“I Was Addicted to Meth When I Was Diagnosed With ADHD”

ADHD and meth

Katherine, a young woman I’d met at a conference, wrote to me: “Gina, I was addicted to meth for 5 years until I was diagnosed with ADHD.”

You would never take Katherine for a drug abuser. A realtor in her early 30s, she was the picture of fitness and beauty. You see, Katherine did not set out to abuse a street drug. Like many others with unrecognized or poorly managed ADHD and other psychiatric conditions, she faced a “Perfect Storm” of circumstances—and, in her words, “made a really bad choice.”

She continues with her story, below.  After you take in Katherine’s real-life experience, please be sure to read through the 100+ comments. You’ll read the accounts from many people living in fear of getting arrested for purchasing street meth, spending more money than they have on it, and desperately wanting legitimate treatment for what they feel sure is ADHD. Yet, they face little to no help or compassion from psychiatrists.

Maybe they will help you to better understand someone you know struggling with meth use. Maybe they will help you to better understand yourself.

Please know: I originally reported on this in 2015. In all the years since, none of the commercial websites targeting the “ADHD Market” have addressed this issue. There’s a reason I’ve always rejected the ubiquitous (and often covert) support of one  slimy ADHD pharma: As a career journalist, I clearly understand conflict of interest.

ADHD and Methamphetamine Addiction

First, consider some research: MIND Institute researchers study ADHD and methamphetamine addiction [link no longer online] MIND Institute research Catherine Fassbender explains:

Methamphetamine abusers with ADHD often say that abusing methamphetamine helps calm them down and helps them to maintain focus.

This may be a reinforcing factor in their continuing to abuse meth. Of course, there is a very big difference between taking prescription medication and substance abuse.

Katherine takes it from here.

“I Was a Mess of a Drug Addict”

First off, I had already been a fan of yours for a few years and after reading your first blog post about DNA and ADHD meds, I’m an even bigger fan.

I’m not sure if you remember me but I met you at the CHADD convention in DC in 2013.

I was the mess of a drug addict who walked in 45 minutes late, in tears, and I was desperate for help. You were one of the people who helped me that day, and I’m grateful for you taking the time to speak to me.

I was addicted to meth for 5 years until 2009, when I was diagnosed with ADHD and my psychiatrist put me on Vyvanse. I easily stayed sober for 4.5 years and built a successful career in real estate. At some point before I relapsed, the Vyvanse stopped working. I had no idea until it was too late.

My guess is it lost its effectiveness during the last half of 2012.

I wasn’t able to focus at work. My relationships were more messed up than before. My apartment was a wreck. And my whole world felt like a bottomless pit. During March 2013 I was hanging out with someone I shouldn’t have. Meth was in front of me and I made a really bad choice when I did it.

It was a perfect storm for me to relapse, and I stayed addicted until I finally went to rehab on Nov 15th, 2014 until Jan 12th.

My psychologist there told me that my case opened her eyes to the huge impact ADHD has on addiction and she encouraged me to use my experience to help others. She wants to collaborate with me on a plan to do so.

“Each Week I Make More and More Progress”

I’m still working on getting my career back to the level it was before my relapse. Each week I make more and more progress. I’ve even gotten to the point where I’ve shared my truth with a few people who I thought I’d never be able to tell due to our business relationship. The response I’ve gotten from all of them has been supportive and understanding.

It’s so sad to me that there is such a huge disconnect between addiction treatment and mental health, specifically ADHD.  It’s even more disheartening that people are living their whole lives in misery not knowing it really can be better.

I plan to attend the CHADD convention in New Orleans in November and I’m curious, will you be there?

—Katherine (posted with permission)

Dear Katherine,

Of course, I remember you and am so pleased to know that I was helpful—and that you continue to make progress.

Yes, I will be speaking at the CHADD conference in New Orleans. On Saturday at 10:30 am.  I hope to see you there!


The first version of this post appeared July 15, 2015

Comments range from that date to late 2022.




136 thoughts on ““I Was Addicted to Meth When I Was Diagnosed With ADHD””

  1. I was just like Katherine. I wasn’t diagnosed with my ADHD until being in IOP for meth. I used for 3 years, starting in my late 30s. At my first inpatient facility my Dr prescribed me Strattera and Prozac. He refused any stimulants stating they would increase my risk of relapse. I asked for extended release so there was less risk of abuse, I offered to do random drug screens so he would know there were no illegal substances in my system, I even offered to come in every day to pick up 1 pill (similar to an MAT program for opiates) and I was denied what seemed like every reasonable and responsible option. So, I gave up. After 3 years of sobriety I was blessed with a Dr who asked me how I felt about being prescribed a stimulant and I told her “I would appreciate the opportunity”. She agreed as long as I agreed to be honest with her if I ever struggled. That was 7 months ago and last week I celebrated 4 years of sobriety. I will forever advocate for some version of MAT for meth addicts. I knew I wasn’t the only one!

    1. Dear Mel,

      Thanks for sharing your story. That first MD….should lose his license. He actually intensified risk of relapse with that Rx “combo”.

      Good for you, to keep pushing. And good for the smart MD.

      take care

  2. Hey Cameron.
    I can relate to bit about your partner telling you you’re great when you use a bit, but I’m intolerable to live with while detoxing.
    That in itself makes it near impossible to quit, because it reinforces that you are a more productive and tolerable person WITH the drug.
    I also relate to not wanting to be wrong about my own undiagnosed ADHD… because if that’s not it, then idk what’s wrong with me.
    I want to quit, but when my supports ae telling me I’m a better partner, father, or friend. It really makes me want to continue.

  3. My daughter is 30 years old and recently diagnosed with depression, anxiety and ADHD. When meeting with her doctor, I was asked certain questions about myself, and long story short, I have ADHD and never had any idea. My whole life I’ve thought something was wrong with me, I just didn’t know what. As a young child, I was molested, and my psychiatrist explained that we are born with certain genetics that predispose us to ADHD. Severe trauma has been found to be an ADHD trigger for those who carry these genes. I always associated ADHD with boys and hyperactivity, so it never dawned on me that what I was experiencing was in the same category. Poor focus, easily distracted, constant restlessness, inattention, hyper-fixating on things I enjoy and complete inability to finish those tasks I dislike. Poor impulse control, insomnia and so on…Women are more likely to be undiagnosed with ADHD because symptoms present themselves so differently.

    I’ve been addicted to something my entire adult life. I have succeeded in areas of my life, then because of my dysfunctional brain, I have ultimately failed at those successes. Stimulants make me feel “normal”. I once was addicted to cocaine but someone introduced me to methamphetamine and I stopped using cocaine immediately, because I really didn’t enjoy it, I only used it to calm my brain. I smoke meth sparingly because I want to feel normal and excessive use makes me feel overstimulated. Believe it or not, I use a very small amount each morning. That is all I’ve ever needed. As much as I hate doing this illegally, I don’t see me stopping. A formal diagnosis of ADHD does nothing if doctors aren’t willing to recognize it as a real problem for people, and treat it as the mental developmental disorder that it is. We are simply pushed aside to other things. The stigma of illegal drugs in the US is astounding and will always exist as long as the antiquated laws we have exist. The war on drugs is really about power and control of the people of this country. Methamphetamine exists for a reason that it is not even used for. The research needs to be proliferated. There is good with this drug, along with the bad. It affects me differently than anyone else I’ve seen. I can stop using it and feel no withdrawals or ill affects. I’ve done it several times and I started using again when my brain started feeling out of control. If I have to break the law to feel normal and function normally, then okay.

    1. Hi Ali,

      I’m glad you are now able to “connect the dots.”

      I’d just like to add that your psychiatrist wasn’t exactly right. In fact, he is repeating myth that is being propagandized throughout the Trauma Industrial Complex. That’s my term for a massive (and massively profitable) movement to make trauma the cause of everything — and trauma therapy the answer.

      No one should discount the effect of traumatic experiences. But when it comes to ADHD, they are turning it around to suit their own purposes. That is, trauma does not cause ADHD, even insofar as tipping the genetic load.

      People with unrecognized/poorly managed ADHD are more likely to experience trauma, for a host of ADHD-symptom-related reasons. Also because the genetics of ADHD mean one or both parents likely had it, too. That means children were dealing with dysregulated behavior in a parent.

      The fact is, children with ADHD are more likely to be molested, and researchers have known this for a very long time. For one thing, curiosity and failing to consider consequences mean kids can suddenly find themselves in situations where molestation happens, where “red flags” might have been clear to other children but they miss them…because curiosity and being unable to foresee consequences.

      There is also a higher association of hypersexuality with ADHD. Including in children.

      This is just one more reason that the public and medical profession needs to take ADHD seriously. They absolutely do not understand the complexity and the risks of untreated ADHD.

      As for promoting street meth as a proper treatment, I cannot agree with you there. Maybe it affects you in that way….that you feel you can stop when you like…but it does not many others. Then, if they later learn they have ADHD, it can be that much harder to find relief with a pharmaceutical stimulant.

      Also, it’s important that ADHD can mean we have lower insight to our behaviors. That is, we aren’t always objective. You might think that smoking meth in the morning is what works for you, and maybe it does. But it might also be possible that you’re not exactly objective. Moreover, legitimate treatment might be so much better.

      good luck

    2. I was in the same boat, self medicated, my whole life. at 60 it had gotten worse.

      When I start using meth, my business took off, and I heard two young men that found out about the meth use.

      I treated them royally. Rented them a house for half the value. They called the police and lied to them about me. Threw me in jail three times. They hacked my phones and falsified information via text message. I have proof of them being false. But no one would listen because of the Meth us.

      I had six lawyers. Everyone worked with the district attorney. I got put in jail for 19 days and had to take a plea deal finally. The 2 young man opened a corporation the day they put me in jail. It started to listen to my customers why they were still on my payroll. They did not turn in their last two weeks of timesheets, which is worth about $10,000.

      My lawyer fees were over $30,000. and they got restraining orders for two years so I couldn’t protect my customers. The system is so corrupt. Now every day I wake up with my stomach and knots because of the corruption.

      I’ve come to the point where I don’t even want to live. I got Probation. I have to go to rehab. I don’t mind the rehab, but the corruption is just eating me alive. Before this incident I never thought about committing suicide now I think about it daily. I don’t know where to turn. No one will listen to the truth. You’re just a drug addict. I have been diagnosed with ADHD 40 mg of Adderall. It doesn’t do the job I just thought I’d put my two cents in. Bennett of Virginia. The state of corruption.

    3. Dear Bennett,

      I’m so sorry to read of your situation. I just can’t imagine the loss and unfairness you must feel.

      I hope that you can focus your energies now on recovering. And please know that Adderall can make things worse for many people with ADHD.

      Will you hear this from most prescribers? No. Most are extremely poorly informed. Tut that does not stop them from prescribing Adderall routinely to adults with ADHD.


      Even if you felt your ADHD was “treated” with the meth, you still might have made poor decisions and had erratic behavior — even if it wasn’t apparent to you at the time.

      Poorly managed ADHD leaves folks vulnerable to all kinds of negative outcomes. Add meth use, and the risk is even worse.

      Take care,

    4. Bennett Tabor

      This is Gina are you ADHD? You haven’t walked in her shoes how can you know you really can’t. Do you believe ADHD superpowers? apparently I have one. I got a nine grade education and became a millionaire. However, through all of this I have learnt you cannot judge someone in little you lived in their shoes have you lived in our shoes?

    5. No, I don’t have ADHD. But I have devoted 25 years to its study and educating the public.

      I didn’t “judge” anyone.

      I bring my broad and deep knowledge of ADHD to bear when I respond to questions, in hopes of being helpful. I don’t know exactly how it feels but I have empathy, intelligence, and a strong command of how poorly managed ADHD can get folks into trouble.

      No, no one with any sense believes in “ADHD superpowers”. Only those selling something or in denial of their challenges.

    6. Meth did the exact same thing for me in regards to cocaine. I stopped using it immediately and haven’t had any cocaine cravings since.

      I also could do the same where I can do just a bit in the mornings and be fine, but I’ve unfortunately used it to cope with severe trauma and loss and have fallen into a trap where if I stop, the detox period isn’t something I ca man realistically allow myself to go through because I’m currently homeless and I have an animal that requires my attention. But I connected with a lot of your experiences, I hope you’re doing well.

  4. It is extremely important to stop creating descriptions of methamphetamine created and distributed by groups who are not approved or licensed by any governing body to make and sell meth as somehow bad, and we must stop considering those who purchase meth made available to them for their personal use created and retailed via unlicensed meth makers as people who have chosen badly, for this is untrue and can never be true. Making and/or using unlicensed meth is against the law. Anyone who has done it has broken the law. Sadly since the way in which we talk with each other includes a generalization that when, in the written word, we encounter a person who has broken a law, reasoning stops and requires from then on the law-breaker must always be considered someone with a shadow upon them requiring shades of judgement placed upon the reader who is just now learning about this and will subtly make the mistake of casting their personal judgement shadings and makes them draw a thought line to those judgement shadings requiring this poor now needlessly biased reader oblivious that he or she doesn’t even realize a violence has quietly happened at all but it has disrupted reason and overthrown the acquisition of knowledge altogether and the law will be substituted for reason in every point, moment, incidence, thought, behavior, choice, anything at all, where unlicensed meth use is part of the dialogue, text, actual events, or scene in fiction and non-fiction and their corresponding drama and dramatic presentations , and all reason is relieved of duty and the law will come in and require misunderstanding be presented as the goal, and requires that I just now used the word “goal” ten words back in place of the correct word “truth”. Since we have this crude societal construct that is generalized around the concept of law in our society we have a problem, an infinite loop which provides a singular escape instead of the actual true number of escapes. Thought that enters the loop of singular escape will only allow thought to be tossed to thought where law is decreed as supreme when compared to any unlawful outcome regardless of reason. If this loop of singular thought escape is allowed to continue to exist it is here that reason is vanquished at all cost and truth is renamed. Making the presence of, discovery of, finding, following, discussing of it into a tremendous task of breaking a coded enigma back into truthful reason free of the intrusion of law. Rational laws survive this analysis until science and society advances enough for a low to be seen as no longer useful in light of the world as it actually is today. Laws portraying meth manufactured, distributed, packaged and sold without permission from the government, as arrestable, punishable activities are no longer rational or of any value today. In short it is the laws themselves that forbid unlicensed meth which are actually themselves the crime today. We simply can easily see there is something big and important and vitally useful anti meth laws now conceal through prohibition. In fact anyone who seeks meth to use as they see fit are the same wonderful people who got a doctor to recommend they buy licensed meth and use in a limited fashion. But this seriously strains what is really happening. So many people today have chosen to supplement their nutritional intake with unlicensed meth and see great benefits in doing so have been criminalized by law, destroyed by violence buried in societal hierarchies, and dehumanized by the medical realm which codes their knowledge into word and phrase choices that keep up support for anti meth laws and prohibit the vast knowledge the people themselves have been developing from the medical community, meaning a doctors advice on meth use has little basis in real research, virtually no value since the peoples research is disallowed from being welcomed. All things have risk. Well researched risks are greatly appreciated by everyone. In the case of meth it has become clear what the medical real presents on unlicensed meth is best considered within the realm of fairy tale where cries of wolf and falling skies are taken seriously. It would be much better to let the people go to buy meth inspected for quality control and made available in abundance by licensing all meth producers and insisting upon standardization of ingredients and processes that produce a supply free of contaminates and released from the control of organized crime gangs which keep anti meth laws alive and stopping the spread of knowledge imprisoning us all into a shadow world ruled by ignorance, trumped by stupidly pointing fingers clutching nothing promising to be useful.

    1. Oh, I don’t know….. I see some very intelligent “fingers clutching” at very useful science.

      Few people freely choose to use meth. Most are self-medicating an unrecognized/untreated psychiatric condition. Meth risks exacerbating those conditions by reducing dopamine transporters, among other problems.

      From what I can tell, it’s pretty easy to get meth. And it’s also easy to die from its abuse. Given that people with impulse-control disorders are more likely to abuse meth, it’s easy to understand why it’s hard for them to control their use.


      I prefer to give people better access to competent mental healthcare.


    2. Uhm…. Did anyone get lost here?
      From one user to (clearly) another… Put down the pipe babe. Go get some rest, I’m sure that post took hours upon hours to write, edit, rewrite and edit and edit again… You must be exhausted or maybe not at all? 😉 I think you likely found this article the same way I did… Doing some research on something meth related, and you read it because somewhere inside you know the time has come to stop the madness.
      Best of luck to you, me and all who are on the same journey.

    3. My guy, what kind of Tina are you on and where can I get some holy, reading that was like a spiritual experience

  5. I recently saw an article and after lots of research came to the conclusion that I probably have adult ADHD and have been suffering my whole life from it. Symptoms began in about 3rd or 4th grade from what i can remember. I have been treated for anxiety and depression for almost 30 years without any help from meds and little help from therapy. TMS helped me to able to sleep better, but it wore off eventually and without being clean the doctor says I can’t get another round of treatment. I have been a drug addict most of my life. Currently I’m on methadone for 7 years now with no opioid relapses and I use meth. When I brought up ADHD to my caseworker at the VA he basically said that’s great, but since your currently using there is nothing we can do or are willing to do to help you. The VA does not have anyone to treat or diagnose adult ADHD and he’s not referring me to get help unless i get clean first. I understand that drugs can mask different symptoms and the reasons he wants me clean other than just being an addiction clinic person, but am I crazy feeling like I can’t get help at all without first being clean?

    1. Hi Randy,

      I appreciate your Catch-22 situation.

      Because there is so much abuse around stimulants, meth, etc.., it seems that most medical professionals must adhere to these strict guidelines…or lose their licenses.

      The VA in particular will have strict rules.

      It seems so important to have medical guidance through the transition. But that just doesn’t typically seem forthcoming…anywhere.

      I wonder if you could ask about Strattera. It’s not affective for most people with ADHD but it is considered helpful for about 30%. It can also be helpful when taken with stimulants.

      Maybe ask for a low dose of Strattera and see how you feel. Maybe it would help you at least wean off the meth and stay off for the required period of time.

      It always helps one’s case if you can demonstrate understanding of the ADHD diagnostic criteria and the symptoms you have experienced over your lifetime, from childhood on. Specifics. So it doesn’t appear you are another “drug seeker” in their eyes.

      Best of luck to you.

  6. Hi. I’ve been using substance my entire life. I believe I have ADHD to. Meth helps me focus & Suboxone keeps me from using opiates. Although I know I need clonopin but have not been able to find a Dr who is willing to listen to me. Same as you. Never believing me. I want my clonopin back. My neck & back are constantly tense & hurting which makes me want to find relief but can’t because I’m on Suboxone. I appreciate you & your story. Keep fighting the good fight. I will do the same. One day, I can LIVE & not have to fight.

