Adderall is a stimulant that acts upon the central nervous system. It is a combination of the drug dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Adderall is prescribed to individuals in order to reduce levels of hyperactivity, increase attention span, and increase concentration. It is typically prescribed to treat narcolepsy or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall is classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a schedule II prescription medication, and because of this, the DEA controls the manufacture, sale, and use of the drug. While there are legitimate medical uses for Adderall, it also has a high potential for abuse or addiction.
Individuals who take high doses of Adderall for extended periods of time have a higher risk of developing a physical dependence on the drug. After physical dependence occurs, an individual’s tolerance will then increase. This means that it takes more frequent and larger doses to get similar effects prior to the tolerance increase. Individuals who have built a tolerance to Adderall typically feel as though the drug does not help increase their concentration or boost their energy like it did before tolerance occurred. If individuals who have a tolerance to Adderall discontinue taking the drug, they are not able to cognitively process information or function at the same rate as they did before. This is called withdrawal, and the first stage occurs due to the body recalibrating in order to function properly without having Adderall. When an individual abuses Adderall, it raises the levels of dopamine in their brain to the point that is higher than it would occur naturally. The brain then compensates by breaking down dopamine much quicker than normal in order to balance out the level of dopamine. When an individual stops taking Adderall, the brain continues to break down dopamine quicker than normal, but the issue is that there is no longer a higher level of dopamine. This leads to dopamine levels that are significantly lower than normal and causes withdrawal symptoms to emerge. The withdrawal from Adderall is not dangerous; it may cause psychological symptoms such as suicidal thoughts.
Adderall withdrawal varies from person to person. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms of withdrawal, while others may experience severe symptoms. Some individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms for several days, while others may experience them for a month or longer. This is due to individual factors like the amount of Adderall that the individual typically used and how frequently they used the drug.
The symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are the opposite of the drug’s effects. Adderall is intended to increase energy, concentration, and cause euphoria. After Adderall use is discontinued, there is a crash period that includes the following withdrawal symptoms: depression, irritability, oversleeping, headaches, increased appetite, insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, muscle aches, and suicidal thoughts.
Individuals who take large doses of Adderall each day may necessitate a slow tapering of the drug in order to discontinue the use of the medication in a safe manner. In order to taper medication, a doctor or medical professional should always be consulted. Further, the safest method of detox is a medically assisted detox within an inpatient or outpatient setting. Everyone has different treatment needs, so the best choice of detox will depend on individual characteristics.
The first withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge within six to 36 hours of an individual’s last dose of Adderall. Many individuals experience the crash of lacking the stimulant during this time period, which is often accompanied by fatigue and depression. During days three through five, after discontinuing Adderall, the symptoms of withdrawal begin to intensify. Irritability, fatigue, and depression, begin to intensify during this time, as well as nightmares and headaches. Days three through five of withdrawal are typically the peak of the withdrawal symptoms’ intensity. The symptoms begin to ease during days five through seven. Some individuals may still have feelings of irritability or depression during this time period but eventually, feel better on or before day seven. Three to four weeks after Adderall withdrawal, most individuals no longer feel any symptoms. Individuals who have a high Adderall tolerance and who have been using Adderall for more than a year are more likely to still continue having withdrawal symptoms after week five.