Adderall, the brand name for the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, is a stimulant medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medication is also used in some cases to treat certain sleeping disorders (narcolepsy) to help a person stay awake. But, if you abuse this medication, you can become addicted to it. And if you find yourself wanting to stop your use, you might be asking yourself, “how long does it take to detox from Adderall?”
The medication works by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system in order to help a person focus, pay attention to certain activities, stay more organized, and control behavioral issues. Norepinephrine and dopamine are natural occurring chemicals; norepinephrine affects how the brain responds to stimuli, and dopamine is the body’s “feel good” chemical that creates a natural “high” or rewarding effect. For ADHD, the medication is designed to improve hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and increase attention span in children as well as adults.
The medication is prescribed by a doctor and usually taken 1-3 times a day. The medication is either in a tablet or time release capsule form. The dosage for the medication is based on medical or psychological consultation where licensed professionals often start off with a low dose to make sure the patient can tolerate it and then slowly increase it. The effects of Adderall can be positive when they are taken as intended, but for people who take the medication without medical supervision or who take more than prescribed, the effects can be dangerous and deadly. A person who takes Adderall for medical or psychological reasons is still at an increased potential for developing a tolerance or physical dependence to the medication. This does not always mean a person will end up abusing the medication. Often it is when the medication is used for non-medicinal reasons or taken in higher doses that leads to a higher risk of addiction.
Side Effects of Adderall Abuse
Abusing Adderall in any capacity can produce a number of different side effects. While many people abuse Adderall in an effort to keep their energy up, they are often left dealing with the uncomfortable and dangerous side effects of that abuse. Some of the most common side effects of Adderall abuse include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Thought problems such as hallucinations
- Sleeping problems (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Withdrawal symptoms (fatigue, mood changes, depression)
- Dry mouth
- Swelling of the tongue, throat, or face
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Hives-allergic reaction
- Constricted blood vessels
- Slowed growth in children
- Impulsive behavior
- Cold toes (sign that Adderall is interfering with circulation)
Signs of Adderall addiction
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2015, there were an estimated 11.3 million people who used amphetamine products like Adderall (data was presented for people over the age of 12). It was also estimated that 4.8 million people misused amphetamine products in 2015. By 2016, there were an estimated 12 million people who used amphetamine products with an estimated 5.1 million people who misused amphetamine products.
While there are medical indications for using Adderall, some people can become addicted to the medication. Adderall stimulates a higher production of dopamine, leading people to potentially want more. This risk is higher when there is a history of substance use disorder by the patient or within their family. It is important not to increase your own dose or use it for a prolonged period of time without medical supervision. There is evidence that when Adderall is used for a long time, it may not provide as much clinical benefit, thus it is important to continue talking to your physician if you feel the medication isn’t working as well instead of increasing your own dosage. For someone addicted to Adderall, their brain has been rewired to be dependent on the medication to simulate alertness and productivity. When the person stops taking Adderall, they may feel mentally “foggy” or unusually tired.
There has been evidence from studies that show as much as one quarter of college students have abused stimulant medications during college as study aids. Adderall is often grounded up and snorted in order to have a quicker onset than when taken orally, which has the potential to lead to future abuse.
Some signs of Adderall addiction include:
- Needing more to achieve the drug’s intended effects
- Wanting to cut back or stop but being unable to do so
- Relying on Adderall to complete tasks, do work, or function daily
- Spending more money trying to get more Adderall
- Taking more of the medication at higher doses than prescribed, despite knowing the consequences
- Being unable to stay awake or alert without the medication
- Prioritizing Adderall use over normal activities
- Faking symptoms of ADHD to get prescriptions
- Isolating from family and friends because of medication use
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms when not using Adderall
Detoxing from Adderall
If you stop taking Adderall medication abruptly, you may be wondering, “how long does it take to detox from Adderall?” You might begin to experience a crash and have withdrawal symptoms such as severe tiredness, sleeping issues, mental and mood changes, or depression if you try to stop using on your own. But, to truly answer the questions “how long does it take to detox from Adderall”, it is important to understand that this process does not start and finish overnight.
How Long Does It Take to Detox From Adderall?
Typically, the period of time that Adderall detox lasts is going to be reflective of a number of factors, such as how much an individual has been abusing, how often, and in what dose. The onset of withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of last use. These symptoms can be distressing and interfere with one’s everyday abilities. But, around the one week post-use mark, these symptoms begin to minimize, but they do not go away completely. In some instances, Adderall withdrawal symptoms can continue on for upwards of two months, which is why it is critical to obtain professional psychiatric care during this time.
As such, to prevent these withdrawal symptoms, it is important to taper off your dose slowly under medical supervision. If a person has used Adderall for a long period of time or in very high doses, the likelihood of withdrawal is high. It may take several days to several weeks to detox your body from Adderall. Thus it is important to slowly taper off the dosage of Adderall under professional supervision.
During this time of withdrawal from Adderall, there is a high risk of returning to the medication. There is also an increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. There are no medications to help with detoxification from Adderall, so a patient will need to work through the symptoms of withdrawal without prescription assistance. Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet and exercising can assist with easing withdrawal symptoms. It can also be helpful to maintain a sleep schedule and keep a calm, meditative environment prior to bed in early withdrawal stages to counteract the effects of withdrawal.
Drug Rehab in Nashville
If you or someone you know has developed a substance use disorder as a result of Adderall, it may be helpful to seek professional help. At Detox Nashville, addiction treatment specialists are able to work with you or your loved one to assess your situation and determine an individualized treatment plan that will suit your needs. A professional will be able to take a thorough substance use history and determine if alcohol treatment is recommended and the best therapeutic course of action is warranted.