About six years ago, I had a prescription for Adderall before I even knew what it was.
I told my psychiatrist I was feeling lethargic from Zoloft and he prescribed me 20mg of Adderall, twice a day. For people who take it, you know how insane that dosage is for someone who doesn’t have ADHD and has never taken it. The first day I took my first pill, I was shaking. My brain was all over the place and I couldn’t stop organizing things. It felt like a slightly less intense version of coke.
It seemed crazy to take the second pill at 3pm like my doctor said, so I didn’t. After a week of alphabetizing receipts for no reason and doing my taxes at 4 am because I couldn’t sleep, I called my doctor and said this medication was way too strong. He told me to just take half a pill, twice a day.
OK doc, whatever you say.
10mg was perfect. I thought I had found a miracle pill. I was working as a personal assistant at the time and my boss probably thought I was smoking meth. His office was spotless and his pens would be organized by color, perfectly aligned in the top drawer of his desk. Who does that? Maniacs, that’s who.
My doctor told me to not take it on weekends, but I would wake up on Saturday feeling so tired and miserable, that the only way I could get out of bed was by taking Adderall. My life had gotten to the point where I had to basically take Adderall to concentrate on sleeping. So basically, I had to take Adderall to compensate for the way I felt after taking Adderall. It’s like the circle of life for prescription drugs.
I became a speed addict overnight. Thanks U.S. Health Care System for my irresponsible psychiatrist!
The problem with Adderall is it makes you feel like an enhanced version of yourself, like the person you wish you could be. Without it, I have to do this thing call self-motivate, and who wants to do that?!? I’d sprinkle Adderall in my coffee every morning if there were no consequences.
There’s an article about women being Adderall’s fastest growing demographic, and it totally makes sense. It helps you lose weight, juggle work and relationships, and get a sh*t ton of stuff done. You can keep up with all the overachievers in the world and not get distracted or tired.
I quit Adderall when I was 24 because I missed eating and I hated being an irritable bitch from not eating. I slowly started feeling like a human being again, I guess.
A few years after I swore off all anti-depressants and pills, one of my friends got a prescription for Adderall and gave me one. I swallowed it without hesitation and remembered why I initially got hooked in the first place. I started taking it regularly again.
I was doing billion piece puzzles for fun and teaching myself how to play Radiohead B-sides on the guitar. You know when Mario gets the star in Super Mario Bros and the music gets all crazy and he runs super fast into things like he’s on PCP? That’s how Adderall made me feel. I was even giving people that I normally hate the impression that I actually liked them.
I decided that I needed to get a prescription again, and my friend gave me the number of his doctor. I made an appointment, and was told it would be $150 cash. Not shady at all. The office was in Burbank and had those dirty white foam square tiles in the ceiling like an elementary school classroom. The “patients” in the waiting room were clearly there for similar reasons.
I was called into the doctor’s office, sat down, and was immediately asked, “So, why do you need a medical marijuana prescription?”
“Umm,” I said confused, “I actually came here for Adderall.”
“Oh, most people come here for marijuana, why do you need Adderall?”
“Well, I have trouble concentrating at work and I feel overwhelmed all the time.”
He was looking at the paperwork I filled out. I probably shouldn’t have written “model” as occupation.
“What work do you do that requires you to focus? This drug is an appetite suppressant as well, you look very skinny already.”
He was on to me.
“I also work as a personal assistant. I was prescribed Adderall a few years ago and it worked quite well, I think I need to take it again.”
He looked at me the same way a cop does when I say, “Oh I was speeding? I had no idea!”
He opened his drawer and pulled out a pad. He wrote me a prescription for one month of Adderall. Score! I thanked him, paid my $150 and went straight to the pharmacy. I never saw that doctor again.
I lived in the same building as a guy friend of mine at the time, and we would take Adderall together for fun. He would build and paint these intricate miniature sets with people and characters in them, and I would write rap lyrics. There was a real meth vibe happening. My friend was also into Oxycontin and had a bathroom full of miscellaneous pills. I only took Oxy once. We were watching “Panic in Needle Park” at 4 am one night, and I took two pills because I couldn’t feel this first one. Soon after, I could hear my heart beating for 8 hours straight and everything in my view looked sideways. I thought I was going to die. I never did that again.
My guy friend ran out of Adderall one day and knocked on my door asking for some of mine. I told him no because I only had a few left, and he flipped out. We argued for a few minutes then he turned into a total monster. I guess he had run out of Oxycontin, too. I told him to calm down and go back upstairs, but he pushed my door open and grabbed my bottle of pills sitting on my desk. I tried to get them back and he strong armed me like I was Robert De Niro’s wife in “Casino.”
I moved out of the building and haven’t seen him since.
His reaction was not solely from Adderall withdrawal, but extreme irritability and depression are the main side effects. I know I feel completely depleted and tired the day after taking Adderall. It’s speed. It’s how you’re supposed to feel.
I haven’t gotten a prescription since that shady office in Burbank, and I don’t plan on ever getting one again.
It’s ridiculous how easily Adderall is prescribed. Are all doctors that naïve? Clearly, when a 25-year-old woman comes into your office claiming to have attention problems, you should probably take more than 5 minutes of asking standard questions to actually look into this person’s background. It seems as though doctors have stopped caring about people and are more concerned with getting paid to prescribe pills.
I’m conflicted about Adderall. I’ve heard people say Adderall has saved their lives, so who am I to judge which pills should and shouldn’t be legal? I would never get another prescription because I know I genuinely do not need it, but I can’t say that if it was offered to me I would say no.
If Trader Joes made dark chocolate-covered Adderall, I would probably be the first person in line.
This article originally appeared on xoJane.