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Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) is a psychostimulant drug that is used primarily to treat ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) as well as narcolepsy. It is also used to treat conditions such as: chronic fatigue and in some cases is used as an antidepressant augmentation strategy. With this particular drug, there is high potential for dependency and thus it is quite often abused and used for off-label purposes – it is considered a “Schedule II” substance in the United States.

Many college students take Adderall as a “smart drug” to help them cram for a test and improve academic performance. Others take this drug recreationally for a boosted mood and to “get high.” Although many people have concerns about taking Adderall, it is one of the most studied and well documented drugs on the market. It has been in the pharmaceutical industry for a long time and generally is pretty well-tolerated.

There are no documented negative long term effects associated with this drug if used for its intended purpose. Despite the fact that many consider this drug a lifesaver for treating symptoms of ADHD, many people that take it end up eventually going through a withdrawal period. The withdrawal period can be difficult to cope with if you do not know what to expect. Most people experience a major “crash” which is accompanied by feelings of fatigue, concentration problems, and mood swings.

Factors that influence Adderall withdrawal include

There are various factors that influence a person’s withdrawal from Adderall. These include things like: how long the person took the drug, the frequency at which it was taken, the dosage, tolerance, and whether the individual withdrew “cold turkey” or via gradual taper. Individual physiology, social support, and environmental factors are also thought to play a role in expediting recovery.

1. Time Span

How long did you take Adderall? Was it over a period of a few months or have you been on the drug for years? Individuals that have been on it for years likely have a greater tolerance and dependence upon this drug for everyday functioning in comparison to people who have been on it for a month or two. In general, the longer you are on amphetamines, the more difficult the withdrawal is thought to be.

2. Frequency

How often did you take Adderall? Was it on a daily basis? Was it a few times a day? Most people take a dose that is therapeutic, but some people abuse this drug and are on such a high dose, that they remain strung out and “high” all the time. People that abuse the drug and take it with greater frequency are going to have more difficulties coping without it.

3. Dosage (5 mg – 60 mg) + Subtype

Dosage: The dose of the drug can play a role in determining the severity of withdrawal symptoms. When you are on a higher dose, your brain is essentially using up more dopamine. Some would argue that consistently using the drug at higher doses could end up lowering dopamine levels in the long term so that they are below the “baseline” level at which you started the medication. Although this is up for debate, people that are taking high doses tend to have a tougher time stopping the drug – especially if they are using it for things other than treating ADHD. Most people take between 5 mg and 60 mg to treat their ADHD, but some find a dose higher than 60 mg to be effective.

Subtype: There are two types of Adderall that people take: IR (immediate release) and XR (extended release). The immediate release is effective for a short duration of time, while the extended release version works for a longer “extended” period of time. It is thought that if you are simply taking the IR on an “as-needed” basis, the withdrawal shouldn’t be as debilitating because there are intervals at which you do not take the drug. Someone who takes the XR version every day without major drug-free intervals may have a more difficult time coming off of Adderall.

4. Tolerance

It is pretty easy to build up a tolerance to the amphetamine class of drugs – Adderall is no different. For some people when they take the drug, they feel euphoric for the first few days or weeks, but this feeling fades. If you are using the drug for other than its primary intention – to treat ADHD, you may try to continuously increase the dose to chase the “high” that you enjoy.

Individuals that are simply treating their attention-deficit symptoms usually are able to stay at a particular dose without chasing a “high.” Although not everyone develops a tolerance to this drug, many people do – which is why they take “holidays” or stop taking the drug for a certain period of time to reset their tolerance.

5. Cold turkey vs. Tapering

Despite the fact that there are many people that quit Adderall at high doses “cold turkey” with no reported effects, there are others that really struggle. It is never recommended to quit “cold turkey” because there is really no need. If you suddenly stop taking Adderall from a high dose without gradually tapering off of the drug, you may experience extreme depression, paranoia, and schizophrenia-like symptoms.

There are also some major health risks associated with stopping “cold turkey” including: seizures, cardiac arrest, and psychosis. Take the time to work with a professional and conduct a gradual taper. By gradually “weaning” off of the drug, it is thought that you can minimize most of the withdrawal symptoms.

