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Adderall comedowns can be quite brutal though they pale in comparison to alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Adderall discontinuation leaves your brain like a dry socket, totally depleted of dopamine, the neurotransmitter which underpins everything from pleasure to motivation to what makes life itself rewarding. The following tips are relevant both to individuals who are prescribed Adderall to control symptoms of ADHD as well as recreational users.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Maybe you are currently experiencing Adderall withdrawal symptoms. Or perhaps you plan to discontinue Adderall in the future and want to know what to expect. Either way, you might find the following list of common Adderall withdrawal symptoms useful:
- Lethargy, fatigue, hyper-somnolence (sleeping too much)
- Rebound hunger (due to Adderall-induced appetite suppression)
- Suicidal ideation
- Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure)
- Temporary worsening of ADHD symptoms
- Craving for Adderall or other psychostimulants
- Slowed cognitive tempo
These Adderall withdrawal symptoms may look unnerving to say the least, but all of them typically resolve after your brain adjusts and regains neurotransmitter homeostasis. If you're interested in learning more about the debate surrounding possible Adderall neurotoxicity, take a look at this discussion Is Adderall Safe? 10 Tactics To Protect Your Brain On Adderall.
Adderall elevates mood, enhances energy, concentration, task salience and decreases appetite. Withdrawal from Adderall therefore tends to produce the opposite of the aforementioned mental states.
Although withdrawing from Adderall can be a harrowing experience, there are a few steps you can take to hasten recovery and feel 100% again. If you want to know how to recover from an episode of recreational Adderall use (rather than chronic, daily use to treat ADHD), jump down to Coping with an Adderall crash in the acute phase.
Netflix and Chill
First recognize that with time and positive lifestyle changes you will make a full recovery
Make positive lifestyle changes, like:
- regular exercise
- getting a good night’s sleep (See: Sleep Optimization Tips)
- eating healthy foods that promote brain health
All of the above will help your brain re-equilibrate.
However, in the near-term it may make sense to rest and not take on too much. Similar to how victims of a mild traumatic brain injury are cautioned to rest their brain in the weeks following a concussion, try to rest your brain in the wake of Adderall withdrawal rather than over-exert yourself. Don’t try to “brute force” the recovery process.
It may also be necessary to suspend external responsibilities like work or school for a short time to allow yourself to adjust.
Certain supplements may also help facilitate recovery, such as the amino acid l-tyrosine, which is a dopamine precursor.
How long does Adderall withdrawal last?
This depends on how long you've been taking Adderall, the dosages, and whether you are prescribed Adderall for ADHD or are using it recreationally. Higher, abuse-level doses (>60 mg) will result in a longer withdrawal period. There is also significant variability between individuals with respect to how long it will take to recover.
Some people feel back to normal in a few days, whereas others may need more than a month to recuperate. As a general rule, the neurophysiological dependence on amphetamine tends to correct much more quickly than psychological dependence. Psychological dependence involves thoughts and attitudes like, “I won’t be able to study without a stimulant,” that make you believe you won’t be able to function without Adderall.