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When you’ve been using Adderall for a long time, you have likely built an Adderall tolerance and have a physical dependence on it. This will cause Adderall withdrawal symptoms when you stop. Adderall is a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and psychological or physical dependence. When you develop dependence to a drug, your body reacts negatively when you quit using it, but that’s not a reason to keep abusing Adderall. Addiction professionals can help ease withdrawal symptoms and keep you comfortable during detox.
What Happens During Adderall Withdrawal?
Adderall is a stimulant medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These two chemicals are responsible for focus, attention, and motivation. They are also critical for other functions, like regulating blood pressure and heartbeat.
When you abuse drugs that help produce feel-good chemicals like dopamine, your brain starts depending on those drugs to maintain balance. Abruptly stopping some drugs throws your central nervous system off balance. Your brain tries to rebalance and produce the chemicals you’re lacking without the help of substances. During this time, you may experience some of the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. Dopamine and norepinephrine levels can drop sharply when you stop taking Adderall. This can cause withdrawal symptoms like:
- Cravings for Adderall
In some cases, people experience hallucinations or delusions. Withdrawal is not usually dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to slowly taper off Adderall under medical supervision.
Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
When you decide to quit taking Adderall, it’s important to be aware of the potential timeline for withdrawal. Symptoms can begin within a few hours of the last dose and may peak after two to three days. The most common symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, and cravings. These can be extremely difficult to deal with. Fortunately, they are typically only temporary. Withdrawal symptoms generally subside after about a week. But some people may continue to feel lingering effects for several weeks or even months. There is no one-size-fits-all timeline for Adderall withdrawal. Understanding the average course of symptoms can help you be better prepared for what to expect.
In the first few days you may have:
- Sleep disturbances
- Extreme tiredness
- Low mood
Over a week or two, you may have symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Sleep difficulty
- Increased hunger
If you’ve been abusing Adderall and stop taking the drug abruptly, you may experience an “Adderall crash” with symptoms like:
- Panic attacks
- Adderall cravings
- Low energy
- Excessive sleep
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased appetite
It can take weeks to months after stopping Adderall for your mood to stabilize and for all physical side effects to subside.
Why Medical Detox From Adderall Is Important
Detoxing from Adderall cold turkey can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. Detoxing from additional substances like alcohol increases that danger. Medical detox means you withdraw in a safe atmosphere under the care of medical professionals. You and your loved ones will have peace of mind knowing a treatment team is caring for you around the clock.
During detox, trained medical professionals closely monitor your condition and provide the necessary support. They also work to ease any withdrawal symptoms you experience. This can make the detox process more comfortable and increase your chances of success. Medical detox can provide a safe and controlled environment, which is essential when dealing with a potentially dangerous addiction. Detoxing from any drug on your own can put you at risk for relapse. Without medical oversight to help ease symptoms, cravings for drugs and alcohol to self-medicate discomfort can become unbearable.
Experts like the ones at Footprints to Recovery know the best and safest Adderall taper schedule for your situation. They can also ensure detox is as comfortable as possible by prescribing appropriate medications to soothe symptoms of withdrawal.
Risks of At-Home Adderall Withdrawal
Adderall withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, but occasionally people experience severe symptoms. There are several risks associated with detoxing from Adderall at home. The most serious concern is the potential for cardiovascular complications. Adderall can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which can put a strain on the heart and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Other risks include seizure, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.
Though it’s rare for these to happen, there’s no way to tell how your body will respond to quitting Adderall. Detoxing from Adderall can also be difficult and uncomfortable, as it can cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. And detoxing from Adderall at home can make it very tempting to take the drug to relieve uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous.
Can Medications Help With Adderall Withdrawal?
Tapering your Adderall dosage in safe increments is the most common approach to avoiding the worst symptoms. Only a medical professional can determine the safest taper schedule for your individual situation and health. Physicians may also give you research-backed medications to ease some Adderall withdrawal symptoms.