6. Physiology

Believe it or not, there are individuals that have taken Adderall for their ADHD for years at a pretty high dose (every single day) and they experience zero withdrawal symptoms. There are others who experience such a crushing withdrawal that they have a difficult time quitting the drug. There are others who experience symptoms for a short duration, but eventually return to their normal state of functioning.

Your individual physiology will play a huge role in your ability to withdraw from this particular drug. Most people that have ADHD and non-addictive personalities tend to have a relatively easy time quitting Adderall. People that have addictive personalities and that take Adderall for its non-intended purposes are thought to have a more difficult time coping with the withdrawal symptoms.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Everyone’s experience regarding Adderall withdrawal is going to be different. Therefore it is impossible to say that you will experience all of the symptoms listed below. These are merely a collective of all the “common” symptoms that have been reported upon withdrawal. Keep these in mind as you go through with your withdrawal process.

  • Anger: Many people experience extreme anger when they quit taking Adderall. This drug helps people keep their cool and maintain self-control by stimulating activity in the frontal lobes. When people quit the drug, they do not have the same level of self-control and are prone to bouts of anger.
  • Anxiety: The anxiety that you experience when quitting Adderall may be pretty extreme. Some actually take Adderall for anxiety disorders because it can help treat them. A lot of people notice that they are extremely anxious and nervous for no reason when they come off of this drug. That’s because dopamine can play a role in helping regulate anxiety-responses in the brain.
  • Appetite changes: Most people notice that when they quit Adderall, they have an increased appetite. You may become very hungry and start eating significantly more than you did on the drug. This is because amphetamines naturally curb our hunger – coming off of them may lead you to feeling very hungry.
  • Can’t concentrate: All of a sudden you can’t concentrate and your ADHD is way worse than before you took the medication. This is because you took a drug which may have used up some of your dopamine stores. It may take awhile before your natural levels of concentration return to normal, but your dopamine will eventually restore itself.
  • Cravings: Some people experience pretty intense cravings for Adderall within the first couple weeks of quitting. This drug is addictive to some people and the cravings can be tough to cope with – especially if you were taking Adderall for non-medical purposes. Know that these cravings will gradually diminish.
  • Crying spells: There are cases of individuals that become so depressed that they start crying for no reason. If you experience crying spells because you feel so depressed, take a second to realize that it is mostly due to the fact that your brain is trying to restore homeostatic activity and replenish its neurotransmitters.
  • Depression: One very common symptom that people experience when they quit Adderall is that of depression. The depression may be more extreme than you have ever experienced in your life. This is thought to be a result of having lowered levels of dopamine in the brain. Additionally some people become depressed because they no longer have the energy, quick-wit, and mental spark that Adderall provided. Certain individuals actually take Adderall for treatment-resistant depression because it works so well. It is natural to feel depressed when you stop this medication.
  • Dizziness: A common withdrawal symptom is that of dizziness. You may feel dizzy when you first quit, but this usually goes away within a few days. If you are feeling especially dizzy, you may want to conduct a more gradual taper.
  • Fatigue: Adderall gives most people plenty of energy to complete tasks and function at peak performance. When you take the drug away, many people become extremely fatigued and unable to get out of bed. This may seem similar to “chronic fatigue” but usually this subsides within a few weeks. Even if the fatigue lasts a few months, just know that you’ll eventually restore your natural energy levels.
  • Foggy thinking: It is very normal to experience “foggy” thinking or “brain fog” when coming off of this medication. This is accompanied by feeling physically lazy and lethargic so it makes for a tough combo to deal with.
  • Headaches: It is common for people to experience headaches when they quit this drug. Some people report migraines, but usually the headaches are relatively minor. If they are really bothersome, make sure you buy some headache relief.
  • Irritability: Most people report feeling a little bit irritable and grumpy when they first quit. If you find yourself snapping or getting excessively antisocial, try to recognize that it’s part of withdrawal.
  • Laziness: Most people report that they become lazy slugs when they first quit Adderall. This is because they are no longer receiving stimulation from the drug. Their body and brain is trying to get used to functioning without the drug. You may feel extremely lazy and little tasks around the house may seem like a huge deal.
  • Mood swings: There is no telling what your mood may be when you quit this drug. One minute you may feel good about the way withdrawal is going, the next you may feel extremely depressed. The mood swings that you experience should die down after a few weeks.
  • Nausea: Some people experience nausea to an extreme. They may end up vomiting as well if it becomes too powerful.
  • Panic attacks: As was already mentioned, a person may experience debilitating anxiety for awhile when they quit this drug. This may lead to a person experiencing major panic attacks at uncontrollable times. In order to cope with any “panic” work on relaxing yourself naturally with deep breathing and plenty of exercise.
  • Psychosis: There is evidence that abrupt discontinuation of amphetamines can yield psychotic symptoms. This is a result of dopamine receptors being abnormally stimulated. Amphetamine withdrawal psychosis will gradually subside, but may be difficult to deal with. Recognize that you are not crazy or becoming schizophrenic – it is a withdrawal sypmtom.
  • Sleep changes: It is obvious that most people are going to sleep for longer periods of time when they first quit the drug. This is because they have no energy and desire to stay awake throughout the day. The body and brain are trying to reset themselves without energy and stimulation from the drug. Your sleep cycle may be thrown off for a period of time, but it will eventually normalize.
  • Suicidal thoughts: Many people become suicidal when they stop Adderall. Although it is undocumented and unreported, the depression can become very difficult for certain individuals to deal with. Many people think that the depression that they are experience upon quitting is permanent – so they become suicidal. If you are suicidal, try to view your situation from the perspective that it is merely a withdrawal symptom – you will eventually feel better. If you are having a tough time coping, get yourself into a professional therapist.
  • Tiredness: Many people have a difficult time coping with the extreme tiredness that they experience when first quitting Adderall. It may persist for days and you may feel like sleeping all the time. Do your best to push through this “tiredness” to stay productive, but also make sure you are getting plenty of sleep at night – sleep at proper times helps restore your brain.
  • Vivid dreams: Many people report having “crazy” dreams and/or extremely vivid dreams. No you are not possessed by a demon, you are going through withdrawal.
  • Weight gain: Some people pack on some weight after they quit Adderall. This is because their appetite comes back in full swing and their metabolism slows down to their natural baseline.

