Recovery Center Blog

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

Written By Recovery Centers - May 2nd, 2022
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication that is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a daytime sleep disorder. This highly effective medication is also frequently abused by people who take it to stay awake, improve their work performance, study, or have energy during outings.

Adderall misuse is most common among young adults aged 18 to 25 years old.[1] Some studies show that up to 20% of college students abuse prescription stimulants, and the most commonly abused prescription stimulant is Adderall.[2]

When taken for a long period of time on a daily basis, this medication can lead to physical dependence and cause withdrawal symptoms if its use is abruptly stopped. The Adderall withdrawal timeline varies from one person to the next, but most people have symptoms for at least one week.

Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal

Withdrawal happens when the body tries to recalibrate itself to function normally without the use of a drug that it has become dependent on. The symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are the exact opposite of the side effects of the drug. While the medication increases mental sharpness and boosts concentration and energy, withdrawal is essentially the opposite.[3]

Common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Oversleeping
  • Body aches
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid dreams
  • Slowed movements or reflexes

These symptoms are usually not life-threatening, but they can be troublesome. The best way to cope and detox safely is to seek help from a drug and alcohol detox facility.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

Adderall has a fairly long half-life, so a single dose can stay in the body for several days. As a result, it can take a few days for symptoms of withdrawal to appear. However, there are various factors that influence the Adderall withdrawal timeline. These include:

  • Type of Adderall and dose consumed – Adderall comes in immediate-release tablets and extended-release capsules. Adderall IR leaves your body faster, so withdrawal symptoms can begin sooner. Adderall XR, on the other hand, stays in your body much longer, so withdrawal symptoms can last longer. Similarly, higher doses will produce longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Frequency and duration of use – Using Adderall for an extended period of time or taking it multiple times a day can lengthen the withdrawal timeline because more of the substance is built up in the body.
  • Overall health – People who have co-occurring physical or mental health conditions may experience withdrawal symptoms longer than someone who is in optimal health without any co-occurring conditions.

For most people, symptoms begin between days 1-3, peak between days 4-7, and begin to subside between 1 and 2 weeks. Chronic heavy users may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms that last 3-4 weeks or more.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

People who have been taking immediate-release Adderall may begin having symptoms as soon as 6 hours after their last dose, but those taking extended-release Adderall may not have symptoms for 1-3 days.

An estimated withdrawal timeline is as follows:

  • First 1-3 Days – When stimulant withdrawal first begins, users experience a “crash” marked by drug cravings, increased appetite, and fatigue. Intense depression and insomnia may also occur.
  • 4-7 Days – Symptoms will slowly intensify, reaching their peak between days 4 and 7. Irritability, depression, fatigue, and headaches are common. In some users, symptoms will begin fading after day 5.
  • 1-2 Weeks – After 7 days, most symptoms should begin to subside. Some psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, and inability to focus may persist.
  • 3-4 Weeks – In cases of severe dependence or addiction, some people may experience lingering symptoms that last 3-4 weeks. Symptoms may include depression, dysphoria, and cravings. These are often considered post-acute symptoms and are best managed at a long-term rehab facility.

After one month, individuals should return to normal functioning. However, those struggling with an addiction to Adderall can benefit from participating in an addiction treatment program during this time.

Medical Detox for Adderall Dependence and Addiction

Medical detox centers offer 24-hour support and medical supervision to help individuals safely detox from drugs and alcohol. Even though Adderall withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, it can be difficult to complete successfully. Many people give in to the cravings or use drugs to try to cope with their symptoms. Rather than trying to detox alone, it’s best to do so at a medical facility.

Adderall detox often involves a tapering schedule. Tapering is a strategy doctors use to slowly reduce a person’s dose of a substance to wean them off of it gradually rather than stopping a substance altogether. Tapering can help individuals avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.[4] Medical detox centers have doctors on staff who can help patients slowly reduce their doses over time.

Find Help for Adderall Abuse and Addiction Today

Getting through the Adderall withdrawal timeline can be challenging and it’s not easy to accomplish by yourself. If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction, our team of qualified admissions coordinators can help you choose a detox center based on your insurance coverage, personal needs, and treatment preferences.

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you deserve. Call now.