Tuesday February 28th 2017

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How to stop taking Adderall

Does Adderall work for everyone?  No.  So if you are interested in quitting Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), what should you do?

It’s not as easy as simply stopping the medication. After long-term use, you can become dependent on Adderall, and it’s hard to quit without experiencing debilitating side effects. Learn how to stop taking Adderall here. Then, we invite your questions about Adderall use at the end.

Can I just stop taking Adderall?

You can just quit Adderall, but it’s not a good idea. Adderall causes strong withdrawal symptoms, so you may end up taking it again in order to alleviate the discomfort. Plus, How addictive is Adderall?  Very.  If you have an Adderall addiction, just stopping the drug doesn’t address the underlying psychological reasons you feel compelled to seek out the drug. While some people may be able to quit through sheer force of will, quitting Adderall all at once is difficult and not possible for everyone.

What happens when you stop taking Adderall?

When you have been taking Adderall in high doses or for long periods of time, your body becomes used to functioning with the drug in your system. In order to compensate for the stimulant properties of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, your brain “slows down” some body processes in order to maintain homeostasis. But when you stop the intake of Adderall, your brain is still operating in its adjusted mode and you will experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms as your brain returns to normal. Note here that a physical dependence on Adderall will simply involve unpleasant physical symptoms, but an addiction will cause you to experience painful cravings for Adderall as well.

Side effects stop taking Adderall

Most people will develop a physical dependence on Adderall after taking amphetamine and dextroamphetamine for about 2-3 weeks on a daily basis. Stopping Adderall can cause a number of severe withdrawal effects, as your brain responds to the lack of stimulation and can include:

  • abnormal lack of energy
  • anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
  • exhaustion
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • difficulty with sleep
  • waves of intense craving

Withdrawal effects may be worse if you’ve taken Adderall over long periods – for instance, over several years as part of a treatment for ADHD.

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Stop taking Adderall suddenly

If you stop taking Adderall suddenly, you’re probably going to feel miserable. Adderall should always be gradually tapered, instead, to avoid the worst of the withdrawal effects. When you stop taking Adderall suddenly, it makes it more likely you will relapse, since you may be tempted to take Adderall again to help alleviate the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal.

Stop taking Adderall cold turkey

Stopping Adderall cold turkey isn’t easy and is not the best option for many people, especially people who are taking Adderall under a doctor’s direction. However, if you abuse Adderall recreationally, you may find it impossible to gradually reduce the amounts you’re taking. You might also experience serious adverse effects and need to quit Adderall immediately for health reasons. If you decide to quit Adderall cold turkey and are dealing with addiction, you need to see a therapist or doctor to discuss treatment options. Getting help for your Adderall addiction is the best way to make sure you can quit Adderall for good.

How do I stop taking Adderall?

The best way to stop taking Adderall is to gradually reduce your daily dose over the course of several weeks. A doctor will be able to help you develop a plan which will be safe and minimize your discomfort as your body adjusts.

How to stop taking Adderall safely

The safest way to stop taking Adderall is by consulting a doctor and following his or her instructions. There are currently no known effective and safe medical treatments to help ease the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal.

Stop taking Adderall questions

Do you still have questions about taking Adderall? Please leave your questions below in the comments section. We are happy to help you answer your Adderall questions, or refer you to a resource who can.

Reference Sources: PubMed: Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal
DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications – Methylphenidate and Ampetamines

SAMHSA: Nonmedical use of Adderall among Full-Time College Students
NHTSA: Methamphetamine and Amphetamine

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17 Responses to “How to stop taking Adderall
2:41 pm October 5th, 2012

I found trazadone and naltrexone helpful for stopping adderrall with minimal discomfort. Trazadone restores the ability to sleep and is an effective anti-depressant. Naltrexone tapers cravings and impulsiveness and also attenuates the effects of amphetamine should one relapse.

1:28 pm October 17th, 2012

Hello powpursuits. Thanks for sharing your experiences here!

7:54 am December 6th, 2012

I have just quit 30mg instant release for ADHD. I also Have depression and anxiety. I have quit cold turkey, I just moved out of state and do not have insurance. I have not had negative side effects while on it but have noticed that I am not the same person.I was on them for 2 years. I was and really do not feel the effects do that much for me for it to be worth taking narcotics. The problem is i am going crazy now.I am very emotional and every time I think about things I need to do I have panic attacks. My Fiance and I were talking about dinner and I freaked so bad because we didn’t have everything we needed to make a well rounded meal that I started crying and screaming and finally banged my head into the wall until I calmed down I now have a goose egg on my forehead.After I calmed down I couldn’t remember what really set me off. I keep justifying my thoughts but I dont know what is okay to feel and what isn’t. I have a daughtery and if I stay like this I will lose them both. On the other hand if I go back on the Addarall I feel like I will slip farther from reality. Can you offer any comments or advice? Is this normal? I have been of for three days.

