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Writing With Adderall: A Personal Case Study

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Here’s the whole story of my experience taking the prescription drug Adderall (the brand name for amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) to help with an increasing inability to focus. If you’re in a similar situation, this might help you, but don’t skip the details and disclaimers.

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Some Background

Regular readers may know that from time to time, I get somewhat frustrated with myself. I always go back and forth on how much I should share about this on the blog and in the newsletter. On the one hand, I always want to be open and trusting with the great community that cares about the work and the people.

On the other hand, I tend to believe that one of the best ways we can solve our own problems is to focus on serving others. So at a certain point, if you’re just complaining about yourself all the time, it becomes asinine and unattractive.

There’s no way around the obvious, though: I’ve really had a hard time focusing, and for the past year or so, this problem has accelerated. I really struggled in writing my last book, to the point where I was four months late in delivering the manuscript and had to receive a lot of help from my fantastic editor. I appreciated his help, but I don’t want to depend on such a thing—and I don’t want to be late again!

I’ve recently started outlining a new book, and I want the process to go much smoother this time.

Lastly, even though I’m the one struggling, one of the things that bothers me the most is that I feel like I’ve been letting this community down. There are so many great people in our midst. There are so many more stories to tell and solutions to offer. Every day I feel fortunate that I get to have this “job,” and I always want to be open to improvement. So if there’s something I can do that will help me provide better tools and resources for people, I definitely want to consider it.

In short, I decided to seek help. I probably should have tried this long ago, but for whatever reason I chose not to. Part of it is a resistance to medication in general. I generally prefer to solve my own problems, or at least solve them naturally. But eventually I realized that my resistance to treatment was essentially a limiting belief of its own.

A friend made the analogy that if someone is diabetic, we don’t expect them to “manage themselves” without insulin. It’s just something they need! So finally I decided, OK, I’ll conduct an experiment… and I knew what I wanted to try.

I went to a naturopath and discussed the problem, along with my proposed treatment plan. On the one hand, it’s not necessarily a good idea to go to a doctor and say, “Hey, here’s what I want to do—will you support it?” But on the other hand, I also think that most good healthcare practitioners believe that a patient taking interest in their own care is the best possible scenario.

Sorry for All the Preamble. Here’s What Happened

After a detailed conversation, the doc prescribed a low dosage of Adderall, the brand name for amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Later that day I filled the prescription and talked with the pharmacist, who also mentioned that it was a pretty low amount.

I was happy with that approach. Best to start out low, and if it didn’t work, no big deal. I was still doing okay—I just wasn’t doing great.

The next day I went to work. I set up my MacBook, poured coffee and sparkling water, and took my first low-dose (5mg) pill. Would I even notice anything? Maybe the doc was messing with me and prescribing such a low dose that it would trigger a placebo effect.

Well… I definitely noticed. It wasn’t a placebo effect; it was pretty incredible. Twenty minutes after taking it, I was fully immersed in the tasks at hand.

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Replies to emails I had ignored (sorry, everyone) were suddenly flying out of my inbox. Draft posts filled up my Evernote and WordPress screens. That new book I hoped to outline? All of a sudden, I knew what to do. The clutter of emails and half-finished sentences made sense, or at least I knew how to make them make sense, which is the essential struggle of most writers and plenty of other creative people.

By the way, those last few sentences were written in passive tense, but that’s what it felt like. I’m just the channel! This is working!

Have you seen the movie Limitless? Check out the trailer below. After struggling with focus for many, many months, this is what I felt like my first day on Adderall:

No kidding—it was pretty epic. It wasn’t like being high, at least as far as I know (I don’t actually have much experience with other drugs, unfortunately). In my limited experience, it was better. Instead of helping me zone out, this was something that helped me do what I wanted to do.

It really and truly helped. And for more than two hours, I was on fire. Then, for the next two hours, it wasn’t quite as intense, but I was still focused. It felt great, truly. I was extremely glad I began the experiment. And truth be told, I was really looking forward to the next day and the next dose. Which—you may have guessed this—leads to a few concerns.

Research and Initial Concerns

After I’d been taking it for a week, crushing out my work and feeling great, I decided to read up on the dosage and experiences of other people. There are several online forums consisting of people who use Adderall and other drugs to manage ADD, so I was curious to skim a few reports.

The first thing I noticed was that my dosage was indeed very low. I was taking just 5mg once or twice a day, and not even every day. Other people were taking as much as 30mg, 60mg, or even 100mg (!) in a day—which seemed incredible to me. I was having great results with just a tiny amount. Some people were taking literally twenty times my dosage.

This led me to a concern: dependency. Would I come to need more and more of it? Would I not be able to work at all without it?

I’ve been taking it off and on for four weeks now, and so far I haven’t run into that problem. I don’t take it every day (I take one weekend day off each week, and if it’s a full travel day I don’t take it then either—which in my case, happens fairly often). I also haven’t noticed the small dose becoming any less effective.

However, it’s fair to say that it’s still early in my usage. Even though I don’t think anything bad will happen, and I’m taking it under the care of a physician, with something like this it’s hard to know for sure about the future. I suppose only time and experience will tell.

A Few Other Concerns: Food, Sleep, Sadness

There are a couple of other issues and side effects that deserve some attention.

Lack of appetite. When you take Adderall, you simply don’t want to eat. As in, you don’t want to eat anything at all. The funny thing is that you can eat—you just don’t want to. If you make or pick up a meal and put it in front of you, you won’t feel full right after you start eating, but you also won’t feel naturally hungry. Weird. I can totally see how teenagers or anyone with an eating disorder could abuse this drug, which is probably one of several reasons why it’s a controlled substance.

I’ve mitigated this by eating a large breakfast (right when I take the pill, usually around 8am or 9am) and then supplementing with snacks for the next 4-6 hours, usually a green smoothie and protein bar, plus more coffee. But seriously, if you go on a similar treatment plan, make sure you plan your meals or they simply won’t happen.

Insomnia. Amphetamines are speed—they keep you awake. A single dose is like drinking three cups of strong coffee that stay in your system for hours, without any obvious negative side effects. I’ve actually been struggling with sleep a fair amount lately, but this problem began before I started taking the drug. I’m not sure what to do about that, but at the moment I don’t consider it totally related. I certainly wouldn’t take Adderall in the evening, unless I was in charge of night watch at a NASA shuttle launch.

Mild depression. As discussed in the 2014 Annual Review, I was fairly sad for large parts of the past year, and Adderall doesn’t treat depression. I do notice that when I’m on it, though, I’m not sad. I’m focused! And I’m able to work, which does make me happy.

I’ve written this whole 1,500+ word post without stopping to do other stuff, which is no small miracle for me lately. Every day I’ve taken it, I’ve been back to my old pattern of writing 1,000 words a day, and often much more. But just to be clear, it hasn’t solved all my problems. It’s a wonderful distraction that helps me accomplish the things I need to do.

But Actually, It’s Great! (At Least for Me, So Far)

In listing all the problems and concerns, it may sound like I don’t think this has been a good experiment. But that’s not the case at all—I think it’s been great. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much it’s helping me, and that’s why I wanted to share this story with anyone who might be in a similar situation, as well as anyone who knows a struggling writer or creative.

If you’re also experiencing an inability to focus that can’t be solved by lame advice like “don’t use the internet when you write,” maybe you should consider a trial run too. I just want to be clear about the whole picture, so that you have all the information.

Next steps: obviously (duh), talk to your doctor. Don’t buy it on the street — is that a thing? — or otherwise try to game the system. Travel hacking is great; drug hacking, not so much.

Lastly, what works for me may not work for you.

But it just might. And at least in my case, that’s why I decided to give it a try.

Do you have experience with taking medication like Adderall? Do you think it’s good or bad?

Share your opinion with others if you’d like… and stay focused. 🙂

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    91 Comments

    • lilly says:

      Is that a thing? LOL Adderall is one of the most abused prescription drugs on the market. I expect youll get a lot of complaints for promoting it like this. Its a controlled substance for a reason amd should only be taken for serious problems… maybe not just try it out because you happen to think youre not concentrating well enough. Im not against it, but have seen its affects. Also.. do you ever think maybe you just needed a break or were not concentrating well enough because you need to try something new in life?

    • Pat says:

      This is terrible! When has writing a book ever been easy? Sorry but you Americans think that popping a pill is the answer to absolutely everything. Of course you don’t want to eat if you’re taking speed! You got some blog posts written, great! Is that a healthy way to go about work? Of course not. Surely watching Requiem for a Dream is all you need to know about taking ‘prescription speed’. Honestly.

    • Matt Jones says:

      Chris,

      I am glad you are having success with Adderall, I have many friends that used Adderall in low doses during med school or dental school to help them focus.

      I have struggled with it personally because for almost all of my life I was prescribed 30mg of Adderall for my ADHD. I stopped taking Adderall cold turkey my sophomore year of college, now almost 10 years ago, because I felt that in some way my ADHD would benefit me one day. I had a glorious thought that if I was genetically made up this way then It would be for the better that I just deal with it and use it my advantage. I have yet to notice if that notion has become a reality, but I can manage many things at once and finish….some of them.

      I appreciate your insights and It would be great to hear like a six month review or a 1-year review of your feelings as well as your friends around you. One thing that my friends always said was that I became kind of like a zombie, except super focused and very unemotional. I was always leveled headed and it was like someone turned on a switch that couldn’t be turned off until the Adderall wore off. That was one of the biggest reasons I decided to stop taking it because I missed the emotional nature of life and wanted to experience the deepest lows and the highest highs of life.

      Sorry to keep babbling on! Again, appreciate your insights and your work! Have a great year and see you all in July.

