Adderall dependence and addiction are more common than you think. It can happen to anyone who’s been taking the drug for an extended period of time, even if used as prescribed. When you become dependent on Adderall, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. If you’ve been using Adderall to study, feel more awake, get high, or treat anxiety, you can also become addicted to it. Learn more about Adderall’s withdrawal timeline to know what to expect and how to prepare yourself for this withdrawal experience.
Adderall is the brand name for a medication that helps treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It comes from the stimulant family, an amphetamine that stimulates the central nervous system. Adderall can help improve ADHD symptoms in up to 80 percent of children and 70 percent of adults when used correctly. However, Adderall has a high potential for misuse. Adderall addiction is on the rise among young adults. Over 116,000 people in rehab in 2012 were struggling with an addiction to amphetamines like Adderall. Another review of studies found that approximately 17 percent of college students reported misusing prescription stimulants, including Adderall.
What Causes Adderall Withdrawal?
People who take Adderall for prolonged periods of time are likely to develop a physical dependence. When this happens, tolerance builds up, meaning it takes larger and more frequent doses of Adderall to get the same effect. Once people gain dependence on the stimulant, they are more likely to experience withdrawal after a length of time without another dosage. Adderall withdrawal, also known as “Adderall crash,” can happen even if you use the drug as prescribed. This is because the way the body interacts with your brain and body, not receiving its usual dose, results in withdrawal effects.
Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction
Just because someone misuses a drug, it doesn’t mean that they’re struggling with addiction. It’s essential to understand the difference between developing tolerance, drug abuse, and an addiction:
- Tolerance: It happens when someone who uses stimulants becomes tolerant to the effects of Adderall. This means they need to consume more and more to get the same initial high as when they first began.
- Dependence: This occurs when the body adapts to the drug’s presence and needs it to perform as usual. Dependence can occur even if someone is using the medication as prescribed. When dependent, someone may try to stop using the stimulant, and they’ll still experience withdrawal symptoms, making quitting extremely difficult.
- Addiction: At this stage, someone cannot control their use of Adderall. They’ll continue to use it despite experiencing negative consequences. In this case, more than physical dependence, they struggle with a psychological dependence that makes them crave the drug to function.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Stimulants like Adderall speed up the function of the central nervous system, which leads to increased energy, alertness, and attention. In addition to intense cravings for the drug to perform daily tasks and feel at your best, typical withdrawal symptoms for Adderall include:
- Upset stomach
- Foggy head
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritability and agitation
- Suicidal thoughts
Not everyone experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Slowly tapering off of Adderall under your doctor’s supervision may help you avoid it altogether. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be more severe for people who abuse Adderall or take it in very high doses. If you do have symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall, see your doctor. There’s a high risk of returning to drug use in the first days after stopping the medication. One recent study found that changes in brain chemistry during amphetamine withdrawal might make people more sensitive to stress. This explains why people experiencing withdrawal symptoms feel extremely annoyed or frustrated by things that wouldn’t usually bother them. Most people’s symptoms will resolve within a few weeks. After the withdrawal period, however, you may face some unexpected psychological, social, or emotional problems.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for withdrawal depends on the dose and how long you’ve been taking the medication. Usually, withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere between a couple of days to weeks. Although everyone’s Adderall withdrawal journey is different, addiction specialists can predict a possible timeline:
- Day 0-1: Withdrawal symptoms won’t start until a day after stopping the drug, as it starts exciting the system.
- Days 2-4: The first few days of withdrawal include physical fatigue, sluggishness, intense hunger, and sleep issues. Usually, these symptoms will reach a peak by the end of day four.
- Days 5-7: As your physical symptoms subside, it’s common to experience a surge of emotions and psychological symptoms like anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate, panic attacks, and depression.
- Weeks 3-4: At this point, most physical and psychological symptoms will be under control. However, cravings can still be intense, but they can also lead to relapse at this stage. Other symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, and erratic sleep patterns.
- Month 2: Finally, withdrawal symptoms should subside at this point and stabilize.
How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?
Adderall stays in the system anywhere between 20 hours to 3 months. However, these timelines are based on averages. Different people metabolize Adderall at different speeds. How long it takes your body to get Adderall out of your system depends on various factors.
Prolonged Withdrawal Symptoms
Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s available in an instant release (IR) and extended-release (XR) pill form. The first one has a duration of about 6 hours, while Adderall XR may last a whole day. Because regular Adderall starts working immediately, and its effects wear off in several hours, it leaves the body relatively quickly. Conversely, Adderall XR builds up and stays in the body longer. Additionally, withdrawal from Adderall XR may last weeks longer than typical Adderall because it takes longer for the body to detox.
Adderall Detox and Withdrawal Treatment
Choosing to quit Adderall is a huge step already. Many people ask whether stopping Adderall “cold turkey” is a good detoxification strategy. However, people who choose this route are likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms like psychosis. And, not having the medical support and psychiatric care available can be potentially dangerous. Usually, medical detox is the best way to detox from Adderall and treat withdrawal symptoms safely. A Medical detoxification center provides a safe environment, taper medications when deemed necessary by medical professionals, and 24-hour medical supervision. Lighthouse Recovery Institute offers a clinically supervised detox. We ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and using medication-assisted treatment services to guarantee a complete detoxification process. It’s recommended to seek help from an addiction specialist and go to a medical detox facility to start the process. Those who do these are usually more successful and reduce their risk of relapse. Medical detox works best when combined with individual therapy and the help of a counselor.
Adderall Rehab Options
Long-term treatment options for amphetamine withdrawal will depend in part on the nature of your amphetamine use. People who fall dependent on Adderall after taking it as prescribed may not need long-term treatment at all. But, if you’ve been misusing or abusing Adderall, a comprehensive, long-term addiction treatment plan may be beneficial. While Adderall is incredibly addictive, those who are willing to break the addiction cycle can seek treatment. Speaking with an addiction treatment specialist as soon as possible is the best way to start seeking help for addiction. Most of the time, these sorts of addictions develop due to compulsive behaviors that must be treated at the source, with CBT being one of the most popular evidence-based treatments to treat addiction. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug addiction recovery programs include:
- Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP): Also known as inpatient treatment programs, this setting allows patients to receive intensive therapy and medications to manage troublesome symptoms and co-occurring mental illness or any other medical health issue. At this level of care, patients reside in a treatment facility, allowing them to focus on their recovery without the distractions of everyday life.
- Residential Program: Like hospital-based inpatient treatment, patients remain at the facility to participate in therapy work. These are long-term addiction treatment programs with an environment that mimics a residence instead of a hospital.
- Outpatient Program: A more flexible type of treatment in which patients live at home or a sober living facility while attending therapy one or more days per week. This is a great middle point for patients getting ready to re-enter society.
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs: When patients seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs are a more flexible option that still gives people access to the help they need.
Finding Addiction Treatment Near Me
Working with a therapist or addiction counselor will help you maintain long-term abstinence from Adderall and a healthy balance in other areas of your life. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our mission is to provide a safe and effective environment for addiction recovery. This is why our treatment plans are comprehensive and personalized to address your unique needs. Call 866-308-2090 today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our addiction treatment programs. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment, primarily when your life depends on it.