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Here are a couple thoughts on "addiction".

I switched from Concerta to Strattera and now to Adderall. I am 38 - diagnosed at 35. When I switch from Concerta 54, even though much of it's effectiveness was lost, I suffered terrible head aches until I called my doctor. He praised me for calling and then prescribed a small amount of 5mg tabs of generic ritalin to take when my head aches would start. Soon I was completely off the ritalin.

Addiction is quite normal but also needs to be destigmatized and placed in proper context here. I'm over simplifying but, to be addicted or to be an abuser are two different things. Abuse is identified by the drive to continue using a chemical - even if it's causing you to spiral out of control, "break the law", or destroy relationships.

Addiction is a natural condition wherein the brain requires a chemical "suppliment" to function. An addictive trait is one that requires a continual increase in the dose to get the same effect.

There is an awesome program on VHS by Bill Moyer called the Hijacked Brain.

(or similar online: [url="http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/1998/040298/Childress.html"]http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/1998/040298/Childress.html[/url] )

My point being this. A large portion of the population is genetically set up for addiction. A normal brain gets high, sick and recovers. An additive brain says "hey, I detect sufficient neurotransmitters so I don't have to work so hard to make my own". The outcome is that the brain requires the drug (or alcohol) to function and even more to get high. This level keeps going up and, the amount that used to make the addict high, now makes them feel normal, and they need even more to get high.

My family is highly addictive and I escaped the alcholism (I could never remember where my drink was - lol) but, I would venture to think that, how we feel unmedicated, is similar to how someone else feels hung over - when the brain is insufficiently working - dull and oversensitive to external stimulation.

Now, back to my point. ADD AD/HD is a deficiency. End of story. Neurotransmitters are powerful. If you're missing them, you need them to make up the difference. You have to be the judge and ALWAYS error to using the least amount of the drug you can get away with to correct your problems. Reduce when you feel euphoric, increase when you stop benefitting but, most of all, keep under the guidance of a professional. Self-medicating puts your brain in charge and that's dangerous.

Loosing the benefits of a med are normal. Yes, this is commonly caused by chemical "addiction" but lets not treat this shamefully, it's normal. ADD and AD/HD require controlled substances to correct.

My gift in my own ADD is that I am one parent that "understands" how cruel it is to deny proper medications to children suffering from ADD and/or AD/HD. I would never give my child meds to make my life, or the life of my child's teacher, easier - I give my child meds to give him the same chance and satisfaction to succeed as someone without this taunting condition.

It's your call. If you are the one taking the meds, you have to remember to error to the least amount you need. If you increase your med intake, even one day, your body resets the bar to your new level and the next day will surely be difficult at best. That is abuse. Learn the fear that YOU have to protect the benefit you get from your med by not over medicating. Always use the least amount you require to function correctly.

I won't belabor this topic any more. I'm open to replies.





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