    • Dan Murray says:

      Chris;

      I think this is a bad idea. Try regular exercise. Train for a 10K. Rethink your goals (maybe your old ones are no longer exciting you). I’m very much against using drugs as a solution to problems unless those problems are acute and can’t be addressed any other way. You have built a nice following, written some good books. But, are those things still exciting in and of themselves? Have you thought of doing something completely different for 1 year?

    • Dan Garner says:

      Wow. Reading your article and some of the linked posts, I see I suffer from a similar condition. Although I have never been officially diagnosed as ADD, I know that I am – two of my children have been diagnosed and I have all of the symptoms. I have never been treated and realize that I have suffered most of my life. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to seek some relief.

      Dan

    • Tracey says:

      Chris, you obviously did not rush into this decision and you did not take this decision lightly. You seem appropriately cautious as you should be. Keep us posted on how it goes. Thanks for sharing a difficult topic and I hope you have helped someone else by doing so.

    • Nick says:

      Personally I’d suggest going to a psychiatrist (preferably one well versed in ADD) and get the ADD diagnosis before taking it. I love naturopaths, but this is a pretty specific mental health issue and seeing the right doctor is important. If you think you may have depression, be careful if you ever decide to go off it completely some day. I too have a prescription and took it for a while, but didn’t really like both the short term and long term side effects, so stopped taking it. But I have been tempted lately to take it again when working on some projects.

    • The point is… do you actually have ADD? Or is your lack of focus a symptom of something else, like maybe a thyroid imbalance, mild depression (your mild depression could be the cause of your lack of focus) or some other health issue?

      On the one had, I appreciate you being honest and transparent with us. However, I wonder if you simply took the easy way out here. Reading your post, I thought, “wow, I could ask my doctor for Adderall too!” But I think a lot of my focus problems stem from something psychological rather than biological.

      Anyway, please be healthy, and watch out for addictive effects. It’s nice to be focused, but I think you should listen to the natural rhythms of your body rather than try to bypass what could be other problems.

    • Kevin says:

      Wow… I’m torn between admiration and disappointment. I admire the fact that you’re sharing a very personal detail that many will judge you for, yet I’m utterly surprised of your awareness (or lack thereof) of this drug and how ridiculously terrible it is and how unquestionably corrupt its makers are. I know the pharmacists have everyone (including doctors) in their pockets, but have they stepped up their game and even gotten bloggers as great as you to inadvertently promote for them too?

      I’m incredibly interested (and anxious) to see where this goes. “Small experiment” or Greek tragedy?… where the highly talented and independent individual falls into the trap many have fallen in before… the man known for thinking unconventionally now using the product of a company that represents the exact opposite of what he stands for.

      To be continued I suppose…

      P.S. Chris, I know you don’t watch TV, but I highly recommend the documentary “American Addict” on Netflix. Thanks as always for sharing!

    • Carolyn says:

      Chris,
      In the summer of 2013 I went to see a psychologist because I had diminished focus (it wasn’t ever that great) and a high level of anxiety due to some family issues. The thought of going into fall, which was my busy season left me feeling overwhelmed, to put it mildly. I met with my doctor multiple times to narrow down my issues and she administered the ADHD testing, which was a four-hour process and also included a questionnaire to be filled out by my partner. As we all know, we often don’t see ourselves the way others see us.

      I was officially diagnosed by my psychologist and worked with my primary care physician to be prescribed Adderall. I too take a low dose, maybe four times a week. Before I could even get a prescription, my doctor drew blood and checked levels and has done so at the three month mark and six month mark as the drug can cause a host of problems. Part of my prescription requirement is I need to see her every six months. While not ideal due to the rising cost of health coverage costs, I do appreciate the level of professionalism and seriousness given to my diagnosis and subsequent prescription.

      My little story is just to highlight the process I went through, which heavily involved medical professionals. I was reluctant to go the medication route, I was reluctant to seek out a psychologist and to have the hard conversation. But in the end, it has worked for me as well and I am grateful for my little “team” keeping close watch.

    • Niall says:

      Hey Chris. I’ve tried modafinil/provigil before for similar concentration problems. I wasn’t diagnosed with anything but I just wanted to try it out and I bought some and did work all day on them. It’s actually prescribed for people with narcolepsy but people who don’t have narcolepsy get all day concentration on it (10-14) hours on a full 200mg dose

    • k says:

      My husband was diagnosed with ADD when he was 22, and he’s been on and off Adderall since then. After a while it stops working and he has to up his dose….up and up and up until it’s ridiculous and he stops completely. Like you said, he can’t eat when he’s taking it (marijuana seems to help with this, and it’s legal in Oregon now so there’s that I guess), and he also can’t sleep, his rhythms get totally messed up. So he’s pretty much given up on it.

      Like you said, this stuff is speed, and not to be taken lightly.

    • Hey Chris! It’s really interesting to read your account of how Adderall has helped you. Thank you for sharing it. I wish this had been my experience with it – the first time I ever took it was to take the SATs in high school, and then I started out using Adderall more frequently in college to be able to write papers more effectively, but after awhile I got to a point where I couldn’t fathom even doing my laundry without taking Adderall first – and I experienced a few crazy years of serious addiction to it. I remember many nights of laying Adderall pills out next to my bed so when I woke up in the morning, I’d see them and have the motivation to get up.

      One of the major side effects of coming off of Adderall (overuse of Adderall, I guess) is extreme fatigue and depression, so I felt myself dipping down into deep lows with it and needing more and more Adderall in order to pull myself out — and then it got to a breaking point where my doctor had to put me on anti-depressants afterwards to balance back out. YIKES!

      Not everyone has this kind of “addictive personality,” so to say, but for those who do, it can be one of the most addictive drugs out there (in my opinion). I remember feeling like Adderall was more dangerous (for me) than cocaine because it’s so widely accepted and was very easy for me to justify.

      I fully support your openness and honesty about it, though, it’s a controversial thing, and I know creating content and doing consistent work isn’t an easy thing at all – so if it’s helping you that’s a positive thing. You seem to be very in tune with your own body and mind, so keep paying attention to how you feel. I also appreciate you opening this forum up for other people to discuss it, it’s interesting to read everyone’s thoughts. Good luck on the book!

    • Scott Cejka says:

      Chris, as someone who has suffered from ADD all my life and has been taking Adderall for a few years now, your experience with it is much like mine. Although I’m at a higher dose. I first went to a psychologist, did tests but actually found from my parents that I had this problem (ADD, zero concentration) as a kid and was on Ritalin back in the 70’s. So the diagnosis was accurate.

      I have always been very active, exercising, getting outside most days and exercise is a huge factor for people who suffer from ADD, as is diet, proper sleep habits and many other tricks we can practice. But the part where Adderall fits in is that it changes your brain chemistry. ADD sufferers have problems with missing synapses where other’s don’t. Adderall in many ways helps to make these connections and when that happens, it’s like magic. LIke a world I’ve never known actually works the way it is supposed to. Not forgetting things, getting instantly sidetracked, the “squirrel” effect, etc. To be able to sit still, do work, listen to one person in one conversation is a gift.

      I’m not a big fan of most drugs, they do a number on the body in different ways where sometimes, a natural approach is usually better. But so far, nothing has proven as effective as Adderall for me and I’ve tried most of the “natural” ways as well as cognitive approaches and even other medications. The whole point is trying to find something that works and it works the best.

      Thanks for being open and honest. Having ADD isn’t a crime, it’s a condition that is treatable with the right medications and therapy. It isn’t simply the lack of ability to focus, it’s all about brain chemistry.

    • Larry says:

      Chris,
      I admire your openness and transparency about what you’ve been dealing with and the admission to trying such a controversial drug. I, for one, am delighted you have found something to help you focus.

      I recently ran into a friend who had struggled all the way through school. He had just been diagnosed with ADHD and was on his second day of Ritalin. For the first time in his life was able to focus. He was absolutely giddy with delight with a whole new world opening up to him.

      I went all through elementary and high school not knowing what was going on in class. I would have to come home and work through notes I’d taken along with the text book, and figure out what had been taught. And every semester my report card said the same thing, “Larry daydreams in class” or, “Larry sleeps in class.” When I got into university I couldn’t pass one subject and finally dropped out, feeling much shame.

      Finally, at age 50, I was diagnosed with ADD and over a period of months tried every type of stimulant on the market to no avail. Since then I have seen two other psychiatrists that specialized in ADHD and each insisted I try the med route again. And hundreds of dollars in prescriptions later, no relief of any sort. In each case, once I had gone through all the prescriptions they could offer, I was bid ‘goodbye’.

      You mentioned bouts of depression in the past year and depression is a common comorbidity of ADHD.

      If you happen to know Brendon Burchard, who lives in Portland, I would recommend you get in touch with him. Brendon suffered a serious brain injury a few years ago to the point he thought his career was over. He had the good fortune to make a connection with Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist who you may have seen on PBS. Daniel Amen was able to heal Brendon’s brain and save his career.

      Daniel Amen has done amazing things in healing ADD and another brain afflictions. His first approach is through nutrition. He is not averse to medication, but it is his last resort if nutrition or supplements fail. Dr. Amen is based in Newport Beach but has six ‘Amen Clinics’ around the country, the nearest to you is in Bellevue, WA.

      For sure, check out some of Dr. Amen’s talks that are on YouTube. His most recent TEDx Orange County talk is excellent.

      What I finally discovered in this past year is that I have what is known as Executive Function Disorder. EFD doesn’t respond to ADD meds but it does include a learning disability and causes most kids to daydream or space out. Small consolation after all these years!

      All the best to you and I look forward to seeing you again in Portland this coming July.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Chris! Don’t read your negative comments; they’re just going to make you feel worse. Thanks for sharing. It’s difficult enough dealing with what you have. I have lack of focus; I went to the chiropractor for back pain and for a week I had mental clarity. Wow! This must be what “normal” people feel like. Like you, I got a lot done. It wore off in a week but the thing is to keep trying.

