Are You Considering Getting Off Adderall?

Can Someone Taper off Adderall?

Depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction, getting off Adderall can be highly difficult alone. Furthermore, if the person is dependent on the substance, it’s paramount that a person tapers off of Adderall by involving a doctor in the process. Numerous side effects can transpire in an individual if they quit the drug rapidly. This is how Adderall withdrawal occurs. The doctor or an Illinois addiction treatment center can set up your tapering schedule, generally lasting a few weeks or months. 

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication that is prescribed to treat an individual’s symptoms of ADHD, also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Additionally, Adderall is also used to sometimes treat narcolepsy. Adderall works by increasing a few of the chemical messengers in a person’s brain involved in the following: 

  • Concentration 
  • Motivation 
  • Reward
  • Focus

It acts as a stimulant drug containing both dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Adderall also elevates a person’s blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. Simultaneously, it serves to keep the individuals engaged to remain alert, energetic, and awake. Adderall also suppresses appetite. 

Long-Term Adderall Use

When an individual utilizes Adderall for an extended period, some changes are made to the chemical makeup of their brain that ends up creating a dependence on the drug. Once an addition or dependence of Adderall is formed, detox is the next method used to eliminate the drug from the body and brain. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimated that about 900,000 Americans will recreationally use a prescription stimulant drug, or even for nonmedical purposes every month. These types of drugs are extremely addictive. Typically, it’s not recommended to stop taking a drug such as Adderall suddenly or “cold turkey” because it can cause uncomfortable withdrawal side effects. 

Instead, a controlled and slow taper or even weaning-off period is considered more desirable under medical supervision. By slowly reducing the individual’s dosage over a couple of months, depending on the level of dependency, Adderall withdrawal can be managed safely. A medical professional or doctor should be able to set up a tapering schedule for individuals searching to detox from Adderall. When detox is performed under the trained supervision of medical professionals and mental health is called medical detox. 

What Are the Steps in Adderall Detox?

  1. With the assistance of a medical professional, a slow weaning schedule will be set up. 
  2. Seek out guidance and emotional support from a mental health professional during the detox process. 
  3. Stay busy to distract from drug cravings. 
  4. Maintain a healthy sleeping and eating schedule, and take all prescribed supplements or medications. 
  5. Attend meetings, counseling sessions, family therapy, groups, and aftercare programs. 

What Are the Benefits of Medical Detox?

Benefits of Medical Detox

There are numerous benefits of a medical detox being performed. Medical detox is typically completed at a substance abuse treatment center that provides a controlled and safe environment with mental health support services and 24-hour access to medical care. There are no particular medications approved for dependence on stimulant drugs, even though sometimes prescription drugs and supplements might be effective in the reduction of the Adderall withdrawal symptoms that occur during detox when a person is getting off Adderall. 

Adderall withdrawal has a rather large psychological component, and antidepressants might be useful during detox to assist in managing depression and curbing potential suicidal thoughts. Anti-anxiety and mood-stabilizing agents might also reduce high levels of nervousness and stress that can occur during Adderall detox. Sleep aids are also extremely beneficial as sleep disturbances are reported commonly during Adderall withdrawal and detox.

The potential side effects of Adderall use that can be the result of an underlying mental health issue are the following:

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis

The journal Brain and Behavior reported that the following symptoms might occur with prescription stimulant abuse. 

  • Schizophrenia like symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Mania

The above-mentioned side effects might be more likely to occur in a person with a preexisting condition, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. They might be managed with medication during detox if necessary. 

Before fully entering into a medical detox program, full mental health and medical assessment will be performed along with a drug-screening test as a method of guaranteeing the safest and most effective treatment plan. Behavioral therapy and mental health support are extremely helpful during Adderall withdrawal and recovery. It acts as an effort to reduce potential relapse. 

When the motivation and reward centers of a person’s brain are healing after an addiction to a drug such as Adderall interfering with their normal function, the actual emotional toll of drug cravings and recovery might encourage the individual to return to drug abuse for relief. Once the person returns to drug abuse after stopping for an amount of time is called relapse, which is very common. The National Institute of Abuse (NIDA) cited that relapse rates for drug addiction are as high as 40-60%.

The Australian Government Department of Health suggested that relapse is the most common within the first month of stopping the use of an amphetamine drug. It is pivotal to have emotional support during this crucial time. 

What Are Adderall Withdrawals Like? 

