Focalin Addiction!!

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mark Says:

My first semester in college was a disaster as I began at the age of 25 and only 3 months after leaving an all together different environment in the military where I served 4 tours in the Middle East. I never missed a class and yet my GPA at the end was a 1.75. I literally couldn’t absorb anything in class, fought off falling asleep more often than not, and couldn’t seem to apply my discipline to making myself sit and read. So, in the Fall of ’05 I began taking Focalin 10mg and the difference was night and day. Not only did I retain information from class, but I was able to sit down and read without losing focus, I actually enjoyed it, and my second semester GPA was a 3.63! Now it is the beginning of Fall 2008, I graduated in May, and have started an already successful career at a law firm. I know, what’s the problem right? Well, if you notice I’ve been on Focalin for 3 years now and to say I’m hooked on the drug would be an understatement. I’ve taken enough before to exhibit at least 3 of the listed signs of overdose such as, sweating, dizziness, jittery, etc… What’s worse is that my job requires me to sit at a desk all day…..ALL DAY and without Focalin that’s just not possible for me and I know that about myself, but I don’t just take it at work. I get urges to take it afterwards and have even stayed up for 3 and 4 days taking one pill after another every couple of hours and browsing the net, reading books, writing out goals, plans, what have you and I can’t seem to stop. Focalin used to make me so sociable and I’d love talking about a variety of things with different friends, people from my classes, and even strangers, but now I’m the opposite. I’m anti-social, and I’ll be as awake and as focused as you can imagine and yet I don’t want to do a thing. I won’t eat, but I’ll maybe write for a while, browse the net a bit, read some, but nothing sticks anymore like it used to. One task, one pill is a thing of the long gone past. If I stop using the drug my performance at work will drop considerably, making me the 1.75 GPA guy all over again, but if I keep on like this I fear my performance in life will drop drastically. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place and any advice will be greatly appreciated. I need to find a way to taper off the amount because the 10mg twice a day I’m prescribed doesn’t even touch the tolerance I have built for Focalin over the last 3 years. Help!!

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nicole Says:

hey there, I dont have any answers for you, but I'm glad you posted, because I'm going through the same thing right now, and I just dont know what to do. I started taking adderall xr, when I started my career as well, and couldnt stay at my desk all day, and to focus the way I needed to, I just couldnt do it, so I was diagnosed w/ adhd, and started on adderall xr.
but now it has turned into something else....addiction, and I cannot keep doing this, but I dont know what the answer is. I cant talk to my doctor, because I fear he will stop presribing my adderall, and I cant even seem to function if I dont take it. I just want to be back to normal again, on a normal dosage, being able to take it or leave it. well good luck to you.

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Verwon Says:

You both need to discuss this with your respective doctors, only they know your medical history and will be able to help you find the best solution.

If your doctor tries to just cut you off, cold turkey, then it is definitely time to find a new doctor! They are educated about dependence and addiction.

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stacey Says:

Mark and Nicole- Addiction is a disease, just like cancer and heart disease. There's nothing shameful about having addiction as a disease, except eventually it will make you crazy- getting your next fix will be the only thing you think about. I know, I have it myself, and I've been around it my entire life, and I can tell you that NOTHING good ever comes from this disease. I've seen MUCH good come to the lives of those of us who finally get into recovery. But we couldn't do it while still using the drugs, and we couldn't do it alone. Please consider talking to your doctor-and being honest. I don't believe anyone ever really starts to take a medication with the intention of abusing it and becoming addicted to it. Treatment centers are wonderful if you really WANT to break free- and it is possible, I've been clean for 3 years now. God Bless.

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Steven Says:

I am a recovering drug addict, and was addicted to Focalin, and Ativan. I was using around 100-200mg of focalin a day. I detoxed at home using large amounts of motion sickness pills or benedryl. any antihistamine works well. as for physical withdrawl. but of course afterwards, it is hell as is any sort of addiction. I suggest a 12 step program. I went to NA and it gave me my life back.

