Dexmethylphenidate Withdrawal and Detox

Dexmethylphenidate is a prescription central nervous system stimulant, primarily used for the treatment of ADHD. Since this drug stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), it can cause severe symptoms, such as cardiac problems, raised blood pressure and raised body temperature. Dexmethylphenidate is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., meaning that the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse, addiction and dependence.

Dependence is different from addiction and can occur even when someone isn’t addicted to dexmethylphenidate. Dependence means that the body has developed a tolerance for a drug, requiring higher doses to get the same effects. Someone who is dependent upon dexmethylphenidate will experience withdrawal symptoms if suddenly they try to stop using it. Dependence and withdrawal can occur even when someone is using dexmethylphenidate as prescribed. However, dependence is more likely to occur in someone who recreationally abuses this drug in order to experience a euphoric high or rush of energy.

Common dexmethylphenidate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Depression
  • Changes in behavior
  • General discomfort

When someone uses dexmethylphenidate or other stimulant drugs, the drugs impact and change the amount of brain chemicals that are produced. Specifically, drugs like dexmethylphenidate raise levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This is why people may feel a euphoric high. Over time, with repeated exposure, the brain becomes used to the presence of the drug and stops making as much of its own natural neurotransmitters. When someone stops using dexmethylphenidate, they may have trouble feeling happiness or any emotions, they may experience anxiety, or they may even have suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Dexmethylphenidate Withdrawal & Detox

The withdrawal timeline for dexmethylphenidate and other similar stimulants can usually last for one to three weeks. The withdrawal timeline depends on several factors, such as how long someone used the drugs and how often they were using them. Within the first 72 hours, most people will start to feel symptoms of depression and irritability. Sleep disturbances are common, and a person may feel very hungry. There may also be symptoms like drug cravings, apathy, paranoia and extreme fatigue. By week two, most people will start to feel better but some of the longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms can still be present, including depression and problems with sleep. By the third week, most people will start to notice that their symptoms are improving. However, some people may have more persistent stimulant withdrawal symptoms, such as depression that lasts for several weeks or more.

Dexmethylphenidate withdrawal can be uncomfortable and psychologically difficult, but it isn’t typically life-threatening. The best way to manage symptoms of dexmethylphenidate withdrawal is for patients to gradually taper-down their dosage. In fact, this practice is recommended even for people who use dexmethylphenidate as prescribed. There may also be some treatments provided to manage symptoms during withdrawal. A person may be given sleep aids or they may be assessed and treated for co-occurring mental health disorders as they go through dexmethylphenidate withdrawal.  There aren’t any specific medications approved to treat stimulant withdrawal but care is taken to manage symptoms as they occur.

During a dexmethylphenidate detox program, the primary objective is to help the patient stay safe and as comfortable as possible. The focus is to treat symptoms that may occur and to taper-down the dexmethylphenidate dosage gradually. Some patients may require antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. If someone experiences psychosis, they may also require an antipsychotic medication. Once someone completes stimulant detox, they can move on to an addiction treatment program that includes counseling and therapy.

If someone is weighing whether or not to participate in a medical dexmethylphenidate detox program, there are some factors to consider. The biggest consideration is whether or not the detox program is part of an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program. Most people benefit from going directly into addiction treatment following detox. It’s also important to look for a detox program that includes dual-diagnosis programs for patients that have a mental health disorder occurring along with a substance use disorder.

To learn more about the benefits of a medical detox at The Recovery Village, as well as our addiction treatment programs, contact us today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery 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.