In this article, we will discuss Adderall withdrawal, the associated psychological symptoms, and potential downsides which can occur with taking the drug.
Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) it is an amphetamine/dextroamphetamine that is part of a family of prescription drugs called psychostimulants. It’s estimated that nearly 2.5 million Americans are prescribed Adderall or Ritalin, and even more abuse it without a prescription.
At Profound Treatment, we frequently treat individuals that are suffering from stimulant withdrawal and experience what is commonly referred to as an “Adderall crash”.
If you are currently taking Adderall or considering taking it that is a decision that should be made between you and your doctor. We are not telling you to stop taking Adderall if you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder like ADHD or to stop taking it if you have already been prescribed, only to provide a comprehensive guide on Adderall withdrawal so you can understand what to expect.
Let’s jump right in..
What is Adderall?
Adderall is an amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. Part of a family of prescription drugs called psychostimulants, it can cause temporary improvement in one’s mental or physical functions. It does this by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This boosts alertness, focus, and energy levels. Commonly prescribed to sufferers of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue, Adderall is sometimes paired with other drugs to treat depression. Adderall also has a high potential for psychological dependency. This can lead to addiction.
Who is at risk for Adderall abuse?
Understanding the symptoms associated with discontinuing adderall is important. Overuse can occur even while taking adderall under the supervision of a doctor, however, it has exploded in popularity as a recreational drug, especially in students.
This is because it can be used to improve academic and work performance.
Adderall Abuse Statistics
Adderall misuse, abuse, and addiction is shockingly common.
We conducted a statistical analysis of google search trends and found that people searching for “Adderall withdrawal” is an extremely popular topic.
In Fact, the amount of people that search Adderall withdrawal on google has increased by 170% in recent years. Here is a further breakdown of Adderall statistics.
Of Male College Students Abuse Adderall
Of College Women Abuse Adderall
Higher misuse rate among college students than their non-college peers
In 2012, almost 16 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall were written which is almost triple the amount prescribed in 2008.
Anyone can become dependent on it after using it for prolonged periods, even after using it in the way prescribed. It is estimated that over 100,000 people per year seek addiction treatment as a result of misusing Adderall. Once you become addicted, attempts to quit may cause Adderall withdrawal.
Adderall misuse is most common among people ages 18 to 25. Some people take it under a doctor’s supervision to treat ADHD, but others acquire it illicitly or intentionally abuse it. Anyone who has been using amphetamines for an extended period of time can experience withdrawal symptoms. The Adderall withdrawal timeline and long-term effects of Adderall can vary, especially if someone builds up an Adderall tolerance.
What defines Adderall Abuse?
Adderall is one of the most abused prescription drugs and abuse can come in a variety of forms. These include taking a higher dose than prescribed, taking the drug without a prescription, taking it through non-doctor approved methods (like snorting), taking the drug more frequently than prescribed, or taking the drug for reasons other than those prescribed by their doctor.
The Effects of Abusing Adderall
Adderall, like any amphetamines, is a slippery slope that can easily turn into an addiction. The more and more Adderall users take, the more likely they are to develop a tolerance towards the drug, meaning that it will require higher or more frequent doses to get the same effect.
That tolerance could then turn into dependency, where the user’s body gets so used to have the drug that it can no longer function properly without it.
Finally, Adderall users can become addicted, compulsively seeking the drug out and ignoring its risks and negative effects.
Here are some of the most common Adderall Withdrawl symptoms.
Withrdawal from adderall can be difficult, but it’s possible. These are the symptoms that individuals normally face during withdrawal from adderall.
Anger and Irritability:
- As the drug leaves your system, you may feel attacked and aggravated by those around you for no real reason, even up to the point of causing crying spells.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks:
- Oftentimes you may feel anxious for no reason at all when coming off this drug.
Increased Appetite and Weight Gain:
- Adderall can be an appetite suppressant and once off it, you may find yourself hungrier than normal.
Inability to Focus and concentrate:
- You may have a hard time focusing on tasks and remembering things without the drug.
- Dizziness tends to occur within the first few days of withdrawal, especially if you decide to quit cold turkey.
Fatigue and Laziness:
- Fatigue and laziness are some of the most common symptoms experienced when quitting Adderall. These occur because you are used to Adderall giving you the energy to function every day. Once the drug is taken away, your body needs time to adjust to doing tasks without it.
- Your thoughts may feel hazy and unclear while coming off Adderall because you are no longer relying on it to focus.
- These are normally fairly minor and can be combatted with over-the-counter headache medication.
- Sometimes, people report extreme changes in their moods, going from great highs to extreme lows.
- You may feel waves of nausea and even vomit during withdrawal.
- Some people going through Adderall withdrawal saw changes in their dreams or had dreams that seemed especially wild and vivid.
