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  1. #1
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    Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    I know on the surface this is going to sound like depression and generalized anxiety, but bear with me (I say this because I don't want to just be prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiety). I'm trying to figure out why I'm experiencing this stuff since getting off adderall as I do not have any reason to. It's definitely some chemical balance related issue. Before adderall, I had a couple quick bouts of depression (maybe 1 month total) in my life and anxiety during certain situations, but I was able to pull myself out of it easily and never experienced something quite like this. My life was great.

    Long story short, I took adderall for about a year before I met a girl and had a rough break up which resulted in rock bottom (nervous breakdown). Since then, I've been trying to pull myself back together. Mentally, I look at everything the same way as I always have. I don't understand why I'm feeling this, my life is easier than it use to be.... but my brain is making everything extremely difficult. This is why I don't believe "talking through my problems" with a psychiatrist is going to help. I don't have any thought problems, I think healthily. I just don't feel healthy. So it's this chemical imbalance that's causing the issue.

    For what it's worth, here's a timeline of when everything turned around for me. Skip ahead to "Here is where I'm currently at" if you don't think it's relevant:

    2010
    Later in the year I started taking adderall (legally), improved my concentration + motivation. Took it for work.

    2011
    April: Started dating girl

    September: I lost my job focusing on her and by this time was taking 60mg IR adderall a day (twice the max, so I would just go 2 weeks out of the month without it). By September I felt like crap off of it, somewhat like I feel now but much worse. I convinced myself I needed to take it to help her, she was experiencing a lot of issues that I needed to be 100% there with her for. Took Prozac as recommended by my doctor not knowing it was an antidepressant. He explained it would help with the stress.

    Mid-September: I was feeling really gloomy and depressed, so I stopped taking Prozac. Broke up with girlfriend, it was her idea, she needed to focus on kids... and she felt bad that should couldn't focus on me. I tried to convince her otherwise, didn't work. I hit rock bottom, wouldn't sleep for days at a time. When I did sleep, it wasn't for long. I rarely ate, I'm 6' and hit about 140 pounds at my lowest. Reading the symptoms, I had a nervous breakdown that lasted a night.

    2012-2014
    For about 2 years I was in what can really only be described as a severe deep deep depression. All my current issues multiplied including insomnia. I couldn't work or anything. Eventually got a job and by 2017 I was off of adderall.

    Present
    I'm past the rough break up, I'm over it. I just want my life pre-adderall back. I feel like I've leveled off about as much as I'm going to, and any improvement since stopping adderal and the rough break up has all but ceased. It's been over a year since I've taken adderall.

    Here is where I'm currently at:

    0 motivation, even doing simple things like showering

    Foggy brain. I don't learn as quickly or pick up on things like I use to.

    Don't take enjoyment out of much, if anything anymore

    No "reward" for accomplishing things

    Always feel a little strung out

    Even more difficult to concentrate than it use to be

    Don't sleep as well but my insomnia is almost gone

    I've gained 50 pounds since stopping adderall. My healthy weight was 165 and I'm now 215. I gained this in 6 months after stopping adderall. Almost endless appetite

    Hair starting to fall out these past couple years

    I feel a general dread, gloom, anxiety, and depression

    None of this I've had before. I don't look at things negatively and if you knew me you wouldn't have any idea I have these problems. I just want to have my life back. If I could just have my motivation to do things I enjoy back then I'll be happy. But I know it's something I burned out during those years taking adderall. I've taken blood tests and hormone tests. My Testosterone is 207 (low for my age is 300), my cortisol is "higher than average", and my Vitamin D was 9 (low is 20). I'm told I have "early" stages of adrenal burnout, so I guess not severe. I've been taking Vitamin D and just did a blood check with the doctor and it's back to normal. Nothings changed.

    Low testosterone? Serotonin problem? Dopamine? What does cortisol have to do with it? Can anyone please point me in the right direction here. Who do I talk to about further testing? Talking to my current doctor she just recommends lifting weights and exercise. If I thought that was the end all solution I would do it, but I struggle even taking showers with my current problems. I also rarely exercised pre-adderall and was still great. Anyone?

    Also, feel free to recommend I post this in another forum. Thank you!

    EDIT: Should also be noted that I have in the past, while taking adderall have had brief almost fleeting moments of what I use to "feel" like. I know nothing is damaged too much beyond repair if I can achieve normalcy still, it just never lasts beyond a few hours. I think it's happened once or twice since being off the adderall as well.

  2. #2
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    If I thought that was the end all solution I would do it, but I struggle even taking showers with my current problems.
    Well, that is kind of the point then. Even after a major stroke or a car accident, exercise can do a lot to getting people back on track. When I was ill as a small child with some mysterious virus, I lost the ability to walk and got it completely back with time and physical therapy.

    Dr. David Burns makes the point in one of his books that that cancer patients usually feel more hope than people with depression.

    Unfortunately, depression is one of the most common causes of disability, and stress can create almost any physical symptom.

  3. #3
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    I don't have any thought problems, I think healthily. I just don't feel healthy. So it's this chemical imbalance that's causing the issue.
    Really? Or have you become more comfortable with a life of avoidance? In other words, you may have changed your behavior/lifestyle to avoid psychological distress in the short term.

    Most human beings have more negative thoughts than they would like. (Early humans were prey, which is another reason our limbic system is so negative.)

    And we are all social animals with needs for acceptance, belonging, etc. Most people I know do not socialize as much as they would like to.

