***I recommend reading the post before this one, “Adderall Detox”, first. Scroll down to read, then come back to this one***
I first want to state: I am not a doctor, I am sharing what worked for me. Cold turkey is not for everyone. Sometimes it benefits an individual to slowly lean off. And, sometimes people do need professional help. I felt like I could do it myself, and its important to be aware of what you need.
It takes time to build a healthy routine getting off Adderall. It’s a lot of trial and error. But that is why I want to share what I learned to be helpful for me. Hopefully it could save some people some time. I also want people who have ADD to know how awesome it feel to embrace it and love it. These are all things I’ve learned over the past eight months. I believe this can be helpful for anyone going through this, is going through it, and even knows someone going through it. Some of these things I wish I had known earlier; some points might be obvious, some points might be helpful. So lets just dive right in…
My first advice to quitting is do it in a time where you are not overwhelmed at work. Last February was not the first time I tried to quit. I quit cold turkey last August, and it lasted two weeks until I got back on it because I thought I needed it for Christmas season. Honestly I think I did, because what I had put on my plate during that time, I did not grasp yet that I was no longer a mini-meth superwoman.
You will need rest to recover. Adderall takes a toll on your brain chemicals and it drains you of your dopamine and messes up the homeostasis of serotonin in your brain. Too much serotonin = manic. Too little serotonin = depressed. For those of you who have taken Adderall, you know that butterfly flush of energy you get when the pill settles in. You get so much energy and feel excited about working. That’s your dopamine. When you get off, dopamine feels flat-lined. It’s hard to feel pleasure/get excited. When I quit, I was exhausted. I thought it was just from all the months of lack of sleep catching up with me, which definitely could have been a big influence as well. But I also believe that my brain needed rest to recover and heal itself to find homeostasis in serotonin and dopamine again. Through resting, I realized how important sleep really is. I used to say if I had a super power, it would be that I didn’t have to sleep, so I could conquer everything I wanted to in this life. Now, I realize sleep is the super power. Being rested is the best thing for a peaceful mind, and energetic and productive day, and being able to deal with stress better. Supplements I found helpful for brain chemical rebalance is omega 3 and Spirulina.
On the subject of healing your brain and renewing your dopamine, the next best thing along side of rest is exercise. Go on a walk, go to a yoga class, a run…. Whatever you can do to move, DO IT! Exercise stimulates your dopamine. It brings energy. No matter how busy I am, I try to work in any kind of exercise I can daily. The energy, happiness, and peace I get from it helps me be more productive throughout the day. Bonus: sleep better at night!
Caffeine. At first I learned I needed to take a break from it. I felt crashes from coffee and I found it helpful to stick to a lighter dose of caffeine by drinking tea. B12 is a vitamin I found especially helpful with natural energy. Over time I was ready for coffee again. Something I have found to be especially powerful is bulletproof coffee. Every week day morning I drink bulletproof coffee as my breakfast. I load it up with the nutrients I need, and it sets me on such a healthy energy start. What I put in mine:
A small squeeze of Agave
1 tbs of MCT oil (hello healthy brain function!)
2 scoops of Lionsmane Mushroom powder (helps brain with memory)
Reishi Mushroom (immune system power house)
2 scoops of Vital proteins Collagen
Cacao Powder (energy and good for heart)
Step away from alcohol for a bit. I know most of us know hangovers. When you are hung over you are exhausted. Brain feels depleted. Alcohol also affects dopamine because it releases when we drink. When we are hung over, that’s a crash we feel. We are less productive, less likely to exercise, and don’t get good quality sleep. This is only going to prolong the change you are making. At the time of getting off Adderall, it is the time to really nurture yourself. A bonus of not drinking for however long it serves you when quitting: extra calories and bad food choices don’t add to the weight gain post Adderall.