Intense Depression and Suicidal Thoughts:
- Dopamine (the “happy” hormone) levels tend to decrease when off Adderall, leading to feelings of depression and even thoughts of suicide. This is the most serious of all side effects; if you experience this, contact your doctor immediately.
High stress is another withdrawal symptom. Your brain chemistry is altered during amphetamine use, which can cause you to be bothered by things you normally aren’t.
You may also seek “rewards’ such as instant pleasure that could have negative consequences. This can even lead to attempted crime or other illicit and impulsive activities. Remember, even though you may feel hopeless during the first several days and weeks of recovery, these symptoms are only temporary, while the positive effects of sobriety will last a lifetime.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
Withdrawal signs can show up within a few hours to several days of stopping use of the drug. Common symptoms of withdrawal often include Fatigue, cravings, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. A typical Adderall withdrawal timeline is a few weeks. New symptoms may continue for 7 to 10 days, with symptoms lasting up to a week.
6-36 hrs after the last dose:
initial withdrawal from adderall start to show up only a few hours after the last pill. Many people experience what is commonly called an “Adderall crash” which consists of a period of depression and extreme fatigue.
3-5 days after the last dose:
Symptoms tend to get stronger over the course of the first week of full abstinence. Symptoms generally include feelings of severe irritability, depression, and continued fatigue. Some people also experience headaches and nightmares. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, the number for the suicide hotline is 800-273-8255. The symptoms of withdrawal tend to be at their height during this stage of the Adderall withdrawal timeline.
5-7 days after the last dose:
Symptoms of withdrawal begin to lessen during this period. The Adderall at this point should be out of your system depending on several different factors detailed below. The feeling of being restless irritable and discontent can hang around though. Mild depression has been known to continue in some cases.
1 week-1 month from the time of your last dose:
Symptoms of withdrawal have been reported for weeks after the last time taking the substance. This can happen to people who have a high tolerance and have been using the drug for more than a year.
Your Adderall withdrawal timeline will depend on whether you are using other medications in conjunction with Adderall and if you have been on an Adderall binge. The severity of Adderall detox is also dependent on your history of substance use disorder and other behavioral health conditions including mixing other prescription medications or other drug abuse. Mental health conditions may be exasperated during withdrawal. Everyday therapy can help during this period and is usually recommended.
Adderall Instant Release Is Different than Extended Release (XR)
Adderall withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person and can be dependent on a variety of criteria. For example, someone who took the drug for a longer length of time will most likely experience more severe symptoms than someone who only took it for a shorter period. The same goes for dosage frequency and amount.
Earlier we briefly touched upon the different types of Adderall available: Adderall IR and Adderall XR. Even the type of Adderall taken can play a role in how a person feels during withdrawal. It’s often thought that those who use XR may have a more difficult time quitting the drug than someone who has been taking IR.
Again, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to Adderall withdrawal; every individual will have a different experience as they come off of the drug.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System?
Most people experience a withdrawal period of a few weeks after quitting adderall cold turkey. However, there are many who suffer from symptoms for longer than that, even months or years. This often leads them to ask how to manage or treat their Adderall dependence.
Adderall has a half-life of 9-14 hours after consumption. That means that between those 9-14 hours, half of the dose still remains in your system. Adderall will typically stay in your system for up to 3 days (72 hours). However, various tests detect Adderall at different timeframes:
- Urine Tests – detect Adderall for 4 to 7 days.
- Saliva Tests – detect Adderall from within 20 minutes of use up to 48 hours.
- Hair Follicle Tests – detect Adderall from around a week after usage up to 3 months.
- Blood Sample Tests – detect Adderall from between 12 and 24 hours after consumption.
Factors that Determine How Long Adderall Will Stay in Your System
There are various determinants in how long Adderall stays in your body:
People with more bodyweight metabolize Adderall more quickly, because a smaller relative amount of Adderall is present in the bloodstream.
The Food in Your System
While food does not have an effect on the metabolization of Adderall, it can indirectly influence it. Adderall does not absorb into the system as well when your stomach is acidic (empty) as opposed to full with food.
High amounts of PH in the gastrointestinal tract and urinary tracts will cause the kidneys to take longer in removing Adderall from the body.
Adderall is largely processed through organs like the kidneys and liver. If someone is experiencing health issues with these organs, they may take longer to process Adderall than normal.
With any substance, the more one takes, the longer it will take to process the drug through the system. Adderall is no different.
Long Term Usage
When someone consumes Adderall over a long period, such as daily or weekly, it can accumulate in the body. The greater amount of residual Adderall will then take longer to process and clear the body completely.
If you are a heavy user, an inpatient facility may also help you in your road to recovery if you have been using Adderall for more than to treat ADHD. When you have become physically dependent on alcohol, it makes sense to go to a safe place for detox where you can have time to recover and have your treatment be medically reviewed by a doctor. Profound Treatment is an excellent option. While Adderall detox can be considered to be less severe than benzodiazepine withdrawal or alcohol detox, there are still significant side effects and symptoms that you should be aware of.
