being a mom

Moms Are Gobbling Pills Like Halloween Candy To Be Better Parents

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The Centers For Disease Control states that deaths from prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999 and you know who is getting blamed for this? Moms! According to various news reports, us moms are popping pills like candy in order to be better parents and cope with the stresses of parenthood. And carpools. And our spouses/partners. And the fact Mad Men still isn’t back on yet. And the pressure to be MILFs when some of us just want to be frumpy moms. And our kids who just received the reissued Furbys that won’t stop yammering in their creepy Furby language (“Furbish”, cough) for five damn minutes. Being a mom is hard. But are we all really becoming a bunch of pill heads in order to deal?

From KVUE:

Heather Moore juggles a lot: A three-year-old, a one-year-old, a full-time job, and a husband who’s away in the Army.

Right after her first baby, she noticed she just couldn’t keep up.

“I felt like the worst mother ever,” Moore said. “I would get up, go somewhere, and I’d be like, ‘Crap… I forgot a bottle.’ ‘I forgot the diaper bag.’ I was like, ‘What is wrong with me? Do other mothers do this?”

Moore, like most moms, wants to give her children the best. For that she needed a change.

She wanted medication. She went to a doctor hoping to receive a prescription for Adderall.

“I told him I had heard about Adderall… can I try it? It was that easy,” she said.

Maybe I’m naive and sheltered and too busy self-medicating with cupcakes and Goldfish crackers, but is this really a thing? I know moms who take certain prescription drugs but only because they actually need them, not because they use it to be able to sit through parent/teacher conferences. Are all of you moms abusing Adderall and no one told me this is how I become a better, more efficient parent? Why am I always the last to know these things?

Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem in this country, I’m not disputing that. But part of this feels like just another sensationalist news story concocted to make moms who do actually have ADHD or narcolepsy and use Adderall to help with their symptoms second-guess their doctor’s recommendations for treatment and their own reliance on their prescriptions in treating their disease. It feels like the entire moms abusing adderall panic crops up in the news every few months. I’m sure there are some moms abusing adderall and using the drug to either help them “do it all” and lose weight, but I don’t think it’s as big of a problem as the world wants us to believe it is.

Unless, of course, this is actually a thing and you guys are all stealing your kid’s drugs and lying to your doctors to get a prescription. In which case, can someone tell me what’s so great about it and why I should start taking it too? Despite the new rash of news stories suggesting that the reason so many people are dying and entering treatment due to prescription drugs due to moms abusing Adderall I think the majority of moms don’t actively drug seek unless it is absolutely something they need or their doctor perscribes for them. Next thing you know, the news will find something else to blame moms for.

(photo: Jayfish/shutterstock)


  1. lawcat

    October 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’ll admit, I went to my doctor, told him I couldn’t concentrate (it was summer and studying is BORING), and I tried Adderall for 2 weeks while studying for the bar exam. I felt absolutely awful – jittery, insomnia, etc. Haven’t touched the stuff since.

    But the access to what I asked for was the most striking. I’ve been seeing this doctor for over 10 years. I’ve never shown any signs of ADD or ADHD. This doctor regularly asks me about my alternative therapies for my migraine so we can limit my intake of medication. Yet, I knew what Adderall was for, what the symptoms should be, and asked for it. Which brings up another point – since drug manufacturers have been able to advertise on TV, have the deaths by prescription drugs gone up? If people are able to ask for drugs by name, and shop doctors if one doesn’t give it to them, is that contributing to the rise in deaths?

    If you absolutely need medication you should have it, but I think for most people, taking a pill is the easy way out. You know what would work best? A time management class.

  2. CMJ

    October 24, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I just don’t get pills. At all.

    Seriously though, what happened to some potato chips, coffee, and ice cream?…not all at once of course…eh, maybe?

    • Shelly Lloyd

      October 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

      If that was all it took to control my migraines then that would be great. I’m sure it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than the Topamax. Go about 3 months with chronic daily migraines then get back to me about taking pills.

  3. sloane

    October 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Ok, I’ll be honest. What does it DO? It makes your appetite completely disappear. I’m suddenly maintaining my weight without the f*ing 7 hours a week at the gym (being nearish 40ish it’s a constant struggle, and I LIKE being thin). Then, it improves your mood so all the constant bull of life doesnt really POKE you as much. Then, it gives you amazing energy and suddenly that ridic to-do list is ACTUALLY GETTING DONE. Then, it kinda makes your brain feel quicker. When I’m working, things come easier. The ringing phone, fb notifications, barking dogs, yapping coworkers, food smells, etc are all filtered out, and, OMG shit gets done. If you’re pushing a huge project against a deadline, you can time it so you can skip some sleep. If you’re going out for your bffs bday and dreading the 2am designated driving, you can time it for great energy.

    Yes, it’s a form of speed. No, I dont steal it from my kids, and I’d never let them have it in their developing bodies. Yes, I (supposedly) have Add (but trust me, that was an easy diagnosis).

    I also dont want to use it daily. But this stuff has been around forever in different names. There are plenty of people who have taken it on off for years.radical honesty: it’s improved my quality of life by leaps and bounds. I love it. It has its downsides and should be managed proactively, but every time I read this kind of stuff, I think “your loss hon.”

    • quinn

      October 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

      You’re pretty much on the mark about what it does for you. I just started it about 2 months ago because I was always diagnosed with ADD and just never did anything about it. It has truly been an amazing transformation for me. The first week when I was still getting used to it I was able to organize and clean every room in my house! Now that I’m used to it I feel calmer, but I’m much more alert and active. I can see where it would be easy to abuse, but when I was still trying to figure out my dosage I found that taking too much left me feeling just awful and jittery. When used responsibly it is an amazing medication.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      October 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

      7 hours a week at the gym? I’d have to spend 15 hours a week at the gym, lol, and that is taking Topamax that also kills one’s appetite. I wish all I had to do was 7 hours. I actually like the first 30 minutes on the tread mill. I put in my head phones and listen to my tunes and it’s like mommy time. After that I’m tired and want to go home.

