If you or a loved one take Adderall and want to quit, it can be hard to know where to turn. It is recommended to seek a medically supervised detox. However, some people may want to try to wean themselves off Adderall to try to overcome the drug. An Adderall taper is a detox method that a user can start right away to reclaim their life without amphetamines. However, it is always best to seek medical advice before weaning yourself off Adderall.

What Is Adderall Tapering or Weaning off Adderall?

An Adderall taper is a way of slowly weaning yourself off the drug by steadily decreasing the dose over time. When you take Adderall regularly, you can eventually become physically dependent on it. This means your brain and body begin to rely on the drug’s presence. Suddenly stopping Adderall can then send your body into disarray and trigger withdrawal symptoms. An Adderall taper allows your body to become accustomed to progressively lower Adderall doses. In turn, you can avoid withdrawal symptoms and ease your way off the drug.

How to Taper off Adderall

Few resources are available to help doctors determine how to taper Adderall. Each person’s Adderall taper is highly individualized to their specific needs. Two different people tapering Adderall might have very different taper schedules. 

Tapers work by reducing the Adderall dose steadily over time. So a person may take 10 mg daily the first week and 5 mg daily the second week. However, Adderall tapers can vary widely in terms of their duration. This is because a doctor may slow or stop a taper if withdrawal symptoms occur.

Types of Adderall Tapering Methods

Several tapering methods exist, including direct, substitute and titration tapers. Little information about Adderall tapers is available. Therefore, doctors will try to choose the best taper method for your particular needs. 

Direct Tapering

In a direct taper, your Adderall dose is slowly reduced over time until it is stopped. A doctor can monitor you throughout the direct taper process, letting you know when it is time to reduce your Adderall dose further. A direct taper is the most straightforward way of weaning off Adderall.

Substitute Tapering

In a substitute taper, the short-acting form of Adderall may be switched to a longer-acting version like Adderall XR. Then, the replacement drug is gradually reduced. While there isn’t much data on Adderall tapers specifically, similar approaches are often used when tapering other substances like benzodiazepines. Therefore, doctors may apply these methods to an Adderall taper if necessary.

Titration Tapering

Titration tapering is poorly studied and not recommended. In a titration taper, you mix Adderall with water and drink decreasing amounts of the concoction every day. However, Adderall does not fully dissolve in water as it is not completely soluble. This means you would receive irregular and unpredictable amounts of the drug in a titration taper, making it unsafe.

Why Consider Tapering vs. Stop Adderall Cold Turkey?

Quitting Adderall cold turkey can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Stimulant withdrawal can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. It may also increase the chances of low mood and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Instead, a taper gently weans you off Adderall to minimize or avoid withdrawal symptoms entirely. For this reason, it is best to taper your Adderall instead of suddenly stopping the drug.

Common Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. However, common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Increased appetite
  • Movement abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Slowed thinking

Sometimes, more severe Adderall withdrawal effects can occur. A person taking a high dose of Adderall may have dangerous withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Disordered thoughts 
  • Hallucinations

Side Effects of Tapering

Ideally, a taper should be free of side effects. The purpose of a taper is to slowly decrease your Adderall dose, allowing your body to adapt to lower amounts of the medication. If you experience side effects during an Adderall taper, it’s important to inform your doctor. This could indicate that the taper needs to be slowed down or temporarily paused.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

Although the Adderall withdrawal timeline can vary, the timeline generally includes

  • Within one day after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms start.
  • Within one to three days after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms continue.
  • Within three to five days after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms improve.

Detox, however, may not be completely finished after five days. Some people experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms after stopping stimulants like Adderall. These include psychological withdrawal symptoms that can persist for weeks or months.

Adderall Tapering Schedule

Very little information exists on the optimal Adderall taper schedule. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all taper available. Instead, doctors will help you decide on a taper based on specific individual factors. These include your Adderall dose, how long you’ve been taking the drug and your overall health. 

Medications Used When Tapering Off Adderall

Little information is available on medications used when tapering off Adderall. However, agitation and psychosis can sometimes occur during stimulant withdrawal. In these cases, specific medications may be prescribed to help.

  • Benzodiazepines

Sometimes, agitation can occur during Adderall withdrawal. Benzodiazepines like diazepam may be prescribed if this occurs. 

  • Antipsychotics

Psychotic symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations can sometimes occur during stimulant withdrawal. Antipsychotics may temporarily be used until these symptoms resolve.

  • Modafinil

Modafinil has been studied for treating stimulant dependence. Still, studies show the medication is not effective at helping people overcome stimulant abuse. For this reason, modafinil is not used during an Adderall taper.

Can Tapering Your Adderall Intake Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?

Tapering Adderall can help reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms. In fact, this is the whole point of an Adderall taper. By slowly reducing your Adderall dose over time, you give your body a chance to acclimate to progressively lower Adderall doses. This can prevent withdrawal symptoms as a taper gently weans you from the drug.

How The Recovery Village Uses Adderall Tapering

At The Recovery Village, we tailor our treatment to meet each person’s unique needs. This may include using a drug tapering approach. Our goal is to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab offers various levels of treatment as part of a comprehensive continuum of care. These include:

If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, The Recovery Village is here to help. Reach out to a representative today to learn more about our treatment options, or to get started.

heather lomax
Editor – Heather Lomax
At Advanced Recovery Systems, Heather uses her experience by working closely with medical experts to produce helpful, accurate articles on the challenges of navigating substance use, recovery and mental health conditions. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a white robe.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings“>Clinical[…]osed Settings.” 2009. Accessed October 10, 2023.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Protracted Withdrawal“>Protracted Withdrawal.” July 2010. Accessed October 10, 2023.

PsychDB. “Stimulant Withdrawal“>Stimulant Withdrawal.” March 29, 2021. Accessed October 10, 2023.

Miller, Norman S.; Gold, Mark S. “Management of Withdrawal Syndromes and Relapse Prevention in Drug and Alcohol Dependence“>Manageme[…]ol Dependence.” American Family Physician, 1998. Accessed October 10, 2023.

National Center for PTSD. “Effective Treatments for PTSD: Helping Patients Taper “>Effectiv[…]ients Taper 

from Benzodiazepines“>from Benzodiazepines.” January 2015. Accessed October 10, 2023.

PubChem. “Amphetamine“>Amphetamine.” Accessed October 10, 2023.

Lohr, W. David; Wanta, Jonathon W.; Baker, Megan; et al. “Intentional Discontinuation of Psychostimulants Used to Treat ADHD in Youth: A Review and Analysis“>Intentio[…] and Analysis.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, April 20, 2021. Accessed October 10, 2023.

Anderson, Ann L.; Li, Shou-Hua; Biswas, Kousick; et al. “Modafinil for the Treatment of Methamphetamine Dependence“>Modafini[…]ne Dependence.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 12, 2011. Accessed October 10, 2023.

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.