up and burned out right now to write anything meaningful but I have to thank you for this article.
    I’ve known for awhile now that I am addicted to Adderal and that it is destroying my life, but the thought of living without it and/or going through a recovery program seem like impossible tasks.

    It seems so much easier to continue down this path and self destruct then to try to break free of this addiction and live. Instead of fighting to get my life back, I convince myself that I am doomed anyway so fighting is futile. Simply put, it will be easier for me to die than it will be to live.

    Your article has shown me that I am wrong and that it is better to live and that I CAN live. You have given me hope and it has been a very, very long time since I have felt hopeful about anything and for that I thank you.

    You wrote that you hoped your article helped at least one person. Well, it has. I will be making some phonecalls in the morning and I’m gonna get some help. Thank you so much.

    • Katie

      You are not alone. We all know the struggle with this addiction. Hope you are well.

  • albert y

    I too am getting over addiction and on a path to recovery. It takes time to fully regain your true self again but it’s definitely possible. Acupuncture is a great starting point. I’m considering taking ayahuasca in the near future to combat my constant depression.

  • James Joyce

    Wow. It’s amazing the parralels I drew from your story. And all of the replies.Thank you.

    It’s bizarre to me that when I would be running low, as I took a months worth in a week, I new I could take less and make them last. But I never did. Never.

    It’s crazy to watch yourself make a choice you know you don’t want to make yet feel compelled to.
    It’s almost like all of the causes of our behaviors are completely inaccessible to the conscious mind.

    It’s like the more I consciously want to quit, the more my subconscious makes sure I keep using. “What we resist persists.”

    It seems like and I think its the case that eventually most of us will quit…eventually. The question is how do we hasten this process. How do we make ourselves want to want to quit?

    How do we access the traumas or distorted assumptions which lead to the habit in the first place?

  • Jessi M

    This is day two for me. I genuinely have add but no longer can be this dead inside . I’m a shell of who I once was . I miss me. I was fun, full of life. I’ve isolated myself from all of my friends and have turned into some alter ego version of myself. I hate adderall me. She’s productive , but she’s boring and forgets what it means to be a good wife , friend, and mother . I despise her. My body and mind feels so very heavy though. I just keep thinking well maybe if I just take a half dose … I’ll feel a little better …. But I think that’s the addict in me talking . She needs to shut up and sit down.

    • Jessi m

      Approx 2 weeks later… I see some of my personality come back . A depressed version of myself , but I believe that will fade . My ADD symptoms are awful . I’m back to scatterbrained and hyper and my lack of motivation is unreallllll. Focus is at level zero, but I’m doing something I haven’t done much of in a long time. FEEL!! It isn’t always positive , but I’m least im not numb .

      • James Kalìwæ


        Thanks so much for sharing your experience of quitting Adderall. I hope you’re staying strong and reaping the benefits of being clean. Please, if you make your way back here, let us know how you’re doing – even if it’s bad news. This is a safe place to be open and honest, no judgment or negativity allowed. :)

        • Jessi

          It’s a struggle . I’m still clean , but hate it . Sort of . My relationships have all improved , my energy levels are back to normal but I swear my add is worse than ever . Getting anything done is such a chore and mentally painful and sometimes impossible . Considering seeking non stimulant adhd medications . I want to be completely med free but my to do list keeps growing and is causing just as much anxiety as the stimulant was . With all the negative out of the way , I’m present . I have feelings and emotions again. I’ve been using adderall for so very long that I had become numb. I’m an empath by nature so to suddenly be able to feel deeply both sadness and joy is almost new to me . It’s beautiful . But my to do list is a night mare . Any advice ?

