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Adderall Withdrawal

Acute Adderall withdrawal symptoms may include fatigue, depression, and intense nightmares, and these can last about 3 to 5 days, although symptoms can linger for a couple of months. Adderall withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, although it can sometimes cause severe enough symptoms to warrant immediate medical attention. [1]

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Chronic Adderall use and misuse can lead to physiological dependence, which means your body requires Adderall or amphetamines to function optimally. If you abruptly stop taking or abusing this prescription stimulant, you’ll likely experience distressing Adderall withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.[1]

If you are taking Adderall for a condition like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy and want to stop, talk to your doctor—they can create a tapering schedule for you. However, if you abuse Adderall or have an Adderall addiction, professional detox treatment may be recommended to help you withdraw safely and comfortably.

What is Adderall Withdrawal?

What Is Adderall Withdrawal?

Adderall withdrawal occurs when someone who is physically dependent on Adderall suddenly stops taking it or reduces their dose. [2] They experience unpleasant and distressing Adderall withdrawal symptoms that result from the brain and body’s adaptations to the presence of the stimulant. 

These symptoms can vary from person to person but common symptoms include sleep disturbances, depression, anhedonia, and fatigue as well as intense Adderall cravings. [1], [4]

Prescription Use vs. Misuse

People who take Adderall for a condition like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will develop dependence over time—this is normal and it doesn’t mean they’re addicted or have a problem. But if they miss a dose or two or suddenly stop taking the medication, they’ll experience Adderall withdrawal, which is why it’s important to talk to a doctor before quitting Adderall. 

On the other hand, people who regularly misuse Adderall to get high, stay up later, or enhance performance may develop more profound dependence and subsequently, more intense amphetamine withdrawal symptoms. In this case, professional detox is often recommended so people can receive medical support and supervision.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Adderall withdrawal is characterized first by an initial crash phase, followed by a more prolonged withdrawal phase. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms may include: [1], [6]

Initial CrashProlonged Withdrawal Symptoms
Problems sleeping
Rapid, purposeless movements
Depressed moodDepression
Suicidal ideationDifficulty experiencing feelings of pleasure
Drug cravingsLethargy
OvereatingSleep disturbances and vivid nightmares
Slowed heart rateSlowed movements and thoughts
JitterinessRapid, purposeless movements
FatigueStronger Adderall cravings

People who misuse stimulants like Adderall may use it in a “binge and crash” pattern, in which they repeatedly use high doses in a short period of time and then crash or “come down” from the drug.

In severe cases, a person may experience psychotic symptoms as a result of Adderall withdrawal. Withdrawal-induced psychosis can include things like severe confusion, hallucinations, delusions, extreme mood swings, and more. If a person experiences these symptoms, treat it as a medical emergency and call 911. [7]

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

Acute Amphetamine Withdrawal

Generally, acute Adderall withdrawal symptoms emerge within 24 hours of the most recent dose. [7] 

These withdrawal symptoms can last from 3-5 days, depending on the person, the severity of Adderall dependence and addiction, the dose used, and more. [7]

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Although these symptoms tend to resolve relatively quickly, other withdrawal symptoms can linger for weeks or months. These are called post-acute or protracted withdrawal and may include symptoms like: [7]

  • Intense cravings
  • Erratic sleep
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy

Withdrawal from stimulants, including protracted withdrawal, can be expected to take as long as a month or two, with symptoms first peaking and then slowly fading, assuming a person can avoid using Adderall or other stimulants during that time. Note that addiction doesn’t “end” with withdrawal, although many regard this as one of the harder stages of Adderall addiction recovery. There is no cure for addiction, although it can be effectively managed, so relapse prevention must be ongoing.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

DaySymptoms Manifestation
1Intense symptoms emerge
3-5Symptoms peak then resolve
Weeks 1-6Protracted withdrawal symptoms may linger

Adderall vs. Adderall XR Withdrawal Timeline

Adderall XR is an extended-release formulation of this prescription stimulant, which means that the effects come on slower and last longer than immediate-release Adderall.

Because half-life affects how long withdrawal lasts, Adderall XR is going to have a more delayed withdrawal timeline. If someone is dependent on Adderall XR and suddenly stops, their withdrawal symptoms may take longer to appear than the short-acting version and they are likely to last longer. [1]

This could look like feeling Adderall withdrawal symptoms within 2-3 days after stopping Adderall XR and then experiencing acute withdrawal for a couple of weeks, with protracted withdrawal lasting weeks or months.

Factors That Affect Adderall Withdrawal

Although Adderall withdrawal is characterized by a specific set of symptoms and a predictable timeline, withdrawal manifestation and severity can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as:

  • Individual physiology
  • Liver and kidney functioning
  • Adderall dose used and for how long
  • Severity of Adderall dependence or addiction
  • Method of misuse (e.g. crushing and snorting or injecting)
  • Mixing Adderall with alcohol or other drugs
  • Previous withdrawal experiences
  • Pre-existing mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder

How rapidly you stop taking Adderall can also affect withdrawal. Doctors can help you taper your dosing to reduce the severity of your withdrawal, slowly lowering the amount you take over time rather than going from the full dose to nothing. This can help your body adjust to not needing Adderall anymore.

Detox Options for Adderall Withdrawal

These are some detox treatment options to help you manage Adderall withdrawal:

A Tapered Detox

Tapering doses of Adderall rather than taking a cold-turkey approach to quitting Adderall use can reduce withdrawal symptoms and help you adjust to its absence over time. 

This is best done with the help of a medical professional. They will give you a declining dosage schedule to follow, which allows you to gradually stop taking the medication over a predetermined period of time. It also allows you to report any distressing symptoms or side effects to your doctor, who may be able to adjust your taper accordingly.

Inpatient Adderall Detox 

Inpatient medical detox is what many people imagine when they think of detoxing. This is when you stay at an addiction treatment facility or hospital and receive 24/7 care and supervision, which allows you to go through Adderall withdrawal in relative comfort and with the oversight of medical professionals who can help you if you have any problems.

The treatment team will use many interventions to treat Adderall withdrawal symptoms and keep you comfortable. These interventions may include:

  • Symptomatic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Supportive care, such as IV fluids and vitamin replacement
  • Counseling
  • Case management services

Once you complete inpatient or medical detox for Adderall and have achieved medical stabilization, the treatment team can help you transition into a longer-term treatment program where you can do the work to start addressing your underlying Adderall abuse and addiction.

Adderall Withdrawal FAQs

Does your brain return to “normal” after stopping Adderall?

Yes, however, it may take some time due to the neuroadaptations that occur from dependence. Once you quit Adderall, it may a while for your brain chemistry to correct itself without the presence of this stimulant. This is why, if you struggle with an addiction, it’s so important to attend a drug rehab program and receive ongoing support and relapse prevention.

Should Adderall use be stopped abruptly?

If you want to stop taking Adderall, whether you were using it as prescribed or misusing it, talk to a medical professional about how to stop. Stopping abruptly can produce the most intense withdrawal symptoms, especially without any kind of additional support. Severe withdrawal can often be avoided by talking to a doctor about tapering your doses or by entering a medical detox program.

Why does stopping Adderall make me tired?

Adderall is a stimulant, and it can energize the body, so stopping your use of Adderall may make you tired if you don’t normally sleep well or have health conditions that make you tired. Additionally, the brain can begin adjusting to Adderall, especially if it is misused, and start overcorrecting for that use. If you stop taking it, you may go through withdrawal because of these adjustments, and one of the symptoms associated with stimulant withdrawal is severe fatigue.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated March 21, 2024
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