Adderall Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline
Author: CornerstoneSoCal
Published: February 3, 2022

Adderall withdrawal can be uncomfortable, but with the right support, you can get to the other side. Withdrawal is usually the first stage in recovery from Adderall addiction and abuse, opening the door to a fulfilling sober life.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant that doctors use to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall works by increasing activity in the central nervous system, improving communication between different areas of the brain. When used safely, Adderall can help improve concentration, increase attentiveness, and control behavioral issues.

Adderall comes in two forms: immediate-release (Adderall IR) and extended-release (Adderall XR). The effects of Adderall IR last from four to six hours, while the effects of Adderall XR last up to twelve. Adderall XR is often preferable for ADHD treatment since you only need to administer it at the start of each day.

Read more: Adderall Addiction Treatment

Adderall is made from equal parts of the chemicals amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Considering this, Adderall withdrawal is a kind of amphetamine withdrawal and stimulant withdrawal.

How Do People Abuse Adderall?

Prescription drug abuse is a widespread health issue across the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 5.8% of people aged 12 or older reported misusing prescription medications in the past twelve months. About 1.8% of people (5.1 million) had used prescription stimulants like Adderall.

According to a United Nations report, prescription drug abuse mostly affects young people. Young people may mistakenly believe that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs because:

  • they are medicines.
  • you can obtain them from doctors and pharmacies rather than street dealers.
  • verified information about their effects and side effects is widely available.

In reality, prescription drug abuse is extremely dangerous and may lead to addiction, health problems, and abuse of 'harder' drugs. Unfortunately, people who abuse prescription medications are twenty-one times more likely to use cocaine than those who do not.

Adderall - A 'Study Drug'

Adderall abuse is common on college campuses. Young people may take Adderall as a 'study drug' - to improve their concentration, help them stay awake longer to study, and improve their academic performance.

Ho//wever, research suggests that abusing Adderall can be detrimental to academic performance. A 2008 study found that people taking Adderall for nonmedical reasons skipped 21% of their classes, while non-users skipped 9%.

The availability of prescription drugs on campus has also led to young people consuming 'cocktails' of prescription drugs at parties to get high, often with alcohol- read more about Adderall and Alcohol. Taking these cocktails of drugs is extremely dangerous, and the interaction of different substances can have fatal consequences.

How Does Adderall Affect Your Brain Chemistry?

Our brains consist of many areas of nerve cells (neurons) that regulate different functions. Neurons communicate by sending molecules known as neurotransmitters from one cell to another. Two of the main types of neurotransmitters are dopamine and norepinephrine.

Scientists believe that people living with ADHD may have unbalanced levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. This may inhibit communication between different brain areas and affect cognitive functions like concentration and attention.

Adderall works by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, stimulating communication between cells. This can improve focus and attention, helping people with ADHD learn and perform to their full potential.

What Is Adderall Withdrawal?

If you repeatedly misuse Adderall over some time, you can become physically dependent on the substance. Your brain adjusts to the increased levels of neurotransmitters and begins to reduce its own natural production. In turn, you begin to require higher doses of Adderall to experience the same effects - ultimately, you become dependent on the drug just to feel normal.

If you stop taking the drug, you will experience a drop in dopamine and norepinephrine. This can cause a range of withdrawal symptoms until your body readjusts. Like other stimulant withdrawals, Adderall withdrawal symptoms are mainly psychological.

While Adderall withdrawal can be unpleasant, it doesn't last forever. Professional medical support and good self-care practices can help you get through withdrawal and rediscover a life free from Adderall abuse.

What Are Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms?

Adderall withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The length and duration of your withdrawal from Adderall will depend on the duration of Adderall use, what doses you usually take, and the speed of your metabolism.

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms usually last from three days to a few weeks. While some people experience more protracted symptoms - known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) - these tend to be mild.

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Severe mood swings
  • Adderall cravings

Physical symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, but you can experience severe psychological symptoms - this is particularly true with amphetamine withdrawal symptoms. If you have an intense Adderall dependence, you can seek professional medical supervision to support you throughout the withdrawal period, which will help you manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Severe withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Severe depression
  • Severe mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis

What Is Adderall Detox?

Detox is the process of withdrawing from a drug, removing all traces of the substance and its toxins from your body. Because Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and sometimes severe, you should speak with a doctor before you stop taking Adderall.

Adderall users with less severe substance abuse problems may be able to detox at home with good self-care and support from others. However, people with a more severe Adderall dependence may benefit from a medical detox.

It’s worth noting that Adderall withdrawal is unpredictable, and it’s hard to know if you will experience intense depression or irritation. If you do a detox at home, be prepared to seek professional support if you find symptoms become unmanageable.

Medical Detox at Cornerstone

Medical detox involves professional medical supervision to help you manage amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. Licensed medics may prescribe temporary medications when necessary and offer emotional support.

