ADDICTION

How long does Adderall stay in your system?

Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. In 2016, there were around 16 million prescriptions written for individuals over the age of 18. Further, an estimated 5 million used adderall in an illicit manner. Primarily, its use is to treat patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. As the number of individuals with a diagnosis with these symptoms rise, there is a correlating rise in the prescription and use of Adderall.  Thus, with any increase in the availability of a drug, the likelihood of abuse also increases.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name medication for the mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both are central nervous system stimulants and cause an increase in energy, blood pressure, alertness and attention. Adderall increases the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your brain. Dopamine is commonly known as as the “feel good” chemical and causes a euphoric high feeling. When misusing or abusing a substance, this feeling is often addictive.

Dopamine is released naturally when a pleasurable action is undertaken such as eating, drinking or having sex. Its euphoric feeling is meant to encourage the repetition of behavior which our body enjoys. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone and neurotransmitter which is attributed to our “flight or fight” response when our body is put under extreme stress.

Adderall is prevalent in academic culture given the effects it has on the brain. When significant misuse or abuse, Adderall causes a euphoric high given the amount of dopamine it helps release into the body. Moreover, its high sometimes has similar effects as taking cocaine. However, most of its value in academic society comes from its ability to increase focus and attentiveness. Many college students use it to cram for an exam or to help boost attention while writing a paper. A study, concluded by John Hopkins University, found that 60% of all illicit Adderall use was by students attempting to increase their academic capacity. 

Side Effects

However, using Adderall has its downsides. Not only is addiction possible, someone misusing the drug may experience very negative side-effects. Some side effects of Adderall include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness

With increased use, some of these side effects may no longer affect you. However, following abuse over long periods of time, users experience more severe side effects such as:

  • Severe insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Skin disorder
  • Moodiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart damage
  • Anorexia

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug by the DEA. This means it has a “high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Adderall XR vs IR

Adderall XR is the extended release version of Adderall. It works by slowly releasing its contents throughout the day rather than all at once. It is typically effective for 10-12 hours. Adderall IR or immediate release is the quick acting version of the drug. It does the exact opposite of what Adderall XR does by releasing a dose which only lasts around 4 hours. An IR dose is for use multiple times a day due to its short-acting nature.

Regardless of the type, Adderall typically absorbs into the blood in 30 minutes. The various versions of the drug makes it more versatile and flexible, allowing for the patient to find the formula which works best for them.

Adderall Addiction and Abuse

Is Adderall Addictive? Yes, it is possibly addictive for several reasons. First, it is a re-uptake inhibitor. When Adderall promotes the release of dopamine into the system, it also works to prevent the replenishment of the chemical as well. This causes the availability of dopamine in the system to drop, which is one of the reasons the sudden secession of Adderall use can lead to depression. Another reason Adderall is potentially addictive is because of the dopamine-induced euphoric high it sometimes produces when taken in large doses.

Given that Adderall is a stimulant, the highs one experiences is quite similar to a cocaine high. This includes feelings of euphoria, increasing energy levels, increasing heart rate and improving concentration. Similarly, the comedown or end of the high mimics that of cocaine where users experience depression, anxiety or potentially psychosis. Further, an Adderall tolerance can develop, forcing the user to take a larger dose to achieve a high. 

Adderall overdoses, while uncommon, are possible. It would typically take a very large amount of the drug to overdose- around 20-25mg of Adderall per kilogram of body weight. Still, if a person uses with other substances, the risks for adverse health effects and overdose do increase.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

The determinants of how long a drug stays in your body is dependent on a variety of factors. For example, body composition makes a big difference in how long Adderall stays in your system. Factors such as your body fat percentage, height, and weight will change the way the chemicals in Adderall react. The amphetamine salts in Adderall will not bind to fat in the body which means an individual with a low fat, high muscle composition will feel the effects of Adderall longer as there is more mass for the chemicals to bind to. 

Other factors which determine how long a drug stays in your system include:

  • Food – how much was eaten and how long ago. The presence of food forces the body to metabolize the food as well as the drug which can lengthen the process.
  • Organ health – ability of critical organs such as the liver to process and metabolize chemicals.
  • Dose taken – a higher dose will take more time to clear the body than a lower one.

Adderall has a half-life of 9-14 hours. A chemicals half-life will determine how long it takes for half of the ingested chemical content to process through and leave the body. Essentially, if you took 50mg of Adderall, it would take 9-14 hours for that 50mg to reduce to 25mg. Given its half-life, Adderall will typically clear your system in about 3 days.

It can be traced via:

  • Saliva 20 minutes to 48 hours after consumption
  • Blood 12 to 24 hours after consumption
  • Urine 4 to 7 days after consumption
  • Hair follicles anywhere from a week to 90 days after consumption

Taking other forms of Adderall such as Adderall XR or Adderall IR may affect how long it takes for the chemical to leave your system and detection periods.

Mixing Adderall With Other Substances

Generally, it’s always recommended that you never take more than one drug at a time as the effects of combining always include a high risk factor. Many people like to mix Adderall with other uppers/stimulants in an attempt to further boost the effects of the stimulant. Adderall and coffee for example are both stimulants which assist the user in boosting focus and energy. While drinking a small amount of coffee while taking Adderall probably will not be super harmful, it is still a bad idea as it can magnify the negative side effects such as headaches or dizziness. 

Treatment for Adderall Addiction and Abuse

Coming off of Adderall can be a difficult process without the proper guidance or help. With Adderall use on the rise in American culture and society, it can be easy to mistake it as a safe drug. If you or a loved one need help, please contact us today.