Getting Off Adderall: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Adderall Addiction: Understanding and Overcoming Amphetamine Abuse > Getting Off Adderall: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include anxiety, fatigue, depressive thoughts, and weight gain. These main symptoms may be associated with difficulty sleeping, mental fog, vivid dreams, and suicidal thoughts. Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Adderall withdrawal is not considered life-threatening but is difficult to do alone.

How do you treat Adderall withdrawal symptoms?

Adderall withdrawal symptoms are best treated with the help of a medical professional. Former Adderall abusers now in recovery recommend:

  • Staying in contact with your doctor for regular checkups.
  • Attending group support meetings and personal counseling.
  • Staying healthy: drinking enough water, eating healthy food and trying to get enough sleep.
  • Meditating, practicing yoga or mindfulness.
  • Regular exercise
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How long does Adderall withdrawal last?

Adderall withdrawal typically lasts up to four weeks, though symptoms are their worst during the first week and may linger in less severe forms for several months.

After quitting Adderall, people will likely experience difficulty living their daily lives normally for the first two weeks.

Adderall Detoxification

Detox from Adderall is usually not dangerous, but it is often hard to do alone. During the withdrawal period, people are especially vulnerable, in pain and prone to relapse. Getting professional help is often the best way to detox from Adderall.

Here are three things you should do before quitting Adderall:

  • Consult your doctor. While Adderall detox is often harmless, in some cases it can be dangerous because of interactions with other medications. Your physician should know all about your possible substance intake, and together you can make the best and safest decision for your Adderall detoxification.
  • Talk with a therapist or a psychiatrist. Contact someone that specializes in addiction and has experience with dealing with Adderall or other amphetamine dependencies. In many cases abusing Adderall is a behavior covering much deeper issues. A qualified therapist will help you to work on the core issues that drove you to use Adderall in the first place.
  • Research treatment centers. Be sure to find a place that is familiar with Adderall addictions or with amphetamines generally. In treatment facilities, you will benefit from medical supervision and therapy. For many patients, professional treatment centers are the best option to recover from their addictions.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline of Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be different from one person to the next. Generally the first week has the most severe symptoms, followed by two to three more weeks of lessening symptoms. Common symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, depressive thoughts, and weight gain.

As a general rule, you can expect the following timeline:

Hours 6-36

Depending on the dose, the desired effects of Adderall last for several hours. Immediately after they fade, the first withdrawal symptoms will begin. That can be up to 36 hours after the last dose.

  • Fatigue. One of the most intense symptoms of Adderall withdrawal is fatigue. It can start almost immediately after the first dose and continue days, weeks or even months. The person will feel chronically exhausted which may make daily responsibilities difficult.
  • Anxiety. Most users that have stopped taking Adderall will experience intermittent anxiety attacks. The attacks can be stronger if the user suffered from paranoia while taking Adderall.
  • Depression. Practically, everyone, that quits Adderall will go through a depressive state. The duration and intensity may vary, but the symptoms are very common.

Days 3-5

Symptoms are the strongest during the first week. Fatigue, anxiety, and depression continue.
  • Headaches occur for some people
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares make it hard for many people to sleep. Lucid dreaming is quite common. Some people are disturbed by the feeling of reality or the awareness that they are dreaming. Difficulty sleeping due to the dreams also contributes to chronic fatigue.
  • Irritability is a result of fatigue. Crankiness is often at its peak during the first week but passes later on. The user is understandably uncomfortable with all the negative sensations.
  • Sometimes people cannot deal well with the withdrawal pain, and they have agitated That is usually the expression of exhaustion and frustration of going through the painful detoxification process. These usually fade after the first week.
  • It is not uncommon to experience suicidal thoughts. If you have such thoughts, remember that it will pass. If you keep having them after seven days, you should contact a mental health professional to help you cope with it.

Days 5-7

At the end of the first week, all symptoms begin to fade slowly. Suicidal thoughts should disappear, and people usually start to feel better. A mild depression might continue for some people, but realizing that the worst has passed elevates the mood considerably.

  • Mental Fog. Adderall sharpens focus and concentration. Without the drug, the brain needs to find its way back to focusing on its own. A sense of mental fogginess may last for several days but can go on for weeks depending on the addiction.
  • Increased Appetite. Adderall reduces hunger, so once the drug has left your system, your appetite will increase. You should know that your appetite will return to normal within a couple of weeks. If you go back to moderate physical activity and regular meals, any excessive weight gain will disappear as well.

Days 8-20

During the second and third week, people start to return to normal life. Symptoms continue to fade. Most people can behave functionally after about two weeks.
  • Weight gain. Due to the increased appetite but a slowed metabolism, some people gain weight during the weeks after quitting Adderall. People often report that they feel too hungry to stop eating and too tired to exercise, resulting in a temporary weight gain.

Days 21-30

During the third and fourth weeks, most symptoms usually fade or disappear completely. For those that have abused Adderall for more than a year, this last phase can last several months.

If you are anxious and don’t know what to expect, it is best to assume that you will need 90 days to recover from withdrawal symptoms fully.

Specific Cases

The guidelines mentioned above are a general estimation of the most common symptoms. But specific groups of people can suffer from additional effects.

Pregnant Women

Abusing Adderall or undergoing the process of withdrawal from the drug for pregnant women may affect the development of their babies. They risk a premature birth and a reduced birth weight. Pregnant women may also suffer from sleep deprivation and irritability.

Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal in Children and Teenagers include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, stomach cramps, and pain
  • Chills and fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disruption
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Weight loss

Adderall Detoxification and Other Drugs

People that use other prescription drugs or toxic substances can risk unexpected effects during Adderall withdrawal. If you take other drugs (legal or illegal) in addition to Adderall, you should talk to your doctor before attempting to detox. You should not undergo Adderall detox by yourself, and medical professionals can help you during the process of your Adderall withdrawal.

Sometimes treatment may include additional medication that requires medical supervision.

How Can You Cope With Withdrawal Pain?

The best advice for dealing with Adderall withdrawal is this:

  • Stay in contact with your doctor for regular checkups.
  • Attend group support meetings and personal counseling.
  • Stay healthy: Drink enough water, eat healthy food and try to get enough sleep.
  • Try meditating, practicing yoga or mindfulness.
  • Exercise regularly. It will boost your metabolism, the serotonin level in your brain and help you with your sleep.
And don’t forget: it is all temporary. The pain and unpleasant sensations will all disappear in a matter of weeks. It is worth getting through it!

Getting Off Adderall: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

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