How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?
Adderall is a stimulant that has a high potential for misuse. Also known as “speed,” people who are hoping to stay awake or lose weight may misuse Adderall. While it’s popular with college students, anyone who uses Adderall may become addicted to it.
If you’re struggling with Adderall use or are looking for support for a loved one, this guide will help you understand why Adderall is addictive, how to recognize the signs of addiction, and how to access appropriate treatment.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription medicine that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It stimulates the central nervous system, and is approved for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. For patients with concentration difficulties and hyperactivity, Adderall helps to improve attention, and it reduces restlessness. In people with ADHD, this medicine enhances listening skills, and it makes it easier to organize homework and other tasks.
What Are the Side Effects of Adderall?
Headaches, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and weight loss are some of the most commonly reported side effects of this medicine. Since Adderall can cause increases in blood pressure and heart rate, patients should have their blood pressure and pulse measured before starting this medicine. Clinicians will recheck these measurements at follow-up appointments, and patients may be asked to monitor their pulse and blood pressure readings at home.
Some patients may develop serious side effects, including seizures, mania, vision changes, hallucinations, and dizziness. Report any side effects to the prescribing physician right away, and as a patient, you should always let your healthcare providers know about any new or concerning symptoms.
Is Adderall Addictive?
For some individuals, Adderall is linked to addiction as well as mental and physical dependency. You’re at an increased risk of becoming addicted to Adderall if you take it for a long period of time. In addition, you may develop an addiction to this medicine if you take more than the recommended dose.
What Are the Major Risk Factors for Adderall Use Disorder?
Adderall use disorder occurs most frequently in teenagers and young adults. In particular, students, athletes, people who are trying to lose weight, and individuals with a history of anorexia or drug use have the highest risk of becoming addicted to Adderall. Having a stressful job could also lead to Adderall addiction.
Taking certain medications with Adderall could increase the risk of Adderall addiction. For example, using Adderall with antacids, pain relievers, blood thinners, decongestants or antidepressants will elevate your risk of becoming addicted. This is because these medications may potentially enhance the effects of Adderall when they interact. Some medications can also affect the way the body metabolizes Adderall, increasing its concentration in the bloodstream and prolonging its effects.
What Are the Signs of Adderall Use Disorder?
When people are struggling with Adderall use issues, their daily lives may revolve around finding and using Adderall. They might change their behaviors to satisfy cravings for the drug. They may become socially withdrawn, and they might go to different doctors or pharmacies to try to obtain Adderall. Their work and school performance could suffer, and they may experience relationship and family conflicts.
In these individuals, depression, anxiety, and irritability are likely to occur when the latest dose of Adderall wears off. To increase the effects of the drug, people who are struggling with addiction may try crushing or snorting it. They tend to spend a lot of time trying to manipulate the drug. Their level of personal hygiene may drop, and they could try to hide their drug use from others.
How Long Does Adderall Stay in the Body?
When you take a dose of Adderall, it’s absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract. Your liver breaks it down, and it exits your body when you urinate. Since Adderall affects your whole body, it is present in urine, blood, saliva, and hair samples. It stays in each of these samples for different lengths of time.
When you take a urine test for Adderall, it will detect any Adderall that you’ve used in the past two to three days. Urination is the way that your body gets rid of Adderall, so this testing method tends to show higher concentrations of the drug than other testing methods.
If you receive a blood test for Adderall, it will pick up any Adderall usage within the past 46 hours. Blood tests are the preferred method for quick detection of this medication.
Saliva test can detect the presence of Adderall in a person’s system within a limited window of 24-48 hours. However, starting at 19 hours after use, the concentration of Adderall drops and can be very hard to detect. The dosage and frequency of use can play a role in whether or not a saliva test will be able to detect this drug in your system.
Although hair testing for Adderall is uncommon, it provides the longest detection window of any testing method. In fact, hair samples will show if you’ve used Adderall at any point in the last three months.
Factors That Affect How Long Adderall Stays in Your System
So, how long does Adderall stay in your system? It depends on your unique characteristics. For example, your age, body composition, metabolism, and medication dosage could change how long Adderall stays in your body.
Kidney function, liver size, and urine output decrease with age. As you get older, you may find that Adderall stays in your system for longer periods than it did when you were younger.
Having a fast metabolism helps your body eliminate Adderall more quickly than it could with a slower metabolism. For people with higher levels of body fat, it may take longer for Adderall to metabolize and be eliminated from the body. Compared to lower Adderall doses, higher doses require more time to be eliminated from your body.
What Happens When I Stop Taking Adderall?
If you have an Adderall dependence or addiction, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop taking the medicine. These symptoms may endanger your overall health, and they can make you feel very uncomfortable. During withdrawal, you may appear intoxicated or hungover, and you could develop the following symptoms:
- Depression or mood changes
- Stomach pain
Since withdrawal carries health risks, it’s important to have medical supervision at each stage of the process. Most people receive supervision through inpatient detox programs. Known as medically assisted detox programs, these options provide patients with clinical monitoring, psychological support, and medicines to ease withdrawal symptoms.
What Treatment Options Are Available for Adderall Use Disorder?
Treatment options include inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs. Inpatient treatment involves staying at a residential treatment facility for detox and recovery. Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs allow participants to live at home. Outpatient care requires attending treatment appointments several times a week, and patients in intensive outpatient care programs have more frequent appointments than those in standard outpatient programs.
Treatment for Adderall use disorder includes a combination of medical and psychological support. While there aren’t any medicines that have been developed specifically for the treatment of Adderall abuse, clinicians will prescribe medicines that reduce withdrawal symptoms. For example, they may offer you medications to manage vomiting, nausea, insomnia, and other symptoms.
During withdrawal and treatment, the center will provide you with psychological care. In most cases, patients attend group and individual therapy sessions, and family therapy options are available at many treatment centers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management (motivational interviewing) are some of the most widely used therapies for substance use disorders.
With cognitive-behavioral therapy, your therapist teaches you to recognize the situations and thoughts that have led you to use Adderall. After you learn to identify these patterns of behavior, your therapist will help you develop healthier ways to cope with your triggers. For example, you may develop a plan for avoiding high-risk situations, and you could explore making changes to your living situation or daily routine.
In motivational interviewing, or contingency management sessions, you can receive gift cards and other prizes for passing your drug tests. This technique helps you stay motivated on your journey to sobriety, and it allows you to support others in their recoveries. If you’re able to stay sober for long periods of time, you’ll be eligible for larger prizes.
Where Can I Find Out More About Treatment for Adderall Use Disorder?
If you’re struggling with Adderall misuse, reaching out to your family doctor or a licensed mental health professional can be an important first step on the road to recovery. Doctors and mental health professionals will be able to offer advice about the most appropriate treatment options for your specific case. In addition, you could consider contacting a local support group for guidance.
If you are looking for treatment options in Indiana, look into receiving care at First City Recovery Center in Kokomo. We offer a holistic treatment program that addresses the underlying causes of Adderall addiction, and we take care of you at every stage of the recovery process. We provide medical detox, inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, dual diagnosis, and outpatient and intensive outpatient programs.
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, we offer dialectical behavior therapy, trauma addiction recovery, and experiential therapy. Individual, group, and family therapy sessions are available. After your treatment, you may be able to transition to living in one of our sober living homes, and we provide a relapse prevention program to help you maintain sobriety. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you on your recovery journey.
Dr. Vahid Osman, MD is a psychiatry specialist in Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. Osman completed a residency at Austin State Hospital. He has over 32 years of experience in Psychiatry & Behavioral Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.