Thanks, Leighton! I haven’t tried Adderall, but I did experiment with a couple of stimulants that would be similar: Concerta and Nuvigil. Unfortunately, I didn’t do well with either one. There was an immediate and lasting boost in energy with each drug, but I couldn’t deal with the side effects, which included insomnia, impaired cognition, and anxiety. They also triggered a facial pain issue I have in the area of the medial trigeminal nerve.
Stimulant drugs just aren’t for me. I had similar effects with Wellbutrin, which is probably the most stimulating of the anti-depressants, and even have bad effects with caffeine if I’m not careful. I can enjoy a caffeinated soda once a day, and an occasional coffee when I really need a boost, but for whatever reason, I’m unusually sensitive to stimulants. The only stimulant that doesn’t cause this reaction is nicotine, and that’s because its opposing calming effect takes over after a very low dose. It’s not worth smoking to get that effect, for obvious reasons, but sometimes I’ll take nicotine lozenges, though with breaks to avoid dependence. Fortunately, the lozenges are much less addictive than cigarettes, because the absorption is much more gradual.
Dutchie- Tianeptine is an SSRE, a selective serotonin reuptake enhancer (sometimes SSRA, selective serotonin reuptake accelerator), which means that it makes the brain “use up” serotonin faster than normal. Just like you said, that means its serotonin effect is the opposite of the SSRIs, which elevate brain serotonin levels. However, the mechanisms of these drugs aren’t very well understood. Mood is much more complicated than simple serotonin levels, and one surprising difference between SSRIs and tianeptine is that tianeptine works almost immediately, while SSRIs usually take weeks before they “kick in,” even though they drastically elevate serotonin within the first few doses. If it was just increased serotonin that made SSRIs work, there shouldn’t be the delay in their effect.
Another way that tianeptine works (and this is perhaps its most powerful effect) is that it protect parts of the brain from damage caused by stress, and there’s evidence that it can even reverse this damage. I noticed that it even protected me from the stress effect I get from stimulants. Normally, two cups of coffee would mess me up. When I took tianeptine, I was fine. I was also much more resilient when dealing with work stresses that normally would have worn me out.
However, the benefits diminished with time. I had several months where I felt great, and then I used it for a couple more years with about 50% success. It was still helpful, but eventually the minor side effects became worse than the declining benefits. For me anyway, it wasn’t a cure, but it helped me get through some hard times. And when I was still in the honeymoon stage, it was practically a miracle. Not only did it lift my mood, but I experienced none of the numbing that is often associated with anti-depressants. Instead, I felt positive emotions more powerfully and just felt more like myself–if that makes sense.
It’s relatively easy to purchase tianeptine online, and because its not a scheduled drug (like marijuana or even adderall), there’s no risk of punishment that I know of, at least not in the United States. It is expensive, though, especially since you can’t use insurance for it. For the normal dose, you could expect to spend at least $3 a day.