Am I dumb to think I can use speed safely?
August 28, 2008 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Any positive (or at least relatively benign) experiences with short-term usage of non-prescribed dex-amphetamine as a study aid and appetite suppressant?

I've done a lot of research and read a few horror stories about withdrawal from the drug, rapidly escalating tolerance, screwed-up metabolisms, severe depression and so on. So I'm fully aware of the potential adverse effects of abuse & also the questionable morality (or whatever) of using a drug not prescribed to me, etc etc.

What I'm curious about is whether anyone has "successfully" used it for a short period (say, a couple of months) to help them study, focus, complete a project, lose a small amount of weight, or some other 'non-medical' purpose? ... 'successful' in the sense that you have managed to avoid creating a major drug dependency, ruining your metabolism for life, giving yourself chronic depression...

Am I a fool to think I can avoid these scenarios? Is there any safe use of this drug by a relatively healthy 25yo female? Are there ways to maintain the efficacy of the drug's effects while staying healthy & sane?

Further info: I've been taking between 5 and 15 mg per day, 6 days per week, for around 2.5 weeks. So far it has been an excellent help in keeping me focused, alert all day, sticking to my diet, going running instead of falling asleep after work etc. My tolerance has remained fairly low. Thinking of continuing similar / slightly higher dose for next 2 months or so, until my prescription runs out. Have been trying to ensure I get enough sleep, have a day's break from the drugs - plus I was planning to taper down withdrawal rather than stopping suddenly.

Thanks to anyone who can offer their advice & experience... By the way, I have searched Google and Erowid already, but mainly seems to be horror stories... of course, this may well be because that's all there is! So your help in confirming or denying this, would be much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was given Ritalin by a psych to combat "attention deficit" (I definitely have something wrong with me, but it's not that). Ritalin is lighter in intensity. It was pretty awesome, but it definitely affected me (serious depression) and made me think and behave in ways that were clearly not "me"-- overly task-based, obsessed with work, unable to sit still and be contemplative, etc.

I've recreationally toyed around with adderall for writing papers and such (this is the dexamp you're referring to) and found that, yes, it works wonders-- but was very strong (unnaturally so) and seemed.. dangerous. I stopped as soon as I could function without it (needed a few days to taper off).

That may not be the most helpful response, but it's the truth--something feels very, very wrong with dexamphetamines, at least in my own experience. I would never recommend them unless absolutely necessary -- but they definitely work.
posted by dmaterialized at 6:59 PM on August 28, 2008

I'll be the first to say this is not a good idea. It really does have a pretty high abuse potential, and even though that dosage isn't nearly as high as some of the addicted kids I've met, there's a reason it's not more widely prescribed: it can make you feel GREAT, which gets people dosing higher, which makes them feel EVEN BETTER, until their personalities start changing in unpleasant ways and/or their body can't take it anymore. It can make you feel like Superman, which is why I wouldn't trust anyone dosing uncontrolled to tell you it's fine.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:04 PM on August 28, 2008

Best answer: One day, two days, maybe. A few months? Don't. It's a horrible thing to watch. My mom, a totally sensible woman, began taking some of my kid brother's adderall to help with her weight. She didn't start stealing stereos or anything, but she suffered through some kind of nutritional imbalace or nervous disorder after discontinuing the drug. She never figured out exactly what the problem was, but it made her ill.

Working hard without chemical aids builds character. You don't have to take speed. Your life is FINE the way it is. The risk outweighs the benefits. Check in with a therapist if you need someone to keep you in check.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:05 PM on August 28, 2008

If you said that you used it a few times a month, I'd be one of the few telling you that this is really no big deal. But 6 days a week is not moderate use -- it's pretty heavy use, despite the relatively low dosage. Seriously, you're feeling like you need speed to get through your regular daily routine every weekday and for half of the weekend? You're making speedy your new normal, and that's pretty much exactly how you set yourself up for dependency.
posted by desuetude at 7:14 PM on August 28, 2008

Best answer: This is not how these drugs are intended to be taken, in fact this is the textbook definition of abuse. You understand that there are consequences and somehow think you can avoid them. You cannot.