My Experience Taking Adderall

I was prescribed Adderall to help with slowed cognition. I took a computerized test and honestly tried my best to do as well as I could on the testing. My psychiatrist noted that certain aspects of the test were normal, while others appeared to be slower than average. In one area I was pretty significantly slower than I should be and therefore he discussed Adderall. I was prescribed this medication to help with the slowed cognition that I was experiencing as a result of depression.

I was instructed to take it daily for maximum benefit, but I have since found that taking it “as needed” works better for me. In my experience, I typically use the lowest dose that I can get away with for maximum benefit. In other words, I use a dose that gives me therapeutic benefit without taking any more than is necessary for me. I have found that lower (than recommended) doses actually are quite effective if you don’t have much of a tolerance.

I have noted that I experience what is commonly referred to as an “Adderall Crash.” I have highlighted what you may experience when you initially stop taking this medication as well as what you can do about it. Just know that the “crash” eventually goes away and the extreme fatigue and foggy thinking will go away.

How long does Adderall withdrawal last?

The amount of time that it takes you to withdraw from Adderall will vary depending on your situation. If you are taking the drug “as-needed” to help treat ADHD symptoms, you may not even notice a withdrawal. If you have built up a tolerance to the drug and are using it for purposes other than ADHD, you may experience a more debilitating withdrawal. At the end of the day, the withdrawal timeline will be different for everyone.

If you were taking a relatively high dose for an extended period of time, it is likely that you are going to experience some withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may be intense for a few days or a few weeks, but may last a few months. Some individuals have reported that it took them nearly a full year to fully “recover” psychologically from Adderall withdrawal. A good rule of thumb to follow is a withdrawal period of 90 days.

Most people will be feeling better within the first 3 months of functioning without the drug. If you take the time to properly taper down your dose, the withdrawal should be even easier for you. In the meantime, your goal should be to manage life to the best of your ability and force yourself to engage in healthy activities to rebuild your dopamine stores. When you stop using Adderall, some hypothesize that your dopamine levels are lower than before you started the drug.

Even if your dopamine stores are “lower” like some hypothesize, it’s not anything to freak out over – you will recover in time. If you have had a crazy experience with Adderall withdrawal or would just like to share how coming off this drug felt for you, please do so in the comments section below. It is nice to get a variety of perspectives on how withdrawal felt, how long it lasted, and what works to help ease various withdrawal symptoms.