12:36 pm December 8th, 2012

Hi snailnit. Psychotic episodes have been reported as a side effect to quitting Adderall cold turkey. You really need to withdraw using a tapering schedule to slowly reduce amounts of amphetamine in your system over the course of many weeks. I’d suggest that you seek a prescription and tapering calendar from a doctor ASAP. Then, with gradual and scheduled decreases in dosing you can experience a much less severe and more comfortable withdrawal phase.

5:56 pm July 1st, 2013

I am on Adderal 30mg time release twice a day and Viibryd @ 40 mg per day. I came off Adderal for the weekend and just had a series of random night terrors that absolutely scared me almost to death. Not sure if it is stopping the adderal or stopping it combined with the viibryd.Spent the rest of Sunday/Monday half psychotic half dream like state.

6:03 pm July 1st, 2013

I am 48 and suffer from PTSD and severe social anxiety and depression. The dread I had was the worst. Something along the lines of swimming in the ocean only to look up and see a Dorsal fin of a Great White coming towards you. Absolute frozen could not yell or move but wife was next to me sleeping yet both were so real.

6:42 pm July 1st, 2013

Hello Ant. I’d suggest that you speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help you. Both cognitively and possibly with the pharmacological aspect of weaning off and tapering down doses of Adderall rather than stopping cold turkey. But either way, it seems that you do need medical advice.

11:16 pm July 1st, 2013

Oh ,under current advice from MD. Just ur audience seems to be young. I am 48 with combat exp ,which you will see more of, especially if they are self med. Of all the shit I have been thru ,seen and done this combo seems to be one very very sensitive mixture. I know everyones body chems are different but the psychosis was so immersive ;like watching yourself watching yourself go insane with the added horror of paralysis. Be careful my friends!

carrie culp
10:14 am October 6th, 2013

I’m a 35 yr old female. With major depression,PTSD,major anxiety for about 5 years now. I take xanax 1mg pills 3 times a day, adderall 20mg 4 times a day. Well all the sudden the nurse at my therapist cut me down xanax by trying to make me take 6 1mg the fist few days. I would be in the hospital if i did take take that much.

then the adderall they took me off 80mg a day to 10mg once a day.

This nurse is shady. I need some advice? Please Help

12:17 am September 24th, 2014

my dr took me off adderrall he just thought I shouldnt be on it fir long period of time didnt say anthing about doung it gradually Today I had horruble side effects, panic, anxietysweating depression etc. Doctor had after hours number but it was disconnected. Feeling better after taking restless leg med and amitriptalin

12:35 am October 3rd, 2014

I have had the numbness and muscle spasms, alternating constipation and diarrhea, unexplained nausea, hallucinations when overtired, excessive tongue chewing, dry mouth, extreme decrease in ability to have an orgasm, extreme leg pain, arm pain, just to name a few. When I first started taking adderall I reviewed the possible side effect but since I wasn’t having any of them I forgot about them. But as I have sought answers to my issues I realize I should have paid more attention. My regular doctor has had my nerves tested twice and had a stress test done and all have been negative. He thought my symptoms pointed to a nerve problem. My sleep doctor believed I was having sleep paralysis and the tongue chewing was something I would have to live with. Someone finally said that “adderall, that stuff will hype you up but then the tiredness is extreme. Hum. I don’t remember that. So I reviewed my information on adderall and did an internet search. I really need to either stop taking it (back to no life again) or decrease my dosage. Will talk the sleep doctor bout this. Either way I will need to be off work for a while. Oh and for a while people at work tip-toed around me. I am ashamed of that. But they remembered who I used to be. Better now. But it required more medication. Dog chasing it’s tail syndrome.

