Whether you wean yourself off slowly or quit Adderall cold-turkey, it is absolutely possible to return to your old, sober self with the right help.
While it’s never easy, it could be the best decision you ever make.
This article explain how to quit Adderall safely and permanently, using resources and support networks that are widely available today.
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You Are Not Alone!
Before you learn how to quit Adderall, it’s important to understand the obstacles you will need to overcome.
Loneliness does not need to be one. Given the popularity of Adderall, understand that you are not alone in your struggle – not by a long shot!
Adderall is one of the most commonly-abused prescription drugs in America, with almost 1 in 10 teens and young adults admitting to using the drug. In some elite universities, over 30% of young adults admit to having used Adderall to enhance their academic performance. To most recreational abusers, Adderall is viewed as a legal and relatively safe way to improve mental focus, to lose weight and to get more done.
Amphetamine Addiction Is Serious
Problem is, Adderall is also speed. The active ingredients are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
The reasons many users choose to quit Adderall is to rid themselves of the nasty side effects and the behavioral problems that come with long-term abuse of the drug.
In addition, some addicts Adderall feel like they are cheating life, and they want to get back to experiencing their life without a chemical crutch.
Side Effects From Adderall Abuse
Adderall abuse often produces nasty side effects that can do serious damage to your health and to your personal relationships.
These side effects include:
- loss of appetite / weight loss
- stomach issues, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- inability to sleep (sometimes for days)
- dry mouth or bad taste in mouth
- frequent headaches
- nervousness and restlessness
- physical weakness.
If Adderall abuse continues over a long period of time, the side effects can become debilitating. For example, consider Lauren’s experience:
I’m an addict of over 13 years.
I get terrible headaches after a binge. Sometimes I throw up. My blood pressure is always elevated. Eyesight seems blurry. Risking death and blindness. Must wean down.
When I don’t use, I feel lethargic, tired, completely unmotivated to live my life; existing. Once, I quit cold turkey for less than a week and experienced sharp shooting pains in my head for days until I resumed my addiction.
This is not living.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been abusing for months or years like Lauren, then you have a nasty surprise waiting for you when you quit Adderall – especially if you quit cold-turkey (which is not generally recommended).
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
If you suddenly quit taking Adderall after you’ve been taking high doses for months or years, then harsh and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms can occur.
The most common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sleep problems: a constant need to sleep (more common) or insomnia (less)
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Feelings of worthlessness (sometimes crushing)
- Depression, sometimes severe
- Loss of energy, lethargy
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of productivity
- Feelings of insecurity
- Loss of motivation
These symptoms can make it difficult for you to function at the same level as when you were on Adderall, and they may last for weeks or months.
This is why it’s so important to have a good idea of how to quit Adderall before you start trying.
Why It’s So Hard To Quit Adderall
Many Adderall addicts avoid quitting because they fear what might happen to their life when they lose the motivation, focus and energy level they’ve become accustomed to while on adders.
In truth, these concerns are justified: heavy users who quit often report a drop in productivity due to depression, lack of energy, mood changes and other symptoms that come with crashing off of the drug.
For example, here is how one ex-user describes her experience withdrawing from a long-term Adderall addiction:
“Without the drug I felt stupid, unable to focus or follow a thought through to completion. I was shy, and unwilling to initiate conversation.
The witty, articulate woman I once was seemed to no longer exist.”
– Kate Miller
For this reason, you need to be realistic about what will happen when you quit.
First of all, you should expect a loss of productivity and motivation and prepare your loved ones and co-workers for it. But keep in mind, it only takes a few weeks for your brain to wean itself off of the drug, so this will pass.
The initial withdrawal symptoms often start within hours of ending drug use and can persist for many days or weeks.
The intensity and duration of Adderall withdrawal symptoms depend on how long the person has been using, how much drug has been used, whether they are weaning themselves off of the drug or quitting cold-turkey, and the user’s body chemistry.
The primary way to relieve Adderall withdrawal symptoms is… to use more Adderall. Relapse is common. This is what causes the cycle of addiction that can ruin family relationships and cost jobs – or worse.
Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the possibility it will disrupt your life, it is important to have a strong support system in place during withdrawal and to remain as physically fit as possible.
If your family and friends have experience helping others through withdrawals or are truly supportive and understanding of your situation, then ask them for help.
However, getting help from family and friends isn’t a realistic option for everyone. For these patients, there are two more ways to get the support they need.
Local Support Groups
Joining a local Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) support group in your area is a great first step to getting clean. N.A. meetings are free to attend, and patients can visit the meetings anytime they choose. Narcotics Anonymous can also help family members understand the full effects of Adderall on their loved ones.
Newly recovering addicts may want to combine professional treatment with a local support group to improve the chances for success and to provide a larger safety net to get through times of temptation.
Residential Treatment Centers
For patients with private insurance, a residential treatment center may be the best choice of how to quit Adderall and to resolve any motivations for Adderall abuse. Nearly all residential treatment centers offer payment plans for patients.
At a residential treatment center, the counselors and staff are trained to help a person kick prescription drug addiction permanently.
For some Adderall users, checking into a facility is the only correct method for how to quit Adderall, because it eliminates day-to-day distractions and bad relationships with enablers that could cause them to relapse, letting them focus completely on learning how to live without the drug.
3 Steps To Permanent Recovery
Regardless of the type of treatment you get, there are three basic steps every user needs to go through to accomplish permanent recovery from Adderall addiction:
- detox (wean down, or quit cold turkey)
- counseling, and
The detox process involves weaning the Adderall user off of the drug in a safe manner. This is best done under the care of a physician trained to treat Adderall or speed addiction, specifically. In most cases, a professional treatment facility will wean a user off the drug by reducing dosage gradually. Self-detox often means quitting the drug cold-turkey, something that can have severe consequences for heavy users.
Counseling helps the patient relate their Adderall abuse to the damage it has caused to their lives, their careers and their relationships and teaches the user better ways to deal with the emotional reasons behind their dependence. Generally speaking, you’ll get the best counseling from a trained mental health professional.
Lastly, self-help is the main way to stay off prescription drugs and to continue a sober life for the long-term. There are many life skills and tactics that can help you avoid relapse.
When all three of these are accomplished through a coordinated recovery program, the patient has a greater chance of successful recovery.
After you’ve left treatment, in-person support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and online support groups can serve as a sounding board to help you stay on a clean and sober path, over the long term.