Managing Adderall Withdrawal with Adderall Detox

Dr. Saurabh Bhardwaj

Dr. Bhardwaj, Medical Director is a Board-Certified Addiction Psychiatrist (ABPN) and currently the Medical Director of Defining Wellness Center in Brandon MS. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Center for Innovation & Discovery in Addictions (CIDA) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He has been in Mississippi since 2018, building Addiction services for the state's only medical center and joined Defining Wellness Center in 2022 to provide specialized dual diagnostic services. He is a recipient of Ruth Fox scholarship from AAAP and trailblazer teaching award from UMMC. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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Adderall Withdrawal and Medical Detox

Getting the body and mind through Adderall withdrawal is a complex process that cannot be navigated by the individual alone. Both the physical and psychological aspects of withdrawal require specific medications, and those medications must be determined and administered by medical professionals who can then observe the results 24/7 to ensure that they are working as they need to be. At Defining Wellness Centers, an individual going through the detox process can be assured that they are well protected and cared for under the watchful eye of highly trained health care professionals.

Medications used in the detox process will vary based on each individual’s specific needs. There is no “one size fits all” medication or treatment plan to achieve successful detoxification. Anti-depressants can be helpful in dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression. A mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety medication can work to decrease the stress and anxiety that the detox process can bring about. A sleep aid can help with insomnia that prevents healthy rest. A healthy amount of restful sleep is instrumental in the whole-person healing process.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant that is used to treat the symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD. It is also used to treat narcolepsy, a neurological sleep disorder, in some people.

Adderall works by increasing the production of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals act as messengers that affect concentration, motivation, reward and focus. Because it is a stimulant that contains both dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, Adderall raises the heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure and decreases appetite. Adderall works by keeping the user alert, awake and full of energy.

The Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Prolonged use and misuse of Adderall can result in a dangerous addiction to the drug. Dealing with the symptoms of addiction will require the body to go through a detoxification, or detox, process. Once the body has developed a dependence on the drug, it will require this medically overseen process in order for both the body and the mind to safely recover.

Signs of Adderall Addiction

The most common signs of Adderall addiction include:

  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite

More severe side effects of Adderall addiction can include:

  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Weakness in appendages
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Impaired or slow speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling
  • Aggressive behavior

No one should ever attempt to stop Adderall use suddenly, or “cold turkey,” especially if they have been using it for an extended period of time or using excessive amounts of it. Attempting to go through Adderall withdrawal without the help of medical professionals can be dangerous. As with any addiction, particularly one that involves a powerful drug like Adderall, once the body and mind are in its grip, navigating through the withdrawal process will require professional medical assistance and expert care so that there are no detrimental results.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 5 million Americans abuse at least one type of stimulant prescription by using it for non-medical purposes or recreationally. This is especially dangerous due to the fact that stimulant drugs are counted among the most highly addictive substances. Once a person has become dependent on a stimulant like Adderall, it can be extremely dangerous to stop taking it without being under the observation and care of medical professionals in a controlled environment. Otherwise, the results can be harmful if proper guidance and care are not involved in the process.

The safe way to stop taking Adderall is with medical supervision while weaning or tapering off of it in a gradual and controlled manner. This tapering-off method can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the length of time the individual has been taking Adderall and how much or how often they have been taking it. Each person is different, so the type and severity of withdrawal symptoms and the length of detox time can vary considerably from person to person. It requires the help of both medical and mental health professionals.

Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal

There are two types of symptoms that occur at the onset of adderall addiction : physical symptoms and psychological symptoms. When drug dependence occurs, the withdrawal symptoms are mainly physical in nature. When dependence morphs into full-blown addiction, psychological symptoms develop along with physical ones. Both types of symptoms can vary from person to person based on factors such as:

  • Length of time of substance use
  • Frequency and amount of substance used
  • Pre-existing mental and physical conditions
  • The individual’s overall health

Withdrawal symptoms associated with Adderall addiction can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychosis
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle aches
  • Lack of motivation
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks

In the most severe cases, a person who has become addicted after using significant amounts of Adderall over an extended period of time may experience all of these symptoms. At this point, if the body and the brain don’t receive the amount of the substance they have become accustomed to and dependent on to function daily, the results can be life-threatening. This is why a detox program overseen by health care professionals in a safe, controlled setting is necessary for successful recovery.