    • Saul says:

      I have no experience with Adderall, so I can’t comment there. I think case studies like this are important, so I appreciate you sharing your take.

      But just a thought (for you or anyone else reading the comments), there may be less addictive and/or controlled substances that could do the trick.

      There’s a great podcast episode by Roderick Russell over at Remarkably Human that discusses “smart drugs,” including some focus aids that are more subtle than Adderall (such as phenibut, l-theanine, and GABA enhancers):

      http://remarkablyhuman.com/smart-drugs-discussion

      Also, it sounds as though you haven’t given marijuana a shot, and I think it’s always a good idea to start with “natural” substances before pharmaceuticals. It’s legal (or soon to be) in the NW (though I suppose it’s difficult to travel with, which may be why you’ve ruled it out as an option). It isn’t just for zoning out and relaxing — any decent dispensary can suggest a strain that could help with focus and productivity issues.

      Also, psilocybin can help both with depression and anxiety, and generally has long-lasting positive effects, without being addictive:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/opinion/sunday/can-mushrooms-treat-depression.html

    • Cheri says:

      Chris, I admire your courage in putting this out there. Hopefully it will help someone (like myself) in the same situation seek help and advice. People should not be so judgmental. I’m glad you’ve found something that is working for you. I loved the The $100 Startup; and look forward to reading your next book. and a follow up to this post. Happy New Year!

    • Brandon says:

      highly recommend what you are doing. had a prescription for part of high school and college. was incredible experience to be able to work for once. i told doc i wanted it – just needed to focus more! i had same experiences – lack of appetite, loss of sleep if took too late, etc etc.. but all good – appetite gets better. taking the pill taught me soo much about focusing. like you, i dont like meds. Eventually quit adderall but took what i learned and now use that in life everyday.

    • Stephanie says:

      Well, I guess now is when you learn that people are pretty judgmental about medicating problems like ours. I’ve noticed it’s similar to people’s comments on depression (Have you tried exercising? Eating better? Have you tried just *not* being distracted?).

      I know your struggle well. I was fired twice because I was just not able to focus on my work and get things done at the level that was expected. I finally broke down and saw a psychiatrist, and was diagnosed with adult ADD and put on a low dose of Vyvanse. The change was unbelievable. For the first time at work, I was the “rock star,” and the go-to person that people wanted on their team. I finally was checking items off my to-do list instead of just doodling on it and then scrambling to get everything at the last minute (after a deadline extension, of course). I was finally promoted and given the challenges that I craved.

      Alas, I couldn’t take the side effects. I was 5’5″ and down to 95 pounds (yikes). My sleeping habits were terrible and I would grind my teeth constantly. Instead of switching medication, I stopped. And so did my progress at work, unfortunately. I finally came to terms with the fact that I would need a low-pressure, low-expectation job if I was going to be off of medication. I was fortunate to find that job at a salary I could live with. I am working on a second bachelor’s in a new field, taking a few classes per semester because that’s all I can handle.

      It’s such a dilemma. I think about going back on medication all of the time. I wish people that don’t understand could switch brains with us for a while. It would be really nice to have one that functioned “normally” (as society expects) without medication.

    • Michael says:

      Was surprised how the pomodoro technique worked 4 me absolutely awesome:

      Ok 2 be honest, its really the pomolego version. pls find below my evernote note, which i’ll actually make public 4 just this purpose:

      1) detailed description: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s333/sh/b5bd0f45-5303-45a7-9fe5-2b636d5a5589/b5c756a73e17a0337ef901705ceb0726

      2) lego version: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s333/sh/489679d9-c42c-4319-8e00-9991aa69fa83/337055c22a0686c127cbf5230878b65e

      Hopefully this may help some of u.

      Michael

      PS.: Tomighty is a great way to track ur 25 min pieces of hardcore concentration:)

    • Verónica says:

      Working out and 5 minutes of meditation every morning will make wonders with your focus capacity. Give it a try! 🙂

    • Kristin says:

      I just started reading _The Art of Non-conformity_ after reading about you for years on GRS. My husband and 15 y.o. son have ADD, and I could tell from your descriptions of yourself and your journey that you probably did too! Medication certainly isn’t something to be taken lightly (no pun), but can be a huge benefit. Good luck!

    • Amy says:

      Kudos to you for having the balls to write this. It’s not easy to talk about any kind of vulnerability, let alone such a taboo subject as medication.

      I applaud you for recognizing that you had an issue that natural remedies weren’t fixing, and you’re taking action to address it. Over the past few years, many of us have become so anti-medication that we’ve lost sight of its purpose: to help people live and do what they love without unnecessary pain and struggle. Many nay-sayers may think taking medication is a passive way to take care of a deeper problem, but the way you’re going about this is very PROactive. You saw a problem and tried different solutions until you found what works.

      I get asked a lot about my stance on medication. I would never be where I am now without having used medication. I used it to establish a solid foundation from which I could start taking action. It sounds like the issues you were struggling with before taking Adderall were worsening your depression, making it extremely difficult to rise out of it. That’s bound to make your focus problems worse, too. If this helps you focus your mind AWAY from thoughts and tendencies that make you sink deeper, I enthusiastically say, “GO FOR IT.”

      The points that you made about fearing dependance are valid, but your awareness of the possibility of it as well as your predisposition to standing up on your own two feet and making sh** happen will help you notice if that ever threatens to become the case.

      The people who don’t see it your way aren’t living your story. If they want to try to convince you that they would never take these actions even though they’ve never been in your skin, let them waste their breath.

      You’re brave. You’re proactive. And now you’re doing what you love in spite of struggle. That’s a win in my book.

      Sending you scary-big hugs and support.

    • Peter Stewart says:

      Greetings from the Ritilin generation.

      My profound thanks for sharing. It’s only through sharing that we learn.

      I had problems concentrating in school (likely because it was so boring and irrelevant). It was never an issue though, as I was a great crammer and I knew how the system worked. Two weeks plus multiple practice tests and I could predict to a T what was coming up in a test. I was never first, but I was okay.

      University was harder though. More freedom, and I just fell behind. There was too much for my old two weeks preparation as I really needed to understand the material.

      My sister had been taking Ritilin for some time and it had drastically improved her quality of life. She had used it for its calming effect on her emotions and made otherwise tense relationships into a pleasure. I mentioned my issues to my mother and she suggested I try it to improve my concentration.

      I first tried with half a pill (from my sister’s stash, with my mom’s permission) and there was that slight feeling of euphoria probably akin to that of LSD, but not nearly as strong. It’s difficult to describe, but that movie mentioned above does a good job of showing it, although it doesn’t quite make you feel like a god. It did help increase my time I could spend in my books and less time spent staring out the window.

      I went to get my own prescription and my doctor asked me flat out if I had tried it before (smart guy). I reported to him and he filled out the prescription for my own bunch.

      I started taking them on occasions when I really needed to focus. I also self-adjusted the dosage, but only went up to two pills at a time.

      The side effects were lack of hunger and that spaced out feeling. The spaced out feeling was one I didn’t like, particularly when I went up to two pills a time. The spaced out feeling was more distraction that the good it did. I was cautious about the whole thing and eventually stopped taking them when I figured out that a lot of the issues I was having were a matter of my own poor choices.

      I changed some habits, like studying in the morning instead of the evening, locking myself away from distractions when studying and taking regular breaks. These were essential, and made probably as much difference as the medication did.

      Now, 20 years later, I’ve made a lot of progress with making correct choices and keeping focus as part of everything I do.

      I wouldn’t rely on them all the time, but if I needed to write an entire book, on my own I’d opt to. However, I would rather make sure that I have a team at my back, because I know that for myself, working in a team is my major motivator.

      Ramble over. Cheers.

    • Wayne says:

      As someone who was an adult before the internet (and after as well, obviously :), I saw my ability to focus PLUMMET over time. I used to be able to work on a difficult technical problem for hours and now the constant distractions in my life (like everyone else has: phone, text, Facebook, blogs, internet in general, etc) have seriously impacted this. Being a little older, I can remember having this focus and in fact remember being a design engineer before we even had EMAIL at work. You know what we did without email? We worked uninterrupted!

      Anyone troubled by this needs to find their own way around it; I just don’t like the idea of taking medication to regain a skill I just happened to lose because my environment changed. For me, the solution is to recreate the environment that allowed this detailed focus, namely shutting EVERYTHING OFF and sitting there and working on the task at hand. At first it sucked because I would just sit there and not get anything done, but it did get better over time. I guess I am trying to retrain my brain to focus for longer and longer times, and it seems to work. Meditation (I’m a Headspace fan) and the Pomodoro Technique have helped this greatly.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Green Girl says:

      Hi Chris, while I admire your sharing, I agree with some of the comments that taking a pill is not the answer and Americans are going down a dangerous path. We are on so many drugs, that our drinking water is now becoming extremely hard to clean because our treatment plants weren’t designed for all these prescriptive drugs that are coming out of our bodies from our pee. I’m not joking… do an internet research. Also, I’m about your age, and I never heard of ADD when I was growing up. I think it is because kids and adults were outside more. I think ADD is more about Nature Deficit Disorder. We got dirty and we got hurt. We knew our neighbors. We used our garages for cars instead of storing ‘stuff’.

      We also evolved over millions of years with freedom and a connection to nature. Once we became ‘humans’, we were still nomads… until the agricultural movement 10,000 years ago. And lastly, we were still much freer and happier until about 50 years ago. Happiness in America has been declining since the 50s. Blame the cubicle? Cars? Chemicals? We can’t treat this with a pill, but rather a simpler, more intuitive way of living. Also, I certainly don’t agree with putting your happiness in the hands of a corporation!

      Has your naturopath recommended a clean, organic, one ingredient, whole foods diet? Walk more instead of driving? Just some suggestions.