    • Scarlette

      November 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Haha near 40 taking Adderall? Enjoy your heart attack

  4. MommyK

    October 25, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I think the rise in deaths from prescription drug abuse can largely be placed on opioid medication (oxycontin, etc). I think it [taking Adderall/Ritalin unnecessarily] could be a “thing” in some circles. I remember years ago on Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman’s character started taking her kid’s Ritalin, and became a Supermom, dusting the blinds and ceiling fans in the middle of the night. But obviously, it wasn’t sustainable long-term. I also knew a physician once that took it to lose weight. Obviously I found a new Dr asap.

  5. Shelly Lloyd

    October 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I’m not taking adderall, never heard of it until today. But I am taking Topamax for migraine control. And yes it does make me a better mom. I can have up to 15-20 migraines a month. On the Topamax it cuts that number down to 4 or 5. I can live with that.
    I have caught flak from some of the other mommies on the street because Topamax can cause birth defects. UGH! I had one “concerned” mommy give me a good talking to about how I could be putting any future children I may have at risk for serious birth defects. Never mind the fact that I’m almost 40 and I do not plan on having anymore kids. That woman felt the need to lecture me on what is best for my uterus all because it offended her sensibilities.

  6. Hadditall

    March 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I can testify. I am one of those “Pinterest” moms. Creative, fun, seemingly boundless energy… I homeschool and provide care for my own kid and 6 others (babies, preschoolers, elementary) full time from my home. I sling diapers, shuttle kids to classes, cook and serve organic whole meals and snacks and engage them in educational activities and outings on a daily basis. At the end of the day I still put dinner on the table, clean the house and daycare space, laundry dishes, etc. and still find time to create handmade gifts for birthdays and spend quality time with friends and family. I cringe every time another mom admits to feeling sub-par when they witness all I’m able to do with/for my kids. I want so much to tell them that yes I am creative, devoted and fun but without Adderall I would never be able to pull it off. That no human could possibly do all this without it, I don’t care how many espresso shots you add to your lattes. I tried to do it that way and couldn’t, and because I am a selfish, white american who wasn’t used to being denied the lifestyle of my choosing, I refused to accept it. I had heard about adderall abuse and though I’d never been into pills or anything else harder than the occasional joint, and was very much into health and fitness, I jumped right on that bandwagon without hesitation. As a previous poster mentioned, it wasn’t hard to get a prescription. I believe that attention deficit disorders are just an evolutionary byproduct of the rapid increase of instant gratification in recent decades. We all have some shade of it. The first time I took it I felt justified. My scattered thoughts settled. My focus aligned. My body, with its pesky need for nourishment and sleep, did’t hold me back anymore. I didn’t need to work out anymore. Food was just something I had to do to stay alive. I learned to operate on 4 hours of sleep. But I learned pretty quickly that our bodies have limits for a reason. My car can drive 100 mph but I wouldn’t have much control doing that on suburban streets even without other traffic in my way, would I? My days would be numbered if I chose to anyway, wouldn’t they? I loved Adderall and what it did for me but not only have I had to keep upping the dose (2 years later I am at dangerous levels) but one day I came up for air and realized that my life’s momentum had matched pace with the drug and that it wasn’t just a boost anymore, it was necessary to maintain my job, my livelihood and the life my family was accustomed to. Yeah I am thin but I look fucking HAGGARD. Sure I can stay up all night creating a breathtaking Halloween costume for my kid but my face has aged 10 years in 2. I look every bit the tweaker I truly am. People just martyr me, remind me to take time for myself, bring me pots of soup. When I do take a day off from pills I am practically comatose. I can’t eat or sleep enough. My mood is gloomy or irritable. Usually I eventually give in and take a dose but sometimes there is a shortage and there simply is none to be found and then I get to feel like a real junky, making the rounds to all the local pharmacies, ransacking drawers and coat pockets for a forgotten pill. And if I do find a place who has some left I get to think about the 12-year-old who is going without something he actually needs because I got there first and damnit, Christmas is coming up. I wish I had never tried it. I wish I knew how to get off this ride. I wish I had the guts to tell people I know and at the same time I wish I could stockpile the stuff somewhere forever and forget who I really am for good. My kid’s not better off. I’m not better off. Cheaters never prosper. The shortcut never gets you anywhere good. Life is supposed to be messy. We are supposed to have limits. Take my word, Don’t mess with nature.

    • Jc

      September 18, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Thank you so much for your post you may have saved my life. I am working myself to be in the same boat but I will stay away

    • Hadditall

      September 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      I posted my comment months ago, and your reply has eerie timing. My life has only deteriorated further since that time and this week everything came to a head. I lost my best friend, who is also caught up in adderall abuse, my husband’s trust, and subsequently my marriage of nearly 10 years.
      It doesn’t matter if you think you can do this responsibly. Adderall taken by people who don’t need it, and often people who do, is just a legal form of our country’s deadliest drug, meth.
      I wish with all my soul I could go back and cough up that first pill. It gives you a false sense of invincibility, alienates your family and friends, wrecks your body, fogs your brain, and eventually can ruin your life.
      I am a smart, educated woman who had a good childhood, a solid marriage and a strong support system. Drugs do not discriminate. Run! Whether you are just considering abusing this drug or already are, run away and don’t look back. There is no substitution for real happiness.

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