I don’t think it’s going to be ok

There is a shortage of adderall.

There has been for about 6 months or so.

Up until last month this shortage didn’t affect me much, sometimes I just had to wait a day or two for it to be filled. It wasn’t a big deal until last month, when my wife had to call around to a bunch of other pharmacies to track down my 60 pills.

It’s been a month and I’m at the end of my missed doses. I should’ve run out a few days ago, but sometimes I don’t take it in the afternoon because I forget. I called Sunday and my usual pharmacy didn’t have any but claimed they might get some the next day. They didn’t and I forgot about it until last night. So I called first thing this morning. Nothing. No one has any. She suggested I call all the other pharmacies and then tell my doctor where to prescribe it to so I could get more.

Usually this isn’t a thing doctors or pharmacists advocate. Pharmacy shopping and hopping?

The process of making adderall isn’t as simple as “just make more.” Because we are in the US and because amphetamine is highly abused, the DEA sets a limit on much can be used per year to make adderall. Well, that’s the ACTIVE ingredient in this medication. So without it, the medication would be useless. The DEA limits how much manufacturers can use to make their pills. They decided the 2023 amount at the end of 2022, but have not taken into account the increase of people who have been prescribed adderall though new telehealth companies.

I”m all for removing boundaries to health care and treatment so I don’t fault any person who was diagnosed and got prescriptions to help through telehealth. My issue is with the nanny-state US government who has a hand in limiting medication that many people need. And for us adults, it’s so much more than just feeling ok. It helps us drive safely and prevents distracted driving. It helps me function as a person with responsibilities. I shudder remembering who I used to be without medication. Sometimes without enough sleep and other factors, my medication barely works. I leave a trail of destruction behind me where I’ve started and then stopped something, moving along to something else that I will start and stop. Sometimes I find my way back on the trail and finish up at least a few of these things.

The truth us that I am scared of Hurricane Zander at this point. I remember how worthless and miserable I felt back then. Lots of therapy and validation from getting the actual diagnosis with a treatment plan has been life changing. I also take clonidine for nightmares and that has some effect on the ADHD symptoms, but I am not sure if it will be noticeable without the adderall.

At this point, I will run out on Friday unless I skip the afternoon doses. There’s a chance my pharmacy might have some in by then and I will be safe for another month. There’s rumors this thing should be cleared up by next month. I don’t know. All I do know is that the person named Kaitlyn at the pharmacy is on my last nerve with her “THERE’S A NATIONAL SHORTAGE” bullshit. Yes, I know. I’m not stupid. I don’t think she’s understanding how scary this is for some of us. I would never wish a child to not get their medication, but at the same time, knowing that it helps me drive focused makes me worried for myself. I ordered Red Bull Blue (which is the best flavor ever!) and that used to work back when I couldn’t take medication in the military. Self medicating isn’t great but it’s the only option if I do indeed run out.

I have an appointment with the nurse practioner on Monday anyway, so I can talk to her about alternatives then. She knows how severe this is for me. When I was diagnosed by a psychologist, he told me right after he introduced himself that he doesn’t most people who think they have ADHD actually have it. He said it’s so over diagnosed. After a couple other offensive comments, he asked me why I think I have it. I told him I can drink an entire can of Red Bull and GO TO BED. HIs mouth dropped open and he said, “Well, we will do the tests because it’s been requested but as far as I’m concerned, you definitely have ADHD. I drank a Red Bull once and didn’t sleep for 26 hours, my heart was racing, and I was not ok. How soon after you drank it did you fall asleep?”

I was worried and had no idea what the “right” answer would be, so I was truthful. “10-15 minutes.”

Again his mouth dropped open and he said, “You you definitely will need medication. That’s crazy you can sleep so soon after drinking an energy drink. Do they make you drowsy all the time?”

“Nope, just if I drink it after dinner or later in the evening. It’s like I’m already tired and it calms my mind enough for me to fall asleep.”


So, yeah. I need medication for ADHD and although he just diagnosed me with inattentive type, I know I am also hyper. It’s just that adult diagnostic criteria don’t exist yet, so they used child criteria. I know better to get out of my seat in a meeting or any time I’m expected to stay seated. But the agony I feel inside; that feeling of being trapped against my will is hyperactivity inside me. I did used to get out of my seat as a child. I did run around when I wasn’t supposed to. And I was spanked, humiliated, and screamed at by my parents and teachers. All of that helped me learn to stay still, even when it feels completely unnatural to me. It’s why I bring something to fidget with when I go somewhere I need to sit down at. I cannot just sit still without fidgeting.

Buckle up friends…we are all in for a great ride if this isn’t fixed for me by Monday. I can stretch my pills until then, but after that it might be crazy around here.

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