When a person is getting off Adderall or experiencing Adderall withdrawal, there are a lot of symptoms that occur. 

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Appetite changes
  • Drug cravings
  • Muscle aches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety 

Dopamine is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters that is involved in pleasure feelings. Naturally, it occurs when outside of stimuli, such as the smell of desirable food, which is known to make a person happy. In turn, Adderall creates a strong surge of dopamine in the brain. 

When Adderall continuously interferes with a person’s dopamine levels, the brain might start to rely heavily on it and stop making as much of the chemical messenger without its influence. Simply put, this means that the brain stops functioning the same way it did before Adderall was introduced and it now might feel that it needs Adderall to even stay balanced.

Adderall Withdrawal

These brain changes indicate Adderall dependence. Consequently, when the drug leaves the bloodstream, this is when withdrawal symptoms might begin. According to its manufacturer Shire LLC, Adderall XR has reported a half-life of roughly 10 hours. This means that about half the amount of Adderall is present in the individual’s blood at this point. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be both psychological and physical, and they range in intensity, depending on how deep-rooted the dependence on Adderall is. It’s important to note that Adderall dependence is influenced by the method of use. So whether that be the person injecting or snorting the drug is more likely to have a higher dependence level than if someone swallowed the pills. 

Adderall dependence is also influenced by the following factors:

  • Family history of dependence or substance abuse
  • Length of time using the drug
  • Amount took each dose
  • Mental health status

The more dependent an individual is on Adderall, the more powerful the withdrawal symptoms are and the longer the withdrawal period might be.

How Long Do Adderall Withdrawals Last?

Adderall withdrawals and the timeframe process will be different for everyone. It’s difficult to give a concrete amount of time on how long Adderall withdrawals last. Some individuals might stop experiencing symptoms in as little as five days, whereas it can take other individuals three weeks or more. 

The main factors that affect the duration of an Adderall withdrawal are the following:

  • The duration takes someone to get on Adderall 
  • Frequency
  • Dose

Individuals who frequently took larger doses for a longer period we’re able to expect withdrawal symptoms to last longer. There are two common types of Adderall – extended and instant release. Regular Adderall acts as an instant release drug that typically lasts up to six hours, while Adderall XR (extended-release) is meant to be used for around-the-clock use.

The duration of Adderall withdrawal varies on both drugs. Regular Adderall starts working immediately, and the effects wear off in several hours. It leaves the body pretty quickly. 

Consequently, Adderall XR builds up and stays in the individual’s body longer. Individuals who have used regular Adderall start feeling withdrawal sooner than those who have used Adderall XR. In addition, Adderall withdrawal from XR might last longer weeks than regular Adderall because it does take longer for the body to detox. 

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

During the First 6-36 Hours

The first signs of Adderall withdrawal generally show up within the first couple of hours after the last dose. Many individuals experience the crash of stimulant withdrawal during this initial period. It is normally marked by fatigue and depression.

Days 3-5

Adderall withdrawal symptoms typically intensify during the first week. There are generally intense feelings of depression, fatigue, and irritability that are pretty common here. Some individuals experience nightmares and headaches. This stage is called the height of withdrawal intensity. 

Days 5-7

Symptoms of withdrawal begin to fade after about five days. Many individuals still feel pretty moody and incapable of functioning normally, especially in social settings, but they do begin feeling better around this time. Some minor psychological symptoms such as mild depression can continue after this period but they are far less severe. 

Weeks 3-4

In a few cases, individuals have reported feeling the effects of Adderall withdrawal weeks after their last dose. This can happen to individuals who have a high tolerance and have been using the drug for over a year.

When Should Someone Consider a Professional Treatment Center? 

Sometimes it’s a challenge on accepting that you have a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s very difficult to stay objective and come to grasp the truth. If your substance abuse addiction is causing many negative effects in your life, then it might be time to take a closer look at things. 

Once you can accept that you have a drug or alcohol addiction, you are already on your first step to everlasting recovery. The next step is deciding to get and stay sober. It’s important to get help because addiction is a progressive disease and usually gets worse.

Getting off Adderall Is Possible at Northern Illinois

It’s important to remember that detox should be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, education, ongoing support, and therapy. Addiction is a complex disease that can be treated with the proper support and care. It’s essential to note that detox is never considered a complete form of treatment. If you’re getting off Adderall and concerned about the Adderall withdrawal symptoms, let us help.