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How Fast Does Adderall Tolerance Build and What Can You Do About It?


How Fast Does Adderall Tolerance Build and What Can You Do About It?

Adderall is the drug of choice for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It might also be used to treat narcolepsy or promote weight loss in some rare cases. Due to its reputation for improving focus, it’s also illicitly used by students or adults who want some help focusing on a task.

No matter the use, your body will gradually get used to this powerful drug, building up a tolerance.

Key Takeaways: How Fast Does Adderall Tolerance Build?

Adderall Tolerance Chart

Adderall tolerance
Increasing your Adderall dose is usually needed to ensure you receive its full benefits

Do You Build a Tolerance for Adderall?

It is possible to build up a tolerance to Adderall. As with many other types of prescription medication, when taking Adderall you may need to take increasingly higher doses to get the same therapeutic benefit [1].

Adderall treats ADHD symptoms by stimulating the central nervous system [2]. While it may seem counterintuitive, stimulants like Adderall and caffeine activate the reward system in the brain, boosting focus. 

The results of Adderall use can be life-changing, particularly at first [3]. It’s less effective when used illegally as a smart drug. While it may help anyone focus, it can also cause anxiety, worsen memory, and other Adderall dangers.

Either way, the brain can adjust to stimulant treatment fairly quickly and Adderall doesn’t appear to be an exception. Two types of Adderall exist, Adderall immediate release and Adderall XR or extended release. While there are some differences, either may require increasing doses over time [4].

How Fast Does Adderall Tolerance Build?

Due to how Adderall works, the rate at which tolerance develops will vary depending on a number of factors. Genetics, body weight, and dosage all play. Obviously, someone taking a high dose will begin developing tolerance much sooner than someone taking a low dose.

However, it’s common for dosages to be increased after only a few months. Adderall abuse, which often involves taking larger or more frequent doses, might speed things up. 

Why Is My Adderall Not Working Anymore?

Like any other prescription drug, Adderall produces its effects by altering a biological process in your body, in particular in your brain. When drug administration occurs consistently over time, your body adjusts so that a new balance is reached. As that happens, some or all of the symptoms you were experiencing may reappear.

It’s generally thought that people develop a tolerance to stimulant medications more slowly than with other drugs. However, those who abuse Adderall illicitly to aid in focus are likely to build a tolerance more quickly. 

Other factors, like taking a vitamin C or multivitamin supplement, can also reduce Adderall’s effectiveness.

How to Lower Adderall Tolerance?

Unfortunately, once tolerance has already been built up, there’s only one way to reset your brain: take a break from Adderall. 

The simplest solution when you develop tolerance to Adderall is to use a higher dose. However, that’s not always a good idea as that increases the risk of adverse effects. Your doctor might try other prescription drugs, but Adderall is considered the gold standard for ADHD treatment. 

Ideally, you’d be able to stick with the original dose and have it be just as effective. There are some tricks to prevent Adderall tolerance from building up. For example, students who only used their medication during the school week but stopped over the weekend were less likely to build up a tolerance [5]. Even a short break can make a difference.

If you’ve already built a tolerance, unfortunately, you may need to take a longer break. It’s best to do so under the guidance of a doctor, as it’s possible you may experience some symptoms of withdrawal. Adderall withdrawal symptoms, also known as Adderall crash, can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Restlessness
  • Increased appetite
  • Unpleasant dreams [6]

The length of the break required will depend on a number of factors.

How Long for Adderall Tolerance to Go Down?

There isn’t a simple way to calculate the length of break needed to reduce tolerance. Similarly to building up a tolerance, it can vary depending on genetics, body mass, dosage, and a range of other factors. However, tolerance to Adderall usually drops fairly quickly.

Abusing Adderall to the point of developing an Adderall addiction can have a serious impact on taking a break. If you have a substance use problem, stopping suddenly can cause severe, potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Adderall Tolerance Reset: Tips to Quit

Some tips to make quitting easier, for a break or permanently, include:

adderall tolerance
  1. Involve your doctor
  2. Involve your friends and family
  3. Stay comfortable
  4. Remember it’s temporary

Involve Your Doctor

The one person you should definitely consult is your doctor. They will have guidance on how to stop and how long to take a break [7]. Remember your doctor has to keep everything confidential.

Involve Your Friends and Family

The symptoms that prompted you to take Adderall in the first place will probably return. They may even worsen or seem worse. Your loved ones can help support you through the process and make things easier. 

Stay Comfortable

Taking a break will be difficult in a lot of ways. Make it as easy on yourself as possible by staying comfortable. Schedule a break from some responsibilities so you don’t have to fight fatigue. Have some favorite foods nearby to satisfy your hunger cravings.

