Substance Use

Adderall Withdrawal

Adderall XR 20mg
LAST UPDATED: July 4, 2022

<h1>Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline &amp; Detox Treatment Options</h1> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Adderall is a common medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is the brand name composed of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">amphetamine and dextroamphetamine</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, representing a combination drug that contains four salts of amphetamine.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When taking this drug, users feel more focused. However, misuse among those without ADHD is becoming increasingly more common. Increasing rates are particularly high among students and athletes. What begins as a means of enhancing focus and performance can quickly spiral into misuse, addiction, and Adderall withdrawal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being a potent stimulant, Adderall has a high risk of addiction and abuse, and the consequences of misuse can be severe. Based on its potential for abuse, Adderall is </span><a href="https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a Schedule II drug</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The class of drugs indicates a high potential for abuse, leading to severe psychological and physical dependence. Other drugs in this substance schedule include </span><a href="https://zinniahealth.com/research/opioid-crisis-documentaries/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">fentanyl, morphine, and codeine</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The high risk of abuse is concerning, as the effects of prolonged stimulant treatment in adults have not been fully explored — even though the number of prescriptions for amphetamines has increased </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670101/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">seven-fold</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> over the past decade.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although most adults use amphetamines as prescribed, adverse events can develop, including stimulant-induced psychosis and neurotoxicity. For example, </span><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12463297/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">one case study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that when an individual without a family history of psychiatric disorders took 10 mg of Adderall daily for five weeks, psychotic symptoms developed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There has also been a surge in illicit use since the 1990s. A steep increase in ADHD led to a parallel rise in societal exposure to legally distributed amphetamine.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>What Are the Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal?</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are several reasons why someone starts misusing stimulants, including Adderall. For example, users may seek feelings of euphoria and want to better cope with a stressful situation. Others take their medication as prescribed but develop a physical dependence following extended use.&nbsp;</span></p> <ul><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Anxiety</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mood swings</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fatigue</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Irritability&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Insomnia&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Changes in appetite&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tremors&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Headache</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Poor concentration&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lack of motivation&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Muscle aches&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stomach pain&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vomiting&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cravings&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depression</span></li></ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The majority of Adderall withdrawal symptoms are what’s known as “acute withdrawal” symptoms and subside in a week or two. However, </span><a href="https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma10-4554.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">post-acute withdrawal syndrome</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> may also develop in some users. Although this syndrome is not well understood, it may reflect lasting brain changes. This syndrome can create symptoms that include ongoing anxiety, persistent fatigue, poor concentration, cravings, changes in mood, and sleep difficulties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although Adderall withdrawal symptoms can act as a barrier to treatment, it’s essential to recognize the dangers of stimulants when misused. </span><a href="https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2016/adderall-misuse-rising-among-young-adults"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Data shows</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that while the number of Adderall prescriptions has remained unchanged, misuse and emergency room visits related to this drug have sharply increased among young adults.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While studying adults over a six-year period, it was found that treatment visits for Adderall remained unchanged. However, non-medical use (taking the drug without a prescription) rose 67%, and emergency visits increased by 156%. The most significant source of non-medical use is family or friends, two-thirds of which have a prescription themselves.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">How you use Adderall also matters. For example, many individuals who abuse this drug will crush tablets to snort or inject them. These methods of administration are dangerous and can </span><a href="https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cause sudden death</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Depending on your health history, high doses of Adderall can lead to heart failure and seizures. You can also experience negative effects when taking Adderall long-term, including a higher risk of heart problems, paranoia, and intense anger.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Complications increase when you mix Adderall with other substances. For example, if you often combine Adderall and alcohol, this is a dangerous combination. Based on the effects of Adderall, you may end up <a href="https://zinniahealth.com/research/binge-drinking-prevalence-by-state/">consuming more alcohol</a> than you would otherwise (the stimulant can mask the sedative effects of alcohol). If you do this often and develop a physical dependence on alcohol, the Adderall withdrawal period will become much more complicated and severe.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>What Causes Adderall Withdrawal?</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When taking Adderall for prolonged periods, this drug can alter the brain’s chemical makeup, leading to dependence. Researchers continue to study </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676785/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the relationship between ADHD and substance use disorder</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to treat individuals accordingly. There are risks associated with using abusable medications in a vulnerable population.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whether you have been taking Adderall with or without prescription, Adderall has a significant impact on brain chemicals, including dopamine and norepinephrine. When you take Adderall, it boosts the effects of these chemicals. Adderall not only increases levels of these chemicals but it also blocks reuptake.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When prescribed by a doctor, doses increase slowly to find the dose that works best for the patient. However, when users take Adderall in ways other than prescribed, like injecting or snorting, levels of dopamine surge. This increase in dopamine levels can produce a high and increase your risk of addiction because you’re overstimulating </span><a href="https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction#topic-2"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the “reward circuit”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of your brain, reinforcing drug use.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers continue to study the long-term effects of drug use, as </span><a href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">changes in the brain may become long-lasting</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. When you continue to take an abusive drug, over time, select brain regions begin to change. This rewiring of the brain can last long after you stop taking Adderall and other drugs of abuse. Depending on the circumstances, these changes may remain for months or even years. These brain changes can lead to relapse, which is why ongoing support is so crucial.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When your body and brain are used to getting it yet you discontinue use, Adderall withdrawal symptoms will likely surface. These symptoms are in response to physical dependence. However, psychological dependence can also develop.</span></p> <h2><strong>How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Take?