6:53 am October 8th, 2014

I’ve taken Adderall for six years now. I started when I was in college because I just couldn’t keep track everything. I was taking 15 hours at a major University while also trying to raise a child. I spoke to my PCP, who had been my doctor since the age of 8, and he recommended that we try it. I had previously suffered from bouts of major depression and panic attacks throughout most of my young adult life, but I had beaten antidepressants after taking them on and off for 5-6 years. I tried everything, and I mean everything. From Zoloft to Paxil to Cymbalta to Seroquel to Vibryd to you name it. We tried every SSRI on the market. Some worked, some didn’t. The ones that did came with intolerable side effects. One day, after having been on one of these successfully for a good stint, is when I finally decided that I didn’t want to take them anymore. I spoke to my doctor about it and we weened me from the medicine properly. It was shortly after that that he addressed my ADHD (which is a real thing). He suggested we start me on a small dose of Adderall to see how and if it would help me. Well, man did it ever. Not only did it help subside my what had now become manageable depression, but it allowed me the ability to get up in the morning, get to class, and be the very best student that I could possibly be. I didn’t feel “super” by any means, but that following semester I made the Deans List and also made Psy Kai Honor Roll in my Universities Psychology Program for the first time. I was a sophomore at the time. My grades and study habits improved so greatly, that students on campus were coming to me for tutoring, offering me money to write papers for them, always wanting to join my study group. The medicine not only improved my ability to focus on what was important, but it also helped me to feel confident engaging my fellow undergrads. I never partied or attended keggers. Nor did I squander away the money that I was paying out of my own pocket by neglecting my responsibilities. I was the guy in the library on Friday night. I was the guy studying for Neuroanatomy tests 2 weeks ahead of the scheduled exam. I never abused my medicine, and I worked with my doctor at every follow up to properly come to the right dose of meds for me. One thing that I did notice was that my tolerance level continued to go up. This of course meant that my dose had to increase about every 6-9 months after the first year of my initial RX and dosing. What started at 5mg x2 per day eventually (now) had ended up at 45mg per day total of Gen Adderall IR. I was and still am taking 2mg per day of Generic Canal along with the Adderall. Now, a lot of my positive experience has come from not only working with my doctor and being honest with him about any changes (this is key), but also researching the medicines that are prescribed to me BY PHARM COMPANY AND MANUFACTURER. This is imperative, and it is very easy to do. Take your pills and ID them on a Pill ID website. It will give you the PHARM Company name. You can then research where it is made and what % of the actual medicine is in what you are taking. Sometimes pharm companies will add fillers as they are not required by FDA to include more than a certain % of the actual medicine in generic form. So, you may only end up with a medicine that you need that is only actually comprised of 70% of what you’re actually prescribed. The rest is filler stuff that might not be good for you. This happened to me one time when my pharmacy changed pharmaceutical companies for both of my meds. After doing the research I brought it to the attention of the pharmacy, and they now actually order my specific medicine from a pharmaceutical company that I know manufactures a medicine that works for me. Many people don’t know that a pharmacy will or can do this, but if they care about your well being, they will. If they don’t, change pharmacies. With all of this being said, it not only takes the meds that you are prescribed working for you, but it also helps to take a daily vitamin regiment, exercise, and eat right. If you find you have no appetite then replace your meals with protein shakes or meal replacement powders. They pack in calories, carbs, protein, and vital nutrients to feed your body, even when you don’t feel like it’s necessary. Also, try your best to get optimal amounts of “REST”. Not just sleep, but “Rest”. This means just closing your eyes and mediating for 20 or 30 mins. Find a quiet place and let your mind relax from all of the anxiety and overwhelming thoughts. These extra steps are so crucial to combating the disorder that we live with. As I stated before, I’ve been taking Adderall prescribed since 2008, and I have yet to experience many side effects other than some extra fatigue on the weekends (when I don’t take my full doseage), suppressed appetite sometimes, and some slight insomnia of I take my second dose too late in the day. I always try to eat a big meal BEFORE I take my med. This is an important step that many people overlook. You’d be surprised how much of a factor poor nutrition can have on how you feel. I just had a follow up with my Doc yesterday, and we’ve discussed reducing my dose simply bc I feel like im ready. That is one of the most important things to remember. You have to be ready and you have to WANT to get off of the medicine. Frame of mind is everything when approaching such a monumental task. I wish myself good luck bc I know it will not be easy, and I wish all of you the best of luck as well.

11:22 pm October 11th, 2014

Well I’m 19 and i have add and i put on adderall and everything was great and I I stopped using it a year ago and a few days ago I got put back on it . Well since I been on it again I been having lots of side effects more then I ever had . like can’t sleep, dry mouth , talk more then regular, high pulse,neverness , mood swings , shakiness, nausea, and random heat flashes in my face but feet are really cold and last lost of appreciate. Well please let me know why this is happening to me or any ideas I would really appreciate it thank you so much .

1:26 pm October 17th, 2014

Hi Kittycat. It’s best to make an appointemnt with your doctor. If you are continuousley feeling side-effects, you shouldn’t wait or ignore them.

11:24 am January 23rd, 2015

I go off 90-120 mg of IR Adderall all the time and all it does is make me hyper and loud and hungry. I have done this with Adderall and Dexedrine at doses of this level since I was 9 or 10 years old.

3:07 pm March 18th, 2016

i have taken 30 adderall for 5 years, been off cold turkey for 8 days now, has anyone ever quit successfully, if so how long before things (my brain) gets better. it has been bad.

11:41 pm June 28th, 2016

I have been on Adderall for about a year; my doctor said she was giving me the highest dose that was legal – I never really checked that out, At first it worked great, now even when I take an extra pill (I am on 30mg 2xday) I fall asleep. They no longer do anything for me but I am afraid ti tell her that because she will just start to take me off. I am afraid I will be even worse off it. I have end stages COPD/EMPYSEMA and I could do nothing but sleep constantly. That in turn made me very depressed, more so then ever because 1st of all I am wondering how much time on this planet I have left, and I have no family that is living except my daughter and I don’t want to scare her. Any clue how to get this med to wok again??? like taking something with it or something. She, the doctor, did not even tell me this was addictive. I am so tired half the time I am fighting not to pass out I am so tirredl Any ideas?

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