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Should You Stop Taking Adderall Suddenly?

Mom comforting her teen daughter who is struggling with adderall addiction

What happens when parents see their child playing with something that is dangerous or hazardous, such as a sharp knife, a bottle of floor cleaner or a book of matches? Usually, their first instinct is to take it away immediately.

It’s a natural extension of the parental instinct to protect children from all harm. However, if your adolescent child is misusing the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) medication Adderall, they might experience withdrawal symptoms if they are abruptly separated from the drug.

Stopping Adderall Cold Turkey Harms the Body

Quitting Adderall cold turkey can bring on uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms. Though not as life-threatening as cocaine, heroin or crystal meth withdrawal, Adderall withdrawal can still severely disrupt the life of someone struggling with teen Adderall addiction.

Withdrawal is the process during which the body attempts to normalize itself after being subjected to a harmful substance on a regular basis. In the case of Adderall, which is a stimulant made up of amphetamine components, the body is forced to suddenly transition from an overstimulated state into one that is more inert.

Adderall Withdrawal Side Effects

Adderall withdrawal can shock the body’s natural processes and produce a number of negative side effects like:

  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Nightmares or unpleasant, vivid dreams
  • Mood swings, irritability or anxiety
  • Headaches, muscle aches or body fatigue
  • Mental or physical sluggishness
  • Difficulty concentrating or getting motivated
  • Unhealthy increase in appetite
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia, panic attacks or phobias
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Powerful Adderall cravings

These symptoms are impacted by the time period of Adderall misuse, the formulation of the drug itself and the abruptness of the cessation of Adderall consumption.

How to Stop Adderall Use Properly

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as the teenager begins the recovery process and can continue for days, weeks or even months. Each person’s recovery is different. Unlike some misused substances like alcohol or opioids, there are currently no known medications that can ease the withdrawal process from Adderall or other stimulants.

However, there are some steps that teens can take to minimize the severity and frequency of withdrawal symptoms:

  1. Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods
  2. Eschew caffeine
  3. Exercise on a regular basis
  4. Stick to a regular sleeping schedule
  5. Engage in calming activities prior to bedtime instead of using digital devices or video games
  6. Keep a daily routine
  7. Stay busy and active so as to not think about cravings
  8. Consider joining support groups of peers who have gone or are going through a similar situation

The most effective way to facilitate recovery from Adderall addiction is to do so gradually. This means tapering off its use by periodically stepping down the dose over a period of time. This process should be overseen by a doctor or drug rehab professional. If the level of addiction is severe, parents should explore inpatient addiction treatment programs for teens in their area.

Adderall can be helpful for children who struggle with ADHD. However, many teens misuse Adderall to benefit from its brain-heightening effects (often for reasons like staying up late to study for tests). For teens who struggle with Adderall addiction, the drug can cause serious harm to their bodies and their relationships, which can continue even if they try to stop taking Adderall cold turkey.

If your teen has been misusing Adderall and you’re concerned about the effects of withdrawal, contact Next Generation Village for more information on how to navigate this process safely.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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