Here's my story. Scroll down if you just want to see how to cycle diet pills.
I first took diet pills in July '13. They worked like a charm: I could restrict in ways I simply couldn't have before, and I still had energy to work out. I thought they were the best thing since diet coke. I convinced (aka manipulated) my mother into taking them through the register for me, since I was sixteen and my state requires you be eighteen to purchase them. The bottle said to take the pills for eight weeks, then go two weeks without taking them before starting a new bottle.
I decided to be extra careful, and only take them during the week. I slept extra on the weekends for sure, but it worked. On the occasional weekday where I forgot my magic pill, I was still functional. I continued doing this until September '13. Then the school year restarted, and I had such a heavy courseload. Sometimes I had to take them Saturdays or Sundays as well because I needed the extra work time. I just took 3-4 days off from them every few weeks. It worked fine.
In December, I was on Christmas break when I had to take 3-4 days off. I struggled so badly...and decided I'd spread the three days out. I took one day off, three different times during the month.
January '14 hit, and I had finals. I stayed up for days on end, but realized I was just so unfocused from lack of sleep, even when I was wide awake from the diet pills. There was no way I was taking any time off. In fact, I needed more help. I told myself I would never do this again, but I took Adderall several times over the course of that week.
When the hellacious week ended, I didn't make myself take time off from the pills. I was sleeping a ton anyway. When I finally tried to take time off in February, I couldn't do it. I just wasn't functional. I couldn't stay awake more than a few hours at a time. I gained weight. I couldn't stand it. So, I stopped taking days off.
June '14: I started looking for stronger pills. Found them, too.
August '14: I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, subtype 1. I admitted the diet pill use to my psychiatrist. She took me off my antidepressant, Wellbutrin, because she was concerned about a bad reaction with the stimulants. She wanted to hospitalize me, because the diet pill use concerned her so. I didn't think it was that big a deal. I just took a pill a few times a day, and I was fine. But, I decided to stop taking them, at least temporarily, because I wanted the Wellbutrin back.
It took me two months to work my way off of those diet pills. I never felt right during that time. I gained weight, without my antidepressant or the diet pills. I got Wellbutrin back, but half the dose I'd been taking. And then I relapsed. Started taking diet pills again.
It's now almost April '15. I've been addicted to diet pills for a year and a half, and have been taking them for close to two years. They have no effect on my appetite. But, I have to take them twice a day or I am useless. My heart rate and blood pressure are all over the place. I feel moodier and I hate my guilty secret. I need to stop taking them. I keep telling myself that once I get my full dose of Wellbutrin back, I'll quit taking them. I question whether I'll manage that.
This was avoidable. Completely, totally avoidable. Of course, if I'd just never started taking them, I wouldn't have become addicted. But I could have used them, and not become addicted, had I continued to cycle them.
How to cycle diet pills:
It's not enough to take a day off here or there. You need to switch which product you use, because they all contain different stimulants/mood enhancers. Switching the product helps prevent addiction to any of the individual components. But, no matter what, you have to take days off regularly, so your body doesn't lack sleep for extended periods of time.
My recommendation is to take the pills during the week, but always take weekends off. There CANNOT be exceptions. If you need the pills over a weekend, take your break before the weekend, rather than after. Even taking 2/7 days off, you still need to take a full week off every couple of months.
The other thing you can do, is rotate which product you use every couple weeks. For instance, if you have one product that contains stimulants but one that doesn't, you could do a 28- day cycle like this: 14 days of the non-stimulant product, then 12 days of the stimulant, then 2 days with no product. I strongly suggest lining those two days up so that they're on a weekend, as you will need to sleep in.
Don't take any product for more than a few months at a time, even though you're taking breaks. If you're going to use only stimulants, I would still suggest purchasing two different products, and rotating them every two weeks (but still taking the weekends off from either product).
This is really, really important to do. Being addicted to them is horrible, and they stop being effective surprisingly quickly if you aren't taking time off.
Please feel free to post any questions you have. I'll be following this thread and I'll respond as best I can to everyone.