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Colin Says:

Hey guys,

well Mark and Nicole, i sorta have the same problems. I'm 14 and in middle school, i have a 3.00ishGPA, but if i were to try, i could get a 4.00+. Thats not the point. I do not have ADD or ADHD, but my shrink perscribed me Focalin xr 10mg. After a lil it stopped working, so i asked for a small raise in dosage. I'm now taking 15mg pills.
However, i have bi-polar disorder and the fact that I'm going through puberty doesn't help my emotions. Starting the other day, i took my Focalin then perscribe. I'm perscribed 1 15mg pill in the morning. But in an attempt to buy me a little time from being really depressed... over a girl (go figure), i started taking MUCH more then prescribed. Yesterday, my first day, i took 6 Focalin, 80mg more then i'm supose to have. Today, the second day, i've already taken 4 pills, and the school day isn't over yet. I took 2 in the morning, 1 at lunch, and one after a test... cuz why not?
I jitter, i have sweat beginning to come out, but a little moisture on my forehead.
But it does the job i wanted. It relieved the depression. But now, no matter how long ago i took the pill, when i think about it i crave it. My tounge wants it, my stomach feels empty, and i want more. I get depressed when i don't have it.
I carry around the pills in my pocket so when i need a hit, i can get it.

It's been two days, and I'm addicted to my Focalin xr.

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Justin Says:

I myself have been down this path of focalin and ritalin addiction. When I was about 14 years old I was prescribed focalin xr 20mg and I knew that it could get you high so the first time i took it, I took 3, after that I was hooked and started taking up to 150 - 200 mg a day, and then eventually got ritalin once the focalin didn't get me as high. I stopped after about 2 years and now I am 18 and have graduated high school. Benadryl is a good method of coming off of it but the withdrawl will make you feel like hell but you have todo it before it makes you crazy. Stimulants are a horrible addiction that can be just as serious as cocaine. A thing that helped for me was to think of how stupid it was to think that i could ever live like that and to realize all of the people i was hurting and the relationships i was missing out while i was speeding in my room.

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Jeremy Says:

Mark, I appreciate your comments and am in your boat as well. It has been a difficult situation to discuss with anyone. This has been going on, off and on, with me since I started my undergrad in 2000. I have been able to stop for short periods at times because I force myself to do so. I have stopped taking it a few times for more than a month or so. But it's always been during a break between my education or something. Now I am graduating with my second Post-Grad degree. I know I have to focus on living a more regimented life now and that this behavior is not only unsustainable and costly, it can be deadly. I have gotten to the point at times where I stay up for long periods. This has even led me to desire alcohol and to smoke like a phen when I take it. I don't think other people around me have any idea of the problem. I am scared to talk to my Doc as well. I wondered if you had had other related habits that went with your Focalin addition? In any case, I guess we all just have to face the reality at some point and take steps to cure the problem. Honestly, that could even come with explaining that you need a few weeks off to deal with a family issue. I've done that before. Usually that was enough time to get myself off the med and back at some functional level. When I've done that, other stimilants suffice to keep you concentrated to some extent. In my experience, I begin to feel the effects of coffee again. I am going to be dealing with this in very short order because it is necessary to the wrest of my life success. Hopefully, once I'm in a more regimented professional environment, I will have a greater ability to accomplish a job that has my interest. I would suggest for you that you pledge to do the same. Take that time to deal with your disease. You don't need to necessarily explain it to your employer. Tell them that you will be needing a few weeks off in the near future because you need to take care of a loved one or something while their caretaker takes a trip. I know that's not an honest thing to do, but, in this situation, you don't need to go back to a professional office where people know you have been battling an addiction. Then, you just have to keep on keepen on with the regular modes of life. Your concentration and focus will improve with time and as you get back to a regular routine. In any case, I will likely do the same. Call the doctor and tell them you are moving, that you no longer want the medication. That way it will take a lot of effort to get a new prescript (and you won't have the concentration to do it, lol). I obviously am not the best advice giver on this topic. I know I can overcome this, though. You just have to know that and make it happen because your life depends on it, I guess. I will make my pledge to that. Anyway, I cannot tell you how much I appreciated reading your entry and realizing I am not alone.