  • Nick

    Just wanted to say that your story is pretty much exactly the same as my story (Vyvanse & Adderall addicted for about 3 years). I’ve been wanting to and ready to quit for about 6 months. Just finally tired of how much time and energy any sort of addiction takes up. I’ve kicked other drugs before after prolonged periods of abuse (Alcohol & Weed separately I spent about two years with a light addiction/abuse cycle although I totally get that weed can’t technically be abused but I was overusing and it was having a negative effect on my life in general and I still smoke it every once in a great while when a good friend offers but I quit buying and using daily a long time ago). Just wanted to say that I’ve cancelled my doc and prescript and I’m having a wonderful time being off these legal amphetamines. It’s really been a swell experience actually. I used to call the dexamp my “superman drug” and for all intents and purposes it totally is a “superman drug”. But prolonged abuse of amps (or any drug to be honest) is just not sustainable. It was a great 2-3 years with the stuff and I had a hell of a lot of fun and productivity but man oh man am I happy to be off of them and I’m really glad that I actually feel great about NOT going to the pharmacy to get a refill these pasts months and this next one as well. There is something to be said about living ‘clean’ and sober from any substance and it feels great. As with Weed and then Alcohol after it, I quit daily usage only once and stuck with it and never looked back. I still smoke on occasion and I still drink maybe once a month at most. Who knows, I could see myself taking some dexamps in the future just for a fun night with a friend. BUT it’s the daily use and monthly prescriptions and doctors visits to get them that is done and over with and I could not be happier. Every drug seems to just run its course for me and my experiences with prolonged stimulant usage has come to an end. Thanks for a great read :) Those are my personal thoughts on the subject.

    • Sam Al-Ham

      you’re very lucky to stop. stims are fucking evil

  • Holy cow,

    To be honest I googled “how to get over an adderall addiction” and I am really happy I found this article. I’m completely lost in my life, who I am, what I want to be, it’s all overwhelming. Your experience is what I’m going through at this very moment. I want to quit, I really f*cking do, and now I have the courage and understanding to do so, however, I’m scared. I’m scared of losing my job as well as losing my loved ones. I went one day sober and I hated it. I was a lifeless zombie who slept all day and didn’t have any motivation other than changing the channel on the TV. I work 50+ hours a week, how can I just quit? I can’t turn to my family due to the fact that they would shut me out of their life. As for my friends, they’re all party animals and enjoy adderall too, just not to the extent of myself.

    Reading this article made me cry, but not in a bad way, but in a way that lets me know others out there are going/went through the same addiction as I am. I hope one day I can truly enjoy life without the use of this vile drug.

    I just want to end this comment with a thank you. Thank you for sharing your experience, thank you for giving us hope and thank you for enlightening all of us.


    • James Kalìwæ

      I’m very sorry for taking my sweet ass time to respond to this and other comments here. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to do so until I addressed Chris Anthony’s comment below. For reasons I’m sure you’ll understand once you read it.

      Thank you so much for sharing your circumstances with me and my readers. It’s incredible to know this article has affected people, especially since when I published it, I was sure no one would want to read over 5,000 words detailing my experiences. It’s awesome to see how wrong I was about that.

      I wanted to respond to this:

      I went one day sober and I hated it. I was a lifeless zombie who slept all day and didn’t have any motivation other than changing the channel on the TV. I work 50+ hours a week, how can I just quit?

      Quitting will suck no matter what. This is a tough situation, and I don’t presume to have the answer here. All I can say is, and I don’t know the circumstances with your job, that your best course of action would probably be to go to your employer and be honest about your situation. A frightening prospect, I understand, however – and this article is a testament to this – people very much appreciate and respect honesty. If you have a certain number of sick days per year, they shouldn’t have any issue with you using them to take time off while you go through withdrawal. Unless your job involves operating machinery or something like that where Adderall use might get you in trouble, my advice is that honesty is the best course of action here. If your employer/manager are decent people, they’ll appreciate your honesty and admire your determination to get better.

      Having said all that, please take my advice with a grain of salt. I don’t know the exact circumstances of your situation, and while the virtues of honesty are easy to espouse, when it comes to things like your career and livelihood, you must take into account your personal discretion.

  • Chris Anthony

    Excellent article sir, thanks for your honest description of successfully winning a battle I’ve tried to fight many times.

    I’m absolute your article will help many people, and hope I am one of them.

    Well done.

    One question – now that you’ve been clean for 3months, how often, if at all, does your mind try and tell you that getting back on adder all is the right thing to do / do you ever think of getting back on it? I know it’s easy enough to find a doc that would gladly take your money… Just curious if that happens to you, and if so, how you rationalize to that crazy part of your mind that wants it again that quitting really is the right choice.

    Seriously thanks again, your writing really had got me thinking.

    • James Kalìwæ

      These are great questions. And ones I’ve been putting off answering as the prospect of doing so fully and honestly is frightening to me. Not to mention the undertaking of organizing my thoughts. But I think it’s important. I hope you find your way back here to read my answer.

