Adderall Withdrawal and Detox

Adderall has many potentially dangerous side effects and long-term consequences, not the least of which include drug dependence and withdrawal. The medication, despite being used to treat symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is often misused as a “study drug,” diet aid, or for its ability to produce a euphoric “high.”

This article will discuss Adderall withdrawal, detox timelines, and the benefits of obtaining medical detox.

Detox Timeline for Adderall

generic adderall tumbling out of a prescription bottleAdderall is marketed in two different formulations: Adderall and Adderall XR (extended release). Each may stay in the system for differing amounts of time, which can play a role in when withdrawal symptoms may start. Adderall is meant to be taken every 4-6 hours, while Adderall XR is taken once a day, when used as directed, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) reports. This likely indicates that Adderall will wear off and withdrawal will start in 4-6 hours and, for Adderall XR, in 10-12 hours. Adderall withdrawal symptoms often peak within a day or two and the bulk of the side effects may taper off in a week or so.

The makers of Adderall, Shire, publish that the main Adderall withdrawal side effects include the following:

  • Sleep issues
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure

Adderall can have some intense withdrawal symptoms, so it is not recommended to stop taking it “cold turkey,” or suddenly. Instead, Adderall may be weaned off slowly during detox. Medical detox, overseen by medical professionals, can provide a safe outlet for removing Adderall from the body while helping to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Detox, in general, lasts 5-7 days and is provided at a specialized addiction treatment facility that can offer mental health and medical support.

Since no two people are exactly alike, detox may be shorter or longer for different people, depending on their specific circumstances and needs. Detox is intended to help an individual reach a level of physical stabilization that will allow them to safely continue on into an addiction treatment program that will address the psychological and emotional issues that led to the substance misuse. Behavioral therapies are often highly beneficial in restoring emotional balance during drug misuse treatment after a level of physical stability has been obtained via detox.

Factors Influencing Withdrawal


Adderall withdrawal is influenced by how dependent on the drug a person is. The more heavily dependent an individual is on Adderall, the longer and more significant the withdrawal period may be. Drug dependence is created with regular and prolonged use of Adderall, so the more of it a person takes more frequently and for longer overall, the more likely they are to be heavily dependent on the drug.

Drug dependence and withdrawal can also be impacted by the following:

  • Biological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Underlying medical or mental health conditions
  • Family history of addiction
  • How Adderall was being consumed
  • How many substances were being consumed simultaneously
  • A person’s age at the time of withdrawal
  • A person’s age when they began misusing Adderall

A person’s prior history of misuse or trauma can also be influential in the onset of drug dependence and the overall length of withdrawal.

Potential Complications During Adderall Withdrawal

Within America, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, as published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts are potential extreme side effects of Adderall withdrawal that may follow intense depression and mood swings. These may be caused by low levels of dopamine and other brain chemicals that have been depleted by chronic drug misuse. Other possible complications and side effects that may manifest during Adderall withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Tachycardia (irregular heart rate)
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite increase
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares or other sleep disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Panic attacks
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) of 2011 reports that over 45,000 people obtained emergency department (ED) treatment for a negative reaction to a prescription central nervous system stimulant that year.

Benefits of Medical Detox

While there are no medications approved to help treat stimulant dependence, medical detox can still provide an individual with the highest level of care during Adderall withdrawal. Generally performed in a residential setting, medical detox offers support from mental health, medical, and addiction treatment providers in a safe and secure facility.

Highly trained professionals monitor vital signs and provide mental health support and supervision around the clock to ensure that the individual does not present a danger to themselves or others during detox. Medications to help specific symptoms of withdrawal can be helpful. Anti-anxiety medications or sleep aids may be beneficial during medical detox as well. Nutritional supplements and vitamins may help to regulate some of the minerals and natural chemicals that were depleted by drug misuse and malnutrition.

Recovery First, one of American Addiction Centers’ Florida drug & alcohol detox centers, is ready to help you overcome addiction and find long-term recovery. Call us today at to and speak with one of our admissions navigators to learn more about payment options, insurance, and what to expect from treatment.

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