Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, Causes and Treatment
- Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
- Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
- Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms
- Treatment and Recovery
- Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
- Help Someone Through Withdrawal
What is Adderall Withdrawal? Are There Withdrawals from Adderall Use?Adderall withdrawal can be both an acute and prolonged process.
Typically, the longer Adderall has been abused and the greater the amount taken, the more difficult withdrawal can be.
Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
People who abuse Adderall often do so to enhance areas of personal functioning or to cope with life’s demands and stressors.
The frequency of use contributes to withdrawal difficulty with more frequent use causing more discomfort when Adderall is discontinued.
Some of the distress in Adderall withdrawal is psychological. People who abuse Adderall often do so to enhance areas of personal functioning or to cope with life’s demands and stressors.
Feelings of social awkwardness or performance anxiety, for example, can be temporarily ‘overcome’ with Adderall abuse, or intoxication can seem to decrease one’s usual poor motivation and passivity.
Adderall can also help compensate for the lack of rest, alertness and concentration. When the intoxication of Adderall is no longer available, people who have sought its effects to cope are at risk for relapse unless these related issues are addressed.
Physiologically, the reward system of the brain is severely affected by Adderall abuse and withdrawal.
Adderall abuse floods the brain with high levels of 'feel good' chemicals:
With discontinued use, their production is below normal due to the overworked reward system.
This creates feelings of:
- Low energy.
- Lack of pleasure.
- Body aches and pains.
Some have a protracted withdrawal that can cause such symptoms over many months until brain functioning improves.
Protracted withdrawal symptoms, particularly the lack of pleasure, create a high relapse potential.
Keep in mind that several factors will determine the best course of action. These include the severity of use and length of time used, physical and mental health considerations and the intensity of support needed to be successful in recovery attempts.
Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
The withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, depression and social withdrawal as opposed to high energy, elevated mood, gregariousness, and talkativeness, for example.
A general guideline is that symptoms appear within a few hours after a regular dose is missed. Some, with less severe abuse, may not feel withdrawal symptoms for a day or two after discontinuing use.
Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms
Some Adderall abusers are at particular risk for withdrawal complications due to long-term and heavy use, as well as co-occurring physical and mental health conditions.
Adderall abuse, for example, can cause:
- High blood pressure.
- Heart arrhythmia.
- Cardiac arrest.
The health of those with already existing cardiac problems can be especially compromised, leading to potentially life-threatening complications.
Withdrawal can also cause a psychiatric emergency. For example, a co-existing depression can deepen and lead to suicidal thinking and consequent attempts.
Psychiatric symptoms like severe depression, psychosis, and potential for harm to self and others, can occur even in those who do not have a freestanding psychiatric disorder.
Treatment and Recovery
Adderall withdrawal is not the same for everyone and treatment during withdrawal can vary. For those with health problems specific to Adderall abuse such as hypertension and heart problems, medical supervision and monitoring is important.
Similarly, those with psychiatric symptoms such as delirium, psychosis, suicidal ideation and combativeness require a safe, therapeutic environment where symptoms can be monitored and stabilized.
Some may consequently need several caregivers or progress through stages of withdrawal treatment
For example, compromised physical health may require medical hospitalization or serious psychiatric symptoms may require a dual diagnosis program where symptoms can be managed while withdrawal occurs.
The prospect of withdrawal can be frightening, and some want to leave treatment before the withdrawal is complete.
Supportive therapy can help identify methods of coping and provide opportunities to process strong feelings, fears and anxieties.
Professional support can also help a person deal with an emotionally upsetting situation appropriately.
Additionally, support professionals can help identify strengths and resources available to those in the withdrawal process that will mobilize hope for recovery and the willingness to complete the withdrawal process.
Supportive therapies are the mainstays of withdrawal treatment. These include:
- Individual counseling.
- Group counseling.
- Self-help groups.
Together they address a wide range of concerns such as:
- Withdrawal symptom management.
- The nature of Adderall addiction.
- The withdrawal process.
- Emotional and psychological issues arising during withdrawal.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
Help Someone Through Withdrawal
Discontinuing Adderall can cause mild, moderate or severe reactions. If you or a loved one has been abusing Adderall, the safest course of action is to proceed with medical advice.
It is important to report accurate information about:
- The amounts used.
- The method of use.
- The period of abuse.
- Any symptoms that are experienced.
If feelings of suicide, thoughts of harming others, or any actions that indicate these occur, immediate emergency assistance should be sought through 911 or presentation at a hospital emergency room.
Also, any unusual reactions warrant immediate medical attention, such as:
- Difficulty communicating, breathing, responding or moving.
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