If you are starting your own withdrawal, try not to read too in-depth into other people’s experiences and just focus on what you can do to speed up recovery.  Oh and if you are looking for some alternative treatment options, you may want to check out the article I wrote called “10 Best Adderall Alternatives.”

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{ 206 comments… add one }
  • Katie April 11, 2018, 9:52 pm

    I have been on and off adderall since 17. I’m now 38. I was on IR 20mg prior to my first 3 pregnancies. I just quit taking it when I suspected I was pregnant, no big deal, maybe a bit tired for a few days, but what pregnant woman isn’t? After I was done nursing my 3rd and had better insurance my doctor prescribed XR 30mg.

    I noticed far fewer side effects and was able to just take one pill and not worry about taking a second dose. My fourth pregnancy was unexpected and came 7 years after my husband’s vasectomy, I was woefully unprepared for the misery that came with quitting. I also had serious pre eclampsia, so maybe that was why I felt so horrible for the whole 9 months.

    If only I had just stayed off, but work wasn’t optional. Funny how the psychiatrists did such a great job of convincing me that it was needed for school and work. I know better now. A few years back I was finally at a point where I didn’t need to work, I wasn’t in school, and I figured I didn’t need it anymore so I didn’t fill my prescription.

    All I really noticed was that I was more tired than normal, my whole body felt heavy, I didn’t feel different in any other way or like my brain had changed, just physically tired. I went 5 days, but it isn’t the withdrawal so much that got me. An acute sudden flare of my Crohn’s disease hit. It hit hard. My doctor said withdrawal may have been enough of a shock to my body to cause it and told me to get back on it and taper off when I felt better.

    I went back on it. I am just now feeling better physically. Between the disease itself and real side effects of steroid megadoses that almost cost me my life, there was little time to think about much more than survival. Again I find myself wanting off and have decided now is as good of time as any, but I’m doing a taper this time. I don’t care if it takes a year.

    I would go cold turkey if I weren’t afraid of triggering the Chron’s again. I think it’s like ripping a bandaid off versus slowly pulling it off. I asked to be switched to IR for purposes of tapering. Hoping to get away with 5mg reductions every 2-4 weeks down to 5mg and cutting it in half or completely out from there.

    I know corticosteroids are vastly different, but the 5mg reductions down to a 5mg dose and then a 2.5mg dose seem much better than just going down to 0 after getting to a dose of 5mg. I have the luxury of being able to stay in bed all day if I need to, not that I enjoy it since I finally feel physically better and don’t want to waste time that I’m not sick, but I want off it before I’m 40.

  • Carol February 9, 2018, 6:43 am

    Hi, my dr. gave me Adderall in 2014, now he retired and no other dr. will give it to me. I was prescribed 3-30 mg. a day but only took 2. I want to taper off so I’m at 1-1/2 a day. I am also tapering my Valium from 1-10 mg. at night to sleep.

    I stopped it cold turkey but am getting NO SLEEP, MIGRAINES so I read I need to taper so I need to find out how much. In essence I NEED TO HAVE A SCHEDULE of how I should taper off on both medications, seeing I cannot find a dr. who will help me, I’ve come to this site. I HOPE. YOU WILL HELP ME, I don’t know how to taper down on these 2 drugs. Please Help Me. Thank you.

  • Adam December 29, 2017, 11:06 am

    Ok well I’m not going to say quitting adderall is easy, but COME ON! It’s no where near as bad as some people make it out to be! Yeah you will be more tired than when you were on the drug, and you will be as easily irritated as someone that just quit smoking cigarettes, but it’s still not THAT bad.

    You will absolutely be hungrier, more emotional, and want to snap at some people, but just catch yourself and go for a walk or alone to a room or something until you calm down. Yes, you will want to sleep more, but if you end up sleeping longer than 12 hours, you’re honestly probably not trying much at all and probably depended on the drug to give you that “wired” and ready to go feeling to do anything waaay too much.

    Coffee helps. Don’t over do it though, because caffeine withdrawals are different and make you REALLY irritated. My tips: coffee to get you started in the morning, maybe another early in the afternoon, one 30 minute midday nap, and EXERCISE! Seriously, if you exercise right when u wake up, you WILL feel much more awake and ready to go.

