Why Shawn Johnson Refused Narcotic Pain Meds After Giving Birth to Baby No. 3 by C-Section

Shawn Johnson reflected on her past addiction to a popular medication when speaking about her decision to decline narcotics during her recovery from her C-Section

By Corinne Heller Dec 23, 2023 11:38 PMTags
Watch: Shawn Johnson's Past Addiction Affected Her C-Section Recovery

Shawn Johnson is relying on over-the-counter medications to provide her pain relief after welcoming her third child.

On Dec. 22, ten days after giving birth by C-section to her and husband Andrew East's son Barrett "Beau" Madison East, the retired Olympic gymnast said she refused narcotic pain drugs to aid her recovery.

"They made me SO sick," she wrote on her Instagram Stories, "and frankly after being addicted to adderall it just scares me so I don't even mess with it."

Adderall, a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is a medication typically prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or the sleep disorder narcolepsy. The drug can be habit-forming, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"During my comeback in 2010 I was prescribed adderall to 'curb my appetite and give me more energy' by a not good doctor," Shawn wrote on her Instagram Stories. "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."

Shawn Johnson Through the Years

Shawn said in her post that her addiction to the medication affected every part of her life and changed who she was. "I never want to feel out of control like that again," the 31-year-old added. "So.... Tylenol and Motrin for me."

The athlete, who won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, has spoken about her past Adderall addiction before. It began in 2011, a year after she tore her left ACL while skiing and underwent knee surgery.

"I was on the track to make the 2012 Olympic team," she said in a 2020 YouTube video, "and I started just kind of burning out of my sport. The United States Gymnastics doctor...kind of saw that I was burning out and so he prescribed me Adderall and he said, 'This will help you lose more weight. This will help you have more energy and you'll be more successful in gymnastics.'"

The athlete said she began "overdosing on Adderall." She added, "I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn't be caught by USADA."

Instagram / Shawn Johnson

Shawn ended up retiring from professional gymnastics in 2012, stating at the time that her left knee was "not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer."

Now a mother of three—to newborn Bear, Drew Hazel East, 4, and Jett James East, 2—the athlete is concentrating on her life at home with her family. When asked by a fan on Instagram how the transition from two to three kids has been so far, Shawn said it's so far been the easiest.

She also praised her husband for his help and support, calling him the "world's greatest dad to handle the two older ones."

Look back at Shawn and Andrew's family photos over the years:

Welcome Baby Bear

Shawn and Andrew appear with their third baby, son Bear, in December 2023.

Baby No. 3

Shawn Johnson East and Andrew East welcomed their third child on Dec. 12, 2023.

Moment With Daddy

The former NFL player already has a sweet connection with baby No. 3.

Sibling Bonding

The newborn shared a hug with big sister Drew, born in 2019, and brother Jett, born in 2021.

Bear-y Cute

The gymnast captioned this cute shot of her thirdborn with the bear emoji.

Family of Four

Shawn and Andrew, who tied the knot in 2016, posed with Drew and Jett. She captioned the 2022 portrait, "Just the Hulk and his family."

A House Divided

For Halloween 2023, the guys chose their fighters as the girls went for magical vibes.

Taking After Dad

"Well… can’t make this up," Shawn wrote in August 2022. "Little dude has a new favorite toy. Giggles, smiles, won’t put it down."

Red, White and Baby Blue

The fam was ready for fireworks on July 4, 2022. 

Pool Time

Shawn and Andrew relaxed with a swim alongside their kids.

Struttin' Her Stuff

Drew modeled her one-piece swimsuit during a family pool day.

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