What is Adderall withdrawal?

Adderall withdrawal is a set of symptoms that manifests when you reduce Adderall dosage or quit taking Adderall completely. More here on what Adderall withdrawal feels like and what helps relieve Adderall withdrawal symptoms.

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Are you planning to go through Adderall (a combination of amphetamine salts) withdrawal?

Can I just stop taking Adderall?  Not a good idea.  Because of how long Adderall is used to treat ADHD, the body develops physical dependence on Adderall, making it hard to withdraw from the amphetamines in Adderall. How long until Adderall withdrawal starts?  Generally, a few hours after Adderall effects wear off.  Here, we review what happens in the body when you withdraw from Adderall and why. Plus, a section on how Adderall withdrawal feels and what kinds of treatmentscan help ease symptoms. We invite your questions about withdrawing from Adderall at the end.

What is Adderall withdrawal syndrome?

Adderall is a drug that is considered a central nervous system stimulant. It is prescribed if you have ADHD. Like a pendulum, once you are off Adderall you move from feeling on top of the world to fatigue, anxiety, and body agitation. But why does this happen?

Once you abruptly stopped using Adderall or significantly reduce your daily dosage, the body will experience a period of withdrawal. Withdrawal happens because the brain is trying to compensate for the stimulant effect Adderall has on the central nervous system. Because Adderall increases activity in the body, once you stop taking Adderall, the brain rebounds sometimes resulting in extremes symptoms of fatigue, and waves of intense craving. Craving and long period of sleep make it harder to stop a dependence on Adderall.

What is withdrawal from Adderall like?

Withdrawing from Adderall is extremely unpleasant and is one of the worst medications to stop because of the physical dependence that develops over time. Withdrawing from Adderall can also be extremely dangerous. Unlike a depressant that speeds up body during withdrawal, Adderall withdrawal is actually the opposite, slowing the body to such a degree that long periods of sleep will occur. There can be several symptoms that might occur after you stop taking Adderall. The more common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include:

  • apathy
  • anxiety
  • abnormally long sleep cycles
  • dysphoria (generalized dissatisfaction with life)
  • extreme fatigue
  • irritability
  • depression
  • disorientation

What does Adderall withdrawal feel like?

Adderall withdrawal can feel exhausting and lethargic. You will probably feel the need to nap more or sleep for longer periods of time. You may feel more agitated/irritable and have a harder time regulating your emotions. There are also increased feelings of depression or anhedonia. Onset of these symptoms starts about 12 hours after taking your last dose of Adderall. And acute symptoms which result from stopping Adderall can last for several months after you cease using Adderall, making withdrawal feel long and tiring.

What helps Adderall withdrawal?

It is important that you are monitored by a physician during Adderall withdrawal so that a medical professional can slowly decrease Adderall doses and taper amphetamine salts to minimize the effects of withdrawal symptoms. If you are using Adderall recreationally (here and there), it may be possible to stop Adderall cold turkey but symptoms will still be severe, especially when mixing Adderall with other substances. If you have been taking Adderall over a long period of time, stopping suddenly Adderall is not advised. Three possible treatments for Adderall withdrawal include: tapering, medications, and home remedies.

1. Home remedies for Adderall withdrawal – For symptoms of fatigue , some people recommend caffeine in monitored quantities can help with fatigue, getting yourself on a regular sleeping schedule, exercise help relegate endorphins in the body, cold packs to help with the increase in your body temperature and talk therapy. Magnesium supplements have also been suggested to help make new cells in the body and activate B vitamins.

2. Medications – Sometimes doctors will prescribe antidepressants such as Wellbutrin to help with depression and apathy that occur during Adderall withdrawal but there should be care in how these methods are used.

3. Tapering – The best way to detox from Adderall is to slowly reduce and tapper your use of Adderall. It can take several weeks to wean a person off of Adderall. During this process you may have intense cravings as Adderall is physically addicting. For this reason, it is important to talk to someone and make sure you have supports available to you to help counter act the intense psychological aspects of Adderall withdrawal.

In general, the recommended procedure for tapering off Adderall is to first reduce Adderall intake in weekly increments until the presence of withdrawal symptoms emerge. After this, the rate of reduction should decease slowly to allocate for withdrawal symptoms. Once the symptoms have waned, further reductions should be made until the last few milligrams of the drug have been administered.

Questions about Adderall withdrawal

Do you still have questions about Adderall Withdrawal? Please share your questions and experiences with Adderall in the comments section below. And we’ll try to respond to your Adderall questions personally ASAP.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine
NHTSA: Drugs and Human Performance for amphetamines
The National Institute of Drug Abuse: Behavioral Therapies for Drug Addiction
FDA: Adderall CII drug label
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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