How do you feel about taking Adderall to get through the day? I have not been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, but I have taken it to pass exams and get through days where I had zero energy and a million things on my to do list. The benefits are great and I wish I had a prescription.

Normally I am tired constantly even though I eat healthy, get good sleep and exercise 2 – 3 times a week. I am also normally anti-social and struggle to stay motivated at work, even though I work for a great company and enjoy my job. If I am not taking Adderall you can probably find me drinking Red Bull or taking a 5 Hour Energy, but it doesn’t compare.

I hate to admit how I rely on these things but when I see how happy, motivated, and focused I am, I gain the confidence I need. I’m in the early stages of a career I want to do amazing things with and I don’t want to get off track. If something so simple can make amazing improvement, is it worth it?

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1 reply
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    First of all, I understand the benefits to Adderall at work, and I have written about them before. So for those of you who are not versed on off-label use of pharmaceuticals, here’s a post:

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/07/23/will-taking-drugs-help-your-career-maybe-you-need-adderall/

    However, in this case, I think Adderall is doing more harm than good.

    The problem with the strategy outlined in this question is that it’s not a long-term strategy. There are some things you will need to find inside yourself at the beginning of your career that will carry you through the rest of your life:

    1. How can you make difficult choices about where you spend your time so that you get enough sleep all night. This is not a small question. When you are in school you have way more time than when you work all day. And when you have a family. You have to get practice at admitting you have to give stuff up – in the name of personal limitations of time and energy. Adderall in your 20s delays this learning.

    2. You need to learn about your own energy by getting to know yourself. What kind of works gives you energy and what kind saps it? What sort of social interactions give you energy and which types sap your energy? Adderall masks this information. You cannot structure a good life for you without knowing the answers to these questions.

    3. You need to know why you’re constantly tired. That’s not right. It’s either emotional or physical or both. You can’t find the cause of the inordinate tiredness if you are on Adderall.

    The best time in your life to learn about yourself is in your 20s — no kids, not mortgage, and it’s fine to be lost or wandering or not quite right. People cut you a lot of slack because they know you’re finding yourself.

    Don’t think there is a shortcut. There’s not. You need to do the work to find out who you are. So it’s not really a question of whether or not pharmaceuticals are good or bad at work. it’s a question of are you trying to learn about who you are right now, or are you avoiding it? Because avoiding it would be very bad in the long term.

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