Adderall has reached the stratosphere of popularity in recent years. It is a name ubiquitous to a modern society filled with endless stimuli attempting to grab people’s attention. The compound is the drug of choice for patients, workers, and young adults alike, with each finding a use for it in their daily lives. Whether it is being used medically or recreationally, Adderall is certainly having its moment in the spotlight.

On a chemical level, Adderall contains several ingredients mixed to precise proportions to achieve a stimulant effect. Two elements, in particular, are what is referred to as amphetamines. Stimulant drugs such as Adderall go to work on various irregularities of the central nervous system. Adderall is the foremost medication for the treatment and maintenance of attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD to the masses). Still, many may not be aware that the drug is also used to treat narcolepsy and more.

Adderall is also a performance enhancer. The compounds improve motivation, attention, acuity, and other cognitive function. Because of this, the fields of athletics, business, and academics have been a proving ground for amphetamine use for decades — legal or otherwise. Its perceived advantages are the reason why Adderall is so frequently misused. In addition, once a tolerance has built up, many users find it difficult to quit Adderall use. It is easy to become dependent on the drug and needing it to accomplish even the most menial task. Beyond workload, users wish to continue feeling focused, energized, ambitious, and have the sense of self-worth and empowerment amphetamines afford them.

Prolonged Adderall use may lead to destructive substance use disorders. Users fear losing so much by quitting the drug: from productivity to truly forgetting a sense of identity in the absence of what they felt was their superior self. In order to get one’s mind and body back to their previous nature, users may require some form of a medical detox. Such programs can take many forms and may take place in rehabilitation facilities or at home during self-guided efforts among friends and family. An Adderall taper is a detox method than a user can start right away — reclaiming a life without an amphetamine-induced facade.

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Tapering off Adderall

Adderall comes with a false pretense of control. The focus, energy, and drive all come at the expense of robbing an individual of their ability to resist its appeal. Several demographics are especially vulnerable to its pull due to a self-imposed (and cultural) ambition to achieve: white-collar workers and students. The latter of which being particularly susceptible. Adderall and amphetamine use is at its highest on college campuses across the country. Students have elevated rates of Adderall prescriptions, and even larger proportions of illicit, recreational use. 

To put things into perspective, some 30 percent of all American college students misuse Adderall on a regular basis. These stimulants, or ‘uppers’, are go-to substances for social and academic situations alike. Adderall deprives the user of sleep, replacing it with excessive energy and neurological function, allowing for binge sessions students exploit to study or party. It becomes a crutch to manage busy schedules that many young adults are not quite used to. So, if 1 in 3 students have a potential problem with Adderall, it’s no surprise many individuals are desperate for relief. Tapering off Adderall offers the said reprieve.

Each Adderall taper looks to lessen the physical and psychological burden on users. Adderall is infamous for having nasty crashes once the drug wears off, and its withdrawals are exponentially more uncomfortable. Adderall tapers accomplish two important tasks: acclimating a user to daily life without Adderall bolstering their work or school lives, as well as dulling or sidestepping a withdrawal entirely. This is an alluring prospect for many individuals stuck in the Adderall cycle.

How to Taper off Adderall

Any meaningful discussion about how to taper off Adderall must first address the oft-proposed alternative to tapering: going cold turkey. Certainly, going about a detox in this fashion is possible. However, no medical professional can recommend the practice in good conscience — especially when valuable medical care is an option on the table. Cold turkey escalates and intensifies the withdrawal symptoms of Adderall which tapers would otherwise avoid. Such symptoms that a cold-turkey detox cannot prevent include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Pain and cramping
  • Dissociation
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Uncoordinated behavior
  • Unmotivated performance
  • Mental lethargy or confusion
  • Muscle aches
  • Appetite loss
  • Headaches
  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Thoughts of suicide

The psychological side effects of Adderall symptoms are the most disconcerting and should be monitored at all times. These symptoms manifest as a direct opposite response to the perceived positive effects of Adderall. When these feeling have become part of one’s personality, mental withdrawal can be all the more challenging.

Getting to the full cessation of Adderall use can be a lengthy progression. Each week is about a gradual stepping down of dosage until the drug is no longer needed whatsoever. The exact amount at which Adderall should be reduced is up to a physician’s perception of their patients’ needs. Tapering off Adderall usually occurs in 10 percent increments. This can mean a 5 mg reduction week after week for some, or a more rapid or slower weaning for others. Thousands of individuals take the pills recreationally to get work done, rather than attempting to achieve a high. Tapering can capitalize on this fact by allowing the user to begin limiting their usage to essential work hours rather than making it an everyday occurrence.

As a user begins to readjust to day-to-day life without Adderall, they will start to see a marked improvement in their mental health. At times during a taper, it may feel that one will never be able to function at 100 percent — or 110 percent, as is the point of Adderall — again without the augmenting power of amphetamines. This can derail any detox effort. However, it must be understood that these emotions will pass in time. Recovery from Adderall will prove that the drug is not a prerequisite for achievements nor a necessity for a constructive perception of oneself. One’s mind will remember its worth again soon enough.

If you need professional help in tapering your drug use, The Recovery Village can help. Call  877.550.4933 today to speak with a caring representative who can answer your questions, talk with you about your struggles, and place you in a program of care. It’s free to call, everything you discuss will be confidential, and there is no obligation to commit to treatment. Don’t risk a life of addiction — call The Recovery Village to get on the road to healing. 

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.