      First of all, I published this piece a little over a year ago… and at the time it had been about 14 months since I quit.

      [H]ow often, if at all, does your mind try and tell you that getting back on adderall is the right thing to do / do you ever think of getting back on it?

      My brief and direct answer: very often.

      I want to split this question in two as there’s two separate questions here. 1) “How often does my mind try and tell me that getting back on Adderall is the right thing to do?” and, 2) “Do I ever think of getting back on it?”

      The second question is different because, separate from the first, I “think about getting back on it” in a lot of different contexts. For one, as I mentioned in my response to Katie’s comment, I have experienced nightmares about relapsing, and that obviously makes me “think about getting back on it” in a negative way. On the other hand, among day-to-day thoughts, I would certainly think about how getting back on it might improve certain aspects of my life… but once again, knowing so well of all the aspects of my life that it would screw up, I didn’t make it a point to think in such terms. My point is, as thought tend to do, these come and go.

      The first question is more complex.

      The first month or so after quitting, my mind pretty much constantly tried to tell me that getting back on it was the right thing to do. But this was essentially just in the form of sheer cravings. And I had guarded against these by admitting the problem to my mother; since I was on my parent’s insurance at the time, there really would have been no way, at least not an easy way, to get another prescription. And I was way too broke to afford to sustain such a habit by buying it off the street. But I digress.

      I like this question because it (rightly) asserts the existence of a very particular mental phenomenon which is related to simple “cravings.”

      A simple craving is just that: your mind and body indiscriminately demanding the ingestion of the drug. What you’re alluding to in this question is perhaps a more sophisticated manifestation of cravings. The cravings learn they must operate in the subconscious realm if they are ever to be satiated. There, they formulate thought processes with the intention of manipulating your conscious mind into deciding to start ingesting the drug again – that doing so is rational.

      So… in this sense it’s constant. Never ending. Even when you’re over the addiction and it’s the farthest thing from your conscious mind, somewhere in your brain, mental energy is being expended with the ultimate goal of getting that drug back in your body. If addiction is Hell, this constant, primordial exchange of signals among synapses is Satan. Say that five times fast.

      So while it’s easy to say these thoughts become less frequent with time, the grim reality is they manifest themselves in more complex and insidious ways. It’s hard to say there is a way to “guard” against this; given they are, after all, your own thoughts.

      And as for this question:

      [H]ow [do] you rationalize to that crazy part of your mind that wants it again that quitting really is the right choice.

      This is impossible to do. Just look at the language. You can’t “rationalize to” something that’s “crazy.” That’s oxymoronic.

      In fact, trying to rationalize these crazy thoughts is probably dangerous. Because once convince yourself that you have control over them, you’ve taken the first step toward relapse.

      And this brings me to the hard part.

      About… I guess five months ago at this point, I relapsed.

      Relapse is a strong word… and I put a lot of thought into whether or not I should use it here. But at this point, I can say it certainly pertains to my situation. Especially considering I’m on Adderall right now, and it’s fucking midnight.

      So that’s why I can’t say for certain if they ever fully go away, because I have succumbed to them. But I don’t think they do.

      And here I find myself struggling against irony and cynicism.

      I will keep everyone updated on my continued struggle. I owe that to you and everyone else who’s been affected by this article.

      Much love,


      • addernone

        Really sad to hear that man – let us know how you’re doing with it if you make it back on here. The truth is, about half way through your response I said to myself “fuck, he got back on adderall.” That phenomenon where you can be analytical and articulate at the same time without rambling (in the irrational, disorganized sense of the word) is a dead give away for anyone who writes on adderall. I didn’t think you were going to cop to it at the end like you did and as I was reading I was still debating whether I wanted to call you on it in a reply, but your honesty on this topic remains unquestionable. I, along with everyone else I assume, very much appreciate it.

        • Jordan

          I agree. I would really like to know how he’s doing in regards to getting back on adderall. I myself am two weeks clean after having to go to treatment. I quit cold turkey there, they gave me no medicine to help with my withdrawal, as I didn’t really ask for any cause I was sleeping most of the five days I was there. The only part I’m having trouble with now is my inability to sleep at night. Here it is 5:13 am and I still can’t sleep and this is the third night in a row this week. I can sleep all day long, but night time no matter what I can’t sleep. I do want to say though as someone one who was taking 90mg-300mg a day, after only being 2 weeks clean, I feel better than ever. My personality has come back, my family enjoys being around me and I enjoy being around them without being all weird and antisocial and having to go outside every five minutes to smoke a ciggerette. It feels nice to have energy to do things and enjoy doing them without having to pop a pill before. There is hope. I promise, but the thoughts don’t ever end. Even seeing the picture of the pills brought on a panic attack for me. I could almost taste them in my mouth.

