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How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

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Curious whether a drug test can detect Adderall? Here’s what you need to know about how Adderall affects you, and how to get help when you need it.


If you’ve ever taken Adderall, you might wonder how long the drug stays in your system. Whether it’s out of curiosity, a drug test on the horizon, or concern for your health, it’s important to know how a drug affects you! 

Typically, Adderall can remain in your system for 3 days after you’ve taken it. However, there are other factors that can shorten or lengthen that window. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Adderall and how it can affect your mind and body. 

 

What is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name of a prescription drug commonly used to treat patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In some cases, it’s also used in the treatment of certain sleeping disorders, such as narcolepsy. You might know it as a “study drug,” since it’s commonly abused to heighten concentration. 

When consumed, Adderall stimulates the central nervous system. Users typically report feeling highly focused after taking the drug and may also feel a rush of positive feelings, often due to Adderall’s ability to trigger the brain’s reward center. However, the results are temporary.

Adderall can also produce a range of side effects. These can include dry mouth, anxiety, and headache, as well as potentially dangerous effects like dizziness, seizures, paranoia, aggression, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke, and even death.

 

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

In most cases, Adderall effectively clears a person’s system in a few days. Adderall’s half-life is between 9 and 14 hours, which means that after a full day, half the drug is still in your system. It continues to make its way out of your body as time passes.

However, there are factors that can cause Adderall to stay in your system for longer or shorter amounts of time. Your body composition, when and how much you eat, the pH levels in your digestive and urinary tracts, how well your organs function, the dosage, and how long you’ve used Adderall all play a role.

Additionally, even if Adderall has cleared your system, that doesn’t mean that certain drug tests can’t detect it.

 

Adderall Drug Tests

There are several drug tests that can detect the presence of Adderall. Each one can determine whether a person used Adderall within a specific period of time. Some work even after Adderall has cleared your system. 

Saliva and blood tests usually only pick up Adderall while it’s still in your system. Saliva tests can detect Adderall about 20 minutes after ingestion and works for up to 48 hours. Blood tests detect Adderall within 12 to 24 hours of a dose. 

Urine tests can detect Adderall up to 7 days after it was used. This is because the urinalysis looks for metabolites associated with Adderall use, and those can stay in your system for longer than the drug itself.

Hair tests have the longest window for detecting Adderall. It looks for metabolites in hair follicles, extending the amount of time a person may end up with a positive result. Usually, it takes about one week after taking Adderall for the metabolites to be detectable in a hair follicle. The drug can be detected for up to 90 days after that.


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Is Adderall Addictive?

Yes, Adderall can be highly addictive. It’s an incredibly strong stimulant, and users may become attached to the feelings and focus they experience when they take the drug.

Additionally, Adderall’s effects can diminish over time. This can lead some to take higher doses to experience the same outcome. At times, addicts may snort or inject Adderall to achieve a better or stronger “high,” increasing the risks of side effects and the potential for overdose.

Overdose is one of the most serious results of Adderall abuse. While the drug has potential dangers even when taken as prescribed, each of the risks increases at higher doses. These risks include heart attack, stroke, and liver failure. Taking Adderall with other drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of overdose.

Adderall may also lead to physical changes in the brain and can lead to the development of mental disorders, including depression or suicidal thoughts.

It’s important to note that not everyone who abuses Adderall is addicted. However, it’s important to watch for the signs. If you feel that you “need” Adderall to function, or make using Adderall a priority at the cost of your family, friendships, job, or financial well-being, it’s time to seek help treatment.

 

How to Get Help

There are many options for people who want help with Adderall addiction or Adderall abuse. Inpatient rehabilitation provides medical support during withdrawal and the advantage of a setting that is temptation-free. Often, detoxing is a challenge for those addicted to Adderall, so it’s wise to have support from a medical professional during that period. Outpatient addiction treatment offers comprehensive treatment with the flexibility to spend evenings at home. 

In addition to intensive addiction treatment, you may find that cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for stress as you recover. It can be difficult to adjust as your brain heals from Adderall addiction; ongoing therapy can help you stay on target and adapt.

Although many people use Adderall safely as prescribed, it is important to remember that Adderall is, in fact, a prescription drug. Using it without the guidance of a doctor, or abusing a prescription, can lead to harmful side effects and addiction. If you have used Adderall to improve your concentration, manage stress or increase your energy, it is important to know that there are healthier — and more effective — ways to achieve all of these goals. Treatment for Adderall addiction can help you find them. 

Do you rely on Adderall to concentrate? You don’t need to face addiction alone. Call us at the number below to find a treatment program that fits your life. 

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Written By: Sprout Editorial Team

The Sprout Health Group editorial team is passionate about addiction treatment, recovery and mental health issues. Every article is expert-reviewed.