Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy, a daytime sleeping disorder.[1] However, when taken for extended periods or in higher doses than prescribed, Adderall can be habit-forming and addictive.

Adderall misuse is highest among young adults ages 18 to 25 years old.[2] In 2021, about 3.7 million people reported abusing central nervous system stimulants like Adderall.[3]

People who abruptly quit using Adderall may experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms. This article will discuss Adderall withdrawal. You will learn:

  • What causes withdrawal
  • How long Adderall withdrawal lasts
  • The symptoms of withdrawal
  • How to prevent or cope with the symptoms

If you or someone you love are struggling with Adderall addiction, please contact First Step Behavioral Health today to learn about your treatment options.

What Causes Adderall Withdrawal? Understanding Drug Dependence

Many drugs, including Adderall, can be habit-forming–even when taken as directed. Anyone who takes Adderall for extended periods is susceptible to becoming physically dependent on the drug. Physical dependence occurs when the body has adjusted to having Adderall in the system and relies on it to feel normal.

People often take Adderall to help them concentrate or have more energy. However, when they stop taking the drug after becoming physically dependent, they often find they can’t think clearly or have difficulty focusing. These are tell-tale signs of withdrawal.

Withdrawal is the body’s reaction to trying to recalibrate itself to function normally without the drug. It can be different for everyone in terms of duration and severity, but in all situations, it is helpful to have professional medical guidance.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can vary based on factors such as the dosage, duration of use, frequency of use, and overall health. Common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:[4]

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Oversleeping
  • Restless sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mental fog
  • Speaking slowly
  • Slowed movements and reflexes
  • Cravings for Adderall
  • Suicidal thoughts

Adderall is usually not life-threatening, but in people with severe substance use disorders and/or co-occurring disorders, inpatient treatment is recommended.

How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

The Adderall withdrawal timeline can vary from person to person. Some people feel better after five days, while others experience withdrawal symptoms that last for three weeks or more.

Factors that can affect the duration of withdrawal are:

  • Dosage
  • Frequency of use
  • Duration of use
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Co-occurring physical or mental health conditions

Generally, people who took larger doses, more often, and for longer periods can expect more severe and longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, there are two different types of Adderall: immediate-release and extended-release (Adderall XR).[5] Regular Adderall is immediate-release and it lasts for about six hours, but Adderall XR lasts 10-12. Since the immediate-release formulation leaves the body faster, people who have been taking that form of Adderall may begin feeling withdrawal symptoms sooner than those who have been taking the extended-release formulation. Withdrawal from Adderall XR can last for several weeks.

The Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

For regular, immediate-release Adderall, the withdrawal timeline looks like this:

  • 6-36 hours after the last dose – Also known as the “crash,” the initial withdrawal symptoms may include depression, extreme fatigue, and poor focus.
  • 3-5 days – Symptoms of withdrawal peak 3-5 days after the last dose. Individuals may feel incredibly irritable, achy, anxious, and restless. Intense cravings and suicidal thoughts are also common.
  • 5-7 days – Symptoms begin to fade after 5-7 days, but some depression and mood changes may persist.
  • 1-3 weeks – After 1-3 weeks most acute withdrawal symptoms will subside. People who are detoxing from Adderall XR may still experience symptoms.
  • 3+ weeks – Symptoms should resolve completely after three weeks. For those with severe substance use disorders, cravings and depression may persist.

Adderall withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, but most people feel better after a week and return to normal functioning within a month.

Preventing Withdrawal

Adderall should always be used under a licensed physician’s care. You can prevent dependence and withdrawal by taking your medication as prescribed and having regular check-ups with your physician.

If you decide Adderall is not right for you, you should not stop taking it cold turkey.[5] Many of the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be avoided by tapering off the medication slowly under your prescriber’s guidance. Tapering involves slowly reducing your dose, allowing your body to adjust to smaller doses until you are no longer physically dependent.

Do not try to taper yourself. Be sure to talk to your doctor to develop a long-term treatment plan.

How to Cope With Adderall Withdrawal

For those who are struggling with Adderall addiction, it’s important to seek help from an addiction detox and treatment program. Detox programs can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and detox safely while continued treatment reinforces long-term recovery.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of Adderall withdrawal, but doctors may prescribe symptom-specific medications to provide relief for symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, body aches, and sleep problems.[6]

Other ways to cope with the symptoms include:

  • Support groups
  • Behavioral therapy
  • A healthy diet and sleep hygiene
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Healthy distractions

Safe and Effective Adderall Detox With First Step Behavioral Health

First Step Behavioral Health is a licensed dual-diagnosis long-term addiction treatment facility that is accredited by the Joint Commission. We focus on the physiological rebalancing of the individual through medical, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual care. Complete with detox and a full continuum of care, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

To take the first step toward recovery or learn more about our treatment programs, please contact us today.


  1. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Amphetamine (Adderall)
  2. Johns Hopkins University: Adderall abuse on the rise among young adults, Johns Hopkins study suggests
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of prescription drug misuse in the United States?
  4. Springer Link: Amphetamine Withdrawal
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Adderall XR Highlights of Prescribing Information
  6. National Institute of Health (NIH): Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal

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