Drug and Alcohol

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Do you know how long Adderall can stay in your system? The answers may surprise you. Learn about Adderall, drug tests and more in our blog.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

April 5, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

According to statistics presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, on an annual average, about 16 million U.S. adults used prescription medication in the previous year. Out of the 16 million who used these, there were 5 million individuals who misused the prescription stimulants at least once. 0.4 million out of these 16 million users had a prescription stimulant use disorder.

One such prescription drug that is abused quite often is Adderall.

Adderall is a highly effective stimulant medication primarily used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, in recent times, it has been abused, and just like any other stimulant drug, it has the potential to become addictive. 

The drug consists of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and is available in both immediate-release and extended-release forms. They are purchasable under brand names such as:

  • Adderall: Immediate release

  • Adderall XR: Extended-release

  • Mydayis: Extended-release

Immediate-release Adderall is available in oral tablet form, whereas extended-release Adderall is usually in capsules for oral consumption. Adderall can stay in the system for a long time, depending on many factors, but to understand this, these factors must be studied in detail.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication typically administered to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant with two active ingredients: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both of these chemicals act on the brain by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. This helps improve attention, focus, and impulse control in people with ADHD.

Adderall is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Adderall, like other prescription stimulants, should be consumed only under the supervision of a medical professional who is fully aware of your case, and dosage should be followed as per prescription. 

Do People Abuse Adderall?

Unfortunately, Adderall is a commonly abused stimulant. Many take it as a "study drug" thinking it may give them an edge during an exam or a cram session. Some abuse it because they perceive it as a safer drug than other stimulants like methamphetamine.

Like other addictive drugs, a person can build up a tolerance to Adderall. They may start taking larger doses to feel the same effects. Increasing the dose and pushing the threshold for tolerance eventually leads to addiction. This is why it is always important to consult your doctor before increasing the dose if you feel like your medication is not producing the same results as when you first started or if it feels ineffective. 

How Can I Identify Adderall Abuse?

Identifying addiction to Adderall or detecting early signs of drug abuse can be challenging. However, careful observation can help identify various physical and behavioral signs. The effects of Adderall abuse can intervene in different aspects of an individual's life, including their health, relationships, finances, and personal changes in the mind and body.

Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use despite awareness of the severe consequences it can cause. If an individual experiences health or financial problems due to Adderall use but still cannot stop using it, this could be a sign of addiction. Some significant indicators of Adderall abuse may include:

  • Someone taking a patient's prescription to be able to get their hands on the drug 

  • Individuals consuming higher doses of Adderall than prescribed

  • Finishing the dose much sooner than prescribed 

  • Using methods of use other than oral – people who are abusing may inject, inhale, or smoke the medication 

  • Mixing Adderall pills with alcohol or other drugs is a sign of abuse

  • People may use them specifically to feel a euphoric high or to keep up with work or school

  • While trying to get extra doses of the drug, people may start 'doctor shopping', meaning they will jump from one doctor to another to get extra prescriptions

  • Spending too much time and effort trying to get the drug

  • Having cravings for Adderall

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if consumption is stopped  

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Side Effects of Adderall Abuse 

Even if an individual is genuinely taking Adderall because they need it and are following the prescribed dosage, the use of Adderall and other prescription stimulants can still result in side effects and complications. However, abusing Adderall and taking it excessively to feel high can lead to even more severe harm. The potential problems and side-effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Displaying signs of psychosis – seeing, hearing, or believing things that are not real

  • Fluctuating and increased blood pressure and blood sugar

  • High heart rate and cardiac issues

  • Experiencing unexplained muscle pains

  • Experiencing tremors 

  • Respiratory problems and rapid breathing 

  • Displaying extreme anger 

  • Feeling tired and weak

  • Feeling restless and anxious 

How Long Does it Take for Adderall to Have Effect?

That depends on the kind of Adderall you're taking. Immediate-release Adderall kicks in immediately, as you might expect. For Adderall XR and Mydayis, the effects can take longer to take effect. For some formulations of Adderall, the effects can kick in over a period of 8 hours or longer.

How Does Adderall Work?

It may seem strange that an amphetamine stimulant like Adderall is used to treat ADHD, but it isn't. Adderall increases the amount of two neurotransmitters in the brain: norepinephrine and dopamine. People with ADHD are thought to have low amounts of these neurotransmitters, and by increasing them, Adderall helps people manage the symptoms of ADHD by increasing focus, impulsivity, and more.

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What Happens in the Case of an Adderall Overdose?

Abuse and addiction to the drug come with the unfortunate possibility of an overdose. Those who increase their threshold to the drug can end up overdosing. Signs of overdosing include:

  • Hallucinating, panicking, or feeling confused 

  • Feeling overly aggressive 

  • Experiencing abdominal cramps or diarrhea 

  • Nausea or vomiting 

  • Running a high fever 

  • Respiratory issues and rapid breathing patterns 

  • Irregular heartbeat and restlessness

  • Overactive reflexes 

  • Tremors 

  • Rhabdomyolysis – when the muscle tissue breaks down and releases a dangerous form of protein into the blood, leading to kidney damage 

  • Sometimes even a coma

  • Death – If there is no timely intervention 

While not everyone who abuses or overdoses on Adderall will experience all of these symptoms, it is common for them to be prevalent among many users. It may be time to consider an intervention if you observe any of these signs in yourself or someone close to you. It is essential to have an honest conversation with the person about their addiction, but it's crucial to be prepared for the possibility that they may not accept it right away. If the addiction has progressed significantly, seeking professional assistance may also be necessary.

