There is much online about what an Adderall crash is, but it’s best to know more about this prescription stimulant, sometimes called a “study drug,” first.
Adderall is a prescription stimulant used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medicine contains a combination of drugs that consists of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, says Medical News Today. Both of these chemicals enter your brain and increase the activity of the dopamine and norepinephrine systems. This is what helps you to feel more awake, alert, and better able to concentrate. It may also raise your heart rate and blood pressure, which might make you feel hyper-aware when you take it.
Even though Adderall is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Controlled Substances Schedule II list, it is still sold and taken by many people who it is not prescribed to. Schedule II substances that “have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” There is much posted on the internet about how Adderall abuse resulted in people becoming addicted to it or overdosing from it.
Now is a good time to learn more about this prescription stimulant and its possible crash.
What Is Adderall’s Half-Life?
Are you wondering how long Adderall lasts before you crash? Individual factors determine how long the drug stays in your system, including your body size, age, metabolism, and the amount of the last dose taken.
It’s essential to note that the half-life of Adderall or half the amount of time it takes to be eliminated from your body is around 13 hours for most adolescents and adults, per Medical News Today. Therefore, it may take a few days after the last dose for the drug’s chemicals to be fully eliminated from your body.
The medicine lasts for roughly four to six hours, and the extended-release formulation lasts for up to 12 hours, as Drugs.com indicates. However, you may feel withdrawal symptoms a few hours after taking your last dose.
The Adderall Comedown or Crash
When the drug wears off, you might feel the opposite effects that this medication creates. You might feel very tired, sluggish, depressed, and have a wicked headache. Even with extended-release formulations of this medication, you might experience intense withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. This is what is known as an Adderall crash or comedown.
Symptoms of an Adderall Crash
- Agitation and irritability
- Anxiety or panic
- Increase in appetite
- Unpleasant or very vivid dreams
- Cravings for Adderall
If you have been taking this medicine for a long time or taking large doses of it and stop taking it abruptly, Adderall can cause extreme fatigue.
Adderall Crash Timeline
This is a general timeline of how long an Adderall crash might last. You may not feel all of the symptoms at the time posted, or you could feel all of the symptoms. How many and how intense they are depend on your physicality, how long you’ve been using or misusing Adderall, and the dose you last took:
Days One to Three
- Sleeping more but with poor quality
- Feeling depressed
Days Four to Ten
- Body aches and pains
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep issues
If you have been taking Adderall for a long time and stop taking it cold turkey, it’s possible you will feel the withdrawal or crash symptoms longer. You could feel them from a few weeks to a month after your last dose.
It is entirely possible to want to take the drug again when you are experiencing an Adderall crash. This can, however, cause you to take more than intended and risk an overdose.
What Happens If You Take Adderall Without ADHD?
If you take Adderall and you do not have ADHD, the medicine produces an excess amount of dopamine. This can result in feelings of euphoria and feeling like you have increased energy. The dopamine overload may feel great at first, but if you continue to abuse Adderall, it can result in negative health effects, like:
- Higher blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
- Cause you to feel hostile and paranoid
- Decrease your appetite and the amount of sleep you get
- Increase the risk of Adderall addiction
Despite the potentially dangerous symptoms of using this medicine for recreational use or as a study aid, there are an extraordinary number of individuals that do and are likely to find out what a crash feels like.
Prescription Stimulant Abuse
Misuse of prescription stimulants, including Adderall, affected people from all age groups. Over 4 million individuals aged 12 or older reported using the drugs in 2018, per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Two and half million adults aged 18 to 25 misused prescription stimulants, and 2.5 million people over the age of 26 misused them.
The same survey reported that 558,000 people aged 12 and over had a prescription stimulant use disorder (addiction).
How to Cope with Adderall Crashes or Comedowns
No matter if you take Adderall with or without a prescription and stop using it suddenly, you are probably going to experience an Adderall crash or comedown. While the above symptoms of a crash may seem slightly uncomfortable, for others, the symptoms can be more intense and distressing.
Here’s how to cope with an Adderall crash and reduce your comedown, with tips from Verywell Mind:
Intense irritation, aggravation, aggression: Anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by your doctor only, not bought from a friend, on social media, or online. You will only need to take this kind of medication for about a week.
Headaches, migraines, body aches: Over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or Excedrin.
Fatigue/Insomnia: Over-the-counter sleep aids can help you fall and stay asleep, as can some of the natural supplements that are sold.
Depression: Sure, antidepressants might stave off feelings of depression, but so will surrounding yourself with things that give you joy and love. Consider stocking up on your favorite foods, spending a night binge-watching something juicy on streaming outlets, and smothering pets with love and treats.
Dehydration: Be sure to drink plenty of water and beverages that replace electrolytes in your body. You may not think this is essential, but it is. Staying hydrated will make you feel physically better.
Restlessness:– Get some exercise. Plan time to spend indulging in physical activity either indoors or outside. Exercising helps to release endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters. It can also promote better sleep.
Intense hunger: You could invite a friend or loved one to help plan and enjoy a nutritious meal. Also, keep plenty of healthy foods handy, like all-natural nuts and seeds, favorite fruits, and snacks.
Other Options for Coping with an Adderall Crash
You may find there are times when none of the above seems to be working. This would be a good time to try a holistic activity. Meditation is an easy place to start because there are many apps and online sources for first-time guided sessions and for music. If you are up to it, why not try one or a few?
Mindfulness exercises can help keep you in the moment and not focus on past or future outcomes.
Yoga can improve blood flow, which, in turn, boosts physical and mental functions. It can also enhance memory functions and strengthen the brain and bodily functions.
Turn the Crash Around
The Adderall crash is a temporary situation that will eventually end. People who continually misuse or abuse this drug will continue to go through the cycles of highs and comedowns and potentially cause permanent changes to the brain neural pathways. This could result in not being able to feel pleasure without taking the drug and later affect their ability to control emotions, focus, or learn and retain new information.
The safest and most effective way to stop Adderall comedowns and crashes is to seek experienced professional treatment. A licensed and accredited detox and substance use treatment center is the smart choice when considering ending Adderall abuse.
Delphi’s mental health and substance use centers provide medically supervised detox where you safely taper off the medicine, and any withdrawal symptoms are tended to by Delphi’s medical care team. We treat the most adverse withdrawal symptoms, which can include tremors or seizures.
You may also receive therapy and counseling necessary in finding the root of your addiction to Adderall and learning how to cope without drugs.
Delphi also offers inpatient/residential treatment where you stay on-site at one of our highly rated campuses and attend regular therapy and educational sessions. Partial hospitalization and outpatient programs can be beneficial for you if you do not have long-standing Adderall abuse.
Many Delphi addiction graduates find our Aftercare program very supportive and useful for those who need or want a strong network to lean on once back in the world drug-free.