While there is no specific medication approved to treat Adderall withdrawal, there are certain medications that can help with some of the symptoms. For example, antidepressants can help with depression, while anti-anxiety medications can help with anxiety. In addition, doctors may also recommend therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you cope with the psychological effects of withdrawal. Ultimately, the best way to manage Adderall withdrawal is to slowly taper off the medication under the supervision of a doctor.
Self-Assessment: Am I Addicted?
What To Expect In Detox From Adderall
Medical detox is the safest way to stop using Adderall. When you enter a medical detox program for Adderall, the first thing you can expect is to be evaluated by a team of healthcare professionals. This team will assess your physical and mental health to determine the severity of your addiction and design a treatment plan accordingly.
Once you are stabilized, the focus will turn to cleansing your body of the addictive substance. You’ll be under the care of a substance abuse treatment team that monitors you around the clock and can ease Adderall detox symptoms. They will also immediately attend to any emergencies. This process can take several days depending on if you’re abusing other substances. It may involve the use of medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. You will also be encouraged to participate in therapy sessions to begin addressing the underlying causes of your addiction. After completing detox, you will be referred to an addiction treatment center for continued care.
What Are Treatment Options For Adderall Addiction?
Medical detox is only the first step in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. After you rid your system of the substance, you must work on the reasons why you were abusing Adderall in the first place. Was it to cope with emotional difficulties or life stressors? Were you taking Adderall initially to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Adderall addiction treatment can help you work through your triggers and teach you healthy coping skills. Without these new skills and support in a life without Adderall, your risk of relapse increases.
In general, there are two main types of treatment: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient treatment involves staying at a residential facility where you receive around-the-clock care and support. This is often the best option for people with a severe addiction or who have unsuccessfully tried to quit in the past.
Outpatient treatment allows you to live at home while attending regular counseling and therapy sessions. This can be a good option for those with a less severe addiction or who have strong support from family and friends. There are different levels of care in outpatient programs. These include:
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP): A partial hospitalization program for addiction is a level of care that is above outpatient treatment but below inpatient treatment. In a PHP you live at home and come to a treatment center during the day for programming. A typical day in a PHP might include group therapy, individual therapy, and perhaps some other types of activities or programming designed to help you in your recovery.
Usually, PHPs are five to seven days per week and last six to eight hours each day. This level of care can be very helpful for people who need more structure than outpatient care but who don’t need the 24/7 level of support of inpatient rehab.
Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): Intensive outpatient programs are a type of treatment that provides focused care while also allowing you to live at home and continue with your daily responsibilities. IOPs are typically used for patients who have completed an inpatient program or a PHP and are ready to begin the next phase of their treatment. The goal of an IOP is to help you maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. IOPs usually meet three days a week for a few hours and last three to five months, but the length of treatment may vary depending on the needs of the individual patient.
Outpatient programs (OP): Outpatient programs meet once a week for one to three hours at a time. During weekly sessions, you typically receive individual therapy and counseling, participate in group therapy, and attend educational classes. Outpatient programs may also offer substance abuse education, life skills training, and 12-step meetings. People in outpatient treatment have usually completed a higher level of care.
Therapies Used in Adderall Addiction Treatment
These are just a few of the many different therapies often used in Adderall addiction treatment. A successful treatment plan will include a blend of therapies that best suit your individual needs and preferences.
A type of psychotherapy that helps you change unhealthy thoughts, which can fuel negative feelings and behaviors
A type of cognitive behavioral therapy that draws on mindfulness and accepting your inner and outer experiences without judgment
You meet with other people also struggling with addiction. You learn about underlying issues, develop relapse-prevention skills, and improve your interpersonal skills.
You meet with a therapist and work one-on-one on the issues that are contributing to your addiction.
A type of counseling that helps people explore and resolve ambivalence about change
A treatment that uses repeated eye movements to help you process traumatic memories
A type of counseling that helps you accept your thoughts and feelings, even if they are unpleasant, and commit to taking action on your goals
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