Adderall Detox at Defining Wellness

Because Adderall is one of the drugs that affects the very chemical composition of the brain, basically rewiring it, individuals who have never experienced any type of mental illness in their lives are extremely susceptible to developing a variety of issues due to their substance use disorder. If this is the case, then these new issues will become evident during the detox process. If any pre-existing mental health issues have become exacerbated due to the addiction, they will be detected and treated as well.

Prior to beginning a detox program, health care workers will perform a complete physical and mental health exam and assessment. This will make it possible for them to form an individualized treatment plan that focuses on each client’s specific needs. This ensures that they will have the best possible opportunity for a successful detoxification and recovery experience.

The client will also undergo a drug screen to determine the substances and levels in their system. All of this pre-detox testing will make it possible for the team of medical and mental health professionals to provide the most comprehensive care focused on each individual. The team will work with the client to create a treatment plan that will include all aspects of the person, including previous experiences, pre-existing mental or physical health diagnoses, eating habits, nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, etc. The idea is to create a personal profile with as much information as possible so that a treatment plan can be created that will encompass everything about each client’s unique needs.

Another important but often overlooked facet of the recovery process is fear. It is common for a person going through the detox process to experience feelings and emotions they’ve either suppressed through their drug use or that they’ve never experienced before. Feelings of fear, shame, confusion, rejection, self-loathing and low self-esteem can arise and interfere with the recovery process. This is especially common during the detox phase.

During the time when the body and mind were so heavily under the influence of Adderall, these feelings were overridden by the effects of the drug. The physiological changes that take place in the mind drastically change the person’s perception of many things. As a result, the thought processes that would keep a clean and sober person from doing some “unsavory” things or making poor choices are nonexistent in the person suffering from a substance use disorder. Once the recovery process begins and healing commences, these feelings find their way to the surface and can cause the individual to develop very negative feelings toward themselves for things they may have done during the time they were misusing Adderall. If left unaddressed, they can undermine the person’s progress on their journey to recovery.

As part of the detox process, the client will have therapy sessions with licensed mental health counselors. These counselors understand what happens during addiction and why, and they are here to help each client work through these feelings and learn how to deal with them in a healthy way. Recovery includes learning or relearning to love and forgive oneself.

Let Us Help You Change Your Life

At Defining Wellness Centers our sole focus is on the well-being and successful recovery of our clients. Recovering from substance addiction is a life-changing, even life-saving, process. No one should be afraid to begin this journey for fear that they will be traveling the road to healing all alone.

We are here to help and to give support every step of the way, and our clients are under our care around the clock. Our highly trained staff of medical and mental health specialists are not just doing a job: They truly care about each client. Some can relate on a personal level, having experienced and overcome addiction themselves. This can provide a unique level of understanding and empathy that is extremely helpful. Our focus is on each and every one of our clients and their specific needs as we travel the road to recovery and a healthy, happy future right alongside them until they are ready to continue on their own, with all the tools they will need to stay clean and sober.

Here at Defining Wellness Centers, we understand that addiction experiences are typically trauma-based. It affects every aspect of the person. Our staff of health care and mental health professionals keep this in mind as they work with each client. Our trauma-informed therapy assists our clients through the healing process as they recover from the damage the trauma inflicted so that they are able to move forward with confidence, knowing they have nothing to fear.

Please know that no one is hopeless, and no one is a lost cause. That is the biggest lie that the drugs will tell you. Don’t let addiction steal another day of your life. Pick up the phone to call us now and allow us to help you take those important first steps on the pathway to your wonderful future.

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If you are ready to take the step towards a new life, call Defining Wellness today and learn more about how we can help you.