    • Arlie Peyton says:

      Hi Chris, you get even more respect from me than the mountains I already had for you, just for writing this post: it was deeply brave and courageous.

      First of all the big shocker was that you had bouts of being depressed. Looking at your life and all the people you’ve touched, I was a bit surprised to read that. Remember that your tribe is here. You just send out a tweet from whatever coffee shop in the world that you’re writing one of your amazing books from and you’ll have more company, support, and free coffee than you’ll ever need! Those are the perks of dominating the world and providing tremendous value.

      Regarding the Adderall, I think the way you are going about this is smart: naturopaths, M.D.s, research, longitudinal studies, and knowing thyself. Already you’ve done more research than most people on the drug. I’m an educator at two prestigious institutions in Portland: Adderall is par for the course and I don’t think students go about it as cautiously as you do. Regardless of what people say, that’s YOUR business. I can’t pass judgement on someone who seems to know what he’s doing and is willing to do a little experimenting for his craft and well-being. I know you’ll make good decisions because so many people care about you.

      Looking forward to your next book and WDS 2015!

    • Sue Wilhite says:

      I’ve recently gotten back into studying sleep and its effect on people’s lives when it’s lacking. I believe that we have an epidemic of not sleeping in many developed countries. I see people resisting sleep. I hear people tell me with a straight face that they think sleeping is a waste of time. However, many of the symptoms of not sleeping properly also resemble ADD and ADHD. And by not sleeping properly, I’m talking about quality, not quantity. If you don’t get enough deep sleep, your brain will not work well, leading to lack of focus. I would suggest that you go of the adderall for a while, then have a proper sleep study done. With your traveling life style, hopping time zones and sleeping in uncomfortable environments (I don’t care how comfy the plane or train seat is, the noise and movement disturb sleep patterns) could be contributing to your focus problem. Best of luck to you, and thank you for sharing your story!

    • Janis says:

      Thanks for sharing your journey on this personal issue, Chris.

      I’m surprised at many of the comments. You obviously took this path based both on quality medical advice and cautious personal research and monitoring.

      I say hooray for you – both for finding a solution to your issue and for your candor in sharing it that in a way that can help others who might struggle with the same issues.

    • Randall says:

      Chris,

      Bless you for the candid report. In moments of feeling like a failure, it’s usually because I’m comparing myself to you.

      Adderall TOTALLY helps, I loved how it felt. But coming off it is awful. So I chose a lifestyle which fits my ADHD self better. It’s less focused and more sporadic, though it’s totally suited to wild adventure. My demons whisper that I *should* be on a path more similar to yours.

      Meanwhile, I’m living in my sailboat, getting paid to travel to 25 countries a year, getting better at Spanish (my seventh language,) and wrestling myself to feel okay about my choices.

    • Anita Chase says:

      Thanks for being so courageous in sharing your story. I have never had ADD, but I used to have severe panic attacks and tried all kinds of things from different medications to natural remedies. I have to say they both had their ups and downs, but in the end the thing that helped the most was taking medication (Paxil worked the best for me) for about a year until I could get to a more healthy space (with diet, exercise, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and stress management) and then I slowly weaned myself off, with the help of a doctor.

      I’m all for taking the natural route when possible, but I have also seen friends and family not address a problem medically while they try a variety of natural treatments, and get much worse than if they would have just gone to a doctor. I also have had some long term side effects from being improperly medicated. Everyone’s physiology is different and it sometimes takes awhile to find the right healing for YOU personally. The only thing I am extremely skeptical of is anyone who promises that their “cure” will solve everything.

      I have been studying natural healing for some time, but I also work at a top 20 medical school and I have seen the benefits (and dangers) of believing too blindly in either type of healing. I say try different things and see what works best for you, at least to get to a more balanced state where you can see clearly enough to be able to examine lifestyle changes that might help you. There’s nothing wrong with checking out both options or supporting one with the other.

      Good luck and good health!

    • Heather says:

      Nothing terribly profound, but is taking a very low dose of Adderall that much different than having a cup of coffee, a cigarette, or a beer to help us get through our day? If the medication helps and is being properly supervised, rock on with your bad self 🙂

    • Hey Chris,

      I am glad you are sharing your story like this. I honor your courage. I see how it opens you up to our opinions and judgment on a very personal topic.

      With so much access to advice and how-tos, it’s easy to get lost and not know what is right for us. I’m going to make my comment knowing you always know what’s right for you. I make my comment knowing you know how much I respect you and appreciate the work you do.

      This inability to focus is a HUGE HUGE HUGE issue for creative people trying to get work done. I am not a psychologist and I don’t know much about ADHD, but I do know that the amount of input and stimulus we experience is tsunami-like on a daily basis is drowning our own voice, our own instincts and seriously limiting our ability to focus.

      We all struggle with how to focus. My job is helping creative people focus, follow through and finish things that matter to them. In our coaching conversations, we look at their environment, their patterns, their motivation and their fears. All these things add to or detract from their quality of life and their ability to produce things that matter.

      We find that over time – three or so months – we’re able to redesign their workflow and project load so they can feel more sane and productive. We look at the 10 things they think they can do in one month and whittle it down to projects they actually have time and resources for. All the elements I mentioned above, including the emotional ones, are addressed, understood and worked with.

      When I interviewed you in 2010 about how you write every day, you said, Just do it.

      I thought, okay, this is the typical Nike/guy answer of just power through. No matter what. Because if you can’t just sit down and do it, something is wrong with you. I imagine that your inability to just sit down and do it was driving you to think something was inherently wrong with you.

      With my clients, I start with the assumption that nothing’s wrong with my clients. That it’s a matter of practices, choosing the right environment and the right methods that work for that person. (If in three months there is no movement after these approaches, it’s likely that an unconscious process is at work and a therapist might be a better solution.)

      Maybe it’s because I respect you so much, but I can’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with you.

      I imagine that if you listed all the things you are doing in one year on a piece of typing paper, including all the travel, it would be no surprise at all that focus is difficult for you. If you saw it all there on one page, I bet you would viscerally feel the overwhelm. And the sadness. And the inability to focus.

      It’s not that something’s wrong with your digestive system, it’s that you pile more on your plate than you can consume with joy and focus.

      We’re all suffering from too much input, from the ever-louder rallying cry to GO BIG! That we’re all dancing as fast as we can to this urgent and desperate beat…and why? For what?

      I know, I know, we want to have an impact. We want to live lives of meaning. And yet, we seem to be willing to sacrifice ourselves to do it.

      I’m not here to judge you. You know I adore you and have benefited greatly from your work. I know you will continue to do great work that makes a huge difference for all of us. And I want to offer a couple of what ifs for you.

      What if you didn’t have to juggle so many major projects every year?
      What would it be like to have some space in your days that aren’t driven so hard and fast?
      What would life be like if you lowered the bar that’s choking your joy?
      What if Adderall is a short-term solution and you took some time to look at the root causes of your focus challenges and sadness?

      I write and submit this with love and respect and with a hope for your long-term happiness and creative fulfillment.

    • I applaud you for taking the time to look into your options and for speaking up for what you felt you needed for your body with the doctor, instead of taking whatever they decided to prescribe for you. As someone who took Prozac to treat depression back in the day (am I dating myself with the Prozac reference?!?) I was in touch with my body enough to know that the first dosage they gave me was way too much, so I asked for a lower one which worked fine. Then my body told me when I no longer needed it, yet the prescribing doctor got freaked when I said I hadn’t taken it for a month before the usual check in session. My situation was a short-term depression problem caused by too many traumatic events in a short period of time, something I learned when looking into depression and the myriad causes, as I was opposed to ‘taking a pill to solve my problems’. But I absolutely understand now that sometimes our bodies might need a little help when our synapses and body chemicals are not working as they should, but I also know that not everyone is as highly attuned to their bodies as we should be. And we also have every right to ask for what we need to function in our lives, and to adjust it if necessary, instead of putting ‘blind faith’ in the medical/pharmaceutical industry. I trust that you know what you are doing and smart enough to take steps if you feel anything going awry in your body. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us, Chris. Though I do not comment here often, I have always admired you and what you are doing. You are an amazing example of living the non-cnoformist life, with all the stumbling blocks that often come with that! Keep up your amazing work =)

    • Leah Shapiro says:

      Chris, you ROCK! Thanks for being so authentic and your willingness to be vulnerable. I admire your courage.

      I can totally relate to what you have shared. I found myself in a similar situation, did my research, saw my Dr. and was prescribed the same low does of adderall. I’ve found it to have the same amazing results that you have. Clarity and focus like I have never had before.

      I’ve been in my experiment for over a year now, and only take it when I’m doing a lot of writing and focused work. I’ve never felt dependent on it, but I have felt a bit wrung out emotionally on it. Part of what it does is give you a big dopamine blast…..and I can feel the drop from that after I’ve taken it for a few days. These are all things I’ve discussed with my Dr.

      The one concern I do have with it is how it effects my adrenal system. Just like lots of caffeine, it taxes it. Because of this, taking it everyday doesn’t feel good.

      I’ve also learned to pay attention to why I want to take it…..am I feeling a lack and pressure to produce something? Am I pushing to make something happen? If that is the case I take a step back and check why I feel the need to push so hard.

      Other times I have something I’m excited to do…it’s trying to come out and needs a little help because things feel scrambled. The energy behind my desire to create and produce results feels cleaner…more expansive- that’s when the adderral is most helpful to me.

      What it comes down to is this- You are the ultimate authority on what you need to thrive and feel good. Your experiment is the perfect thing for you to be doing right now……you’ll get all the information you need through your experience and will make the right choice for you.

      It’s easy for other people to judge your choices……and be concerned….but you know what is best for you.
      Rock on!

