As of 07/29/2018, I decided to stop taking Vyvanse for my ADD/ADHD (as diagnosed). I had contemplated this decision several weeks before I pulled the plug but I hadn’t come up with a plan. Honestly, I still haven’t.
I decided to stop taking Vyvanse because the side effects become too expensive. So it has to go.
Full Disclosure: I have not discussed this with my doctor b/c I always get the feeling that he’s not listening. His questions are always the same. He never asks about any of the side effects (I assumed this is intentionally in order to give me an opportunity to give him my authentic experience). He always looks as though he just chewed a handful of the same pills he prescribes before he walked into the room. He shrugs his shoulders and smiles robotically and I play along. I respect my doctor and his profession but I don’t hold him or anyone else responsible for my health. This is ultimately up to me. I cannot and will not hold him responsible for anything he isnt aware of. I know me better than he does and I know that Vyvanse has to go. If not completely, I definitely will be reducing my use of it to an as needed basis but I will be instituting a 30 Day cleanse before I take it again…as needed.
Quick Note: Speaking of which, let’s briefly discuss “as needed”. As needed for me equates to my having to complete very important projects, assignments, orders, (small business owner) or attend any event that requires me to provide my undivided attention and order of mind. These are the only reasons that I would need to take Vyvanse. Anything else, I’m capable of handling without incident; thus my decision to stop using Vyvanse and begin an “as needed” only regimen.
The beginning….how is/was life without Vyvanse? Well it was full of creativity, struggling for consistent focus, and procrastination…lots of procrastination…oh and unfinished projects. I love to write and that’s a nod to my creativity. I enjoy thought provoking projects, conversations, challenges, and writing about them. I’ll write about anything just about and I enjoy it. On the other hand, I often leave writing pieces unfinished and/or I procrastinate my way through them. I also have trouble studying, especially new content. Its hard for me to give my attention to a single thing for more than a short period of time. This is by far the most saddening for me with ADD/ADHD. I consider myself an intelligent and mature individual and to know that I cannot study appropriately saddens me. It really does. I don’t know why but it does. I makes me really sad that I cant do something this simple but I digress.
My personality is pretty jovial (and serious, if that’s even possible) and balanced for the most part. Things have to make sense for me to accept them. If/when they don’t, I either accept them or reject them. Simple. (NOT)> I am however very impatient and I can be impulsive but not with detriment. Depending on what my menstrual period has in store for me on a monthly basis, I’d say I’m pretty balanced, like anything I have days of more left than right or a full on topsy turby-esque life. I like to talk and spend time with friends. I’m a social person. I like sports, parties, etc. I’m competitive and I love to celebrate. Birthdays mostly but celebrating life. Things changed when I started taking Vyvanse in 2015.
The changes were not all bad. When I first started taking it, I noticed an immediate change. I was able to focus, get things done, complete things, and my mood was great. I also lost weight but I later found out this too was a side effect. I don’t consider it a negative because it was a healthy weight loss that needed to happen however it didn’t need to happen this way. This was an ebb and flow situation because I quickly began to notice that after about 9-10pm, I would have the urge to binge eat carbs before bed. Things like cookies, cereal, crackers, chips, etc. Once I had my fill I’d fall asleep. This was not good at all. Granted, I did this all throughout the day before Vyvanse, a habit like this is no good at any time of the day. But again, when Vyvanse was wearing off and existing my system, I would severely binge eat and then I’d pass out. Not good.
Vyvanse put me in a position to achieve more by quantity of productivity in my workdays and I was proud of that. I must also note that Ive always felt like my attention was shot to hell but I coped with it. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 34 years old. This was another factor in why I must stop taking Vyvanse and I shouldn’t feel some kind of way about it.
I made it 34 years—granted I haven’t won a Nobel Prize or anything but Ive done decently well for a majority of my life without it. Therefore, medicating it isnt a must. I don’t need Vyvanse to be successful. Honestly I don’t need it at all but it does help.
Vyvanse also helped my mood which I appreciated, especially during my menstrual cycle when my mood swings are peak. Vyvanse helped me feel great, focus long enough to get things done, and lose weight. These are all quite valuable attributes. But what were they costing me?
