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What is Adderall Withdrawal?

A person who has been abusing Adderall will experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops taking it. What does Adderall do? Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (sleep disorder) [1]. It is a stimulant that can cause euphoria when taken inappropriately. Adderall can be addictive, and Adderall side effects can be life-threatening in some cases. One should never assume a drug is somehow “safe” to use in any quantity or conditions simply because it’s prescribed. 

Many people without ADHD may abuse Adderall recreationally for its stimulant-associated effects of increased euphoria and energy, which also suppresses the side effects of alcohol and can lead to alcohol poisoning. In recent years, mixing Adderall and alcohol has become an increasingly popular trend among college students. Non-prescription Adderall use is so prevalent on college campuses by college students taking dangerously high amounts of it to cram before an exam, or stay up all night to write a paper, is an expected situation without serious consequences [2].

Addiction to Adderall can cause dangerously rapid weight loss, seizures, hallucinations, and potentially-fatal heart problems. Therefore, an Adderall detox is essential to stop the damage caused by the drug before it becomes too late.

Adderall Withdrawal
The primary risk of going through Adderall withdrawal on your own is that you will experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

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Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

The Adderall withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for users to stop on their own. If a person is addicted to this drug quits “cold turkey,” they will experience symptoms that are basically the opposite of the drug’s effects. These symptoms can include loss of concentration, fatigue, and an unusually slow heartbeat.

In addition to Adderall side effects, there are also debilitating symptoms that result from the discontinuation of its use and a resulting Adderall withdrawal period:

  • Low energy
  • Inability to focus
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors
  • Body aches
  • Mood swings
  • Overwhelming anxiety/panic attacks
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression

What is an Adderall Crash?

Someone who has been using amphetamines such as Adderall for an extended period can experience Adderall withdrawal symptoms. If a person takes significant doses of Adderall recreationally, that person has likely experienced an Adderall crash before. 

The Adderall crash is like a powerful, mini withdrawal. It usually starts within several hours of the last dose and can continue for one or two days. Most Adderall users experience mental and physical exhaustion with a depressed mood.

After an Adderall binge, the user will likely be starving and sleep-deprived. He or she may eat and rest a lot as to recover from the binge.

When someone quits Adderall permanently, the symptoms will resemble those of an Adderall crash initially. However, they will become less intense over time. 

If the person takes Adderall regularly, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can appear more slowly. He or she may not notice any withdrawal symptoms until a couple of days later.

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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 withdrawal from Adderall 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.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

The amount of time that it takes for a person to withdraw from Adderall will differ depending on the situation. If a person is taking the drug “as-needed” to help treat ADHD symptoms, he or she may not even notice a withdrawal. 

Adderall Withdrawal
Adderall addiction is a complex disease. It makes the withdrawal experience even more challenging.

If the person has built up a tolerance to the prescription drug and is using it for purposes other than ADHD, he or she may experience a more debilitating withdrawal. At the end of the day, the Adderall withdrawal timeline will be different for everyone.

If a person is taking a relatively high dose for an extended period of time, he or she will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may be intense for a few days or a few weeks but may last a few months. Some people have reported that it took them nearly a full year to fully “recover” psychologically from Adderall withdrawal. 

Most people will be feeling better within the first three months of functioning without the drug. If you take the time to taper down your dose correctly, the withdrawal should be even easier for you. In the meantime, your goal should be to manage life to the best of your ability and force yourself to engage in healthy activities to rebuild your dopamine stores.

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Side Effects of Adderall Withdrawal

When someone stops using Adderall and the flow of dopamine dries up, the good feelings go with it, causing what’s known as a “crash.” Dopamine is the chemical in charge of regulating what’s known as the brain’s “pleasure centers.” This can be especially intense if the person misusing Adderall does not have ADHD and is not used to dealing with low dopamine.

Because Adderall use is so closely tied to the circuits that control and regulate feelings of happiness and pleasure, Adderall withdrawal symptoms are mostly psychological and mood-related and do not include many of the physical symptoms often associated with withdrawal, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or other flu-like symptoms.

Someone undergoing Adderall withdrawal can expect to experience at least some of the following common side effects of Adderall withdrawal:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Adderall cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Seizures
  • Change in appetite (one of the side effects of Adderall is appetite suppression)

Managing Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms 

There are no medicines currently recommended to treat stimulant withdrawal. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your discomfort. With the help of your doctor, you may want to consider the following medications:

OTC pain relievers: If you are experiencing body aches or bad headaches, consider an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or Excedrin. 

Sleep aids: If you are having trouble staying or falling asleep, you may want to talk to your doctor about a prescription sleep aid like Ambien. You can also use an OTC antihistamine like Benadryl (not the non-drowsy kind). 

Antidepressants: If you start taking them in advance, antidepressants might help prevent lingering, post-withdrawal depression, but they have not been shown to reduce acute symptoms of withdrawal. 

Anti-anxiety medications: Although these drugs are usually not recommended, especially not in the long-term, they may provide some relief for the first few days of withdrawal. If you are experiencing intense irritation, aggression, or aggravation, talk to your doctor about getting a week’s worth of a long-acting benzodiazepine like clonazepam (Klonopin).

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Adderall Detox 

The problem with Adderall withdrawal is that it can be a bit unpredictable. It’s hard to know whether you will experience intense depression or extreme irritation in advance. The primary risk of going through Adderall withdrawal on your own is that you will experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Even if you have no history of suicidal thoughts or depression, it is still a risk. If you think you are at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors from Adderall detox, it may be best to detox at a rehab center with medical supervision.

For anyone who suffers from Adderall addiction, just the thought of having to stop using can cause severe mental distress. Given that, the medical detox process is managed with the help of a medical detox center. In addition, a comprehensive team prescribing medications can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours. Thus, assuring both your safety and comfort.

For those experiencing an addiction to mixing Adderall and alcohol, detox may not be sufficient enough for long-term recovery. As a result, attending an inpatient treatment center may provide recovering individuals with the support and tools needed in order to build a strong foundation of sobriety. Treatment centers like We Level Up NJ understand the struggles linked with battling addiction on their own. Because of that, we ensure that each client’s needs are met through individualized and comprehensive treatment plans.

A comprehensive and individualized recovery program will give multiple treatment elements that work together to help make these fundamental shifts in thought and behavior patterns. These include:

If you’re experiencing the unpleasant effects of Adderall withdrawal, or you’ve tried to quit in the past but ended up using Adderall again, that’s a clear sign you need professional help. Get the safest help you need and deserve. Our team at We Level Up NJ specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies.

Adderall Withdrawal
Talk to an addiction specialist today. They can advise you on the steps to take for a safe detox from Adderall addiction.

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Sources:

[1] NIDA – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants

[2] NIDA – https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/commonly-used-drugs-charts