    • Susan Hall says:

      For what it’s worth I’ve used acupuncture to deal successfully with mental and physical distress. Community clinics are springing up all over and are affordable. My 8th generation acupuncturist Viola Huang-Beck at Santa Rosa Community Acupuncture told me that in China they practice only community acupuncture because being in the presence of community is part of the healing process.

      I’ve had experience with big pharmaceutical’s push for synthetic prescriptions as I had a thyroidectomy in July 2004 and mainstream doctors insisted on Synthroid. I’m on desiccated thyroid hormone Nature Throid now and feel good which wasn’t the case for months after the thyroidectomy.

      Often times it’s taken trial and error and time to figure out a solution. I appreciate your candor.

    • Dear Chris,
      Thank you for writing this post. I have been thinking about this for a long time. I am proud of your honesty, courage and vulnerability. I am proud of you for seeking help. Those without ADD can’t possibly understand how frustrating the inattention, the fog, the indecision can be. It is a gift yes, but a very frustrating one if unaddressed. We have similar experiences. I have had ADD all my life but only began treatment during third year of medical school. I liken my Adderall experience to getting glasses for the first time. When I first got glasses at age 8, I noticed the patterns on our couch and asked if we had just gotten a new couch. Apparently, the couch was the same couch we’d had for years! I am at my best, most productive, most focused, most creative during treatment. I am a better writer, decision maker, friend, family member – more likely to follow through with phone calls etc. BUT, Last year, after 8 years, I stopped treatment for 2 reasons – a close friend said ADD was a sin – and I was so devastated and angry with God for this stigmatizing comment, I decided to stop treatment and really spend some time doing some heart work to embrace my ADD and spend some time making peace with it and its role with my spirituality. Secondly, On Adderall, I didn’t like the changes in my personality. I was really focused, yes. But I also lost my empathetic side. I lost my quirk. I was less tolerant. I felt great, but I found myself in more fights, extremely neurotic about having my own way – I think maybe I became more egocentric. I also didn’t like the withdrawal. Pretty hard crashes… Make sure you are on long-acting extended release Adderall. Because I noticed everything, I ascribed meaning to things that were trivial. I like myself much better off treatment – though I do miss the clarity, focus and executive functioning.. I now manage my attention with meditation ( 30 mins to 1hr) and Morning Pages. So, those are things I’d say watch out for… the changes in your personality, the effects on your relationships, And watch out for the effects of higher doses – the zombie-like effect increases with higher doses. A great resource is ADDitude mag. http://www.additudemag.com/ It really helped me understand myself, hearing others talk about ADD giving me a sense of community. Another resource is William Dodson’s work on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria which is diagnosed in 99% of people with ADD. http://www.dodsonadhdcenter.com/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria/ And a workbook that helped is Mastering Your ADULT ADHD by Stephen Safren. I am rooting for you Chris. You are an inspiration to me. Would love to hear how you are doing with this in 6 months – 1 year. Keep up the good work. Much Love. 🙂
      Yvonne

    • Pat says:

      My son was diagnosed with ADHD (without hyperactivity) at the age of 10. Several years later he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, as well as ADHD. I heard that Aspergers is no longer the term used any more. The diagnoses would most likely be PDD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. The point is, it isn’t easy to diagnose certain symptoms, the cause is not always understood, and not all treatments work for everyone. My son tried Adderall for about a year during his teens. It appeared to help at first and we were very hopeful. But our son complained about the same side-effects you mentioned, and the benefits seemed to wear-off after a few months. (Perhaps he had grown in size and needed a higher dosage.) He chose to stop taking the medication and we respected his wishes. He still suffers from a lack of focus (for things he finds difficult or boring), but he can hyper-focus on certain things he enjoys. I have some of the same problems, but probably not to the same degree. (That’s why I read so many blogs – to avoid getting to my work!) I appreciate that you are speaking about your problem because you can express yourself so well. I am surprised at many of the negative responses, but there really are a lot of different opinions out there – and for those who suffer from a lack of focus, I know it is a serious problem. It is very difficult to decide whose advice to listen to. I have recently started meditation because I heard it helps improve focus and alleviates depression, but I am not very good yet and it is not a quick fix. Good luck to you.

    • Gonzalo says:

      Chris, I’m glad that you’ve found a solution for the moment. Drugs are not a good solution in long term. I’d suggest you to try meditation instead of medication. It’s not a critic of your approachment. I believe that everyone have to find their own solutions for their processes in life. But meditation works amazing with focus and even with sadness (with some help for the last one). If you can’t make it with traditional meditation you can try holosync meditation or iawake technologies (the last one has a lot of incredible products). Good luck!!! 🙂

    • Vicky says:

      Ugh, what a bunch of criticism! Yes, Adderall is one of the most abused drugs, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a purpose. People are not necessarily weak because they use prescription medications. And Chris clearly carefully considered his decision and conferred with his physician and pharmacist.
      Years ago, a psychologist wanted to medicate my then 7 year old daughter for depression after his 10 minute evaluation of her, I said no. Some years later, they said it was ADHD and wanted her on Adderall, but her teachers pleaded with me not to and assured me her impulsivity was not ADHD.
      Now, at 16, her anxiety is at an all time high. She is going in for a full evaluation next week. Therapy is not enough for her, and we will certainly look at medication. But it will be a careful consideration.
      Stop treating people will any mental impairment as weak or inferior. It requires medical intervention just like any other physical disorder.

    • Aline says:

      First of all, it was great to read what Adderall has done for you so far. I’ve been struggling with some of the symptoms you described and some more, and I’ve been going to doctors and trying several medications and different kinds of therapy for years. I still hope someday I’ll find the right one for me, providing improvements and minimal side effects.

      Second, I think people need to stop being judgmental and suggesting that these issues (ADD, depression, chronic pain) are all in your head and that you should just cheer up. I love your analogy with diabetes as in that no one would tell a diabetic to *just lighten up*. I’ve always used a similar analogy for people to try to understand that when it is your brain that is affected, just as if it were the liver or the heart, you need medication too and it’s perfectly normal and not to be frowned upon.

      People need to differentiate not being able to focus on a specific day because you’re sleepy or lazy, or not being able to focus your entire life because you have a brain condition. The same goes for depression and the like.

      It’s great to read you’re an open minded guy who was able to seek help and get treatment.

    • byronfriday says:

      Even at your low does, taking speed will change the biology of your body forever.

      Question; is the increased short term performance gain worth the risk of changing your psychological biology?

      Once you cross over the line taking speed you will never return to a “speed free” psychological state of being. Active stimulate users and abusers have the hardest hard time time functioning without their daily fix. Its taken me over 12 months to wean myself off of my daily afternoon caffeine fix. 12 month battle with the psychological dependency to coffee.

      For me… voluntarily consuming a highly addictive mind altering substance is a very bad choice. Jeopardizing my psychological well being for a short term performance gain is not worth the risk.

      What happens in 5 or 10 years….? if you don’t have access to your prescription refill?

      Is the consequences of not being able to function normally because of your dependency to the drug really worth the trade off that you originally made when you wrote this featured story?

      Ive been through this whole ringer. My MD prescribed me ADDERALL. I took the low dose script for about 9 months. I became depend on the ADDERALL in less than 3 months. It’s taken me 5 years to break the psychological dependency.

      Turn off the phone, internet, social media, TV, radio all the distractions and get to work. Book author Steven Pressfield wrote Do The Work, The War of Art and Turning Pro – these books will spell out it black and white if we are willing or unwilling.

      For me….(not calling you out) taking ADDERALL is a crutch for doing the the real work. ADD is a excuse for being unwillingness to accept the discomfort when doing the work gets hard and uncomfortable.

    • Dawn C says:

      I have had to take it as well for symptoms of ADD and could not have finished my research and writing portions of my work without it . The neuro pathways we use in bringing an idea from the mind into the real word are rough. I only take it on days that I work.

      watch your blood pressure
      watch your coffee intake

    • Aaron says:

      Chris,

      I really appreciate your brutal honesty on this site. It takes a very open person to talk about these things in a public forum like this.

    • skg says:

      read this great article by Dr. Hyman
      http://drhyman.com/blog/2015/01/08/nothing-key-happiness/
      he suggests that you try meditation to bring more focus into your life;

    • Jeff says:

      Hey Chris.. Jeff here. Don’t mind the flak about the meds.. do what’s best for you. People don’t understand. We really need to stop judging each other and stay curious, ADD/ADHD is a real thing and you don’t know what it’s like to not be able to focus unless you have it. Adderall has kept me in school and helped me keep my cool on stage 😀
      ~Jeff

    • Javier says:

      Chris,

      You’ve already written a bunch of books and accomplished more than many people will in their lifetimes. And you achieved all this without the use of prescription drugs.

      Fact: one doesn’t suddenly “catch” ADD. If you’ve had problems focussing over the last year or two, there are other causes.

      I’m pushing 50 now, and (as another person wrote above) years ago ADD didn’t exist. There of course were a few people who had problems with focus, but a very small minority. Yet in recent years, suddenly huge numbers of people seem to have ADD and ADHD.

      I too find it much harder to focus nowadays than years ago. Back then I could focus on a task for hours at a time, yet now my mind is constantly distracted. But I wouldn’t begin for a moment to imagine that it’s ADD or any such thing. No, it’s purely a symptom of the “distracted” culture we now live in.

      If Facebook didn’t exist, if email didn’t exist, if mobile phones didn’t exist, if the internet didn’t exist – does anyone believe we’d still have such attention disorders? Of course not. We didn’t for the history of human evolution up until a handful of years ago!

      Of course we can’t (and don’t want to) eliminate these new technologies, but let’s call a spade a spade and acknowledge the real issue here. People have the ability to focus without relying on drugs. They just don’t use that ability as they’re growing up in a culture that doesn’t teach it, and instead encourages distractions as “normal”.

      Chris, you functioned and achieved a huge amount without drugs. You didn’t need them then, and you don’t need them now.

