General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Should a person be taken off a medication just because it has a reputation for abuse? What can be done about this?

Asked by Yellowdog (8783points) 3 weeks ago

What can be done without accusations of being a drug seeker? Or “doctor shopping”?

For years, I took Adderall / dextroamphetamine for ADD (ADHD) and Narcolepsy.

I remember the first time I took this medication. For the first time, I actually “saw” the individual items in the hopeless clutter I lived in. I saw individual books and items that I had no idea of their whereabouts, and actually started cleaning up and organizing.

I was able to let go of items that were persistently in my way. And I was no longer falling asleep at red lights.

It didn’t work total miracles as I think more than just a drug was needed. But I was productive enough to not live in daydreams, actually got my life moving forward enough that I became a church pastor for a couple of years. I was social, able to look people in the eye, and although still disorganized I was able to clean up and organize things after the fact. I was able to look good and impress people because I was intelligent, compassionate, able to take care of myself and others even with opposition. I loved a challenge because it was another triumph I never knew was possible.

For unrelated reasons I came back to be near my parents when my mother had a brain tumor and was totally disabled. But I started working at a campus bookstore.

A few years later, I was shot in a robbery, The hospital took me off adderall because it was considered dangerous or addictive. And since I wasn’t working, I didn’t need it.

When I went back to my regular physician, he did not want to re-prescribe Adderall probably because of its reputation; his clinic didn’t normally ever prescribe it although he did for me. He wanted me to get this medication from a mental health provider.

At first, the mental health clinic put me back on it. But when that doctor left, the next doctor who was supposed to prescribe it, did not. He insisted that the clinic would NEVER prescribe such a drug, and how it was abused, dangerous, would interfere with other problems, etc etc.

Instead, I was put on medications that don’t seem to be working, including an antidepressant that keeps me asleep about 20 hours and gives me weird, vivid dreams. Talk about weird drugs and side effects!

Adderall worked for me for many years with no problems. But clinics, nurses, physicians will not prescribe it. I am back to living in daydreams, imaginary relationships, imaginary scenarios, living in the past, afraid to move forward, not knowing what to do with what remains of my life, and most of all, afraid and with anxiety and hopelessness because I cannot extract myself from the jumbled morass my life has become.

Don’t get me wrong—others are dependent on me for transportation, moral support, even financial help (and I’m on disability)—but I miss the life I had all those years ago when I was a minister and a writer. I can’t even get a resume together now, and doubt anyone would hire me having been out of work for so long. I need to be a self starter and take life by the horns, but that seems so hopeless now.

I really think the meds I was on would help me. But if you request them enough, you are accused of doctor shopping or being a drug seeker.

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20 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know much about the thinking on Adderall now, but you might be able to try another drug if doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. I mean a different one from what you are on now.

My aunt used to joke that drugs that aren’t addictive don’t work. That’s not always true, but it does seem the most effective ones are the most addictive. It’s unfortunate.

Does your doctor know you believe your psychological state is affecting your ability to work and support yourself?

You will have to doctor shop if your current doctor will not prescribe it, s d if he won’t try a different drug than what you are taking.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Yellowdog Doctors are very leery for good reason. Moms steal the kids adderollsince its legal speed without the diagnosis.

That being said, I know people on it, mostly sleep disorders. Keep looking, and dont let them make you feel bad. You know your body and what works, they should listen.

Inspired_2write's avatar

From the “warning section”:

“Do not stop taking dextroamphetamine and amphetamine without talking to your doctor, especially if you have overused the medication.

Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually and monitor you carefully during this time.

You may develop severe depression and extreme tiredness if you suddenly stop taking dextroamphetamine and amphetamine after overusing it.”


Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine: MedlinePlus Drug… › Drugs, Herbs and Supplements

raum's avatar

I know Adderall use is pretty common among college students. So clearly there is a need to regulate it.

Yet stricter regulations are impacting the demographic that actually needs these meds.

There’s also another medication for ADHD. Desoxyn is chemically similar to methamphetamine. It’s heavily regulated and difficult to come by since many doctors are hesitant to prescribe it because the addiction risk is high.

