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What is Adderall? 

Adderall is a potent drug made of amphetamine and dextroamphethamine.  Made in the mid 90’s by Shire Inc. (Now Duramed Pharmaceuticals), the prescription drug was marketed as a treatment for Narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  However, due to its side effects, it was used for other things aside from what it is sold for.  

How does it work? 

Adderall works by raising dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central system.  Norepinephrine is a stress hormone and neurotransmitter, and an increased level can enhance focus and reaction to stimuli.  Dopamine, on the other hand, is the body’s “feel good” hormone, and an increased level creates a rewarding effect (a.k.a. high).  

People taking Adderall feel more focused, energetic and self-confident.  This effect in the nervous system is why it is used as a “smart drug” on college campuses.  As it also suppresses appetite, those who want to lose weight misuse this drug as well.  

Some even take Adderall to enhance their sex drive, but experts warn that prolonged use can diminish interest in sex.  

When the effects of Adderall fade though, the person taking it often feels tired and unfocused.  And this is where the cycle of dependence on Adderall starts.  Do note though that not everyone who takes Adderall develops dependence (then later on, addiction) to the drug.  But when it does, the long term effects can be detrimental to one’s health.    

How long does the high stay? 

Normally, Adderall starts kicking in at 45-60 minutes upon taking.  The peak of its effect starts at 2-3 hours after taking, and subsides after that.  In total, 1 tablet gives you 4-6 hours of high.  

If you’re taking Adderall XR, the extended release version of Adderall, the effect starts kicking in at 30-60 minutes upon consumption, then peaks at four to seven hours after.  The effects last up to 12 hours.    

How long does Adderall stay in your system?

Adderall’s half life is about 10 hours.  This means, if you took the 10 mg of the drug at 10 PM, 5 mg of the drug has left your body at 8 AM, then 2.5 mg at 10 AM, and so forth until there is none left in your body.  

Adderall is absorbed in your gastrointestinal tract, then broken down in your liver.  While it exits your body via your urine, it goes throughout your body and can be detected in several ways.  

In your urine, it can be detected up to four days after last use.  In your blood, it can be detected up to 46 hours.  In your saliva, it can stay up to 20-50 hours.  Lastly, in hair, it can be detectable for up to 3 months.  

 Do note though that the duration of Adderall in your body depends on certain factors, which will be discussed below.  

What affects drug duration?  

There are a number of factors that affect the duration of Adderall in your body:

  • Health and physical makeup – A person’s health and physical makeup affects the length of time Adderall stays in the body.  As a rule of thumb, the healthier the person, the shorter the drug stays in the body.  In the same way, the more body fat a person has, the faster it leaves his or her system.   
  • Metabolism – The faster your metabolism, the faster Adderall leaves your body.
  • Age – As you get older, medications, in general, leave your system longer.  This is because your liver decreases in size as you get older, thus, it can take your liver longer to break down the drug.  In addition, your body’s physiological make up changes as you grow older and this can affect how long your body metabolizes the drug.  
  • Current mental stateA person struggling with stress or anxiety absorbs Adderall at a slower rate, compared to someone who is not stressed or dealing with any mental disorder.  
  • Frequency of use – The longer the person uses the drug, the longer the drug stays in the body. 
  • Dosage – In addition to frequency, dosage, too, affects the duration of Adderall in the body.  The higher the dosage, the longer it takes for the drug to exit the body.  

What are the long term side effects? 

Prolonged or misuse of Adderall can have long term side effects on both your physical and mental health.  For starters, it can cause dependence on the drug.  The longer you use the drug, the more likely you develop a tolerance for it, making you need a higher dosage.  

In some cases, Adderall can cause psychosis, schizophrenia-like symptoms, and other mood or mental disorders.  

This drug, too, can cause damage to the heart.  

Other potential long term side effects of Adderall include:

  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Respiratory depression
  • Constipation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Feeling “on-edge”

The longer you take the drug, the worse the long-term side effects get.  

It’s not just your personal health that gets affected.  Adderall addiction, just like any other prescription drug addiction, can affect your life in its entirety.  You might lose your job, run into financial troubles, and even destroy your relationship with your loved ones.    

How do you deal with Adderall Addiction safely?

Let’s face it.  No one wants to have a prescription drug addiction or substance abuse, knowing how it can affect our physical and mental health in the long run.  But when you’re hooked to the substance, quitting is not only easier said than done, but dangerous as well.  

Adderall withdrawal can be uncomfortable and at times, fatal.  When you quit cold turkey, your dopamine level plummets and your body and brain have to adjust again to the change.  

Some of the things you might experience after quitting Adderall on your own are:  depression and other changes in your mood, fatigue, insomnia, stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting.  These effects might even last for several weeks.

If you want to safely address your addiction to Adderall, you may need to seek professional help.  Assisted detoxification in a drug rehab center in Catalina Island will help you overcome your addiction to Adderall without suffering from the painful withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Visit Roots Through Recovery at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776 for immediate assistance.

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