A Drug Holiday is No Vacation

Last October, my husband and I had the chance to take a child-free vacation.  We drove to Destin, Florida, and enjoyed a full week of relaxing, sight-seeing, and talking about whatever we wished without censorship or interruption.  The vacation was so awesome that we have pledged to repeat it again every year.

This is a real vacation….

Two weeks ago, I began another type of holiday – a drug holiday.  Because the body adjusts to stimulants rather easily, tolerance becomes an issue for some people, rendering the medications less effective or ineffective.  There are three strategies for combating drug tolerance – switching medications, increasing dosages, or a drug holiday.   Because Adderall is still hard to find (there was even recently an article about someone breaking into a pharmacy to steal it!) and is almost ten times the cost of Ritalin, I immediately decided against the first option.  I also did not want to increase the dosage because the side-effects were already unpleasant with a 10mg 3 times per day schedule.  Therefore, I opted for the drug holiday.  Let me tell you, a drug holiday is no vacation.

Within a few days, I had tapered completely off of the Ritalin.  The sleepiness set in.  I’m fairly certain it was the experience of attending a high school reunion.  You acknowledge people you knew but did not particularly like and then complain about them later to your significant other.  You remember why you hated high school.  I remembered why I went to the doctor last January.  Sleepiness is a bitch I’m reunited with every day, though some days it bugs me more than others.  I never did enjoy reunions.

While on the drug holiday, I found myself back in the same dark place I was prior to last September, wishing every second of every day that I could just put my head down for five minutes.  My one nap a day became two naps a day.  My mood shifted from pathologically positive to nefariously negative.  I wondered how the hell I would make it through each day.  Somehow I managed.  It was not easy, but I did it.

I don’t know how long the medication will be effective this time, but it does help to know that it IS helping, even to some small degree.  Sometimes all we can ask for is an improvement.

This is one holiday I could do without ever repeating again.  Farewell, awful drug holiday.

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