          Just hope I can kick this sleeping issue.

  • Mari

    Hey. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve never left a comment to an article, but here I just feel that now I’m in the same boat as you used to be.
    I’ve been taking adderall for 3 years now. I started in a very cliche way: a friend gave me a pill to try before an exam. Being an 18 y/o international student alone in the foreign country (+i suspect i’ve had some social anxiety issues), after taking it I felt like, as you said, that the sky is the limit. Long story short, it was extremely easy for the university shrink to prescribe be first with ritalin, then concerta, then dexedrine and then, of course, with adderall. She was more than happy to give me “samples” to try and see which drug will fit me best. Even though the mental, physical, and emotional abyss that I am in right now is completely my fault and responsibility, this tendency of North American doctors to prescribe pills as a remedy to anything still drives me crazy. Figuratively, and, until recently, literally crazy.
    Anyway. this is my 5th day of being clean. Before that, I’ve been on and off(mostly off) for 2 weeks. I’m feeling very low and tired. Sometimes depressed. Unmotivated.. I’ve these extremely vivid dreams that I can’t sometimes distinguish from reality.. All the “normal” post-adderall symptoms so to speak.
    My only motivation is to find real me. I’ve never experienced real me. Not the anxious teenager living with parents (that I’ve been until 16y/o), not the implulsive loner/conformist/confused international student (16-19y/o), and not the directionless addict on autopilot popping pills(19-22 y/o). Real, authentic me.
    I identify myself with many aspects of your story. Even though mine has been very different, I too have 3 close friends who know (well 60% “know”) about my addiction. After reading your blog, I feel like talking and sharing with them. I might as well write them now.
    I wish you best of luck. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. I hope your post-adderall life is way better and that you’re feeling truly happy now.

    • James Kalìwæ

      Mari, thank you so much for sharing your experience.

      I’m very glad to hear you’re taking the initiative to quit on your own. I’m impressed that you managed to compose this comment despite what you’re going through (I know I sure as hell didn’t want to write anything when I was going through withdrawal). It sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders, so keep up the good work and you’ll be fine.

      You’re around the same age I was when I quit, a little younger. Like I said in the comments above, the human body and human brain are both incredibly resilient. Don’t talk yourself into believing you need Adderall to function just because the withdrawal process sucks so much. One day you’ll wake up and realize… you’re you! And it’ll feel fucking awesome. So just keep thinking about that day whenever you have a craving.

      Oh, and also, yeah, call or text or get in contact in some way with your friends. Let them know what you’re going through. You’ll feel ten times better.

      Thanks again for sharing! :)

  • Dan

    Thanks James for the article I am currently coming off of two very poisonous drugs adderall and xanex. This is day 7 for me but the first two days were the hardest for me. I have been bed ridden for almost the whole week and felt like I may lose my girlfriend of one year over this. Your article gave me the courage to tell her that I am addicted or was just 7 days ago and thats why I have been like this for a week. It was very hard to tell her because shes only known the adderall xanex version of me she doesnt know the real sober me and thats not fair to her. I appreciate your story and can most definetly relate to it I am a 26 year old college student and was seriously introduced to adderall while living on campus in the dorms. My roommate was on them and I wondered why he slept so much, I dont wonder why anymore he was simply going through withdrawals. I am currently going through them along with the xanex withdrawals which almost doubles the anguish the physiological effects seem to have turned into physical effects for me. I have actually lost more weight since being off of them this week then when I was while on them but thats probably from not wanting to do anything even eat, but I know there is hope in sight. Thanks again for all of those who shared their story it has truly been an uplift for me.

  • Conor Crusinberry

    This hit home man, beautifully written and rings true for so many in the younger generations.

