Adderall withdrawal symptoms

Adderall withdrawal is characterized by drug cravings, sleep problems, slower reflexes and mood disorders. Learn to distinguish normal Adderall withdrawal symptoms from those that require immediate medical attention here.

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You may be worried or frightened of the symptoms that occur after you stop taking Adderall. This is normal. In fact, most people experience problems when they stop using stimulants. We’ll review the most common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal here, and address Adderall withdrawal duration as well as the severity of symptoms you may experience. Please leave your questions below, or share your experience about Adderall withdrawal with others. We welcome all comments!

Withdrawal symptoms of Adderall

Although withdrawal from Adderall may be uncomfortable, it is not usually life threatening or associated with medical complications. The most effective means of treating Adderall withdrawal involves establishing a period of abstinence from the drug. In other words, time resolves most symptoms. Although intermediate withdrawal from Adderall is generally completed within a few weeks, symptoms may return months after last Adderall dose (see delayed Adderall withdrawal below) The main symptoms that accompany withdrawal from Adderall include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • drug craving
  • fatigue
  • hypersomnia (extreme fatigue or over sleeping)
  • insomnia (trouble getting or staying asleep)
  • paranoia
  • slow reflexes

If you stop taking Adderall abruptly after prolonged high doses, you can expect further extreme fatigue and mental depression. Doctors have also noted changes in sleep EEG in people who were taking high doses of Adderall over time. But in more severe cases, people who have abused stimulants may also experience skin defects or lesions on the skin, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication from stimulants is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

Delayed Adderall withdrawal

Stimulant withdrawal occurs over the period of weeks or months, and many symptoms of withdrawal return a few months after the last use of stimulants. These symptoms are a type of delayed stimulant withdrawal and are a normal part of recovery. In fact, a delayed withdrawal response to Adderall is a part of the brain’s healing process. Rest assured that symptoms that occur weeks or months after you stop taking Adderall are temporary and can be endured.

  • alcohol cravings
  • alcohol use
  • canceled treatment appointments
  • cravings and urges for Adderall
  • feeling anxious
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling lonely
  • feeling sad
  • feeling uneasy
  • feelings are magnified
  • fuzzy thinking
  • increased irritability
  • lack of energy
  • lack of interest in 12 step meetings
  • lack of interest in exercise
  • lack of interest in treatment
  • mood swings
  • negative thoughts/feelings/actions
  • problems with memory and remembering
  • relationship problems
  • spending a lot of time alone

If you’re coming off Adderall and are starting to crave it again, talk to your doctors, a trusted friend or couselor. Adderall cravings are a normal part of recovery, especially because Adderall is a stimulant.

Withdrawal symptoms that require immediate medical attention

As with any detoxification process, there is the possibility that you develop complications as you withdraw from a drug. This is why experts recommend that you go through detox under medical supervision. Although the chances of problems during withdrawal are relatively low, a supervised dexox ensures your safety. Some signs that signal problems during withdrawal include:

  • abdominal pain
  • change in mental status
  • changes in responsiveness of pupils
  • hallucinations
  • heightened deep tendon reflexes and ankle clonus (a sign of a potential seizure)
  • increasing anxiety
  • increasing panic
  • insomnia
  • seizures
  • significant increases and/or decreases in blood pressure and heart rate
  • temperature greater than 100.4°F (sign of a potential infection)
  • upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding

Managing Adderall withdrawal

No medication has been developed YET for treating stimulant withdrawal from medications like Adderall. However, doctors may prescribe antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, to help manage depression that often accompanies amphetamine withdrawal. Also, because cravings are part of stimulant withdrawal, consider these weekend relapse prevention activities to get you through the tough times trying to stay away from Adderall.

Reference sources: NIDA Pharmacology and Toxicology of Amphetamine and Related Designer Drugs
SAMHSA TIP 33: Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders
SAMHSA TIP 45: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
Dose and time dependent effects of stimulants
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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