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Hello, Im looking for opinions.

ADD and adhd runs through my family. Many of my brothers are on medications for it but I have not been. My younger brother quit taking his meds a little over a year ago and all of his medicine is in our medicine cabinet. He was prescribed Focalin XR 10mg. Im not sure if I abused this medicine or not for the reason that I thought it was actually helping me. I would have to take 30mg for it to affect me though.

While on this drug my mood is dramatically lifted and I'm very euphoric. I'm very focused and motivated. I get a lot of things done and I'm very happy with all of the things I get done. I'm a lot more social and the social edge is gone. There are a few negatives about this drug that concerns me such as the comedown and loss of appetite.

The questions I have are..

Does this sound like the medicine is being used to treat the illness of ADD?

Or are these amphetamines just getting me sped up and I'm using ADD as an excuse to use them?

I really do believe it helped me but I'll not be able continue unless getting a prescription myself.

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If it wasn't prescribed for you, and you were self-medicating, that's technically within the definition of abuse.  Even if you weren't taking a lot to get high or a buzz or anything.  However, it's exceedingly common for those of us with ADHD to turn to self-medication, especially with stimulants.

 

I'm no doctor and I can't tell you if your response to self-medication with it is a "true" response or not.  Medication wearing off and also loss of appetite can be common concerns with proper stimulant therapy, period.  It's important to have a doctor's supervision with these sorts of things.

 

With such an extensive family history of diagnosed ADHD, well that drastically does increase the probability of you having it.  Getting diagnosed can be a different story.  I do advocate complete honesty with doctors, however, admittance to stimulant abuse even in your case can make some of them presume that you're only after a diagnosis just to continue abusing stimulants.  The right sort of doctor though will see your attempts at self-medication for what they truly were, and will ask you detailed questions about how the self-medication experience felt to you as part of the diagnostic process.  I mean, this is what happened to me, with doctors who actually listened.

 

I strongly suggest trying to find a doctor and/or a psychiatrist who knows what they're doing when it comes to diagnosing ADHD.  And be honest with both yourself and the doctor.  I do have drug abuse of stimulants, in order to get high, including abusing illegally obtained Dexedrine for example, in my past -- and I have been treated like shit by doctors once I opened up about this fact.  But there are others who have worked with me to get me the treatment I actually need, and I take stimulants as part of my regular prescribed therapy under the supervision of a psychiatrist now, one who not only specialized in ADHD but has ADHD herself.  It took me quite a few years to get this though.  It's going to depend on what sort of doctors are available in your area, and your own personal resources of time and money.

 

On one of the stickies in this forum, started by VelvetElvis but also added to by me, are a ton of links to various ADHD websites.  The thing about many of these regional ADHD websites is they can help you with tracking down doctors in your area who are capable of giving you a proper assessment.  Assessments don't always involve the complex "testing" with computers and checklists and whatnot that I've read about, as I've never experienced it myself -- some doctors will prefer to talk with you instead and get a rather detailed history, perhaps from just you or perhaps also from parents/caregivers/etc.  Even with the more complex testing that I've read about, I personally believe that the personal history taken by a specialist who knows what to look for is utterly invaluable when it comes to a proper ADHD diagnosis.  That is my personal, unprofessional, untrained opinion of course.

 

I don't judge you for trying the self-medication route, by the way.  If you can't tell from my own history.  Just, I can't tell you if this truly sounds like it was helping you or not.  I do get the mood lift and euphoria on my first few days back on my prescribed stimulant if I've had to stop it for some reason, but that's more because I take a hefty dose of it (as prescribed) and when I go back onto it I don't taper upward I just BOOM go to my full dose and it takes me a few days to adjust.  Ideally you should be getting the beneficial effects of a stimulant without actually feeling like you're on anything.  This doesn't necessarily mean that your experimentation with self-medication indicates that you don't have ADHD -- it could've been a dosage thing, it could've been the wrong type of stimulant for you if you're destined for stimulant therapy.  Again, these are all good reasons to have a doctor monitoring you and prescribing the stimulant.  Being more outgoing, getting more things, done, remaining more focused, those could all be signs of a stimulant helping an ADHD person but they could also be signs of a non-ADHD person on a stimulant.  Again, your reaction to it may be an important part of a complete assessment by a professional, but it is not enough on its own to solely determine yes or no, you know?

 

From my personal, unprofessional, non-doctor opinion though, I really do think given your family history and personal reaction that seeking out a professional diagnosis is worth a shot.

