Focalin is a prescription drug, also known as dexmethylphenidate in its generic form. Focalin is classified as a stimulant drug and is prescribed to treat ADHD symptoms, such as impulsivity and hyperactivity. It accomplishes this by affecting brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine. The drug’s effects on the brain are why dependence and withdrawal symptoms can occur. When someone starts using Focalin by prescription, they are warned that if they suddenly stop using it they could experience withdrawal symptoms. As the brain is repeatedly exposed to Focalin, it changes how it functions in response. For example, when someone takes Focalin for a long time, their brain may not make its own dopamine and norepinephrine, or it may make amounts that are lower than normal. Then, if Focalin use is suddenly stopped, the brain struggles because it has become dependent upon the presence of the drug.
People who take a therapeutic dose of Focalin, as prescribed, are not likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. However, someone who abuses Focalin and takes high doses is very likely to go through withdrawal if they suddenly stop using it. The severity of Focalin withdrawal symptoms depends on factors such as how long someone’s been using it and how much they regularly use. Some common Focalin withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Changes in heart rhythm and blood pressure
- Extreme fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
For most people, Focalin withdrawal is not deadly. The majority of the side effects are psychological. People who are going through withdrawal will often feel like they have a low mood or things that would normally bring them pleasure no longer do so. There are also severe psychological symptoms that are possible, such as suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
The Focalin withdrawal timeline can vary depending on the extent of someone’s use. Within the first 24 to 48 hours after someone took their last dose of Focalin, they’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, cravings, fatigue, mood swings, nausea and changes in the heartbeat. Anywhere from four to seven days after the last dose of the drug, withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, depression, and exhaustion. This is also when many people will notice an increase in appetite. Sleep problems and nervousness occur during this time as well. During the third week after the last dose of Focalin is taken, people may still experience some symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, but cravings tend to subside. By around the fourth week, most people feel better but certain symptoms like depression can persist for longer.
The best way to manage symptoms of Focalin withdrawal is to gradually taper down the dosage of the drug. This is something that should be done under medical supervision. A physician will instruct patients to take lower and lower doses of the drug, over time. This prevents most of the withdrawal symptoms from occurring -especially the more severe ones. Managing symptoms of Focalin withdrawal can also be done in a medical detox facility under the supervision of professional staff.
With some drugs, such as opioids, there are medications approved by the FDA to specifically treat withdrawal symptoms. This isn’t the case with stimulants like Focalin. Medications used during Focalin detox are intended to manage symptoms as they arise, on a case-by-case basis. For example, someone who is going through Focalin withdrawal may be given drugs to treat blood pressure or heart rate fluctuations. During this time, medical professionals will usually assess the patient for co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression. Those mental health conditions can be treated as well. Treating Focalin withdrawal symptoms are meant to increase the physical and mental comfort level of the patient as they go through detox.
A professional, medical detox provides the opportunity for patients to be medically monitored as they go through withdrawal. Most detox centers are associated with a professional addiction treatment center as well, so that patients can move directly into treatment following detox. A Focalin detox center should be equipped to deal with complex patient profiles. For example, people who struggle with Focalin addiction and dependenceoften have co-occurring mental health conditions which will need to be assessed and treated. A detox center staff also needs to be experienced in treating stimulant withdrawal symptoms, specifically. For some people, it may be necessary to select a detox center that can treat multiple withdrawals simultaneously since people who are dependent upon Focalin are frequently dependent upon other substances as well.
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.