What Is Adderall Withdrawal?
People who take large doses of Adderall for prolonged periods of time run the risk of becoming physically dependent on Adderall. When this happens, tolerance builds up, meaning it takes larger and more frequent doses to get the same effects as before. Those who have a tolerance to Adderall often feel like the drug doesn’t help them concentrate or increase their energy as it did before. However, if they stop taking the drug, they can’t think or function normally.
These are the first stages of Adderall withdrawal. Withdrawal usually only affects those who took frequent high doses over an extended period of time. Adderall withdrawal is a result of the body recalibrating itself to function without the drug. While Adderall withdrawal is rarely dangerous on its own, it may prompt suicidal thoughts for some.
Symptoms Of Adderall Withdrawal
Unsurprisingly, the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are essentially the opposite of the drug’s effects. While Adderall increases concentration, euphoria, and energy, the crash that follows after someone stops taking the drug results in a reversal of these effects. People who have a higher tolerance for Adderall have a more severe withdrawal.
Common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
Duration Of Adderall Withdrawal
The duration of Adderall withdrawal will be different for everyone. Some people may stop experiencing symptoms in as little as 5 days, whereas it may take 3 weeks or more for others. The biggest factors that affect the duration of Adderall withdrawal are the dose, frequency, and time someone took Adderall. People who took larger doses more frequently and for a longer period of time can expect withdrawal symptoms to last longer.
Prolonged Withdrawal Symptoms – Adderall Vs. Adderall XR
There are 2 common types of Adderall, instant, and extended-release. Regular Adderall is an instant-release drug that generally lasts for up to 6 hours, while Adderall XR (extended-release) is meant for around-the-clock use. The duration of Adderall withdrawal varies for these drugs.
Because regular Adderall starts working immediately, and its effects wear off in several hours, it leaves the body fairly quickly. Conversely, Adderall XR builds up and stays in the body longer. People who have used regular Adderall begin feeling withdrawal sooner than those who have taken Adderall XR. Additionally, withdrawal from Adderall XR may last weeks longer than typical Adderall because it takes longer for the body to detox.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
- First 6-36 hrs: The first signs of withdrawal can show up within the first few hours after the last dose. Many people experience the crash of stimulant withdrawal during this period, marked by intense depression and fatigue.
- Days 3-5: Symptoms intensify during the first week. Intense feelings of irritability, depression and fatigue are common. Some people also experience headaches and nightmares. This is typically the height of withdrawal intensity.
- Days 5-7: Symptoms of withdrawal begin fading after about 5 days. Many people still feel moody and incapable of functioning normally in social settings, but they start feeling better during this time. Minor psychological symptoms, such as mild depression, may continue after this period but are far less severe.
- Weeks 3-4: In some cases, people have reported feeling the effects of Adderall withdrawal weeks after their last dose. This can happen to people who have a high tolerance and have been using the drug for more than a year.
Detoxification is the process of getting a drug out of the user’s system. Once Adderall leaves the body, the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal begin. Because these symptoms can make it difficult to function in daily life without a relapse, some people need help during detox.
Adderall detox often involves a tapering-down strategy. Gradually reducing a person’s doses over time minimizes the symptoms of withdrawal. Addiction specialists at inpatient rehabs can help Adderall users reduce their doses. Some people choose to quit taking Adderall cold turkey. Those who have done so successfully typically do it in rehab or with the help of a counselor to prevent relapse.
Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
Physical side effects of Adderall can emerge shortly after use. Adderall triggers the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Prescribed users get a therapeutic benefit from it while recreational users who abuse this stimulant can get high. The following are some of the effects that may be experienced right after Adderall abuse:
- The illusion of wellness
- A desire to work
- Feeling social
- Getting insights about the meaning of life
- A sensation of excitement or being hyperactive
- Being talkative
- Thinking about things more than usual
- A feeling of impatience, worry, nervousness, and anxiety
These symptoms would be perceptible to someone in the immediate environment of the person who is abusing Adderall. However, the people who are most likely to be concerned about the Adderall abuse may not be around when it’s going on. For this reason, it can be helpful to know the short-term effects of Adderall, which can linger long enough to be perceived by family, friends, work colleagues, and classmates. Some of the more commonly reported side effects of Adderall abuse are:
- Sleep difficulties (falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Shaking uncontrollably in an area of the body, such as a leg
- Changes in one’s level of sexual interest
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss or malnutrition
In addition, a person may experience mental health side effects. Some of these symptoms are hallucinations and believing things that aren’t true. Serious side effects may be less common, but they can happen and it’s best to know what’s possible. The following are some of the most severe side effects associated with Adderall abuse:
- Pounding heartbeat or fast heart rate
- Chest pain
- Feeling faint, dizziness, or changes in vision
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Slowed speech
- Exhaustion, fever, rash, or itching
- Shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or hoarseness
- Verbal or muscular tics
- Blistering or peeling skin, swelling of the throat, face, tongue, or eyes
Adderall abuse is also associated with long-term side effects. This drug is exceptionally addictive, which means abuse runs the risk of developing into a stimulant use disorder. It has also been noted that when an individual stops using Adderall (goes into Adderall withdrawal), they may experience suicidal thoughts, mania, panic, or nightmares.
There does not appear to be extensive information available about the impact of Adderall or other stimulants on the major organs or the brain in the long term. Note, however, that the way Adderall is administered can impact one’s health on a long-term basis. A person who crushes, liquefies, and injects the drug may experience collapsed veins. Those who crush and sniff Adderall may damage their nasal cavity.
Adderall Addiction Overdose
It is very possible for a person suffering from Adderall addiction to overdose from it, overall, with prescription stimulants, it is always possible for someone with an addiction problem to overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when people overdose on a prescription stimulant, they most commonly experience several different symptoms, including restlessness, tremors, overactive reflexes, rapid breathing, confusion, aggression, hallucinations, panic states, abnormally increased fever, muscle pains, and weakness.
They also may have heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat leading to a heart attack, nerve problems that can lead to a seizure, abnormally high or low blood pressure, and circulation failure. Stomach issues may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In addition, an overdose can result in convulsions, coma, and fatal poisoning. If you’re with someone that may be suffering from an Adderall overdose, call emergencies immediately.
Adderall Addiction Treatment
There are no approved medications to help treat an Adderall addiction. Instead, treatment is focused on supervising a person as they go through a detoxification process. Withdrawal from stimulants like Adderall can be extremely uncomfortable and stressful for the body. The doctor will refer the person to an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center or detox facility.
During rehab, doctors will help the person through the Adderall withdrawal process and make it easier to manage any withdrawal symptoms. It’s not recommended that someone quit Adderall cold turkey. Instead, the doctor will slowly lower the dosage under medical supervision. This is called tapering.
In general, the steps for treating an Adderall addiction include the following steps:
- Enroll in a supervised detox or rehab program
- Get a medical evaluation and assessment
- Taper Adderall under medical supervision
- Manage withdrawal symptoms
- Undergo psychotherapy or behavioral therapy
- Develop a plan for aftercare. This can include attending ongoing individual and group psychotherapy conducted by licensed therapists.
Doctors and therapists at We Level Up Treatment Center will help you understand how to live your life without the drug. They can help you find new, healthy coping skills to live your best life.
Reclaim Your Life With Adderall Withdrawal Treatment
During rehab, doctors will help the person through the Adderall withdrawal process and make it easier to manage any withdrawal symptoms. Adderall Addiction can become a chronic disease that may cause major health and social problems that should not be taken lightly.
We Level Up Treatment Center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts – National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov)
 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Adderall XR label
 We Level Up California – Adderall Addiction
 We Level Up Treatment Center – Adderall Addiction Treatment