    If you can’t exercise in the morning, at least do it at night. The first week of quitting is the worst, that’s when you’ll feel the most depressed and irritated, but like I said, EXERCISING REALLY REALLY HELPS! Like I said it’s not fun nor easy, but my point is, if you actually put in some effort and ESPECIALLY exercise (and maybe have some coffee and nap once a day), it’s really not that bad.

  • Joshua April 12, 2017, 1:41 pm

    I am a teacher. I have been taking adderall or vyvanse for over 10 years. I finally decided to stop taking it due to the side effects (feeling overwhelmed, high levels of stressed, anger/rage episodes). But boy, this withdrawal period sucks hard. It has been 30 days since my last dose. I feel so tired all the time, and I am always hungry.

    It almost feels like I have been living in zero gravity for 10 years and now I feel the effects of gravity on my body again. It is so hard to get motivated to do anything. Really ready for this to stop. It has been so hard to be an effective teacher without taking those meds.

    • Jeannie Jefferies February 21, 2018, 12:17 am

      It has been almost a year since your post. Did you get back on the add Rx? Or are you off successfully? I’m a month off vyvanse after 10 years and I’m so tired.

  • Caitlin B March 12, 2017, 7:14 pm

    I have been on adderall since I was eighteen. I am now twenty-six and have had thoughts of coming off of my adderall. I was prescribed adderall for my attention span or lack thereof. Now I didn’t take it consecutively all those years, I did quit for about seven months. Since I quit I’ve been on it everyday for almost six years.

    I’ve become so dependent on it that I can feel both the physical and mental effects it has on me. I take two pills a day, one XR 30mg and one 20mg quick release. On days I know I’ll be dragging I’ll end up taking one XR and two IRs, which is rare and only happens once in a blue moon. I am tired of relying on these pills to help me with my everyday life.

    I just want to be able to live on my own. When I have my daily crash I just get fatigued and want to fall asleep. On days I don’t work or have any plans I will usually only take one XR (30mg) or two IRs (40mg). On the days I don’t take an XR I get EXTREME fatigue. I am terrified to see how I’ll be when I actually come off of this.

    I already deal with a little bit of anxiety, and irritability. My heart palpitates but only once in a blue moon. I’ve struggled with clinical depression in the past and thankfully have had no other mental illness. What scares me the most is the rumors about how long it takes your brain to develop dopamine on its own again.

    I’m scared to see the person I will become, the way the withdrawal symptoms will make me act and terrified to push away friends and family members during the difficult time. I would love to hear of recommendations if any, that could help with withdrawal. Maybe some natural supplements, vitamins, coping methods, anything to help ease my fear of this.

    I’ve cried to my mother many nights about me wanting to come off my adderall but how terrified I am of what will happen. I would appreciate any tips, kind words any of you have to share with me. I would even love to hear of your stories coming off of your medications. It would mean a lot… -terrified.

  • laura February 2, 2017, 7:35 pm

    Have just been reading all of your comments after researching “how do you feel after discontinuing adderall”. I have taken adderall XR for probably 5-7 yrs, just 10mg every day and no higher. I have been functioning fine on adderall all these years and have experienced greater productivity esp at home, more energy, sharper wit and greater overall well-being.

    Adderall XR was prescribed for me after I complained to my psychiatrist that I just wasn’t sharp anymore, had projects started all over the house but nothing finished, felt tired all the time, etc. The first day I took it was like the best day of my life – worked out, dressed and ran errands, came home and cleaned up some of the clutter, etc. etc.

    All was good, and all has been good with the exception of being able to get prescriptions monthly from my psychiatrist without running out of meds. This has become a bigger problem lately and I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms more often from abruptly stopping the drug – not intentionally, just as a matter of logistically picking up the Rx, getting it to the pharmacy, availability of the doctor to write the prescription monthly, and whether or not the drug is in stock at the pharmacy.

    It’s usually a few days’ worth of work because I only see a psychiatrist every 3 months for med management so I have to pick up the rx from the office every month. Over Christmas, I was without a Rx for several days due to miscommunication with my doctor and lack of availability at the pharmacy.

    I experienced full-on withdrawal symptoms – crying, irritable, sleepy, complete lack of motivation, yelling at my kids, angry at the doctor, etc. By the time I realized what was going on, I was probably a week or longer into withdrawals and had started to settle down a bit. It was then that I decided that taking this med just wasn’t worth it to me anymore.

