How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System? Side Effects & Withdrawals

adderall withdrawals
How Long Does Adderall Last

Out of the many stimulants used in the medical community and by the general public today, none is perhaps more talked about than Adderall. This prescription medication has been used for decades by doctors in treating ADHD and other conditions. However, it still garners some controversy even today due to just how similar it is to other “street drugs” like methamphetamine. This guide aims to shed light on the effects of Adderall and how it can be misused and abused.

Adderall is a prescription stimulant mainly used for treating patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults. The drug is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which both belong to a class of drugs called stimulants. These medications are capable of making individuals become more alert and attentive, which is an effective solution against the hyperactivity and inattention brought on by ADHD.

How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System?

Adderall comes in capsule or tablet form and is taken orally with or without food as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Once taken, the drug is then absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract and is then metabolized by your liver. This is where the drug is broken down and is eventually expelled from the body through your urine.

Determining just how long Adderall stays in your system depends on a number of factors. One of which is the drug’s half-life. Its main ingredient, dextroamphetamine, has a half-life between 9-13 hours. In simpler terms, it takes that long for your body to eliminate at least half of that particular chemical compound. The highest concentrations of the drug in the body’s system will occur approximately 3 hours after administration. Now, if the patient is a known abuser of Adderall or is even addicted to it, it could actually take longer for the drug to be expelled from the body.

Adderall’s chemical components can also be detected in various bodily specimens, including hair, blood, and saliva. Determining how long the drug’s components stay in these specimens depends entirely on the type of test used to detect it.

Side Effects

Like any other prescription medication, Adderall has its own set of mild and severe side effects. Some of the more common and mild side effects include lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, weight loss, nausea, anxiety, and stomach pain. Since these are mostly mild, they can go away after a few days or weeks. However, prolonged use and abuse of the drug can result in the following serious side effects:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle Breakdown
  • Impaired or Delusional Thinking
  • Depression
  • Irritability

When experiencing any of these side effects, it’s best to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible.

adderall side effects
How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System

Is Adderall Addictive?

Like most stimulants that cause desirable effects like “being high” or staying awake, Adderall can also be prone to abuse by those who use it. Adderall abuse can then lead to addiction, which will ultimately interfere with many areas of a person’s life.

Some of the early signs of Adderall drug addiction include an intense craving for Adderall, taking the drug in huge amounts over a longer period of time than intended, and continuing to use the drug despite the problems it causes. Such behaviors can be dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. It’s also possible for people addicted to Adderall to develop a tolerance to the drug, which will only make them take more of it.

Uses of Adderall

As a controlled substance, you can only use Adderall as prescribed by your physician. It is mainly designed for people with ADHD as it can control behavior problems, help patients stay focused on an activity, and pay attention to what they’re doing, all of which counteract the symptoms of ADHD. Adderall can also be used to help people organize their tasks and improve their listening skills.

Adderall can also be used to treat sleep disorders like narcolepsy, which is a chronic condition where a patient experiences daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Doctors prescribe Adderall to help narcolepsy sufferers to stay awake during the day.

In recent years, the use of Adderall has become controversial once again since competitive gamers have used them as a kind of performance enhancer. The drug’s effects help gamers sharpen their response times and reflexes during gameplay and competitions.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms may occur in people who have chronically misused Adderall. This is more evident to those people who have been addicted to it and have already developed significant physiological dependence. Some of the more common side effects of Adderall include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vivid Dreams
  • Cravings
  • Slowed Heart Rate
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Lack of Pleasure

These effects can develop in an individual within a few hours to several days of stopping Adderall. The effects can be quite severe and last up to several weeks. For people with significant stimulant dependence, it is recommended to undergo a supervised medical detox instead of suddenly stopping its use on their own. By seeking help from a medical professional, you can recover much faster and in a safer way.

The Chemistry of Adderall

As a stimulant medication in the amphetamine class, Adderall contains around 75 percent dextroamphetamine and 25 percent levoamphetamine. Looking at the effects of those two components, both dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are capable of increasing the activity of two primary neurotransmitters in the brain:

  • Norepinephrine, also known as the stress hormone and is capable of increasing heart rate and blood pressure;
  • Dopamine, which is responsible for pleasurable sensations and motivation.

By considering these effects, Adderall can simultaneously stimulate both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. This leads users to become much more alert and attentive to their surroundings. It also eases the task of staying focused for extended periods. Because of such effects, many people are under the impression that Adderall can raise actual intelligence levels. In reality, however, it just helps them study better for longer periods of time.

Adderall was first introduced in the medical community back in 1996 by Richwood Pharmaceuticals. This is the first iteration of a drug and is known to have a “quick-release” feature that allows it to take effect in such a short amount of time. Adderall was marketed back then as a “patented blend of amphetamine salts” designed to address the symptoms of attention deficit disorder or ADD. This is actually where the drug’s name was derived.

In 2001, a new version of the drug was introduced in the market, which was dubbed Adderall XR— a slow-release version in capsule form. It was this iteration of the drug that became popular with college students and night shift workers. These people claim that the drug helps them stay focused whenever they stay up late studying or working. 



Adderall abuse and addiction is a serious matter that can easily have adverse effects on the user’s body. People need to be more cautious when using this drug, as misusing it can have devastating consequences on that person and those around them. This guide should give you everything you need to know on the dangers and effects of Adderall and why it should only be used as prescribed by a physician.