Last Updated: December 12, 2022
Adderall is a commonly prescribed stimulant drug that treats ADHD in children and adults. High school and college students can misuse Adderall because they believe it will enhance focus and concentration on schoolwork. Many working adults also misuse Adderall, to boost work quality and output. However, there is little evidence that Adderall misuse truly improves work quality or quantity.
Aside from attempts to improve focus, Adderall may also be misused to get high. In 2019, over 24 million Adderall prescriptions were written in the U.S. despite claims in 2018 that 5.1 million people, or around 2% of the population, had misused prescription stimulants in the previous year.
Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, also known as amphetamine salts, are the active ingredients in Adderall. These central nervous system stimulants increase dopamine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and reward. Both substances are classified as Schedule II by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse despite an accepted medical use.
Adderall Tolerance and Dependence
Adderall can rapidly lead to dependence and addiction, even when taken as prescribed. Tolerance quickly develops with regular use, which means that doses must be increased to achieve the desired effect. For many people, tolerance can cause them to misuse Adderall by taking doses in higher amounts or more often than prescribed.
As doses increase, chemical changes in the brain can lead to physical dependence, which is characterized by uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms whenever the dose is reduced or eliminated. While dependence alone is not considered addiction, dependence can progress to addiction with continued Adderall misuse or abuse. A hallmark of addiction is the inability to control compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the potential for negative outcomes.
Anyone wishing to quit Adderall should consult a professional before quitting “cold turkey”. The odds of overcoming Adderall dependence are maximized if the dose is tapered gradually, which allows the body and brain the chance to slowly adapt to functioning without Adderall rather than an abrupt absence of the drug, which can be physiologically disturbing.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms occur when someone reduces or quits taking Adderall. These effects can be very uncomfortable for some people, although they often vary quite a bit between individuals. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is generally associated with the amount and frequency of Adderall use.
Withdrawal usually sets in within 24 hours after the last dose. In the first few days after cessation, the most common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are fatigue and inertia accompanied by long periods of sleep. After the first few days of detox, many people report insomnia, depression, anxiety and mood swings.
There are no certified Adderall withdrawal remedies, although evidence suggests that light to moderate exercise can be helpful in overcoming withdrawal. Vigorous aerobic exercise is said to increase the beneficial effect.
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Physical Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Some physical symptoms that may be experienced during Adderall withdrawal include:
- Severe fatigue
- Decreased energy
- Increased appetite
- Slowed movements
- Muscle aches
Psychological Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Psychological effects related to Adderall withdrawal are also possible and may include:
- Intense drug cravings
- Hypersomnia, or excess sleep
- Vivid dreams
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?
The amount of time that a drug stays in your system depends on its half-life. A general rule of thumb is to multiply the half-life by five for an approximation of the amount of time needed for a drug to be completely eliminated.
Both immediate and extended-release Adderall have half-lives of 9–14 hours, so it will generally be out of an individual’s system within 45–70 hours. However, several factors can influence the window of detection, including amount and frequency of use, metabolic rate, weight, and the pH of urine.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
Side effects of Adderall withdrawal often follow a predictable pattern that can be broken into two phases: early and late withdrawal. The onset of withdrawal symptoms generally occurs within 24 hours after the last dose.
Hallmark symptoms of early Adderall withdrawal generally last for 3–5 days:
- Drug cravings
- Lack of motivation
- Vivid dreams
- Increased appetite
As withdrawal progresses, symptoms change. For many people with mild-to-moderate Adderall dependence, late withdrawal lasts for 7–10 days. Late withdrawal symptoms include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Body aches and pains
- Mood swings
People with severe dependence may experience “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” (PAWS). PAWS can be defined as the presence of withdrawal symptoms that persist for longer than expected, in some cases for months after quitting. The severity of symptoms will gradually subside over time.
Factors Impacting Adderall Withdrawal
The most significant factor that affects Adderall withdrawal is the degree to which someone is dependent on it. People who have used high doses of Adderall for a long time are likely to experience severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms, compared to someone who took relatively low doses for the same amount of time.