  4. #4
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    I also rarely exercised pre-adderal and was still great.
    You seem to have had issues with anxiety, including social anxiety, when you posted in 2005 at the age of 18:
    Not sure what this is...

    So while you have had times where things were better than other times, you have had long term issues with anxiety, socialization, etc.

  5. #5
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    To summarize, you seem to dismiss the benefits of therapy and exercise, but both can be helpful to anyone. At the very minimum, therapy can help increase coping skills regardless of what is going on. And exercise is one of the best things for increasing executive functioning in the brain.

    My guess is that the stigma against mental illness has made it more difficult for you to seek ongoing psychological help that continues as long as it takes. That is the case for most people with anxiety or depression.

  6. #6
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikazi989 View Post
    Here is where I'm currently at:

    0 motivation, even doing simple things like showering
    Foggy brain. I don't learn as quickly or pick up on things like I use to.
    Don't take enjoyment out of much, if anything anymore
    No "reward" for accomplishing things
    Always feel a little strung out
    Even more difficult to concentrate than it use to be
    Don't sleep as well but my insomnia is almost gone
    I've gained 50 pounds since stopping adderal. My healthy weight was 165 and I'm now 215. I gained this in 6 months after stopping adderal. Almost endless appetite
    Hair starting to fall out these past couple years
    I feel a general dread, gloom, anxiety, and depression


    I've taken blood tests and hormone tests. My Testosterone is 207(low for my age is 300), my cortisol is "higher than average" and my Vitamin D was 9 (low is 20). I'm told I have "early" stages of adrenal burnout, so I guess not severe. I've been taking Vitamin D and just did a blood check with the doctor and it's back to normal. Nothings changed.

    Low testosterone? Serotonin problem? Dopamine? What does cortisol have to do with it? Can anyone please point me in the right direction here. Who do I talk to about further testing? Talking to my current doctor she just recommends lifting weights and exercise. If I thought that was the end all solution I would do it, but I struggle even taking showers with my current problems. I also rarely exercised pre-adderal and was still great. Anyone?
    DISCLAIMER: I'M NO DOCTOR!

    Low Testosterone Levels
    - You do not state whether you have Erectile Difficulties or not
    - You do not state whether you have low or inexistent libido or not.
    There are many potential different causes.
    If not caused by other reasons than the testes not doing their job properly it's called Hypogonadism.

    Your Testosterone levels would be low for an 80 year old.

    The weird thing about Testosterone is that too many Doctors don't seem to understand it and what numbers are considered low for a specific age group and that if SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) and Albumin levels are high there is less if not no free Testosterone left. It's the FREE TESTOSTERONE that is vital and important. My Vascular Specialist uses an online calculator that takes both Albumin and SHBG levels into account and my Doc uses an old school graph to find my free T Levels which only takes Total T and SHBG into account.

    You need to find a Doctor that understands Hypogonadism and that will test to see what is causing your low T Levels. If you have Hypogonadism then Testosterone replacement therapy is the normal recommended procedure. I go the Intramuscular Injection route because it is covered by Manitoba PharmaCare program and yes it has made a big difference.

    Note there are new fears that emerged in the last couple years that TRT might increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Trust me the chances of dying from a heart attack and stroke with low T levels is WAY HIGHER! Low T Levels cause an increase in bad cholesterol an increase in belly fat considered the major factors for increased risks along with other really negative effects. I had 3 Heart attacks between 2001 and 2010. Been on TRT since 2011 and have not had any others since, lower cholesterol levels (I can't tolerate any cholesterol meds) ... coincidence? Maybe...

    Sure, if you are 80 and have low T Levels... Oh Well... At least now you'll be mellower LOL
    If you're Under 70 it's a problem!

  7. #7
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    BTW:

    New research suggests that one out of four men over 30 have low testosterone levels, but only one out of every 20 men have clinical symptoms linked to such a deficiency.

    1 in 4 Men Over 30 Has Low Testosterone - ABC News
    There is some evidence that high levels of cortisol depress testosterone, but not much evidence that taking testosterone will reduce stress or that reducing stress will elevate testosterone.

    Can Stress Affect Low Testosterone? - Men's Health Center - Everyday Health
    The question that remains is, does low testosterone cause or worsen medical problems like diabetes? Or are people who develop diabetes, or other health problems, simply more likely to also have low testosterone?

    Low Testosterone and Your Health

  8. #8
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    The fact is most people have lots of room for improvement in becoming healthier. Most Americans are overweight, not exercising enough, and don't eat enough fiber, etc.

    While getting a second opinion would not hurt, your doctor is right to emphasize the importance of exercise. And a psychiatrist can always order any blood work as necessary.

    Even taking a brief walk is often better than just waiting for the medical profession to figure things out.

  9. #9
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    but only one out of every 20 men have clinical symptoms linked to such a deficiency.
    The article also states that only 11% had low free T Levels.
    so... 5.6% that showed signs of it means 51% of those that had low T Levels had signs of Testosterone deficiency.

    Hence back to my original comment that it's free Testosterone levels that are really important.

    An important fact that these stats were not compiled or noted according to low total T and low free T

  10. #10
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    Re: Identifying the chemical imbalance that's causing issues

    Another side note:

    In one research study, 30% of overweight men had Low-T, compared to only 6.4% of those with normal weight.

    Urology Care Foundation - What is Low Testosterone?
    Doctors should first encourage overweight men with low testosterone levels to try to lose weight through diet and exercise before resorting to testosterone therapy to raise their hormone levels.

    Overweight Men Can Boost Low Testosterone Levels by Losing Weight

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