When I was in college the first time around I was taking Adderall, and I ended up failing miserably, because I didn't care. I haven't taken any in 6 years and I'm back in school and doing great, because I have the motivation to succeed. Speed doesn't give you motivation, it comes from within. Attempting to chemically induce motivation is what leads to all those horror stories you've read. Ambrosia Voyeur has it.
posted by baphomet at 7:19 PM on August 28, 2008

just for the heck of it, try dropping it for a few days or even a week to see if your tolerance is as low as you think it is.

i've seen speed-ish things used as a very occasional (like, one day every month or two) recreational thing with no ill effects. but taking stimulants like that on a regular routine basis really feels like it's playing with fire. it's like someone saying "oh, i'm just going to take up smoking for a few months". sure, plenty of people have quit, but really, don't go there.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:19 PM on August 28, 2008

I am a 22 year old male. I take 40mg of Adderall XR 5x a week for school. I have been doing this for several years. I have no problems functioning without the drug on weekends, and I have no problem stopping while on vacation. My weight remains constant, my sleep schedule normal. If you tolerate the drug well, and feel that it aids in your journey to become a better person, go for it.
posted by demon666 at 7:33 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My 'friend' used 10 to 15mg of Adderall XR two or three times a week for about a year and a half with no withdrawal effects. He's not sure that the same would have been the case if he'd taken it six times a week like you say.
posted by number9dream at 8:12 PM on August 28, 2008

Thanks all for your opinions and the reality check. My OP doesn't actually convey the level of guilt and self-deceipt I've been feeling about this (usually banished by reminding myself I now fit in my jeans and can study all night)... hence the reason I even needed to ask MeFi!

I think it's best for me to taper down my use and dispose of the rest asap, while I don't have any adverse side effects. I'd be very interested to hear anything further that people have to say....
posted by Weng at 8:22 PM on August 28, 2008

I believe US Air Force pilots used to take this during WWII flights, to stay awake during trans-Atlantic flights. I'm not sure it was this specifically, but it was amphetamines. I'm sure some had no long-term adverse effects, and it worked, but... that was to stay alert during a world war, not to study later into the night or fit into jeans. If you really want confirmation that it can be used like this, I suppose there were studies done of these pilots. But really, it sounds like it's time for you to just quit the stuff.
posted by Houstonian at 4:02 AM on August 29, 2008

I know one person who was on some sort of prescription amphetamines due to being overweight. They stopped taking them years ago, and currently weigh just shy of 300 pounds.

I used to know someone else who was taking prescription amphetamines due to sleeping all day. Last time I came across her she had picked up a habit of shooting up street speed, was living in her car, and was trying to travel to some vacant land that she owned in another state, so she could live there. She´d made some of the payments on the land via stolen checks from someone else I knew. I haven´t heard from her in years, and don´t know if she´s still alive.

No one´s ever told me that they used dexamphetamine to get through school and loose weight and it all worked out fine, sorry.
posted by yohko at 9:24 AM on August 29, 2008

I would have to say that yes, this would fall under the "bad idea" category. There are milder legal stimulants available to you, and even those need to be used with caution. Ginseng, for instance, is potent but can hurt you if overused.
posted by medea42 at 9:34 AM on August 29, 2008

Sent you a mefi mail.
posted by lhall at 11:02 AM on August 29, 2008

Agree with baphomet. Not a good idea. My brother did this while working/going to school. When he got concerned about maintaining weight, he started with diet pills. Then he jumped the line to not-so-legal speed/whatever else he could get. He got hyper-maniacal, weird up and down emotions. He ended up not being able to concentrate/sleep. Family was seriously considering rehab for him. He thought he needed a little here and there to function...well, it only made existing problems he had worse. He basically has to start all over again work and school-wise. But I like him better now that he is back to pre-random drug days. Frankly though, my family is still re-learning to trust him. That's also part of it, at the other end of the spectrum.
posted by shinyshiny at 5:53 PM on August 30, 2008

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