    1. Hi again, Kimberly,

      I hear you, about the physical relief you’re seeking from clonopin. I would encourage you to consider something other than cloninpin, though. That drug is highly addictive and can have a wicked rebound (when it wears off, symptoms can return with a vengeance).

      There are better options. Treating your ADHD might be a start. I know many women who experience less physical pain once they start a stimulant.

      But I understand that you are dealing with several other factors now. You will figure it out, bit by bit.

      take care,

    2. Good day. I am a 48 year old, grateful recovering drug addict from all mind altering substances mainly Meth.

      I believed that after committing to continuing sobriety my symptoms would go away. I contributed my lack of attention and focus was due to my drug usage.

      I started smoking and using at 10. The internal fidgeting is maddening. I LOVE MY SOBER LIFE!! But I still struggle with the attention and focus in my life. I recently have been diagnosed and now are trying meds to assist me. My doctor has concerns about putting me on stimulants, for good reason, but I have been ADHD vigilant, lol, about this issue and continue to become empowered by the information that I have studied on this issue.

      The issue I have found is the lack of connection on an intimate level with providers. I know my body and mind. I know what it is I need to preform in a normal and healthy way. This is why only an addict can help another addict stay sober. Non-addict providers lack the connection and personal lenses to accurately diagnose with accuracy and without bias. I am absolutely aware of the public nuance I had become as a active Meth addict. I am also aware of the effects of the other ingredients in Meth as a street drug. Controlled and regulated use of a stimulate that is not contaminated is what I need in a small dose.

      I identify with your story. I have also done a lot of heavy lifting emotionally and spiritually to LIVE and not FIGHT. I GET IT!!

      Through my experience and education of this issue, this like so many other neurological disorders need a multi tier solution. This is the plan of action I have developed for myself that I found that helps me daily. I no longer take depression meds, anxiety meds, street drugs including marijuana. I also no longer suffer from headaches, fibromyalia, arthritis.

      *Honesty with friends, family and providers without shame (It takes the power out of the situation and gives it back to self)
      *Support groups (The knowing that you’re no alone is paramount and best advice is from those who have developed successful healthy techniques to navigate through life)
      *Trauma therapy ie. EMDR (Pain locks into the nervous system and will release far after the trauma itself is gone)
      **READ The body keeps the score for more information
      *Create a spiritual practice (It enforces that there is nothing wrong with you through gratitude)

      I AM FREE
      I pray that this message reaches you and helps you in you journey of overcoming.

    3. Dear Steena,

      Wow, good for you! We here all know this wasn’t easy, but you persevered. As I’ve always believed, being validated is the first step toward empowerment.

      thanks for sharing your story here.


  7. Interesting- gives me some insight as to why when a new doctor ( my doctor that was the initial prescriber Retired) cut my dose back and the shortage simultaneously hit I turned to methamphetamine supplementation. Saying that actually sounds absurd when I write it and look at it BTW.
    it certainly worked and I would focus , read books, clean , and work.I did not utilize it to “ party” but rather to be productive.
    I think this problematic thinking could possibly be a deficit in ADHD in and of itself . I certainly knew the garbage and dangers about this historically stigmatized and criminally associated drug, thankfully I haven’t encountered that .
    Impulse control and immediate gratification of fixing an issue out of my control certainly had a role , the executive functioning cannot be in-tact for this kind of thought process in my case.

  8. Hi I was addicted to meth since 2020, smoking basically every single day all the way up until may 2022. I stopped in May and I did not take meth anymore until September 2022. So 4 months clean cold turkey. I relapsed in September and returned to the same daily smoking habit of before until January 19th this year. I have been clean up until today, so basically for 1 month.
    I was diagnosed with adhd in 2017 And put on aderall. I took aderall until 2020 when I got super hard into the meth. Then I stopped taking adderall and it was only meth.
    I have not taken aderall since then.
    Now that I have been clean for a month. I’m starting to noticed constant fatigue, I don’t feel like doing anything. I can’t focus or concentrate on anything, it is taking me a very long time tk get things done that I should honestly be able to finish much faster…. I’m very tempted to start taking meth again just because I need to be productive—that’s why I loved it in the first place. But doing that is simply not an option. I can’t go back to it. I smoke a lot once I start, my health declines rapidly. So as tempted as I am, I am not willing to go back to it, end of story. My question is this:
    Do you think it is a good idea, or a bad idea for me to get back on aderall, given my history with abusing Tina? I have been mulling this proposition over for days, but can’t sure if it’s like the best thing I can do for myself, or the worst? Please help?

    1. Hi Gab,

      I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with this. It seems that Adderall might have been a sort of “gateway drug” for you.

      I am not a medical professional…..but I cannot see the wisdom in getting back on Adderall. It might be enough to trigger those cravings but not enough to get you where you’re used to being.

      And remember, the Adderall might negatively affect your judgment, so you might be less reluctant to avoid meth.

      I would see if you can find legitimate ADHD treatment. Perhaps try a methylphenidate stimulant. And start learning new skills. That will help the medication to be more effective.

      Try to regulate your sleep, get some exercise, eat well, and avoid other substances, including alcohol. This should help improve functioning, so you’re less tempted to relapse.

      best of luck,

  9. I havent gotten to read through the comments yet but i am also someone with adhd who is suffering from meth addiction. I honestly didn’t know until recently that my ADHD was the cause for my severe dependency on meth. I always beat myself up because I couldn’t get off the drug.(BTW is it just me or does anyone else have issues with their energy and dysphoria when they don’t have math?)
    It often bothered me that all my friends who first got me addicted to it, were able to easily get clean, but for me, it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’ve only ever gone a total of 15 days, sober, cold, turkey. And I was still suffering with absolutely zero energy, dysphoria, depression, and serious, lack of motivation to keep going. Another big thing is I’ve never sat out medical help for my ADHD in the first place. At first I thought it was just depression and serious lack of focus on my part, but I started to notice the serious issues I was having in relationships, at the workplace, and in every day activities, so I started to look up all the symptoms and it led me to ADHD. I guess my question is how do I get clean off of this drug and what kind of medical help should i seek out ?

    1. Hi RJ,

      I’m glad you found my blog — and are starting to make the connection to ADHD.

      It’s impossible to properly answer your question….”how do I get clean off this drug and what kind of medical help should I seek out?”

      It’s going to vary by individual. There is nothing cookie-cutter about ADHD or meth addiction, for that matter.

      I imagine that when you stop taking the meth, you are dealing with a complex combination of meth withdrawal AND return to ADHD symptoms.

      I recommend that you learn as much as you can about ADHD before seeking professional help. Many licensed mental-healthcare workers are not skilled in ADHD, though many think they are!

      It will be easy for you to get sucked into alternate narratives that will take you nowhere — and might make things worse.

      You might want to read through these comments. I’ve made suggestions to others that might help you.

      You’ll see there is lots of information about Adult ADHD online. The problem is, much of it is overly simplistic or outright nonsense. If you don’t already know what’s what, it can lead you down into unhelpful spider holes.

      I designed my course to take folks by the hand and step-by-step provide an engaging, sophisticated yet easy-to-understand solid education in ADHD. ADHD in general but specifically how this complex syndrome might be affecting you.

      There are symptoms. There are poor coping responses developed over years of living with poorly managed ADHD. It’s important to know which is which in order to heal these patterns.

      Turning to meth is one of those coping responses. Many of these coping responses are attempts to survive and function, and I see absolutely no shame in that. But now it’s time to start sorting what’s what, it seems.

      You can check it out here: https://ginapera.adhdsuccesstraining.com/solvingyouradultadhdpuzzle

      I hope this helps.


  10. I haven’t read through all the comments to see if anyone has mentioned this or not but if no one has, then I need to methamphetamine is an ADHD medication and people need to understand that if you don’t believe me, look it up, it’s under a brand name Desoxyn. Here’s the other part of that doctors practically forced me to take Ridellan when I was a child but then, as an adult refused to give me any medication for my severe ADHD and I found it was a lot easier just to get it from a drug dealer, so the problem is the medical industry for stigmatizing people that are attempting to self medicate and not being able to differentiate them from junkies often times the medical industry leaves a person no choice but to turn to street meth. And in fact, my new Doctor Who has me on Mydayis, which works really well, had no idea that methamphetamine was an actual pharmaceutical drug created to treat ADHD. And I can tell you from personal experience that methamphetamine actually works better than dextroamphetamine or amphetamine, but people are so wrapped up in the stigma. They can’t detach from that enough to actually be objective about it. I couldn’t believe that my new doctor was actually able to have a logical discussion about it with me, she did say she wouldn’t feel comfortable prescribing that which I completely understand, but she is referring me to a psychiatrist because they’re much less likely to be hassled by the DEA quite frankly. But there is drug war madness going on in this country in this world, but especially in this country that has people grown adults medical professionals, so wrapped up in hysteria they can’t even discuss tools that they themselves have at their disposal to treat this disorder. It’s either a valid treatment or it isn’t so either stop the stigma or stop them from making Desoxyn, it can’t be both ways. The harm that comes from methamphetamine is the fact that people are making it basically out of the janitors closet or whatever and it’s the crap that it’s made from the present the problem I’m quite certain that whatever pharmaceutical company makes Desoxyn is not making it With ingredients they found under the sink

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Just FYI for other readers…there’s a difference between Desoxyn and “street meth” (or whatever the correct term).

      I can’t say exactly what is it…something to do with isomers and salts, not to mention all the random ingredients that find t heir way into street meth….but the pharmaceutical methamphetamine delivery system alone is a key difference.

      From what I recall at a lecture, street meth is like an elephant gun in terms of effect on brain receptors, pharmaceutical methamphetamine is more like a pea-shooter. Meaning, hitting its target and not spilling all over the place. If, that is, it’s a good choice for that particular patient. After the other stimulants have been tried, starting with MPH.

      Honestly, Adderall is abused so much (and primarily by the way it is too often prescribed…mindlessly, recklessly, stupidly), I can’t imagine what would happen with more Desoxyn floating around.

      Still, there will be some people who medically benefit from it.


    2. Bennett Tabor

      I have be self-medicating my life. Took adhd test. Four years ago they said I didn’t have it. I finally got my diagnosis. I’m facing criminal charges for using meth, but it works. The system is broken. What can we do to fix it? My whole fourth grade, they stuck me in a corner with a rector set but yet with a ninth grade education, I’ll become a millionaire so adHD super powers exist, but it also comes with us deficits. I had a customer tell employee of mine that I was the smartest person he knew. but I’m a drug attic. so they say. I’m just self medicating. is that a crime with the system totally f
      Broken. I got diagnosed at 61

    3. I appreciate your sharing your story, Bennett. I’m sorry that you have it to share.

      Some day we will enter the 21st Century.


    4. That is well said Kevin, I can completely relate.but,completely nailed it !

  11. I’ve always thought of my drug use as my own, not anybody else’s addiction, not anyone else’s problem. It’s kept close to me and is not intended nor will it ever be someone else’s addiction and/or problem. Its mine and only mine.

    Since high school I can remember that I was always more into stimulants than I was into depressants. When I came across methamphetamine I was a sophomore in high school and I fell in love. I could focus and school was so much easier. It wasn’t until when I started college is when I really drove hard into the stimulants. Adderall mostly and meth after I couldn’t afford Adderall. They were like the magic drugs that helped me get through school, get through work, to get through everything. I am convinced that I have undiagnosed ADD, and that I have self medicated for almost two decades. I have seen doctors and they only have given me a depression diagnosis with a script for Welbutrin, which I did not like because I could not sleep when I took it. Go figure coming from a meth user.

    Fast forward to my late 20’s, I had been blessed with a healthy baby girl, but was also handed the life of a single mother. My daughters father passed away when she was 3yrs old. Him and I were not together at the time, but we were coparents and we had a pretty functioning relationship despite all the bullshit before he passed. He is missed. When I realized that I had to handle everything solely and primarily on my own as a parent I looked at solutions and one of them was to go back to college. I worked fulltime, went to school full time and was a full time mother. I was doing it all. I did not have any family or many friends close by so support and help was limited. I started taking Adderall again and it was a game changer. I graduated college with a second BA 13yrs ago and landed a very well paying job within my my career field 9yrs ago. I have always had a nice place to live, a good car, food in the fridge, bills paid…I was also a heavy methamphetamine user. I still am a heavy methamphetamine user. By heavy I am meaning daily and it does not get me high anymore. I use to function.

    I’ve had a rough road with my dating life though, I’ve not had many men but the men I did have in my life were toxic, abusive, narsasist, the list goes on. I had a hard time coming across a genuinly nice man. They all seemed perfect, until it was too late. In 2020 I met the man of my dreams. He is kind, gentle, successful, polite, very handsome and most importantly he cared about me and my daughter. We’ll call him “J”. 2020 was the best year of my adult life. We fell deeply in love and it was such a gift to have a good man in my life. I did not tell him about my drug use, as that is mostly a garenteed deal breaker. He knew about past drug use but I did not tell him that it was current.

    I was a functional user. My use was very private, I did not party, I never stole or put anyone in harms way. I used to function, I used to be able to focus on my work and to give me drive and motivation for my hobbies. To be more “with it” in life. Like I said, my addiction was very private and very controlled.

    One night before bed, out of no where J asked me if I had been using. I did not lie and I told him I was. I felt relieved but terrified, like WTF did I just say? As you can imagine this breaking news did not do so well with our relationship. Two weeks later he ended up breaking off the relationship, he could not accept that I lied to him for the past year, and he had the idea that all meth addicts are the same low life degenerates. Even tho I clearly was not any of that, he felt betrayed and that is understandable. We still remained close friends. Very close, it was like we were still in a relationship minus the intimacy.. This part of my story is the hardest for me.

    In the 17yrs of my drug use the only two things that got me off the meth was pregnancy and J breaking up with me. I was determined that he meant more to me than any drug and I was going to do everything in my God given power to make things right and fix what I had broken. I quit using for 16months. It was the most challenging 16months ever. I was unmotivated, I stopped creating artwork (I’m a professional artist), I was only doing the bare ass minimum at work, my house was never clean, I stopped gardening, I stopped doing everything I once loved. What I did start doing is drinking alcohol. And I drank a lot. I made terrible choices and I was in my eyes a low functioning person. But hey at least I wasn’t on meth!!! J started seeing other women during this time, and yes we were still best friends. This put me over the edge and I completely fell apart. I made a very bad choice to start dating a man who was not good for me in so many ways. He was an alcoholic, unemployed, crappy car, no drivers license, no home so he made my home his home…we’ll call him FGB “freeloader great in bed”. I was with him for 9 months before I smartened up and broke it off with him. What was I thinking bringing this man into my great sober from meth life!? During the time I was with FGB I became physically dependent on alcohol. DTs in the middle of the night. This time was a very dark time in my life. I missed J so much, I was masking my pain and bad choices with alcohol. I needed to stop I needed J back in my life.

    I had to drink all day to maintain. After I broke it off with FGB, I staryed on my plan to get J back.. my plan worked. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and we collided back together so naturally. I started experiencing some health problems tho, I was diagnosed with fatty liver. That was when I quit drinking. I went on vacation for two weeks, came back and relapsed on meth in August 2022. I relapsed because I was tired f being tired, peak season was about to start at work, I needed to be at my best. I was hating myself for how boring, uncreative, unmotivated, not being able to focus, I had become not the person I wanted to ever be.

    Since my relapse J and I have built an amazing relationship again, I have been exstrremly productive with work and I’m looking at a promotion next year. I have decided that my meth use does not need to ever be an issue. I am happy tp never come clean about it again. I lost almost everything when I was honest, came clean and got clean. I was the worst version of my self, I made bad choices, I was terrible to myself, my mind body and spirt was dying.

    J didn’t want to be with me for the 16months I was off meth. It’s when I started using again that he pursued me and the relationship. I do not intend to tell him. Why risk it all again for the sake of him knowing when all it will do is fuck everything up. Telling J about my use will ruine us, and I cannot face that again. I have decided that I do not function when I’m off the stimulant, risk of falling behind at work, being seen as a incompetent lazy employee, having a messy home, neglecting all responsibilities was not my idea of how sobriety would be. It was awful. I plan on cutting back after the new year, maybe getting clean for a month and seeing how that takes. See how my life changes, for the better or worse. I’m betting on the worse, but you never know.

    It would be acgame changer if I could get a proper diagnosis and proper medicine. The lies would stop, the double life would end and I feel like things would be less like i am hiding.

    1. I can relate with you. I just turned 40 years old. I’ve been on and off of meth for the past 15+ years.

      I would consider myself high functioning due to the fact that I’m responsible, honest and hard working.

      I believe I have undiagnosed adhd as I remember always feeling out of sorts even as a child. I would often get lost in a daydream and could easily tune everything out until I fixated on another interest or distraction. I experimented with multiple drugs but always had a thing for stimulants.

      When I first used meth, it felt like my eyes finally opened. It felt like I was able to live life like everyone else. But without it, I was lost, withdrawn, and depressed. Life happened and I made some bad choices, tried to quit and stayed sober for 2 years. But I wanted to die everyday.

      I even thought about the possibility of “willing” myself to death (in other words, just trying to force my mind to shut down. I mean hey, if you can force yourself to go to sleep by keeping your eyes closed or if you can get sick from being to stressed, I thought why not try and forcibly make my mind just die?!

      But that of course failed miserably. I missed the feeling of being on meth. I was working two jobs and yet I was still bored of life, I felt I had nothing to look forward to. I had gone thru a series of losses one after the other that left me with little to no joy in life and I was basically counting my days. I wasn’t even really sad. I was just done. I was over life. I didn’t care about the future anymore. I just wanted to get life over with.

      So then one day I decided, I will smoke meth again because it beats trying to die everyday. Since then, I’ve been using everyday again like before the two years of sobriety for the past 5 years now. I know I should stop but I don’t want to. But I feel the toll on my body and I fear it will take my life. But I need this for work, I just graduated with a masters and found my dream job and have a great boyfriend (who is aware by the way- as I told him before we got together) and now that my life is rebuilding itself, I feel like I should quit but I’m so dependent on it that I’m afraid I’ll lose myself and I’m so afraid of the depression that will follow as well as the mental fog and lack of motivation.

      What can I do? What do I do when I don’t want to quit but i know I should?!

    2. Dear Jane,

      I can only try to appreciate the difficulty of your situation.