    I don’t want to be stressed about getting a Rx before I run out, being able to get it filled, and taking a chance on having withdrawal symptoms. I have decided not to go back on the drug if I can make it through the withdrawal period. Even though I’ve been on a minimal dose, I have taken the drug daily for several years which is probably why clearing up is taking so long.

    I also have depression and have taken two meds for over 25 years which has treated my depression very well. Thank God for that because the depression I feel now would probably be much worse. I’m about 5 weeks into withdrawal (took it the last time before January) and I am still un-motivated, unbelievably tired, foggy, isolated and missing the energy I had before.

    I’m spending my time on the couch in front of the TV which I have never done in my life. I have teenage kids at home so I nap while they’re at school because I’m embarrassed to be in bed or on the couch when they come home. This week I have forced myself to go to the gym every other day and I have been making lists of projects to get done within a week’s time, not a day’s time.

    I’m guessing I’m in the thick of it all right now and I am hopeful that I will turn the corner in the next week or so. I hope I don’t cave and start taking it again just so I won’t be miserable. I’ve never been addicted to anything, other than coffee (maybe) and I don’t like to think that I’m addicted to this, but I guess I am.

    Better to be clean for awhile and see how it goes. Best of luck to everyone going through the same thing. It’s rough.

    • Sam February 23, 2018, 8:42 am

      This breaks my heart hon, you are going to be great. I know it’s miserable. It’s disorienting, and the sneaky awful part about it is that some of us really dislike ourselves during this period, and during the time that we are on medication.

      Haha! My mom used to jump up from the couch when my brother and I came home as kids. If they are like we were, I really doubt your kids would even notice. Anyway. I have full confidence in you, because it sounds like your heart is in the right place.

      I can tell your a good mom. Also, haha, I know it doesn’t seem this way, but you are on a very low dosage. 2 years isn’t enough time to build up a harrowing, nightmare tolerance, I promise. You’re in the worst of it now, and it’ll only get better if you keep going. I’m proud of you. Sam

  • Steve January 4, 2017, 9:29 pm

    I too, have been on and off adderall a couple of times. Most recently I stopped cold turkey on 20 mg. IR, 3x day. The crash sucks for sure. I quit because I noticed the benefits were no longer out weighing the side effects.

    No longer was helping with my ADD related concentration issues, in fact started to do the opposite, mild confusion at times, and increasing irritability. Anyhow, ask your P Dr. for a low dosage of Klonopin or Xanax to get you through the withdrawals. It’s a big help.

  • Eliz December 15, 2016, 4:34 am

    I am over 50. I was on a low dose of 10 MG a day for over a year. I thought I was accomplishing things but I was not. It was a false reality. I lost control inside. Became a mean, self-absorbed, angry person. I knew it but couldn’t control it. I told my family for several months something was wrong but couldn’t figure it out.

    I read on the ‘crash” in this article. I got off the med. Doing so saved my life and marriage. I was going to walk away from everything. At first after stopping Adderall I was very tired, then into scared I would go crazy, to over reactive for 6 weeks. Now at 2 months off I am back to me… almost.

    I was on a low dose, those on more will likely take much longer. It took another family member who is ADD to wake me up. Not once did my Dr suggest it could be the med – even when for several visits I talked about the great anger I was having. For me it almost destroyed me, I was done being.

  • John October 26, 2016, 6:47 am

    Hey all. I’ve been seriously abusing my adderall prescription for nearly 2 years now. I was prescribed it 4 years ago, and as time went by I was able to get my doctor to up the dosage. I started out on 10 mg once a day and now I am at 30 mg twice a day. I eventually started seriously abusing it by taking way to much at once and then get extremely interested in doing something entertaining by myself.

    Now I am at the point where I often go on binges where I am up for 2 or 3 days straight taking it. I used to be able to be I guess what you would call a “functioning adderall abuser” but now that I am about to enter the real world, so to speak, I have realized that this habit is not sustainable now that I have graduated. I don’t know whether I should start tapering my dosage or go cold turkey.

    When I do run out and have none left and am waiting to refill my next prescription I am COMPLETELY useless and don’t do anything except watch TV or play video games. I think I might be pretty screwed because I think this habit has given me a pretty severe anxiety disorder.