Another method of quitting is tapering down your usage the drug. This can be especially effective for those whose abuse was severe because it can minimize Adderal withdrawal symptoms.
Absolutely essential to your success is to have a support system. Friends or loved ones who understand your struggle and can help you through even the most difficult times. Patients typically find outpatient treatments offered at Profound Treatment are especially helpful.
How to Prevent Withdrawal
The best way to treat withdrawal is to go to the source of the problem. Over time, your dependence on Adderall can grow. It is important to consult with a health professional in a safe space. If you don’t feel comfortable having your chard medically reviewed by your doctor, think about going to another qualified healthcare provider to discuss treatment options or a safe residential detox facility like Profound Treatment in LA to address your Withdrawal Symptoms from Adderall or amphetamine withdrawal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does it Take for Adderall to Kick In?
- Around 30 to 60 minutes.
Is Adderall Meth?
- It is in the methamphetamine family, containing similarities to the street drug “Meth.”
How to Get Adderall?
- Only a licensed medical doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe Adderall but many people start taking the drug by purchasing it from someone that already has a prescription. (this is illegal)
Is Adderall Addictive?
- Adderal addiction can form over time due to dependence on its mood and enhancing effects. There is a difference between an Adderall dependency and Adderall addiction which would require medical detox if taken at extremely high doses.
Will I go through withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking Adderall?
- If you think you have an Adderall addiction then you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. However, if you have been prescribed Adderall XR or normal Adderall for many years to help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms as prescribed, you most likely will only experience some side effects like being tired and an increased appetite. Symptoms will resemble a mini-withdrawal in the beginning but they will become less intense over time. You may not notice any withdrawal symptoms until a couple of days go by. It is not likely that you will experience physical symptoms severe enough for a medical detox program unless you have a substance abuse problem and have been mixing frequent doses with other substances. Consult with the healthcare professional that prescribed you the Adderall to speak about limiting your Adderall use. If you believe you will experience severe withdrawal symptoms, then please feel free to give us a call.
Should I be prescribed Adderall?
- Adderall is commonly prescribed for mental disorders like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or in adolescents with hyperactivity. It is usually not recommended that you take Adderall if you have a history of drug abuse (substance use disorder). If you believe that Adderall might help you, consult with a qualified healthcare provider.
Do I have An Adderall Addiction?
- You may have an Adderall addiction if you frequently experience mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms if you do not have the medication. If you feel that you are consistently thinking about taking the substance and feel on edge without it, and you are consistently running out of your prescription because you are taking more than health professionals have recommended, you are probably abusing Adderall. If this sounds like you, it’s time to speak with licensed medical professionals about your prescription medication.
Are Their Good Alternatives to Adderall?
- The DSM5 & national Institute recommends Parental Training (PT) when children are in preschool to help teach parents how to use behavioral techniques to shape their child’s behavior. Social skills training (SST), and school-based interventions are also recommended. If you are an adult with ADHD there are many different minerals & supplements which have been suggested to help.
Vitamins & Minerals that help ADHD Symptoms
The following is not professional medical advice, and this is not intended to be an official medical webpage for the effect of vitamins and minerals as it relates to Adderall withdrawal symptoms. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healhcare provider. There has been research which shows some vitamins and minerals that have been linked to reducing the associated symptoms of Adderall recovery:
- Iron – An increase in Iron take has been shown to reduce fatigue and anxiety: both symptoms of Adderall withdrawal.
- Magnesium – Consuming Magnesium helps with sleep, depression and headaches.
- Zinc – Zinc can help with digestion, immune issues, and migraines. This is thought to be due to minerals being an important part of brain chemical makeup, particularly neurotransmitters.
- Citicoline is a pharmaceutical substance that’s identical to a natural precursor to phospholipid phosphatidylcholine although side effects are not well documented yet. Thus, it is not widely accepted as a substitute for behavioral health conditions.
Adderall Addiction Treatment Options
If your Adderall use has gotten out of hand, Profound Treatment can help with your withdrawal symptoms and long-term sobriety. We offer multiple treatment options including medical detox to help you stop taking the drug and combat acute symptoms like body aches, panic attacks, and severe depression as a result of withdrawal from Adderall. Our caring and compassionate staff also offers behavioral therapy, partial outpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment, and family therapy to help you towards a successful recovery. We can help you overcome your addiction while managing withdrawal appropriately. We can help you manage your Adderall withdrawal timeline comfortably. If you or your loved one suffers from Adderall addiction and are finally looking to get help, Profound Treatment offers a variety of different programs to help you reach sobriety.
- http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/the-last-all-nighter/?_r=0 https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601234.html
- Mental health services administration
- diagnostic and statistical manual