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Mathew Says:

Hi, my name is matt. I started taking Focalin XR in the middle of my 11th grade year. At first it seemed like a miracle. I could finally concentrate and my grades started to go up.its 2 1/2 years later and now its more of a curse. I need to take it and most of the time its double what im perscribed. Ive lost so much weight and im not the same person i was before. Now im detoxing to try to get a job (drug test Merijuana) and im not who i should be, i cant think strait and my emotions are way out of controll. Recently, i said things to the woman i love that i would have never said in a million years and its killing me. The problem more so is how highly addictive it is. Im gona go cold turkey because i cant be this person anymore, i want to be me again, i want to be able to think clearly.

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random kid Says:

im 13 im not going to abuse the ritalin i was prescribed but can someone tell me if its addictive if taking the prescribed amount the way ur supposed to i have had them all focalin concerta adderall and i havent abused them i take 10 ml of ritalin 2 times a day will i get addicted over time.

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Stephanie Says:

I'm 17 years old and I tried focalin for my first time a couple days ago and i cant seem to stop taking it. My younger friend is prescribed 10 mg and gave me 6 of them. I took them and i never felt so much better but now I've been taking them non stop and I'm worried about myself cause i have had a recent drug problem with other prescription drugs. My boyfriends worried about me the way it is and i just dont have the heart to tell him about my use of focalin. I'm not a good student and im trying so hard to get good grades and focalin was my last resort it felt like. i feel like im ruining my life and relationship all because of a drug i just cant put down.

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bobdole Says:

Iv been doing adderall rx for a while one day I railed 5 lines and was up for a few days and I did all my homework I'm 14

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Patricia Says:

This message is to everybody..but especially to Mark and Jeremy. I cannot tell you how it made me feel to read your posts and to know that I am not alone. Jeremy, my situation with Focalin is very very much like yours. I am a college graduate with two degrees, and cannot believe I have landed myself in the position I am in now with this stupid drug. And yes, I say stupid..... or maybe it is just stupid to me because I cannot control my urges to take it and cannot handle how I am when I do. I have dealt with prescription stimulant addiction for just about three years now, and it has come to the point that it is hell. I managed to stop taking it about three weeks ago, then slipped and started taking it again two days ago. I hate it. I hate myself for slipping. I hate myself for ever getting addicted. And the bad thing about it is, that no one around me can really tell when I am taking it, no matter how much I have taken. But it truly affects me in negative irritability level skyrockets. I have flushed most of the pills I had left down the toilet today, and saved just a few to help me taper off tomorrow....but I wonder if I will be able to stop myself from taking the pills I have left all at once.......I doubt it. I am completely dreading the withdrawal. It was complete hell. I have never experienced anything like that in my life, ever. I had gone so far into the withdrawal and was doing well before I started taking it again. I am so sorry I slipped. Now that I know what it was like without the Focalin, and now that I am remembering how badly the Focalin affected me, I pray I will be able to stop taking it and stop seeking it out in the next couple of days. This is a scary situation. I have never been a drug user or have never drank much alcohol in my life. Focalin is one scary medication. Thank you so much to everyone for posting your stories. They have truly helped me. I know I will defeat this addiction, and get back on the right happy path again..............

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john doe Says:

Mark, I know its been like three years since you made this post, but I was wondering:
(a) if you still feel the same way now about Focalin, and
(b) has anything changed since (i.e. still take it but feel better about it / taking something else now / not taking anything /etc)

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Brian Says:

I have adhd and for some reasOn i am perscribed a 40mg focalin and a 10mg focalin xr every morning. I accidently took 3 times tht (i take them from the bottle n 3 fell out n i didnt realize till it was to late. That was like 10/ 15 min ago. My heart rate is 94 bpr when i t usually is 67 bpr (im athletic i know my resting heart rate) am i goin to have a heart attack? I cAnt tell my parents they will think i am trying to get high help!!! They wont understand and i need to know iff imma be okAy??