Intrinsic factors that affect Adderall withdrawal include age, weight, metabolism and genetic profile. Extrinsic factors include whether or not other substances or alcohol were used in conjunction with Adderall, and the route of Adderall administration.
Among the most reliable ways to minimize Adderall withdrawal symptoms is to taper the dose gradually or attend a medical detox, rather than quitting abruptly. If you want to stop using Adderall, speak with a professional about developing a tapering regimen or detox. Quitting cold turkey is never recommended for any substance.
Dangers of Adderall Withdrawal
Physically, there is little danger associated with Adderall withdrawal. Psychologically, on the other hand, withdrawal symptoms such as a lack of motivation, anhedonia and debilitating depression can profoundly impact daily life. This state of emotional instability may cause someone to contemplate or attempt suicide.
Detox refers to the elimination of Adderall from the system, a process that takes 45–70 hours for both immediate and extended-release formulas. The detox period is associated with the onset of acute withdrawal symptoms and can be uncomfortable.
Detoxing From Adderall at Home
Some people choose to undergo Adderall detox at home. For people with mild to moderate dependence, home detox can be successful. The temptation to give in to cravings can be strong, making home detox challenging for people with an Adderall use disorder.
Unfortunately, there are no quick-fix home remedies, but light to moderate exercise may benefit both physically and mentally. Eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated and participating in normal daily activities can be helpful in managing detox.
Depression and fatigue during detox can be overwhelming. Try asking a loved one to check on you regularly throughout detox. If you can stay busy with productive, rewarding activities, you are more likely to successfully manage detox and withdrawal and experience long-term recovery.
Detoxing at a Treatment Center
Detoxing at a rehab facility maximizes the chance to overcome Adderall dependence or addiction. Residential detox programs provide a safe environment free of triggers, while also giving you access to medical professionals who can address questions or concerns as they arise.
Because there is a significant psychological component to Adderall detox and withdrawal, the ability to participate in individual or group therapy sessions can be incredibly beneficial. Rehab professionals are familiar with prescription stimulant use disorders, and they can create the most effective treatment schedule for each unique client.
Medically Assisted Detox
Medically assisted detox can benefit those who are struggling to overcome a severe Adderall use disorder. Medical detox is done under around-the-clock care from medical professionals who can intervene in case of complications. Although there are no reliable medications to prevent Adderall detox and withdrawal symptoms, people who participate in medical detox may receive anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications that can help them manage their symptoms.
Finding an Adderall Detox Center in Ohio
There are many detox centers in Ohio, but they are not all alike. The best rehab facilities have multidisciplinary teams experienced in prescription stimulant addiction treatment.
Look for a facility that can address physical and psychological aspects of recovery, and one that has established success with evidence-based methods while also utilizing the latest strategies to help people overcome addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapyand motivational interviewing are two relatively new strategies that have proven to help people in recovery.
Rehab facilities that can evaluate whether you have a co-occurring disorder that warrants a dual diagnosis can be particularly relevant for people with Adderall use disorders. Adderall misuse sometimes coincides with eating disorders or other mental health disorders. Professionals who address mental health and substance use disorders as individual components of a comprehensive rehab program can maximize their clients’ long-term success.
Several other factors should be taken into account when you are evaluating the best rehab program for you:
- Location: The best facility for you may not necessarily be the closest one.
- Cost: There are a number of ways to offset out-of-pocket costs. Most insurance plans will cover at least part of the cost of rehab. Many facilities offer grants or scholarships and use sliding fee scales to accommodate as many people as possible.
- Treatment options: The most comprehensive rehab programs are offered by facilities that are equipped to provide medically assisted detox, short- and long-term residential and outpatient programs and aftercare. Make sure the facility you are considering has a staff that is experienced in treating prescription stimulant use disorders.
- Success rates: Former clients’ success rates and endorsements are informative, but be careful when considering a program that claims a 100% success rate.
- Treatment duration: The duration of treatment should not be a predetermined length. Instead, it should be based on your progress and tailored to suit your needs.
- Staff-to-patient ratio: A low staff-to-patient ratio ensures that your needs will be met in a timely manner.
- Accreditation: Programs that are accredited by either The Joint Commission or CARF International guarantee that you will receive a certain standard of care.
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