Adderall dependence is more common than people think. It can happen to anyone who has been using it for a long period of time. When you are physically dependent on Adderall, you try to quit but find it incredibly hard. If you use it to get high, study, or feel awake, you can become addicted. Learn more about withdrawal from Adderall and how to work through challenging withdrawal.
Adderall can be used daily or intermittently. Some people take Adderall under a doctor’s supervision to treat ADHD, while others acquire it or intentionally abuse it. When it comes to withdrawal, the context is not important as anyone can have withdrawal from all sorts of drugs. The Adderall crash is like intense mini-withdrawal. It begins usually within several hours of your last dose and may continue one or two days. Most people experience physical and mental exhaustion along with depressed mood. Adderall withdrawal lasts up to one week but you may have lingering psychological symptoms and cravings for some weeks or months.
Signs and Symptoms
Adderall withdrawal is different for every person. A withdrawal experience depends on many factors. The initial withdrawal syndrome may be severe. Withdrawal may impact ability to function normally and fulfill responsibilities at work and home. Dopamine is responsible for activating the brain’s reward system so that, along with norepinephrine is responsible for boosting alertness, focus, and cognitive functions which support mood regulation. Long-term use has been linked to decreased dopamine and norepinephrine activity which leads to depression and loss of pleasure. It may trigger:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities
- Extreme irritability or frustration
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Feelings of anxiety
- Eating too much or too little
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Changes in brain chemistry during amphetamine withdrawal may make people more sensitive to stress as well. This may explain why things are not going to bother a person in withdrawal as much.
The challenge with Adderall withdrawal is that it can be unpredictable. It is hard to know in advance whether you will experience intense depression or extreme irritation. The primary risk of going through Adderall withdrawal is that you will experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Even if you have no history of suicidal thoughts or depression, there is still a risk. Adderall has serious effects on the brain chemistry and is hard to predict how moods will shift. Long-term treatment is focused on getting the brain up to speed. Withdrawal truly may last weeks or months as the brain works to restart itself. CBT and Contingency Management (CM) have worked well for people in withdrawal from Adderall in terms of best results in therapy.
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