    • James Kalìwæ

      Thank so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it. :)

  • Matt

    I was also on adderall for 3 years, I took it once a day when i first woke up and that was it, i was taking 2 30mg IR (i call them the orange devil pills) I drank 3-4 green amps a day as well lol and i would smoke at least 2 packs a day. When I quit, i quit cold turkey and the only withdrawal symptoms i had were that i could not sleep, i would be all jittery in my feet, constantly shaking them. Its been a year and a half and i feel great. I still feel foggy, but whatever it gets better as the day goes on. I get tired a lot earlier but who doesn’t. I cant concentrate very long though thats why im rushing this post. (I somehow read that whole article without stopping and i think its because i can relate almost exactly to it, besides the whole college stuff) I work full time and have been since i started taking it. If you were wondering i only started taking it because i was starting work at 2am and working till 5pm. I think taking it for so long every single day messed with my memory because i cant remember anything. I can barely remember what i did yesturday and when i try to think about it, i just get distracted and stop. Anyways, sure it may make you feel like superman but its not worth it in the long run. Nothing will come as an excitement when on it, it will just be an ehh whatever. i cant think right now but thats all i got, maybe ill post something when im actually in the mood.

  • James,

    Thanks for sharing. I’m about two years off it after my addiction took me to the depths you describe.

    I highly recommend: It’s got some great articles about Adderall addiction and a community of people in the forums who genuinely care and are there to help.

    Adderall addiction is NOT child’s play, and I can tell you from experience that getting clean was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m a human being again.

    That website helped save my life. Hope it can help someone else out there too.


    • James Kalìwæ

      Hey bro, I was just going back through these and noticed I hadn’t replied to you. I was probably going through some fuckshit around the time you submitted it.

      I wanted to thank you for mentioning, I think it’s a good site too.

      Thanks a bunch for taking the time to share your thoughts. :)

  • Kevin

    James, thank you for sharing your story with us. The dosages I take are in the same range that you were in. I do believe that I can overcome my Adderall addiction that is currently deteriorating my life. However, my motivation tends to fade at times because I sometimes feel like too much damage has already been done. My deepest fear is that my Adderall bingeing may have caused a permanent chemical imbalance in my brain. You would be the best person to talk to about this I feel since you successfully overcame this horrible addiction. What are your thoughts on Adderall abuse causing potential brain damage? Do you think any damage has been done or do you feel overtime your brain can fully recover? I would really appreciate your input. At the age of 26 I am at the point right now in my life where I honestly wish I would drop dead because of how much of a failure I have turned into from this addiction. I am absolutely desperate for help. As pathetic as it is I cry and sob almost every day because I wish this never would have happened. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • James Kalìwæ


      Thank you so much for reading this, and opening up about your struggles.

      The fear that my abuse of Adderall had already caused irreparable damage to my brain was a demotivating factor for me as well; it’s easier to continue your addiction when you’ve convinced yourself that your brain is broken and therefor needs the drug to remain functional. So I totally understand what’s going on in your head with regard to this concern.

      I’m going to answer your question directly before I delve into my reasoning: No, I do not believe that Adderall abuse causes permanent long-term brain damage – even heavy, chronic abuse.

      This is based off my own experience… though it would obviously be quite difficult for me or anyone to consciously recognize a decline in their own IQ or general brain function… but after being off Adderall for about three months (give or take), I can say I felt 100% like myself again. To put it more bluntly, I do not think for one second that my brain is any less functional, or less capable of critical thought, or less capable of anything now than it was before I began abusing Adderall, or than it would be now had I never taken a single Adderall in the first place. The human brain is an extremely resilient organ. The human brain is amazing.

      However, though I do not think Adderall use or abuse causes any substantial brain damage, it absolutely alters your natural brain chemistry. The question is does this alteration lead to actual damage, and I think the answer to that is no. I would need to do some actual research on this, and I might just do that after posting this, but I believe this because although Adderall does alter your brain chemistry, it’s not like it introduces any chemicals to your brain that aren’t already there; it merely alters the rate at which they’re produced and disposed of by the brain. While sustaining such a chemical imbalance is certainly not a good thing, I don’t see how it would lead to permanent brain damage.