      Is it possible that you and your boyfriend could learn about ADHD together and find a psychiatrist or other type of MD to help you transition to ADHD treatment? Having support, working as a team, could make it so much easier.

      take care and good luck,

    3. Cale,

      I want you to know you are not alone. Our stories are so similar, I had to reply. This is my first time ever speaking of my addiction. I’m extremely private. I have no close friends. Because I’m afraid of my secret getting out. Definitely a Lonley world. Coming across your article made me feel so much better about my situation. Thank you. I wish we could find a Dr we could trust to understand and help us..

  12. Hi Gina I’m 30 years old I never thought my ADHD was the Source of my problems I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 4 I was on different medications from Adderall and other ADHD medication throughout the years till I was 12 then they took me off completely and since then I’ve struggled with substance abuse I started smoking weed then cigarettes I currently still smoke both. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and manic depression when I was 18 I’ve attempted Suicide 4 times in my life admitted into the pychward 4 times. Been emulated more times then I can count. Been married and divorced once I can never manage to keep a job more than a 8months I feel like I’m always losing my sh#t always restless. I started using meth on and off since I was 17 and have been since present I’m currently sober but know I will use again. I use to drink really bad from 14 till just 8months ago I’m trying so hard to cut all vices but It’s hard to not want to do meth because it helps me focus stay organized on time motivated and i complete all my tasks my bosses always say im doing awesome at my work i get promoted and raises. I’m in such a better mood. When I’m high unfortunately. When I’m sober I seem to screw everything up so depressed and all over the place and everyone thinks im high when im not using. Even 2weeks after I’ve used I feel right in my mind but after 3 weeks at most I’m back in that loop. I need answers what should I do? I have kids and soon another wife I don’t want to live this way forever.

    1. Dear Grm,

      I sympathize with your struggles. If you were diagnosed at age 4, you probably had severe ADHD. So, it’s a shame that you never received proper treatment (or so it sounds). Or that it was discontinued.

      It’s understandable that you would battle the urge to use substances thereafter. Some people choose food, some alcohol, some ….well, all kinds of substances and so-called “process addictions.”

      It’s going to be tricky, finding proper help. Even if you can find a prescriber, chances are good that they will give you Adderall — even knowing your history of meth usage. Because, well, there is just a lot of amateurism going on out there in ADHD treatment.

      I encourage you to work with your soon-to-be wife on a medication strategy.

      I provide some guidance in my first book: https://amzn.to/3Uw4E8l

      For faster, cut-to-the-chase education and guidance in approaching medication (and sleep), I encourage you to check out Course 2, Physical Strategies (sleep and medication).


      I’m not trying to “sell”. I’m trying to help. My experience of 25 years tells me that consumers must really be educated in these issues before pursuing evaluation or treatment.

      You might luck out. You might find compassion and competence. But many people do not.

      The bottom line is: You deserve treatment. You deserve a happier, healthier life. And when you are very sure about that, somehow…I can’t explain…mentally….magically….doors tend to open.


      I wish you the best of luck. If you got this far in life, despite significant ADHD symptoms, you must have a lot going for you. You deserve to enjoy that more and bring your best self to your children and marriage.

      take care,

  13. I have been searching for answers and stories like the ones here for years now. I am taken back that finally I have found individuals who share my exact struggles of being a high functioning meth addict. I knew that I could not be the only one. I am going to take the time to read these stories and I will post my story at some point. But for now I would like to thank all of you and Gina for sharing and this to me is a God send. Thanks, Cale.

  14. Hi Gina I am a 55 year old male that was diagnosed with adhd at age 38-39. I married my wife when I was 37 it has been a roller-coaster marriage we have separated many times but are still together. She is the one that has figured me and my problems out and has been very helpful. It has been many years testing meds to help me. Finally 2 years ago I started Adderall, it seemed to help. I am at 20mg twice a day for the last 6 months. As I said it helped but I still had a problem I am a a-hole from time to time, a lot of the time, to her and at work. Now my problem, I recently did some meth, to help me keep going on a big move when moving into new home. I had done this before and it is a big help to keep going. After the first move I stop taking it and was fine. This was 20 years ago. So this time was different, I noticed I was kinder, more thoughtful of wife, now she didn’t know about the meth and noticed the same thing. Well after move I stopped again and a-hole came back. Wife let me know about it. Well for a year now I have been on and off of meth with same result. Help please, I don’t want my wife to leave me. But I don’t have better alternatives. PS wife does know about meth use and does not like it but does like the nicer me when on it. Any advice would be great. Thank you.

    1. Dear Kevin,

      Wow, you are in a conundrum. But you’ve come to the right place!

      1. Adderall turns many people into “a-holes.” Did you read my most popular post? The ones that every prescriber should read — instead of getting educated by sales reps and manipulated meta-analyses.


      2. There are MANY other options for you. Will any work as “well” as you feel meth does? No, and that’s okay. From what you describe, you were using it as a “performance” drug — and that never (never) ends well.

      You used it to “keep you going”. That’s what I mean by a performance drug.

      Some people with ADHD fall into the trap of believing Adderall “works” because it propels them through their day, like a rocket. Never mind the crash at the end.

      That’s not how ADHD medications are supposed to work. They should help you to create balance in life — organizing your time so you don’t have to “gut it through” in one big push, getting enough sleep so you’re well-rested, getting exercise so you have stamina.

      I am telling you clearly. You want to save your marriage, it’s time to get serious about ADHD treatment. The both of you. You and her.

      We simply cannot rely on the average prescriber who throws an Adderall script at everyone and says, “Good luck!”

      If you and your wife have not read my book, I recommend that you do so now. There’s also an audio version.


      Read the three chapters on medication. Read the last chapter on “external supports” for Executive Functions.

      Read all of it! 🙂

      4. I designed my new course exactly for people such as you. By the end of this course, you will be so much better-informed than most physicians and prescribers.

      For 25 years, these prescribing-gone-wrong stories have rankled me. That’s why I devoted three chapters to “consumer empowerment” in the book. But that was not enough for many people. Hence the course.

      Check it out here: https://ginapera.adhdsuccesstraining.com/course-2-physical-strategies

      Please take me seriously. I know this stuff very well. You have a wife you love and who loves you? Keep it that way! 🙂


  15. Hi Katherine and hello to the blog owner :))
    I’m an international student, who also happens to have ADHD and has had a few meth incidents. I’m writing a paper on how using meth affects brain (mainly short term) and since it’s a stimulant it works differently on us than on our neurotypical friends, thus I have a question. Do you (or anyone reading this comment in fact) happen to know if there’s actual research on ADHD and meth use, since I can’t find any specific ones.
    I’d really appreciate the help and thank you for sharing your story

    1. Hi Noelle,

      It’s Gina, the “blog owner.” 🙂

      It’s a popular meme in social media these days, that all kinds of stimulants don’t affect “neurotypicals” the way they affect ADHD.

      But it’s not exactly true. People with ADHD aren’t another species. People with ADHD are like everybody else: humans. ADHD traits are human traits. It is their number and severity, in the presence of life impairments, that makes the diagnosis.

      All that means is that stimulants affect all humans. Look at coffee, tea. Not just consumed by people with ADHD. And they can often create more anxiety than any positive benefit.

      Humans who don’t have ADHD can respond positively to meth….at least in part. Until the adverse side effects kick in. And same for people with ADHD.

      That said….I found a few papers. I’ll send them to you via e-mail.


  16. Hi I realize this is an old post, but after reading all the comments as well as the article; I thought while your not a medical professional so you can’t give me advice only an educated or personal opinion. Perhaps you might have one for me.

    I am 38 I am addicted to meth, have been since I was 16 and I have adhd an my poor son has it worse then I do(which I hate that he inherited it from me) I’ve been miss diagnosed my hole life. I’ve been on a slew of medication cocktails, and at the end of the day I hate all of them. I use to maintain my addiction very well(as in high funtioning) till recently when my mother passed, she was the last of my close family. Leaving only myself and my 10year old boy alone.

    Everything just spiraled out of control. And for the first time in my life I can’t manage my life and have no one to help me. Everytine I try to use community help or stuff of that nature my adhd and addiction sabotage me and I messed it up royally. Because I’m avoiding life so I won’t answer my phone or talk to anyone because I’m truly terrified. that I’m going to loose everything in my life. I have no money and bills an responsibility, I can’t get organized or follow thru with anything. I lost my job, my car, i might loose my home, then ill loose my kid and we are so close, him and I.

    That will just kill me and hurt him so much. I was clean for two years I was also taking gambapentin like a crazy high dose along with wellbutrin (the highest does you can get) well when I relapsed I had a ex d&a counsler say to me becarefull taking those pills an using it’ll really mess up your head. So I quit taking my pills.

    As soon as I did I felt great I lost a ton of weight(like a hole other person in wieght I was a big girl) I’ve never been fat in my entire life so I felt like me again. I’m what you call a binge addict. I go hard for a while then stop. Then go hard etc.etc. so I’d had my fill an was done. I quite. First day I slept. second day I slept. Third I tried to get up an when I sat up it felt like an electrical shock just went thru my brain. I said wow what the H was that? So I sat a min. Got up slowly an went to go the bathroom as soon as I turned my head or looked anywhere even slightly. ZAPP!! Again. It made me freeze. Like I was paralyzed. But it last for like a sec. I was like okay yep going back to bed. On day 10 the zapps were so bad an frequent that I could literally hear them in my ears. They were so intense. It scared me so flipping bad.

    I though what’s next a full on seizure. Well I’m not doing that so I went an found some meth. And that brings us fo now that was 5 years ago. Now the zapps start on day one of non use. I just use to maintain any more as in keep the shocks away(that’s what I call them) and semi function like get out of bed, though not even that lately.

    I’ve been doing a ton of research and apparently this is symptom withdrawal I’ve tried to just go back on meds but it’s going to take for ever to get back to the amount I was on prior and I don’t even know If that will help and I’m already starting to put on weight again.(thank you depression) I don’t need any help with that an that pill combo will deff. Do that.

    I’ve done Adderall but it doesn’t help it makes the shocks worse. Bottom line I’d like to not take pills ever again unless they are natural. I hate big pharm I feel like this is there fault. I’m so depressed. Because of shocks and not heing able to quite.

    People think im crazy my doc, counsler, but I’m not its a real thing. I live in a rural community where the state mental health is garbage as well as the health care. I don’t have anywhere to go for help or anyone to talk to. This place is all about who you know so coming out as a meth addict is really off the table for me. I’m so emotionally unavailable and detached from my life I can’t find motivation to leave my bed most days.

    I DO NOT want to do meth any more. ITS RUINING MY LIFE, but so is my ADHD. But I can’t live with these brain shocks, zapps whatever either. Like can not function. It’s like a mini seizure in my brain that gets worse as time goes on. Ugh it’s a vicious circle that is making me dizzy an want to puke. I’m scared. I’m scared of my self. My son needs me I”m all he has and I just want to be the mom he deserves, you know we all want to be good moms but when you have a child that suffers from Adhd and dyslexia you can’t just he a good mom you have to he a great mom.

    And it’s killing to watch him struggle so much with it. How can I help him when I can’t help myself ya know. Omg im an emotional wreck now. I’m sorry I hope that made sense. Anyway let me know what hours think.
    https://www.forhers.com/blog/brain-zaps here’s a link about these zapps I speak of.

    1. Hi Angelena,

      The post might be older but the content is current — and so are the comments. So I’m glad you joined in.

      I have to say, I think I know what you are talking about with the “brain zaps.” Years ago, I was prescribed Wellbutrin. A few days in, I experienced this weird phenomenon — it sounded like iron doors closing with a bang, in my brain.

      Wellbutrin can cause brain seizures in some people. Between that and that very extreme reaction, I stopped immediately.

      You know, I don’t blame “Big Pharm.” I blame MDs who just throw pills at patients, without regard for potential side effect, who add more Rx without regard for interaction, and who then dismiss patients’ reports of side effects.

      If I understand this correctly, you were at one time using meth and taking gabapentin and Wellbutrin—both at “crazy high doses.” Or maybe you had stopped using meth while you were taking those two prescribed Rx. Then you re-started to cope with the withdrawal.

      It might have been that the withdrawal effects would have gone away in a few weeks. But the meth use prolonged them. (Though I understand how you felt it might help you cope.)

      Adderall is the stimulant with the highest side effect profile. So, it might be that another stimulant would work better for you.

      How is your diet and get sleep? I realize that in your stressful state, it might be hard to eat well and sleep sufficiently and regularly. But doing so might be key to feeling better. Also exercise. Even long walks and exercises you can do at home. Lots of videos on YouTube, including yoga.

      I wish I had some great advice other than that. The best I can come up with is to visit a neurologist who is associated with a hospital perhaps.

      You might also call the SAMSHA hotline for a referral to someone in your area, familiar with substance-use issues:


      I hope you can find someone to validate your reports — to believe you — and help.

      I would “lead” with the gabapentin and wellbutrin withdrawal. Suddenly stopping both of those — with high doses no less — might account for brain zaps. Also lifelong untreated ADHD.

      If you “lead” with meth use, that might skew things. That is, the medical professional might see everything through the meth lens.

      I wish you all the best. Feel free to check in here as you go.

      take care

  17. I’m an ex benzo/opiate painkiller addict with severe ADHD who tried meth for the first time today, and while I learned what I wanted to and gained what I sought after during all of this, I’m also extremely worried about how the withdrawals will be. However, as I’m still very slightly feeling it as I type this, after nearly 20 hours since I took the first line, I still don’t feel any psychological or emotional distress yet, but I’m still very worried how severe it will be once I do withdrawal, if I even do, given this is the first time I’ve done meth. I’m hoping it’ll just be mild psychological symptoms that I can power through until it’s out of my system. However, educating myself even further on it and it’s effects now that I have a decent grasp on at least the euphoria part is very interesting and this article is definitely very helpful! 🙂

    1. Hi MDK,

      I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      I hope you can find legitimate ADHD treatment, and soon.

      ADHD neurobiology itself can create vulnerability to addiction. And ADHD can also mean taking risks without thinking of consequences.

      If and when you do start medication, you’ll not want meth use to complicate effectiveness.

      good luck

  18. NewLightForeverPlight

    Darn you all in a great way! I came across this forum by accident; started with the first story and realized I read the entire thing in a sitting with no real idea how long I’ve been sitting here at all. Captivated, validated, and blessed to find more people like me; honestly sharing to help one another with no trolling, judging, and degrading of each other. Each and every story I could relate to, empathize with, and comment on with complete honesty; except I would be here another 6 hours as there is so much that hits home and things I’d like to offer, comment on, and share from my story.

    Perhaps I will come back another time to share the long version of the story; 30 years of trying to find the light in the darkness through chronic medical issue, ADHD, misdiagnosis, unjust judgement, life and death, and the scary balance between the medications and “drugs” I have used whether MD prescribed, MD fully over-prescribed, or self prescribed to get through best I could. Truly surprised and blessed to have made it this far when I look back and relate to some of you and your shared stories. Many times I was on the brink of never coming back from the darkness.

    I truly appreciate and applaud the bravery, honesty, similarities and differences in each story, depth, understanding, comfort found to ask for help and/questions, compassion and “realness” of responses, and the scary yet validating and satisfying feeling of finding a place to share some scary dark personal s and know there’s people exactly like me, us, and we can truly not be judged but completely understood and accepted.

    Well, longer than I meant to ramble on, (no ADHD issues here lol) but wholeheartedly, truly, and genuinely touched by what I found here. Please continue to do the best you can on your path everyone. Wish you the best and may you find a torch in the darkness to show the way.

  19. I am going through this very thing right now. I have struggled with meth addiction since I was 17, I am now 38.

    I’ve had sober periods one that was 5 years. I have spent countless hours researching anything that can help me quit.

    The difference between me and the other people I know that use is I hate the lifestyle, I hate the drug, but I absolutely love being able to function.

    When I was a teenager I went to the doctor because I was always tired. I had good grades in school I talked a lot and got in trouble for that, but I held good grades.

    My father and brother both have ADHD, but I was never tested and it was never even thought of for me. They diagnosed me with major depressive disorder, followed by I wonder if it’s bipolar, to possible narcolepsy 2.

    When I found meth I was able to function, finally. I had the energy and motivation to get things done and was able to organize and focus. As of now I’m 2 months sober again and I feel like crap. My house is an absolute disaster and I can’t function. That’s what makes it so hard for me to not use.

    I want to be able to be productive and I can’t stand living in a pig stye. It wasn’t till recently one of my therapists actually listened to me when I said my dad and brother have ADHD, so she said that maybe I have and inattentive ADHD. Not all people with ADHD are hyperactive.

    For the first time in my 38 years I read that people with ADHD can actually have excessive daytime sleepiness. With all of this being said and found, finally, providers automatically assume that I’m seeking stimulants because I’m an addict.

    They are completely closed-minded on the fact that maybe stimulants would help. The most progress I made was getting strattera, which helps with focus but does absolutely nothing else for motivation or anything like that.

    Please tell me how I can have this talk with my Dr, so they don’t look at me like I’m just trying to get a fix. I love being sober, I’m a single parent and I’ve been through so much trauma. I just want to be able to function and to be a good mom. At this point the only two options I have is using and risk losing it all, or be sober and completely incapable of functioning. I am sober now and I hold on doing the bare minimum. Please help❤️

  20. Which specific ADHD symptoms were soothed by the meth? Like what was it doing for you / giving you relief from that was so badly needed that you kept coming back?

    I’m 31 and been abusing meth off and on for 11 years. (Currently off) I’ve gone undiagnosed my entire life until this week when my daughter started showing signs and severe distress from worsening symptoms and I had to get educated to help her. After a certain amount of research, I knew it wasn’t just her who had it.

    But it’s been so many years of untreated ADHD difficulties and sensory problems and self soothing with drugs that I’ve apparently masked 95% of it, so deeply that I couldn’t take the mask off if i wanted to. it’s all subconscious now and it’s freaking me out. i can’t decipher WHAT is triggering my cravings, sensory seeking behavior, impulsivity, irritability, paralysis, difficulties driving, insomnia, etc etc. One minute I’m not aware that anything is going on and the next minute I’m behaving erratically and I can’t control it. Like watching myself smoke meth in a stranger’s house but I can’t stop it.

    Anyway. Guess i needed to vent. Hope to hear back.

    1. Hi EB,

      Until someone responds, you might want to read these comments. The answers you seek might be among them.

      As for your “masking,” I would be careful with that term. I know it’s bandied about a lot in social media these days. But it might be confusing you. Especially when you start telling yourself what are ADHD symptoms, what is subconscious, etc..

