Before beginning, I'll briefly introduce myself. I'm a 22 year old male college senior studying philosophy and cognitive science. I stumbled across this site a few weeks ago and have spent a lot of time looking at some of the discussions involving modafinil as well as other nootropics. Anyway, thanks for all the input, it's really nice to be able to get this information in one place.
I was "diagnosed" with ADHD when I was 14. Originally I was prescribed ritalin but then went on to adderall and eventually to adderall XR. Overall, I would consider myself in very good health. I have about 8% body fat and yield consistently great cholesterol levels. Blood pressure is usually a bit high, but I tend to drink a lot of coffee, in addition to the adderall. I've been fairly consistent about working out at least 2-3 times per week. This mostly includes weight training and some light cardio. At one point I was benching almost twice my weight. Anyway, enough about my general health.
I've been on adderall xr since 10th grade I think, so that would be 5-6 years of adderall use. Dosages ranged from 20-40mg per day. I want to make clear that I don't use the drug recreationally, but I do use it (by and large) every day. I've never snorted it, but I have used it to stay up all night to write papers and so forth (though never more than the total dose I was alloted in a given 24 hour period) I'm very competitive when it comes to grades and academic performance, and unfortunately I think the adderall compliments that disposition. Being a philosophy major requires a sort of thinking that I think adderall satisfies very well. I set very high standards for myself in my papers and presentations, all of which are very critical in nature (I'm thinking to think that learning philosophy amounts to learning how to be the best sort of argumentative). It's come to the point where it's very difficult to be able to do school work without it.
Anyway, there have been several occassions over the past few years where I've completely stopped use for 2-3 weeks. I notice during these times that the first 2-3 days after stopping I'm extremely tired. I'm fairly certain that my prolonged adderall use, despite the fact that I've used it "as prescribed", has caused significant if not unalterable changes to my sleep cycle.
Anyway, I just got done reading the post about "meth and the brain". Obviously, the brains of those individuals who abuse meth are probably leagues more "damaged" than mine is. But I began to think: seeing as how adderall (being composed of two amphetamine salts) is rather chemically similar to meth, then what exactly is the difference in terms of their respective neurotoxicity effects? Wouldn't prolonged use of adderall, even if it were mostly consistend with prescribed dosages, cause a similar (albeit relatively lessened) version of the sort of neurological damage present in meth users? I can't really find much in the way of long term studies of people who use adderall as directed.
Also, assuming there is damage to the dopamine (DA) systems of the brain with prolonged adderall use, is this damage irreversible in the same sense that meth (ab)use is irreversible (or at least looking like its irreversible, depending on the system of the brain you're talking about)?
I recently started modafinil and like it. I'm thinking of just switching to modafinil eventually because honestly prolonged adderall use really scares me. I have not been able to really stop for long periods of time because (as I mentioned) of my sense of obligation to perform as well as I can in school (maintaining a 3.85 gpa in my philosophy major, 3.6 overall, doing research in visual attention, and writing a senior thesis on intentionality....it's already 50 pages).
What can you people tell me about the questions I asked? I realize there's a difference between prolonged adderall (prescribed) use and prolonged methamphetamine abuse, but the differences (in my mind) may be more in the realm of "matters of degree" and not necessarily of a different type or quality. That kind of scares me, unless someone can point me in another direction.