If you’re getting ready for or going through Adderall withdrawal, you’ll want to know what to expect. Here we review the major concerns for someone coming off physical dependence on Adderall, what’s normal and what’s not. Please feel free to ask your questions about Adderall effects and withdrawal if we do not cover your topic of concern here. We welcome all questions and feedback, and will respond to your questions personally!
Is Adderall withdrawal dangerous?
No, Adderall withdrawal is not dangerous. Instead, Adderall withdrawal is fairly routine and is not usually accompanied by dangerous complications. Again, stimulant withdrawal usually does not involve medical danger or intense discomfort.
What causes Adderall withdrawal?
When you take excessive amounts of Adderall or frequent, high doses of Adderall, over time the central nervous system (CNS) self-adjusts to the constant presence of amphetamines in the body. Stimulants can increase levels of dopamine in the brain a rapid and highly amplified manner disrupting normal communication between brain cells. The nervous system compensates for this chemical hyperactivity by depressing normal function and nerve cell communication. This is why when you stop taking Adderall, and amphetamine levels suddenly lowers, the brain remains in a hypoactive, or depressed, state, causing Adderall withdrawal until the brain reaches a point of homeostasis and mood and energy levels return to normal.
Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal
Stimulants are associated with withdrawal symptoms that are distinctly different from those seen with opioid, alcohol, and sedative dependence. And during any detox process, you can develop complications as you withdraw from a drug. However, normal symptoms of Adderall withdrawals include:
- drug craving
- hypersomnia (or insomnia)
- increased appetite
- poor concentration
- slow reflexes
Duration of withdrawal from Adderall
Adderall withdrawal can be acute, intermediate and long term. Adderall withdrawal duration will depend upon the dosage, frequency and total time that you’ve been taking the drug, as well as individual medical and health factors. However, in general, most symptoms of Adderall withdrawal resolve several days to weeks after you take your last Adderall pill. In fact, stimulants can be found in urine for 1 to 12 days, depending on how often they were taken. And one characteristic of stimulant withdrawal is delayed withdrawal, where symptoms reappear again weeks or months after acute detox. So, full recovery from a protracted term of Adderall withdrawal may take a few months to complete.
Treatment for Adderall withdrawal
Most often, no treatment other than support is needed for the initial phase of stimulant withdrawal. However, if you are experiencing acute intoxication or overdose from taking too much Adderall, you may need emergency treatment. And other withdrawal symptoms require immediate medical attention. But most of the time during detoxification you can withdraw safely from physical dependence on Adderall in a controlled environment with the help of an inpatient or outpatient detox facility.
Doctors can treat specific symptoms related to Adderall withdrawal using medications, but no medications have been designed YET to help ease general symptoms of stimulant withdrawal. Researchers are currently investigating drugs to help with the treatment of generalized withdrawal symptoms such as adrenergic agonists and calcium channel blockers. These medications, however, are not used in medical practice for Adderall withdrawal, but are being tested in clinical trials. Some medications can address symptoms related to Adderall withdrawal such as:
Paranoid psychosis – Haloperidol and thioridazine are the drugs of choice for treating people with symptoms of paranoid psychosis.
Depression – Doctors prescribe an antidepressant such as desipramine or fluoxetine to address depressive symptoms related to Adderall withdrawal. Therapies generally continue for three to six months after last dose. Depression or mood disorders should be treated because people can start abusing drugs to self treat mental illness.
Panic attacks – Doctors prescribe an antidepressant or a benzodiazepine to treat symptoms related to panic attack.
Finally, during the detoxification or withdrawal period, symptoms of abuse or psychological dependence may emerge. If you are addicted to Adderall, experts recommend residential treatment programs to monitor and address possible delayed withdrawal symptoms and behaviors. Rehabs uses behavior modification techniques, counseling, peer support and after care programs to address drug addiction.
Adderall withdrawal questions
Got any questions about Adderall withdrawal? Please ask them below.
Reference sources: Diagnosis and treatment of drug abuse in family practice
Detoxification and substance abuse treatment: physical detoxification services for withdrawal from specific substances
Medline Plus topic on drug dependence
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