Adderall Withdrawal and Detox

Adderall is a stimulant that is only meant to be used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It can also be deployed in the treatment of narcolepsy. Its efficacy is based on how it impacts the parts of the brain that affect concentration, focus, motivation and reward. When you take Adderall, you will feel an elevation of your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, because it is made up of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. This is also why you’ll feel awake, alert, energetic and experience a lack of appetite when you use the substance. Therefore, it’s easy to see why people can become addicted.

Stimulants like Adderall will increase your concentration and energy levels, while reducing the need for you to eat or sleep. Adderall also alters the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in your brain, making them available in unnatural quantities (often lower). These substances in your brain are responsible for all the emotions you feel, including deciding what translates as being pleasurable for you. Under the influence of Adderall, your brain will cease production of these substances, thereby altering the natural reward circuit.

As you continue to use Adderall, the changes will become more ingrained in you. This is where a tolerance to the drug forms and you’ll find yourself consuming higher doses to feel the same effects. As Adderall leaves your bloodstream, drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms will set in, thus highlighting the fact that you are now emotionally and physically dependent on the drug. Your level of dependence will be determined by how you consume the drug, the quantity in which you take it and how long you’ve been abusing it.

When you have an addiction to Adderall, you’ll need to undergo a professionally structured programme targeted at reversing the changes the drug has made to your brain and body, which is what detox is all about.

What is Adderall withdrawal?

If you suddenly stop taking Adderall after a period of addiction, you are likely to experience a range of symptoms known as withdrawal. Recovery from Adderall addiction usually begins with a period of detoxification (or ‘detox’). Treatment for Adderall withdrawal should always begin with detox, followed by rehab, to rid your body of drug toxins.

Adderall detox focuses mainly on gradually reducing the dosage over a period of time, until you no longer feel the need to use the drug. However, it’s important to note that such a reduction needs to be managed by a trained professional.

When you decide to quit, withdrawal symptoms such as increased appetite, insomnia and irritability. The withdrawal period can be challenging, and even dangerous, in some cases, which is why medically supervised detox and rehab is the recommended treatment if you are addicted to Adderall.

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What causes Adderall withdrawal?

Since taking consistent or large doses of Adderall over a long period of time can make you physically dependent on the drug, you’ll reach the point where not using it can trigger certain signs and symptoms. This is what withdrawal is all about. When you’re addicted to Adderall, you will need to take it just to concentrate and think properly. When you try to ignore the cravings, you’ll find your body failing to function normally and basically shutting down. These are just the early symptoms of withdrawal. During this period, your body tries to function naturally without the help of the drug. There are no known dangers that are solely caused by Adderall withdrawal, although it has been known to prompt suicidal thoughts in some people.

Contributing factors to withdrawal length and severity

The major underlining factor for Adderall withdrawal is how dependent you are. If you’re heavily dependent on Adderall as an individual, the withdrawal period will last longer, with symptoms being more pronounced.

Other influences are biological and genetic factors. If you have an underlying medical condition or have a family history of addiction, this can also affect the dependence situation and subsequently, withdrawal. The length and severity of withdrawal can also be affected by your support system, your environment and any elements of abuse and trauma.

Why you should detox properly from Adderall

Since drugs like Adderall can raise your body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, continued abuse can lead to a wide range of medical issues, including seizure, heart attack and stroke.

Your cardiovascular health is most at risk when you use high doses of Adderall for a long period of time. Some of the most common cardiovascular health related problems reported in Adderall users are irregular heart rate and high blood pressure. Sudden cardiac related death can also result from Adderall abuse.

With prolonged abuse of any stimulant, the heart muscle is weakened, leading to a plethora of complications. Additionally, failing to detox properly from Adderall means that the negative changes in your brain which affect mood and behaviour will remain (and probably worsen) as your addiction deepens.

However, it’s important to note that detox from Adderall is just the beginning of the treatment process. After detox, you must undergo an abuse treatment programme targeted at Adderall users, to ensure you avoid a relapse and recover fully in the long-term.

Common Adderall detox and withdrawal symptoms

The symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are mostly the opposite of what happens to the body under the influence of the drug. Adderall normally increases concentration, euphoria and energy when you take it. When you stop taking it – or when you haven’t had it in a long while – you’ll experience a complete reversal. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is determined by how long you’ve been using the drug.