Vyvanse, as with all amphetamines, is also addictive.

I think if you don’t have a family medical history of addiction. And if you have a strong support system that is well-informed about signs of addiction. It may be worth it to revisit these medications with the support of your psychiatrist.

Good luck!

flutherother's avatar

I would be careful and listen to your doctor. As with any drug there are side effects and the problems with taking Adderall can outweigh any benefit. Adderall is actually a controlled substance in the UK and possession is punishable by up to five years in prison.

kritiper's avatar

You can’t assume that any one person, or any group of people, will abuse a medication just because some people do. All you can do is control the medications through prescription only use, and hope for the best.

YARNLADY's avatar

I always trust my doctor to know what is best. A few years ago, she took me off Prempro because of the long term effects and my energy vanished. I feel sluggish and tired most of the time now.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s a tough situation, for doctors, and patients now.

About 5 months ago, I had a developed a terrible pain in my abdomen, which even ran down to my left testicle. I couldn’t sleep, and was in extreme pain. I went to the ER, and they put me on a powerful injectable narcotic. When I was being discharged, I asked if they could give me a couple days worth of pain meds. The doctor said “no, we don’t want you to become addicted.”


So I was deemed painful enough to get injectable pain meds, while there, but when I left, I was supposed to just suffer the same pain, with nothing… That made NO sense to me. So. I suffered extreme pain, for about 2 months, and just had to live with it.
I had some sort of benign growth, in my intestines. It was supposed to just die, and my body would naturally remove it. That did happen. The pain eventually stopped. But, it was debilitating, for a while.

I have been on opioids before, several times in my life, and NEVER got addicted. I understand the doctor’s position, but the result, was that I suffered tremendously, for months. Now. I don’t even ask for pain meds.
I cracked my head open about 3 weeks ago. I didn’t even ask for lidocaine, when they were stitching my head up. I suffered a concussion, and had terrible head aches. But I didn’t bother asking for pain meds. I just worked, and lived, with the pain…

Currently, there is no way around the addictive drug problem. You just have to adapt…

I’m truly sorry for your issues @Yellowdog . All I can do, is give you my support, and hope things get better.

Peace n love.

janbb's avatar

Some doctors will still prescribe narcotics but it is usually when they develop a trust relationship with you. I had strong pain meds prescribed when I broke my ankle.

filmfann's avatar

While recovering from heart surgery, i was taking several drugs that are back alley favorites.
Without them, the pain would have been too much.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. Well. My PCP, would probably have prescibed me some meds, but I don’t like the way opioids make me feel, so I just gave up on it. I have chronic pain, from multiple past injuries, so, I’ve just gotten accustomed to living with pain. It’s always the worst, when I wake up. If I live another 10, or more years, I’m not sure how I’ll even get around. I resort to alcohol when it’s real bad. But that isn’t good either.

I do have some success with Gabapentine (probably spelled that wrong.) I had two motorcycle accidents, and an ACL reconstruction in my past, and have a herniated disk in my lower back. So… I live with some sort of pain, daily. I just accept it, as part of life… I don’t like using any type of drug anyway. It flares up my anxiety issues…

Life is Hell…..What can I say…..

LadyMarissa's avatar

Is it fair??? NO!!! I can tell you that the harder you fight to get back on Adderall, the more they will deny you a script for it because it only proves to them that you plan to abuse!!! It’s NOT the dr’s fault because the government is keeping track of the scripts the dr’s write & IF they write too many, they could go to jail. That means that dr’s have learned to err on the side of caution & most will flat out deny. Talk to your doctor & explain what is going on. When I had a similar problem, my dr kept switching meds until he found one that worked right for me. After the first few attempts that didn’t work, he actually gave me samples to try until we hit on a good combination. One thing you might want to consider is that sometimes less is more. For me, I often do better on a smaller dosage than a larger one. My dr often gave me say 75mg which is what usually worked for most adults my size. We discovered that I only needed 25mg which worked better for me than the higher dosage. It took a lot of persistence on my part to get him to listen in the beginning; but once he did, he started listening to me better all way around!!!