      The thing is – and this is why it’s so easy to convince yourself that your brain is badly damaged – this chemical imbalance exists both while you’re high on the drug, as well as when you’re withdrawing from it. When you take an Adderall one time for the first time, you’ll hardly notice much in the way of withdrawal symptoms. However the withdrawals become more intense and longer lasting the more you abuse Adderall. Withdrawing from Adderall sucks for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that you just feel stupid, to be frank. Your brain simply doesn’t work as quickly and effectively when it’s withdrawing from a drug like Adderall. After a while, you convince yourself that’s just how you are without Adderall, not realizing how untrue that is; in reality, that’s just how you are withdrawing from Adderall. But when you abuse it every day for months and months, years and years, you’re constantly either experiencing the high, or the withdrawal, so you’re literally never “sober”. The longer such a chemical imbalance is sustained (i.e. the longer you abuse Adderall), the longer it will take to fix itself once Adderall is out of the picture. But it will fix itself, and you will become yourself again.

      Please stay in touch, Kevin. Either through these comments or email. Right now I’m having trouble with my “[email protected]” account, so if you’d rather talk through email, shoot me one at [email protected] for the time being.

      Thanks again for sharing. Best of luck to you.

    • Kevin Toppins

      I know how you feel. I was in college for 9 years and the last 3 were the hardest to get through. Subsequently, that’s when the depression was holding me down. I started to think of myself as a bad person for wasting my parent’s money, cuz I was at college, and I was just there. No plans to get out, no motivation to do any homework, go to class, try and fix the situation. No direction. No wanting to get a job. Nothing. Just adrift without a paddle. And I didn’t even realize that’s what was happening was because of depression. When you’re depressed, it’s impossible to understand what the problem actually is. Usually you resort to thinking that the problem is that you’re a bad person and you should be ashamed that you’re not willing to work hard anymore. That’s not true at all, but it’s what I told myself at the time. And I was miserable.

      And I was 26 and still in school and still without a single degree. I felt beyond ashamed.

      I will say that the 9 years I was on adderall have permanently altered my brain. I stopped adderall the december before I graduated from college. However in the 2 years since then, I literally just sit around and browsed the web all day. I’ve had 2 meaningless temp jobs in that time. One working as a delivery driver, and one working in a mall. I graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering, and I was working one day a week in a mall. Also, I started drinking a lot and have only recently kicked that habit too.

      It took the culmination of a couple of things to get me out of the post-adderall damage phase, which I only emerged from in september of this year (so like 2 – 3 months ago).

      1. I began to research life after adderall and that’s when I learned that I had a (semi) permanent state of depression. I thought I was just without direction, even though I finally had a degree. Turns out, my aimlessness was due to my brain chemistry.

      2. Found out that taking rhodiola rosea was EXTREMELY effective at cancelling out the damage. I also just started on omega 3 to help with my chronic anxiety that never showed until the first year I went on adderall.

      3. Forced myself to get aerobic exercise (weight lifting just won’t cut it) every day.

      The rhodiola rosea was like night and day. I started with 680 mg per day, and after a week or two, I started to notice I was actually INTERESTED in things again. I would listen to the radio and be ENTERTAINED!!!!

      It turns out that 680 mg is too high for me cuz I couldn’t fall asleep, so I toned it down to 340 mg. I can sleep now, and I feel amazing, and I have energy to devote to things that I love again. I haven’t had that ability in 4 or 5 years.

      I also take welbutrin, because that has historically kept me from sinking into an even worse depression. So, right now I’m on welbutrin and rhodiola and omega 3 and I am a whole person again. Even 2 years of just welbutrin didn’t fix the problem. It took the suppliments.

      Oh, and I won’t go into my addiction story, but it’s pretty similar. Hearing voiced, screams. Something that felt like a mild seizure. Staying up for 6 entire days solid. Dead on the inside as a person. So, I feel where you’re coming from.

      The exercise is another big one. The body, and brain, have the amazing ability to fix themselves when you actually use your body as evolution built it….. to be active. I cycle. That’s what works for me. I also have a gym membership for the days when the weather gets bad.

      I thought my best days were behind me for the longest time, hang in there man.