      I encourage you to step back and start with the facts. That is, ADHD symptoms. Everything you describe — cravings, sensory seeking behavior, impulsivity, etc. — ARE associated with ADHD. Not everyone has all those challenges, but some do. And some have some of them. ADHD is a highly variable syndrome.

      take care,

    2. So if you research on Dr.Gabor Mates work on ADHD, it is a coping mechanism. I believe it is also connected to attachment trauma.
      When we were kids, our caretaker didn’t fill our needs, give us the attentionit we needed, it hurt so much that we learned to distract ourselves , switch to something else , so we are not in pain.

      I am now a single mom, my mom was a single mom.
      I know the ability to go from doing one thing to the next, feeling not enough time, playing mom and dad, trying to be the perfect mom, due to narcccisitic family/ culture,
      I feel like meth helps me take on all the tasks on the daily, till the end of the day, I still have energy to be byself and recharge my battery.
      Meth helps me with the energy for more research on spirituality, psychology, mental health, personality disorder, self improvement.
      While I listen to audio book, I’m making jewelry, cuz I am in transition of a new career.
      Meth helps me have the energy to recharge my battery, and keep going, be the best mom I can be. But I don’t have my son now, the government took him.

    3. Hi Kai,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m long very familiar with Mate’s claims. The trouble is, there is no scientific basis for them.

      Essentially, he says ADHD is caused by trauma. It is not. Sure, trauma can exacerbate any condition—and poorly managed ADHD in the family, generation after generation, almost guarantees sizable trauma.

      For the facts on ADHD, we look to serious researchers with advanced education in neurochemistry, molecular biology, epidemiology, psychology, and so forth.

      We don’t look to a basic MD who graduated many years ago and remains entrenched in the outdated psychoanalytic approach. We especially don’t look to such a person for something as important as ADHD.

      He seems pretty busy on the lecture circuit, talking about addictions being caused by trauma. I find it dishonest and harmful. It just goes to show that when we tell people what they want to hear — in compelling stories – we can captivate them even as we mislead them.

      I urge you to consider, if at all possible, to consider valid treatment for ADHD. Meth is not a long-term strategy or any strategy at all, really. It’s what people accidentally happen upon.

      take care

  21. I am a functioning meth addict. I definetly have ADHD. I know I have had it since I was a child. I was almost always close to failing my classes throughout high school. And it was not because I didn’t care about learning, I would do the assignments, but I would forget to bring them to class so they would be late. Or I completely forgot everything I read in the reading assignment the night before. Focusing was incredibly difficult and I would space out of my classes most of the time. Same thing in college. I was always late to classes. I could never remember anything I was taught, I would be confused in most classes and struggling retain any information. I start using meth and the difference was night and day. I got straight A’s for the first time in my life. I have been able to function well on meth as long as I don’t over use it. I want to get a legal prescription so I can get the right dosage and quit my drug use. But doctors won’t give it to me without a blood test. Once I take the blood test and meth show up in my system, they definetly won’t give me what I need. I tried quitting for a month and it’s just awful. I have absolutely no interest in work, or doing my work, I can’t focus or concentrate, I can’t wait to leave work and going there is a chore. And I absolutely love my job. I love it. I am so glad I was a able to finally find a career that I love and feel full-filled by. I have been using for 20 years. I want to quit using meth but I don’t know where to turn to get what I need to be able to do so.

    1. Dear Mya,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I feel for you. It’s beyond my comprehension, making it so hard for people who have been desperately “self-medicating” — just to function — to find legitimate treatment.

      I wish I could refer you to resources.

      The most I can offer is this. For many years, I’ve seen people who felt like they had nowhere to turn…suddenly start seeing option. What made the different, as far as I can tell, is that they were validated. That they deserved proper medical help, not judgment. They truly deserved it, and that’s a no-brainer.

      I hope possibilities start emerging for you.


    2. Exactly! If they had to go through a screening test to see the right candidate to prescribe this type of medication to, it would be the meth users definitely.

      But the people with these power aren’t using their brain. Basically boils down to, their ego.
      You just don’t go to the doctor and say what medication you need. They feel offended.
      Since you hurt their ego, they obviously have to make it hard for you.

      Do you know anything about the Ascension, awakening, light worker?

  22. I want to write about my life is all.

    15 years ago I was in Florida living the good live. Wife kids, beautiful house. I have add or ADHD. Im all ways tired & some times I’ll have spurts of energy & people think I’m high.

    I was 27 when my wife introduced me into coke. First time in my life at 27 years old I felt like I could do anything. But at that time it was about 3 years my wife was abuseing her pain meds & all we did was fight. I worked I made great money. I was on pain meds 2. Well the little I got a month after what my wife took of mine.

    We got split up after 2 to 3 years or her abusing pain meds. I started a awesome job & I found out one of the cooks can get coke. So I spent hundreds of dollars ever moth for about a year. Then I was introduced to meth. &

    I felt that help me so much more & since it was way cheaper I could do as much as I could.& After a year or so people started realizing it. The meth wasn’t working as good any more.well pretty much I was still getting coke some times & getting Dilaudid for my pain on top of it. So I started mixing it all together.

    But then 1 day came &I lot my insurance then lost my Dr. Them my home & job. All in a few months. Then I moved in with Another woman that just used me for my meds. & Everything I would get something I all ways split it. & At that time I only left the house to go make money. So I didn’t no all the people in the neighborhood that she knew. & Couple months & had enough because she would say I’ll get u back next month when I get mine. so I couldn’t pay rent because I couldn’t go out & make money. & When I finally left.

    The night I left she was punching my in my face right in front of her 2 boys so I had to just leave everything & got in my van & all the tires were flat. I started it up & got the hell out of there. Then I realized that she was telling everybody that we was just roommates we weren’t together. And I had a storage unit that had everything in it that I bought before and i had all my lawn equipment & tool boxes in storage. I lost my license since I couldn’t pay child support since I wasn’t working.

    But the day I couldn’t come up with $700 dollars to save my storage unit. I lost 15 to 20 grand. & I couldn’t get in there the last 3 months to sell anything because I had to catch it up. But because I thought this woman really wanted a life with me. I should of realized all the days & days I was in bed she was all ways out. I should of realized she would all ways get her self something. When we didn’t have any thing.

    But I just want to have someone in my life no matter how bad life was going. But then I was homeless but it was ok living in a tent in Florida. But when I lost storage I just lost a piece of my mind. Then I was homeless for 4 or 5 months and it was just me and my little chihuahua named Luna so she kept me sane. Then one night we was out in less than a minute she was peeing I was picking up a chair and somebody grabbed her and I went to grab her. I heard her Yelp so I ran over there and two people were setting outside their house with their dog and I said you see my dog is like nope so I couldn’t find her I checked everywhere I ran back to the house I was staying in she wasn’t there I went back and that was when my mind was pretty much gone I almost got arrested I didn’t understand that point why but I do now I told everybody I would burn this whole neighborhood down to give my dog.

    So then I just went on another year so with not caring about nothing since it was just me myself and I nobody gives a s*** about me people would act like it so I would help them out. I just couldn’t come up to asking my family back in Indiana to help me. Then one night I was out picking up scrap I had a pellet gun on me I went across the street seemed lights so I got in the parking lot to get out of there off the street and they’re wet out of their way and I was standing up putting pellet gun in my bag with the officer to my back and then all I do is drop to the ground I can’t I don’t know what’s going on. The officer shot me from the back from behind me then I woke up in the hospital and had shackles and cuff on and didn’t know why.

    Then I went to jail for almost 2 months for a felony almost went to prison for battery on a Leo. But I told my public defender there has to be videos. So they found a video that’s they just redid because all it showed was me whoever riding the bike and then it cuts off it didn’t show nobody shot didn’t show nothing so they throw it out and try to have me plea out on some stupid misdemeanor. But then I had a bond of $100 so I was out bonded so me stupidly goes back to the same people that I was with before.

    Then realized everything that I had found and gotten for that last year they took everything there was didn’t even have a pair of shoes I had to walk 40 minutes or so home in socks. Then had to go find a new place away from anybody that could steal anything. But that made me realize I don’t want to do this anymore friend well a person that I knew she would ask are you going to go out now you’re good. And I said why would I go out anything so you guys can steal everything these people knew each other for most of them since they was kids and they would just steal from each other I could not believe it when somebody would go to jail they would just go take everything like they did me.

    I always told him back here in Indiana that wouldn’t happen because somebody would have had their ass beat they would not be able to just keep coming back over and over again. Yes somebody would come to where I was staying for that first year before I got shot and they would just steal stuff out of the yard and they would throw them out and let him come back and this happened over and over again I thought I was in like some TV show I didn’t know what was going on and my mind was so gone.

    But after a few months I decided I had to get out of there and called my sister my sister said all I had to do was make it there cuz she was not sending me no money. And that’s when I proved myself I was able to get up and work to come home. But now I use every once in a while to be able to have energy to do stuff around the house. This time I made it 1 year. I’ve been back home for all most 5 years. I made it 2 or 3 years before I first used. My mom died. So I used probably 12 times.

    My girlfriend realized I was acting different some times. Then 1 night she was working & I got a bag & I passed out in the chair. & When I woke up she had put everything away & she read all the text messages. & Was upset I spent as much as I did. But at first when she realized I was acting different i told her it was energy but the night she came home & found it. I had to tell her what it was. & I decided to dump it all in the toilet.

    There’s so much more to my story. This is the 1st time I was told any body outside my family. I just read this article about ADHD and thought maybe this might be the place to tell somebody about it if not I’m sorry. And when I got shot through both legs of my knees from the police officer and got it dropped I figured I’d be set for life I’ve never had to work again. But when it’s a billion billion billion dollar town no lawyer will go up against them. I called hundreds of lawyers. So now I have a bullet that pushed at my muscle in my leg. And now I’m back in the cold so it’s just wonderful trying to make it to work everyday hurting so bad.

    Then on my mind I always think if I use I can do this. But I can’t do it while I work 88 hours every 2 weeks. Cuz I don’t want people to think anything like I went through years ago. Then yesterday happens I get call to the office. I missed 3 days in all most 11 months working there. I guess u only get 3 point. I thought I was set there for the next 20 years. But now I don’t know what I’m going to do

  23. I was searching on the web to see what prescription that makes you focus just like when you are high on meth as I don’t want to keep using just to make me focus and get things done. I came across this link and clicked on it and reading all the comments I’m shocked and surprised there are people just like me. Who smokes it and it helps with focus and getting task done. I don’t want to smoke it anymore or rely on it to help me. I was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed Adderall. I felt like it didn’t give me the same focus like when I’m on meth. It made me feel zombie like sometimes or even more alerted. I couldn’t sleep. I want to go back and see my psychiatrist and get explain my situation. Is there a prescription out there that gives you the same focus just like meth? I want to stay away from it but it’s the only thing that helps me get things done around the house. I can get organized, be more productive etc. please help I just want to know what prescription medication that will help you focus.

    1. Dear Linda,

      I’m glad you found this post. I’ve not seen anything else like it on this topic.

      Here’s the problem with relying on any medication to “give you focus just like meth”?

      Even Adderall can result in the person feelings like they have a booster rocket attached to their backs. It propels them through their day. They feel efficient. They get things done.

      Only problem is, they are using Adderall as a performance drug, and that never ends well.

      Stimulant medications treat ADHD. They help to improve certain brain functions. But relying on that is a losing strategy.

      People with ADHD do best when they treat ADHD with medication AND implement organizational strategies that help them prioritize their tasks and goals and follow through, get good sleep, eat well, and exercise.

      In other words, ADHD medications should help a person “regulate” their lives.

      It’s not easy learning this. But bit by bit, it can be done. There are lots of tools and plenty of information online.

      So, to answer your question, you’ll not find anything that “works like meth.” That is not a long-term solution.

      But you could find a stimulant that helps you learn new skills and strategies.

      You’d have to wrap your mind around the fact, though, that it won’t “feel” like meth — or even Adderall (which I could discourage anyone with a substance use history from using).

      I hope this helps.

      Good luck

  24. I guess I’m just adding my name to a long list of others who were in the exact situation. I was clean for over 16 yrs. But when I changed insurance my new Doctors refused to treat me for ADHD. I was very clear that I wanted treatment not just Meds. I was basically blown off by a few therapists and psychiatrist (all from the same carrier, I had low budget insurance. My life completely unraveled. After 5 yrs I was so depressed I stayed in bed for days at a time. I gained weight and had no support. This clinic had done depression screening twice a month. Every one showed I was severely depressed for at least 4 yrs. Yet my records showed temporarily depressive episodes, and CPTSD. One Doctor (who I saw twice and told me I just needed to let go of the trauma of abusive marriages I’d just gotten out of! hinted that I had a personality disorder. I told everyone I had ADHD. My 2 day long assessment came back as having severe ADHD. which she concluded was probably a major reason for depression. Three psychiatrist still blew me off. We are talking 7 years and my life being completed a wreck. I ran into an old friend who gave me a line. The following day at a Dr appt for my hurt knee they asked for a drug test. Apparently it was requested by my psychiatrist when it came back positive I was so ashamed. He didn’t make it better. He now says he won’t prescribe any ADHD Meds and it’s now trying to refuse me the right to change Dr’s. I FOUND A WONDERFUL THERAPIST WHO HAS ADHD and is so understanding. The psychiatrist at his clinic understands ADHD but this Dr has labeled my records that I’m not aloud to get another doctor. But worse he lied about it. Telling me he’ll do it. But again just doesn’t. My insurance company says he can’t do it. But other doctors can’t or won’t take me with the note. I’m so frustrated!

    1. Dear Wendy,

      That sounds like an absolute nightmare. It’s shocking on every level.

      Are you sure you cannot get that MD’s note deleted from your record? Where is it, in some kind of national database?

      There must be a way to appeal this.

      good luck!

  25. That’s exactly what happened to me I was prescribed by VyvAnce while I was in the hospital. It was working great for a while but then it stopped working. I went out to the find the next best thing which was Meth. Meth ruined my marriage because my husband got addicted to it too meth ruined my freaking life.

  26. I am living this story now.

    I am a functioning (barely) addict. I am pretty sure I have suffered from ADHD my whole life. I was never diagnosed, but just always labeled as the “hyper” little girl that talked really loud and fast and had trouble sitting still in school.

    It wasn’t until motherhood though that the ADHD started to really overwhelm me. I started having overwhelm managing all of my families schedules. This overwhelm led me to go out for girl time more. Getting cocktails with girlfriends a little more often. That’s when I took meth one night.

    I had tried meth in my early 20’s recreationally and liked the focus, but didn’t like how guilty, ashamed and embarrassed I felt after, so I only tried it a couple of times. However about 5 years ago during a girlfriends night out I had a few drinks and then I made a bad, intoxicated choice to do some meth .

    It was only a matter of time before it slowly but surely creeped into my life. Now I find myself in a predicament that I never in a million years thought I would be in. None of my friends or family know, or had know until a couple of months ago when my husband found out. He’s the only one who knows. He was very understanding (to a point), and wanted to helped me quit. I quit for almost a month, but then I slipped up because I couldn’t handle how foggy I was feeling. I wanted to tell him I messed up, but before I could he said, “ I thought for a minute that you got more meth and that would have been awful to have to go through those three weeks detoxing again!” )-: I couldn’t bare to tell him. I know he probably does not want to deal with me being down and out for three weeks again. It would be too disappointing . He doesn’t understand how this is.

    If he did he could have said, “ Hey, don’t get discouraged, if you slipped you’ll just get back up and keep going! I know this isn’t easy, and you aren’t a failure, you can’t do this!” Or maybe if when my Mom, Dad, one of my friends, or better yet, someone from church asks, “ how are you doing?” I wouldn’t have to say, “hanging in there, pretty tired and busy lately”. What if people could handle the truth and didn’t judge you for it, but genuinely wanted to help you. Maybe then when asked how I’m doing I could could say, “I’m not doing great. I’m really lonely and scared. I’m embarrassed and ashamed, I made some bad choices. I think I may be trying to self medicate for undiagnosed adhd, and I got myself into a situation that I need help getting out of. Can you please help me because I don’t want to be doing this anymore and I would like to get some help. Will you support me and not judge me? “

    It’s killing me to live this lie. I don’t want medical records marking me an addict. I don’t want people looking at me different. It was hard enough being the “hyper” girl growing up.” I can’t even imagine the things I would be called.

    So, about s month ago I ended up making a therapist appointment to get properly diagnosed with adhd. I didn’t mention my meth use, and I did get diagnosed with ADHD. I was given 10mg of Vyvanse, but told before I will be prescribed another bottle I will need to get bloodwork done. I haven’t started it yet, but my plan was to quit again this coming week and then start taking my pill sometime after that. When searching for info on Vyvanse and meth, trying to figure out what to do, I came across your article.

    I have your ADHD book. So I took this as a sign that I should write to you for your opinion.

    My question to you is, “How soon after the last time I use meth, can I start taking Vyvanse?

    I am really anxious about stopping meth and going through empty headed, depressed, brain fog days again. I’m wondering if the Vyvanse may ease the transition and then at least get me on a legal drug that I have a prescription for. On the other hand I don’t want to start it, if there are bad effects from overlapping. What are your thoughts on this?

    Any advice you have to offer would be appreciated more than you can imagine. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Reading everyone’s messages helped me to feel less alone. Thanks in advance! ❤️

    1. Dear Ann,

      First I want to head off public criticisms at the pass by saying…. I am not a medical professional. I cannot give medical advice. Etc. Etc.

      But you asked for help and so I will give it my best shot. Because what are the alternatives?

      Kudos on taking the first step toward getting the help you deserve. That shows a lot of determination and guts.

      IF IT WERE ME ….. here’s what I would do:

      1. Get my ducks in a row.

      That is, make a plan. Write it down. Don’t depend on your memory or self-perceptions.

      It seems that without the meth, you can function “okay.” You were off it for a month. While it was hard, and you were feeling fuzzy, you can probably manage for a week or so.

      So, get out your calendar, mark the date when you will stop the meth and when you will start the Vyvanse.

      I’m not sure there has to be a huge amount of time. No one can say. A week seems reasonable.

      2. Beginning now, start giving my body (including your brain) all it needs to create new neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, etc.) and support their transmission. That might mean:

    2. A good multi-vitamin/mineral
    3. Eating sufficient (not too much) healthy proteins — and a variety of them (the proteins in amino acids supply the critical building blocks for neurotransmitters, we need a variety because we can’t get all the amino acids from one type of protein).
    4. For example… rotating meals with fish, beef, beans and legumes (lentils, etc.), cheese, etc….. If you are vegetarian, you’ll need to take specific steps to be sure you’re getting all the amino acids
      some other way; I don’t know how.
    5. Getting sufficient sleep. If you have a “sleep debt,” start paying it.
    6. If you’re consuming caffeine, cut way back on that or quit altogether if you can.
    7. All this will increase chances of a positive response to the Vyvanse.

