Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Adderall Effect

And I thought that
Adderall was going to be a problem in that people would misconstrue why I was taking this particular stimulant and they would think I was using it as a diet drug. But oh, it is so not working like that.

Yes, it is an Amphetamine. And yes, Amphetamines are known for making people not want to eat. I do admit that since starting them, the crazy binges that I was going on seem to have stopped although I also state for the record that I still want sweets and even, covertly, bought 8 (eight) malted milk balls from Henry's Market out of their bulk bin last Saturday night and secretly ate them before joining my family and loved ones at Warner Center Movies In the Park. I also bought a package of Bavarian Pretzels which I brought to the park and shared, and I also shared in the popcorn that Adele - aka goodsis2 - brought for the group. The desire to eat has not left me.

I don't know why this is. On the first day of taking them, I didn't want to eat much, but that sensation was short lived. Now I feel like I did before this brain issue started... like I have a choice in the matter of foods, but I hold the key to making the decision what I am going to eat. I can and would eat junk if I thought there would not be a consequence.

Additionally, I get hungry while taking the pills. Really hungry. The sad fact is that I take the first one very early in the morning. That chemical reaction allows me to get out of bed and function after a fashion in the morning. But I have found that if I eat anything after consuming the first pill, it renders it ineffective and I wind back up in the semi-catatonic state for the rest of the day that I was living in before starting the series. That's just not acceptable, so I choose not to eat breakfast. And I suffer.

Around mid morning, I usually break down and take a small snack. I've found that an ounce or two of pretzels don't seem to interfere with the medication, so that has become my standard. But I do pause for thought as I eat them. This is not the healthy option that Richard taught me to incorporate into my lifestyle. Rather, it's simply empty carbohydrates. The trouble is that real food inhibits the action of the meds, I'm ravenous at this point and feeling it in my body as well as my psyche, and this particular food in small quantity gets me through. So I plan to continue eating them between 10:30 and 11 am for the time being, but I'm not happy about it. In fact, I'm out of them this morning and will need to run to Henry's Market to buy them out of their bulk barrel (the have salt less Bavarian ones there), pointedly ignoring the Malted Milk Ball dispenser all the while.

I take my second pill at noon. I watch the clock closely as the first pill, although it gets me moving, does not act in a strong enough manner to bring my brain into focus. I can get things like e-mail done, and get myself dressed, and minimally clean house, but I am not myself. It isn't until about an hour after the 2nd pill that I am as fully functional as I can expect. Somewhere between 65 and 75% of my normal self.

At this point, I'm starving. I dare not eat before the second pill is fully in force, and that's about 60 to 90 minutes after taking it. Then I eat a lunch - so far very healthy - that ranges in the 400 to 600 calorie range. It's enough to fill my calorie needs for the afternoon and keep my body functioning normally. Then, I am ready to work on jewelry or other creative pastimes, make serious dents in the organization and cleanliness of my condo, and do other tasks essential for daily living.

I do profess that again, I am relieved of the binging urge, for it was the afternoon that I was at my worst before starting this med. The doctors are theorizing that my body was hitting such a level of fatigue that it was triggering me to eat anything to give it short bursts of rapid energy. The issue, of course, that the bursts were very short lived and I'd have to dip into the simple carb pool again and again, and suffer the rapid weight gain that such action would promote.

The pills drop off very rapidly in the evening. Come around 9 pm, I'm ravenous. I've been trying to leave leftovers from lunch in my refrigerator so that there is something easy to grab, and then I'm trying to get to bed early. There seems to be a residual effect to the stimulants in that although I still do not sleep enough hours, the qualtiy of my sleep is better. I'm not waking up several times in the night, and having to eat every one of them.

Why doesn't this pill work like it's reputation as an appetite suppressant for me? I'm not sure, but I have a theory. Most people who take it as a diet pill are functioning at normal capacity. That means that the chemicals can put more emphasis into side effects and prohibit eating. For me, the pills are expending most of their energy just in opening up the pathway to my brain. There isn't much left for other ulterior actions.

Any way I look at it, I'm still worried that I am setting a bad example by taking these pills, but I'm going to have to live with that. They are making my life bearable for the moment. Until we know what is really wrong with me, I will use anything and everything available to come to center ground.

But the guilt about getting a free ride to weight loss? I think I'm over it. For I can state without a doubt that this is no free ride for me. I'm working the program, and working it hard.


jo said...

Laura, I think you are setting a good example. You are taking care of your health. That's the example you need to set, that's what people need to get--that' what I get from your posting.

You need to get over the stigma of what these pills are and how people use and/or misuse them.

I think back to the excellent post you wrote about medications and Michael Jackson. People abuse those drugs (pain pills) much more than stimulants, in my mind. You take them because you need them. Same with the Adderall.

I'm glad it's making your life more liveable now. I hope they figure out the problem soon.

Take care.

Adele said...

Setting a bad example for who? The dogs? Nobody else sees what you are doing. They only know what you post. So if you want to keep something private, or just between you and a couple of friends, don't post. Only email or converse.

Sorry to throw you off with the malted milk balls. I bought them on a whim when Eric's kids came over to swim, and had no idea they would be so good. If you are having trouble with the regular ones, don't buy the peanut butter malted milk balls.


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