  • Katie

    This hit me pretty hard. It sounds just like where I am now. It’s a bad feeling but I know I have to do this. I go back and forth so much with myself. I WANT to quit I just don’t know if I have it in me to stay strong. My family has known of past issues with taking too much. They have no idea what it’s like now.. Becoming this lying and stealing addict is sick. I have so much.. A beautiful life..amazing husband, adorable son..why do I do this. Your words about how accepting that you’ll die young was like a smack to the face. I have accepted that as well and I even will make jokes about how ill die young bc of my health going down hill. This is not hasn’t been in a long time. No one knows and I feel like I have people (family) so tricked that this will kill them. This addiction has ruined so many biggest fear is that it will my marriage. I know that eventually it will as well. I want the old me back. Last night or should I say this morning when I went to bed for a hr I had a nightmare you can call it that I ran out of adderall and woke up. I felt kinda stupid that when I woke up I realized this bad dream was about my’s just like a -this is my life- only thing that matters to me anymore. I’ve ran out in the past and went the most 2wks. In those wks I was taking other pills(phentermine,vyvance, whatever I could buy) and drinking every energy drink that’s in store just so I could not crash..hard. But at the amount I am now it’s going to suck way more and at this point i really am scared for my health. This is the most and fastest I’ve gone through a months worth in a short amount of time. How am I going to make it in a few days when I’m all out…this is what had been going over and over in my mind. But even knowing that it’s like I physically can’t slow myself down or stretch the rest out to make it closer to getting more. Even tho I know that would mean taking a tiny dose but that’s better than nothing right….? I still can’t do it.
    Finding this blog has gave me some hope. I so needed to come across this you have no idea…
    All the best to you<3

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Katie. I’m glad this article got you thinking…

      The way you describe your experience is striking to me, and it proves something about the nature of amphetamine addiction, and probably addiction in general.

      It’s striking with regard to how different our circumstances and lifestyle certainly are; I was a single college student/dropout during the time of my addiction, while you’re a wife and mother raising a family. But the circumstances of life doesn’t change the way this drug effects and controls people. It’s just crazy to me how much I relate to everything you’ve said here.

      First of all, I’m far from qualified to help you with this, so I feel the responsibility to tell you what I’m sure you already know: you should seek professional help with this – or at least the support of your family – if you’re serious about ending this addiction in the healthiest way possible. However, being able to relate to you so well, and understanding that you’re an adult who is going to make her own decisions regardless, I do have some stuff to say that I think you should just think about.

      First of all, with regards to what you said at the beginning of your comment, “I WANT to quit I just don’t know if I have it in me to stay strong,” that’s a stupid reason to not go ahead with trying (though I remember thinking the exact same thing a million times). Trying and failing does not necessarily mean that you’ll be less likely to succeed in the future; on the contrary, quitting is something that takes practice, I think.

      I’m just going to kind of quote some of what you said and respond to them from here.

      Becoming this lying and stealing addict is sick.” – Be careful with negative thoughts like that. I know how easy it is to hate yourself over this addiction. Though you certainly need to remain cognizant of the negative effects your addiction is having on those around you, especially as a parent, you simply cannot beat yourself up over it. Try to have compassion for yourself the exact same way you would have compassion for a loved one dealing with the same addiction. Imagine if it was a grown up version of your son going though this, you wouldn’t harbor such negative thoughts toward him, and certainly wouldn’t say such harsh and negative things to him about it, and you shouldn’t say such things to yourself, either.

      I have so much.. A beautiful life..amazing husband, adorable son..why do I do this.” – This is a powerful reason to quit, and all I can say is that – as I convey in the article – my main motivation to quit were my friends. So I think it’s safe to say that if I was able to derive the strength to quit from the desire to save my relationships with them, you certainly are and will be able to derive the strength to quit from the desire to save your relationships with your husband and son. My best advice is to never stop thinking about how much you love them and how much you don’t want to hurt them, and never for one second let you convince yourself that there’s a chance this addiction won’t hurt them and destroy your relationships with them, because it will. There’s simply only so long you can go on realizing these things before you commit to quitting.

      I have accepted that as well and I even will make jokes about how ill die young bc of my health going down hill.” – I did this ALL THE TIME as well. It’s very human to deal with such dark, depressing realizations with humor.

      No one knows and I feel like I have people (family) so tricked that this will kill them.” – Like I said in the article, telling your loved ones about your addiction is a huge and necessary step toward quitting. This might sound like a negative statement, but it’s true: you cannot do it on your own. And I’m sure, if you’re like me, your fear of telling them how bad it is originates more from the fear of how it’ll affect your ability to continue your addiction than it does from the embarrassment of telling them. This is something you’ll only be able to conjure the will to do once you’ve completely committed to quitting, because if you don’t want to quit, you won’t want to tell them, because you won’t want them prevent you from continuing to use.

      my biggest fear is that it will my marriage. I know that eventually it will as well. I want the old me back.” – I’m sure your husband does too. And you’ll both watch her reveal herself more and more every day when you quit. I know it seems like you’ll never get her back, like maybe she’s gone forever. But she isn’t, and getting her back is as simple as getting off Adderall.