Which leads me to the next point: the relationship with food after Adderall. This drug is a stimulant not only to brain, but digestive system. I’ve known people who take it just so they don’t eat, because this drug affects the appetite. Exercise and healthy eating will support you in this change. Gaining weight can be a fear in quitting, but just know to trust and love yourself through the process. You might feel sluggish for a bit, but you will get back on track, just like your brain chemicals do. I have found Dr. Gundry’s Vital Reds to help metabolism and natural energy (no caffeine). I also have found Dr. Gundry’s Prebiotics to be helpful in digestive health. A good supplement to help the cell detoxing is activated charcoal. Take it in capsule form or you can mix it in lemonade. To make the lemonade: I squeeze 1 lemon, empty two capsules into the cup, and add a drop of agave—mix and drink.
Write/journal. At the start of quitting, I wrote a lot of gratitude lists, it helped me feel love and pleasure in my surroundings. Do the morning pages. If you’re not sure what this is, I recommend reading “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron. You will write three pages every morning, purging anything you are holding in your mind. Whether It be a dream, things you’re being hard on yourself about, things you want to do, and so on. The possibilities of what you write about are endless, but writing them helps take the weight out of your mind. I find it extremely helpful, every morning to write out my daily goals. Also once a week, I make a list of my weekly goals. These goals can be personal things. They can also be tasks you need to get done. Exercise classes you want to attend. Whatever it is, write it down and manifest yourself doing it. Another thing that is positive to write about, is what you want your life to look like. What is your dream daily routine? What do you want for yourself in one year? What do you want your life to be like in 5? Write it down, in good detail. Then start to see how you can make action now to manifesting these things.
Read inspiring books. The Book of Joy has been with me everywhere the past eight months. After finishing it, I still love to pick it up and open to random chapter and think, this is what I need to hear today. There are so many good points in how to deal with everyday things, and how to direct your mind to stay positive and grounded. Plus, the Dali Lama and Arch Bishop Tutu are truly a joy to listen to (read their conversations). Outrageous Openness is another book I highly recommend. The Science of Creativity is a special edition Time Magazine edition. One of my absolute favorite parts about this read is the chapter where they talk about Da Vinci. Basically talks about how if he were alive in our generation, he would be considered highly ADD/ADHD. What they highlight, is how that was his strength. His ADD-ness was the key to his creativity and energy in imagination/curiosity.
Research other people who have quit Adderall and learn about this subject. My favorite podcast episode I have listened to thus far is That’s So Retrograde (Episode 146, The Adderall Episode). I love the girls who run this podcast. They are funny and so easy to listen to. They have a special guest on this episode Vanessa Fitzgerald, who is a nutritionist that quit Adderall. She started her journey of quitting and her story was very awesome to follow. I especially loved listening to her and looking more into her blog posts/instagram to find the natural ways and supplements she found helpful. Vanessa created a private group on facebook that you can join. This community in the group talks about their experience quitting, give advice/support, talk about what worked for them. The next thing I suggest is watch the Adderall Epidemic on Netflix. I was honestly scared to watch this because I thought it was going to make me feel bad that I use to take it. It actually made me be like wow, I am not the only one and this drug really is everywhere. I think the good thing about researching on this subject, will show you that you are not the only one. You will also learn what works for other people.
Create moments of luxury/love for yourself. For me, I find spending an hour in the morning writing and reading a necessary treat to start my day off inspired. Walking the dogs. Taking a bath at night. Yoga classes. Whatever it is that you feel good, try to treat yourself daily. You can’t do it all everyday, but work to find at least a couple treats, big or small, for yourself. Even when doing emails and sitting at the computer make it more comfortable for yourself so you enjoy it. Light a candle, have a cup of coffee in your favorite mug. Put ambient music on. Create moments of love and celebration throughout your day and your daily routines. It will make you want to show up on a whole new level while also creating more joy.
Save emails for your desk. With our phones being on us constantly, if we get notified about every email throughout the day, we can get overwhelmed and most of all, unorganized. Keep your work station your work station. Sit down at your computer and spend time to focus and keep note of what you need too. Setting yourself up to be more organized, will make you feel better.