How Long Does Adderall Show Up on Drug Tests?

After Adderall enters the body, it always travels via the liver before being excreted in the urine. It is absorbed in the digestive tract, metabolized in the liver, and eliminated in the urine.

Adderall has a wide range of effects on the body and can be discovered in several tests despite leaving the body through urine.

How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System? This chart shows how long Adderall stays in urine, saliva, blood, and hair

Here's how long Adderall shows up on drug tests:

Blood Test for Adderall

The substance can be detected in the blood for up to 46 hours after last consumed. A blood test is the quickest way of finding Adderall in the body after it is taken.

Urine Test for Adderall

As this is where all of the substance is ultimately collected before it leaves the body, the concentration of Adderall will always be higher in the urine than in any place else. A urine test can detect Adderall use for up to 48-72 hours after it is last used. 

Saliva Test for Adderall

The drug can be found in the body by testing the saliva for up to 20-50 hours.

Hair Sample Test for Adderall

Although testing for drugs using hair samples is not the most common way, it can be the most effective for Adderall. This is because most drugs, including Adderall, can be detected through the hair even after 90 days (3 months) of last use. 

What Determines How Long Adderall Stays in Your System?

Type of dosage: Adderall is available in different strengths and potencies. It can be purchased in tablet or capsule form, with strengths as low as 5 mg to as high as 30 mg. The time the body requires to break down the drug completely can increase with higher doses, resulting in longer drug retention. Adderall is available in extended and immediate-release variations, which are processed differently by the body. This can also influence how long the drug remains in your body. 

Your body composition

It is general knowledge that larger individuals need larger doses of medication to show proper and anticipated effects. How your body is composed greatly impacts how long a drug remains in your system. Overall weight, height, and body weight should be taken into consideration. 

The metabolism rate of your body

Each body is different, and so is its working of it. Everyone has a different composition of enzymes in their organs. For example, the enzymes in your liver are responsible for breaking down the drugs you consume. This metabolism rate can be affected by gender, activity level, diet, medications you consume, and more. Therefore, the metabolism rate significantly impacts how long Adderall stays in your body.

Your Age

With age, it is very common for medication to start taking longer to leave your system. There are a few different reasons for this. The most prominent ones are:

  • Reduction in the size of your liver, leading to a longer duration for the complete breakdown of Adderall

  • Age-related conditions such as heart disease can also cause a decrease in urine output and kidney function. If urine output decreases, the retention time of medications in the body increases as this is their exit point.

  • Changes in body composition as you age can affect how efficiently your body metabolizes and eliminates drugs.

How well your organs are functioning

The absorption of Adderall takes place in various organs of the body. It first goes through the gastrointestinal tract, after which it undergoes metabolism by the liver. Once completely broken down, the drug gets excreted through the kidneys. Suppose there is any kind of problem with any of these organs in your body. In that case, it will not be able to carry out its function effectively enough to eliminate the Adderall from the body at an average time – it may take much longer. 

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Do you need advice about how long Adderall stays in your system? Reach out today.

What is the Half-Life of Adderall?

A drug's half-life is the length of time it takes for half of a dose to leave your body. In Adderall's case, this can be a slightly tricky question to answer.

This is because of what's in Adderall. Adderall contains two drugs, dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine. These drugs have different half-lives for different people. Here's a quick guide:

Detxtoamphetamine Half-Life

  • Children up to 12 years old: 9 hours

  • Teenagers who weigh under 170 pounds: 11 hours

  • Adults: 10 hours

Levoamphetamine Half-Life:

  • Children up to 12 years old: 11 hours

  • Teenagers: 13-14 hours

  • Adults: 13 hours

Remember, these are just averages and many different factors determine the half-life of Adderall. The body is also metabolizing both dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) and levoamphetamine (l-amphetamine), so if you're using this blog to judge the half-life of Adderall, stick with the larger number.

In general, the average adult can experience an Adderall half-life of around 13 hours.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Adderall 

When someone tries to quit or reduce their usage of Adderall, it can trigger a range of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, particularly if they have developed an addiction to the drug. Withdrawal symptoms associated with Adderall may comprise nausea, depression, anxiety, vomiting, excessive sweating, muscle and bone pain, severe cramping, high temperature, and various other symptoms.

To prevent withdrawal symptoms, doctors generally taper the dosage of Adderall gradually, ensuring that the body is not suddenly deprived of the medication. While addiction to the substance is of concern, it can be successfully addressed by professionals at a good rehabilitation facility. With medical detoxification, withdrawal symptoms associated with Adderall can be effectively managed, minimizing discomfort and the risk of relapse.

Many meetings, support groups, therapy sessions, family counseling, physical activities, and medical intervention can help you fall onto the right track and transform your life into a healthier and happier one. 

Stop Adderall Addiction Today With The Edge Treatment Center

Adderall abuse can ruin lives as much as any other drug can. Fortunately, it's treatable. The Edge Treatment Center will help you get Adderall out of your system as you build a life free from drug addiction. With us, you'll have every resource and tool at hand to leave Adderall addiction behind for good.

If you want to know more about how The Edge Treatment Center can treat addiction to Adderall, reach out to us today.

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