Tapering Off Adderall

When someone uses a drug for a long time, usually longer than a month, their body’s chemistry can change, with the body eventually becoming dependent on the drug. But the concept of drug dependency might be confusing. A person can identify if they are dependent because when they try to stop a drug, they get uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Tapering a medication (or substance) is an effective method for preventing withdrawal symptoms. By slowly reducing the amount of a medication or substance, people can limit the severity of the withdrawal symptoms that develop when their body tries to adjust to the absence of the medication or substance.

Adderall may be prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Because it is a stimulant, it also has a high potential for misuse. Even using Adderall as prescribed can cause dependence to develop because of the chemical changes Adderall causes in brain cells. Anyone who uses Adderall is at risk of developing a dependency on the drug.

The generic name for Adderall is amphetamine salts. Amphetamine salts are formulated as Adderall IR (immediate-release) or Adderall XR (extended-release). The immediate-release formulation is usually dosed twice daily, while the extended-release formulation is given once daily. The type of formulation someone uses will affect their specific taper schedule.

How To Taper Off Adderall

Adderall is a complex drug, and there is no easy method for tapering the medication.

A tapering schedule is created by a medical professional based on the following factors:

  • The presence of current side effects experienced from Adderall use
  • How long a person uses Adderall
  • The severity of any occurring withdrawal symptoms
  • The formulation used (i.e., IR or XR)
  • The desired taper length

People on extended-release formulations will probably be switched to immediate-release formulations as a bridge between different doses. For example, Adderall XR is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. To get doses like 12.5 mg or 7.5 mg, the immediate-release form is used.

In general, symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are not life-threatening, so medical detox is not mandatory. However, medical detox provides many benefits, like management of withdrawal symptoms, medical treatment, support and continued substance use treatment after detox.

Adderall Taper Schedule

A tapering schedule for Adderall is highly individualized; anyone tapering will have a much different schedule than another person who is also tapering Adderall.

Tapers are designed to lower the daily dose in fixed amounts over time. So a person may take 20 mg daily the first week and 15 mg daily the second week. Usually, a full taper like this lasts anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the individual.

Medically-Assisted Adderall Detox

One of the safest ways to detox from Adderall is within a medical detox program. In addition to easing withdrawal symptoms, a medical detox can:

  • Continue substance use treatment
  • Provide nutritional support and regular meals
  • Provide treatment for other medical conditions
  • Provide treatment for mental health problems
  • Provide support from peers and others going through similar situations

If you or someone you know is having trouble with Adderall or other stimulants, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield. Call to speak with a representative about how professional addiction treatment can help. Take the first step toward an Adderall-free life, call today.

DailyMed. “Adderall Package Insert.” 2016. Accessed September 26,  2019.

Howland, Robert H. “Potential Adverse Effects of Discontinuing Psychotropic Drugs.” 2010. Accessed September 26, 2019.

Yanofski, Jason. “Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?” Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 2011. Accessed September 26,  2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.