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Can I ever get back to normal?

This is going to be a bit long as I've never been on any sort of website to reach out for help. Please bear with me. Back in May, 2011, I went to my GP and told her I was having problems focusing in school. She gave me a written test and after I completed it she told me that I was ADD. Since I knew someone with ADHD I knew a little bit about what it was, but not a lot. The doc prescribed me Adderall 20mg XR. One per day. At first my life simply put, turned around overnight. I just had a bad break-up with my long-term girlfriend but instead of sitting at home watching ESPN; I was out and about! Exercising, lifting weights, making new friends, reading a lot more (mostly self-help books) and overall feeling like this life of mine is now mine to live for the first time! Flash forward to December of 2011, I was home for Christmas break and started having to take more adderall to get the same effect. My GP prescribed an additional Adderall 10mg instant release pill for when I felt I needed another boost. That was around the time I believe I had a manic episode. All of a sudden I couldn't ever take these pills again and did some reading online and saw a lot of negatives regarding Adderall. So I quit -cold turkey- Withdrawl was hell- no energy, crazy sleep cycle, always irritated. There was a point I thought I may have been going through extreme paranoia. After the physical withdrawal was the real problem presented itself: The psychological withdrawal. I felt like an empty shell of what I was before and was depressed severely. I spoke with multiple counselors, doctors, and psychiatrists and by August of 2012 I was back on Adderall IX up to 30mg a day. Things seemed to be going well again, I moved into a great condo, had a new girlfriend, was back to the me that I love being. Flash forward to May 2014 and things unravelled. After the adderall would were off, I would smoke marijuana to take the edge off. This worked well except for the angry outbursts upon waking up. I would wake up so incredibly tired and irritated- to the point of an out of control teenager (I'm nearly 23 during this time.) so I decided to go off of the adderall and my GP that I was originally diagnosed ADD with recommended Straterra. I was just starting a new manual labor job when I made the switch so that could add to the exhaustion I experienced all summer working. The anger subsided and I was feeling relatively good except for the fatigue and loss of motivation (two things that I was certain to need for my new career). So at the end of the summer in September of 2013 I went back on Adderall- this time 15mg IR tablets 2-3 times a day as needed (went to a psych doc this time). Things were better than ever! I started my new career in September and by January 2015 I was the Rookie of the Year for my company. I was engaged to my gorgeous girlfriend, making great money, loving my job, loving life in a nutshell,. Then again, things went south. I started taking up 60mg per day to get the same motivated effect. Then the anger came back in April 2015 worse than ever- punching out walls every morning upon waking, breaking doors, basically anything or anyone in my path was in danger. So I quit again- cold turkey. The first couple months weren't as bad as before, I exercised constantly, used lots of vitamins and supplements and again the anger episodes subsided. However throughout June, July, and August of this year I had the worst anxiety, self-doubt, depression I have ever gone through. I finally couldn't take it anymore and the psych doc put me on a few different anti-depressants- none of which worked. Until finally he put me on Effexor XR 150mg once a day. It has seemed to help with the depression, however both the lack of motivation to do anything productive or concentrate on anything is minimal. Since going on Effexor I got back into the gym and in the 4th week of my routine I bulged a disc in my back. Doctor proscribed me Norco 10/325. After I starting taking these in conjunction with my Effexor, everything was going well. In a happy mood, able to concentrate better than before, get some work done, etc. However now my Norco script is up and I'm already feeling back to the old unmotivated, depressed, lethargic self that I hate. I want to know why this never ending lack of drive low energy is only cured with amphetamines or opiates (I do eat mostly well and exercise regularly). Growing up I was always an athlete, never had any issues with my energy or motivation. I have a baby on the way and I need to figure out how I can be the best me not for just myself, but for my whole family that depends on me. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any suggestions or comments are much appreciated.  
3 Responses
Avatar universal
The answer lies in whether or not you really ever had ADD -- a much controversial diagnosis as so many are being diagnosed with it all of a sudden, either because docs are better at diagnosing it or they're mistakenly diagnosing it to make money -- and whether or not you have a mental disorder, most likely depression as uppers seem to help and they wouldn't help if it were anxiety.  Keep in mind that Effexor is also a stimulating drug, as it targets norepinephrine as well as serotonin, and norepinephrine is basically adrenaline.  Now let's say you really have no particular problem, you are just who you are -- the docs in that case basically addicted you to speed, and when you're on it you do fine but you keep needing to take more because that's what happens to addicts (keeping in mind that many people who actually have ADD don't need to keep upping their meds).  And you keep quitting cold turkey, which can cause not just a short-term withdrawal but also protracted withdrawals, which you indicate signs of having now.  Since there's no scientific way to know really what the true situation is, what you might try to do is get off the drugs, stay off the drugs, get into therapy, and learn some techniques that might bring you into balance instead of the speeding you've been doing for years.  One such technique, for example, would be meditation, or you could try adrenal balancers such as eleuthero and ashwagandha and see if you've burned this organ out a bit through the years of speeding.  I'm not saying I have a clue what your true diagnosis is, just that what you've been doing isn't working and that might indicate a wrong diagnosis got you going down a dangerous drug path and that leaving that path is never easy.  So again, either you're a repeat drug addict, not of your own doing, and suffering from the constant starting and stopping of strong drugs that have been screwing around with your neurotransmitters when they didn't need it and you have to recover from this, or you really have a mental disorder of some kind, either ADD or depression or both and need to find a fix to it that doesn't include uppers.  Did you ever see a talk therapist to see if you can get to a better way of handling this?  
Thank you Paxiled for your response. I have seen a talk therapist for a year (after trying out several) and that has seemed to help. Meditation is something I was trying, will definitely go back to that. I'll also look into the adrenal balancers. Funny, if I would have know what the drugs they proscribed me were going to do to me I would have flushed them immediately! Again, thank you for your reply.
Avatar universal
Hey Mike,
Sorry you are going through all of this.  I understand the headache of it all after having a similar situation.  I too had to take a written test and was diagnosed with 'clinical depression'.  they call it a half a dozen other things these days.  I too was prescribed an anti depressant and it managed to take the edge off.  My doc also asked me to see a psychiatrist to address the underlying issues causing the depression.  I refused to do so and later in life, everything I knew came unraveled.

Therapy is what made the difference for me.  I took a while for it all to make sense and I had to break down all of the walls that I subconsciously built for protection.  They served another purpose in that they wouldn't allow me out of the corner I put myself in,

I urge you to stick with therapy and focus on making yourself better.  Meditation can certainly help with that.

Good Luck
Thanks for your response Brice. Its good to hear that both therapy and meditation have helped you through your situation. While I am not in therapy now (just moved to a new city) I continue to do my meditation and take my AD meds. I look forward to getting back into therapy once I am settled here. Again, I appreciate your response.
Avatar universal
You're welcome, Mike.  As uninformed as this sounds, I thought I was the only guy going through what I was going through.  I'd never seen the face of "depression" so I didn't really know anything was wrong until things were real wrong.

I got to tell you, Mike.  Now, the best therapy for me now is to step back and notice all of the little things in life.  My therapy and some of the little things I've learned along the way have taught me to appreciate everything just a little more.  Being outdoors is what gets me grounded.  

If there is anything I can do for support, get in touch!
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