    • Caroline says:

      Chris,

      I applaud your vulnerability in sharing, for as a writer who shares deeply personal stuff, I know and see the criticism that it inevitably brings, yet I keep it up as I see it also helps so many others.

      The question I have for you is – What are you doing now that you really wish you weren’t?

      See as a woman who diagnosed with ADD at age 8, I spent most of the next decade on Ritalin. I could concentrate. I could get sh*t done. But I wasn’t truly happy and I wasn’t the fullest expression of me. I am far closer to that now than I ever have been. And whilst my family insist I still behave like I have ADD (at 33 years old), I “manage” my ADD by DOING WHAT I LOVE.

      When we’re doing what we love it’s easy to concentrate. Sure, I can’t write new material when I’m surrounded by people and Facebook and an overflowing inbox. Really, who can?

      Maybe Chris has just grown, changed, stretched? Maybe this current path has turned an unexpected corner? Maybe he’s ready to move onto an adventure that looks different to the last 5+ years? Maybe he’s afraid if he does what he would TRULY love to do next that this massive community that loves him may leave him?

      Drugs allow us to push. To keep pushing. To push through stuff and get stuff done. But to what end?

      If the work you’re doing today doesn’t light you up, then why are you doing it?

      Chris, whether you do more of the same, or go live in a yurt with a cat and a cow for company, there will always be people who love you. Always.

      Please be You. The world wants You. The most real, current, awesome version of you. Whatever that looks like.

      Best of luck looking in the mirror.

      Sent with love,

      Caroline (asking the questions I hope will make a difference).

    • Pat says:

      Chris,
      I have never used Adderall (or any other similar drug) myself, but I have 3 of my boys that have.

      My eldest went to a school for those with learning disabilities, and despite the schools begging us to put him on drugs (Ritalin was only available back then) we refused. We refused the “drugs” because we had heard the stories about kids going crazy, abusing the drugs, parents just using the drugs as a baby sitter, etc.

      Then, one day after both he and we becoming very frustrated, we took him to a pediatrician who prescribed a low dose. We never did tell the school that we were doing this, because we didn’t want bias entering into the equation. However, that very same day, before the school day was over we got a call from the school, asking if we had put him on Ritalin? They noticed a difference that first day, and he was able to focus better and participate in school for the first time. He remained at that school, and then went through an LD program in High School – never to college. But today is married with 2 children, and holding down jobs – because of that little boost.

      Our second son was similar, but not as bad. We were forced to have him repeat a grade in school, and then to even move schools to one that could help with his disabilities. In his case, he took Adderall (a small dose like you, but 10 mg), which allowed him to thrive in his last two years of grade school. he then completed high school taking AP classes and getting college credit – while playing football. He stopped taking the Adderall for a while, but then when he went to college, he begged us to put him back on it, as he could not focus enough during exams. He now takes Adderall while still in college, but only at exam time, not during every day activities.

      Our youngest son also takes Adderall. He was not completing homework, was not able to focus in school (class clown), and had both his teachers and us at whit’s end. Going through the pediatrician, she started him on a low dose with no change in behavior. She then increased the dose a bit, and added a 2nd small dose in the afternoon. This seems to really be working well. He now comes to me in the morning to help with his dose, and takes the 2nd dose himself. He seems more focused, is able to behave and participate in class, and will even do his homework occasionally.

      I have found in all things, that there is no 1 answer. We refused requests to drug our oldest boy, and watched him suffer, only to finally give in and watch him thrive.

      Yes, these drugs are abused by some, but they help many.
      I hope that you are able to benefit and thrive from them, just as we have watched our boys benefit and thrive.

      All the best

    • JJ says:

      I haven’t had a chance to read every single comment here but I’ll pitch in my 2 cents.

      I don’t believe in using medications to treat ADHD unless you cannot function without them in your daily life. There’s usually a cost in a loss of creativity. A century ago, this disorder probably didn’t even “exist” and people simply accepted the fact that certain individuals are a bit creative but also had trouble focusing. There probably no denying that some of the creativity that came from ADHD was responsible for the unique and successful empire you built that inspires your readers everyday.

      It sounds like you’ve been overwhelmed with busywork in the past year. As much as I get, from reading your books, that you are reluctant to hiring outside help, maybe you could consider adding a few employees or assistants to take some of the load off. I feel kinda strange suggesting this as it’s been my dream for years to run a successful 1-man business with no boss or employees and I look up to your school of thought for running a business.

      Or maybe consider only using ADDerall during the times when you need to meet deadlines and get busywork out of the way. I’m not sure if ADDerall can be used on an off but maybe it’s something worth trying out.

      Just some thoughts..

    • nadja says:

      I tried medication to help me with my anxiety about a year ago. It turned out a bad decision. I tried to somehow navigate around the origin of my fears – and the drugs aggravated it, gave me experiences so much worse than the ugliest fear I knew. So now I keep my hands away from drugs and try to improve my health by eating better, exercising and most importantly listening to myself and my body. I wish you all the best – and I hope you find a way so you don’t have to rely on pills anymore.

    • Alexandra says:

      Hey Chris,

      I was diagnosed with ADHD 3 times before I took any medication. I know exactly how that limitless feeling is. I went from thinking I was an incompetent moron, getting F’s in school, to getting A’s. However, I must relay some tips and warnings to you. I haven’t seen them mentioned by anyone else here so far, so I hope you take heed!

      Here are my tips:

      1) If you do choose to go off adderall the withdraw is horrible. The last time I took it, I was on it for a year and a half (10 mg tablet or 20mg release) and the first month after I stopped taking it, I was very close to being fired from my job. It was like being hungover for a month. Sadly, the low energy, inability to focus continued long after that. I didn’t remember having these kinds of troubles before taking it. 2 years later, I still don’t feel great and have had to moderate my diet to get more energy.

      2) While adderall can be addictive, it’s possible to stay on the low dose. I stayed on the same dosage for years. I took two days off a week (weekends). I don’t have an addictive personality though. I was also so against upping my dosage that I may not have noticed the pills were less effective. Still, I think it’s possible. Just take days off!

      3) If you want to sleep better, take a tablet in the morning instead of a 12-hour time release capsule. It will wear off by 3ish but your chances of sleep are higher. Plus, the tablet enables you to stay on a very low dosage. The only problem is that it’s more intense and the comedown can be worse. With a time release capsule there’s essentially no come down, which is nice.

      4) I don’t advise taking your adderall on days when you have a lot of in-person contact. The dry mouth makes excessive talking uncomfortable. I found my social anxiety went off the hook when I was on adderall.

      5) Try not to be on it when you’re with friends. My best friend is on 60mg which he takes EVERY DAY. Once his pill kicks in, he turns into a complete zombie. Not a good conversation partner.

      6) Make sure you know exactly what you’re going to do for the day before you take the pill. Make sure you’re in the midst of whatever it is you’re going to do when it kicks in. Do not go on blogs, facebook, etc. If you think the internet is an endless rabbit hole when you’re not on adderall, you can’t begin to imagine what it’s like when you are on it.

      7) The eating thing gets easier. I was totally able to eat while still taking my dose.

      My story:

      One of the major overlooked characteristics of ADHD (at least as it was defined before the internet age) is that while a person with ADHD struggles to focus on “the practical things in life,” they do sometimes have one or two passions which they focus on intensely. That’s why one of the tell tale signs of an ADHD kid was F’s in every subject except an A in English.

      When I was a kid I taught myself Japanese, wrote my own comic books, wrote novels, later developed plays but I was flunking in school. My teachers would regularly call my parents about my attention problem. This all changed senior year when I went on adderall and got A’s in everything. I felt like I had been reborn.

      Not surprisingly, what was most impactful to me was that I could find any subject interesting. This made picking a major in college really hard. I toyed around with going into psychology or business even though I’d spent my whole life an artist. The thinking was, if I can like anything now, I may as well do something that will pay.

      Years later (around age 24) I stopped taking adderall because it was increasing my anxiety. Eventually, I felt I no longer needed it. I started writing/directing films and was able to pull that off without the drugs. Like my former interest in comics and Japanese, I was obsessed with these things enough to give them my all. Unfortunately, everything else in my life, including my 9-5 suffered.

      When I was 27 I went back on adderall after a month of working as a copywriter at an ad agency. I really struggled to focus, found the work boring, but had no intention of quitting because I just started there and the money was the best I’d ever had.

      I went off of adderall in the summer of 2013 after reading an article that equated adderall with “love potion number 9.” The article argued that you’re not supposed to find everything interesting and that boredom is your mind’s way of telling you what you don’t want. Reading this I realized that adderall had pacified me. Rather than looking for a job that I actually enjoyed, I had to take a little pill to make my boring one interesting.

      Which brings me to my point, we’re not meant to be on our A game all the time. Sometimes we get bored and don’t want to do something anymore. This is a sign that we should be evolving and moving on to something else. Adderall is great, but it can rob a person of his/her intuition of what’s going on within. As an artist, you need that. I also DEEPLY resent the idea that somehow, according to my teachers and well the status quo, that my work as an artist was somehow considered unimportant. That if I wasn’t getting A’s in things I didn’t care about that I wasn’t a smart person.

      Of course, I don’t know you or your unique situation, so take everything I said with a grain of salt. I just thought maybe you could benefit from this story. I also think, and I think I’ve said this before, that you’re way too hard on yourself. You blog regularly, you write books, you do so many things that other people can’t imagine doing. The American Dream is great and all, but remember you are a human and having a successful career isn’t everything.

    • Loren says:

      Hey Chris,

      You’re awesome! I recently stumbled upon your website while looking into how to start my own business and read a review for your book The $100 Startup on Forbes. I just purchased it for the kindle app and it has been a very motivating read.

