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Does amphetamine intake over time decrease creativity?


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I am looking into the issue of amphetamine intake over time as a factor in my decreased creativity. I've been on Adderall for about a year now at a relatively stable dose of around 25 mgs per day. Either one of two things is occuring, or both.... (1) the SSRI that I am on has inhibited my creativity......though only on 5 mgs of Lexapro, maybe it could be this and the combination of taking 4 mgs of Gabitril, (2) the Adderall that I take has desensitized my dopamine channels over this past year, and thus when a creative urge hits me or could hit me I feel no spark or need to follow up on it. An interesting read I had on how our life occurrences stimulate dopamine production and sensitivity. I could very well see a dopamine agonist that acts on dopamine release and as a DA uptake inhibitor, crippling one's natural abilities to feel enraptured by the flow of life....what they may feel on a regular basis is the direct result of dopamine release when they take such an amphetamine.... On the other hand, Adderall has very much allowed me to show up for work 8 hrs a day and to get promotion after promotion... I can read a lot longer than I used to be able to without having boredom set in (used to set in and I'd get tired as well within 10 minutes of reading, now I can go on much longer). But I just feel so damn uncreative, I feel as if the world is tasted by everyone so why even write about it or express one's experience....very lethargic / apathetic. Or (3) the combination of 1 and 2 above.

Any feedback, experience, or knowledge?

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It's kind of hard to tell without more background, like why are you taking so many different medications? Usually persistant

apathy, lethargy, and disinterest in things that normally you enjoy are symptoms of depression.

There are potentially other issues with the dopamine system - which is in feedback with at least two of the other overall

systems your meds hit (serotonin and GABA). At the supply end, a high carbohydrate diet has been implicated as

preferentially favoring tryptophan absorption over phenylalaine and tyrosine, and there's not guarantee the amino acids

are getting converted into neurotransmitters at a sufficient level. On the reception end, monoamine oxidase may be

destroying the neurotransmitters faster than they can replaced.

BTW, amphetamine promotes both dopamine and noradrenaline release and may inhibit reuptake to an extent, but I don't

recall seeing any publications that classify it as a dopamine agonist. But if you're worried about dpomaine receptor

down-regulation and your doctor agrees, or you just don't want to take speed anymore, both caffeine and Provigil promote

wakefulness through other mechanisms than amphetamine.

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I think it's either the other meds or "creativity"'s notorious unpredictability. I'm guessing that you are putting a lot of your energy into your success on the job. In my experience, even after well over a year, Adderall continues to increase my emotional volatility (if I let it). Certainly I still get the urge to write odd things. On the other hand, I noticed that Prozac made me emotionally flatter, which I needed at the time. In fact, I could use a little of that now. I get "enraptured by the flow of life" too often. Sometimes it's flowing the wrong way! (I don't want to give up those other times, tho.)

In my experience, the best way to invite creativity is to continue to work on your craft (writing, painting, whatever) whether you feel creative or not. I think you'll find yourself feeling creative more and more often. Or, if not, at least other people will think you are.

If you're a writer, maybe you have to expose yourself to some other writers, as perhaps your tastes have changed.

I predict that, if you go a year between promotions while, meanwhile, practicing your writing and reading a wide range of authors, you will find yourself getting into it again. Unless you take up some new art.

If you write poetry (and maybe even if you don't) I think you might do well to read Richard Hugo's "The Triggering Town", which is a bunch of essays about writing. He has some pretty interesting exercises if you're feeling stuck, and explains why he thinks having a big, inspirational message isn't necessarily what leads to good poetry. I think much of what he says may also apply to certain kinds of fiction, and maybe even to certain kinds of essays. Another way to invite "creativity", and you may have heard this before, is to do a few minutes of free writing every day. Just scribble down anything at all. Nothing is verboten. The only rule is to keep writing, without revision, for the duration of the exercise. Yet another thing which may be useful is to write down your dreams when you wake up. I encourage you not to try to create something that's just like the dream, but just to use it as a starting point for which you feel energy. Or try to read the first page of Finnegan's Wake while intoxicated. :-P

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thanks for the replies.....

I did pick up a brush yesterday and painted from 5:30pm till 5:27a.m. ........ so something is a clickin' still, though I am using nootropics right now along with the Adderall which is helping a bit more.... I just havn't picked up the pen like I used to since I've taken the Adderall and Lex combo, but then again I used to write about rote things as if they were grande, now on the Adderall I do see such as not that big of a deal and do look for deeper meaning.... I'll check out Hugo's essays on writing as they sound interesting, I got the "hunchback of notre dame" sitting on a desk waiting to be read, though the Karamozav's must be known fully about before I get to it.

A lot of my energy has gone into my new job, as I can seemingly tell with a few promotions already.....

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I feel a definite decrease in creativity on adderall. I also feel that certain almost indescribable, unless you have felt it, loss of 'enrapturement' by life. However, I have major anxiety and depression and I found that even though I found I lose alot of my drive for creativity, the benefits I see in my reduced social anxiety, obsessive behaviors, improved communication skills and slightly improved depression symptoms make the 5mg IR Adderall I take well worth the trade off. Ive been searching for a long time for an alternate med that can help with these things without the loss of creativity but unfortunately havn't found one yet.

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What do you mean by "creativity" anyway? I typically think of it being the synthesis of new ideas based on existing concepts and data.

I know that I can't get crap done without stimulants and since production is a necessary part of creativity, it helps. I might not start on as many projects half-cocked, but I'm a lot better at planning out stuff before starting work on it and seeing it through to completion.

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my adderall hasn't had anything to do with my creativity, except maybe increase it as a result of being able to sustain thought for longer than a fly can. i feel more alive because i can pay attention to what is around me. i can finish things and read articles/posts through without my thoughts trailing off to what i want to eat and what my neighbor's dog's puppies look like.

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I would say creativity can almost be synonymous with imagination, at least for me. For example, on no meds, I am often coming up with many creative (i.e: imaginative, probably on average referred to as artistic) ideas and am very stimulated by things like music, drawing or even writing. For example when I listen to a song or play music off of adderall I am not only much more stimulated by it emotionally and physically (goose bumps and other physical signs of emotional stimulation, if you want to call it that) but often I am creating complex stories as I listen to the music, essentially sub-consciously, and without effort, fed by the emotions I feel from the music (again: natural creativity or imagination). Did I mention im very Welsh? Hehe.

However, when on adderall these natural sensations are greatly reduced and I don't seek them out (music, drawing, etc.) because my body/mind knows they wont create that kind of high anymore.

I would hypothesize this is related to the dopamine action of adderall but who knows.

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I'm going to throw in my indirect, uncreative-looking two cents here...

Since I developed a frontal lobe syndrome sometime last year, its symptoms (one of the worst is decreased attention, and this despite my Focalin!) have correlated to some improvement in my creativity, especially that in the auditory realms (i.e., music).

For example, I have always been a very good music listener, able to easily pick out time/meter, minor vs. major key, chord progressions, etc. from all sorts of music. However, not until recently was I comfortable with composing music. Now, whether my music sounds good or not is certainly a subjective matter!

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