Tuesday October 13th 2015

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7

Tolerance to Adderall

Tolerance to Adderall

Do you still have ADHD symptoms after taking Adderall (amphetamine, dexamphetamine and mixed salts)? Does your doctor have to increase your Adderall prescription doses to increase its effectiveness?

If yes, then you have or are developing a tolerance to Adderall. Tolerance doesn’t mean you are physically or mentally dependent on a drug, that you are addicted, or that you will necessarily experience Adderall withdrawal syndrome when you stop taking amphetamine salts. Note here that Adderall dependence withdrawal requires medical supervision.  However, if tolerance is occurring you want to watch out for Adderall withdrawal symptoms. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Adderall tolerance. We also look at how Adderall tolerance relates to amphetamine dependency and addiction. We invite any questions you may have about Adderall at the end of this article.

Developing tolerance to Adderall

Anyone can develop a tolerance to Adderall but it happens over a length of time. Adderall tolerance, in general, takes longer than other types of drugs. But those abusing Adderall for the euphoric effect will develop tolerance quicker than someone using it for therapeutic purposes. How does tolerance happen? And what does it mean?

Tolerance to Adderall develops because the body “learns” the chemical makeup of amphetamine salts over time. After a while, the end of the nerves become resistant to Adderall effects on the body. Sometimes, developing a tolerance to Adderallcompletely renders the drug useless. Other time,s this tolerance can progress into in a physical dependence on Adderall. When you are physically dependent on Adderall and try to stop taking Adderall, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms which can be both dangerous and painful.

Adderall tolerance symptoms

In general, tolerance symptoms for amphetamines like Adderall include the following and are important to look out for.

1) No longer feeling the focus Adderall provides.

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7

2) Needing higher doses of Adderall to feel its effects on ADHD symptoms.

3) Only being able to maintain the effects of Adderall for a short time after taking it.

Note here that Adderall has a high potential for developing physical dependency and can even trigger addiction in some cases. If you are worried this may be you, you can review our other articles for further information. But as you use Adderall over time, doctors expect that you will develop some form of tolerance to Adderall. Your doctor will work with you to observe which concentration of amphetamine salts works best for you to adjust for and work around Adderall tolerance.

Adderall tolerance: How long?

Amphetamines, in general, take longer to develop a tolerance when used for therapeutic purposes. Tolerance in this case develops more on a week to month basis sometimes taking up to 6 months before a doctor has to alter and change the concentration of the medication. But when Adderall is abused to get high, tolerance develops quickly. In fact, people can develop a tolerance to Adderall after using it just once. Many try to chase the first high with no success and will take more Adderall, thereby increasing their tolerance at the same time as they develop a dependence.

High tolerance to Adderall

There are different concentrations and potencies of Adderall for those prescribed amphetamines to treat ADHD. This varies because of the ADHD spectrum and the variations that exist. What may be a high tolerance for one may be low for someone else.

Doctors are advised to start people out with the lowest possible dose of Adderall because of the high potential your body has of becoming dependent on amphetamines. This also allows room for doctors to tinker with the levels and dosage of Adderall which can works for you. In general, a high tolerance to Adderall exceeds 40mg a day. To even get to this Adderall dosage is considered rare and rather remarkable. If you are taking 30 to 40 mg of Adderall a day, you have a high tolerance to Adderall and may want to try another medication that can help mitigate ADHD symptoms.

How to lower tolerance to Adderall

Because of Adderall’s high dependency rate, it is considered a little more dangerous practice to lower your tolerance to Adderall. It is safe to lower your tolerance to Adderall as long as you have not developed a physical dependency on amphetamines salts. If you have become physically dependent on Adderall, you will then need to taper your Adderall doses slowly under the supervision of a doctor to compensate for withdrawal symptoms.

The best way to lower tolerance is to stop taking Adderall. But when you do this , ADHD symptoms will once again occur. A couple of months should be good enough to lower tolerance enough to start taking it. If may be best to try an alternative drug to help with these symptoms. Talk to a doctor to see what would be your best option. Also, if you’re abusing Adderall and you stop taking it, you will never be able to reach level zero of when you started taking Adderall.

Building up tolerance to Adderall questions

Do you still have questions about Adderall tolerance? Please share your questions and experiences with Adderall in the comments below.

Reference Sources: Pub Med Health: Adderall
FDA: Adderall drug label
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Pharmacology and Toxicology of Amphetamine and Related Designer Drugs

Photo credit: Cult Gigolo

Leave a Reply

18 Responses to “Tolerance to Adderall
Jonathan Pence
8:22 pm June 7th, 2013


I have a question about Adderall tolerence:

I’ve been taking prescription Adderall XR for ADD for a long period of time—over 15 years—at a consistent dosage of between 30 – 40mgs a day … At this point I feel that the drug is pretty much just wearing off after about two or so hours after taking it—which is tolerance, right. Is the way that I feel after it wears off the same as the way that I’d feel naturally, had I never started taking Adderall XR? Thanks.

