How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System And Why?

How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System

To answer “how long does Adderall stay in your system”, we need to understand the dosage, frequency of use, age, pH level and whether you took Adderall IR or XR.

To see “how long does Adderall stay in your system”, we need to understand the dosage, frequency of use, age, pH level and whether you took Adderall IR or XR. In addition to these, the half-life of the drug lets you know when half of the Adderall is out of your system. 

The length of time for these drugs to take effect will vary on the half life and sometimes your genetics. 

How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System?

What is Adderall?, Who Can Use It and Who Can’t: 

Adderall is a prescription stimulant composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The dual combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine is effective because of its impact on the central nervous system (CNS). Otherwise classified as CNS stimulants, this series of drugs alters the quantity of certain natural substances in the brain to produce physiological outcomes like improved concentration or heightened alertness. 

Adderall IR is known as an immediate-release pill which is consumed 2 to 3 times per day. Adderall XR on the other hand is an extended-release capsule that people take when they wake up. As it is so fast acting, clinicians may not introduce higher doses initially to monitor response and control progress. Both of these types of Adderall can have side effects, create physical dependence over time, and result in withdrawal symptoms of overdose when overconsumed. 

Usage:

One of the functions of the medication is to treat symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults for those with trouble focusing and difficulty controlling actions or staying still. 

Another usage of the medication is to treat narcolepsy in adults and children aged 12 or older. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that makes individuals suffer from extreme daytime sleepiness and fall asleep unexpectedly. 

Did you know?  In a U.S. study observing trends between 2006 and 2011, individuals aged 18 to 25 were the most common age group to illegally take Adderall without a prescription! 

How Long Does Adderall Stay In Your System?

Half-Life of Adderall

The estimated half-life of the main ingredient of Adderall, dextroamphetamine, is between 9-13 hours. This means that the body will take 9 to 13 hours to eliminate half of the adderall ingested from the bloodstream. 

The highest concentrations of the drug in the body’s system will occur approximately 3 hours after administration. 

Tests:

The body absorbs Adderall via the gastrointestinal tract. The liver then breaks down the chemical substance and excretes it through urine.  However, Adderall can be present long term in different bodily specimens, including the hair, blood, and saliva. The following list comprises approximate windows of detection for each type of test:

Urine Drug Test

Urine drug screening can detect traces of amphetamine or Adderall up to 7 days after the last use. There may be a higher concentration of the drug, given that the body excretes it primarily through urine.  

Hair Test

Hair drug screening is convenient, as concentrations of Adderall can be present for up to 3 months. 

Blood Test

When other drug screening tests are not an option, a blood test can detect Adderall within minutes to hours. 

Saliva Test

Oral fluid drug tests can confirm concentrations of Adderall within 5 to 48 hours after last use. 

Factors That Affect Detection Time

The window of detection will vary according to different factors, including:

  • Dosage: the amount of Adderall taken will also impact the duration of time that the substance is present. The higher the dose, the longer it is in the body.  
  • Frequency of consumption: Chronic users of Adderall may have urine concentrations of the substance for more days than the average time. 
  • Age: younger individuals tend to have stronger metabolisms and healthier organs than older adults. This is important, as poor liver or kidney function can inhibit proper metabolism and lead to extended exposure to the drug.
  • pH level: the pH level of urine can affect how quickly the kidney is capable of eliminating Adderall from the body. 
  • Adderall IR or XR: as Adderall XR is an extended-release capsule, traces of its main ingredients will be detectable for longer periods. The detection times mentioned above apply to Adderall IR.

Benefits:

The benefits of using Adderall are a contributing factor to why many adolescents and college students in the United States use the drug. Adderall is generally perceived as a study-aid medication among students who want to pull an all-nighter and study intensely. However, as will be discussed later, long-term side effects are not completely known and continual drug use can lead to serious health consequences.

Side Effects:

Adderall use can have different side effects, including:

  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Alterations in libido or sexual performance
  • Intense menstrual cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping 

It is important to seek medical help if any of the following serious side effects occur:

  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in the arms or legs
  • Seizures, which primarily occurs in individuals with a history of seizures. 
  • Motor or verbal tics
  • Blurred vision
  • Mental health issues, which may include hallucinations, depression, paranoia, or mania (frenzied or atypically excited mood)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Elevated heart rate 
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Fainting 

As Adderall is a prescription stimulant that affects the central nervous system, prolonged use of the drug may lead to physical tolerance and dependence (when higher doses are needed to have the same desired effects). Over time, continual use may then result in a substance use disorder (SUD).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one million Americans misused prescription stimulants in 2017. 

Individuals considering stopping the medication should speak with a medical professional to monitor withdrawal symptoms and lower the risk of overdose. 

Withdrawal Symptoms:

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Intense, unpleasant dreams 
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation — in psychomotor agitation, individuals may experience a sense of anxious restlessness that causes them to perform unintentional movements, such as fidgeting or pacing around. In psychomotor retardation, individuals may note slowed speech, decreased movement, and impaired cognitive ability. 

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