Dependence on Adderall

Dependence on Adderall occurs after 2-3 weeks of regular use. How can you end Adderall dependence? And how to tell the difference between dependence and addiction? We explore here.

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Are you worried about becoming dependent on Adderall?

Dependence on Adderall (amphetamine salts) can occur in the first few weeks after taking the ADHD medication. But does dependence mean that you could develop an Adderall addiction? How does Adderall affect the brain?  And is Adderall addictive physically or mentally?  In this article, we’ll explore the difference between dependence on Adderall and addiction, and we’ll also look at the strategies used to treat each. We invite your questions about Adderall at the end.

What is physical dependence on Adderall?

Dependence on Adderall is the physical need to take Adderall in order to feel normal. You can know if you’re dependent on Adderall or not by the presence or absence of withdrawal symptoms when you drastically lower Adderall doses or stop taking Adderall completely. If you have withdrawal symptoms, this means that you’ve become physically dependent on Adderall.

Adderall dependence time: How long to be dependent on Adderall?

Adderall, a combination of d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine salts, is extremely addictive. Some people may become addicted to Adderall within a matter of 2-3 weeks. But just because your body has become dependent on Adderall does not mean that you are an addict. However, you’re more likely to develop an addiction to Adderall if you’re taking Adderall in high doses or if you continue taking the ADHD medication for long periods of time.

Dependence on Adderall symptoms

Adderall dependence has a few main symptoms:

  1. unpleasant physical side effects when you haven’t taken Adderall
  2. feeling the need to take Adderall to feel “normal”
  3. taking higher doses of Adderall to experience the same effects

However, these symptoms don’t necessarily indicate an addiction to Adderall. Your body may simply be used to functioning with Adderall in your system.

Treating physical dependence on Adderall

Physical dependence on Adderall can be dangerous, as this drug can cause cardiovascular problems – but it can be difficult to stop taking Adderall abruptly, as well. If you want to stop taking Adderall, a doctor will need to work with you to create a tapered dosing schedule. This allows your body to slowly adjust to the lower levels of the drug, until you no longer need it in your system.

Adderall dependence withdrawal

Abrupt cessation of Adderall following prolonged high doses results in extreme fatigue and mental depression as well as sleep problems. Adderall withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • disturbed sleep patterns
  • fatigue
  • depression

Keep in mind that the best way to treat Adderall withdrawal is to gradually decrease the dose under the supervision of a medical professional until you can safely go off the medication. Withdrawal symptoms may last for days or weeks if you try to quit cold turkey.

Adderall dependence vs. addiction

When you’ve taken Adderall for a long period of time or at high doses, you may develop an addiction. While Adderall dependence keeps you from quitting the drug without withdrawal symptoms, Adderall addiction compels you to use the drug for effect. In fact, if you are an Adderall addict, you cannot think of life without Adderall.

So how do you know if you’re an Adderall addict or just drug dependent?

Psychological symptoms of craving and compulsive drug are present during addiction. Adderall addiction is more likely if you’re not taking Adderall as directed, or taking it without a prescription. Snorting or smoking Adderall also increases your addiction risk, as does taking large amounts of Adderall.

Treating psychological dependence on Adderall

Are there drug tests for Adderall?  Yes.  But Adderall addiction is more than a physical dependence. If you’re psychologically dependent on Adderall, you will:

  • feel the need to take Adderall to cope with normal situations
  • feel a compulsive need to use Adderall
  • experience strong Adderall cravings
  • continue to use Adderall even if it has negative consequences

If you have a psychological dependence on Adderall, simply reducing your dosage is unlikely to help you quit the medication.Your doctor may recommend a therapist specializing in addiction to help you reduce your use of Adderall. Some people also find support groups helpful in resisting the urge to take Adderall.

Adderall dependence questions

Do you still have questions about Adderall dependence and addiction? We invite you to leave us your questions about dependence on Adderall below. We welcome all questions and try to answer each one personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications – Methylphenidate and Amphetamines
Nonmedical Use of Adderall Among Full-Time College Students
PubMed Health: Adderall
DailyMed: Adderall drug label
NIDA Drug Facts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction
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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