      3. Read my book’s chapters on medication. You’ll see that most people with ADHD respond to one class of stimulant better than the other.

      Vyvanse is an amphetamine. The other class is methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.).

      You might luck out and have a good response to Vyvanse. It might even be that 10mg is enough to register a response.

      But, after giving it a few days and not noticing a response, you’ll want to ask your prescriber about, for example, taking two pills (20 mg).

      4. Talk to your husband. Tell him what you’ll need his help during this “transition.” Tell him exactly what kind of help. My book also explains why teamwork is often the best approach to treatment.

      Any medication that can have a positive effect can also have a negative effect. Trouble is, we might not notice it ourselves. We’ll need someone else to help us.

      It’s a little tricky, telling your husband what to watch for. You don’t want to “lead the witness.” 🙂

      Maybe increased irritability or anger. But on the positive side, more stable mood or focus. That kind of thing.

      I hope this helps! Best of luck to you!!


    8. I’m crying because You’ve never met me but you just explained my life. Please give me an update! I’m struggling really bad. I need help. I just want to feel normal..

    9. Hi Ann, Hi Gina, I am replying to your comment because it was the first one I could reply to and I desperately need to open this vault that’s busting at the seams. I recently began searching for peer-reviewed research on illegal drug use in people with ADD/ADHD to see if a correlation had been found…

      I like so many of us here was so completely thrilled & over the moon to find validation of my feelings & struggles but also that what I had been suspecting for decades to be in line with the results of so much research. Like many of us here I too have a sad story. I accidentally found out the usefulness of this drug. I am diagnosed with ADD I have been unmedicated well over a decade and my life has spun completely out of control.

      I only use when something is being demanded of me or I have to produce something for someone or perform a Duty or responsibility or if anything at all is expected of me. I have to self medicate or I will literally live in my bed and not shower or even brush my teeth for weeks. I’ve suffered various forms of chronic childhood abuse and other trauma that has followed me into adulthood. I feel I recently woke from a PTSD dissociative state that lasted the span of 15 plus years.

      With this “Awakening” came much realization that caused a heightened level of concern & an urgency to address. It just came a little too late & I am in such a bad place today. What I’m about to tell you is the reason I’ve chosen to speak up. I’m still a little bit hesitant because each of us has the right to choose whether to share our story or not but this story isn’t only mine it also belongs to my son, my only child but for the first time ever I feel such a sense of security from these comments that not only has it made me able to speak but has filled me with a sense of urgency to do so.

      My son can no longer make this choice for himself nor could he share if he so chose to do so. I want/need to use this platform to give my son a voice & speak on something I have been fearful of for some time now .

      For many years from the time my child was in Head Start/Jumpstart preschool all that stuff every teacher has mentioned or suggested getting him tested for ADD/ADHD. I took what they I said with a grain of salt and did not worrying myself too much with it because at the time I felt everyone was getting labeled with this diagnosis like it was the new fad. I was also completely against medicating him for fear of stunting his growth and I also feared the loss of authenticity I didn’t want him to lose all the things that made him my boy.

      Fast forward to the 6th grade and a heart-to-heart with a male math teacher I decided to go ahead and have my son tested when I realized I had not been giving enough concern or maybe I didn’t realize because he had only just begun to show signs of it negatively affecting his self-esteem.

      With all the laws and regulation of controlled substances it has always made it difficult for me to stay on top of calling in to the doctor’s office requesting the prescription having to drive to the doctor’s office to pick up the paper prescription take it to the pharmacy and me being the only one that can pick it up excetera excetera excetera.

      The ridiculous Drug Reform & laws put into place to protect us from falling victim to the various problems that often times have shown to come hand in hand with the unmonitered use of controlled substances need to be re-reformed because they have inadvertently led to soooooooo many accidental deaths it’s too shocking to ignore.

      My son is 23 years old he was still seeing a pediatrician but had been recently told that he needed to establish himself with another doctor and since he’s over the age of 18 Mommy couldn’t help. They did allow him some Grace and continued to write his prescription for a short time after until they just couldn’t any longer.

      My son worked two jobs, he was a high school football coach, he started a Bible Study group and converted many non-believers into believing whatever they chose to believe but to believe in a higher power. He was on his way to GREATNESS until he wasn’t… having struggled myself and hiding my truth as all of us here have it occurred to me that my son although not medicated had been for some time able to keep up with the demands of his life and rigorous schedule so I began to prod and pry a little.

      I don’t want to go on and on about this cuz believe me I can my son did not want me worrying about him but he did finally asked me if we could do whatever we needed to do legally so that I could handle his medical business because he was struggling with selecting a doctor is setting it all up all the stuff that comes with ADD.

      I was not given enough time after this conversation to become his power of attorney or whatever other documents and loopholes they make you complete or perform in order to do basically anything with your own damn life somebody else with all the power always has their nose in the middle of everything. On March 1st of 2021 after completing his shift at his full time job my son was returning home to change into his uniform & cook dinner for himself and his roommate’s before having to report or his night shift at the gym.

      My son had recently discovered the “power pellet” effects of opioids after having a tooth extracted and when he couldn’t find his adderal on the street like that was any safer he would at times settle for something different but I’m not aware of any meth use as of yet but he too was self-medicating and if you hadn’t yet it was only a matter of time before he had discovered it as well.

      My son died less than 30 minutes after taking what he believed to be adderal only for us to later find out what he had taken was nearly pure Fentanyl. My life or what we were trying to make of it will forever be destroyed a mess of nearly unrecognizable shards or fragments of a life that once was serving as constant reminders of what used to be but is no more or what could’ve been but is no longer in the cards for me and since then I’ve learned so much and just how prevalent this dirty little shameful secret is.

      I just recently heard news of a young girl also self medicating to help manage her ADHD symptoms having fell out in the girls restroom at a local high-school into a full blown Grand mal seizure after having ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl. I feel I am suppose to speak out about this and bring awareness to the actual reality of how easy this can occur but in doing so I would have to expose my very private prideful son.

      I can’t do this without being completely honest & with that being said so do all of us because it could very easily happen to me just as it could very well happen to any of you and then we won’t have to worry about protecting any reputation cause it will be too late…

      I really just wanted to share my story I don’t know what I’m looking for here right now but I thought maybe Gina might share some insight some words of wisdom some ideas on where to go from here I promised my son that I was going to do the work to heal myself from past trauma in promising that I also knew I was going to have to tackle this enormous problem of self-medicating and figure out how 2 utilize the services we have available to speak on it or a better way to bring it up and have an open conversation about it to a healthcare Professional without being labeled an addict because I absolutely if I had a choice would never take any medication because I hate taking medication I hate taking pills I hate that I need to take something to function or feel normal and more than anything I hate that I passed on this curse to my son and that my silence and my secrets for fear of being labeled an addict or druggie is what actually killed him.

      If I can help keep this from happening to anyone else or bring awareness to this very real nightmare I will do whatever it takes. For anybody that read this thank you so much for your time and for being brave enough to share your story and Gina thank you for all of this and for just being you. After reading this blog I now feel newly capable and less fearful to address the call for action & hopeful for the possibility of actual change to one day occur. For the first time since my son I feel I have a purpose in still being here & something to look forward to and feel passion for.

      I apologize for the novel and run on sentences and my free of form spastic account of my story. Forgive me & my mush brain I’m unmedicated, in a PTSD fog typing through tears that will probably never ever stop. I appreciate your time and patience❣

    10. Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for telling us your story, hoping to spare others of similar consequences.

      Please accept my sorrowful condolences on the loss of your son.

      I just can’t imagine.

      None of this is your fault. I’ll repeat, none of this is your fault.

      You were clearly doing the best you could.

      ADHD is a complex syndrome. All the “dumbing down” of what it means results in skepticism and confusion. And, often, rejection.

      Sometimes, understandably so. If somebody told me, “You’re just a quart low on dopamine,” I’d walk out of the room. Because I’m not stupid. And neither are you. That is obvious.

      I’ll be direct: It’s very tricky, trusting the average therapist or even psychiatrist to know what’s what about ADHD.

      That’s why I always recommend education first. Get grounded in knowledge. Know what the diagnostic criteria is and how it might apply to you. Be pro-active, not submissive. That’s my best advice.

      I’ll be in touch via e-mail but I have to run now.

      take care,

    11. I struggled from the exact same scenerio you are in. I’ll let you know what worked for me but I am sure it is not medically recommended.

      We all know what we are supposed to do but Meth is a bitch and I quit many times over a 10 year period but always relapsed until now and I have been clean for 9 months now.

      Here is what I did:
      Followed the steps in the book “Quit Meth Now”. Follow it all the way through and take all the supplements. Once you are done with the 14 days start your prescription.

      That is what I did and I was able to get my energy levels back and my life in order and I don’t have to hide anything and am not ashamed or feel like a fraud/liar anymore.

      You still have a shitty meth withdrawal period but it’s manageable and there is a light at the end of the 14 days.

      Again….I am not a doctor …..

    12. Hi Amy,

      Thanks for sharing that resource. I’ll check it out.

      Yes, you’re “not a doctor” and neither am I. But if MDs had all the answers, neither of us would be here. 🙂

      take care,

  27. I was using t for a year to treat my undiagnosed ADHD. I finally got diagnosed and was but on vyvanse for a month, then switched to ritalin and found I was able to quit for a month and a half free from it. Until I had a personal tragedy and in August which is when I had to pick it up to comfort me. It relaxes me so much and just chills me out in the way stoners will smoke joints to chill. I know I need to get off of it again but reading all of this that I’m not alone in the way self medicating with it is powerful.

    1. Hi Alice,

      Ritalin is not typically thought a substance of abuse. Of course, anything can be abused. But typically, it’s not. Too high dose of Ritalin might result in “zombie” whereas too-high dose of Adderall might result in rage and what looks like mania.

      Are you receiving other benefit, other than “chilling”?

      That is, do you have more initiation and motivation, clearer thoughts, etc.?

      It might be that you’re taking too high a dose, specifically for the “zombie” effect. If you try a lower dose and see that it improves what in fact might be ADHD symptoms, that is important information.

      It also might mean that Ritalin will help you live a healthier, happier life — in the sense of treating ADHD, not “abusing substances.”

      good luck

  28. I had no idea there were so many other stories like mine. I’m in tears, like many other comments here that I’ve read.
    I’m 32, and while I’ve done extensive research on my own I’ve never been formally assessed for ADHD. When I was younger, before I had any idea that my symptoms were anything more than just deficiencies in my character, I stumbled into methamphetamine use. For the first time in my life, I was able to focus and finish a task in one sitting from beginning to end. My house was clean and in order and it didn’t take me a week, or overwhelm me. I was able to finally focus for the entirety of an 8-hour shift at work. It was the first time in my life I had ever felt what I imagined normal might be like.
    It’s been 10 years. I have successfully quit using methamphetamine for a period of a year two separate times. It wasn’t difficult to do, until I got to a place where I needed to go back to work and function like a normal person. I don’t know what to do. I don’t like what I have to go through to get methamphetamine illicitly. I don’t like associating with the people that come with it, I’m not involved in the lifestyle or social use, and I absolutely hate risking my freedom just to be able to function. But I’m so scared of being turned down if I ask a doctor for help, because I’ve already experienced so much discrimination over being prescribed controlled substances (I was prescribed Xanax for my anxiety for two years, and after I moved no doctor would refill my prescription and I had to suffer withdrawal unsupported).
    I’m so scared of being denied medication that might actually help me but I can’t even ask for it. I don’t know what language to use or how to broach the subject to a doctor in a way that I’ll actually get me listened to and I’m at my wit’s end. I want to be direct and entirely honest but I feel that will only impede my access to the medication I need permanently, and I don’t know what to do.

    1. HI Savannah,

      I’m glad you found this post — and my blog.

      You might also find this post interesting: Did Mrs. Murphy Abuse Benzedrine — or Did She Have ADHD

      I completely understand your dilemma. But I believe there are ways to minimize your fear so you can follow through on what you need — and stop feeling forced to take those risks with your health and safety.

      It’s true that prudent physicians won’t want to prescribe to an active “meth user” (the prevailing term). They at least will want to know that you’ve stopped for a certain period of time.

      From what you write, that seems unlikely.

      First, is there a trusted friend or family member who could help you tackle this task? That might be so helpful. This person can help you remember to focus on task by task — not view this as one overwhelming mission. Break it out. Including with some suggestions below.

      Two, some thoughts — not medical advice:

      — Have you ever tried prescription stimulants (e.g. Adderall, Ritalin, etc.), even if purchased without a prescription?

      If a stimulant works almost as well as meth for you, perhaps you could try switching to that for a while.

      At least then, when you visit a doctor, you will have been taking a legitimate treatment for ADHD — even if that’s not the one you want to continue taking.

      Start getting your “ducks in a row.” Savvy physicians get suspicious when a new patient comes in asking for Adderall, in particular, or listing a typical range of ADHD challenges. That sound canned.

      You’re more likely to earn some trust if you show that you’ve taken a thoughtful approach to learning about ADHD — and how you might have it.

      That would mean making a list of official ADHD symptoms and noting which ones speak to you. Then write down several examples over your life, from childhood through adulthood.

      Written documents such as that show that thought went into pursuing an evaluation. Physicians can also use these examples to ask more.

      The official criteria are listed in the back of my first book, Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?

      I hope this helps. Wishing you the best in getting the yelp you deserve.

  29. Elizabeth A Baker

    I can’t stop crying after just finishing reading this blog and ALL(so very many) the comments from others just like me. I was just released from a behavioral health hospital where the onsite doctor would not give me all of my daily prescribed meds because I am a meth addict. My prescribing doctor is very aware of what I am but can only prescribe me what my insurance will pay for. They pay for a 30 day supply 60mg Adderall. And I have to supplement with meth to function. (I too, am married to a non- user, have a good job and mostly productive life). But this doctor, decided that I must have been pulling one over on the system, so he intervened on a successful presribed drug plan and deprived me of a necessary medication for 5 days. I was a complete wreck. I had admitted myself to the hospital because I was having a depressive episode and felt I needed the comfort of safety. In turn, this doctor held me for five days because of “instability due to the withdrawal from crystal meth.” I cried practically 24/7, did not eat, bathe, only drank the water they gave me with my meds and begged them to discharge me as I was a voluntary admission. In 5 days I only had one staff member come in and ask me what was wrong. I was told to quit crying because I was only making things worse.
    I am really really pissed off now. And it feels great to know that I have validation behind me now. You, and all of my newfound family, have given me the strength which I had thought lost forever. Thank you. God is so good.

    1. Dear Elizabeth,

      I’m so sorry you had to endure that.

      I wonder if your prescribing doctor isn’t doing you any favors with the Adderall. 60 mg is a very high dose. Maybe the dosage was upped because you could get just one pill per day? If so, that is not a good strategy.

      Unless you have tried other stimulants and know that Adderall is the only thing that works for you, I would talk to your prescriber about trying maybe Vyvanse, if you know you do better on the amphetamine class of stimulants, or Concerta, if you’ve tried nothing but Adderall.

      It could be that the high dose of Adderall is increasing the feeling of need for the meth.

      You can read the medication chapters in my first book to know how prescribing should go for ADHD — but rarely does.


      Also, did you know that a pharmaceutical methampheamine used to be more commonly available for ADHD? It’s called Desoxyn.


      Best of luck to you.


    2. I’m so sorry of the crap you went through. I’ve had similar story, to be in position of not our will, to have power over us, someone else telling us what’s good for us.

  30. Thanks for the article. I’ve been in this world since 2017 and I might sound different from others, cause like I thought in the beggining, I use it when I really need to focus on very important work tasks that need to be done asap, but my brain doesn’t find them attractive. I just do them to push, and when it wear off, I go slowly with my day with the rest of the tasks. And in case of really big anxiety, when I have so much work that my brain creates the infamous ‘ADHD paralysis’ that I get overwhelmed with tasks, and just do nothing- then meth helps go out of the paralysis, and pushes me forward. One of the bigger and bizzare moments was when I had a self realisation about me instead my usual focus, my sense of purpose in life, and what could lots of things mean- that day I woke up happy first time in long.

    Then I thought that it will go away next day in the morning, cause I’ve thought it was euphoria, but it wasn’t- one thing was that I couldn’t sleep that night, cause of level of being woke up. I was still in check and still am. Tried even it without crazy tasks- before a party or doing normal daily routine- nope, too much focus for me in social gatherings instead of fully experiencing stuff was not for me. Can do my chore, go to the gym, prepare my meals, and sleep properly without it- which I’m happy about, cause I really was afraid that it will get me hard.

    BUT I still think it’s shit. And it’s double bullshit in life that I need drugs or ‘safer version’ of them as in meds that will eventually destroy my health, to work properly, and it probably wont stop making me mad AF. Cause I really need to switch to meds sooner or later. It’s just not fair that I need to live this way.

    1. Hi Magdalena,

      I hear you. It’s seriously not fair — and a giant PITA.

      The thing is, in the larger scheme of things, many of us have “something” we must deal with, physically or mentally.

      The fortunate thing with ADHD is, we have well-studied medications. And, if done properly (which requires self-education and self-advocacy), they do not destroy our health. In fact, they enhance our health.

      Research is coming out, showing what to many of us who knows ADHd, as obvious: People with untreated ADHD are more vulnerable to COVID. People diagnosed and taking medication are not.

      There are huge risks to untreated ADHD, in health and in adverse life outcomes.


      So, at least there’s a remedy here. Not so with many other conditions.

      take care,

    2. Amy McIntyre

      Hi Magdalena, I’m Amy. I posted a comment a long time ago, and when I posted I was in another mode of crisis, a very real moment and part of this struggle. but today I’m just replying to you to tell you that I relate to what you said more than anyone I’ve come across in a long time. 2017 is a long time actually, and yeah you’re right it is shit. Literally, right?? I know that based on family history, my school records, who I am when I’m not using, the tears ive cried over all the years i wasted wondering what was wrong with me, interrupting, messy house, lost keys, impulsiveness, sound sensitivity, falling grades as an honor student, and the fact that it’s the only substance I’ve ever used, that there is definitely an ADHD issue with me.

