Is Stopping Adderall Cold Turkey Safe?

by | Last updated Dec 20, 2021 | Published on Dec 23, 2021 | Adderall | 0 comments

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Adderall is a stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, Adderall is often misused recreationally or to enhance productivity because of its effects. Stopping Adderall cold turkey may not be as dangerous as quitting other substances, but Adderall detox still results in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous. The best way to stop Adderall is by working with a medical professional. A doctor can help you ease the dose of Adderall until the body is no longer dependent. 

What Is Considered Long-Term Use Of Adderall?

Adderall can be used short-term for 3 to 4 weeks in most cases. Long-term use needs to be regularly monitored by a doctor. When Adderall is used for a prolonged period of time, it causes chemical changes in the brain that can create a dependence on the drug. When this happens, quitting the medication can cause “the Adderall crash.” This can cause unpleasant symptoms, including insomnia, depression, sluggishness, and anxiety. Stopping Adderall abruptly can cause a crash and potentially cause suicidal thoughts, depression, panic attacks, and other withdrawal symptoms. 

How to Stop Taking Adderall

The first step to quitting Adderall is to talk with your doctor. They can help you set up a schedule to slowly reduce the dosage over a period of time and prevent the Adderall crash. Depending on the level of dependency, this process can take a few weeks to a couple of months. Here are some recommendations for a successful Adderall detox process:

  • Set up a weaning schedule or tapering plan with a medical professional. 
  • Seek emotional support and guidance from a mental health professional to help with withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Keep busy and seek support from friends and family to control drug cravings. 
  • Follow a healthy eating and sleeping schedule, and take your prescription medications or supplements as usual. 
  • Consider attending support group meetings, aftercare programs, or counseling sessions to deal with your dependence or addiction. 

What Happens When You Stop Taking Adderall

When you stop taking Adderall, especially if you stop cold turkey, you’re likely going to experience withdrawal symptoms. Stopping Adderall cold turkey can cause excessive sleep, dysphoria, and psychomotor issues that could be dangerous in some situations. It also increases the risk of cardiac arrest, seizures, and psychosis for those with an addiction. 

Stimulants like Adderall speed up the central nervous system, which causes increased alertness and energy. Stopping Adderall cold turkey can lead to side effects including:

  • Insomnia
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Foggy head
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Intense cravings
  • Sluggishness 
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Panic attacks 

In addition, Adderall cravings during detox can lead to an overdose. Signs of an Adderall overdose include dizziness, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, uncontrollable shaking, and rapid breathing. Get medical attention immediately if you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone else. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Adderall?

The timeline for Adderall detox depends on several factors. How long you’ve been taking the drug, the dosage, and the type of Adderall you’re using. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms last between days to weeks. Nonetheless, everyone’s detox journey is challenging. Here’s an example of a traditional Adderall withdrawal timeline:

  • First Days: Most withdrawal symptoms won’t start after 24 hours of stopping the drug. The first symptoms include fatigue, hunger, and sleep issues. These symptoms reach their peak by day 4 and are primarily physical.
  • First Week: By day 5-7, physical symptoms subside, but psychological symptoms begin. Here, people often experience anxiety, inability to concentrate, panic attacks, irritability, and depression. It’s crucial to count on the right emotional support at this stage, as suicidal thoughts and depression can be life-threatening. 
  • Second Week: At this point, most withdrawal symptoms are under control. However, cravings are still very much a reality and increase the risk of relapse. People may still experience anxiety, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Again, a strong support system is a key to preventing relapse or even an overdose. 
  • After the First Month: Most symptoms should stabilize once someone stops taking Adderall for a month. For those without a substance use disorder, this means the end of the detox. For those dealing with an addiction, it’s recommended to continue their treatment through a rehab program. 

Finding Help for Adderall Addiction

If you or someone you know is dealing with Adderall addiction, please talk to a specialist. Reach out to your doctor to learn how to taper off Adderall in a safe environment. Some patients may benefit from medical detox, while others can stop Adderall at home with medical supervision. Regardless, don’t attempt to quit Adderall cold turkey as it can lead to uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. 

Sources: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539896/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310652/

Written by: Serene G.

Written by: Serene G.

Serene has over 8 years of marketing experience as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a dual concentration in Biological Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences. While completing this degree, she completed numerous courses pertaining to substance abuse and mental health, such as Drugs and Behavior, Health Behavior and Society, and Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Policy. She is also called to help those who struggle with addiction because she has seen multiple loved ones struggle with substance abuse. Today, Serene uses her knowledge, background, and passion to educate and connect with individuals and families afflicted by addiction.

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