Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms | Timeline, Detox, & Treatment
Both medical and recreational use of Adderall can lead to physical dependence and physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms after discontinuation. In severe cases, these symptoms can be best managed through a formal medical detox treatment program.
Adderall use increases neurotransmitter levels in the brain, especially dopamine and norepinephrine, to increase energy, focus, and alertness. Because of this, Adderall is commonly used to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy in both adults and children.
However, Adderall and other prescription and illicit stimulant drugs are also commonly abused, especially by high school and college students, to temporarily increase concentration, decrease appetite, or to get high.
And, abusing Adderall can lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.
Symptoms Of Adderall Withdrawal
Most patients who take Adderall as directed don’t have any significant issues or withdrawal symptoms when they quit. However, withdrawal symptoms are still possible, and highly likely in cases of prolonged Adderall abuse.
Stimulant withdrawal symptoms can include:
- increased appetite
- irritability and changes in mood
- sleep problems, including vivid or unpleasant dreams
- sleeping for long periods of time
- feelings of fatigue
- nausea and/or vomiting
- uncontrolled movements and twitches
- rebounding symptoms of ADHD or narcolepsy
- drug cravings
In some cases, Adderall withdrawal has also been associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts or impulses.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for amphetamine withdrawal can vary greatly based on the individual, their overall health, and whether the drug was being used therapeutically or abused recreationally.
Stages of withdrawal include:
In cases of heavier or recreational use, quitting Adderall may cause a crash or comedown period that lasts for a few days.
This crash is characterized by symptoms of exhaustion, heavy sleeping, headaches, mood swings, feelings of depression, or even psychosis and paranoia, hallucinations, and disconnection from reality.
If you use Adderall regularly but therapeutically, you may not experience any significant withdrawal symptoms as the drug’s effects wear off. Or, you may begin experiencing mild or moderate symptoms that can emerge a few days after your last dose.
These acute withdrawal symptoms can then last from three days to a few weeks before resolving.
In more severe cases, acute withdrawal may be followed by lingering psychological symptoms and recurring drug cravings broadly known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS.
If you’re dependent on Adderall, other stimulant medications, or illicit stimulant drugs, medical detox programs are likely your best option for cleaning the drug from your system and working through the withdrawal process in a safe, supportive environment.
Inpatient medical detox includes observation and support by medical professionals who can provide medications, including sleep aids (benzodiazepines), over-the-counter painkillers, and antidepressants if needed.
Some signs that tapering and medical detoxification may be right for you include:
- you’ve been using Adderall for a long period of time
- you take moderate to high doses of the drug
- you regularly take Adderall with other substances, including alcohol
- you have other medical conditions or are in poor health
- you’ve tried to stop taking Adderall in the past, but been unable to
Quitting cold turkey is the quickest but most intensive way to detox from Adderall. Detox is associated with uncomfortable psychological and physical symptoms that can potentially cause a patient to relapse or even trigger suicidal activity.
To address this, healthcare professionals generally recommend that people instead reduce their Adderall dosage and dose frequency over a longer period of time.
While tapering does extend the detoxification process, it can help limit physical and mental health issues during the process, especially suicidal thoughts, depression, and in severe cases psychosis.
Adderall Addiction Treatment
Therapeutic Adderall use is unlikely to produce the level of physical dependence or addiction that would require addiction treatment services.
However, if the drug is abused chronically it can lead to methamphetamine-like cravings and behavioral changes, along with severe physical and mental health effects.
Adderall addiction, in these cases, is best treated through the services of an inpatient treatment facility using treatment options such as behavioral therapy, counseling, contingency management, peer support, dual diagnosis care, and more.
To find out if our inpatient treatment center is a good fit for yourself or a loved one, please contact us today.
- Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group — Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138250/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601234.html
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/PEP20-06-01-001_508.pdf