      The problem with meth is, other than obvious reasons, the stigma that surrounds drugs especially meth. People have no idea that there are others among them who use. people like me. Like you maybe…. That’s another reason why I’m still using. I can get away with it, it’s easy, and ya there is that addiction factor lol. Sure I avoid all the extras that come with the drug I don’t socialize with other users, I don’t hang out in front of the mirror with tweezers, I don’t engage in risky behaviors to get the drug, but I’m also avoiding good things too. Like advancing my life into a better career, or having a social life at all. I avoided Gina when she replied to me, even though it meant SO MUCH! (Im sorry Gina, thank you for this blog.) So ya i my house,my car, my kid, family who trusts me, but that’s all just an exterior image of what I think people approve of, so i dont feel like a conplete failure at life. But i still feel a void thats eating away at my time to experience life with authenticity.

      I just want to be accepted, I don’t want to use, but I spend everyday on the same road and so I’m writing to tell you that I’m sorry. From another person that understands the core of this shit we live in. The unfulfillment. and loneliness. If you don’t relate, oops! I’ll still be an awesome support- but I kind of get the feeling you know what i mean. Nice to meet you, Magdalene.

  31. Charmaine Booth

    Hi there,wow this is all me. Every story i relate to…Its like ive written all of them myself.

    As a child I have been diagnosed with ADHD. I was prescribed Ritalin and was taken off at a very young age as my dad thought I did not need it anymore not knowing that add HD is a lifetime illness.

    I have been 2/9 psychiatrists and therapists and no one could help me my life was a complete mess since I was a child I was a problem child to everyone I have been growing up with this and when I got married I still I still suffer the consequences I couldn’t go wake up I didn’t wanna get out of bed.

    I couldn’t even try and think of getting things done. I had anger issues I was diagnosed with many many mental disorders but we never knew what it was they was wrong with me. I wish I used cocaine since I was 18 for about 8 years and in the beginning it helped it made me feel on top of the world and made me fit in and it made me focus a little more but then after while it didn’t do that to me anymore. Instead I got shakes I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t talk and I was trapped in my own body so the day I quit cocaine since then I have never touched it again.

    Then me and my husband where due to circumstances living in our car and we were scared so we wanted something to keep us awake because I don’t didn’t want to sleep and I also didn’t want him to sleep because I needed someone to take care of me so we started using meth. The first time I use me I couldn’t believe the difference suddenly I could go I could focus everything was easier life was easier and it was the answer to everything today.

    I do not want to stop because nothing could make me feel this normal. Nothing could ever make me feel this normal. I get out of bed every morning. My house is not a mess anymore but I don’t have my children.

    I don’t know how to explain this to normal people because they won’t understand this. Makes me actually laugh as made me a better wife, meth made me a better mum, made me a better human and if my parents saw me now they would probably think I’m clean.

    My house is not a mess anymore. I want to go to work. I want to wake up in the mornings and want to live. How do I stop something that makes me a better person? How do I stop something that is the answer to everything that we we looking for since I was a child?

    All my behaviours…. everything in one night shell solved …..no therapist no psychiatrist no hypnosis nothing cure me…yet meth did it all.

    Today I’m a mother of three whose children has been taken away from her because she tested positive for meth but here today I can honestly say if it wasn’t for meth I would have had a reason for my children to be taken away.

    But no one knows that this makes me better and how do I explain that to the court, to my parents, to anyone I will leave it give my children back if I’m off meth because no medication can make me feel this normal and being of meth made me a worst mother then I could be today because I’m more normal on meth then I am normal when I’m sober. Is there medication available strong enough to substitute meth for me?

    1. Dear Chairmaine,

      I’m glad you found my blog post. You’re among people who get it.

      It’s absolutely crazy, isn’t it.

      You ask, “Is there medication available strong enough to substitute meth for me?”

      I can’t answer that. It might be that one of the stimulant choices would work for you — but perhaps not as high-powered as the meth.

      It might be that you can develop more organizational and balanced-life habits to support functioning….once on medication.

      If you are in a larger city, maybe you can find a psychiatrist smart enough to understand this — and who can figure out how to help you.

      You deserve help.

      take care,

    2. Im really glad I’m stumbled upon this thread. I touched crystal for the first time around 7 years ago Ive been looking for these kinds of people since then. Are there any forums or groups for people who have given up on the system and are just learning the loopholes and street smarts to treat their mental issues themselves?

    3. Hi Bob,

      I bet this is a larger “club” than most people realize.

      Sorry but I don’t know of any such forums or groups. I do encourage evidence-based treatment, including medications. Given the state of prescribing, though, and physician ignorance about addictions, I understand it’s very hard to find.

      Best to you,

    4. I feel everything you wrote. I pray that we are and will be ok. All my love, Elizabeth

  32. cain't trick me

    Akron Ohio,
    30yo Female,
    Caucasian af,
    Childhood ADHD Diagnosis,
    ODD before ODD was a thing.
    Brother & Father have ADHD diagnosis.

    From 2011-present (2021) I have been seeking treatment and had some not so great times that I think are related to the medications prescribed for the diagnoses I’ve been given in conjunction with my untreated ADHD.
    As an adult the diagnosis I’ve been given are:
    Schizo Affective (the one time I didn’t say anything about the psychiatrist I saw once who misdiagnosed me as bipolar),
    Bipolar & Anxiety,
    “Nothings wrong with you”,
    Trauma & SUD.
    Yep. 17 psychiatrists. 5 from hospital psych units.
    I gave the last 4 the contact info & documents from childhood psychiatrist that I ran into on accident 7 years ago at a grocery store who graciously let me stutter my way through a hasty explanation and panicked request that he please help me get back on meds,
    as well as a Neuropsychiatric Evaluation completed 6 years ago by certified and masters holding doctors that I paid out of pocket for since I Can’t. Get. A. Referral. even though I have been informed multiple times that Medicaid requires that one be completed in order to confirm diagnosis.

    I’ve been a (strictly) intravenous meth addict for 3 years, 15-20mg 2x daily purified for high Levo low Dex. My first drug was Marijuana, Alcohol at 21yo, I’ve used Ketamine (5mg 1x/mo 2yrs), LSD does nothing to me, and I’ve not experimented with anything else. Meth is it. Not even Cocaine. 😐
    I’ll be completing probation while still using in 3 months time,
    I still can’t get meds. Modafinil, Atomoxetine, Guanfacine, Clonidine, or fkn Bupropion, no chance for Methylphenidate.
    On my journey to obtain adequate pharmatherapeutical treatment and Cognitive Behavioral therapy, I’ve managed to get 8 people into treatment and all 3 people who had ADHD are getting ADHD meds, and CBT plus community supportive services, But not me!
    I’m concerned that the biggest factor that has prevented me from getting the help I’m screaming-while-spinning-a-sign for is that I’m telling them that I have ADHD, I’m functional enough to get a job, and maintain a successful relationship, so I must be looking for drugs? So now I’m an on/off addict, because I couldn’t financially keep up with paying out-of-pocket for Modafinil about 3.5 years ago. I’d been using Modafinil since 2013. Shit.

    How guilty should I feel about suing the providers who have misdiagnosed me & refused to prescribe adhd meds despite having been given the contact info and documentation of diagnosis?

    I feel guilty, really. I do.

    I quit using meth this past November for about a month and everyone noticed. I quit again from mid Jan until last week, mid March.
    I don’t have withdrawals. I struggle with my ADHD on & off meth, but that’s probably because I use so little. At least with the Levo heavy blend, I can focus better for about 4 hours.
    I sleep almost every night, I can’t sleep when I’m having anxiety/panic attacks and I can’t shoot while my hands are shaking and I’m hyperventilating.

    I’ve rambled enough, please forgive me for any incoherent portions, I’m sober.

    I can be contacted @ 828,4-84,2-029 for any Clinical Research Studies or any Assistance that anyone can offer with/towards my diagnosis,
    As well as my providing resources to Any people in the Akron OH area who are looking for treatment, services, or contact info for social services or disability person who WILL listen to them since I have better luck getting everyone but myself the help they need.

    Lmao, wtf is life?

    1. Dear Can’t Trick Me.


      You didn’t ramble at all. You make all-too-familiar sense. And for that and the rest, you have my sincere sympathies.

      I wish I knew of resources for you.

      I’ve also seen a huge physician bias toward previous diagnoses. I even questioned one psychiatrist giving a presentation at an ADHD conference: “Why did you leave that patient on the bipolar medication if the patient had ADHD and no discernible history of bipolar?”

      His answer: “oh, you never want to destabilize a patient by taking the patient off a medication.”

      What? I mean, I see the point generally. But….

      re: medication cost. You know there are financial assistance programs, right? Depends on the medication, of course, and they often require that the physician complete the paper work….

      You can also look for discounts at GoodRx.com. Here is the page for modafinil: https://www.goodrx.com/modafinil

      One thing that helps distinguish a “drug seeker” from a “legitimate patient” (never mind that most “drug seekers” are operating with underlying psychiatric conditions)…..is to present a cogent, concise, bullet-pointed two-page report of salient information. With ADHD symptoms in mind.

      Examples from childhood, from teen years, from young adult, etc.. A listing of jobs lost or jobs beneath your skill level, etc. In short, documentation that shows considered thought.

      Also, can your partner go with you? To provide third-party corroboration of your challenges?

      You ask how guilty should you feel about suing providers? I’d say not guilty at all. But if this goes into some centralized medicine database, it might come back to haunt you.

      Have you tried asking the professionals treating your friends for their advice? That is, not putting them on the spot to treat you. But sincerely explaining your problem and wondering if the person has any advice.

      I wish you all the luck and will be rooting for you. You DESERVE proper help.


  33. Hi is there anyway I can reach Katherine? I have for most of my life thought that ADHD wasn’t real until more recently after doing some research/reading up. Desperately need some advice after reading the experience above. There are extremely harsh laws on illicit substance abuse (rehabilitation is a myth) in where I am; a very developed South East Asian island state. Pls help..

    1. Dear Peter,

      Maybe Katherine will read and respond. If not, I can try contacting her.

      But I’m wondering if she could help you more than someone in your country who is familiar with ADHD and substance abuses. Even in countries where ADHD seems unknown, there might be one dedicated researcher or clinician. It’s probably a long shot but maybe worth it.

      I remember that a Polytechnic University in Singapore was one of the first libraries to stock my first book when it came out, back in 2008.

      If you could at lest find your way to getting legitimate ADHD treatment, you could lessen your risk of trouble.

      We’re on your side.

      Take care,

  34. Randi welter

    I grew up honestly not understanding what most tried to explain.

    In school, I aided my keen sense of humor to distract the entire class so that my lack of focus was a problem I created for myself rather than the conclusion I had so early in life concluded. I thought I was stupid.

    With no ability to learn. While my peers got what was being taught I pondered away thinking up things my mind would create. My mind is great. Especially when finishing the creation which isn’t likely to happen.

    I started using meth when I was 19. While others around me were losing their ability to properly think with the chemicals and lack of sleep, I was injecting daily, sleeping nightly and learning how incredibly intelligent I truly am.

    I didn’t care to he tested I became an addict to the functioning brain I finally had. I knew I had ADHD and I saw no sobriety in my future so wasn’t an issue. I became a menace to society, no longer a functioning addict. In my blunt words… The meth was good I did a lot and that was all my life was. When to get high how to get more. Nothing else mattered.

    But intelligence eventually pushed me to sober up. I was clean for five years in which time I got a medical diagnosis and with the lack of insurance I had Adderall was all I could afford. I abused it because it wasn’t enough, of course I felt the need to lie when asked if I had a history of drug abuse and so eventually because I felt what it was like again for my brain to work I found some meth and lived as a above average functioning store manager of the most stressful business known. Burger King.

    Life got me on a different path and I cleaned up again. My inability to connect the begging and the end of my racing thoughts is the worst of them all. Knowing that I could be missing out on some very new knowledge happening in my own brain drives me crazy.

    I do not wish to be a meth addict. I am glad I experienced it because now when I’m sober it’s easier to understand. I don’t speak a lot because I’ve learned most don’t have the patients for me to get to the end. And if they do, I usually forget anyway.

    I speak directly from my mind not thinking the words but instead hearing the words coming out. I do not necessarily feel like ADHD for me is something I wish I didn’t have. I wish I was tested early enough in life that I could have been successful in school leading to great success as an adult. But I don’t hold onto what is lost .. I am planning on going to a rehab facility soon.

    And if they are unwilling to prescribe Vyvanse or something to help me I will inform them I won’t be staying because I know how to self Medicate and be intelligent to excel and anything I want.

    But the majority of the meth users, they are not exactly smarter with their use. For me it instantly calms my entire body to a relaxation and calm sense of controlling my own body. But it’s not the treatment that will work.

    Because I want to be in control. Addiction is a disease. And anyone with ADHD should not suffer with using a disease to treat a disorder. I am sorry for the length. It’s nice to share my thoughts and personal experience with others who also know what it’s like.

    1. Dear Randi,

      I am grateful to have your story here. I hope some readers will find comfort and validation — and others will find reasons for compassion and grasping science.

      I wish you all the best in finding treatment that helps you. It might be that Vyvanse isn’t the best class of stimulant. Perhaps a choice in the methylphenidate class might be better (e.g. Ritalin, brand Concerta, Quillivant, Daytrana, etc.). It really depends on genetics, as to which class works better for an individual. And it’s impossible to know beforehand.

      Please keep us posted!


    2. Very similar to my experience randy. Very. I’m 3 years clean and have adhd and my brain feels super well then absolutely fragmented. I can’t do anything but think. Working is hard. Opening a bill is hard. Solving complex problems a breeze. Its not pleasant. Some of your reported responses to your own story seem analogous nice post. I even like my response. The gas bill in front of me is still over due. I really should open it. Squirrel. No seriously. I just saw a squirrel. Hahaha. I’m kidding. It was mouse.

    3. Nancy Connell

      Omg… you just described my life. Everything you shared is me. Your describing using your keen wit in school was my game also. I would say the first time I tried meth was the first time I felt normal.

  35. All I keep reading is “find a doctor who understands”. How are we supposed to do that?! None of them do!

    I am legally disabled for other mental disorders and have been advised to seek adhd testing. Every doctor dismisses my concerns. I have used meth for ten years in secret, because it is the onoy way I can get out of bed and the only way i can at least half function. It was that way before i started using. Im at my best when i do use.

    I see no point in gettinh tested when my use will label me an addict and ill be forced back into treatment for a fifth time. I can play the game and get clean but why stay clean and depressed in bed, unable to get up except to crawl to the toilet.

    No will to live no interest in anything to where you cant even watch a movie through.

    I KNOW if I were prescribed Desoxyn I could quit using street meth but I cant quit before that or Id never get to the appointment to begin with. Ive been prescribed high doses of every SSRI on the planet and other categories as well and nothing helps.

    I am always late, losing things, have rejection anxiety and extreme responses, impatient, always moving, overemotional, disorganized and I’m ANGRY.

    I have decided to seek euthanasia underground once I can get into Mexico for the drugs. If nobody is going to do what they should to help in my best interest because theyre cowards hiding behind fatcat government who doesnt want to lose their criminal cash cow, so be it. My blood will be on their hands.

    When are these genius doctors going to look at paces like Peru where all drugs are legal and see how well theyre doing addiction and health-wise? Far better than us.

    I hope all doctors, cops and government officials are shown more mercy by god in judgement in the hereafter than they have shown me in this world.

    1. Dear Audrey,

      My heart goes out to you. It’s not right. It’s definitely not right. In fact, it is abusive. This situation.

      I know it’s hard to read “find a doctor who understands.” I wish I made the rules—and enforced them. But I don’t.

      It might not be a capitalist conspiracy — depriving you and other people suffering underlying addictions of psychiatric disorders. It is more likely, I’m afraid, rank stupidity. Yes, among physicians. Yes, among psychaitrist. Yes, among “substance abuse disorder specialists.” (Now, that IS a cash cow, imho.)

      You might want to read my reply to Amy, below, citing various studies about ADHD+ addiction treatment. Specifically, it’s not always true that the patient should stop “self-medicating” for X days/weeks/months before getting legitimate treatment.

      I can only validate your experience and that you deserve competent, compassionate treatment. I’m sorry that’s not enough.


    2. Amen Audrey!!! I too have been self medicating for nearly 15 years with methamphetamine.

      I don’t use more than I need to function, nor do I have any behaviors nor side effects using the drug supposedly causes. It’s so sad cuz it fills me with shame but it is the only thing that calms me yet allows me to focus and be alert. Without the drug I am completely lethargic & cannot function at all whatsoever.

      I’ve been down the road of recovery, have tried nearly every single anti depressant & antipsychotic medications, have had extensive therapy & have tried just about everything to change myself…all of which failed. Just recently I was finally diagnosed with ADHD but I cannot continue to see that doctor because I cannot afford him.

      I will be 50 years old this year & trust me…I do not want to be using drugs but it is my medicine. I was actually arrested for possession of the drug (an ex boyfriend who was extremely abusive called the police on me & they took me to jail).

      It is absolutely mind blowing how the majority of people simply follow what they are told by the government & by way of the laws instead of actually looking at the individual who’s taking drugs. I have met quite a few users throughout my years of using & I believe that a huge percentage of these people are self medicating & are living in shame not to mention having to go to places that could be dangerous to get their medication.

      I cannot get on an airplane. I cannot date. I cannot have “normal” friends. The persona of what I use as my medication is so far from the actual truth that I would either be thrown in a rehab facility, psych hospital or jail. Neither of which helps me. In fact, the jail experience & being on probation for 2 years caused me so much stress I actually lost all of my hair at age 48. It’s still growing back.

      I am on disability partly for my mental illnesses & a physical issue & I work part time. I have a very limited income & paying for my medicine is an absurd amount of money each month causing me to have a lower quality of life than I could have if I was receiving a prescription.

      I have not met any person with authority from my parents to police to my doctor’s that would understand nor believe me. I’ve remained in poverty, have only 2 friends & have no real life…but at least I can take care of myself & do my job.

      I’ve been alone since my divorce which happened in my early 30’s and that in itself has taken a huge toll on me. I feel defeated & pray to God nearly every day to let me come home cuz the medicine I take must remain hidden or I suffer horrific consequences.

      What can we do? Who do we turn to? What happens when I can no longer make it to the dealer or when he goes to jail? Am I really going to be 60 years old purchasing my medication from the streets? I thank you all for sharing a little about your experiences.

      I believe the government knows what they are doing & yes, most people in jail are in there on drug charges. My little bout cost me over $4000! And my probation officer was horrible. When I got a dirty UA, she tried to send me to jail for the minimum 2 year sentence.

      I’m not a criminal! But I’m considered one now. I can only pray that one day enough people with come forth & collectively force others to take notice of what’s really happening. Putting a mentally ill person in jail for self medicating should be illegal!!! The system is completely upside down. May God help us all.