5:39 am June 11th, 2013

Hi Jonathan. Hmmm. This is a great question, and one that an expert can answer. Ask your pharmacist for more advice…especially given the duration of your use, I’m not sure if you’ve hit a ceiling effect or if what you register as wearing off is still a part of the therapeutic action.

10:39 pm November 13th, 2013

I see that you said if one abuses adderall then stops taking it, they’ll never reach level zero of when they started. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that their attention span and focus level will be lower than before they ever took it? I take it only when I need to study, as I function normally in every aspect of life except cognitively.

1:38 am May 28th, 2014

I have a genuine question in regards to tolerance of adderall. I have been doing a lot of research on the subject lately because of my fear of mentioning to a physician, reason being I DO NOT want to instantly labeled be a Medical Proffesional as an abuser or “drug seeker”. It’s sad to feel that way but today’s society it happens more than you would believe. Personally, I really don’t stress over the general concern, I do understand the abuse of prescription drugs is rising rapidly, however I AM the one who lives with this condition everyday of my life. I have an extreme and as mentioned, an individualized ADHD condition, I don’t want to jeopardize or be labeled as an abuser in the medical field. But I have developed a true tolerance to the medication over the years, like maybe around 20 or more years, I currently prescribed two 30mg twice a day. I have been on this dosage for approximately the last 10 years. I know that I have built a tolerence to the medication, however I am someone who appreciate the benefits that this medication does for me, now don’t get me wrong, years ago the physician I used to see, we “played” around with different types of medications and the range of doses, in conclusion, we “tweeted” it to my needs, I don’t abuse it, I need it. Without it I can’t focus on anything, my thoughts, thinking, capability to deal with daily tasks in pretty much intolerable. The worst part is that I can’t get my brain to stop feeling all over the place, I can barely focus on a conversation with someone, watching a movie, reading, driving somewhere.
I just would like to hear some advice on how or what are my limitations of the dosag, because it is becoming to be a crippling feeling, hell, as much time I have been spending on the issue is making my condition increase because it’s just something else my brain has to deal with. And what I mean is, my brain feels like a huge sponge, it’s like my brain crave too much information, regardless of what the information is about. Sounds crazy but I feel like nobody really understands my true thinking abilitiesand challenges of trying to function.
Anyway, I would like your advice and if I could ask for an increase in my dosage without feeling like I’m not going to be understood.
Thank You,
Donna from Illinois

9:00 am May 28th, 2014

Hello Donna. Your case makes sense to me! You might want to start your search for more information here:


Get informed about long term, high tolerance dosing on amphetamine combinations. And look into scholarly articles/studies on the subject. Consult with pharmacists, and then approach your prescribing doctor with your findings and concerns. It may be that you need to go through a period of “managed withdrawal” in order to lower your tolerance and make the medication more effective. Or, you may decide on dosing alternatives. Whatever the case, get informed and then perhaps chart out your dosing over the years. Steady increases in doses combined with decreased therapeutic effect are PREDICTED. And should be treated as a function of the medication, not as abuse.

8:32 pm September 17th, 2014

Question about tolerance. I was prescribed Adderall 10 MG twice a day and anxiety pills all on the same day. I have sever cognitive problems with my thinking, memory, and attention span. When I was first taking two 10 MG pills a day I noticed my attention span has improved well. I noticed my thinking process was a little better but then after 7 days I increased to taking 3. I tried 4 once and I finally felt like I could talk easily and organize my thoughts and people even noticed it. I’ve been on this medication for 13 days. Am I building a tolerance?

6:55 am September 18th, 2014

Hi Gina. When your body becomes tolerant to a medication, one dose of the med that used to work and give you the wanted effects, is beginning to become less effective for you.

3:11 am December 8th, 2014

I take 60mg daily of adderall and it is not doing anything for me. I am a teacher and cannot focus on anything lately. Tried up to 60 mg of adderall xr and eventually the effects wore off. I dont want a pill that will make me gain weight. Any suggestions?

11:29 am January 23rd, 2015

I was on 120 mg of Dexedrine as a child and 90-120 mg of Adderall or with Dexedrine I can work with 60 mg/day is not any issue. I am sure I have a tolerance but I usually take less than I am prescribed. I have no issues at all when I go off of them but everyone else complains about how obnoxious, blunt and rude I am.

For the new “Adult ADD” generation though. 25 mg of Adderall XR a day is pushing it to addiction. Some of us who have taken this since childhood have larger tolerances but the doctors used to give us very high doses as kids too.

