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Over 2.5 million Americans take Adderall, a prescription-only medication for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A member of the amphetamine drug family, Adderall helps people with ADHD symptoms have better concentration, a longer attention span, and an improved ability to focus. It also reduces impulsive behaviors. Adderall works by stimulating areas of the brain that help a person concentrate.

Although Adderall is highly effective as an ADHD medication, like all stimulants, it has a significant potential for abuse and addiction if taken for longer or at a higher dosage than prescribed.

What Are the Effects of Adderall?

Adderall is a potent central nervous system stimulant made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and works by changing the amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Adderall’s beneficial effects include increasing a person’s ability to focus and concentrate. It lengthens a person’s attention span and reduces impulsive behaviors.

Adderall has some negative short-term side effects, even when taken as directed.

These are the typical short-term side effects of Adderall:

  •  Insomnia and interrupted sleep
  • Restlessness, “jitters”
  •  Increased anxiety
  •  Diminished appetite
  •  Weight loss
  •  Dry mouth
  •  Irritability
  • Elevated heart rate

The long-term use effects of Adderall include:

  • Heart problems. Elevated heart rate and high blood pressure are potential side effects of long-term Adderall use.
  • Drug tolerance. Many people will need to increase their dosage of Adderall periodically after they’ve taken Adderall for a long time.
  • Drug dependence. Drug dependence occurs when long-term drug use causes the brain to rely on it to such a degree that it loses the ability to function correctly without it. Drug tolerance and drug dependence often lead to addiction.
  • Addiction. Adderall, like all stimulants, can be addictive and produces a withdrawal syndrome when its intake is halted.

Abuse of Adderall can cause neurotoxicity, a condition in which the tissues that produce the brain chemicals affected by Adderall become tired and less responsive. As a result, a person may experience panic attacks, rapid mood swings, and psychosis, especially if they stop taking Adderall suddenly. The likelihood of these effects happening increases if a person has a preexisting psychological condition, like schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.

What is Adderall Withdrawal?

Adderall withdrawal is a cluster of distressing, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous physical and psychological side effects that follow when a person abruptly stops taking Adderall. Adderall detox is more likely when a person is accustomed to taking a large dose or has been using Adderall for a long time.

What Are The Symptoms Of Adderall Withdrawal?

Adderall withdrawal is most severe when a person abruptly discontinues its use. Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal:

  • intense fatigue and sleepiness, often called an “Adderall crash
  • constant sleepiness
  • agitation
  • disturbed sleep
  • body aches, body pain
  • tremors
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • paranoia
  • depression
  • strong cravings for Adderall
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts
  • seizures
  • apathy
  • trouble concentrating
  • unpleasant, vivid dreams

The symptoms of Adderall withdrawal start within a day of a person’s last dose of Adderall. If someone stops taking Adderall suddenly, withdrawal symptoms will be more severe and last longer, for up to three months.

Why Am I So Tired After Stopping Adderall?

Extreme fatigue can happen even when a person has taken Adderall appropriately but is significantly worse when someone takes too much Adderall over a long period. Sometimes called an Adderall crash, this intense fatigue comes from the exhaustion of the brain’s systems that produce and respond to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.

All medications that affect the brain cause significant changes in how it works that can persist for weeks or months. Adderall increases the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin found in the nervous system. Although these neurotransmitters have dozens of functions, they’re particularly associated with alertness, mental focus, memory, moods, and the body’s ability to suppress pain.

The fatigue from an Adderall crash comes from the disruption in the neurological systems that regulate and rely on norepinephrine. Norepinephrine has a stimulating effect and increases a person’s alertness and arousal. When a person’s brain becomes dependent on Adderall to produce norepinephrine, stopping Adderall causes a major norepinephrine shortage in the nervous system, which leads to an Adderall crash.

How To Cope With Tiredness From Stopping Adderall?

Taking care of your physical health can help alleviate fatigue when quitting Adderall.

  • Stay hydrated. Your body needs plenty of fluids to flush out the chemical metabolites of Adderall from your system. As well, dehydration makes any form of fatigue worse.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods rich in nutrients and free of simple carbohydrates and sugar gives your body the raw materials to return your nervous system to proper functioning.
  • Unless prescribed by a physician, avoid megadoses of any vitamin or supplement.
  • Get some exercise. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Getting up and moving around for 15 minutes daily will prompt your body to start returning to more normal functioning.
  • Practice good sleep patterns. Go to bed, get up at the same time every day, and ensure your bedroom is restful. Don’t use digital devices within an hour of bedtime, and if you do, turn on any anti-blue light features your mobile device has.
  • Consider professional treatment for recovery from Adderall abuse. Treatment by rehabilitation professionals allows a person to receive medications, therapy, and support while recovering from stimulation.

What If I Am Unsure of My Symptoms?

If you’re looking for assistance controlling attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, we can help. If you’re having trouble stopping your use of Adderall or any stimulant, recovery is possible. At Absolute Awakenings, one of New Jersey’s premier drug addiction treatment programs, we focus on providing quality clinical care to residents struggling with any severity of drug addiction and requiring immediate professional help. We provide New Jersey residents with effective, multi-phased addiction treatment.

Give us a call today to discuss treatment options and get you started on the well-deserved path to long-term recovery.

References

  1. Foy C. What Are the Long-Term Effects of Adderall Use? | FHE Health. FHE Health – Addiction & Mental Health Care. Published April 20, 2022. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://fherehab.com/learning/longterm-adderall-effects
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published April 16, 2018. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://nida.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants
  3. Yanofski J. The Dopamine Dilemma—Part II. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011;8(1):47-53.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published April 16, 2018. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://nida.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants
  5. Clemow DB, Walker DJ. The potential for misuse and abuse of medications in ADHD: a review. Postgrad Med. 2014;126(5):64-81. doi:10.3810/pgm.2014.09.2801
  6. Pietrangelo A. Coping with the Comedown: Managing Adderall Crash. Healthline. Published February 4, 2019. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adderall-crash
  7. Golmirzaei J, Mahboobi H, Yazdanparast M, Mushtaq G, Kamal MA, Hamzei E. Psychopharmacology of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Effects and Side Effects. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(5):590-594. doi:10.2174/1381612822666151124235816

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