Bad Influences That Can Wreck Your Progress
(ModafinilExpert’s Guide to Quitting Adderall/Ritalin – Part III)
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
We talked about how exactly you go about tapering off your dosage via the "slow and steady approach" in Part II
In Part III, we'll discuss the most common specific circumstances/situations that will work against your goal, and what you can do about them.
Stacking other recreational drugs along with your medication
This is #1 on the list and for good reason.
When I would take Ritalin or Concerta just by itself or with a little bit of coffee, I would get the usual "wired in" head buzz. Now if I were to smoke a little bit of weed with it, that changed EVERYTHING.
I would enter this state of blissful creativity that would last for 8 to 12 hours at a time. The best part about it was instead of falling asleep or laying on the couch like I normally would from smoking pot, the methylphenidate (Ritalin) kept me awake and made working on even the most boring assignments feel like an adventure.
Add sex into the mix, and I'd be in neurotransmitter heaven. I've never touched cocaine or heroin or any of the other typical junkie drugs that are infamous for ruining people's lives, but if I were to imagine how that must feel like, this may be the closest I'd ever get to it. While it felt amazing, it introduced a few new problems of its own.
Now, I couldn't just take Ritalin by itself. I mean I could, but why the hell would I do that when I could smoke on top of it? I wasn't losing any productivity and it made the experience so much better. I knew I was chasing a druggie high but I didn't really give a shit.
As long as I got my work done and wasn't being a lazy bum all day, I figured I was alright.
Until... I decided I wanted to come off my medication. Since I had an unlimited supply, I was doing this on a pretty regular basis. It wasn't until I had a few days break in between that I realized just how much it had fucked up my sense of "normal".
Just taking Ritalin by itself made me feel "normal". If I took nothing at all, I would feel like shit.
The problem with mixing drugs is that you no longer want to take an individual drug by itself. Since mixing them produces a better high, you almost lose the desire to take it just by itself. The reason it feels better is because you are jacking up the levels of neurotransmitters (feel good chemicals) that are being released by your brain. After it wears off, your brain is depleted and it is literally more difficult to feel satisfied with the normal rewarding activities in life.
A warm sunny day, seeing a beautiful landscape, the sense of accomplishment that comes from a hard days work
All of these things that would normally leave you feeling good start to feel duller. The ordinary things in life that you used to get excited about start to lose their luster.
For example, let's say you smoke weed on a regular basis and you also use ADHD medications (this was the position I was in). The first step is isolating the two. What this means is you don't smoke until after your ADHD medication has worn off. The next step is treating one drug at a time. This means you're not going to try and quit everything at the same time.
I could just tell you to "stop using other drugs altogether", but let's be real. You're probably not going to do that (if you can then that's great!)
Let's say you like to smoke cigarettes or hookah along with your Adderall. After you've managed to isolate the two activities, you can work on tackling Adderall on its own while continuing to smoke.
What?! Joel is encouraging people to keep smoking/doing other drugs while they're quitting Adderall?
I live in the real world and so do you.
In an idealistic world, we would all have perfect self control.
We don't live in an idealistic world. I believe that results trump everything.
Trying to quit everything at once, failing over and over, and getting demoralized is NOT a recipe for positive long term results. You may eventually hit rock bottom, have nothing left to lose, and make a drastic change. I'm trying to help you avoid hitting rock bottom.
Harry hit rock bottom and it caused him to change his life dramatically.
But the amount of pain that he went through was immense and its not an experience you would wish anyone to go through.
It's best if you can avoid it altogether.
In order to do that, we need to be consistent and tackle one problem at a time. Focus* entirely on quitting your ADHD medications first. After you've done that, you can tackle eliminate the rest one by one. It will take more time, but it guarantees success.
(*no pun intended)
Digital Media Addiction
Some people will swear up and down that ADHD is completely biological. In other words, you can't do any behaviors to give yourself ADHD. It's something your born with and there is nothing you can do about it. On the other side of the fence are those people who assert that it is not a disease in the sense that you can look at an MRI and point out "yea, that guy is definitely afflicted with ADHD" and it is induced through certain behaviors.
You may be giving yourself ADHD without even realizing it.
Are you staring at your smartphone all day? Do you have 10 different tabs open at once on your browser?
You might say to yourself
Oh, well I'm just multi-tasking
In a lot of cases, you have a click-addiction. You are in a constant state of browsing the Internet for something that grabs your attention, you give it your attention for a fleeting moment, and you move onto the next shiny thing. Repeat for 6 hours a day (or however long you're plugged into the Internet) for years at a time.
Fast paced video games (especially first person shooters) follow the same principle.
Don't get the wrong idea here.
I'm not saying browsing the Internet or playing video games is "bad" and you should stop doing it forever. If you're going to do it for hours at a time, at the very least be mindful of what you are doing to you're brain. Being ignorant and telling yourself that your actions have no repercussions isn't going to do you any favors.
Traditional work usually involves sitting in one place and focusing your mind for an extended period of time without distractions. If you've trained your mind to always seek out the next novel thing for most of your day, it's no wonder you're having a hard time sitting still and focusing on a mundane task.
Instead of multi-tasking, why not give your work 100% of your attention during the day, and give yourself 3 or 4 hours at the end of the day where you can play, surf the Internet, browse Twitter, and do whatever else you want? Not only would you enjoy it a lot more, but you would also feel that sense of accomplishment from getting the work done beforehand.
Quitting your ADHD medications won't automatically eliminate your ADHD
It is a big step in the right direction, though.
The second part of the process is gradually re-wiring your brain to focus on one thing at a time.
That deserves an entire write-up on it's own. I just want you to know that it is possible and it can be done. I have done it, and so have countless other people.
But for now, let's stick to the task at hand, which is getting off the drugs.
To Be Continued in Part IV (How you can make this process easier on yourself)