Adderall is a drug that’s prescribed to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It changes brain chemistry in such a way that it increases alertness, concentration, and motivation - and its peak performance can last a few hours.
Since Adderall is a stimulant, when it wears off, it can make those who take the drug feel sluggish, which is typically known as an Adderall crash.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat an Adderall crash, identify what it looks like, and many ways to cope.
Top 10 Tips to Combat an Adderall Crash
Adderall crashes happen, but there are ways to cope with them or help make withdrawal symptoms easier. Crashing is known as the emotional and physical changes that people experience when the effects of the drug they have been taking begin to leave their body.
Here are a few top tips:
1. Take the Lowest Possible Dosage
A lower dosage of Adderall is less likely to cause you to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is essential to ensure a doctor is overseeing your prescription and is monitoring the effects over time.
2. Take Your Adderall in the Morning
When you regularly take Adderall in the morning, this can help reduce withdrawal symptoms by allowing the drug to take effect throughout the course of the day. This can also help when it comes time to sleep, as taking Adderall too late in the day can cause restlessness.
3. Taper Off
If you need to stop taking Adderall for any reason, it is best to avoid stopping it altogether too suddenly. Rather, you should strive to slowly taper off by lowering your dosage until you are no longer taking it. As always, discuss this with your Doctor and follow their direction.
4. Eat Nutritious Foods
Maintaining a healthy diet can help combat the effects of an Adderall crash, as increasing the essential vitamins and minerals your brain needs can help keep you feeling healthy and well.
5. Get More Sleep
Try to go to bed at the same time each night and strive for at least 8 hours of sleep. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your hormones, making you feel more rested and alert each day.
6. Avoid Stimulants
Sleeping and resting are important to combat the effects of an Adderall crash, so stimulants, such as cigarettes and caffeine should be avoided altogether because they might cause you to feel too wide awake when it’s time to rest.
7. Stay Relaxed
Try to take part in activities that do not require periods of intense concentration. Try breathing deeply, listening to music, cooking, drawing, or taking a nap. Whatever it is that helps you to de-compress and stay calm, do a little more of that.
Even mild exercise such as walking or playing frisbee can help reduce the effects of an Adderall crash and help keep your mind busy. Adderall can also make you feel lazy or sluggish, so if you get moving, it can help combat these feelings.
9. Take a Bath
Adderall can make your arms and legs feel cold, so taking a warm bath can help regulate your body temperature, promote a feeling of calmness, and help improve blood circulation in your entire body.
10. Drink More Water
Drinking more water will help you stay hydrated and helps avoid the sluggish feeling that comes with dehydration and helps the body to secrete excess toxins.
When Does an Adderall Crash Happen?
The initial crash that follows Adderall withdrawal typically happens very quickly following the cessation of medication intake. It also can last up to several days, while 24-48 hours is the most common timeframe for symptoms to take effect.
This initial timeframe is when symptoms are most severe and can cause an intense loss of energy, fatigue, hunger, shakiness, dizziness, and loss of concentration.
Many people also experience an extended withdrawal period that can cause irritability and increased cravings for the drug. When the brain is used to the waves of Adderall in the system, its reward centers are intensified, but this comes crashing down when the drug is stopped.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Information
The Center for Disease Control (AKA the CDC) found that the numbers of kids aged 4 to 17 were diagnosed with ADHD rose 41% over the course of the last decade.
Many of these kids are prescribed medications such as Adderall or Ritalin to help combat the effects of ADHD.
Boys are more frequently diagnosed with ADHD (more than twice the rate of girls who are diagnosed) and are also more likely to be prescribed medications for it.
Kids with ADHD have a constant need to self-stimulate, often having trouble turning off their brain to complete daily tasks.
When a child takes a stimulant such as Adderall, they no longer need to self-stimulate, which can help them focus on the task at hand.
Kids with ADHD often enjoy playing video games because they provide constant visual stimulation that keeps them interested, while other tasks such as cleaning or doing homework do not provide the stimulation they need to stay focused.
Are These Drugs Really Effective?
While these drugs have been shown to allow kids to sit still for longer periods of time, they do not necessarily help students learn more efficiently in school, which as raised questions as to why so many young children are prescribed the drugs.
Adderall has been shown to improve the main symptoms of ADHD while it’s being taken, which include: inability to pay attention, hyperactivity, and poor impulse control. But it does not change or heal the brain, Adderall simply helps people with ADHD cope.
Parents also have the option of looking into other forms of non-stimulant medication, which can help combat symptoms, without the effects of a such highly addictive stimulant medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin.
Adderall - Different Effects for Non-ADHD Sufferers
The effects of medication on individuals who do not suffer from ADHD are different than those who suffer from ADHD. The person will feel an intense burst of energy and euphoria, especially if they start taking a higher dosage. They may also experience increased confidence, optimism, productivity, and an overwhelming sense of calm.
