Adderall is an addictive medication with a high potential for abuse.
You are abusing Adderall if:
- You use this medication without a prescription
- You use this medication in greater quantities or more frequently than prescribed
- You use this medication for purposes other than prescribed.
If you use Adderall as prescribed to treat a legitimate condition of ADD or ADHD then you are not abusing the medication and are very unlikely to ever become addicted to it.
People without an addiction may become dependent on the medication, but should they choose to stop taking Adderall they can generally do so with minimal discomfort by slowly tapering down their daily dosage, as directed by a doctor.
People abusing Adderall are at high risk for addiction and will generally develop a tolerance to its effects and will need to take increasingly larger doses of the medication to achieve the desired effects.1
Once addicted to Adderall, a person will experience symptoms such as cravings to use the medication, a loss of control over how much they use and obsessive thoughts about getting enough of the drug to meet their needs.
Once a person is addicted to Adderall, it can be quite difficult to stop, as:
- The symptoms of addiction, such as a loss of control, compulsive thoughts of the drug and strong cravings for it, make a slow tapering process less likely to succeed
- Quitting the drug abruptly (cold turkey) results in strong and very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Adderall is a medication that is composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. When used chronically and in sufficient quantities a person will become dependent on Adderall and will experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use.
The duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the length and intensity of use. Longer use at higher doses will result in more difficult and prolonged withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may dissipate in a matter of weeks, or may endure for months.
Even short binges of Adderall use can result in several days of withdrawal symptoms thereafter.
Very common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feelings of depression
- Fatigue and mental fatigue
- Increased appetite
Other withdrawal symptoms sometimes experienced include:
- Anxiety Irritability and agitation
- Long periods of sleep
- Very deep REM sleeps with unusually vivid dreams
- Suicidal thoughts2
Do You Need Treatment to Quit Adderall?
You may be able to quit Adderall on your own, but the advantages of professional assistance make seeking some help very worth considering.
- Many people are able to quit using Adderall on their own, even after abusing the medication and becoming addicted. Anecdotal stories of such experiences describe difficult weeks and months of low energy and motivation and feelings of depression.
- You may wish to talk to your doctor (honestly) about your Adderall abuse and decision to stop. She may prescribe you certain medications which can reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and she may have further good advice on lifestyle tips to get back on your feet again a little faster (diet, exercise!)
- You may also want to think hard about getting involved with some form of addiction treatment. Once you succumb to a chemical addiction you experience lasting changes to brain function and structure. Once you become addicted to Adderall, addiction becomes something you’ll need to be aware of for the rest of your life, and research shows that people with addiction who get involved with addiction treatment have longer periods of remission between episodes of relapse and better overall functioning at all times.3
Page last updated Mar 02, 2013