It’s week 19 of the Working On Us mental health prompt series over at Beckie’s Mental Mess. Please visit her post for guidelines on participation.
This week’s prompt
As I did last week, I am requesting bloggers to write a narrative by explaining how this disorder has affected your lifestyle and overall well-being. I also request that you include the treatment (if any) you received as well as medications you may or may not take.
Also note: If you know of someone that has ADHD, you can share a story of their experiences through your eyes as well.
I don’t have ADHD, but I thought I’d jump in on this topic anyway because I take dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) to help manage my depression, but its most common use is as an ADHD medication. And it, along with other stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall, have a bad reputation.
The Netflix documentary Take Your Pills (which I wrote more about in Why is Netflix jumping aboard the stigma train) is basically one big anti-stimulant stigma party. It includes interviews with two psychotherapists who claim that prescription stimulants are essentially the same thing as crystal meth. Except unfortunately they don’t know what they’re talking about.
People who take stimulant medications aren’t automatically addicts any more than people who take benzos for anxiety or opioids for pain.
When I take my Dexedrine, I don’t get a “high” from it. If I miss a day, I don’t go through withdrawal, and there’s no difference in how I feel from one day to the next whether I take it or not. If my dose is increased or decreased, it takes a couple of weeks before I start to perceive any difference.
I don’t have cravings for Dexedrine. It doesn’t make me hyperalert and uber-productive; it just takes some of the edge off the slowing effect of the depression. I don’t notice any effect on my energy. It helps with my psychomotor retardation, but I consider that to be distinct from energy levels.
Pharmacies tend to get themselves quite worked up over the fact that I take Dexedrine. I had one encounter where a pharmacist was harassing me and insisting on photo ID to pick up my Dexedrine. That was the last time I ever went there.
Are there some people who abuse stimulants? Sure. There are also people who crush and snort the antidepressant Wellbutrin. The antipsychotic Seroquel has street value. People do stupid shit with anything they can get their hands on, including Tide Pods. That’s no reason to harass people who are just trying to take their ADHD medication (or other appropriately ordered medication) as prescribed.