(ModafinilExpert’s Guide to Quitting Adderall/Ritalin – Part II)
Thus Far –
We’ve covered what Adderall/Ritalin addiction is all about, factors that can make the process of quitting more difficult, and who would benefit from quitting cold turkey in Part I
In Part II, we're going to go over how to determine how long of a time frame you need to taper down your dosage and how to properly go about doing it
If attempting to quit cold turkey multiple times over has left you frustrated and demoralized, rest assured, I know what it feels like.
I have beaten this and I want you to beat this as well.
Make no mistake, this is absolutely a do-able goal.
In order to achieve it, you need to put you in the best possible situation to succeed.
If you stick to the program and have a positive mentality, and keep moving forward, you WILL eventually succeed. If you do fall off, get right the fuck back on and keep moving forward. You only fail when you choose to throw in the towel and give up.
In the race to beat your addiction in the shortest time frame possible, quitting cold turkey is the fastest approach, BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN STICK TO IT. Otherwise you're just going in circles forever.
If you can't stick to going cold turkey, then be honest with yourself and admit it.
It will be that much easier moving forward. In order to successfully go cold turkey, the main thing you are going to need to rely on is WILLPOWER.
For the slow and steady route, we're going to do a complete 180. Instead of relying on individual willpower as the driving force that determines our success, we're going to do everything possible in order to minimize willpower's role in this.
Make no mistake, your own willpower is still going to play a role. The difference is you get to PICK how much of a role you want your willpower to play. Confused? Allow me to explain...
The slow and steady approach basically means you're going to gradually taper off your usage to practically nothing over an extended period of time.
How long is this period of time? That's entirely up to you.
Part of the reason people have a hard time coming off prescription speed Adderall is because it hurts to come off.
You've been on it for so long you don't even remember what life feels like to not be on it.
Without you even realizing it, the speed has shifted your baseline sense of "normal" in every aspect of your life from the way you handle stress, to focusing on a task, to staying motivated on a daily basis.
Right now, the thought of waking up in the morning to no Adderall sounds too painful to even imagine. But what if instead, you woke up to 90% of the Adderall you used to take? Would you notice a difference? Quite possibly. Is it so bad that it gets you worked up? No. Maybe mildly annoying, but that's all.
Dosages, Doctors, and Individual Discretion:
Different medications are sold under different mg values. In general, regardless of what brand name you are prescribed, you are either getting one of two versions:
Instant Release pressed pills are on the lower end of the dosage scale (come in increments of 10mg)
Extended Release pills or capsules with higher dosages (30mg for Adderall capsules, 36mg for Concerta pills)
Only you know what dosages you take, how long you've been taking it, and how badly you're addicted.
There is no way for me to gauge any of those crucial factors sitting across a computer screen.
Since your doctor is the one writing your Rx and is in charge of administering dosages, and knows more about you than me, the best scenario would be to consult with him and set up a plan where you gradually decrease your dosage.
Your doctor is going to be an incredible asset in this situation for two reasons:
He has your medical history on file and will be able to assist you in coming up with a schedule to gradually lower your dosage.
More importantly, he will be able to prescribe you lower dose medications.
While its certainly helpful if he sits down with you and helps you come up with a good dosing schedule based on your needs, whats more important is that he is helping you stick to your program by prescribing you lower doses every time you need to step down.
If you don't have access to a doctor (I'm well aware that a lot of college kids just buy it off their friends), then you don't have as much flexibility with tapering your dosages because if you're taking an XR pill, you can't just split the damn thing in half to lower your dosage. That won't work and you'll end up just releasing 15mg of Adderall into your brain in a a few minutes.
Don't be a moron and cut your XR pill in half to munch on the insides, kay? =D
The difference with the IR pills is that they are manufactured with instant release salts evenly distributed throughout the pill. So if you cut an instant release 10mg of Ritalin in half, you actually end up with two 5mg IR's.
If you don't have access to a doctor (for some reason) its very important that you understand that before you plan out your dosing cycle to gradually taper down.
*Something to keep in mind: In a lot of cases with ADHD medication in particular, people rely on it a lot more than they even realize. If you think you need 2 months wean off, chances are you actually need 4 or 5 months. If you think you need 5 or 6 months, you might need 9 months to a year.
If it takes you an entire year to beat your addiction, that is COMPLETELY WORTH IT!
There is a good chance you will totally miscalculate how much you actually need to wean off when you come up with your plan for tapering down. For the first 4 to 6 weeks, don't get too caught up in sticking to the dosing schedule you came up with on day 1. At the end of 6 weeks, you will have a good idea of your comfort level and you will know if you were coming off too fast or too slow. Of course you should TRY your very best to stick to it, otherwise that would defeat the purpose.
But 3 weeks in you may realize that you tapered off too much too soon and need to re-adjust. Keep in contact with your doctor and spend the first month or two understanding your body and getting a grasp of how you're going to manage this moving forward with your life.
Once you have somewhat of a sense to how much you can handle cutting back in one go without going nuts, then its time to draft a regular dosing schedulethat you will do everything in your power to stick to!!!
Once you've reached this stage of the game, its time to switch gears and follow The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is:
NEVER. INCREASE. YOUR. DOSE.
If you were supposed to take a 10mg IR twice today, don't take it a third time because you have XYZ special occasion that requires it. Your mind will start playing tricks on you and convince you that you're a smart responsible person who needs more because (insert any excuse here).
You didn't study and you have a test tomorrow.
You got 2 hours of sleep last night and you have an important meeting at work today and you could really use the extra boost.
Doesn't matter. Drink 10 cups of coffee. Go run a mile.
Do whatever the fuck you have to do. But don't reach for the pill when you're not supposed to.
You should have studied for your test ahead of time.
You will still make it to your meeting, maybe a little more tired and grouchier than you'd like to be, but you'll make it.
At the end of the day it was your fault in the first place for not planning ahead, so you can't get mad that "I don't have my Adderall" in situations where you knowingly procrastinated till the last minute.
I'm not your mommy or daddy and I sure as hell am not going to babysit you when these sorts of things come up. If you think you're being smart and have a legitimate excuse to re-dose, guess what?
That's just the junkie part of your brain talking that wants its speed ASAP.
We've all been there and its worth mentioning now because I GAURUN-FUCKING-TEE your mind WILL make up very good excuses for why you need to give it speed RIGHT NOW, if you choose to go through this process.
Don't use your medication as a "reward" for any kind of good behavior. This enforces a positive feedback loop in your brain where you associate speed as the reward for achievement. Just don't do it.
Make no mistake, this is a process and it isn't just about the drugs. A big part of this process is
Acquiring the mental fortitude to say 'NO' over and over again.
Your life will not fall to pieces if you hold off on the Adderall. If anything, it will teach you to plan ahead for the future.
Every time you say "No", it gets easier to resist. Do it for enough weeks and months in a row, and it will become effortless.