  • Verena Nelson October 14, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I have been off Adderall for about 5 months. I was on XR – 20 mg for maybe 5-6 years, and had been on other ADHD meds before that on an off, concerta, strattera. I tapered 5 mg/3 months at a time. The last step from 5mg to nothing was the hardest, and brought unexpected challenges, and I am still dealing with the after effects.

    I don’t know how normal this is, I have looked seemingly everywhere and haven’t found much information. Mental fog, confusion, depression, constantly hungry, noticable and very challenging loss of impulse control. I am still constantly hungry, and seem to crave much more food than my body needs – based on the fact that I am still gaining weight. The other symptoms have become manageable, I feel less foggy or at least like I have adjusted to it at this point.

    I struggled quite a bit with binge eating before Adderall and I thought it way behind me, now I am having issues with it again. Overall I feel fine other than constantly craving food and feeling depressed with my continuous weight gain and feeling a loss of control/poor self esteem due to that. It’s so bad that I am actually considering going back on Adderall now.

    I wish I could find some information/timelines of people’s long term adjustment after Adderall- after 5 months I am feeling more than a little frustrated that I still haven’t leveled out and continue to gain weight.

  • Keri Ann October 12, 2016, 5:14 pm

    In all honesty, I never knew that Adderall withdrawal existed, which is especially crazy when you know my story. I’ll do my best to give a brief nutshell, because I don’t want a bunch of people to be scared off from taking their medicine or even from just trying it solely for fear of withdrawal.
    Ok! So about 10 years ago, I was a chronic recreational user of Adderall and the like.

    I was typically dosing at minimum 60mg multiple times a day, most days of the week for a good 2 years straight. I eventually got tired of never being able to eat or sleep and looking and feeling like poop every day, so I just stopped taking it. Now, I’ve gone through extreme opiate withdrawal and minor/moderate alcohol DTs, and I remember each and every time VERY vividly in my mind, but I certainly did not go through any sort of withdrawal when I quit Adderall.

    Perhaps it’s because I am always agitated, depressed, and tired (lol) that I did have some sort of minor withdrawal, but I didn’t notice anything awful. Having said that, I know people that have gone on heroin binges for months and never have to feel the crippling pain of withdrawal. Please, be mindful of what you take and what you do. All substances, prescribed or not, come with side effects and risks; use with caution and keep all possibilities in the back of your mind at all times!

  • Mike August 29, 2016, 10:19 am

    To all going through Adderall withdrawal I want you to hear from someone recovered from possibly the most grueling withdrawal experience imaginable! Firstly, I swear this is a 100% true first hand experience. Secondly, sorry for the lengthy post but I feel it’s worth the read if you are really struggling

    DOSAGES/FREQUENCY:
    I abused a combination of Adderall and MDMA (ecstasy) for about 8 months with such massive doses as 260mg Adderall in a single day. With tolerance build up towards the end of a multi-day binge I sometimes would take up to 1.3 GRAMS of MDMA in a single DOSE! I even survived a 900mg OVERDOSE of MDMA at one point (for those unfamiliar, Ecstasy tolerance about doubles with consecutive dosing in a single day. It also tapers back down after only a day or two of abstinence). I was binging on both substances intermittently and sometimes mixed the two. Never was I more than 4 days sober.

    INITIAL WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:
    I know now that I was stupid for all that I did back then and still notice a change in myself from who I was before. It has now been a little over 3 years since my last time using. When I quit cold turkey the first 3 months were hell. I had random rolling black outs lasting anywhere from 1-6 hours where I would do things and have no recollection of doing them, often followed by “naps” lasting up to 8 hours.

    I was sleeping anywhere from 2-22 hours a day (A major point not touched on in this post is the periods of insomnia intermixed with hypersomnia). This early withdrawal phase took away everything; my girlfriend, my job, my house and car and almost left me on the streets and dead (thank God for my miraculously forgiving parents).

    PROLONGED SYMPTOMS:
    After the 3 months I stabilized to a consistent mid-grade depression and constant need for 12 hours of sleep. I was able to find a job ( that I still hold to this day and love :-D) that consumed all of my time awake. Over the next 6 months symptoms gradually tapered VERY slowwwwlyyyy. But ultimately, it was the 1 year mark that I realized I was a functioning human again.