    3. MizJ,

      I’m so glad that my blog post has offered you a degree of support and validation.

      Your story should be read by every substance-abuse center, every psychiatrist, and every criminal-justice professional, and the public.

      Thank you for detailing it in horrifying detail.

      I am so sorry this is your life. I wish you all the luck in the world in finding a smart prescriber who can help you.

      Reagan did away with community mental-health clinics, for the most part, and that is criminal, imho.

      I don’t think it’s the “government” at fault. Not entirely. I think it’s humans who cannot understand complexity. And of course, there are competing business interests — the private prison industry has been quite lucrative and was allowed to proliferate in the 2000s.

      Our U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse director, Nora Volkow, MD, PhD, is a fierce crusader for educating the public: Addiction is a mental illness. And many with untreated mental illness consume addictive substances in an effort to cope. Then they get the double-whammy of symptoms plus addiction.

      You deserve better. I hope you can find it.

      take care,

    4. I just finished reading your post and it brought tears to my eyes my life is everything you described. I was tested for adhd as a child in the early 80’s my parents were told I didn’t have adhd but a behavioural problem and only 2 years ago while incarcerated I was diagnosed with adhd with IED and RSD attached to my diagnosis
      I still do meth everyday I eat 3 meals day I work 8-10 hours a day I sleep at least 6 hours a night even if I do meth 10 minutes before bed I pass out like a 6 year old after all the excitement of Christmas Day the days I don’t use it’s procrastinating depression no organization quick tempered over most things and I know it’s depression I was prescribed vyvance and Prozac but do not have medical coverage and find buying meth easier to afford and with the results of using I never second guess my using and forget I even have prescriptions

    5. Dear Mark,

      I’m so glad this blog post has validated your experience. Imagine how many other people there are out there, not knowing. It’s crazy.

      Just FYi — Most of the pharma companies have patient-assistance programs. Including Vyvanse. You just go to their website, get a savings card, and take it to your pharmacy along with a prescription.

      Vyvanse is a sustained-release Dexedrine. It works well for many people. But who knows how taking the meth has affected your brain chemistry.

      I’m certainly no expert on meth, but I do know that it’s the delivery system that makes the biggest difference among the stimulants. From what I recall in a lecture years ago, “street meth” overshoots the targets. It’s “bigger and messier” than the pharmaceutical stimulants, which are more targeted. Same with cocaine. Pharmaceutical methamphetamine used to be prescribed for ADHD and still is in some places.

      You don’t mention your age. Maybe your chosen treatment will continue working well for you. Or maybe over time, it might.

      At least you have more information now.

      take care,

    6. Melinda Rosingana

      I read this and I am angry. Not just angry, furious. The more I read about ADHD makes it more apparent that our lives are at risk and why if I can find this information can’t a prescribing physician.
      My story is kind of opposite of many of the stories I’ve read here, but the same in significance. I had been diagnosed with ADHD and medicated with Adderall. The difference to my life was miraculous to say the least. I had also prior to this diagnosis been diagnosed with Depression and anxiety, possibly bi polar major depressive disorder. After taking Adderall, however I had no symptoms of depression or anxiety.
      There were days that I could not physically make myself get out of bed. I have the work record of the typical ADHD sufferer. I also had a drinking problem. After taking this incredible, miraculous drug. I didn’t care about alcohol one way or another. It was truly a miracle.
      I moved from the state I was living in to another who’s medical establishment was not what you would call progressive to say the least. I had a hard time finding a Dr. to prescribe Adderall. I had been taking it as prescribed for five years at this time. I found a Dr. to prescribe finally and things were golden for a while. Drug testing is required for a prescription for Adderall, I believe, although I’m going to make sure that is the case for sure now.
      Anyway I was starting to have a hard time. My Mother was dying and I was caring for her and working full time. I started drinking more than usual which showed up on the drug screen. After a few chances he wouldn’t prescribe my Adderall. I had been taking it for 10 years at this time. I bet you can see what happened. I just now, tonight pieced it together. The dosage I was talking for 10 years had started to lose it’s effectiveness.
      A thoughtful and considering physician might have considered this, but he took me off cold turkey. Everyone’s story is their own. Let’s just say that my decent into meth abuse is not a pretty one.
      And here comes the rage…. I finally after 2 years of using meth to think and function like a normal human got the courage to quit for 5 days thinking it would be out of my system to beg another prescription for Adderall. Promising recovery and whole nine, because I know this isn’t the most insightful man in the cosmos, and vasillating between five second patient visits and covering his ass is hard work.
      Anyhoo, he found meth in my system, stopped the Adderall and I’m back self medicating and harming my body because this man is a horrible Dr.
      When I think of the contempt and disgust he looked at me with. When I think about my shame and humiliation. I don’t know what to do with this anger. And he should be a very happy man that I am on meth.
      What makes me want to cry and never stop is I CAN’T go through the withdrawal again! I will kill myself. I feel stuck, and full of rage, and completely impotent. My life has been ruined.

    7. Hi Melinda,

      It can be such an awful tragedy when people with ADHD, who “sought treatment,” are let down so horribly by prescribers. I’m sorry this happened to you.

      Unfortunately, the prescriber’s major error may have been starting you on Adderall (without, presumably, trials of other Rx with a lower side-effect profile), keeping you on Adderall for years, and then not seeing the increased alcohol consumption as a sign that he was failing in treating you for ADHD+.

      Many people taking Adderall resort to a “come down” substance — cannabis, alcohol, etc..

      I hope you can find better treatment for your ADHD, and that means being pro-active in your medical care. Unfortunately, there is no way around it. We cannot depend on the average prescriber to competently treat ADHD.

      Here is more on Adderall:


      take care,

  36. I can hardly see through my tears right now.

    I am sitting on my bathroom floor, discouraged, ashamed and late to work. A repeat of yesterday. I’ll get to work late, but I have to do what I must to hide the self hating functional addict that I am. And it’s getting harder by the day.

    Because meth is not meant to help me function, no matter how easily I ration it. I hate it I hate me because of it but I KNOW I’m not a bad person. I’m a single mom , caring for parents part time, I love people, I work, I’m educated, I’m distracted, intense, late to EVERYTHING, hurting, wishing I had this diagnosis confirmed like my brothers do. Instead I went down a road so similar to Katherine’s that I fell to my knees and sobbed right here in the bathroom now.

    You’re right, her story helped me feel like I can reach out and maybe this time I won’t be looked at suspiciously like I’m trying to score stims like all addicts apparently do. Sheesh.

    I’ve been “functioning” this way for years. And I’m tired. I’m aging fast. Even with super active health and beauty routines, zero use of any other substances or alcohol, I know meth will always win at slowly killing me. Add the self esteem issues to the mix.

    I’m so stressed. I hurt from how cruel I am to me when I’m alone. My little boy needs to see his momma in the best she can be. This is NOT ME. I am praying that you can help me, Gina.

    I have hope.

    I’ll peruse this site later of course….but I really gotta go to work now!! Routinely inconsistent is that even a thing? Ha. Oh thank you for allowing comments and for sharing to everyone here. Sure helped me turn my day around for the better!

    1. Dear Amy,

      I am heartbroken to read your story. It’s not right, in this 21st Century, having the preponderance of scientific knowledge, that you have been forced to fend for yourself in the best way you can find—and then feel guilty about it.

      Especially if your brothers had the benefit of the ADHD diagnosis while you did not — that just adds insult to injury!

      THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN! Just as Cameron’s story should not have happened or anyone else’s story here should not have happened.

      Yes, “Routinely inconsistent” is a thing with ADHD. Some might also say, “Consistently inconsistent.”

      That is the central challenge of ADHD: Self-regulation.

      There are several points I’d like to respond to:

      1. How well do you think you’d be functioning, given meth usage, if you weren’t also beating yourself up over it?

      In other words, how much stress are you adding to your life by what you tell yourself about using meth?

      Perhaps if you could make peace with that, temporarily, that might give you more peace of mind.

      2. Do you know who is in your corner? The director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow.

      She is a brilliant neuroscientist who could have worked anywhere. She chose public service and researching substance-use disorders.

      As a child, she observed that some people could, for example, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol but not become addicted. Others would immediately become addicted. What was the difference, she asked?

      She rejected the “morality” explanation and pursued the scientific line of inquiry. She has produced some pivotal research on dopamine transmission in the brain and the vulnerability to substance use.

      Here is an interview I did with her several years ago, for CHADD’s Attention magazine:


      Bottom line: You are not dealing with a moral issue, an issue of your having bad character. You are dealing with a physiological issue.

      3. The risk for children with untreated ADHD of developing substance-use disorders is well-documented.

      Again, not morality. Science.

      4. You deserve evidence-based treatment.

      There is indeed a lot of well, let’s be kind and call it ignorance, in the mental health profession.

      At the same time, the increase in stimulant availability — and thus abuse — has also created a difficult situation for psychiatrists and other prescribers who seek to be responsible in not making a patient’s bad situation worse.

      Some psychiatrists might throw up their hands and say, “It’s impossible to tell if you really have ADHD when you are abusing street stimulants.”

      But that’s not always true.

      Some might insist that the patient be completely off any drugs for a certain amount of time before they re-evaluate. But then there’s the risk of attributing ADHD symptoms to “withdrawal” or childhood trauma or any of a number of narratives.

      It might be possible to evaluate for ADHD in this population, at least for some clients.

      That includes getting a full history, back to childhood, to understand if ADHD has been present for a long time.

      This is an old paper (2007), but it’s the first I could find now that explains several of the issues. Including that sometimes taking a stimulant when one has a history of SUD might be a good idea. With conditions.


      Some authorities have proposed approaches that emphasize medications with a lower risk of abuse, such as antidepressants or clonidine, before using traditional stimulant medications such as methylphenidate or amphetamine analogs.

      However, clinical trials of methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine for the treatment of either cocaine dependence or ADHD in patients with co-occurring SUD have shown that stimulant medications can be used safely in patients with SUD and have a relatively low risk of abuse under monitored conditions.

      While the treatment literature for ADHD in patients with SUD is not well developed [remember, this paper was published in 2007], the emerging trend is that medications effective for adult ADHD may be effective for adults with ADHD and co-occurring SUD, but the therapeutic benefit may be less or non-existent if substance use is ongoing. Several possible causes of this phenomenon include the following:

      —patients with ongoing SUD do not reliably take their medication,
      —patients with SUD may require higher doses (ie, higher tolerance) than administered in clinical trials, and
      —ongoing SUD makes detection of a therapeutic effect less likely.

      Amy, you deserve better. I hope that, as you become convinced of that, you punish yourself less and expect more of the medical profession. Sometimes, that shift in perspective can be enough to open doors once though locked for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Please stay in touch. We’re rooting for you.


  37. Hi!

    So I’m going out on a limb here, but I feel I’m at an impasse and maybe this will help. I’m a 29 year old trans man living in Canada, with a partner of 8 years and phenomenal crisis management skills I’m hoping to turn into a career. My whole life I’ve struggled with fatigue, severe brain fog and focus problems as well as other mental health issues which are largely considered managed now. I went through my late teens and early 20s doing sleep studies for narcolepsy, epilepsy, learning disability tests, and seeing psychiatrist after psychiatrist. I wound up with an incomprehensible list of mostly NOS diagnosis (4/6), a handful of possibilities and “traits of” (ADD being the one everyone mentioned but no one followed up on), and a black label of “too complicated to treat”. Despite all my challenges I am very proud of how far I’ve come. However the recent challenge is that the last 2 years I’ve struggled with using stimulants – first cocaine, then to the rooms of NA, rehab, and now for the last year crystal meth.

    With cocaine, and in rehab, I was obsessed with the high as it was the first thing to “make me function like a human” and “make me feel normal”. Obsessed is the right word though, and I would chase that sucker down with every drop of cash in my bank account.

    On my final sit down at rehab, minutes before I walked out the door, the councillor was going on about how I “used coke for the rush, how confident it made you feel, how in control” and I was stunned. After 30 days, he didn’t even know my reasons to use! So I interrupted and corrected him – “it’s the clarity, the focus, and the being able to stay awake for more than 4 hours at a time that I liked about it. The rest is just bonus.”

    He was shocked, but shrugged it off and said “well then, it’s likely you have ADHD, you might want to get that checked,” following up with how I had to do that on my own since my time with them was up.

    It’s a sentence I’ve heard many times, but this time it hit me different – if I was using to treat my ADHD, why don’t I just take it like meds? I’d argued for them with my psychiatrist for 10 years to no avail (“a stimulant will make you manic”, yet nothing else worked). Why can’t I take things into my own hands?

    Meth changed my story. I originally sought it to reduce the financial strain (1.5g coke/day is pricy, especially on disability) and because it was known to treat ADHD, but expected something similar to cocaine. What I found was more normal than I thought possible! My thinking was even clearer and not hindered by the rush of cocaine, I could set out to do a task and it would get done, I still felt hungry and my eating balanced out from one meal every two days to two meals every day, and I could carry on a conversation without missing words or jumping trains of thought! In my new found clarity I’ve learned to love myself, since I finally feel like I actually am myself.

    Yes, at times I’ve gone overboard. Yes, I’ve had days (weeks) where I said f*ck it and done more than my dealer thought possible. No, I’m not great at portioning out and caping a daily dose, as I prefer the ritual of smoking far more. I won’t lie, I like the high when I’m hiding from myself. That’s pretty normal, I think. What isn’t normal is how I like just before the high more, where you don’t have a buzz of any sort your just awake and able to think. That’s apparently frustrating as hell for most users, who knew!

    However, I want to stop – there’s too much run around, inconsistency, and risk. I’m not obsessed like I was, with meth I find it easy to stop and go through early withdrawal – I’m day 9 of a “health and wellness” break right now, with only a “cheat” of the dust from an empty baggy to help me clean the room yesterday – yet when I am not using I get so frustrated with myself and my inabilities that it has negative repercussions in my life. My parter said last night “when you use a little your great, when you use a lot you get hypomanic, and when your in detox your hell to live with.” I know I can stop, but I feel there’s got to be something to catch me as I do.

    I’m just scared, I think. I’m scared to be written off or rejected again, or worse yet outright wrong about my guess of ADHD! I’m scared of being seen as a user who wants an extra fix, I’m scared of not making progress if I do try, and I’m scared of getting yet another diagnosis added to the pile. I just got cleared to not need a psychiatrist, the amount of bs packed into my story is intimidating to most doctors, and I don’t even know where to start!

    I’ll end this personal essay there, or I’m going to write forever. If you’ve read all of this, thank you. If you reply, thank you more! Even if you don’t, writing things out has been a cathartic way to spend my morning, so again thank you. Keep up the good work your doing, stay safe, and have a wonderful day. 🙂

    1. Dear Cameron,

      My heart goes out to you. And I’d like to inflict punishment on the string of “mental health professionals” who, from what you describe, neglected and in a very real sense treated you abusively.


      On a positive note: You are obviously smart, self-aware, and a survivor. You came through all that having what sounds like a very clear self-assessment and perspective of your situation going forward with finding professional help. Huzzah.

      Yes, a type of meth was in the past and, to a much more limited degree, still is prescribed for ADHD. But it is pharmaceutical grade methamphetamine, not street meth. I’m not an expert on this, but I am guessing the Dexosyn delivery system is more regulated than with street meth (not to mention all the variables and impurities associated with that “homemade” manufacture). Here is a bit I found on the difference:

      Desoxyn is often compared to street meth that is not quite as a potent feeling but gives much more clarity than that of the illicit drug, meth. In the same manner that people that become addicted to painkillers and turn to heroin because of the price and availability, people that abuse Desoxyn will eventually turn to street meth for the same reasoning without thinking of the danger that these drugs pose.

      It is NOT YOUR FAULT that you had days where you “went overboard.” ADHD itself creates essential problems with self-regulation. And attempting to treat that with an elephant gun (street meth/cocaine) rather than a more targeted pea shooter (pharmaceutical stimulants) can compound that self-regulation challenge. My sense is that you were doing the best you can just to function. Who doesn’t want to function?

      As far as re-starting your efforts on the mental-health professional front, I think you need to be very strategic.

      The truth is, many of the professionals you encounter will, ah-hem, not have graduated at the top of their class. Some of them are just not strong critical thinkers—or all that empathic. They might see all their patients through a restricted prism, based on their limited understanding of neuroscience or being unduly influenced by a charismatic leader in the field with one organizing principle (e.g. Trauma Causes All Ills).

      As concerns ADHD alone — without all the other issues — that is dicey when it comes to the average therapist or psychiatrist understanding, much less treating.

      Putting all that you describe here out there for a random professional to sort out……well, let’s just say, if it were me, I would not risk that kind of vulnerability. And I don’t mean emotional vulnerability. But vulnerability to nonsense, misdiagnoses, and more wrong directions.

      Much will depend on your access to resources. For example: Do you live in a major urban area where a certain level of sophistication might be found? Or are you in a rural area with scant access to help of any kind?

      Whatever the case, I would encourage you not to dump all these threads in some random person’s lap. I would organize those threads in a coherent, systematic manner.

      If you are convinced that ADHD is your core issue — that is, the one that showed up earliest in life and has continued to challenge you in all kinds of ways — you might want to just focus on that for now. And document it. In other words, take charge and self-advocate.

      For example, I would start with ADHD symptoms. Create a list and check which resonate for you — and have since childhood. Provide examples at various stages in life. ADHD symptoms manifest differently in a 10-year-old than in a 30-year-old.

      Include and detail the “domains of life” in which ADHD has created problems for you — work, school, relationships, money, etc. [I am developing this as an exercise for my online training. It’s so important.]

      I cannot advise on how much of the other information you should disclose immediately or maybe wait until you and the professional have a better sense of each other.

      But know this: The stupid truth is that some will hear “trans” or “substance abuser” and that is the box in which you will remain and that will determine any future action. Especially given the widespread paltry understanding of ADHD. So, I urge caution and pro-action, not being passive.

      Two things:

      1. We know that children with untreated ADHD are more likely to develop substance-use disorders (SUD).

      2. Longitudinal studies from Barkley et al have associated ADHD with a slightly higher rate of “gender dysmorphic disorder.” Perhaps that is an offensive term. I don’t know. I am simply pointing out that any professional who would seek to attribute your ADHD-like symptoms to being trans (and the potential psycho-social effects of that) might be putting the cart before the horse. Same with SUD. Here is the first study I found:


      If you haven’t read my first book, I encourage you to read it so as to solidify your foundation of ADHD knowledge.