A few months ago I started to notice somethings about myself and I didn’t like them. My short-term memory—which in essence is my long term memory was completely off kilter. I couldn’t remember simple and repetitive things. I couldn’t recall a number that I had just seen. I realized that I wasn’t storing anything in my short-term memory long than the time required to utilize it. I couldnt remember doing things, having conversations, closing the garage, placing this there, etc. In a matter of seconds…I could not remember. THIS IS NOT GOOD.
My creativity was beginning to suffer. Designing and writing was more of a struggle than it was without Vyvanse because I found myself focused so intensely on small details that I could barely get beyond the beginning steps of a project. My personality started to become drone-ish. When I went out to parties I became so affixed on certain elements in my environment that I rarely enjoyed myself the way I used to. I didn’t dance much because I was too focused on how to dance right instead of jumping in and getting down, which, is my usual style of partying.
When having conversations with people I found myself so focused on that ONE thing that caught my attention first that I stopped paying attention to anything else that was being said.
My tolerance level for others and emotional IQ was plummeting. I began to expect the same thing from others as I did from myself and that was unfair because they didn’t have Vyvanse and I did. I stopped feeling and I was just doing. I was just existing to get tasks accomplished and that wasn’t my goal. I began to go through things so fast in the name of getting them done. In the end, I couldnt explain to anyone how I had gotten from point A to point B, I just looked up and I was there.
Suffering the side effects of Vyvanse is much more costly than suffering the side effects of ADD/ADHD. Deciding to stop and reduce my dosage is a no brainer (no pun intended)
On the other hand, knowing that without Vyvanse, I still have a problem maintaining focus for long periods of time, I knew that had to either replace it with something else but that something else has to be holistic and safer. So, I started researching.
The first thing I researched were the side effects that I experienced. I did this because I wanted to be sure that these experiences were not anomalies that only happened to me. I needed to know that I was able to document these effects independent of myself but were also in line with what other users had experienced. I found hundreds of blogs, videos, messageboards, websites, articles, etc about the side effects that I had been experiencing and so had others. Some of the information was almost an exact mirror experience of what I had been going thru. I had mixed feelings about the information that I found. It revealed a few things that made me uncomfortable. While I was excited to find resources that supported my experience, I was a disenchanted with the fact that these side-effects were so rampant. I was peeved to know that so many people like myself—in the name of helping themselves to become better people, had endured the same things I had. No one wants to suffer. Suffering is an option but it’s a difficult option to not choose when it’s attached to a benefit.
After taking in the research on the side effects, I should have established a plan but I didn’t. I absorbed the information and procrastinated while still experiencing the side-effects. I think I was still in shock because people had always made statements about the side-effects of ADD/ADHD medications but I just charged it off and uneducated jargon and also urband myths. A lot of people speak strongly from hearsay but now I see more clearly their intent.
Being that I didn’t start with a plan, I ended up making a half circle back to my research on what ADD/ADHD is and what it does and doesn’t do for people’s brains. I needed to re-up on this knowledge in order to research holistic and safer substitutes to help me manage my ADD/ADHD symptoms.
Most of ADD/ADHD activity in the brain is related to dopamine and neurotransmitters. So I went back to the basics of these topics and their activities as they related to ADD/ADHD. It was a lot of information that will likely be a separate blog post but let’s just say that everyone’s brain experiences and processes differently however there is a standard that we should all exist in between. I drift far away from that standard and as a result, I need help getting back.
I kept forging on and begain to research supplements and holistic ways of decreasing the symptoms of ADD.ADHD. I was surprised to learn that one of the Amino Acids that I had taken in the past when I was training for football was among the many supplements. L-Tyrosine. Researching non-stimulant chemical drugs led me back to getting a better understanding of what activity occurs in my brain, how my dopamine levels are responding, etc. Turns out, L-Tyrosine is a dopamine booster and dopamine has a direct affect on a person’s mood. I was all for this because I had taken L-Tyrosine before and I knew how my body responded to it.
I immediately decided that I would try only one supplement at a time in order to gauge its effectiveness and my body’s response.
Today marks 7 days Vyvanse free and I feel good. Of course some of the ADD/ADHD symptoms are back but I’m not worried because I know that this is a process and I can manage this with a less chemically invasive option than Vyvanse.