Physical symptoms of Adderall withdrawal

Some of the physical symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include achiness, increased appetite, oversleeping, insomnia, irritability, headaches and fatigue.

Psychological symptoms of Adderall withdrawal

Thepsychological symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include depression, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

How long does it take to detox from Adderall?

The detox process is divided into acute, intermediate and long-term detox. The length of time for each stage – and by extension, the overall treatment process – will depend on the dosage you normally take, how long you’ve been using the substance and the number of times you take it each day. Your specific health condition will also affect the length of time it will take to undergo a proper detox. However, in many cases, Adderall detox is completed within a month from the consumption of the last dose.

If delayed detox occurs, the process may be stretched further. With delayed detox, the symptoms of withdrawal reappear weeks after the detox process has been completed. This is why most treatment programmes run well beyond the detox stage, with aftercare therapy continuing months after the detox has been completed.

It’s important that you avoid trying to quit Adderall by going ‘cold turkey’. You run the risk of dangerous side effects such as extreme depression, seizures, paranoia and a wide range of cardiac-related issues. Therefore, always detox in a professional setting.

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Timeline of Adderall withdrawal

The duration of your Adderall detox programme will be determined by the variant of Adderall you’ve been using. For most extended release Adderall formulas, you will need a minimum of one week for the detox process to be successful. If you’ve been using controlled release versions on the other hand, you may only need three days for detox to be completed.

During detox, you can expect the withdrawal symptoms to worsen as the Adderall exits your bloodstream, but if you are able to make it through day four, the symptoms will slowly diminish. Within a week, your cravings will fade a great deal, physical withdrawal symptoms will become less intensive and you will then be in a better position to continue the treatment process.

The timeline covered here is a rough example of what is expected with Adderall withdrawal. The actual situation will vary from one individual to another.

First 6 – 36 hrs

The first signs of Adderall withdrawal will kick in within a few hours of your last dose. It is during this time that many people experience the first symptoms of withdrawal, which are usually fatigue and irritability. These can also be accompanied by depression. These symptoms are known as Acute Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms.

Days 3 – 5

If you haven’t yielded to the cravings, symptoms will worsen at this stage. You will experience intense feelings of irritability, depression and fatigue. You might also experience nightmares and headaches. This is when the intensity of withdrawal is at its peak.

Days 5 – 7

The withdrawal symptoms will begin to fade at this stage. You may feel still be moody and unable to function within a normal environment, but you’ll generally begin to feel better. Some psychological symptoms of withdrawal (like mild depression) may continue around this period, but won’t be quite as severe.

Weeks 3 – 4

There have been cases where people reported feeling the effects of withdrawal from Adderall weeks after they took the last dose. This is especially true if you‘ve built a high tolerance from using the drug for more than a year.

Coping with Adderall withdrawal

Although there are possible ways to cope with the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal, it is not enough to simply engage in coping mechanisms without professional help. You’ll need such help to understand the extent of your addiction and go through detox and treatment, as well as to avoid the chances of a relapse. When you’ve done this, the coping mechanisms for withdrawal symptoms will have a higher chance of working for you. So, what are these coping mechanisms?

Get regular exercise

When you exercise, you brain will release endorphins, brain chemicals which naturallly reduce pain and improve stress, anxiety and depression. By exercising regularly, you will be able to counter the pain and discomfort you might be feeling as a result of quitting Adderall. Since exercise can also improve sleep patterns, you will able to counter the insomnia and extreme fatigue that is common during withdrawal.

Consume healthy foods

Wholesome and healthy meals based on fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients can help support and regulate your general bodily function. Some of the nutrients can also impact your mood in the same way as exercise. Foods to avoid are low nutrition and high fat ones, as they can increase stress, trigger feelings of sluggishness and in some cases, worsen depression.

Set a sleep routine

Adderall withdrawal can lead to insomnia or extreme sleepiness in some people. A lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, enhancing your chances of experiencing a wide range of other health problems. On the other hand, when you sleep too much, you will struggle to accomplish your daily responsibilities. So, as you recover from Adderall withdrawal, you need to make sleep a priority. Set a sleep schedule whereby you will go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning. Engaging in relaxing activities (that do not involve your TV or Smartphone) an hour or two before you go to bed may be helpful.

