Adderall is a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s also misused recreationally for its stimulant effects. While Adderall can be an effective treatment for ADHD, long-term misuse can lead to addiction and a range of associated health condition risks.

Fortunately, there is hope for those suffering from Adderall addiction. Medical detox is a vital first step in recovery, allowing individuals to rid their bodies of the drug and start the journey to sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Adderall, this guide can help you understand what to expect from detox and the importance of seeking professional support.


A combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that works by increasing levels of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. In people with mental health conditions like ADHD who take the drug at therapeutic dosages as prescribed by a physician, this results in marked improvements in executive functioning and focus. It also boosts motivational drive, making it easier for people diagnosed with ADHD to complete tasks and stay organized.

It’s not entirely known why increased neurotransmitter activity leads to improved focus and concentration in people with ADHD or even what causes ADHD to begin with. However, research suggests it has something to do with increased synaptic plasticity — the ability of nerve cells to form connections with other neurons. People without ADHD aren’t affected in the same way, so they experience the stimulating effects of Adderall as a “high.” This same “high” is also possible if someone with ADHD takes doses of Adderall above what their body needs.

This euphoric sensation can be difficult to resist in someone with a pre-existing vulnerability to addiction, so they continue to use it outside of its intended function. This is how Adderall addiction can develop. Over time, individuals who misuse Adderall require increasingly higher doses of the drug to achieve the same level of intoxication, leading to a cycle of ever-increasing substance misuse. The resulting physical dependence can be dangerous and even life-threatening, so proper professional care is essential for a successful recovery.


While only a licensed professional can diagnose an Adderall addiction, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) from the American Psychiatric Association provides criteria for diagnosing this type of condition.

According to the DSM-5, a stimulant use disorder is characterized by the use of a stimulant drug that significantly impairs the individual’s ability to function and results in at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Using the drug in more significant amounts or for longer than intended
  • Failed attempts to quit or reduce use
  • Spending excessive amounts of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the drug
  • Craving the drug
  • Failing to meet demands at work, school, or home as a result of drug use
  • Continued use despite negative consequences socially or interpersonally
  • Giving up important activities in favor of using the drug
  • Using the drug in dangerous situations
  • Continued use despite physical and psychological problems caused by or exacerbated by the drug
  • Developing tolerance (needing higher doses to achieve desired effects)
  • Adderall Withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug

Any of these symptoms are indicative of a stimulant use disorder and suggest that an individual may need professional help to manage their Adderall addiction effectively.


Any substance abuse impacting neurotransmitter activity can cause the brain to depend on the drug to stay balanced. With time, the brain may stop producing regular levels of its own neurotransmitters, resulting in physical dependence on the drug as the brain attempts to achieve baseline levels. Adderall is no exception to this rule, and withdrawal can occur when an individual stops using the drug abruptly after taking it in high doses for a prolonged period, leading to drug abuse.

Many of the effects of Adderall withdrawal occur due to sudden changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels. Without the drug, the brain’s levels of vital hormones like dopamine and serotonin are drastically reduced, leading to an array of uncomfortable symptoms. The exact symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can vary from person to person, with factors like the severity of the addiction, duration of use, and individual metabolism impacting the severity of withdrawal. Additionally, the same person may experience withdrawal differently as it progresses. However, there are general categories of Adderall abuse withdrawal symptoms that are common across individuals.

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal typically begin within 48 hours after the last dose. This initial period is known as the “crash,” and it’s often characterized by extreme fatigue, depression, irritability, headaches, and appetite changes. Despite the profound tiredness an individual may feel, trouble sleeping is common during this time. This is usually the most difficult period of withdrawal, but most physical symptoms are improved after about a week as neurotransmitter levels begin to balance out.

A second phase of withdrawal can occur after the crash. Fortunately, it’s not as intense as the initial crash, but it can last for several weeks, during which various symptoms may continue to linger. Anxiety, difficulty concentrating, excessive sleep, and mood swings are common during this period, and depression may also persist at low levels.

In nearly all cases of addiction, cravings for the drug are also present during the withdrawal period. Cravings can be extremely powerful, especially during the initial crash, and a professional detox center is often necessary for successful recovery.


Although discontinuing the misuse of Adderall is key to a healthier future, quitting cold turkey without professional assistance isn’t the ideal way to go about it. During the crash period, powerful cravings for the drug can be overwhelming and very difficult to resist without professional support. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous in some cases, and many require medical intervention for safe management.

Medical detox is an essential element of addiction treatment plan that involves the use of supervised monitoring to ensure the patient’s safety throughout withdrawal. A team of trained medical professionals consisting of doctors and nurses helps the patient gradually reduce their dose of Adderall until it’s no longer in their system. Some patients are prescribed medications to reduce Adderall cravings and stimulant withdrawal symptoms, and they may continue to take them for a limited period after the detoxification process is finished to avoid relapse.

These measures can help make the detox process safer and more tolerable for the patient. They also greatly reduce the likelihood that the patient will return to Adderall use due to how unbearable withdrawal can be without medical support.

The length of the detox process varies depending on several factors, such as the duration of the addiction, the amount of Adderall used, and the severity of the symptoms. In general, though, most patients complete detox in a period of 1-2 weeks.

In addition to medically supervised detox, many patients require further treatment in a treatment facility provider to fully address the root of their drug addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. After detox is complete, the patient may either transition to a residential treatment program for more intensive treatment or begin outpatient therapy in a treatment center. In either scenario, the patient will work with counselors to develop healthy strategies for managing their addiction as well as any underlying issues that may have contributed to it.


Detox is only the beginning of the recovery process, but it’s an essential first step that sets the foundation for a healthier, substance-use-free future. At Allure Detox, we specialize in providing compassionate, quality medical care during this critical time. Our experienced staff of detox professionals has helped countless individuals through the process of addiction recovery, and we are committed to providing the same level of care to you or your loved one.

As you embark on your journey to sobriety, you can trust that we will be with you every step of the way — not just during the initial detox period. We believe that residential treatment options and therapy are essential components of lasting sobriety, and we are committed to helping our patients build the skills they need to stay sober in the long term. This involves acknowledging the physical toll that addiction takes and emphasizing the mind-body connection through unique complementary therapies, including acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, yoga, meditation, visits to the gym, and nutritious meals. Combined with traditional addiction treatment services, these holistic approaches lay the groundwork for a healthy and fulfilling life beyond addiction.

Take the first step in the right direction today and contact Allure Detox to begin your recovery journey. We look forward to supporting you on your path to a better life.


  • Can Adderall cause brain fog?
  • What does Adderall do if you don’t have ADHD?
  • What does Adderall do to a normal person?
  • How long does it take for Adderall withdrawal to start?
  • Can i stop taking adderall cold turkey?
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