Shawn Johnson refused ‘narcotic pain meds’ after delivering child via C-section as a recovering addict

Shawn Johnson
Credits: Shawn Johnson/Instagram

Shawn Johnson East is steadfastly avoiding any pain medications as part of her commitment to recovery from addiction.

In a recent Instagram Story Q&A on Friday, she candidly discussed her decision to decline “narcotic pain meds” during the cesarean section for the birth of her third child earlier this month. The 31-year-old retired Olympic gymnast shared with her followers that her third c-section was both “the hardest but smoothest” experience, involving challenges with scar tissue and postoperative soreness.

Despite the physical discomfort, Johnson East emphasized her conscious choice to refrain from medications that could potentially trigger old habits, particularly stemming from her past use of Adderall.


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Shawn Johnson East speaks on her history with Adderall addiction

“Feeling great now though. I also refuse all pain meds haha (they make me SO sick and frankly after being addicted to adderall it just scares me so I don’t even mess with it,” she wrote, offering a glimpse into her postpartum experience.

Opening up about her history with Adderall, Johnson East shared a concise yet impactful account: “Long story short, during my comeback in 2010 I was prescribed adderall to ‘curb my appetite and give me more energy’ by a not good doctor.”

She continued, “Fast forward 7 years of being heavily addicted to it and having it control me, when I finally freed myself of it I swore anything even remotely addictive I’d stay away from. It affected every part of my life and changed who I was. I never want to feel out of control like that again.”

In conclusion, all Johnson East will take now is Tylenol or Motrin.

‘I started doing any and everything’

In a candid YouTube video titled “Body Image Issues: 110 Lbs. to Pregnant,” Johnson East first opened up about her struggle with Adderall addiction in 2020. Reflecting on her post-Olympics period in 2008, she shared a vulnerable account of feeling lost and purposeless, exacerbated by the unrealistic standards set by rigorous training and a strict diet.

“I’d gained about 15 lbs. after the Olympics and I thought that that was the worst thing in the entire world — which it wasn’t, it was healthy and normal,” she said. While grappling with body image issues, she resorted to taking various weight loss pills, including ephedrine and Adderall.

“I started doing any and everything I possibly could to lose the weight and to look like I did at the Olympics,” she continued, “because in my mind, everybody praised me for what I did at the Olympics, they praised who I was as a human being when I was there. And in my mind if I could look like that — not necessarily compete or do gymnastics — but if I could be that person again, then the world would say that I was ‘enough’ and I was accepted.”

“I went through this dark kind of spiral of a few years on terrible medications and drugs that tried to ‘spike my metabolism’ and did nothing, I took diuretics, I did every fad diet. I remember I went through a three-week phase where I ate nothing but raw vegetables.”