Adderall is a common medication used to treat ADD and ADHD. There are many other off label uses for this particular drug and as a result, many people take it. It has become one of the more popular smart drugs – college kids are popping these to help themselves get in the zone for big tests and study sessions. Whatever the reasoning for using it, you may end up crashing the next day as a result of your usage.
What is an Adderall crash?
Adderall crash is a phenomenon of “crashing” or coming down from the stimulating effects of this particular substance. The longer you were on the drug, the more significant the potential of a crash will be. While not everyone notices a crash or has symptoms, many individuals do. One major problem is that most psychiatrists are not aware of this “crash” phenomenon. Think about the saying “what goes up must come down.”
This saying applies perfectly to taking Adderall – while on it you essentially stimulate activity in your brain. This results in a “high” level of brain activity and when the drug wears down, the high activity ceases and you return to normalcy. But before returning to normalcy, many people experience a “low” – in other words their brain is almost the exact opposite of feeling “high” – this is a “low” or crash (the opposite end of the spectrum).
Adderall crash symptoms:
Anger – You may notice that you get angry at things that shouldn’t normally bother you or didn’t in the past. I have experienced what is referred to as “adderall rage.” You take the drug, and when it wears off you literally are raging mad.
Anxiety – In some cases people may experience some minor anxiety when they crash. This is usually a result of decreased mental acuity.
Fatigue – You may feel extremely lethargic with a sense of overall fatigue. This is because your body is trying to recover from the excess energy stores it burnt up while on the Adderall.
Depression – The most common symptom is that of depression. People on high doses of this drug stop taking it and feel depressed. This is a result of the fact that the “d-amphetamine” released excess dopamine in the brain to make you feel good while on the drug.
Hopelessness – Some people get an overwhelming sense of hopelessness when they crash. Fortunately this feeling will eventually subside.
Laziness – You may end up feeling extremely lazy when you crash from the drug. It is basically the exact opposite of the productive person you were while the medication was working.
Loneliness – I noticed that many times I feel lonely for no reason when coming off of the Adderall.
Slowed thinking – Your thought process may be slowed, less organized, less cohesive, and you may feel slow and / or random.
Unfocused – You may feel extremely unfocused – even more so than you did before you initially took the Adderall.
How to reduce the effects of an Adderall crash:
1. Take a smaller dose – If you aren’t taking Adderall every day to avoid tolerance and/or addiction, you may consider taking an even smaller dose. Although you want to reach a therapeutic level, I’ve found that I still get a great effect even from low doses.
2. Plan – A good idea if you are on the IR is to take your dose so that it wears off right before you go to sleep. When you feel it starting to wear off, you can just go to sleep and not feel a major crash during the day. This is what my psychiatrist recommended for me and it has helped.
3. Exercise – A good idea to help your body produce dopamine naturally is to engage in exercise the next day even if you feel tired. This will help your brain release neurotransmitters that will boost your overall mood.
4. Stay busy – Another good way to cope with the crash is to keep yourself as busy as possible. It may be difficult, but if you get some basic tasks done at least you won’t have let the comedown get you down or ruin your day. Sometimes I’m a bit slow moving the day after I take Adderall, but if I make something out of my day instead of sleeping, I usually feel better.
5. Supplements – Some people swear by l-tyrosine to help sustain energy and avoid the lethargy that comes with a crash. Others claim that Magnesium supplementation helps with certain aspects of the crash. Other people resort to other stimulants like caffeine to help them stay energized and avoid a crash. Read the article 10 Adderall alternatives for ADHD if you want some additional advice.
If your crash is very strong, it may be advisable to talk to someone about it and come up with some more options to help minimize the effects. If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms it may be a good idea to consider switching medication or even stopping medication altogether.