Adderall may be a prescription medication, but it is extremely addictive and abused frequently. What can start as seeking a bit of extra energy or increased focus can quickly turn into dependence, overdose, and addiction. Not only that, but overuse of Adderall can negatively impact the users’ health as well.
Unfortunately, Adderall is prescribed fairly frequently, so it is easy for people to get their hands on. The good news is that addicts do not have to get clean on their own. Recovery is possible and most people have a larger support system than they would expect. With a good support system and a plan, getting clean is within reach.
How Long Does Adderall Last?
As one of the most widely prescribed stimulant medications to treat ADHD, it is no surprise that the drug is so often abused. How long it lasts depends on a few factors, including which version you get, your tolerance to amphetamines, your size, and your metabolism.
Adderall is a stimulant medication that is regularly prescribed to those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as narcolepsy. It changes some of the substances that naturally occur in the brain and helps increase focus, allow you to pay attention, and may even help with organization and time management. While it is regularly used to treat narcolepsy, it is dangerous to use Adderall as a way to stay awake for an extended amount of time.
Adderall comes in two versions. There is the immediate release version that affects the user for 4-6 hours, and Adderall XR, which is the extended relief alternative that lasts 10-12 hours. How quickly the user feels the effects and how long they last vary from person to person. Their tolerance level plays a big part in this.
As far as how long the drug is detectable in the users’ system varies. Adderall can be detected in urine for 72-96 hours after last use and in saliva for 20-50 hours. It can be seen in blood for up to 46 hours and hair for up to 3 months.
Side-Effects of Being Addicted to How Long Adderall Lasts
For most people that have or had an Adderall dependency or addiction, they will probably tell you that they first began using it either to treat ADHD as a child or to stay focused and better their performance in college. What can start as a seemingly smart solution to a problem can quickly turn into its own problem.
Commonly, those that abuse Adderall either buy it illegally or take someone else’s prescription. In addition to swallowing the pills, which takes 30 minutes to an hour to take effect, many users choose to go a faster route by either crushing the pills and snorting them or injecting them, as both of these methods take mere minutes.
When you use it as prescribed, Adderall does have several side effects the user could experience:
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Stomach pains
- Heart palpitations
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Increases blood pressure.
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty achieving orgasm
When someone goes beyond taking Adderall as prescribed by their doctor, this is when serious problems can arise. Long-term heavy use can lead to serious problems with the brain.
Adderall, like all stimulants, is designed to increase energy levels, boost concentration, suppress the appetite, and decrease the need for sleep. While short-term changes to the dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters are not necessarily harmful.
When Adderall or other stimulants are taken long-term, the change in dopamine can dramatically impact the reward center in the brain, making it difficult to feel pleasure without chemical assistance. More frequent Adderall use will solidify these changes. Once a dependence forms, feeling pleasure without it becomes more difficult. As it leaves the bloodstream, withdrawal symptoms begin, which is often the first sign of dependency.
Initially, users feel focused, euphoric, and productive but this experience can change drastically over time. What starts out pleasant eventually turns into:
- Stomach problems
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Head pain
- Weight loss
- Heart problems
- Increased risk for heart attack and stroke
- Irritability, panic, anxiety, and other mood changes
How to Tell If Addicted to How Long Adderall Lasts
One of the most harmful side effects of long-term Adderall use is addiction. Taking it as prescribed by a doctor is usually safe, but heavy use is where problems come in. Because of the dependency on the drug to improve your mood, your brain will begin to produce less and less dopamine. When this happens, you will likely notice:
- Decreased libido
- Mood changes, mostly low moods
When these changes take place, you may notice that you no longer enjoy things you used to and that you have to increase the amount of Adderall you’re taking to get the same effect.
The best way to prevent becoming dependent on Adderall is by not taking it to begin with. This isn’t possible for everyone, as many people need medication to manage their symptoms. If you are prescribed Adderall, these are the best practices to avoid addiction:
- Do not take a larger dose than your doctor recommends
- Do not take more frequent doses than prescribed
- Do not take Adderall if it is not prescribed to you
Treatment Help if Addicted to How Long Adderall Lasts
When you become dependent on drugs, and eventually addicted, it can feel like there is no hope for you to get clean, especially if you don’t have a lot of friends or family. Don’t give up, recovery is possible. With the right recovery plan and even a small but strong support system, getting clean is achievable.
The detoxification process can be long and uncomfortable, but making the choice to get clean can only improve your life. Before you know it, life as an Adderall addict will seem like a distant past.