Adderall Withdrawal And Detoxification
Medically reviewed byIsaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC
February 27, 2019
Adderall withdrawal symptoms occur in people who have abused Adderall by taking larger doses than prescribed. Consuming increased doses of Adderall over a long-time period of time can cause a tolerance to build within the body. Once a person develops a tolerance to Adderall, they will need to take larger doses of the drug to feel the effects they once felt with a smaller dose.
Tolerance to Adderall can cause an individual to stop feeling the effects of the drug, like increased focus and high energy. If someone suddenly stops taking Adderall after consuming large doses for a long time, they will not be able to function normally. Adderall withdrawal begins as the body tries to adjust to the absence of the drug.
Adderall is available in two forms: an instant-release form (Adderall) and an extended-release form (Adderall XR). Instant-release Adderall stays in the body for approximately six hours, while the extended-release version can last up to 12 hours. The difference in release times also has an effect on which withdrawal symptoms an individual will experience and how long the symptoms will last.
How Long Will It Take To Withdraw From Adderall?
The amount of time it takes to withdraw from Adderall is different for each individual. Some people may stop feeling withdrawal symptoms in as little as a week, while others may experience withdrawal symptoms for many months before the symptoms stop.
The severity of Adderall dependence or addiction has the most impact on the amount of time it will take to withdraw from Adderall. Withdrawing from Adderall can be difficult for an individual to complete alone, and suddenly stopping Adderall is not recommended because it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and other severe withdrawal symptoms.
Signs And Symptoms Of Adderall Withdrawal
Signs and symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are often the opposite of the drug’s intended effects.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms are both physical and psychological.
Common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- trouble concentrating
- irregular sleep habits
- suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- body aches
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People who stop taking a stimulant, like Adderall, may experience a crash. This crash usually occurs anywhere from six to 36 hours after the last dose of Adderall. Crashing from a stimulant is often marked by intense depression and fatigue symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms tend to gradually intensify over the first week of detoxification from Adderall. This first week is often noted as the peak of withdrawal because this is when symptoms are at their strongest. Adderall has psychosomatic properties, so an individual’s mood is often affected when they go without the drug after a period of abuse.
This change in mood is marked by irritability, extreme depression, or constant exhaustion. In severe withdrawal cases, some people may experience headaches and nightmares during the initial detox from Adderall.
After about five days, withdrawal symptoms typically begin to decrease. People withdrawing from Adderall may still feel moody, though. As physical symptoms lessen, the psychological symptoms, such as depression, become less severe as well.
Around the one-month mark, most people who have suffered from Adderall dependence or addiction stop feeling any withdrawal symptoms. However, it is possible for certain individuals to continue feeling symptoms months after their last dose. Long-term withdrawal symptoms from Adderall are most commonly reported in people who have an extremely high tolerance for Adderall and have been abusing it for a year or longer.
Complications Of Adderall Withdrawal
Although medical complications from Adderall withdrawal are rare, they are still possible. The risk of medical complications is increased if Adderall is mixed with other substances, like alcohol or other prescription medications.
Some of the medical complications from Adderall withdrawal may include:
- cardiatric episodes, like heart attack or stroke
- headaches, which could be the result of a brain bleed
- other complications from withdrawing from multiple substances
If these complications are left untreated, they can cause permanent damage and potentially loss of life.
What Is Adderall Detoxification?
Adderall detoxification is the process of removing the drug from an individual’s system, and is often the first step towards recovering from Adderall addiction or dependence. Detox may be the most difficult part of the recovery process because withdrawal can be severe.
While detoxification is possible without help, unaided detoxification is considered extremely dangerous. Due the significant impact Adderall has on the brain, sometimes the severity of withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable. This unpredictability coupled with the fact that Adderall withdrawal symptoms are sometimes delayed can mean a sudden onset of severe, possibly life-threatening symptoms.
For these reasons, individuals seeking treatment for Adderall addiction may benefit most from a medical detox.
Medically-Supervised Adderall Detox
Medically-supervised Adderall detoxification helps lessen the withdrawal symptoms during the initial detox period. Medical detox from Adderall could be as simple as continuing to taper Adderall dosage amounts until the drug is cleared from the body, but it can also include the use of other medications.
People going through Adderall detoxification may find the detox program they need in an inpatient treatment center. Enrolling in an inpatient program allows recovering individuals the support needed to successfully complete detoxification and not relapse. The best inpatient treatment centers help individuals design customized recovery plans.
Additional medications sometimes used in a medically-assisted detox from Adderall include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and sleep aids. Each of these medications works to counteract the more uncomfortable Adderall withdrawal symptoms typically felt during the first week or two of detox.
People who attempt to detox from Adderall on their own tend to relapse in an effort to soothe the withdrawal symptoms they experience. Recovery success from Adderall dependence or addiction is more likely when enrolled in an inpatient program that provides a support system, therapy options, and medical assistance.Article Sources
FDA - Adderall ® (CII)
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Stimulant ADHD Medications: Methylphenidate and Amphetamines
U.S. National Library of Medicine - Adderall