Citation: SD. "Nightmare Unleashed: An Experience with Atomoxetine(Strattera), Amphetamines (Adderall XR), Mushrooms & Cannabis (exp51940)". Erowid.org. Jul 21, 2008. erowid.org/exp/51940
It was the end of the spring semester at my university. Finals had just wrapped up, and I was looking forward to a long, relaxing summer working at a prestigious research institute and doing landscaping with my roommate. I had just moved to the area less than nine months ago, and I was beginning to feel truly at home where I was. Everything was in its right place. I didn't think anything could go wrong.
A couple friends and I had decided that we would drive down to New Mexico for a few days after finals ended, to see the sights around Albuquerque and camp out overnight between the fantastic sand dunes of White Sands National Monument. We had just had a great mushroom trip together, and my first one ever, a couple months prior, and we were looking forward to having another great one in the surreal desert landscape of New Mexico. We had it all planned out for a great weekend vacation, but none of us could have planned for what happened.
I had been taking the non-stimulant ADD medication Strattera for almost a year and a half by now, and was taking a high dose (120mg/day) to combat my drifting point of focus. I was heavily dependent on it. Around finals time, I also started taking another ADD medication, Adderall XR, for occasional use in high-intensity studying situations. I took an Adderall in addition to half my normal Strattera dose everyday during finals, and without even realizing it, became addicted to it. I continued taking it everyday even after finals had ended, and throughout the road trip to New Mexico. I was beginning to show paranoid and delusional thoughts on the first day of the road trip, but the symptoms seemed to eventually subside and my roommates just figured that the copious amounts of weed I was smoking was contributing to my strange behavior.
The second day of the trip, we drove to White Sands. I was not in a healthy state of mind. I was stoned as hell the entire day, unable to even decide what I needed to buy for the camping. At the same time, I was having unusual thoughts, saying things like that the park ranger who we bought our permit from *knew* we were there to trip on mushrooms. Things that didn't make any sense, and had no founding in logic or reason. These were the beginning signs of amphetamine psychosis. I was not ready to take mushrooms, but I did.
The dunes were great, and we had a lot of fun as we trekked across them to the campsite. We set up the tent, and then, we ate our shrooms. My friend provided them, and all he had was leftover shake from his other batch. I had an eighth poured into a bottle of orange juice, and I drank it quickly. My friends started to throw up after the initial sips but were eventually able to start downing it; one of my friends never finished his whole bottle though, so he was probably tripping less than us. Immediately after consuming the shrooms, I took a dose of Adderall.
The trip started out great. Within 15-20 minutes I was feeling alive and full of energy. I ran around with my friends around the dune we had camped next to, and we were all seeing everything looking much further away than it really was. Soon, I began seeing ripples in the sand, like on the surface of an ocean.
Everything after this point is pretty much wiped from my memory. I remember a few moments -- sitting in the tent, or climbing over the dune to watch the sunset -- but everything else is completely gone. I was not myself at all and was not cognizant in any way of what was going on. The next thing I do remember is 'waking up' sitting cross-legged in the tent, in the middle of the night about seven hours later. I could already feel my mind overloading. Every single idea I had was connected with another, and I was making connections between things where none existed. Eventually I slept, but it was restless.
The next morning, we packed up the campsite and drove back to Albuquerque, and I was beginning to act very strange -- saying that I was convinced that many other people in our lives had also taken magic mushrooms, and it was basically an underground cult. My greatest regret is that my friends were unable to recognize this as a sign of a drug-induced mental illness. But, I can't blame them since it's not everyday someone you think you know pretty well turns psychotic.
The next couple of days proceeded quite normally. We eventually went to Socorro to see the Very Large Array, which was cool, and most of the time I did not act visibly disturbed -- though, looking back, I was having intensely paranoid thoughts about the people around me. Everything went to hell early in the morning about two days after we had tripped. I was lying awake on my friend's dad's couch, and couldn't get the feeling out of my head that someone was watching me. Eventually, I concluded that it was my friend watching me, trying to rape me in my sleep. I also 'realized' that he had been raping me in my sleep, with his friends, for many months. I panicked and called 911.
Long story short: my friends almost got arrested by the cops, and I had to spent spend four days in the psychiatric ward for my first bipolar manic episode. It was bad enough losing my friends overnight because of a psychotic episode that I could not control, but it was worse in the following months as I attempted to recover from the incident and become normal again. One of those friends even tried to befriend me again, months later, but I screwed it up with several relapses of mania, accusing him of doing something to me when we tripped in New Mexico.
Only recently have I discovered that my non-stimulant ADD medication, Strattera, was actually propelling me into a slightly manic state, making me paranoid and emotionally high-strung. I have stopped taking it for several weeks now and have never felt better. I've even taken mushrooms again without incident.
It was a nightmare, to be sure, but I definitely learned from the experience and realized a lot of things about myself. It is unfortunate that I had to affect so many people during my psychotic episode, but I am moving on with my life as best I can.
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