Get to know your brain. Are you visual? Are you a listener? Zone in on how you work and learn the best. Let that be a focus.
Meditation/hypnotherapy/soundbaths/moon rituals. If meditation is new for you, I recommend downloading an app. Ones I’ve personally tried are: Relax and Sleepwell By Glen Harold, Headspace, and Me. Meditation. There are a lot of options out there, and it takes you to personally try them to see which works for you. It’s evident in mediation apps, how important the sound of someone’s voice is. The one I use is a british guy, and I have friends who have tried it/ can’t get into it because of his voice. It’s important to explore options so you find one that speaks to you. I find yoga to be a great place for meditation. Walking in nature is meditation. Do daily practices to bring your mind present, in whatever ways works for you. It will help with creating focus. Bringing in more peace. Dealing with stress. Moving with ease and intention. Moon rituals have been a new thing for me that I absolutely have fallen in love with. I highly recommend the app MoonLitTribe. A good friend of mine Alee Link is one of the creators of this app. She has been a huge influence for me and the rituals and mediations that come with the lunar cycle. I love hearing her guidance in terms of moon cycles and this app is a great way for everyone to practice. It helps with letting go and manifesting growth.
CREATE! Art is healing. Even if you think you’re not a creative person, I bet I could find a way you are. Cooking is creative. Decorating. Even cleaning and organizing can be creative! Pick up a hobby: paint, join a ceramics class, get into photography, etc. Use your mind and let expression be free. It will do wonders. Also soak up creative things. Listen to music, look at art, watch inspiring movies. Art can speak to you in so many levels.
Those are all the main areas and points that have helped me personally realign. And not only bounce back post Adderall, but have made me feel healthier and happier than ever.
Through this process I have learned to embrace my ADD and use it as my strength. When I get distracted by how the light beaming into a window, and the colors that I see existing… That is positive! That is being present! That is being inspired! The present moment has captured me. The way my mind bounces from thing to thing, I have found is something I can work with in terms of productivity. I like to have a lot of tasks going on at once. For example, when cleaning my house, I might sweep my kitchen and leave the pile of dirt while I go make my bed. I will come back for that pile when I’m ready. When I mow my grass, I do not do straight lines. I go in diagonals and create shapes. Eventually the grass is all evenly cut and it makes it more fun for me to feel free in it. Same thing in my studio, I hop around between a number of paintings daily.
Embrace the personality that comes with being off the drug. Talk to loved ones about it. What I have found is relationships are stronger because of it. I am more present and can be less reactive. Communication is easier and more peacefully. You will be a more authentic version of yourself.
For the people who are close to a person who has ADD: embrace and love it for them. Support them. Don’t give them a hard time about it. If anything show them that it’s a good thing and makes you love them more. Our fast pace society can already cause self-confidence issues, and this shouldn’t be looked as a weakness. This should be embraced and loved. Because it really is a blessing for creativity. Teachers can find a way to work with kids amping on this. For me, being hands on is how I learn. Parents can support kids to pursue creative outlets to let them gain confidence and feel good about themselves. I’m grateful my parents supported my art from such a young age, it always made me feel good about having something.
It takes getting to know yourself and what works for you, and be patient along the way. We are our own biggest critic. Show yourself love through the progress, because supporting yourself emotionally will get you through any change you make in your life. If you fail at something like forgetting a task, take care of it without beating yourself up. A hard part about the change is the expectations people have of you and what you have of yourself. The expectations you have of yourself can’t be compared to what you did on Adderall. Patience is a huge virtue and important to practice. Know that you will get through any challenge. You will be able to conquer all the things like you once did on the drug, and the process will bring out more of your personality. Be sure to celebrate every thing you conquer. Even in the first days being off, celebrate getting out of bed and going on walk. Celebrate every time you finish something for work. If you gotta take a nap, do it! Take note of the time of day when you are most productive and amp on that time. Creating new routine will take time, but goodness it will change your life in such a positive way!
I’m always here to talk to anyone who wants to talk about any of this! Feel free to reach out any time!
Love to you all!