This drug combination has been found to be habit-forming and can result in dependence and addiction. In America, 16 million people use prescription stimulants, such as Adderall. Of those who use prescription stimulants, 5 million people misused or abused prescription stimulants at least once in their life and 0.4 million went on to develop a prescription stimulant use disorder.
Once a person decides to take too much of the medication it can be extremely difficult to return to a lower dosage. Symptoms of taking too much Adderall include irregular heartbeat, sweating, dilated pupils, excited mood, restlessness irritability, sleep difficulties, hostility, aggression, anxiety, reduced appetite, vomiting, stomach pain, and suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others. Taking too much Adderall can result in heart problems and even sudden death.
If you are wondering how to stop taking Adderall, the best way to do so is through a slow taper, closely monitored by medical professionals. Quitting Adderall cold turkey can be very dangerous and can put you at risk for experiencing severe side effects. You should never abruptly stop taking your medication without talking to your family doctor first. Doing so can result in painful and potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms. It can also lead to you developing severe depression and extreme tiredness.
The Don’ts: Quitting Adderall Timeline
The timeline for stopping Adderall will be different for everyone. The safest way to quit Adderall is through a slow taper. With that being said, if you decide not to taper, a study published in Brain Communications, described a general timeline for abruptly quitting Adderall. Abruptly quitting Adderall is not recommended because it can result in painful withdrawal symptoms.
The study mentioned that typically, quitting Adderall occurs in 3 phases. If you abruptly stop taking your Adderall medication it can result in a crash. The crash is the first phase and starts as quickly as when the drug starts to wear off. This phase can last for several days to about a week. Adderall crash symptoms typically include fatigue, flat affect, increased sleep, reduced cravings, and severe depression with or without suicidal thoughts. A crash can be prevented by seeking medical advice prior to abruptly stopping Adderall.
After that, a person will typically experience the second phase known as the withdrawal phase. This phase generally starts 2 to 4 days after a person abruptly stops taking the medication. During this phase, Adderall withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, nausea, anxiety, headaches, decreased concentration, increased appetite, agitation, sleep disturbances, tremors, aches and pains, depressed mood, impaired social functioning, strong cravings, lack of energy, vivid dreams, and relapse. A person who is experiencing withdrawal symptoms will notice that they will slowly decrease over the next 2 to 4 weeks. Although, some symptoms tend to continue into the extinction phase. A slow taper works to prevent withdrawal symptoms. If you start to experience any withdrawal symptoms tell your doctor and they will slow your taper down and possibly give you medications to treat your specific withdrawal symptoms.
Some people may go on to experience the last and longest phase known as the extinction phase, or protracted withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can start 4 to 6 weeks after the last dose was taken and can last for 6 to 12 months. Protracted withdrawal is characterized by symptoms like changes in mood and energy levels, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, agitation, fatigue, lack of energy, cravings, and difficulty sleeping. Therefore, someone who is quitting Adderall should enroll in support groups and services to make sure they have the support they need to work through their symptoms and stay focused on their recovery.
The Do’s: Quitting Adderall Timeline
As mentioned above, the best way to quit your Adderall addiction and minimize your withdrawal effects is through a slow taper. Everyone’s taper schedule will be different depending on the severity of their addiction, dosage, frequency of use, duration of use, withdrawal symptoms, and more. Speak with your family physician before coming off your medication. Your doctor will likely work with you to create a taper schedule that will slowly reduce your dosage of Adderall until your body and brain no longer depend on the drug to function. While you are tapering be sure to eat nutritious meals, exercise frequently, get plenty of rest, and have a strong support system to help keep you motivated to overcome your addiction.
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Benefits Quitting Adderall
Your body will reap so many benefits once you kick your Adderall addiction to the curb. Addiction changes the chemical balance of your brain. This alters your moods and behaviors. It causes you to have an intense craving to use the drug and makes you do anything you can to get it, even if it means hurting the people you love. Your family might not even recognize the person you have become from your Adderall addiction.
Not only is your mood and behaviors impacted by your Adderall addiction, but also your body. Adderall addiction can also result in a potentially life-threatening overdose. Symptoms of an Adderall overdose include restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, fast breathing, uncontrollable shaking, fever, dark urine, depression, blurred vision, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma.
Besides putting you at risk for an overdose, an Adderall addiction can increase your likelihood of experiencing the medications’ side effects such as nervousness, headaches, dizziness, depression, mania, believing things that aren’t true, and feeling suspicious of others.
Additionally, for those who do not have ADHD or narcolepsy, repeatedly abusing Adderall can increase a person’s risk for experiencing high blood pressure, increased heart rate and body temperature, decreased appetite and sleep, and feelings of paranoia and hostility.
There are so many negative health issues associated with an Adderall addiction. Therefore, once you quit Adderall, you are enabling your body and your mind’s chemical balance to return to its original state. This can help you feel better and get back to functioning how you did before you were on the medication.
Getting Help With Quitting Adderall
How to get off Adderall? Quitting Adderall can be difficult, but it is possible. If you or a loved one is suffering from an Adderall addiction, finding a high-quality rehabilitation center can help you safely taper off the medication. Tapering off the medication is the best way to get off it without experiencing a crash or other painful withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral therapy can help you stick to your treatment plan and teach you ways to manage your protracted withdrawal symptoms. Once you get off Adderall, your body can return to its original state, making you feel better and healthier. This can enable you to get your life back on track.
- Addiction Treatment Options. Sunshine Behavioral Health.
- Dependence, withdrawal, and rebound of CNS drugs: An update and regulatory consideration for new drugs development. Brain Communications.
- Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. Medline Plus.
- Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Prescription Stimulants Affect People With ADHD Differently. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- The Dopamine Dilemma-Part II. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. – “What Is Psychotherapy?”
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.