Is Adderall Withdrawal a Real Thing?

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What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for a 3:1 formulation of dextroamphetamine to levoamphetamine: stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Generically the medication is known as amphetamine salts.

Due to its ability to boost attention and impulse control, Adderall is often prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can be prescribed in two forms:

  • Adderall Immediate Release (IR) — Typically lasts for about 4-6 hours per dose.
  • Adderall Extended Release (XR) — Designed to be effective for 10-12 hours, providing a steady release of the medication throughout the day to maintain a consistent effect.

There are several other medications that are also used to treat ADHD, including:

  • Methylphenidate: Often sold under the brand names Ritalin and Concerta.
  • Dexmethylphenidate: Marketed as Focalin XR.
  • Lisdexamfetamine: Known as Vyvanse.
  • Atomoxetine: A non-stimulant medication sold under the brand name Strattera.
  • Guanfacine: Another non-stimulant medication, available as Intuniv.

Despite being helpful for conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall is abused as a street drug as well. That means drug abuse treatment is sometimes necessary for recovery. 

Street Names for Adderall

Some street nicknames for Adderall include:

  • Addys
  • Beans
  • Black Beauties
  • Blue Pill
  • Dexies
  • Pep Pills
  • Speed
  • Uppers

Adderall abuse is particularly high on college campuses. According to one study, up to 20% of college students abuse Adderall at some point.

If someone is taking Adderall, you might notice the following signs:

  • Increased energy and alertness.
  • Decreased need for sleep.
  • Suppressed appetite and potentially losing weight.
  • Improved focus and attention span.
  • Potential signs of misuse can include hyperactivity, excessive talking, and dilated pupils.

Adderall abuse, both short-term and long-term, can result in physical and psychological dependence. Adderall addiction can have major implications, including legal challenges, financial difficulties, and health issues. As a result, Adderall is classed as a Schedule II substance.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction, Adderall addiction treatment is available.

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Can You Buy Adderall Online?

Due to its popularity as a study drug, some have tried to buy Adderall online. Buying Adderall or any other prescription medication online without a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider is illegal and potentially dangerous.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that illegally-marketed drugs such as Adderall can be adulterated. Even if this isn’t the case, taking Adderall without a doctor’s supervision is not a good idea.

Is Adderall Dangerous?

Adderall, when prescribed by a healthcare provider and taken according to their guidance, can be a safe and effective treatment for ADHD and narcolepsy. However, the misuse or abuse of Adderall can indeed be dangerous, leading to a range of negative health outcomes, both physically and mentally.

It’s also possible to overdose on Adderall.

Adderall and Alcohol

Combining medications with alcohol, especially stimulants, is a bad idea. Adderall and alcohol act at cross-purposes – one drives up activity in the sympathetic nervous system and one suppresses it.

According to various studies, alcohol and Adderall are a dangerous combination for the body. Moreover, Adderall can conceal the consequences of alcohol intoxication, making it exceedingly easy for people to overindulge without recognizing it. This can raise a person’s risk for alcohol use disorder.

On top of that, Adderall addiction can dull a person’s awareness of being both intoxicated and hungover, causing them to continue drinking beyond what is usual. As he or she gets dependent on both substances to operate, a vicious cycle of Adderall and alcohol consumption begins to build.

Put more directly, if you are prescribed Adderall, you should avoid drinking alcohol.

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Is Adderall Addictive?

Yes, Adderall can be addictive, especially when not used according to a doctor’s instructions over a period of time. This is important to unpack. When someone gets addicted to something like heroin, it affects the brain on a chemical level. That’s when heroin detox may be necessary. Adderall also affects the brain. Treatment provides a solution

Researchers believe that the brains of people with attention deficit and other hyperactivity issues produce less dopamine than those of “neurotypical” individuals. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being. Because people with ADHD have less of it, they experience boredom far more readily. This leads to constantly shifting attention and hyperactivity, as they constantly seek stimulation and novelty.

Among other things it does, Adderall boosts dopamine levels in the brain. Taken at appropriate levels, this leads people with ADHD to feel calm and focused because their brains are now experiencing the basic level of dopamine it craves.

In people without ADHD, however, this extra dopamine produces incredible euphoria. Their brain quickly adapts to this and when the euphoria fades, they crash to below how they were feeling before. This is what makes Adderall so addictive in people without ADHD.

What Are Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

If someone stopped taking Adderall following a long period of using it, common symptoms of withdrawal may arise. Withdrawal from Adderall can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors including the duration of use, the dosage, individual physiology, and whether the person was using it as prescribed or was misusing it. No matter what your withdrawal timeline is, detox followed by evidence-based behavioral therapy can help. 

Below are some typical Adderall withdrawal symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Increased Appetite
  • Vivid or Unpleasant Dreams
  • Slowed Thinking and Movement
  • Anxiety

Stimulant withdrawal is something you can get through with the right help. If you or a loved one suffers from stimulant addiction, please seek addiction treatment today.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

The length of the Adderall withdrawal period can vary widely but generally, it tends to last from a few days to several weeks. Some individuals may experience a more protracted withdrawal period with symptoms lasting for several months, especially if they have been using high doses of Adderall for a prolonged period.

Adderall Addiction Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall withdrawal, you don’t have to face it alone.

We offer affordable and compassionate treatment for addiction to stimulants like Adderall, with treatment centers all over the country.

Before starting treatment with us, you’ll start with our medical detox program. There, our expert staff will assist you or your loved one in managing Adderall withdrawal symptoms as you clear the drug from your system.

After detoxing, proper treatment can begin. But remember, everyone’s drug and alcohol detox withdrawal timeline is different. 

There are several different approaches to treating Adderall addiction, including:

Residential Treatment

After completing medical detox, you’ll transition to residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.

In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

Partial Hospitalization

A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, a partial hospitalization program offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for several hours each day, returning to their homes in the evening.

This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, skill development, medication management, and other behavioral therapy. 

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Clients undergoing this program participate in intensive therapy sessions, meeting three to five days a week, with each session lasting three hours. This level of care is a step down from partial hospitalization, requiring less time commitment.

IOPs offer participants the ability to continue their employment or academic obligations, receiving support and therapy as needed as they prepare to reenter society.

Outpatient Care

Finally, there’s outpatient care. Outpatient care allows clients to receive care without neglecting their responsibilities at home. It also tends to be significantly more affordable than higher levels of care.

Start Your Adderall Recovery Journey Today

If you or a loved one are thinking of seeking treatment for addiction to Adderall but have questions, call us at 866-881-1184. Our drug and alcohol detox center employs highly qualified staff who will be happy to assist you. Our detox program and dual diagnosis treatment options can help anyone turn their life around. We know you have questions like how long is drug abuse treatment or what should I bring to rehab. We’re here to answer all those and more when you come to us for drug detox and treatment. Treatment provides a safe place for anyone to turn thigs around. 

Pierce Willans
Kelly McIntyre
Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
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