When someone takes a stimulant like this, it majorly impacts their brain chemistry, as well as their motivation and reward transmitters.
This can, in turn, impact how people process their emotions and how they feel pleasure, which can cause issues with mood problems in the long term.
This is why Adderall is not meant to be used as a long-term drug, but rather in the short term, to help cope with side effects of ADHD and other disorders.
One of the main reasons people who do not have ADHD take stimulants such as Adderall is to help do better and improve focus at school or work.
And, they do help people focus and concentrate, Adderall also been found to help with memorization techniques. Studies have shown that people who are taking stimulants while actively trying to remember various subjects were more likely to remember the subjects later.
Effects of Adderall
Originally synthesized in the 1940s to combat restlessness, depression, and psychosis effects, Adderall evolved into a medication to help keep people focused.
Adderall includes dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, which chemically combine to increase activity in both the dopamine and norepinephrine systems. When these systems are heightened, they make you feel more awake and able to concentrate.
Adderall also increases heart rate and raises blood pressure, as well as triggering the body’s “fight or flight” response.
Because of these impacts, Adderall can make a person taking the drug feel nervous, jittery, and more aware of their surroundings than normal.
When doctors prescribe Adderall, they start you out with a low dosage, slowly increasing it until it has taken the desired effect. The goal is to treat you with the lowest possible dosage, which is less likely to give you withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug.
High Dosage Effects
Taking Adderall in high doses is called chronic intoxication. When it is taken in higher doses than what is recommended, it causes feelings of intense euphoria and excitement, which can lead to addiction.
These negative effects can worsen if Adderall is combined with alcohol and can make it harder to combat the oncoming Adderall crash when it takes hold.
Long term effects of using stimulants such as Adderall can weaken the heart muscle, which can lead to long term complications. In extremely high doses, Adderall can cause sudden cardiac arrest or hallucinations.
Prolonged Adderall abuse can also cause long term changes in the brain, and it can cause mood and behavior issues.
As with any drug, there are various side effects that accompany Adderall, even at prescribed doses. These side effects vary based on the age group of those who are taking the drug.
For Children 6 to 12 Years Old, They Include:
- Appetite Loss
- Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep
- Stomach Pains
- Nausea and Vomiting
In Teens Taking the Drug, Side Effects Include:
- Weight Loss
- Stomach pains
- Appetite Loss
Side Effects in Adults Include:
- Appetite Loss
- Weight Loss
- Rapid heart rate
- Urinary Tract Infections
Your Brain on Adderall
Once Adderall gets to your brain, it mimics the feeling of adrenaline and dopamine. Imagine the feeling you get when you are on a roller coaster and it goes upside down. That is what your brain feels like when it receives a rush of Adderall.
The reward and pleasure centers in your brain are lit up, bringing intense clarity, alertness, and focus.
The Norepinephrine that is released helps tell your brain to keep these feelings around longer than they typically would, and it and constantly releases them.
Because of these side effects, Adderall is often referred to as a “study drug” and helps give students an intense period of focus on work they need to complete. They can cram more information into their brains and focus in a short burst of time to ensure they can write a paper, take a test, or whatever it is they are completing.
Duration of Effectiveness
Adderall remains in the system for several days and has a half life of about ten to eleven hours. It reaches its peak in the blood at around one to two hours and will take full effect at this time.
Adderall is most effective when it is taken exactly as it is prescribed. Taking it only when you feel it is necessary can make the mediation less effective.
Adderall should be taken on an empty stomach to experience its full effects.
Symptoms of An Adderall Crash
Even with extended-release versions of Adderall, its effects will still wear off, as all medications do. The result of this can cause intense feelings of withdrawal.
Some of these symptoms include:
- An intense craving for Adderall
- Irritability and mood swings
- Panic attacks or anxiety
- Fatigue or Sluggishness
- Increased Appetite
- Suicidal Thoughts
These symptoms can be heightened for people who have been taking Adderall for a longer period.
Treatment for an Adderall Crash
While there are no approved drugs to combat an Adderall crash, you should still talk to your doctor to let them know the side effects and symptoms you are experiencing.
Your doctor can give you tips to help ease the symptoms, prescribe other forms of medication to combat some unpleasant side effects, or may choose to prescribe a medication that promotes sleep, such as Xanax or Valium.
If you are experiencing long term symptoms of depression, your doctor may choose to prescribe a low dose of an antidepressant medication.
Avoid taking extra Adderall to try to combat any symptoms or side effects of an Adderall crash, as this can lead to an overdose and an onset of unpleasant or dangerous symptoms.
Looking Forward After an Adderall Crash
Adderall crashes can be unpleasant but remember that it is temporary, and you can get through it.
Most often, the crash lasts for a few days, and you will soon be able to regain focus and concentrate on tasks before you.
Keep contact with your doctor regarding any symptoms you experience and always remember to take the recommended and prescribed dosages to avoid any further unpleasant symptoms or side effects.