6:39 pm February 17th, 2015

Can anyone help me with this question. I was taking 60 mg a day of Adderall and it was not working. I am a teacher and my thought processes suck without it. Now my doctor reluctantly put me on 90 mg a day. I am still not feeling difference. I tried Adderall XR also, but topped out on that too. I just need something to work that will not cause weight gain. Any suggestions??

4:20 pm February 18th, 2015

Hi Chris. Your organism is developing tolerance to the medication very quickly. This means that your body and brain become accustomed to the presence of the medication’s chemicals and it can no longer produce the same effects it used to. The only way you can feel the effect of the medication is to up your dosage, which you have done. Unfortunately I cannot suggest any alternatives, but I thing your doctor can help you out to find a better solution that will work. The thing is, if it’s a medication, you’ll develop tolerance again, only to a different drug.

Mr. Williams
1:48 am April 14th, 2015

I have been taking adderall for 19 years. Tolerance is my issue as I no longer can be prescribed an amount that is sufficient to work for me. When I asked my doctor about something different(because it was apparent I couldn’t be prescribed a higher dosage) he semi-accused me of selling the drug to buy and abuse other prescription drugs while also explaining how the DEA would win in court by assuming I was doing this. Idc about any of that. I am not a drug addict, I am not a drug user/dealer, but I am a married college student working a part-time job and doing side jobs anytime I can outside of 16 hours each semester. My question to him was simple. What else can I do if I can’t get any more adderall? *Read*–I don’t care what it is, I am not presenting a backhanded scenario hoping to find a way for more adderall b/c I have taken 2 30mg XR twice a day for more than a decade and suddenly within the past year it has stopped almost as if it was switched with a placebo. Now, thanks to being honest with my doctor, I have to bring in pills for a count and drug test each week, all the while it’s not enough to help me and ultimately, he never addressed my question about “what can I do?”.

11:43 am April 16th, 2015

Hi Williams. Unfortunately, that’s how doctors operate these days. But, when your pill count is accurate and your drug tests come back optimal you will probably get an answer to your question. By the way, medications tend to have a lower effect as time passes because your organism gets used to the presence of Addreall and your tolerance to the medication grows. I’m sorry you are the victim of bureaucracy, we all are.

6:30 am July 15th, 2015

I have been on adderall for about 6 years. I do not abuse it. Today my doctor cut me of for 2 months. What can I expect? Doctors reason was that I wasn’t attending meeting as much as I should.

3:57 am July 16th, 2015

I started Adderall today, 5 mg twice a day I’ve only taken 1 pill so far. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks, I want to see what kind of a difference this will make in my everyday life.
My Question: Do all Adderall users eventually become tolerant?
If so I don”t know what to think about even starting out on it. Should all folks with ADHD change the type of meds they take every so often to keep from becoming to tolerant of one?

12:54 pm July 21st, 2015

Hi Anita. They shouldn’t have forced you to quit cold turkey just like that. Tapering you off would have been a much better way to take you off Adderall completely. Read this article to learn what you can expect and how to treat withdrawal symptom: http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/adderall-withdrawal-treatment-how-to-treat-adderall-withdrawal/

4:10 pm July 21st, 2015

Hi Brad. Building up tolerance happens with every substance you take for a period of time. It’s actually a good thing because it proves our organisms are highly adaptable, and is a reason we have survived as species. Tolerance to Addreall really means that your body and brain have gotten used to the presence of the medication. But, when you will decide to quit your Adderall, tolerance is also decreased with gradual lowering of doses.

Roman S.
11:02 pm October 12th, 2015

Hi, I have a question about developing Adderall tolerance extremely fast. I was diagnosed with ADHD-PI early summer 2015 and was started on Adderall in mid July, 2015 with a 5mg tablet once a day. But was told to break it in half and take only 2.5mg a day for the first week. That did absolutely nothing for me, but 5mg did, but insignificantly. There were several days out of the month when I took 10mg and it felt about right. It lasted only, at max 4 hours. And it takes about 45 – 60 minutes to “kick in”. It definitely “coalesced” my mind, and I could fire the first time in my 30year life keep conversation. The Neff month I was out on the 15mg XR version of Adderall once a day. I hatred it. One day it would last for 6 hours other days i would not feel anything for hours and then suddenly it would “kick in” only to dissipate an hour later. It was extremely unpredictable. Now I’m back on 15mg IR twice a day because on average it lasts 3 hours for me. For several days it worked perfectly, but now it feels almost like I’m not taking anything at all and that makes me scared. Can I be naturally tolerant to it? Will I be just as tolerant to other stimulants? Or I have to reach a dose that will work and stick with it? The problem is that I’m already taking 30mg, combined, and that will last me about 6 hours, not anywhere near enough for a productive day of 12 hours.

Leave a Reply

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7