ADD, Depression, and You!
December 3, 2010 4:48 PM Subscribe
How does someone know if a stimulant medication (adderall) is helping them the way it was intended to for ADD, or if they are searching for a reason to continue a substance that makes them feel good (aka addictive behaviors)?
Where is the line between a "need for functioning" and "it makes me feel better therefore I function better"?
Don't most people function better on a stimulant?
(also some ethical questions inside about working in the mental health industry...)
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (30 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
This article on gifted children with ADD describes my childhood to a T.
I remember report cards with the words "absent minded professor" written on the comment section. However, I also remember what in hindsight was probably a full blown panic attack in 5th grade the night before a project was due, because I had procrastinated until the point where I was certain I could not finish it and would fail.
(and the world would've ended... obvi.)
I "coasted" through highschool because I was ahead of my peers for the most part, yet I almost fell apart in college. Luckily, I scraped through, until senior year where I effed up so completely that I had to withdraw from a course and graduate the following year.
I am now about to graduate from an MSW program, one which was HELL to get through.
Any and all ability I had to force myself through writing papers and doing the dog-and-pony show of academia is gone, and I only mustered through because of my decent writing skills (when I finally can produce), my above-average class contributions and discussions (not trying to be vain, just honest), and my crying jags in professors' offices.
I finally (FINALLY) went to seek professional help last year. I eventually agreed to try anti-depressants, and well... I'm still working on things.
I have an extreme reluctance to label myself as someone who might suffer from depression. My therapist said that I am a very good "talking head", and that I intellectualize my emotions.
Going through what was essentially "therapy school" has been a two year long process of analyzing myself in every textbook and every case study. I feel like I can argue every side of my own problem and come up with rationalizations for both being depressed and not being depressed, for having diagnosable ADD or being a drughound.
I don't want to be able to cheat the system; I feel this sort of inflated ego that no one is going to be able to outsmart my brain and ability to trick myself.
Here's what I know and feel like is not stuff that I am deluding myself with:
I was prescribed wellbutrin, and last year I didn't feel like it made much difference. I felt that maybe my depressive tendencies were situational, and that I felt better because that situation (aka semester) was over.
Maybe, 5-6 months into the medication I had some issues, missed multiple therapy sessions without advance warning, got embarrassed, and never went back. (I know. I know.)
Read up online, saw that it wasn't overly dangerous, and quit wellbutrin cold turkey.
Rinse, repeat this current year. Had a horrible semester, decided at the peak of terribleness to take the left over wellbutrin I had. Immediately, I felt better and noticed a difference. This was last month. Last month was/is the first time that I might accept that I actually might have some problem and that I'm not just lazy.
Interspersed a couple times within the last 2 years, I took some adderall from a friend. I had done adderall in undergrad, and I enjoyed it. (though I never used it recreationally, I only used it for all-nighters)
When I took the adderall this year, I felt so much better. I wasn't so freaked out anymore, I felt confident I could finish my assignment. I felt calm and my mood was cautiously happy. My immediate thoughts were, "I want to feel like this all the time."
I stopped taking my leftover wellbutrin today, and I don't really want to continue it. I feel that when I'm on it I have more headaches than normal and some jaw clenching that borders on painful. ...I also can't drink while I take it. And more so than I feel comfortable admitting, that's a pretty big factor in why I don't want to continue. I can however continue to obtain adderall from this friend, and I am sorely attempted to simply medicate myself.
I am afraid to go to a psychiatrist and say all this for fear of being dismissed and being labeled a drug seeker (and because I still have that ego trip that I'll be able to convince him/her of whatever I choose regardless of reality), AND YET as someone who has been effing trained in mental health, I realize that none of this is particularly good for me and that it's pretty clear I have issues that should be taken up again.
I also feel that in addition to that mess, I have the additional drama of being someone who eventually wants to work as a social worker and potentially deal with substance abusers. (I already do in field placement.) How can I ethically work while self-medicating on the side?
Sigh. Any and all comments/advice appreciated.
throwaway email: ADDed.DramaRama@gmail.com