      I also recently sought help for similar problems I was having and was diagnosed with Adult ADD. My doctor started me on a low dose of 10mg of Methylphenidate CD, which is similar to Ritalin. I have noticed a difference and it is helping me to keep focused and on task, but I don’t think my experience has been as powerful as yours. I’m glad you have found something that helps you. It took me a long time to seek help as well, and I did my homework before doing so.

      I have read that people with ADHD/ADD are often good candidates for being entrepreneurs and small business owners so I definitely want to pursue that more. Thank you for your example and resources for making that a reality!

    • Christina Ireland says:

      Are you for real? The whole fricken world has ADD … it is not a disease but a symptom of our fast paced society and most of us are indigo kids, of all ages … which means we are more sensitive, intelligent and it’s a blessing, not a curse. We need to work less, play more, meditate, eat super foods and awaken Consciousness.
      You have just fed the already dis-eased pharmaceutical world that is trying to kill us. Any controlled substance may have a positive impact or be some kind of divine intervention, but there are so many natural ways to reach the same results. You are taking speed at low doses. Do you know what this does to your adrenals, your brain, your organs. Why do you think their ads have 2 pages of warnings. It’s addictive and will weaken your immune system, even in low doses.

      Like JJ and many others say, a century ago or less, this disorder never existed. The doctor who coined the name ADD admitted on his death bed it was fabricated to benefit the pharmas … think about it … seriously and write about that one. More creativity is possible in the same amount of time then ever before in history, giving the illusion of time speeding up. We are over stimulated, over burdened and over functioning, rather than living in harmony with nature. A century ago, we didn’t have these computers either, which aid to our ADD. Try meditating or doing mantras.
      Or do an Ayauaska journey … the doctor makes money off millions of people just like you. Come on Chris .. be a leader, not a drugged sheep, which will fall nicely in to the hands of the powers that were .. just what they are hoping for. So who really wins. You get your book written, the pharmas get fatter, the doctor makes more money and we get to read your blogs. Knowing they are partially driven by a false substance is not very inspirational to me.
      Your creativity, intuition and emotional body will be compromised. Is this worth being more focused and productive in a society that demands results .. are your really that driven and gullible … oh my God…maybe so .. it’s almost your name.
      I hope you will see the light and shift gears … sooner than later.
      Blissings,
      Christina

    • Fab says:

      Hi Chris,

      here is the most effective natural remedy:

      2. Sharpens Focus

      Dr. John Ratey, author of “Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” says that exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterwards. If you have a presentation or speaking engagement try to work out beforehand; you’ll be at your peak when you have to perform. In the long term, it can even help starve off brain aging and Alzheimer’s. This works on the cellular level through neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to improve itself with blood flow and levels of brain-derived protein. He calls it “miracle-gro” for the brain, and it all comes from regular exercise!…..

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2012/05/08/6-ways-exercise-makes-you-smarter/

      Here is another one:

      “If you walk with the wise you will become wise” by King Solomon, Proverbs 13:20

      30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans

      October 30, 2012
      by Karl Pillemer Ph.D. (Author)

      http://www.amazon.com/30-Lessons-Living-Advice-Americans/dp/0452298482

      All the best!!

      Fab, greetings from Italy.

      PS give up following tricks like that ( “smart experiment with light drugs to become more performing” ) given by people like Tim Ferriss, he isn’t a wise man!!

    • David says:

      Chris,

      Having followed you for a while now I would say you are not going to end up an addict on the street. You are ahead of the game in that you did your research and know what to look for should you start having any affects that concern you. Additionally, I am quite sure you have people around you who will honestly let you know if they see any changes that are of concern.

    • Steve says:

      It’s a crutch that will only help you in the short term. If it really worked long term, everyone would take it. It’s speed. Do you want to be a speed freak? Is the book worth becoming a speed freak? I’m no saying it is bad, many famous mathematicians and artists did their work on speed. Have you read the War of Art by Pressfield?

    • Joel Runyon says:

      Have you ever done anything with Modafinil? I’ve heard crazy things about it (especially friends in the tech world in Silicon Valley), but haven’t touched it myself.

      Supposed to be like a lot of the things about adderal, but with less side effects.

      I’m not a fan of pills in general – but it’s intriguing.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Love the personal stuff like this (even if people are all over the place on their opinion of it) 🙂

    • Gunhild says:

      Thanks for the bold article. This inspires me to quit coffee for at while – coffee makes me feel more awake, but at the same time less able to focus on a single task such as writing. Subtracting a substance might have it’s advantages too.

    • Charmaine says:

      Chris,
      Thank you for your openness and vulnerability. I appreciate your sharing of your feelings and experiences, and for opening up this forum.
      Charmaine

    • Gabby says:

      This medication may help some, but there is a dark side to consider. Generally, you should only consider this if you truly cannot function in your daily life and your “quality of life” is hindered due to your ADD or ADHD. Take a look at this website and make an educated decision if you want to start taking or continue taking this medication. So many students take it for helping them study, moms abuse it so they can get more done in a day, some kids take so they can party better/longer, they ruin it for the people who really need it to function daily.
      http://adderalladdictionsupport.com/facts-about-adderall-abuse/

    • Barnacle Bob says:

      I was started on Ritalin in 2006 at the age of 35 and was then moved to Adderall (60mg a day) from 2007-2012.

      The 2012 Adderall “shortage” made procuring the medicine somewhat challenging in the Los Angeles area and since my blood pressure was consistently high (apparently due to the medicine) I decided to cease my use of it. I was also experiencing other, less reported side-effects that are –ahem — specific to men…

      2013-present I haven’t used Adderall at all — however, my productivity has fallen off terribly.

      I’m looking at maybe resuming use but I think I will stick with a more moderate dose of maybe 20 mg a day TOTAL, divided in to 3 doses (basically one 20mg tab divided in to thirds).

      It’s good that you’re getting by on just 5mgs.

    • Chris,
      I remember reading this when it was first published with my stomach doing flip flops. It’s always difficult for me to understand how highly intelligent and “non-conforming” fall into the propaganda and lies of modern pharmaceutical approach to life. Mind blowing in the extreme really. How can otherwise reasonable people rationalize taking amphetamine to enhance productivity? Because it’s prescribed? Because it’s FDA approved?

      What is the difference between experimenting with cocaine or meth and Adderall or any other amphetamine or amphetamine-like addictive drug? The reality, both chemically, and even rationally is there is no difference other than packaging and that the “conforming Majority” agrees with you.

      With 60 years of unrelenting propaganda telling us that any human behavior, struggle, upset, pain, emotion, challenge, etc can be handled by a chemical.

      This is a really a cavalier “experiment” that will not actually help anyone struggling with focus. The solution is not to take addictive drugs, the solution lies in the spiritual and other similarly oriented answers you espouse here, in your books, at WDS and everywhere else. I am sure the apparency for you and many others is that the drug helps…I also have known lots of cocaine users who say or said the same for the same very “rationalized” reasons.

      My personal ideas are if one has to rationalize his actions as being ok to himself when his first reaction was “Nope, that’s a bad idea” then in truth, he’s at once violated his integrity and the truth he knows himself.

      No amount of rationalization ever makes an bad action a good one.

      No matter how many trillions are spent to convince us that every condition of being human can be fixed with harmful drugs doesn’t make it true.

      We aren’t suffering from a shortage of attention or focus nor a deficiency of any drug. We are suffering from an overwhelming amount of random noise, false information, data overload and lack of understanding of the human mind and human spirit.

    • George. Hurray says:

      Thank you Chris. Your take on Adderall was a helpful read here, including the responses. I came upon this while breezing through results of “Adderall” that I Googled, looking for better cash prices for the drug. I also am prescribed Adderall and have been prescribed on stimulants since I was 10 years old, I am now 36. I am quickly going to give my fact and myth take as I see it could ne useful here for a number of reasons. These underwhelming credentials I have make my statement on this subject, I feel something to consider strongly. First off whether ADHD is real or fabricated or other, if it was not for Adderall I don’t believe I would be alive. The symptoms of severe ADHD is why I was and am on it now at 90 mgs. total a day. My life while under the stigma and lack of understanding of this drug; that I need to function and is available as an alternative to the suffering of constant defeat,has been something I have to always explain. From the changing doctors, to friends and family or anyone whom thinks their judgement on the drug is more accurate and educated than mine, it’s obnoxious. One subject that helps me be patient and understanding of others. People just do things such as this. Life. It’s the element of stability I present to those who give unwanted advice or question what I really am doing with this drug here that’s irritating. One person will praise my every area of discernment then criticize my intent and sanity that I may not be aware of. Which gives that same person questioning my judgement, poor judgement yet some feeling of superiority over me because I need something they don’t. On ADHD or amphetamines to treat it, no individual has anything useful to say except the ADHD patient. Not even the prescribing doctor. Example; does anyone but a long term Adderall patient know the Extended release version is always way stronger and dependence causing than the Instant Release? Or that sniffing the drug gives inferior effect compared to ingesting? That when taken over long periods of time, the drugs useful and addictive properties-all of them except some intolerances that go away over time are more so than at first? Yeah its more potent and effective over time. Drug seekers and users re not aware of this, let alone the general population. So Chris, being one whom can interpret the words of another Adderall user; keep going with your judgement because it is reasonable and that same reason will say when to increase, decrease or stop.

    • Justin says:

      just want to add that its a magic pill.. it is actually used to also treat depression and obesity….thats why you are happy on it 🙂

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    • Kiki says:

      Hi, Chris:

      I’m so glad you made yourself vulnerable and talked about this issue. My husband has ADHD and I’ve been on the receiving end of his inability to focus. It has effected our life and finances greatly. This is no small issue. I’m really surprised at how judgmental some of these responses are?! Everyone is different, has their own particular body responses and their own set of challenges. Having read your books, your blog, attended WDS and met you in person, I feel pretty secure in saying you’re not going to let something like this get out of your control. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. You go gettum!