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Take Adderall detox and rehab centre appointments seriously

Top drug detox and rehab centres incorporate treatments that make it easy for you to safely and comfortably negotiate the Adderall withdrawal process. This will in most cases involve special counselling and physical activity, but can also include medication.

Process from Adderall detox to rehab: what happens?

The severity of Adderall addiction varies from one person to another. Therefore, withdrawal and treatment are also bound to differ. In people with health issues that are common with Adderall abuse such as hypertension and heart problems, the importance of medical supervision and close monitoring cannot be overemphasised. In the same vein, people with psychiatric symptoms like psychosis, delirium and suicidal thoughts will need a safe environment where they can be better cared for and properly monitored.

When the type of detox and treatment needed have been established – based on the type of addiction -the complete rehab process can then begin. Before you’re allowed to enter a medical detox programme, a proper medical and mental health assessment will be undertaken alongside a drug-screening test to ensure you will be provided with the safest possible medical detox plan.

Throughout treatment, supportive therapy is provided, so as to help make the withdrawal process less frightening and increase the chances of the individual seeing it through to the end. Some supportive therapies you can expect to undergo in a top Adderall treatment rehab facility will include group counselling, education, self-help and individual counselling. This will help in addressing a wide range of concerns such as your cravings, the management of withdrawal symptoms you’re feeling and the addressing of all emotional and psychological issues that might surface during the treatment process.

At the end of rehab, you may need to take part in aftercare programmes for a certain period of time, before you can assume completion of treatment.

Medically supervised Adderall withdrawal and detox

Medically supervised withdrawal and detox from Adderall is recommended, as suicide remains one of the biggest concerns for Adderall abusers. As dopamine and other brain chemicals are negatively affected, you may experience mood swings and depression, as well as a host of other psychological complications such as paranoia, irritability, aggression, anger, nightmares, panic attacks, psychosis and mental fog.

Then there are the physical complications which can include nausea, abdominal cramps, constipation, weight gain, tremors, sweating, headache, tachycardia and irregular blood pressure.

Detox is just the first step when it comes to treating your addiction to Adderall. A cessation of Adderall usage doesn’t automatically mean that you have fully recovered. If the addiction was firstly triggered as a result of any underlying issue, you’re more than likely to suffer a relapse. For instance, if Adderall was deemed the solution for self-esteem issues, quitting the drug without addressing such problems increases the chances of a relapse or acquiring another addiction.

The right treatment programmes are tailored to give you all the necessary support and intervention you need by tackling any underlying issues from the ground up. With the right treatment, you’ll be able to access monitoring and support throughout the process. You may be required to stay for more than 24 hours at a facility where professionals will be on hand to deal with any dangerous complications as they arise. You could also be placed in the care of social workers and counsellors who will provide emotional support and address any issues that may arise in the course of treatment (such as relationship troubles).

Inpatient treatment can also include detox, which may last anywhere from one to three months. During inpatient treatment, you will be exposed to professional assessment, group counselling, individual counselling and more. This is also the best option if the presence of an underlying issue or a co-occurring disorder has been noted in your withdrawal diagnosis. Some co-occurring disorders that will require you to go through inpatient treatment for withdrawal include psychosis, anxiety and depression.

If your withdrawal symptoms aren’t severe however, you could receive withdrawal treatment via outpatient rehab. With some outpatient programmes, you will only be required to visit the treatment centre for a few hours a day each week. The full treatment procedure will vary based on your specific needs, but you can also expect group therapy. You go home each day when the programme ends, returning for your next appointment.

A professional diagnosis can help you to work out which type of treatment best suits your individual needs.

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Medications used during Adderall withdrawal and detox

There are currently no medications specifically used for Adderall withdrawal and detox. However, there are some drugs used by treatment and rehab centres to ameliorate symptoms.

  • Benzodiazepines are introduced and used for a week or two when there is the need to control agitation and irritability during Adderall withdrawal. However, there is the danger of addiction and therefore these are only used in extreme cases and under tight supervision.
  • Provigil can also be used to counter the general symptoms of Adderall withdrawal.
  • Remeron is another substance that is used in treating Adderall withdrawal in professional settings, but it is still unapproved.

If you are on antidepressants whilst taking Adderall, medical professionals will watch for serotonin syndrome. This is a reaction between Adderall and antidepressants and must be treated immediately to avoid more serious complications.