At Cornerstone, we offer around-the-clock medical care throughout the detox process. We begin with a simple assessment of your condition to help us provide you with the best support for you. We may ask about:

  • your Adderall use.
  • your history of substance abuse.
  • any co-occurring mental health issues.
  • any prescription medication you take.

Our expert team has years of experience helping clients through stimulant withdrawal. We understand that managing symptoms in early withdrawal can be the difference between failure and success. As a result, we offer the highest quality of care to each client. Our state-of-the-art facilities ensure you have access to treatment technologies and self-care activities whenever you need them.

How Can You Make Adderall Withdrawal Easier?

Aside from seeking professional support, there are a few things you can do to reduce the discomfort of amphetamine withdrawal. Practicing good self-care and seeking emotional support can help you maintain the physical and emotional strength to endure the Adderall crash and feel good again.

  • Rest and recuperate. Adderall withdrawal can leave you feeling exhausted, irritated, and unmotivated. You may like to take time away from daily responsibilities during this time so you can rest, recuperate, and avoid unnecessary stress. If you need to, take some days off school, work, or studying until your withdrawal symptoms ease.
  • Create a safe environment. During withdrawal, you may experience intense cravings for Adderall. Prepare in advance by clearing your home of drugs and telling your supplier to cut you off.
  • Eat healthily. Eating a balanced diet provides your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to mentally and physically recover from Adderall abuse. As dopamine is produced in our gut, a healthy diet is essential to rebalancing your neurotransmitters during the withdrawal process.
  • Stay hydrated. Keeping hydrated is essential to physical and mental recovery. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you experience vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy. Engaging in hobbies can help you cope with emotional distress and stay positive during withdrawal. They are also great distractions that can take your mind away from drug cravings.
  • Seek emotional support. Support from friends or family can help you manage difficult emotions and ride cravings out. You may also want to ask someone you trust to check on you throughout the withdrawal period to ensure that you’re okay.
  • Exercise. Physical exercise like walking, running, or dancing can boost feel-good neurotransmitters and counter depressive symptoms.
  • Take prescription medication. Doctors may prescribe you medication to help you manage some symptoms. Anti-anxiety drugs can help you deal with short-term anxiety. Meanwhile, sleep aids can help with insomnia in early withdrawal.

What Is Adderall Addiction and How Can You Treat It?

Adderall addiction is when you compulsively seek and use Adderall despite any negative consequences. Addiction is a complex disease characterized by physical changes in the brain that produce strong urges to seek and use a substance that can be difficult to resist.

While addiction can be scary, decades of scientific research have uncovered proven treatment methods that can go some way to reversing these changes. With the right support, anyone can recover from addiction and enjoy a productive, sober life.

How Does Adderall Addiction Develop?

When you repeatedly take Adderall over some time, it affects the area of your brain responsible for pleasure and reward.

The reward system is a natural part of how the brain works. When you engage in a life-preserving activity like eating or sex, your brain releases a small amount of dopamine - this is what makes you perceive the activity as pleasurable. Your brain connects the activity with the experience of pleasure and makes you want to repeat the activity.

When you take Adderall, your brain floods with dopamine, hijacking the reward system. Your brain produces urges to seek and use Adderall that are much stronger than normal, especially in response to certain triggers.

How Can You Treat Adderall Addiction? Adderall Addiction Treatment Orange County

The good news is that addiction is treatable, and anyone can benefit from some kind of treatment. Detox alone, however, is rarely sufficient to sustain long-term recovery. Addiction treatment involves identifying the underlying causes of addiction and developing the skills to overcome them.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most effective addiction treatment programs combine a variety of treatment options in an individualized program tailored to each client's unique needs.

At Cornerstone, our team of experts design and deliver a combination of evidence-based addiction treatment approaches in a personalized treatment plan just for you. Our treatment approaches include:

  • Individualized therapy, including behavioral therapy
  • Group programming
  • Complementary therapies, like yoga and meditation
  • Life skills development
  • Support groups
  • Nutritional education
  • Family therapy

We believe that having fun is a big part of addiction recovery. Upon attending our rehab center, we can help you rediscover the joys of sober life through experiential activities, including sports and days at the beach. Engaging in hobbies can help you cope with emotional distress and offer distractions and motivation during difficult times.

Related article: substance abuse group topics

We understand that your recovery doesn't end when you leave our center. We help you rebuild your sober life through skills development and case management, helping you structure your days as you return to everyday life. We also connect you to 12-step recovery groups in your local area to offer ongoing community support on your recovery journey.

Adderall Addiction Treatment Center California Contact Us Today

If you are struggling with Adderall abuse, we're here to help. Our expert team of medical professionals can offer confidential advice about detox and addiction recovery. We can help you break free from addiction and substance abuse - just give us a call today.

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