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daniel Says:

look...this isnt like weed...its very addicting and also very easy to become dependent to this drug.
i take it. ill pop two 30 mg focalin rx pills about once a month. and when i do, i have the best two days of my life. i dont have adhd so it might effect me differently then someone with it. when i take it i just feel pumped to be alive. i could be in the waiting room at the dmv and make 10 friends and have a baller time. just dont take this drug if you are a weak minded person that cannot control your body or more importantly your mind...
if you are weak minded and give into cravings then dont do it. just thnk, if your caught with focalin and your not perscribed to it...its a felony. so just dont be stupid and be careful with it. i personaly love it when im having a stressful week. or when i have to do yardwork i take two and just get pumped to mow the lawn. and if the john deer breaks down, its awsome to just fix it. its life crack, so be careful.

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Susan Says:

Would anyone be willing to revive this post with me? I have found I am addicted to ritalin and focalin. 80% wants help, the other 20 doesn't. But I've taken the first step and informed my family so that they can support me. I've handed over my pills to my husband so that he can regulate them for me (so I only take 100 mgs a day as opposed to 200) while I try to beat this demon. For the love of God, I TOOK MY SONS AND HE HAS BEEN WITHOUT FOR ONE WEEK! AND HE IS ONLY 10 AND NEEDS IT! I'm not a horrible mother I swear, I just suffer from this horrible addiction. It's the only thing that gets me through my day! I live a miserable life and sometimes I feel like it's all I have! Does anyone know if there are any programs for this type of addiction? Or are we on our own? ANY help/support would be greatly appreciated!!!

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same boat Says:

Hi.....I'm also a mom. I went to a shrink because my friend told me "He will give you anything you want"....I just wanted to have energy and lose weight. Well, I did!!! I lost 15 lbs and was SUPER woman for over a year. Then, I took too many and thought I was gonna die !!!! Since then I get anxiety when ever I took them, but couldn't stop taking them because I had them. After my last scripts I promised myself that was it NO MORE !! They have no long term studies on this medication and what if I die? What will my kids say....? "Mom was popping pills to lose 15 lbs and now she's DEAD?" .....Since I stopped I put ALL my weight back on PLUS another 5 lbs.....It's so hard not to call and make an appointment for more pills. But I keep saying to myself "I will lose the weight again NATURALLY and I will be healthy and ALIVE for my kids".....It is an addiction and I hate my friend for sending me down that path and I hate this doc for writting scripts for any and everyone......I thought about reporting him to the boards......keep strong....and take one day at a time ;) Good Luck !!!!

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Michael J Says:

While I can't say I'm feeling the effects of addiction by taking Focalin, I do relate a lot to the original poster's predicament. I found this doing a search online for primary articles on the neurobiology of focalin and potentiality for addiction. It's more related to dependence as a response to incentive-motivation, which is a theory of addiction. In my opinion, it's perfectly reasonable unless you begin to exhibit detrimental signs like severe weight loss from appetite reduction, etc.
If you go back to the original post, you'll see that the initial positives turned to extreme negatives. This is happening to me, but I'm also aware that I have SAD (seasonal affect disorder), and that could likely be influencing this change in physiological behavior.
Research is expanding, and I'd like to consider novel ways to model this kind of behavioral development at an anatomical level by considering what's happening to things like the glutamate receptors in the central nervous system, mitochondria, as well as neuronal plasticity. There is so much to consider, but I think there's definitely an explanation for this because it's happening to many people.