    • dope tank says:

      What’s up, just wanted to mention, I loved this article.
      It was inspiring. Keep on posting!:
      \

    • Salem Shahatit says:

      I sincerely appreciate the fact you opened up about your situation, Chris.

      For one, I am 19 years old and happened to be experiencing similar symptoms. Essentially, nothing could truly capture my attention for more than a few minutes, even if it was something I was dying to do. As a young child, the only things that could capture my attention were fast-paced video games, trouble at school and reckless behavior that would appall anybody who would see it. Eventually, I got into drug use at about age ten – something that isn’t so natural, seeing as how I grew up in the suburbs. Moreover as I learned to “behave”, I could not (excuse my language) give a shit about anything.

      I NEVER paid attention in school, no matter how hard I tried. However, this alone is NOT an excuse to pursue the medical route in “treatment”. Also, I was impulsive – I just wanted to run around and do stuff without sitting down. So my parents would always ask me what’s wrong with you? Why are you acting like this?

      I was easily irritable. Anyways, the short version is I was prescribed to 20mg Adderall XR and it’s my first week. The results are literately phenomenal. Now, anybody reading this, especially if gullible, would sprint to their doctor’s office and try to get some pills. NO.

      People are always looking for the diet pill, the concentration pill, the pill that grows your hair back or the pill that makes your skin clear. PLEASE, if you plan to delve into the medical route, understand your situation as detailed as possible. Have these symptoms been around for years and years, or is it because your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you? If you’re eating sugar all day, you ARE going to feel moody/irritable/lack of concentration.

      Moreover, it’s important to take care of yourself by any means necessary to make sure you live not only a long life, but a long and quality-filled life. So please, in my opinion, it’s ridiculously stupid to just pop these things (whatever you’re using) so you can out-compete the next guy on the next math test. We all have times where we have trouble concentrating, but if it’s an issue that has stemmed for a majority of your life, your parents exhibit these symptoms (research them) and it has affected your quality of life, then by all means, do what is necessary.

      Good luck to all and thank you to Chris for starting the topic.

    • Salem Shahatit says:

      P.S:

      No offence to anybody here crying about the big bad mafia pharmaceutical boss, but please keep an open mind. First of all, is it true that these medications are overprescribed, and overpriced? I agree with you 100%. Does it work? I don’t have to answer that.

      Now, what do we use in our hospitals to treat patients? Morphine (Heroin)? Oxycontin? Cocaine as an anesthetic? I’m not a medical expert, but I do know this as general knowledge.

      Now, it’s easy to be the guy that says “Oh yeah, my grandpa didn’t know ADHD in his days, he got shot in the head ten times and he just pulled the bullets out and walked home”. But here’s the thing: our knowledge about mental health is expanding drastically, and we can begin to explain why some people acted the way they act many many years ago. Now, of course a drug isn’t always the answer, but it IS one of the answers and it IS effective in helping people achieve what it is they need to achieve. Of course, when I speak about drugs I mean something that is legal, preferably safe to consume and such.
      And please, just take a look at marijuana. How many cancer/aids/dying patients have benefited to the extreme from its usage? Shall we tell them to “toughen up” and stop crying?

    • Bd says:

      I have ADHD. I got bored with first 3 paragraphs of this and scrolled down to comments.

    • homegym says:

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    • Nice and very interesting article. I really do agree with you for most of the points mentioned here! 🙂

    • Hi Chris,
      Great post, and I also just read your update to it. I think it’s great that you’re sharing your experience with ADHD and using low dose medication. I hope it helps other people to realize that ADHD is real, that medication can help, and that people can seek help from their doctor if they are struggling with similar issues.
      FYI – As a traveller, you should know that you cannot take Adderall into Japan. Japan has a ban on amphetamine based stimulants (at least it was in place when I visited in 2012).
      On your customs declaration form, you have to declare the regular things – i.e. >$10,000 etc. but you also have to declare if you have any psychostimulant medication. If you have methylphenidate (Concerta, Metadate, Ritalin LA etc.), you will be alright to take it in. If you have any amphetamine based stimulant (adderall, adderall XR, Vyvanse), they will confiscate it at the border. If you get into the country with amphetamine medications (because you didn’t declare them), you could be arrested for having them in Japan.
      Again, thanks for raising awareness and sharing your story.

    • jordan says:

      I’ve been thinking along similar lines recently. So many people I know struggle with self control, impassivity and addiction to high risk behavior, due to a low functioning executive function. If we could prescribe a low dose to those who need it, the benefit to society would be unimaginable.

      Dave asprey, https://www.bulletproofexec.com/, has ADHD and is using a combo of diet and stress management to manage his adhd.

    • Portia Leigh says:

      Hey Chris! I just stumbled across your blog and I’m really happy that I did as I am also a writer and this topic is something that I’ve avoided writing about– from both a reader and writer’s perspective, I’m thankful that you’re touching on this topic. I find over the years that it has become much more challenging for me to write effectively without it, or rather, it just takes me a lot longer. On a side note, I’m about to travel south east Asia for 5 months starting January and I just found out that it is illegal to bring to Thailand and several other countries in SEA (life sentence worthy offence, yikes), so this will be an interesting test in maintaining focus when inspiration will undoubtedly be flying at me from every direction… Good luck with everything, I’m looking forward to reading more of your work! 🙂

    • Andrew says:

      Regarding your past adderall article. Good ideas you have here. What I want to do is provide some info. What I don’t want to do is scare you away from the drug.

      One fundamental difference, is back when I started using it, about 15 years sgo, they started me at 20mg. Literally I was on cloud nine dusk to dawn on that single pill. And was having a hard time sleeping. Apparently the studies have provided good results on dosing over he last 15 years or so. Because there is absolutely no way I should have been doing 20mg a day at the time. Looking back, my doctor should have never prescribed that amount. However, in college, I had very good discipline, used it only when needed. Info about the drug was not available “on Wikipedia” so to speak though. And at the time I just saw it as “Advil” or something. Society was a lot less educated on the matter back then.

      Looking back, I wish I had never started taking in college.. But… It soon became an every day thing in my first big career out of college. That’s when I started daily use, and in about 6-9 months time, the medication “stopped working” It started damaging my relationships ect. I was very irritable. But this also occurred in a lesser manner when I used occasionally, just didn’t know it at the time.

      There wasn’t quite as robust of Internet to look things up. And I had no idea at the time I even had issues let alone issues I didn’t know I had were caused by the medication. It is just Like any drug, just like heroin. Although heroin is much more addictive.

      At the least, it altered my life, from a friendship and relationship standpoint, it was hurtful, Things happened to me when I started using it fairly liberally. I Was complaining a lot, thinking negative, and was emotional. But at the time I had no idea adderall was the culprit of this. I did not know to adjust. And the information on the drug was not as readily available as it is today.

      If I could go back six years ago and could re-do it and still had to prescribe, I would absolutely not use it everyday. I would be sure to limit as much as possible. And honestly, in school, I did limit it, and things were ok but I did start to see changes from an interpersonal regard. Just didn’t know at the time.

      Two things happened to me that I hope you don’t repeat. Use when needed only, use it only a couple days in a row at most. Your Doc is expecting your tolerance to go up and to prescribe a greater MG eventually, from 5 to 10 to 15 to 20. He or she will bring it up in conversation to you. Guaranteed. But As long as 5 mg is working, keep it that way. Nobody has authority to tell you otherwise. And you have authority to keep your usage down to eliminate possibility of becoming hooked. It is up to you. The way you “keep it that way” is to use sparingly. Just like heroine or any drug, your tolerance will build if you use more and in higher doses.

      One thing to point out, with this medication, speaking from my own experience, after the 20mg/25mg Mark, the higher dose absolutely doed not equal a better results/feeling. Once you surpass the 25mg daily mark, and use daily, you are literally asking your brain to tell you to kill yourself, seriously. It’s not the same feeling as you are experiencing now.. Adderall has a different chemical makeup and effects you differently as you start to use more frequently. This has to do with dopamaine stores in your brain. Adderall depletes your dopamine, used daily, your brain doesn’t have enough time to create more. Hence, using too much and too readily doesn’t do you any good because it is calling on your dopamine levels, which aren’t there, but you still have speed attacking your brain but nothing to team up with.

      I would recommend becoming very familiar with the drug and its long term effects. Look it up. Adderall used to frequently disturbs the chemical makeup of your brain while using.

      Once you get down the road of using every day, you find all of these things out about the drug, but then it’s like you become trapped. “This isn’t helping, but I still want to use it”. It’s an instinctual appeal even though the outcome of using no is not wanted. For me, I used to throw away half my script immediately so that I wouldn’t use it for 30 days straight or more.

      Here’s what happens if used daily ( weekends aren’t enough, do a day or two off during a week also). Over a long time, like any drug, tolerance goes way up and that feeling you have now, when using daily over a long time, high dose users, the drug does not work the same no matter the dose. it works for an hour then you feel like garbage for the rest of the day. VS something like heroin, your tolerance can go up, but you just move the quantity up, and you receive that same feeling. Not with adderall. And the only way to conquer this drug after prolonged use, is to quit for a year. This will completely restore your brain levels and the medication would work again. However, quitting is no easy task. At that point, addiction has set in and the odds of quitting are not the highest. You become addicted to adderall very easily, and quickly. But it’s easy to quit vs. a lot of other drug addictions. Measure yourself right now. Can you wake up and not think about taking one?

      Recap, use only when needed, don’t go more than 10mg tabs, don’t take on days off and use sparingly during work days. Notice any negative changes, mood swings etc.

      After all, what you are taking should theoretically be just under cocaine and heroin as an illegal drug. It is speed. But it’s a great thing if used properly and sparingly. I wish you luck! I hope some of this info is helpful.

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