</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are several variables to consider concerning the Adderall withdrawal period, including your genes, your health history, mental health, and family history of addiction. This means that the duration of Adderall withdrawal differs from one person to the next.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some individuals may stop experiencing Adderall withdrawal symptoms within a matter of days, whereas it may take you weeks to overcome the withdrawal period. In the case of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, psychological symptoms can persist for months — even years.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The initial onset of Adderall withdrawal symptoms will depend on which type of Adderall you have been taking, instant or extended-release. Since instant Adderall begins working immediately, it wears off fairly quickly compared to the extended-release version, which can build up in the body. If you have been taking instant Adderall, you’ll feel the effects sooner, whereas you’ll experience the effects of extended Adderall for longer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, when taking instant-release tablets, their duration of action is 4 to 6 hours, whereas the extended-release is 8 to 12 hours. </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507808/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Half-life elimination</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> varies depending on the age group, but in adults, it is between 10-13 hours.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first phase is known as </span><a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/clinical+resources/clinical+programs+and+practice+guidelines/substance+misuse+and+dependence/substance+withdrawal+management/amphetamine+withdrawal+management"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the initial “crash”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> — which most often resolves in approximately one week. During this time, you’ll likely eat more, sleep more, experience cravings, and feel irritable. Psychotic symptoms may develop within the first week or two, especially if they were present during times of use.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here is a rough timeline:</span></p> <ul><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first 6-24 hours after your last dose is when the first signs typically surface. You may experience feelings of fatigue and depression.&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">During days 3-5, your symptoms will intensify, resulting in increased feelings of irritability, depression, and fatigue. This period is when symptoms generally peak. Headaches and nightmares may also develop, and poor sleep tends to play a significant role at this time.&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">By day five, Adderall withdrawal symptoms can start to fade. However, many people are still moody and irritable.&nbsp;</span></li><li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">For some, withdrawal symptoms continue into weeks three and four, particularly those who have been using Adderall for more than a year.</span></li></ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This timeline differs for each person, which is why it’s so important to seek individualized treatment, especially if you are concerned about an underlying mental health condition. It’s also critical to understand that just because your body has physically eliminated Adderall doesn’t mean that psychological symptoms will not persist. For example, </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138250/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">intense cravings can lead to relapse</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which is why you should detox in a supportive, controlled environment.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>How to Safely Manage Adderall Detox</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since most Adderall withdrawal symptoms resolve within a week, treatment should be started as soon as possible following your last dose. There aren’t any medications effective in alleviating Adderall withdrawal symptoms. However, some medications can help with select symptoms. For example, antidepressants or short-term use of benzodiazepines may be prescribed in select cases. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A tapering plan will likely be an appropriate approach, helping users lower their weekly dose without experiencing severe Adderall withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, Adderall withdrawal is not life-threatening. However, if you have been combining Adderall with alcohol or benzodiazepines, then the detoxification period can be dangerous.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The greatest complication of Adderall withdrawal is often extreme </span><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27018393/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">psychological dependence</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The FDA-required labeling warns that during Adderall withdrawal, users can experience severe cravings, anxiety, and depression. </span><a href="https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depending on your mental health</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, these symptoms can lead to violent or self-harm actions. In these cases, professional, clinical support is needed to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal process.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Psychosocial and behavioral treatments are highly recommended during this time. For example, </span><a href="https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cognitive-behavioral therapy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> can help modify your drug-use expectations and behaviors. This form of therapy can also help you effectively manage triggers and stress.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To address PAWS, it’s important to develop realistic expectations towards treatment and continue seeking support. The road to recovery is a process that requires time and effort. When you have ongoing support, this process can become much more manageable, especially when celebrating each accomplishment, no matter how minor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you partner with a professional treatment facility that understands the importance of </span><a href="https://zinniahealth.com/our-values/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">holistic treatment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, you will be able to address your personal triggers and any underlying symptoms that affect your well-being and overall quality of life. The top substance abuse and mental health facilities will offer evidence-based treatment programs that include a range of therapy options, helping you develop a tailored treatment plan that increases your chances of long-term success.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>Take the Next Crucial Step</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is no shame in admitting that you have an issue with Adderall — it is quite the opposite. Abusing Adderall at high doses or for extended periods can lead to physical dependence and changes in the brain that reinforce habits that are hard to control. Psychological dependence may create even more challenges for you.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To take the next step, you need to seek help. The Adderall withdrawal process is the first step toward a healthier, more fulfilling future. When you </span><a href="https://zinniahealth.com/team/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">work alongside a professional team</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, they will provide you with the support, resources, and tools you need to succeed. You do not need to go through recovery alone.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The consequences of avoiding treatment because of Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be severe. The long-term effects can lead to significant health and lifestyle problems, ranging from kidney issues to panic attacks, psychosis to relationship problems.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Step one is Adderall withdrawal. Once your body is rid of this drug, you can then focus on healing. </span><a href="https://zinniahealth.com/research/drug-treatment-facilities-common-types-of-care/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">This journey will be highly individualized</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, often involving individual counseling and group therapy. The goal is to pinpoint your personal needs based on your history of drug use and mental health.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you contact </span><a href="https://zinniahealth.com/about-us/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a professional facility</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, they will begin this process with an assessment. A credible facility will understand that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for you will not be the best option for someone else. In some cases, new developments may unfold throughout your treatment plan, helping you build the skills and knowledge you need to ensure long-term success. For example, you may have always experienced feelings of anxiety yet were never diagnosed or given the proper tools to cope effectively.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are so many opportunities to come out of treatment — all of which support a healthy, happy future.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ready to begin? Contact a professional multidisciplinary support team today!</span></p>

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