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Susan Says:

Michael, I find your post EXTREMELY interesting! Please, as you do more research or as more studies are done and finding found would you mind keeping this small post in mind and respond back with your new information? It doesn't matter if it's a year from now, or more, as long as we have our same email addresses we'll be notified as to your reply and able to read what it is you wrote! Thank you so much in advance! - Susan (I'm the one who revived the post in August)

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Gracie Says:

The same thing is happening to me!
I'm a 15 year old girl and I used to be exceptionally bright in school until I was about 12 years old when I started to really decline. I couldn't do assignments, and I literally felt like I couldn't do them even if I wanted! I continued to be mediocre in school all through 9th grade, getting report cards that would have an A, B, C, D, and F on them. I had always resisted getting medicated for ADD since my brother was medicated for it and I thought it was embarrassing. Then at the end of 9th grade I finally decided to give it a go, and was prescribed Focalin XR. I started taking them and my grades really did improve!
Anyways, when I got these meds naturally I took way more then prescribed (which was/is 10 mg,) swallowing 2 then 3 then 4 then 5, not even for recreational purposes but because I wanted to be as super as possible! The results weren’t as astounding for me as they used to be, and then one day it occurred to me to snort the pills. I did at home for the first time, and it was amazing! Just 2 and I was speeding! Then school started and I realized how much I need them. I bring my spoons to school and crush out the beads in between class and snort in the bathrooms. Not even my closest friend in the world knew this until a couple months in, when I finally told her.

Within the last two months I've gotten out of control. Not just with the pills anymore, but they’ve inspired for me to do more. Smoking weed, ecstasy, coke, pain pills and anything I can get my hands on. I have built up quite an immunity to the pills to the point that I have to save them up and plan when to use them, and dip into my brothers pills. If I don't do at least two everyday, I am completely dead at school and feel very sick. I can't stay awake in school even on double my dose, and my grades are slipping again. But now the pills aren't even about school, but everything! I'll save them up so I can snort a good amount to get high and party, for important exams, for social confidence, and energy in sports. Even worse, is I've developed a pinch of an eating disorder because instead of eating I'll just pop pills. I'm 5'8 and was relatively skinny before and very athletic, and I went from 140 to 127 in two and a half weeks, my cheeks starting to sink in and everything. My weight fluctuates often because of this, dropping as low as 126 to as high as 146. I just have so many uses for them it’s ridiculous! Due to my limited amount though, I’ve recently started to replace them with other drugs to save my script, and am completely draining out my money which I work hard to earn.

My main dilemma though is this:
My doctor (psychotherapist) is a very good person and I really like her, but I know the boundaries very clear. I cannot be honest with her about my many problems because she will tell my parents since I’m a minor, and that can’t happen. Not because I’m just a teenager afraid to disappoint her parents and get in trouble, but because this is an entirely different game for me. My parents are strict Roman Catholics and VERY anti-substance, or basically anything. (I.e. iPods are “items of Satanâ€.) They have told me this before (in complete confidence that I’ve never abused substances) that if they knew I even TRIED beer, they would send me to a mental health rehabilitation center since addiction and alcoholism runs in my family, and that once the trust was broken I would be on lockdown for the rest of my life. I am not exaggerating one bit when I say this, and I’m not just trying to complain, but my parents truly are insane. So the problem is if I tell my doctor the truth that I’m addicted to my medication or that I use hard dope (cocaine etc.) then she is required by her job to tell my parents. From saying nothing, I will continue to slip in school since the meds cannot sustain me anymore to benefit me academically. I have tried to conspicuously convince her to switch me to another medication or raise my dose so I have more to work with, but I do not want her to suspect that I am using them irresponsibly so I have to be very subtle. I have however told her short excerpts on my new drug use, leaving out the coke and pills, and she is worried just from that and says if I don’t cut down or try anything heavier that she will be forced to take me off medication completely because she fears I’ll have a heart attack from mixing the Focalin with drugs. So do I tell the truth and risk ruining my family relationship? Or keep her in the dark, and come up with different means of getting more medications and just feed into the addiction more? Neither are good options really, and my appointment is the 16th. This appointment is going to greatly affect my life. HELP!

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