A health and fitness vlogger has revealed how a misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder left her hooked on a prescription stimulant which ruined her life.
Ashley Beeman, 34, from Arizona, runs the ‘Fit and Fabulous’ blog which encourages wellness through a balanced and healthy lifestyle, but in 2015 she secretly got hooked on Adderall after being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder by her doctor.
The weight loss results she achieved with the drug spurred her addiction as she dropped from 165lbs to 128lbs, and her life spiralled out of control.
But after going to a new doctor to help her ditch the drug, the mother-of-two was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto-immune condition, and now believes her initial diagnosis was wrong.
Ashley Beeman, 34, from Arizona, revealed her addiction to Adderall in 2015 had taken years of valuable time away from her children (pictured, with her husband Dusty Beeman, 36, and children Dylan, 8, and Davin, 6)
She admits to sharing misleading posts with her 32,000 social media followers during her addiction.
‘I would fake my workouts for my social media followers and my business grew a ton, and I feel terrible about that now,’ she said.
‘People were complimenting me which spurred me on and made me feel great. I thought I looked fantastic, but I was just skin and bones.’
The mother-of-two said she became hooked on the drug after being diagnosed with ADD and noticing it helped her lose weight
Ashley was prescribed the drug when she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, by her doctor using a one-page questionnaire.
But Ashley’s life quickly spiralled out of control as she began to run through her monthly prescription in just two weeks.
She hit rock bottom when she ran out of Adderall at a family reunion, and became so anxious she couldn’t interact with her family.
In June 2016 she vowed to quit the controversial drug – and after enduring a ‘nightmare’ detox period, she is now celebrating three years without it.
With the support of her husband Dusty Beeman, 36, who runs a construction company, she came clean to her social media followers about her former addiction..
While hooked on the drug, Ashley’s weight plummeted from 165lbs to 128lbs (pictured, at her lowest weight)
Ashley, who is mother to Dylan, eight, and Davin, six, said: ‘A year after I had given up I knew I had to come clean on my Facebook page
‘I had pretended to be living this really healthy lifestyle to all my followers and I owed them an explanation,’ she said.
‘I went live on Facebook and I received such a warm reaction. Everyone was really supportive and they started sharing their own struggles with Adderall.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription-only medication containing amphetamine and dexamfetamine.
It is used in the treatment of ADHD in the USA but is unavailable and unlicensed in the UK.
As a central nervous system stimulant, there is a potential for abuse of this drug, particularly amongst young adults.
It has “street” value ie. it can be sold on the black market to enhance academic or job performance.
‘When I first got clean I felt guilty, but now I’ve tried to forgive myself and move on. Now, I genuinely love to work out and eat well.’
During her addiction Ashley says she was terrified of running out of Adderall.
‘I would lie to pharmacists and doctors,’ she confessed. ‘I would make up ridiculous excuses like I dropped my prescription script into the lake and they would just give me another.
‘On Adderall I would hardly sleep. I would be up all night staring at the ceiling.
‘Sometimes I would have a few glasses of wine just to get to sleep.’
She said: ‘I was always constipated. Sometimes I wouldn’t have a bowel movement for up to two weeks at a time.
And Ashley admitted it ruined her family life, saying: ‘I wasn’t focused on my family in any way.
‘When I was on Adderall I was selfish. I was just living my life and I wasn’t present for my children. I wouldn’t spend time with them.
‘I feel like I’ve missed a lot of memories with my youngest one.’
The mother-of-two continued blogging online about health and fitness despite being addicted to the drug
Ashley said she was swept up in the addiction after her weight dropped from 165lbs to 128lbs while she was taking the drug (pictured at her lowest weight)
She went on: ‘I became obsessed with my business. I felt like I was being really productive but in reality I probably was just a tornado. I would jump from task to task maniacally.’
Ashley described her comedowns as ‘a nightmare’ and says she would spend days vomiting and shaking until she could get a new fix.
She said: ‘I went to Cancun at the end of March 2015 for a conference. I was really anxious and I ended up taking my whole prescription early on in the trip. I didn’t think I could do it without Adderall.’
She was forced to take the flight back to Arizona without the drug, saying: ‘You’re so, so tired and you can’t eat enough food. You throw up and you shiver. Your heart feels like it’s going to jump out of your chest.’
Ashley said people would regularly compliment her on how she was looking and her weight loss, but she was fighting a secret addiction battle (pictured, with her husband Dusty during her struggle)
Ashley said she was ‘selfish’ during her addiction, and ‘wasn’t present’ for her children (pictured, with her husband Dusty, and sons Dylan, 8, and Davin, 6, at Christmas one year)
In 2016, Ashley realised it was time to seek help, and went to a different doctor, saying: ‘I explained to a new doctor that I really wanted to get off Adderall because it was ruining my life.
‘We did my blood work and it turned out I had Hashimoto, an autoimmune condition and hyperthyroidism that may have been the cause of all of my symptoms in the first place.’
Suspecting she had been misdiagnosed with ADD, she ditched the drug for good.
She said: ‘I went cold turkey on Adderall. It was such a hard transition. I was so unwell.
Ashley said that now she has ditched the drug, she works hard to make sure she has memories with her family (pictured, while in recovery with her husband Dusty)
‘In the first three weeks I put on 20lbs which was devastating for me at that time, my view of my body had become so warped.
‘But I didn’t want to go back so I pushed forward. I wanted to experience my life but I craved Adderall so much for a long time.’
She went on: ‘I had to work a lot on body positivity and finding an inner worth that didn’t depend on my looks or my weight. I weigh 150lbs now and I’ve learned to love my body.
While Ashley admitted her business had taken a hit since she stopped taking the drug, she revealed her marriage is stronger than ever (pictured, with Dusty)
‘It wasn’t always great. My first year off Adderall I still punished myself with crazy diets but I don’t do that anymore.
What is Hashimoto?
Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple.
The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Unexplained weight gain
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Memory lapses
‘I hate looking back at photos of myself during that time because I don’t look good, even though I thought I looked amazing.
‘When I watch old videos, you can tell by my eyes I’m not really there.’
Now Ashley can be truly present with her family and business once again, and said she is ‘working hard’ to make memories with her children.
She said: ‘I hardly remember ever playing with them while I was on Adderall. Now family is my priority.
‘My relationship with my husband has grown a lot. Our business took a big hit during that time because he had to do everything.’
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1.7 million people over the age of 12 are estimated to have misused stimulants in the US in 2016.
Ashley warned other mothers that the drug can have a devastating impact on their lives and is far too easy to access in the US.
Ashley said: ‘Adderall is so easy to get. All you have to do is walk into a clinic and that’s so wrong.
‘I was spending $150 every other week to get my stock and it was so easy. I would just say I lost my prescription and if that didn’t work, it was very easy to get in other ways.
‘It’s not taken seriously. The fact that a paper quiz determines if you have ADD or not is nuts. It took over my life for a really long time.’