As a psychotherapist, I hear people rationalize their abuse of Adderall and Vyvanse. They try to excuse their use of Adderall and Vyvanse despite very negative consequences. Negative consequences like feeling ill, not sleeping, obsessing, having conflicts in their relationships, and conflicts in school and work. The people that voice these excuses are not stupid or ignorant. They are intelligent, fit, and capable. They are caught in a drug-induced trap. Their use of Adderall and Vyvanse blocks their ability to access their intelligence, their fitness, and their full capacity. In many cases, they are trying to excuse the continued use of Adderall and Vyvanse to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. In other cases, they have become habituated or dependent on Adderall and Vyvanse and believe that they need to use these drugs in order to function. They believe that they need Adderall and Vyvanse to function because Adderall and Vyvanse trick their brain to believe it. 

I have followed each of the 7 most frequent excuses for the abuse of Adderall and Vyvanse with factual explanations. I have done so in order to be of use, not judge or put down. Perhaps you may recognize some of these excuses. Perhaps you recognize them, and perhaps they will increase your awareness. That is my hope.

These are the 7 excuses that people that abuse Adderall and Vyvanse voice most frequently:

1. “I really do have ADHD.”

In reality, a very small percentage of the population has ADHD. The number of people that abuse Adderall and Vyvanse is larger than the number of people diagnosed with ADHD. And, people who have ADHD don’t abuse Adderall and Vyvanse. They use Adderall and Vyvanse according to their prescribed amount. People with ADHD do not abuse Adderall and Vyvanse because they don’t like the side effects that come when you use too much Adderall or Vyvanse. Actually, people who have ADHD would prefer not to have to use these medications at all. People with ADHD don’t want to be agitated, not able to sleep and experience the negative states of mind and sensations that come with abusing Adderall and Vyvanse. People with ADHD use the right amount of Adderall and Vyvanse at the right time, hoping that they don’t have to feel anything as a result of using these medications—except the ability to pay attention to a task. So, if you like using Adderall and Vyvanse, and you like that they affect your mood, that they give you energy or make you feel more confident, or awake, or any other effect other than increased attention, there is a great chance that you don’t have ADHD.

2.”Adderall and Vyvanse are prescribed medications.” 

Heroin was a prescribed medication once. Cocaine was sold in pharmacies once. Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and all the other benzodiazepines are some of the most prescribed addictive drugs that have ever existed.  Prescribed opiates like Oxycontin got thousands of people addicted and caused thousands of deaths. Get the point? Prescriptions don’t make drugs safe. The right use of drugs makes drugs safe. Drugs are only safe when they are used by the people that really need them, in the amount that a professional doctor has prescribed them. A professional doctor that is not a scumbag legal drug dealer. Just getting a prescription for a drug doesn’t validate their use. If you are using Adderall and Vyvanse in the wrong way, and for the working reasons, they will hurt you. A script can’t make drug abuse right. A prescription will not save you from the negative consequences of Adderall and Vyvanse abuse.

3.“Adderall and Vyvanse are legal.”

A legal drug is not always a safe drug. Heroin was legal once. Nicotine and Alcohol are legal, and they are some of the most addictive and dangerous substances on the planet. Legal drugs like anti-anxiety medications Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and all the other benzodiazepines, are some of the most addictive drugs that have ever existed. Legal pain killers like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, and all the drugs that belong to the “opiate” family have created addiction for millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. Nicotine, Alcohol, Benzodiazepines, and Opiates are all legal. They are also highly addictive, dangerous, and potentially deadly. Their legality is irrelevant when it comes to their potential to create addiction and kill people.

4.“I need Adderall and Vyvanse to function.”

No one needs a drug to function, except people that have developed a habit or dependence on a drug. If you need a drug to function normally, to prevent discomfort, or prevent feeling sick, you are habituated or dependent on it. If you need Adderall and Vyvanse to function normally or not feel sick, it is certain you have developed a problem with your use of these drugs. The problem may be that you have created a strong habit of using Adderall and Vyvanse to be able to perform certain tasks. You may rely on Adderall and Vyvanse to manage certain situations, certain feelings, etc. If you feel that you can’t perform an activity without the help of Adderall and Vyvanse, you have become “habituated” to using Adderall and Vyvanse.

When habituation creates a physical dependency, it becomes Chemical Dependency. Being chemically dependent on a drug in order to function is the same as being addicted to it.

If you feel physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Adderall and Vyvanse, you are probably chemically dependent. Some of the withdrawal symptoms of Adderall and Vyvanse are nervousness, anxiety, depression, not being able to sleep, poor appetite, agitation, and other physical discomforts. So, if you really need Adderall and Vyvanse to function, you are probably experiencing Adderall and Vyvanse habituation, or Adderall and Vyvansedependency. So, the argument that you use Adderall and Vyvanse because you need them is not a valid excuse to use Adderall and Vyvanse. If you really need Adderall and Vyvanse to function, you developed an Adderall and Vyvanse habit or an Adderall and Vyvanse dependency. And, if you have developed a habit or dependence on Adderall and Vyvanse, you need to seek help and stop.

5.“I just use Adderall and Vyvanse when I need them.”

If you use Adderall and Vyvanse only when you need them, that means that you take Adderall and Vyvanse in the right dosage, and at the right times, according to the instructions of a prescription. A prescription that was written for you by a medical professional. Is this your experience? If you use Adderall and Vyvanse for any other reason, in any other way, you are abusing them. 

If you use Adderall and Vyvanse for any purpose other than medicating the condition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you are not using Adderall and Vyvanse because you need them. The people that need to medicate their ADHD are the only people that need to take Adderall and Vyvanse. If you don’t have ADHD, you are not using Adderall and Vyvanse because you need to. You are using Adderall and Vyvanse because you want to.

6.“I’m just going to use Adderall and Vyvanse as long as I’m in school.”

It would be wonderful to have the ability to abuse an addictive substance when we want and not use it when we don’t, without having to go through withdrawals, cravings, and physical and mental discomfort. Unfortunately for us humans, it’s not that simple. You don’t get to just walk away from Adderall, Vyvanse, or any other addictive substance that you abuse without negative consequences. If you don’t have the ability to control your brain activity like a Vulcan—you won’t be able to choose when to stop abusing Adderall and Vyvanse. It’s not how it works. You don’t get to stop drug abuse by simply choosing to do so, any more than you can stop diarrhea with wishful thinking. When you stop the use of a drug that you have been abusing, your body goes into drug withdrawal. Drug withdrawal is a medical condition. You can’t decide to not go through it. The only choices that exist when dealing with withdrawal are: 1. are you going to go through it painfully and dangerously? Or, 2. Are you going to go through it in an easier way, with medical help?

7.“It’s just like using other stimulants like energy drinks or coffee.”

No, it isn’t. Adderall and Vyvanse are powerful medications, not an energizing drink. Adderall and Vyvanse are powerful stimulants that have the capacity to alter brain chemistry. Adderall and Vyvanse create effects that no energy drink or over the counter stimulant can trigger. I have never known of anyone locking themselves in, compulsively watching porn, masturbating, and/or not wanting to have sex with live people after drinking Red Bulls. I have never known of someone raging, avoiding family and friends, obsessing about sleeping, and feeling anxious to the point of desperation after drinking some Monsters. I never had to treat someone depressed, agitated, and out of control because they have been torturously obsessing about Starbucks running out of coffee and not finding a barista that will give them access to unlimited amounts of espressos. No, Adderall and Vyvanse are not just other stimulants.

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