    Permanent Symptoms:
    *I should note here that I attribute most of my depression and permanent emotional changes to the MDMA more than the Adderall though, both are amphetamines and neither substance is truly innocent*

    To this day I now suffer from what is called dysphoria. Basically I’m not depressed but nothing gets me very excited or brings joy to me. This makes it hard to motivate myself. I rarely have uncontrolled crying fits (maybe 1 episode lasting 5min or less every three months). It is virtually impossible to wake me from a sleep and I still need about 12hours per sleep. Due to my job working in a restaurant sometimes until 10pm other times until 4am I still do not have a regular circadian rhythm but I do not attribute this to my drug history.

    RECOVERY/REFLECTIONS:

    I have learned to live with my scars now and am always improving myself and my attitude. I learned two things from my ordeal that fuel me and motivate me every day now.

    1) that one days I was able to move or do any kind of physical effort I felt infinitely better if even for short bursts. One time I couldn’t sleep and an infomercial for P90x workout was on so I decided to exercise along, even though sitting made me dizzy. After a 4 hour recovery nap from the grueling exercise I felt completely normal and slept normal and everything for 4 whole days!

    2) The hardest part from my experience was the depression and suicidal thoughts thinking of myself as such a failure and worthless drug addict literally spending months stuck in bed with these thoughts. What kept me going was one alternative thought. When I imagined my own suicide I thought of all the people I would hurt and all they would go through financial hardships, grief, and lessons I might never teach them. Even though the idea of not existing comforted me, I decided it is not fair and insanely selfish of me to ever do such a thing. No matter who you are, who you’ve pissed off or how many people have cut ties with you, your death will always have repercussions with those left behind.

    I love you all and wish you the best in your recovery, M.T.W.

  • Dan August 28, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Didn’t Shire Pharmaceuticals spend a ton of money to prove that amphetamines are not dependence-forming? It’s certain that they are habit-forming, but the studies are pretty clear that amphetamine does not build tolerance or dependency unless the amount being taken is very high, tweaker-level dosages.

  • Dave August 23, 2016, 6:07 am

    Hey there. I’ve been struggling with abusing my prescription for a long time now. I’m at the point where I use it up within a week and a half, then go without after. I’ve gone as long as a month without it and almost all the side effects noted above I have. I am seeing my doctor tomorrow. The best thing for me is to slowly taper off over several months: she knows my issue with this and this is her opinion.

    My problem is the fear I won’t be able to do that alone. I live alone, have had friends dose me out daily, but I’ve kind of used up that resource. I can’t afford to go “cold turkey,” I’ve turned down jobs because of it, and money is really bad right now. I’m trying to figure out how to do this. Are there out-patient repositories that will dose you out daily?

    I can’t ask my friends to do this over several months. They are tapped. I’m tapped. I’ve had intense mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. I know that I can learn to function without it. It’s just that, for me, the withdrawal symptoms will probably last a long time if cold turkey. What do I do?

    • Dan August 28, 2016, 4:25 pm

      I have quit both adderall and dexedrine cold turkey, several times. I always find that I feel totally normal after a couple good nights of sleep and a few big meals. The only thing that needed to be adapted to was learning to portion meals and avoid sweets and snacks that give quick dopamine highs, because I would eat a ton of them.

      Also, I’m more paranoid than I was before before the amphetamine use, but it’s pretty easy to get over that stuff with cognitive behavior techniques. If you really know you’ll be able to handle work/school/home/etc, just stop taking it and you’ll probably be fine. I actually improved in a lot of ways at work after I stopped taking it.

  • Oliver August 15, 2016, 8:44 am

    I am a few days into having quit after tapering down quite slowly to almost nothing… I have also quit drinking. I had been taking micro doses of IR generic along with l-tyrosine and a few other supplements to help me with my dopamine levels. I have experienced a bizarre roller coaster of moods. Sometimes euphoric, but mostly terrible.

    Anyhow, I am currently in the midst of a bout of mania… like negative anxiety ridden irrational mania… the likes of which I am completely not used to. I feel downright speedy… and I never felt speedy while taking Adderall. I had to quit my meds because I can’t afford my doctor so quitting with his assistance is not really an option, and I am pretty sure that finding another doctor willing to treat Adult ADD is downright impossible.

    I have felt very speedy, negative, irrational, all kinds of stuff like that… when not feeling depressed, inert and useless.

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