How long Adderall stays in an individual’s body will depend on a number of factors, including age and weight. Generally, Adderall will stay in the body anywhere from three to four days.
Adderall is a prescription amphetamine, or central nervous system stimulant, and is generally prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and occasionally narcolepsy. In individuals with ADHD, a mental health disorder that makes it difficult to concentrate and focus on a single task, Adderall can produce a calming effect, making it easier to pay attention and remain focused.
Peak Levels And Half-Life Of Adderall
Dextroamphetamine is the primary ingredient in Adderall and has an average half-life of 10 hours in adults and 11 hours in teens weighing 166 pounds or less. A “half-life” is the term for when half of the drug has left the system. This does not mean that the drug is undetectable in the body.
Peak levels of Adderall will vary depending on the dosage and type of medication taken. An immediate-release tablet of Adderall typically begins to have a therapeutic effect 45 minutes after ingesting, with peak levels occurring two to three hours after taking the medication. An extended-release tablet (Adderall XR) will take around 60 minutes for the therapeutic effects to be felt and will peak six to seven hours after taking the medication.
Tests Used To Detect Adderall
Tests used to detect Adderall, or amphetamines, in the body can be done using urine, saliva, blood, and hair. The most common way to test for drugs is with a urine test, wherein an individual urinates in a cup and the urine is tested in a lab. If the result is positive, it will generally be sent off for further testing.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Urine?
Adderall can generally be detected in urine for four to seven days after the last time it was ingested by an individual. However, the length of time will vary based on many factors, such as the individual’s pH level and metabolism. The frequency in which an individual takes Adderall will also contribute to how long the drug can be detected in the urine, with frequent Adderall users testing positive for the drug for a longer period of time than occasional users.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Saliva?
Adderall can be detected in saliva for typically 24 to 48 hours after the last dose was taken. While saliva tests are typically the easiest and least invasive form of drug test, they are not as common as urine tests.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Blood?
Blood tests can typically determine if an individual is taking medication as prescribed or abusing it. However, because it is an invasive form of testing and can only detect the drug for a limited period of time, blood testing is an uncommon way to test for Adderall in the system. Adderall can typically be detected in the blood up to 24 hours after the last dose was taken.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Hair?
Another uncommon way to test for Adderall in the body is through a hair test. Those who abuse or take an excess amount of Adderall may be able to have it detected in their hair up to 90 days after ingestion. However, if an individual only occasionally takes Adderall, it may not be detectable in his or her hair.
Hair tests are also biased in that drugs tend to bind better to the melanin in dark hair. This means that an individual with light hair may abuse Adderall but not have detectable amounts in his or her hair.
Factors That Influence Drug Testing For Adderall
There are many factors which can affect how long Adderall stays in your system. How much Adderall you take on a regular basis as well as your body composition are two of these factors, but many other things can contribute to the drug staying in your system for a longer or shorter period.
- Body Composition (BMI)
Your body composition, or body mass index (BMI), can affect how long Adderall stays in your system. Your height, weight, and muscle mass all contribute to how quickly your body can break down substances like Adderall. The components of Adderall are hydrophilic, or they do not bind to fat, so if you have a higher percentage of body fat, you will most likely be able to clear Adderall from your system faster than someone with low body fat and high muscle mass.
- Dosage Amount
How much Adderall is consumed will also play an important role in how long it takes the body to clear the drug. The higher the dose taken, the longer the drug will remain in the system.
- Frequency Of Use
An individual who uses Adderall on a daily basis will have more of it in his or her system for a longer amount of time than a person who only takes the drug on occasion. When taken regularly, Adderall can build up in the body and make it harder for the body to break down the drug.
An individual’s overall health can also play a role in how long Adderall stays in the body. A person’s organ function, namely that of the liver and kidneys, can determine how long the drug remains in the system, as these organs play an important part in the body’s ability to break down substances.
If the kidneys are not functioning properly, Adderall can continue to re-circulate throughout the body rather than exiting the system. Additionally, the liver is responsible for metabolizing drugs and other substances in the body. When the liver is not of normal function, the body takes longer to rid itself of substances.
In addition to organ function, the pH levels of the body, namely the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, can affect how long it takes for Adderall to leave a person’s system. A person with a higher pH level will take longer to metabolize and rid the drug from his or her body than a person with a lower pH level.
Effects Of Adderall Abuse On The Brain
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that acts on several neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Abusing Adderall for an extended period of time can have adverse effects on the brain’s reward center, causing the body to rely on the drug to produce positive feelings and pleasure.
Adderall can also quickly build up a tolerance in the body, causing the user to take more and more to get the desired effect. How long and how much of the drug is being used will determine the level of tolerance for an individual.
Taking more of the drug can also lead to a physical and psychological dependence on Adderall. As a stimulant, it is a high-risk drug for abuse due to the positive effects it has on the brain. Adderall can also cause noticeable withdrawal symptoms that can, in turn, cause a person to take more of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, sleep problems, low moods, and lack of motivation.
Treatment For Adderall Abuse And Addiction
Seeking treatment for dependence and abuse of Adderall is similar to that of other drugs. Treatment will likely begin with medically assisted detox, as this drug can cause serious withdrawal symptoms depending on the level of physical dependence. Stopping Adderall abruptly is generally not recommended, as this can make withdrawal symptoms worse and potentially dangerous.
Once a medically monitored detox program is complete, it is recommended that those struggling with Adderall addiction continue on to an inpatient drug rehab program. Like other addictive substances, Adderall can be incredibly hard to live without after an individual has abused it for an extended period of time. Intensive professional help is the best way to ensure an individual learns how to live with the drug and provides the best chance at lasting recovery.
An inpatient treatment program for Adderall abuse will be very similar to treatment programs for addiction to other substances. It will likely include both group and individual therapy in addition to other treatment methods, such as alternative therapies like acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, and 12-step or non-12-step programs.
Contact us to learn more about how long Adderall stays in your system and treatment options available to help if you or a loved one is addicted to Adderall.
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Prescription Stimulants