How to Manage Your Adderall Withdrawal

Adderall is the brand name for mixed amphetamine salts. Also known as a stimulant medication, it's available by prescription only and helps to increase alertness and attention. Adderall is typically used to help treat ADHD symptoms. It can also be used to help treat narcolepsy.

Adderall works by increasing levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. In addition to helping you concentrate and stay alert, this can also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Prescription stimulants have the potential to be misused and abused, which can result in withdrawal if one stops taking the substance suddenly. However, even someone who uses Adderall as prescribed may experience withdrawal when they stop or reduce their dosage.

Read on to find out more about Adderall withdrawal and how to manage it.

Young male holding prescription medication bottle
Young male holding prescription medication bottle sitting across from doctor.

SDI Productions / Getty Images

What Is Adderall Withdrawal?

Adderall withdrawal is when a person experiences a “crash” when the effects of the drug wear off. The physical and mental symptoms vary and can be subtle or severe, depending on several factors. Some people who take Adderall as prescribed never notice withdrawal symptoms, especially if they haven't been taking it for a long time.

If you have been taking the medication for a long time and stop taking it abruptly, you will likely notice withdrawal symptoms. The same is true if you have misused or abused the medication or are addicted to it.

During Adderall withdrawal, the brain produces stress hormones, leading to a heightened stress response. This is why someone going through withdrawal might be extra sensitive to everyday stressors.

Why Can Adderall Be Addictive?

Adderall has the potential to be addictive because it encourages the release of certain brain chemicals like dopamine that can elevate mood and help with focus and alertness. Some people get used to the feeling of having higher amounts of these brain chemicals and, over time, become dependent on the drug. It's also possible to develop a tolerance to Adderall, which means you need more and more of it to produce the same effect. Drug dependence and tolerance can both progress to substance use disorder.

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can vary among individuals depending on factors like how long the person has been taking the medication, the dosage, and whether or not the person was abusing or misusing the drug.

When Adderall is suddenly stopped, withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 24 hours of the last use and last three to five days. Common signs and symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased appetite, including cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Depression


Treatment for stimulant withdrawal usually includes medication to address symptoms and supportive care. However, if the withdrawal symptoms are due to Adderall misuse or abuse, this speaks to a larger issue that needs to be treated.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking or behaving and then working to change those patterns.

Research has shown that CBT can be very effective in helping to treat alcohol or drug use disorders. While its clinical use in treating substance abuse disorders has been well-documented, its effectiveness in treating stimulant use disorder needs to be further studied.

Supportive Care

During active withdrawal, the individual should drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily. Multivitamin supplements with B vitamins and vitamin C are also suggested. To address symptoms like muscle aches or headaches, over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol may be taken.  

Long-Term Treatment

While the immediate issue of withdrawal requires treatment and care, the larger issue of Adderall abuse or misuse also needs to be addressed. Once your withdrawal symptoms are gone, the work of recovering from substance use disorder can begin.

How to Cope

The first thing to know if you are dealing with a substance abuse or misuse problem is that you are not alone. Talk with a trusted healthcare provider or counselor about your usage and the withdrawal symptoms you are having. Let close friends or family know you are having withdrawal symptoms, and ask for their support. Things you can do include:

  • If possible, take a few days off from school or work so you can rest and recover.
  • Stay hydrated and stock up on healthy foods and snacks.
  • Get rid of the substance that may still be in your house, so you aren’t tempted to use it.
  • Have loved ones regularly check in to see how you’re doing and if you need anything.
  • If you’re not seeing a therapist, find a counselor who specializes in substance abuse and recovery.
  • Identify a hobby or activity that you can do when you feel the urge to use.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms during your withdrawal from Adderall affecting your quality of life, such as sleep disruptions, significant anxiety, or mood changes.

Things to Consider

Even if you take Adderall as directed, it’s important not to stop the drug on your own. Instead, talk with your healthcare provider first if you want to stop taking it. They will come up with a plan to slowly decrease your usage to avoid or minimize any withdrawal symptoms.


Adderall withdrawal can happen to anyone who takes the drug regularly, even if they're taking it as directed. Often, the symptoms are more noticeable for those who abuse or misuse the drug. Withdrawal usually starts within 24 hours of the last usage, and symptoms typically last for about a week. If you have been misusing or abusing Adderall, remember that withdrawal is the first step in recovery, and it’s important to continue with treatments such as therapy.

A Word From Verywell

Stopping Adderall, whether taking it as directed or not, can be even more challenging if you're dealing with withdrawal symptoms. However, there are tools to help you get through it, like staying hydrated, having distractions and supportive people around you, being in touch with your healthcare provider, and seeking therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does Adderall withdrawal last?

    Symptoms usually resolve within a week, but this can vary depending on factors like how long you've been taking Adderall and your dosage.

  • What does Adderall withdrawal feel like?

    Adderall withdrawal can feel different for each person but often includes physical and mental symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite.

  • How does Adderall work?

    How Adderall works in the context of treating ADHD is not fully known. It is thought that it blocks the reuptake of brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine, thus boosting levels of these neurotransmitters. This is what causes some of the stimulating effects of the drug.

  • How do you safely stop taking Adderall?

    First, talk with your prescriber. They can go over what your reasons are for wanting to stop the medication, whether this is an appropriate decision right now, and how to go about it safely. They will develop a taper schedule that will involve gradually reducing your intake of the drug. This can help you safely get off Adderall with minimal withdrawal symptoms.





9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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