JLeslie's avatar

Those of you who say listen to your doctor do realize that it was a doctor originally who prescribed the medication.

kritiper's avatar

I don’t think any doctor would prescribe taking more than the dosage mentioned on the bottle.

longgone's avatar

I’m sorry, that sounds very difficult.

Could you try to find a therapist? There might be drug-free ways to help you. And if not, the therapist could at least advocate for you with the doctors.

jca2's avatar

I’m sure you are aware that doctors now are under increased scrutiny to monitor patients’ prescriptions and make sure nobody is shopping or pushing too hard for meds. Some doctors have even gone to jail or lost licenses.

Times I’ve had major surgery, I’ve taken no painkillers. One surgery, I got out of the hospital a day early because I was not using the pain pump at all so they let me go. When I shattered my ankle and tore three ligaments in it, I was prescribed Vicodin and took one pill, one time. I had an impacted wisdom tooth and the dentist told me to go home and take an aspirin, and I did, and it was fine. I handle pain very well and am not one to pop pills for anything.

When I broke my ankle, what led me to the surgeon I used was that I was sent to a pain management doctor. I told him I didn’t want pain medication (which is how he makes his living) and I asked him if he has any suggestions that are holistic. I told him I was in a lot of pain and I didn’t want to live my life on painkillers. He told me “you need surgery.” He suggested a great surgeon and voila. Ironically, the pain management doctor’s name was Dr. Hertz. LOL.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 That sounded quite moralistic. You are lucky if you can manage your pain without meds. Personally I’m all for being given and taking what I need for pain to keep me comfortable and help me heal. I was on one narcotic that made me nauseous and I stopped that but was given another that eased my pain and helped my healing. I didn’t abuse it and titrated down on my own and stopped at a certain point even though it was a “happy pill.” I think everyone is different and am glad there are still doctors who manage pain. I don’t know exactly what the answer to opioid addiction is but I hate the idea of people not getting the pain management they need.

By the way, I was very concerned about disposing of the rest of the narcotics that made me sick. I didn’t want to leave them at my family’s and I didn’t want them to get out to the street. I also didn’t want to take them home on the plane. I was able to give them to a visiting nurse to return.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: I am aware that not everyone handles pain the way I do. I consider myself lucky.

JLeslie's avatar

You can’t directly compare pain meds to psych drugs. The OP wants to feel better and function better. Sure, if he has an addiction he might be feeling better partly for the wrong reasons, but that is the tricky part about psych drugs.

@jca2 I’m like you with the pain thing. I took Advil when I had my 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed. When I had my bad accident several years ago they gave me prescriptions for Tramadol (opioid) and a muscle relaxer, and I only filled 15 of the 30 pills they wrote for each, and I still have about 12 of each pill sitting in my cupboard. While in the hospital for the accident I only took a pain pill when I had to go through a procedure, but I didn’t necessarily need it. Actually, in the ER they dosed me with Fentanyl, which was amazing, but I wasn’t asking for pain medication, I could tolerate the pain. I was banged up really badly. The doctors seemed much more concerned about my pain than I was.

Conversely, I think doctors too often put patients through pain when they should do something. Like they did a bone marrow extraction in my SIL, which was very painful for her, and I think they should have done something so the procedure wasn’t so bad. My dad recently had stitches removed, and it was done later than it should have been so it hurt, why not give him a little numbing stuff to make it painless?

@janbb I do think some people feel more pain than others. There are people who avoid a dental cleaning because of the pain. I guess they feel much more pain than the average person. Some people believe they shouldn’t feel any discomfort though. I’m not sure if their pain tolerance is low, or they just have the wrong idea about pain. Or, maybe just have been really lucky not to have suffered much in their life.

filmfann's avatar

When I was working, I had a notoriously bad back. It wouldn’t take much to set it off, and I would be bedridden for weeks.
I took my family to Disneyland, and between carrying my grandson, and some of the more violent rides the next morning I couldn’t move.
Luckily, my daughters found some Vicodin I brought, just in case, and within an hour I was on my feet, high as a kite. My sister was quite amused by my behavior (we are both strongly anti-drug).
So it saved the day on an important vacation.

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