Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy, a daytime sleep disorder. Adderall can help treat ADHD by improving focus and attention span, however, it is a stimulant medication that can be misused and addictive. Abusing Adderall can lead to the development of physical dependence, withdrawal, and addiction.
Adderall is one of the most widely prescribed stimulant drugs and it has become more popular over the last few years as more people are being diagnosed with ADHD. Unfortunately, this has led to a recent stimulant medication shortage, and many people, including those who are prescribed Adderall, are having trouble finding it.
Missing a dose of Adderall can lead to the development of withdrawal symptoms just like getting addicted to it and suddenly stopping using it can. Whether you’re trying to recover from Adderall addiction or simply trying to wait until your prescription can get filled, you’re probably wondering how long Adderall withdrawal lasts and how quickly it begins.
Although the Adderall withdrawal timeline varies from one person to the next, most people start having symptoms 1-3 days after their last dose. Symptoms can persist for 1-3 weeks but will begin to subside after the end of week one.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Adderall works by increasing the levels and reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, two neurotransmitters that impact mood, energy, levels, and focus. The body gets used to functioning with increased levels of these transmitters, so when you suddenly stop taking Adderall, your body goes into withdrawal because it is missing the neurotransmitters it has gotten used to.
Withdrawal is characterized by unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Vivid dreams
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Slowed reflexes
- Body aches
- Sleep disturbances
- Sleeping more than usual
- Suicidal ideation
Adderall withdrawal is usually not life-threatening unless mood-related symptoms become severe. This can happen at any time during withdrawal, so it’s always best to detox under close medical supervision.
How Long Do Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Adderall withdrawal typically lasts 10 days or less, but the timeline may vary for everyone. People who have been using Adderall longer, especially if they have been taking an extended-release formulation, will experience longer-lasting symptoms.
Different variables that affect the duration of Adderall withdrawal include:
- The extent of use – How long you’ve been taking Adderall, what dose you were taking, and how frequently you took it. Heavier users will experience more intense and longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.
- Type of Adderall – Adderall is available in immediate-release and extended-release formulations. Detoxing from Adderall XR (extended-release) may take longer.
- Method of use – Adderall comes in pill form and is intended to be swallowed, but some people who abuse it will crush and snort, smoke, or inject the drug, each of which can affect how long withdrawal lasts.
- Personal health – Factors such as your age, weight, gender, metabolism, and liver and kidney health can affect the withdrawal timeline.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline: What to Expect
While Adderall withdrawal duration and severity can vary, most people follow a general timeline similar to the following:
Symptoms begin 1-3 days after the last dose
Initial symptoms of insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and increased appetite will set in. Some people will begin having symptoms as early as 6 hours after their last dose. Fatigue and vivid nightmares are also common during this time.
Symptoms peak after 4-7 days
The previously-listed symptoms may worsen and other symptoms, including irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, nausea, joint pain, muscle pain, and paranoia may develop. Symptoms are typically at their worst between days four and seven. Suicidal ideation may also occur.
Symptoms get better after 1-2 weeks
Most symptoms will subside after 1-2 weeks, but irritability, trouble focusing, sleep disturbances, and mood swings may fluctuate. Stomach problems may also occur. During this time, people who are recovering from Adderall addiction should transition to a substance abuse treatment program to continue their recovery.
Symptoms resolve after 3+ weeks
All symptoms should resolve after about three weeks. Some cravings and trouble focusing can persist for a couple of months but should be manageable with behavioral treatment.
Adderall Detox and Symptom Management
Detoxing in a medical setting can give you access to tools and resources that will reduce the intensity of your symptoms. Drug and alcohol detox centers can prescribe symptom-specific medication to help you relax, rest, and stay calm. They can also monitor your vitals throughout detoxification to ensure your safety.
Many prescription drug detox programs offer therapeutic services such as group therapy, yoga, or massage to further alleviate discomfort. Healthy meals will be provided so that your body gets the nutrients it needs to heal.
Detox is only the first step toward recovery, though. Continued treatment in the form of inpatient or outpatient rehab is always recommended.
Find Help for Adderall Abuse and Addiction Today
At ARISE Treatment Center, our addiction treatment programs in Southern California are designed to provide men and women with the support they need to get through early sobriety and achieve lasting recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction and need to find the right detox and prescription drug treatment program for you, please contact us today.