Remember It’s Temporary

Eventually any unpleasant effects you’re experiencing should pass. Even before that, you may be able to start taking low doses again. Things will get easier if you can stick with it.

One important thing to note: the goal of taking a break is to reduce the dose of Adderall needed to see benefits. If you start taking the same larger doses you were before your break, the effect will be much stronger. 

It even has the potential to be dangerous, as the chances of experiencing adverse effects is close to what it would be for a new user [8].

Adderall Alternatives: Adderall Tolerance Reset Supplements

Prescription stimulants are very strong substances. ADHD medications like Adderall are actually a form of amphetamine, with the potential for drug abuse that implies. While taking Adderall is a medical necessity for many people, if you don’t have to take them you’re probably better off avoiding stimulant drugs and other medications of that kind [9].

Luckily, there are a range of other substances that can have similar effects. Unlike Adderall, there is evidence that they can improve cognition generally. While they may not be as strong, they are also less likely to lead to addiction or adverse effects.

There are a wide variety of products on the market that might help. Here are two of our favorites for you to check out.

Adderall Tolerance

Mind Lab Pro

This nootropic, or smart drug, has 11different ingredients that can help you think more clearly. The ingredient that might be of most interest is called citicoline, a compound that has been linked to improvements in reasoning, memory, and most importantly, focus. In some ways, you could call it a natural Adderall. Additionally, many ingredients have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, keeping your brain healthy as you age.

Mind Lab Pro comes with a 60 day guarantee, so you can give it a try and get your money back if you don’t like it.

Performance Lab

With only four ingredients, this might seem like it would be less effective. However, it also contains OTC Adderall replacement citicoline to help you focus, as well as ingredients with neuroprotective properties. You can also try Performance Lab Mind for 30 days without risk.

To make sure every bottle is effective, Performance Lab takes an extra step of standardizing their ingredients in a lab. As a result, each is of the same strength and effectiveness, without the variability you might find in some brands.

FAQ

Check out these quick answers to frequently asked questions.

Does Adderall Cause Drug Tolerance?

As with many drugs, Adderall can cause a tolerance, so increasing doses are needed over time to maintain benefits. Adderall misuse, outside the guidance of a doctor, can speed that process up.

How Long Does It Take for Adderall Tolerance?

You may need an increase in your ADHD medication after only a few months. It will depend on several factors, including the size of your current dose, body weight, genetics, and more. Adderall misuse, taking big doses or using it for reasons other than a medical condition, can cause tolerance to build even faster.

Can You Build a Tolerance to ADHD Medication?

You can build a tolerance to ADHD medication like Adderall. While it’s thought that stimulant medication builds tolerance more slowly, most people require an increase in dosage within a year of starting.

Who Shouldn’t Take Adderall?

There are several reasons you’d want to avoid Adderall. First of all, avoid Adderall while pregnant, as it might effect the development of your baby. It may also be dangerous if you have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease.

Conclusion

ADHD medications like Adderall have made a tremendous difference in many people’s lives. However, anyone using Adderall may eventually develop a tolerance and require a higher and higher dose. To keep Adderall effective and safe, managing your use to avoid increasing dosages is important. Instead, try some safer, natural alternatives.

References:

  1. Yanofski, Jason. “The Dopamine Dilemma-Part Ii: Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?” Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, Matrix Medical Communications, Jan. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036556/.
  2. Adderall (CII). Mar. 2007, www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf.
  3. “Examining Tolerance to Cns Stimulants in Adhd – Full Text View.” Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov, 22 Jan. 2013, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02039908.
  4. “Amphetamine (Adderall).” NAMI, www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Amphetamine-(Adderall).
  5. Pelham, William E, and James M Swanson. “Examining Tolerance to CNS Stimulants in ADHD.” Clinicaltrials.gov, 22 Jan. 2013, clinicaltrials.gov/ProvidedDocs/08/NCT02039908/Prot_SAP_000.pdf. 
  6. “The Amphetamine Withdrawal Syndrome.” Department of Health | The Amphetamine Withdrawal Syndrome, www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-toc~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7-aws.
  7. Pradeep, Tejus, and Lindsay Rothenberg Standeven. “Amphetamine: Johns Hopkins PSYCHIATRY GUIDE.” Amphetamine | Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide, www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787274/all/Amphetamine.
  8. Lakhan, Shaheen E, and Annette Kirchgessner. “Prescription Stimulants in Individuals with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Misuse, Cognitive Impact, and Adverse Effects.” Brain and Behavior, Blackwell Publishing Inc, Sept. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489818/.
  9. Weyandt, Lisa L., et al. “Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects OF Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 27 June 2018, www.mdpi.com/2226-4787/6/3/58/htm. 
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