      Last night or should I say this morning when I went to bed for a hr I had a nightmare you can call it that I ran out of adderall and woke up. I felt kinda stupid that when I woke up I realized this bad dream was about my pills” – Just wanted to let you know I have had many many dreams about Adderall, and I felt the same feeling of stupidness for actually having these ‘nightmares’, which is what i considered them to be as well.

      The thing is, and I just want to tell you this so you’re prepared, you better get used to these ‘Adderall nightmares’, because they won’t go away, even after you quit. If you continue your addiction, they’ll keep happening in the form of you running out of Adderall or not having any to take when you need it or something along those lines. But once you quit, it won’t be long before you start having a very different type of Adderall nightmares: I feel it’s very likely, given I experienced the same type of dreams as you describe when I was addicted, that you’ll also experience the same type of dreams as I did when I was quitting (and still have from time to time).

      But these nightmares will have you dealing with your struggle to quit. For me, I started having them about 2-3 months after quitting. They were nightmares because in most of them I relapsed. At one point I think I probably had nightmares of me relapsing 7+ nights in a row. The craziest part about them is… like when I relapsed and popped the pill in my dreams, like the dream would be so real that I actually felt the amphetamine high IN the dream. But they’re fundamentally a good sign, as (in retrospect) I realized they signified that relapse had become my greatest fear – which is obviously a good thing.

      I’ve ran out in the past and went the most 2wks. In those wks I was taking other pills(phentermine,vyvance, whatever I could buy) and drinking every energy drink that’s in store just so I could not crash..hard. But at the amount I am now it’s going to suck way more and at this point i really am scared for my health. This is the most and fastest I’ve gone through a months worth in a short amount of time. How am I going to make it in a few days when I’m all out…this is what had been going over and over in my mind.” – It’s a horrible cycle of getting high and withdrawing, getting high and withdrawing, over and over again. Think of it like this: Yes, when you decide to quit the withdrawal process will suck, but it’ll be the last time you have to deal with it. Because if you continue the addiction, you’re going to wind up dealing with withdrawal for many more days than you will if you just quit.

      Thanks again for sharing, Katie! Best of luck to you and your family. If you’d like to discuss your feelings or update me on the situation or anything else, please email me at [email protected]. But like I said, and even though I’m certainly willing to help, you’d be better off contacting a professional instead. But even if you do that, I’d still be interested to hear how that goes and your feelings about it.

  • Julian Robertson

    Great reading, man. I’m newly in recovery from an opiate addiction so I understand how difficult it is to quit, and how hard it is to admit what you have become to loved ones and share with others.

    • James Kalìwæ

      Thanks for the kind words, buddy!

      • I read quite few articles today, wondering about my life & trying to find … Idk some answers Or I guess, any emotion I can get out of me. Sometimes I feel so numb, just so empty. I don’t have any Family is US, My whole family moved back to Russia and couple years ago I had an incident where I got traumatic brain injury By my Ex husband that I sometimes feel like No matter how much I try to Keep it together Bymyself and move On from it, somehow it follows me around & im stuck…. I moved twice to different states hoping maybe that’ll help, it didn’t. I’m 21 years old that feels old, tired ALL THE TIME! Chronic pain, fatigue, depression you name it! Doctor to doctor to lawyers office so they do something about all my medical bills that I’m stuck with & still without insurance! Left disabled Can’t enjoy the things I used to do, I loved cooking I lost my sense of smell from the beating which means I also can barely taste. And I don’t have many friends either, all my best friends are either in another country or different state. I try to put a brave face on, it’s funny how people are so surprised when I tell them how it really is! Guess I’m that good lol No one knows how I feel Especially my family, I mean It was my choice to stay here alone, that alone is enough worry for them so the only news I tell them are only positive, which unfortunately I haven’t had many. Of course I’m still grateful in this life Like to be alive But … Somedays I get overwhelmed and don’t know why am I being punished further & when will it stop It’s just hard you know? Anyway, Coming across & reading your story has really touched me! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  • Franklin Hernandez

    Congrats dude. Life is too short to waste away on drugs like that. I don’t know you personally – but I’m very proud of you. Stay strong Brother!