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Adderall Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

Adderall Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

Adderall Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then you may have been prescribed Adderall (the brand name for amphetamine - dextroamphetamine) to improve your focus and concentration. Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that helps to improve concentration, mood, and impulsivity in people with ADHD by stimulating the activity of dopamine. Although Adderall’s effect on dopamine improves ADHD symptoms, it also means that people who stop taking it are at risk of withdrawal. Below is a guide on Adderall withdrawal symptoms that can give you an idea of what could happen when you stop taking this medication after long-term use.

Can You Withdraw From Adderall?

Yes, you can withdraw from Adderall. As we mentioned before, Adderall is a CNS stimulant that improves ADHD symptoms like depressed or agitated mood, poor focus, difficulty concentrating, and impulsive behavior by stimulating the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a key chemical in balancing mood and other functions in the central nervous system.

When someone uses Adderall for a long time – whether as prescribed or recreationally – the brain eventually adjusts to the presence of the drug and its impact on dopamine. After a while, the brain no longer functions properly when the drug is absent.

For this reason, Adderall withdrawal effects may occur when someone who’s taken it for a long time suddenly stops using it. During use, the dopamine levels are consistently elevated, and the nervous system is accustomed to behaving a certain way. When Adderall is suddenly discontinued, or the dosage is drastically reduced, these dopamine levels drop all at once, which can lead to uncomfortable side effects called withdrawal symptoms.

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Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

People who take large doses of Adderall for prolonged periods are more likely to become physically dependent on the drug and experience withdrawals when they decide to discontinue their use. Physical dependence occurs when there’s a build-up of tolerance to the substance, meaning it takes larger and more frequent doses to experience the same effects.

Those who become tolerant to Adderall may feel as if their usual dose isn’t helping them concentrate or focus. However, if they stop taking it altogether, they won’t be able to concentrate or focus at all. These are the early signs of Adderall withdrawal.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms are different from the drug’s usual effects. While Adderall normally produces euphoria, improved concentration, and energy, the crash that follows is marked by a reversal of these side effects, otherwise referred to as rebound effects. People with a higher tolerance to Adderall experience more severe withdrawals.

Common symptoms or side effects of Adderall withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Sleeping too much or struggling to sleep
  • Increased appetite
  • Foggy thinking or difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aches and pains in the joints and muscles
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

Because Adderall predominantly impacts dopamine levels, it’s normal for people who are going through withdrawals to experience depressed moods. A major risk of withdrawing from Adderall is suicidal thoughts. For this reason, people who want to withdraw from Adderall should undergo medically monitored detox and receive care under medical professionals.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

The Adderall withdrawal timeline is different for everyone. The duration of withdrawals depends on how long the person has been taking the drug, the dosage they take, and the formulation. One factor that plays a role in this is that there are two types of Adderall formulations: immediate and extended-release.

Immediate-release Adderall works instantly to produce side effects that last about 6 hours. Doses of this formula are usually taken several times a day. On the other hand, Adderall XR (extended-release) is taken once a day and produces side effects that last about 12 hours.

Immediate-release Adderall leaves the body much quicker than Adderall XR, meaning that people who take extended-release Adderall may experience withdrawal symptoms for longer periods. Generally, however, Adderall withdrawal lasts anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks or longer, depending on the factors we mentioned above.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

  • First 6 to 36 hours: Adderall withdrawal symptoms usually begin within the first few hours after the last dose. Many people experience a crash during this period that’s marked by intense depression, fatigue, and weakness.
  • 3 to 5 Days: Withdrawal symptoms usually peak during the first week of withdrawal, including symptoms like irritability, depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Some people may also experience headaches and nightmares.
  • 5 to 7 Days: Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal begin to fade after about 5 days. Even so, some symptoms may persist, including moodiness and depression.
  • 3 to 4 Weeks: In some cases, people have reported Adderall withdrawal symptoms weeks after their last dose. This usually occurs in people who have a high tolerance and have been using the drug for over a year.

Adderall Withdrawal Treatment

Adderall detox involves getting the drug out of the system gradually and safely. Once Adderall leaves the body, symptoms of withdrawal may kick in. Because these symptoms can be difficult to withstand without a relapse, some people require the assistance of a medical team.

The prescription drug detox offered at select Banyan rehab locations involves slowly tapering clients off drugs like Adderall. By gradually reducing the person’s doses over time while offering medication to mitigate symptoms, we’re able to help clients safely quit Adderall, without relapsing.

Getting through withdrawal from Adderall is rarely lethal, but for many, it’s a difficult process. A lot of people relapse during the withdrawal process simply to put a stop to their symptoms and pacify their cravings. But considering that Adderall is addictive, this can greatly hinder the person’s overall recovery as well as their health.

Fortunately, Banyan Treatment Center offers nationwide detox programs and substance services to help people from communities all over the country. Our drug addiction treatment centers are in various states to ensure that we help as many people achieve sobriety as possible.

If you or someone you know can benefit from the help of our addiction treatment specialists, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to find out how to get started.

Related Reading:
Adderall Vs. Focalin: What’s The Difference?
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.