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Medically Reviewed

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

- 5 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) is a stimulant medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It helps patients with ADHD pay attention, stay focused, and function on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, it is also used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep during the day.[1]

Adderall can be safe and effective when used as directed, however, its stimulant properties also make the medication a desirable drug of abuse in the eyes of drug users. People may abuse Adderall to stay awake longer, enhance the effects of other substances, or maintain their physical dependence on the drug.

Once physical dependence develops, individuals cannot stop taking Adderall without going through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are a result of the body trying to adjust to not having the drug in the system. Although the experience isn’t life-threatening, the Adderall withdrawal timeline can be challenging to endure without professional help. Fortunately, drug and alcohol treatment centers in North Carolina can prescribe medications and offer supportive care to keep patients safe and comfortable during the detox process.

Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal

One or two days after missing a dose of Adderall or abruptly stopping the medication, addicted individuals will begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. These can range from mild to severe and include:[2]

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Oversleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed movements or reflexes
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Drug cravings

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

Most people don’t start having symptoms of withdrawal until 1-2 days after stopping the drug. Overall, symptoms can last for about 1-2 weeks.

The exact duration of the Adderall withdrawal timeline varies from one person to the next. Factors that influence the severity and duration of withdrawal include:

  • Whether the person had been taking immediate-release or extended-release Adderall (people who have taken immediate-release tablets will begin having symptoms sooner than people who have used Adderall XR)
  • How long Adderall was abused
  • The average dose consumed
  • How often Adderall was taken
  • The person’s age, weight, and gender
  • The person’s metabolism and liver function
  • Whether or not Adderall was taken with other drugs or alcohol
  • The method of administration (swallowing or snorting)

While most people feel better after about a week, long-term Adderall users may experience withdrawal symptoms that last for several weeks or even a month after stopping the drug. Prolonged withdrawal symptoms are best managed at a long-term addiction treatment program.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

How long Adderall withdrawal lasts varies from person to person, but a general timeline is as follows:

  • 1-3 days after the last dose: The initial symptoms of withdrawal should set in. These include fatigue, insomnia, increased appetite, depression, and anxiety. Patients who have been taking immediate-release Adderall may begin having these symptoms in as little as 6 hours after their last dose.
  • 4-7 days after the last dose: Individuals may begin feeling irritable, restless, anxious, and scatter-brained. They may have difficulty sleeping or vivid dreams. Drug cravings will be at their worst.
  • 1-2 weeks after the last dose: Sleep and appetite will return to normal but most people will still experience some depression, anxiety, and cravings.
  • 3+ weeks: After 3 weeks, most people will begin feeling better. Some patients with severe addictions will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, cravings, and mood swings.

After 1-3 months, people should have returned to normal functioning. Some may experience fluctuating cravings, but cravings are normal for anyone in recovery from addiction and can be managed with counseling and lifestyle changes.

Medical Detox for Adderall Dependence

The best way to cope with Adderall withdrawal is to detox at a medical treatment facility. Although detoxing from stimulants is generally not life-threatening, it can be difficult to get through alone. Many people may relapse and use Adderall again simply to get relief from their symptoms. Drug and alcohol detox centers can prescribe medications, monitor vital signs, and provide supportive care to keep patients safe and comfortable as they begin their recovery journey.

Adderall detox is treated on a case-by-case basis. For example, patients who experience anxiety, agitation, or panic attacks may be given benzodiazepines to help calm their nerves. Those who struggle with sleep may be prescribed a sleep aid. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used to treat headaches or body aches.[3]

Medical detox centers can also provide patients with in-depth assessments to determine their treatment needs. Staff counselors can refer individuals to rehab facilities so patients can successfully overcome their addictions. After all, detox is only the first step.

Find Help for Adderall Abuse and Addiction Today

Adderall abuse is dangerous and can result in a powerful substance use disorder. Most people have a hard time getting sober on their own. If you or a loved one are addicted to Adderall, there is no shame in asking for help. Reach out to one of our compassionate addiction specialists today to see how we can help you get started on your recovery.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489818/
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-58260-3_39
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138250/

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