      Then use the third-section as your consumer guide to ADHD treatment. The Appendix includes the diagnostic criteria (from DSM-IV, but it’s little changed with DSM-V; one major difference is that symptoms can manifest by age 14 instead of 7). My book is endorsed by a Who’s Who of preeminent researchers and clinicians. It is based on science, not my little opinions.


      I hope this helps, Cameron, and I wish you all the best.

  38. I’m a regular meth user, not an addict, I won’t do anything for it but I do need it to function. I used to do cocaine but I moved across country and the coke scene was abysmal compared to where I was from. They had meth where I moved to, I used to be scared of it, TV makes it looked scary like if you tale it u will automatically become a tweaker but the reality is that I have severe depression, I’m always down and unfocused, I get anxiety and meth helps with that I think that population of users are the majority while the tweakers are the minority but are the face of it which is a great scare tactic for not use. My wife is an asshole, no better way to put it, I love her but I question if she ever did, because the way she treats me makes me want to kill myself. We been together for 20 years 15 married 3 kids. My depression and anxiety and lack of focus which I’m wondering if its ADHD, makes it hard to find motivation to get up and work and when I’m working to stay there and keep a job. My wife being the insensitive jerk just calls me weak and an addict. You couldn’t tell I was a meth user by the media’s depictions of one, it mellows me, calms my anxiety and makes me alert and focused. Coke only made me happy and awake while this stuff is like productive. I don’t know what to do I’m so alone and the drugs are my only friend. She just is to narcissistic to care and gaslighting me to death while playing the victim. If we didn’t have kids I would blow my brains out just to kill this pain on me it’s almost physical.

    1. Dear Djack,

      I can only try to imagine how painful your situation is.

      You definitely owe it to yourself and your future to get evaluated for ADHD–and, if diagnosed, try evidence-based medications for ADHD.

      I encourage you to learn more about ADHD by reading/listening to my book. It’s based on the science, with lots of personal stories as well, along with details on medical treatment and the therapy model developed for ADHD (based on CBT).

      Meth might seem to help but it might be creating more problems than it solves, with rebounding, etc..

      A major challenge will be finding a care provider who knows the connection between untreated ADHD and substance-use disorders.

      Some might insist that you get off meth first and then try a non-stimulant (Strattera, which is approved for ADHD but which most savvy experts will tell you doesn’t perform as well for most people with ADHD).

      Some might agree to prescribe a stimulant but with close monitoring.

      I know you can do better than meth, and I wish you all the best in finding the help you deserve.

      In the meantime, you might want to try to ignore your wife’s judgments — or your judgments of her. As best you can. It might be that, for both of you, perceptions are distorted through an ADHD/meth haze.

      good luck,

  39. This is an old thread but I’m desperate. I’ve been addicted to meth for a decade…and Im 99% sure I have ADHD.

    The stigma of using and fear of punishment and judgment keeps me from seeking an official diagnosis. How do I get prescribed ADHD meds when I’m on meth when they drug teat you before prescribing and then label you an abuser?

    I don’t abuse meth, I’ve never stolen to support my habit, I just can’t function or get anything done without it. I want to stop because it’s illegal and I don’t want to go to jail. But I have no choice. I’m considering suicide because doctors don’t kill and are so prejudiced

    1. Dear Marie,

      I’m saddened to read of your situation. It is absolutely unjust—and worse than Medieval. It’s punishing and cruel, and I’m sorry it’s happening to you.

      It is the very rare physician who will understand that you use meth just to function—and that you’d much rather be receiving evidence-based treatment for what you suspect is ADHD.

      If you go to addiction specialists, many don’t understand ADHD. Some focus on childhood trauma as the cause of using substances, completely ignoring the possibility of brain-based challenges that leave people seeking “stimulation” of all types just to focus and calm their mind.

      If you go to a “straight” psychiatrist, many don’t understand the “self-medicating” aspect of untreated conditions. Or, if they do, they demand that you “get clean” before considering an evaluation, much less any type of medication.

      Their perspective is understandable. But it’s not helpful to the people who might truly do well with proper treatment and stop using “illicit” substances.

      I don’t have first-hand experience with this hotline, but it might be worth a try.


      SAMHSA is a government agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

      The science in charge of the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse is very enlightened on the vulnerability of people with ADHD to developing substance-use disorders. So, I’m hoping that her enlightened attitude extends to SAMHSA.

      I hope that your talk of suicide is momentary frustration. But please, know that ADHD-related impulsivity can create a higher risk for suicide — which is often an impulsive, in-the-moment act. Please keep this number handy.

      Suicide Prevention Lifeline
      1-800-273-TALK (8255)
      TTY: 1-800-799-4889
      Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

      24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call is routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network of more than 150 crisis centers.

      If you need to make your case with a treating physician, you can offer these papers:



      Finally, please know that you have a RIGHT to legitimate treatment. You should not have to bear this burden alone. Sometimes, when people who write to me get very clear about that, doors start to open.

      I hope this helps.

      Please take care and always feel free to leave a comment.


  40. Marston Gould

    Hello – it was an interesting read.
    My older brother was addicted to methamphetamines in his later teens and 20s.

    Now as a father myself, I have worry about my 13 year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6 and high functioning Autism at age 10 ½.

    For nearly 7 years he has been on an increasing dosage of dexmethylphenidate. I don’t think he is abusing, but even so, I see many of the same symptoms as my brother and wonder whether the drugs for ADHD which supposedly help with focus by eliminating the need to self stimulate are doing real, long-term damage. My son is short for his age – but that isn’t what’s worrisome. I am worried that he is in the 1% tile for BMI.

    He is moody, agitated, argumentative; lies and steals; is screen-addicted – which we try to prevent, but he steals. He had a terrible appetite and won’t eat anything but foods that give him a sugar surge.

    He was at one time diagnosed with Tourettes but now takes another medication to reduce that. He is often paranoid and has hallucinations, he often has stomach aches and constipation. So even while he technically is taking what he was prescribed, I still am of the growing belief that his. medication is the problem, not the cure.

    A couple of times in the past, my ex-wife and her husband have tried to get him off the meds, but they give up quickly because of the roller coaster which I believe resembles my brother when he came off drugs. I think they believe he can get clean an a week of so. I think there’s no way that will happen – and as he gets older, his ability to figure out the connection between the drugs and his highs could start him abusing and making the situation even worse.

    No doubt I want him to be successful in school, but not at the expense of his brain essentially being bathed in dopamine all the time through drugs.

    1. Hi Marston,

      I appreciate your situation. I’m wondering, are you in Australia? Because Dexedrine is so rarely prescribed in the U.S. and elsewhere. Yet, I hear about it often from people in Australia.

      In which case, you might be right. But your ex-wife might be right, too.

      That is, he might be gaining some benefit from the Dex. But he might also be getting adverse side effects.

      While Dexedrine might, in the end, be the best choice for a minority of people with ADHD, for most it will present more problems than it solves. Mainly due to the delivery system but also because 40% of people with ADHD respond better to the other class of stimulants.

      I implore you and your ex-wife to work together on getting better treatment for him. He is 13, so you still have some degree of control vis a vis medical care. But that window will close quickly.

      I encourage you to read the medication chapters in my first book. They explain a basic protocol that should be used for all ADHD patients — but seldom is. (Link below)

      It might be that you have to go outside of the NHS to private care. I’ve not yet encountered a single-payer insurance country where ADHD wasn’t treated with disregard if not contempt.

      re: the “high-functioning autism” diagnosis.

      I would question that. It might be the case. Or it might not. Far too often, ADHD symptoms are mistaken for autistic spectrum disorders.

      Correct diagnosis is critical because it points the way to the most appropriate treatment strategies. The “social deficits” associated with ADHD are largely treatable, and that is paramount.

      You say he’s taking a mother medication to reduce Tourrette’s. That could be further complicating things if that is also an incorrect diagnosis.

      Bottom line: Your child deserves proper treatment. The Dex could be pushing him into irritability and aggression. The stops-and-starts of the delivery could have him on a perpetual roller coaster.

      He should be given another trial of stimulants — at least one choice in each class (amphetamine and methylphenidate). And he should be evaluated for anxiety and depression that co-exists to ADHD — not that is caused by ADHD.

      Diet is important. He should be getting sufficient vitamins and minerals (magnesium and B vitamin deficiency have been associated with the vulnerability to tics while taking a stimulant).

      ADHD can make it hard to “focus” on food — or even taste food that is not sugary, crunchy, etc.. Dopamine has an effect on those things as well.

      Sleep is important, too. But these can be hard to manage while treatment remains poor.

      I hope you can get better help for him soon. I really would not delay. This can affect the entire course of his life.

      I understand that you see a lot of your brother in him. But please know that proper treatment might help him avoid your unfortunate brother’s troubles.

      Here is the link to my book in the U.S.: https://amzn.to/2ZveH4d

      Here it is in AU, if that’s where you are:.
      Learn more: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0050JCA7C/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_QYXdFb81BREWG

      Best of luck to you all!

  41. Hello Gina, my name is Araceli and I’m a meth recovering addict.

    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was about 12 I’m Hispanic and my mother was ignorant of what ADHD was she didn’t think treatment was necessary.

    My whole teenage years where very hard not wanting to go to school because I was always tired and I would rather stay home, or acted like I was going to school then ditch and go to a house party or the mall.

    I did graduate high school a year later. Then what I was supposed to do? It was hard. I didn’t go to college because I don’t think I was good enough or smart enough.

    I got pregnant instead. My boyfriend moved in with me and then he got arrested a couple of years later. He went to prison and I was left alone with a toddler to take care of. So I started waitressing in a topless cabaret.

    I was 23 the first time I tried meth and I liked it. It took the edge off. In 2007 I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I had been doing meth for quite some time.

    I went to this free clinic here in Phoenix because I don’t have health insurance. They prescribed Bupropion ER/SR 150 mg,hydroxyz Hcl 25 mg and propranolol 10 mg see at this clinic. They know I’m a recovering addict so they only treat me for anxiety and depression but they don’t treat my ADHD.

    This is my sixth different prescription, and I always go back and relapse I have been trying to find help, I just went through a dramatic domestic violence incident and I’m even worse now.

    It keeps on and on. My life has been hell and I have the scars to prove it.

    I left my partner and my kids are not with me. Child protective services took them they said I put them in danger.

    I started treatment again for the fourth or fifth time. I don’t know what to do any more.

    Depression, anxiety, ADHD, and know probably PTSD. I don’t want to do anything I can’t focus and I’m scared and feel like nobody likes me.

    I feel like a disappointment. Right now I’m not taking any meds. I need help and nobody seems to understand me. Can you please give some advice.
    Thank you Araceli

    1. Dear Araceli,

      I am so very sorry. The ignorance in society and even the medical field is just horrendous and it results in so much unnecessary suffering. It’s overwhelming.

      You must be very strong if you’d held on through all this.

      If you have been taking bupropion, that has some stimulating properties. The prescribing physician should know that.

      I wish I had some great advice for you.

      Perhaps the most useful thing I can do is assure you that you DESERVE competent treatment.

      Here is a comprehensive article on treating people with ADHD who also have substance-use disorders.

      It mentions a few studies showing that methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, etc.) did NOT increase cocaine cravings in people with ADHD who had a cocaine-abuse problem.

      It also mentions that the longer-acting methylphenidate (for example, Concerta) might reduce risk. The immediate release stimulants (Ritalin, etc.) take effect quickly and tend to wear off quickly. With the long-acting medications, it’s slower to ramp up and slower to wear off.


      Here is a more recent article, specifically about ADHD and methamphetamine:



      Conclusion: This study provided some preliminary findings supporting the prevalence of Adult ADHD among METH users and its negative impacts on their global functioning and quality of life. To provide more effective intervention for METH users, detection and treatment of those with A-ADHD can be of clinical value.

      I encourage you to print these studies and bring a copy to your provider, asking to please read.

      I wish you luck. Know that you deserve 21st Century medical understanding and compassion.


    2. I understand you completely as I suffer from ADHD anxiety depression and OCD symptoms. Im not taking any medications or treatments/therapy either. I also use/abuse meth to self medicate my symptoms. I feel like nobody understands me and hopeless at times. I’ve learned being associated with or known to use/abuse meth, you loose your voice and are misunderstood because of the negative stigma and perception of the drug has on society. Im not saying it’s perfect either. I just want to share your not alone. I feel nobody gets me and push everything and everyone away and just want to give up. I feel hopefully knowing I’m not alone and want to find people like me to discuss similarities and work on findind a solution.

    3. Dear Kevin,

      Thank you for supporting Araceli and expressing your personal feelings.

      I can only imagine how much harsh judgment you receive.

      I suspect that loved ones are desperately worried about you and are trying to “scare you straight.”

      However well-meaning, that is an extremely outdated—and never useful—approach.

      I encourage you to pursue ADHD treatment, if at all possible. You don’t know what is ADHD, anxiety, depression, or OCD until you start treatment.

      It might be that you have those co-existing conditions. Or it might those are misdiagnoses—and will resolve with ADHD treatment. At least one or two of them.

      Please keep reading here, especially the comments. I think you’ll find that we all “get it.”

      take care,

  42. I’m being treated as an addict not someone that has adhd. How long before i can get heard that I have adhd an get the meds i need. I would like to know more. Thanks

    1. Hi Sandi,

      I’m sorry this is happening to you. It happens far too much.

      What you need is an MD who understands this issue — and your determination not to settle for less.

      Good luck,

    1. Aw, thanks, Sandra. You might be biased — or you might know me best. 🙂



    2. Terry Ann Francis

      I can relate to all of these people in some ways or all. I have spent the last few hours reading from the beginning. I was 15 years old, at the skating rink when someone talked me into smoking a cigarette. The moment I put it out I craved another. Same with alcohol. I stole a shot of my stepdad whisky at 13 and something magical happened. Head in the clouds, feet on the ground. I belonged in my skin. I instinctively knew this was what I was supposed to feel like, that others, the ones I could never relate to, always felt this way. Once again I immediately craved another. Same thing with cocaine at 18 and meth around 34. Meth was the best. I was diagnosed with “addictive behavior”, with no reason for it. Later it became “bipolar disorder”. One by one I released custody of my four kids. I felt bad and ashamed. I had bad moral judgement and no self control. A terrible, weak person. My family made me feel worthless. At 63, they still do.

    3. Dear Terry Ann,

      I can only imagine what that feels like.

      What is it with people who push substances on others. I smoked years ago but I would never have thought of giving a cigarette to a non-smoker…”Here, try this.”

      Some of us are more physically vulnerable to develop addictions. It has nothing to do with being an “addictive personality” — which itself is often said with a shaming attitude.

      It has to do with neurobiology.

      I hope you are able to find peace with this.


    1. I’m a 26 year old female whose been diagnosed bpd/bipolar, schizoaffective, ptsd, general anxiety, adhd and substance abuse disorder. In 2016 I did cocaine for the first time and instantly said, “oh my God, is this what it’s like to feel normal?” Which led to self medicating with stimulants. It wasn’t until a month ago I was diagnosed ADHD. I have a Dr and therapist who believe me and want to help me for the first time in my life.
      I became addicted to opioids over the pandemic due to moving in with my dad and in January 2021 I went to the only 24/7 methadone maintenance treatment center around. I am so grateful I’ve been in tears tonight.

      I’ve tried all of the non narc options for adhd in 2017 ish and my dr then decided I couldn’t have adhd, because he wouldn’t give me stimulants. He refused because I was a recovering meth addict, even though I was in their IOP program (submitting UAs 3 times a week). It’s been so hard to function and live, yet I just wanted to get high in his brain.

      My current (wonderful) psychiatrist said she would help me and prescribed me guanfacine last month. Three days ago I told her how bad the guanfacine was, and I think I need a stimulant. I added something along the lines of, “I know you may not give me them given my history but I could take it with my methadone when I come dose at the clinic everyday. I don’t want to keep relapsing on meth and I’m scared I will otherwise.” And she told me we’re going to try adderral.

      For the first time in my life the constant nagging anxiety lizard brain is quiet. I don’t think this is the exact dose/med that’s perfect, but I’m already so much better. I’m not constantly pissed, tired, moving, overly intense. I’m calm. I can drive safely!

      I’ve been trying to get a correct diagnosis and treatment for 12 years on and off. Me becoming addicted to meth ruined my chances of getting stimulants I thought. There are some Dr’s out there who believe their patients, and truly want to do what they can to help. I found one and I love her so much. She’s the first actual psychiatrist/dr who doesn’t think I’m just trying to score.

      Anyone who read this and is going through it, please don’t give up. It may take you a long time to find a dr who will help you but you will eventually. Honestly it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life. I jwanted to share some hope, because I felt so hopeless forever. The stories here in the comments are so relatable. I hope everyone gets the help they deserve <3


    2. Dear Hayley,

      Wow. What perseverance you have shown. I’m glad it is paying off.

      Good for that psychiatrist, for being smart and compassionate enough to understand the complexity here.

      i will just add one note: Adderall is probably the worst choice for recovering addicts. Your psychiatrist should be aware of that.

      It might be that, in the end, Adderall is the best choice for you. But I have good reasons for providing a caution, that it might be wiser to try other options first.


      thank you for sharing your story of hope here,


  43. I have been going to alanon for about a year and i notice the same thing in people who are alcoholics—the out of control and nervousness pacing not being able to think clearly… all signs to me that they are ADHD…with a few other problems…

    Listening to people talk at open AA meeting also hit me..they all stated they felt different from everyone else even as a young child…could it be ADD and ADHD undiagnosed?

    I bet there is a strong link… just my experiences. I am an Adult ADHD person so I am pretty good at spotting one and becoming friends with one in a second. lol.

    Thank you for your information and help on this topic and other information…

    1. Oh my gosh, I always felt different and unloved. Instead of my parents & other family members helping me when I was younger they thought I was acting out. Kicked my sister out, weren’t involved in our lives, got married even though I didn’t want to, had 2 beautiful daughters that were taken from me etc. I’m desperate to find help. I don’t work because of my pain and anxiety issues. I want some kind of normalcy. Thank you for your story.

    2. Dear Kimberly,

      There are millions of “different” folks out there. I’m sorry your life has been so hard due to ignorance.

      Good for you, for finding and reading this post.


  44. Thanks to Katherine for being willing to speak openly about this issue. I know that many ADHD families are deeply affected by addiction. I’ve seen it run through my own family like, well, a sickness. But it’s amazing how many people don’t understand the link, and how vulnerable ADHDers are to it, especially when we are untreated.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story!
    I hope to go to the CHADD convention in New Orleans this year also, Katherine, and I hope I’ll have an opportunity to meet you!


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