Adderall Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment:
If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), your doctor may have prescribed Adderall (the brand name for the drug amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) to help you focus and concentrate. When taken for extended periods and without breaks, this drug can lead to addiction and bring about Adderall withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It boosts levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, a key player when it comes to focus and attention.
Is Adderall Addictive?
Yes, Adderall poses a risk for addiction. The drug works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine amounts in the brain, impacting mood, energy levels, and focus. When taking this stimulant for an extended time, Adderall tolerance can build up. Moreover, taking Adderall every day over a long time can lead to dependency. The person will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms if they go off the drug. Over time, addiction can develop.
Symptoms Of Adderall Withdrawal:
Adderall withdrawal is different for everyone. Your withdrawal experience will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of your Adderall use. If you have a stimulant use disorder (Adderall addiction), then there will be additional issues to contend with in the weeks following your last dose.
The initial withdrawal syndrome can be severe. Withdrawal may affect your ability to function normally and fulfill your responsibilities at home, school, and work.
Adderall increases the activity of two neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in your brain: norepinephrine and dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for activating your brain’s reward system. Norepinephrine is responsible for boosting your alertness, focus, and cognitive functions. Both play a role in mood regulation.
During long-term Adderall use, your brain gets used to the increased activity of these neurotransmitters. Withdrawal symptoms occur because your brain is experiencing what it believes to be low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Common symptoms or side effects of Adderall withdrawal include:
- Restless sleep patterns
- Elevated heart rate
- High blood pressure levels
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
Can You Withdraw From Adderall?
Yes, you can withdraw from Adderall. As we mentioned before, Adderall is a CNS stimulant that improves ADHD symptoms like depressed or agitated mood, poor focus, difficulty concentrating, and impulsive behavior by stimulating the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
When someone uses Adderall for a long time – whether as prescribed or recreationally – the brain eventually adjusts to the presence of the drug and its impact on dopamine. After a while, the brain no longer functions properly when the drug is absent.
For this reason, Adderall withdrawal effects may occur when someone who’s taken it for a long time suddenly stops using it. During use, the dopamine levels are consistently elevated, and the nervous system is accustomed to behaving a certain way. When Adderall is suddenly discontinued, or the dosage is drastically reduced, these dopamine levels drop all at once, which can lead to uncomfortable side effects called withdrawal symptoms.
How Long Do the Symptoms Last?
Signs of withdrawal usually show up a day or two after you stop taking it. They may last a few days to several weeks — it’s different for everyone.
If you’ve taken the drug for a long time, your body and brain may have started to depend on it. The more often you took it, the harder it can be to stop.
A few other things can affect how long your symptoms last and how bad they are:
- Patient health history, especially mental health
- Family’s history of addiction
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline :
- Day 1-3: Some of the initial withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
- Day 4-7: After the initial symptoms subside, another wave of symptoms may appear. The person may begin to feel irritable, anxious, restless, or unable to concentrate. They may also have trouble sleeping at night.
- Week 2: The person may also experience extreme fatigue, feelings of sadness, and drug cravings.
- Week 3 and onwards: The withdrawal symptoms should have subsided by now. However, there is a risk that some symptoms could linger, especially if the patient has a high Adderall tolerance and has been using the drug for a long time. Some long-term withdrawal symptoms may include fatigue, cravings for taking the medication, and mood swings. Generally, a person will return to their normal functioning within 1 to 3 months after they stop taking the drug.
Detoxification is the process of getting a drug out of the user’s system. Once Adderall leaves the body, the symptoms of withdrawal begin. Because these symptoms can make it difficult to function in daily life without a relapse, some people need help during detox.
Adderall detox often involves a tapering-down strategy. Gradually reducing a person’s doses over time minimizes the symptoms of withdrawal.
Addiction specialists at inpatient rehabs can help Adderall users reduce their doses.
Some people choose to quit taking Adderall cold turkey. Those who have done so successfully typically do it in rehab or with the help of a counselor to prevent relapse.