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Just to be aware:  since you've used (and maybe abused, not for me to say) stimulants in the past, it will make sense for you to go back to them.  But a doctor may recommend a non-stimulant medication; how you respond to that basic idea of going along with their advice even if you disagree with it could very well determine whether or not they trust you enough to prescribe any medication.

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The doctors know more than I do.. all I know is that stimulants did work for me whether it was legitimate or not.

If the doctors think that something else will work even better then I would be even happier! I don't care what it is that I take, all I know is that I need something. Its hard for me to say that because I don't want to.depend on any medication but thats what its coming down too.

Thanks for your input!

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Does this sound like the medicine is being used to treat the illness of ADD?

Or are these amphetamines just getting me sped up and I'm using ADD as an excuse to use them?

It sounds like you got high on them, rather than used them to treat ADHD. The reaction you described is typical for anyone who takes a stimulant drug (cocaine, speed, whatever) recreationally. I'm not saying you don't have ADHD. Just that nothing in your reaction suggests you do. If you think you have symptoms of ADHD, talk to your doctor.

 

Also, the reaction you experienced is not what life would be like if you were on stimulants. When you take them every day your body will quickly build tolerance to the speedy, euphoric, motivating effects. All that will be left is an improvement in focus, memory and organisation (if you actually have ADD in the first place).

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Does this sound like the medicine is being used to treat the illness of ADD?

Or are these amphetamines just getting me sped up and I'm using ADD as an excuse to use them?

It sounds like you got high on them, rather than used them to treat ADHD. The reaction you described is typical for anyone who takes a stimulant drug (cocaine, speed, whatever) recreationally. I'm not saying you don't have ADHD. Just that nothing in your reaction suggests you do. If you think you have symptoms of ADHD, talk to your doctor.

 

Also, the reaction you experienced is not what life would be like if you were on stimulants. When you take them every day your body will quickly build tolerance to the speedy, euphoric, motivating effects. All that will be left is an improvement in focus, memory and organisation (if you actually have ADD in the first place).

 

 

Well I'm sure the uplift/euphoria would surely go away after taking it for awhile. I've only taken it occasionally and maybe a couple of days in a row. I've not had a tolerance at all. The effects I was most impressed with was focus and motivation.. Even if uplift and euphoria didn't exist I would not care as that is only a bonus in my eyes.

 

Throughout high school finishing projects was impossible for me.. and still is. My art teachers would get angry but understood what I was going through so they cut me MAJOR slack. It seems like I was lazy from an outside view, but from my view.. I just couldnt do my projects. I got bored and hated everything I made or just had no motivation. I'm still like that with ALL of my personal projects. I enjoy art but I just can't do what I'd like too. However when I experimented with the Focalin I was so damn focused. I set a goal and I didn't quit until that goal was finished. I made 3 videos in 3 days and these videos take me about 4-5 hours (Straight) to make.. and any other time it takes me anywhere from a week up to two weeks to finish a single video, if I can even finish.. I haven't made a video in months but I have deleted 4 files and have 3 unfinished on my desktop..

 

I don't care if the Focalin was treating non existent adhd.. but it worked. It got me to do the things I love to do and with persistence.. I'm sure if I'm not ADHD and stimulants won't be used that there's something out there that will give me the desired effects I'm looking for and help me in life, legally.

 

I really do believe I'm ADD/ADHD of some sort but I'll find out when I go to the doctors soon enough.

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It's good that you're going to bring this up with your doc. If you do have AD/HD the meds can make life so much easier. 

 

I just didn't want you to go into it with expectations that will be disappointed. For example, when I took stims for the first time I would say they allowed me to focus better than even healthy people can, but as my body became used to it, I just have the same ability to focus as a normal person. I don't find it gives me any motivation or energy now. That's not why I take it, though. 

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Hello spaced. The effects that you are describing are typical of all stimulant drugs. The euphoria, increased focus and energy are exactly what make them so prone to abuse.

Basically they will increase the performance of any person while they are on the drug, but as is the case with any medication, long term use doesn't come without its risks. For people with ADHD, the benefits of using medication will often outweigh the risks because they find it difficult to perform adequately without.

There are also non-stimulant drugs that can be prescribed but they don't work for everyone. I was on Wellbutrin XL for a while, it was pretty effective for a few months but then I reached the maximum safe dosage of 450mg and so my doctor had to switch me to a stimulant instead.

Let us know how your visit to the doctor went.

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