Melatonin for Adderall withdrawal symptoms

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which promotes sleep and regulates your body’s circadian rhythm. It can also provide protection from the neurotoxic problems posed by Adderall. Our bodies normally produce melatonin at night, however, there are some foods that naturally contain melatonin which can be consumed by Adderall addicts for a positive effect. Some of these include bananas, porridge oats, sweetcorn, Morello cherries, rice, ginger, barley and tomatoes. Remember that simply consuming these foods is not enough to deal with the problems posed by Adderall withdrawal symptoms. You will still need professional help.

Home detox for Adderall abusers: how safe is it?

Since Adderall abuse has a significant psychological connection, attempting to detox from Adderall at home is dangerous. During withdrawal from Adderall, you may begin to feel depressed or experience panic attacks that may cause you to consider hurting or even killing yourself. Even the supervision of your loved ones is not enough. Professionally supervised detox ensures you can recover safely, as there will be round-the-clock medical attention for you.

You can’t create a detox programme for yourself and attempting to quit Adderall alone, without medical support, is not recommended and can be dangerous. The importance of detox and recovery in the presence of qualified professionals cannot be overemphasised.

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Adderall addiction facts

Since Adderall is often referred to as a ‘smart drug’, it is no coincidence that a large number of abuse cases can be traced to college campuses around the world. A 2009 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that Adderall abuse was a problem in colleges and that it often opens the way to abuse of other types of substances. Findings of the study are quoted below:

  • The study found that full-time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 were twice as likely to abuse Adderall as those of the same age not in college (6.4 percent versus 3.0 percent).
  • Individuals using Adderall non-medically in college were also:
    • Three times more likely to have used marijuana in the past year (79.9 percent versus 27.2 percent)
    • Eight times more likely to have used cocaine (28.9 percent versus 3.6 percent)
    • Eight times more likely to have used tranquilisers non-medically (24.5 percent versus 3 percent)
    • Five times more likely to have used painkillers non-medically (44.7 percent versus 8.7 percent)
    • Ninety percent of those using Adderall non-medically were reported binge drinkers and more than 50 percent were reported to be heavy drinkers

After detox: staying off Adderall

To stay off Adderall after detox, you have to undergo aftercare strategies aimed at the prevention of relapse. You will be trained to identify all the situations and states that can lead to a return to Adderall abuse. You’ll be provided with coping mechanisms that will also help you avoid a relapse in a situation where you’re faced with these high-risk situations. Some of the factors that can increase your chances of relapse include:

  • Multi drug abuse
  • Unemployment
  • Being single (not in a relationship)
  • Old age
  • Incomplete treatment
  • Involvement in drug distribution chain
  • Negative influences
  • Mental disorders

Aftercare options that will help you avoid relapse include:

  • Counselling interventions
  • Group therapy
  • 12-Step programmes
  • Follow-up medical care
  • Family based support programmes

FAQs

What is Adderall withdrawal?

After using Adderall for a period of weeks, months or even years, your brain and body have become dependent on the drug, relying on it for the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. When you remove the drug from your body, the adjustment period as your body learns to cope without Adderall causes withdrawal symptoms.

How do you know if you’re suffering from Adderall withdrawal?

To know you are suffering from Adderall withdrawal, you need to firstly establish the fact that you are abusing the drug. However, the final diagnosis can only be made by qualified professionals. They will need to rule out the possibility of any underlying conditions, consider the withdrawal symptoms and establish that your consumption of Adderall is indeed problematic.

How long does Adderall withdrawal last?

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as six hours from when you last used the substance and last for up to a week. However, the symptoms are worst by the third day and begin to dissipate from there on. This can vary depending on the severity and extent of your addiction. Hence, if you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms and are determined to quit Adderall use, you need to seek professional help.

Is Adderall withdrawal dangerous?

On its own, Adderall withdrawal isn’t dangerous. However, some of the worst effects can include seizures, depression and suicidal thoughts. This makes it absolutely vital to undergo the withdrawal process in a controlled environment as provided by a rehab facility.

Where can find help?

There is help available if you or someone you know is struggling with Adderall addiction. As well as inpatient and outpatient detox and rehab there are support groups and counselling services available to provide you with additional support. The first step is to recognise you have an addiction and take steps to find the right treatment and support.

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