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How to Taper Off Adderall?

by | Published on Jul 13, 2021 | Stimulants Addiction

taper off adderall

Adderall is perhaps one of the most commonly misused and abused prescription stimulants in the United States. A potent performance enhancer, students and young professionals are using Adderall to improve attention, motivation, and other cognitive functions. However, they all risk developing a tolerance for the drug, which can lead to addiction.

The best way to taper off Adderall is by working with a healthcare professional. A doctor will work with you to ease the dose of Adderall until the body is no longer dependent on the drug. Because most people are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms, hospitalization or medical detox treatments might be recommended. 

Because various factors affect how long it takes your body to get rid of Adderall, tapering schedules will vary per person. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a medical professional to determine how severe your withdrawal symptoms may be and recommend different medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. 

Do You Need to Taper Off Adderall?

In short, yes, you need to taper off Adderall. Attempting to quit Adderall cold turkey and without medical supervision can be dangerous. Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, a doctor should always be involved in tapering off Adderall. 

Attempting to quit stimulant drugs by yourself can cause excessive sleep, dysphoria, and psychomotor issues. At its most dangerous, particularly for those with an active addiction, stopping stimulants can cause seizures, cardiac arrest, psychosis, and schizophrenia-like symptoms. 

Adderall Detox

Trying to quit Adderall alone can be dangerous. Long-term Adderall abusers can suffer significant health hazards and produce symptoms of Adderall withdrawal, including mood swings and chronic fatigue. Adderall withdrawal symptoms can lead to paranoia, depression, and even schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Adderall detox usually follows a tapering down strategy. This means gradually reducing someone’s doses over time to minimize withdrawal symptoms. It will also reduce the side effects of Adderall if they were to occur.

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.

After detox, most addiction specialists recommend continuing behavioral treatment health with Cognitive-behavioral therapy to address mental health issues that contributed to addiction in the first place.

Quitting Adderall Side Effects

People who take stimulants for prolonged periods of time are likely to develop a physical dependence on Adderall. 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.

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:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Foggy head
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Relapse 

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for tapering off Adderall 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 timeline 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. 

Too Much Adderall Symptoms & Risks

Thousands of people can become high-functioning addicts while using Adderall. It’s common for those in stressful working conditions to use Adderall as a way to navigate their stressful work lives. Executives, people in finance, and even those in the medical field might turn to Adderall to improve their performance and maintain their productivity.

However, those who abuse Adderall for an extended period of time are likely to experience:

  • Sleep problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Constipation 

In addition, Adderall abuse can lead to overdose. Seizures, racing heart rate, hypertension, fever, severe confusion, and psychosis may be side effects of Adderall overdose. These can result in stroke, heart attack, or death without swift medical treatment.

Signs of Adderall overdose include:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Discolored urine
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
An Adderall overdose can lead to sudden death, especially if someone has pre-existing conditions or heart problems. Because of the risk of death, Adderall overdose requires immediate medical attention. In case of an overdose, call 911 as soon as you recognize the signs.

Adderall Facts to Know

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 stimulants, including Adderall.

Another group that’s also at high risk is people struggling with eating disorders. Since Adderall also works as an appetite suppressing drug, those with an eating disorder might abuse the drug to sustain their mental health illness. In this case, people should check into substance abuse treatment facilities that offer dual diagnosis programs to treat both diseases simultaneously. 

However, even trying to quit Adderall can be dangerous. Similar to other drugs, quitting Adderall abruptly can be difficult. When people stop taking it without supervision, they can experience a “crash” that triggers other problems. 

Also, long-term Adderall abusers can suffer major health hazards and produce symptoms of Adderall withdrawal side effects like mood swings and chronic fatigue. Adderall withdrawal symptoms can lead to paranoia, depression, and even schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is currently struggling with stimulant addiction, please seek help immediately. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we receive patients looking for ways to taper off Adderall in a safe environment constantly. Our Boynton Beach medical detox treatment center is equipped to help you wean off Adderall under the safest and most effective circumstances. 

So, don’t let addiction get the best of you. Contact our admission specialist by calling 866-308-2090 today to learn more about our detox services and addiction treatment programs

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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