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How To Deal With An Adderall Crash & Reduce The Negative Symptoms

Adderall is a common medication used to treat ADD and ADHD. There are many other off label uses for this particular drug and as a result, many people take it. It has become one of the more popular smart drugs – college kids are popping these to help themselves get in the zone for big tests and study sessions. Whatever the reasoning for using it, you may end up crashing the next day as a result of your usage.

What is an Adderall crash?

Adderall crash is a phenomenon of “crashing” or coming down from the stimulating effects of this particular substance. The longer you were on the drug, the more significant the potential of a crash will be. While not everyone notices a crash or has symptoms, many individuals do.  One major problem is that most psychiatrists are not aware of this “crash” phenomenon.  Think about the saying “what goes up must come down.”

This saying applies perfectly to taking Adderall – while on it you essentially stimulate activity in your brain.  This results in a “high” level of brain activity and when the drug wears down, the high activity ceases and you return to normalcy.  But before returning to normalcy, many people experience a “low” – in other words their brain is almost the exact opposite of feeling “high” – this is a “low” or crash (the opposite end of the spectrum).

Adderall crash symptoms:

Anger – You may notice that you get angry at things that shouldn’t normally bother you or didn’t in the past. I have experienced what is referred to as “adderall rage.” You take the drug, and when it wears off you literally are raging mad.

Anxiety – In some cases people may experience some minor anxiety when they crash. This is usually a result of decreased mental acuity.

Fatigue – You may feel extremely lethargic with a sense of overall fatigue. This is because your body is trying to recover from the excess energy stores it burnt up while on the Adderall.

Depression – The most common symptom is that of depression. People on high doses of this drug stop taking it and feel depressed. This is a result of the fact that the “d-amphetamine” released excess dopamine in the brain to make you feel good while on the drug.

Hopelessness – Some people get an overwhelming sense of hopelessness when they crash. Fortunately this feeling will eventually subside.

Laziness – You may end up feeling extremely lazy when you crash from the drug. It is basically the exact opposite of the productive person you were while the medication was working.

Loneliness – I noticed that many times I feel lonely for no reason when coming off of the Adderall.

Slowed thinking – Your thought process may be slowed, less organized, less cohesive, and you may feel slow and / or random.

Unfocused – You may feel extremely unfocused – even more so than you did before you initially took the Adderall.

How to reduce the effects of an Adderall crash:

1. Take a smaller dose – If you aren’t taking Adderall every day to avoid tolerance and/or addiction, you may consider taking an even smaller dose. Although you want to reach a therapeutic level, I’ve found that I still get a great effect even from low doses.

2. Plan – A good idea if you are on the IR is to take your dose so that it wears off right before you go to sleep. When you feel it starting to wear off, you can just go to sleep and not feel a major crash during the day. This is what my psychiatrist recommended for me and it has helped.

3. Exercise – A good idea to help your body produce dopamine naturally is to engage in exercise the next day even if you feel tired. This will help your brain release neurotransmitters that will boost your overall mood.

4. Stay busy – Another good way to cope with the crash is to keep yourself as busy as possible. It may be difficult, but if you get some basic tasks done at least you won’t have let the comedown get you down or ruin your day. Sometimes I’m a bit slow moving the day after I take Adderall, but if I make something out of my day instead of sleeping, I usually feel better.

5. Supplements – Some people swear by l-tyrosine to help sustain energy and avoid the lethargy that comes with a crash. Others claim that Magnesium supplementation helps with certain aspects of the crash.  Other people resort to other stimulants like caffeine to help them stay energized and avoid a crash.  Read the article 10 Adderall alternatives for ADHD if you want some additional advice.

If your crash is very strong, it may be advisable to talk to someone about it and come up with some more options to help minimize the effects. If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms it may be a good idea to consider switching medication or even stopping medication altogether.

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Andrew H September 18, 2013, 7:43 pm

    Another symptom is increased appetite. I could easily clean out a buffet when my adderall is out of my system.

    • turtleman777 November 10, 2014, 9:41 pm

      Technically that is wrong. Adderall suppresses your appetite (your body still needs food though) and when the adderall wears off you feel hungry because you have essentially starved yourself for however long you were on adderall. The difference is that the hunger was there the whole time, its just that the adderall prevented your brain from realizing it. If you eat before you take adderall and force yourself to have a small snack while on it, most times you won’t be overly hungry after it wears off.

      • ACTUALLYONIT November 13, 2014, 5:07 pm

        Yeah it suppresses your appetite, but once that wears off… I don’t know what your problem is but I could eat a horse and then some, so yeah the first person is right.

      • Matthew Jennings November 12, 2016, 1:34 pm

        I too, have an increased appetite when it wears off.

    • Stemsdo January 4, 2015, 7:02 pm

      Strongly agree

    • Dylan February 6, 2015, 12:37 am

      Yeah I dont feel hungry at all even when it wears off. I force myself to eat to remain healthy, and I get full after half a portion.

    • Eric Huffstutlar April 21, 2016, 1:48 am

      ABSOLUTELY Andrew!! I don’t know why that particular symptom was left off but it is one of great significance to me!

    • Kelly May 20, 2016, 8:57 pm

      LOL… Me too! I ate 4 hamburgers in 10 minutes and a box of Oreo cookies. That’s just one instance. The food binging is the WORST part of coming off Adderall. My body goes from little calories to enough to feed a football team. :( My poor body…

  • Rocky Bowker July 8, 2014, 10:13 am

    I have been taking adderal for 10 years the 30mg ir when I first started to take them the affect was beneficial. Now when I take it the affects of the adderal wore off just seems like they don’t work anymore so sometimes i will take more. So my question is why are the affects of the adderal wear off after so long and they don’t work anymore?

    • CRR August 2, 2014, 10:26 pm

      Its a stimulant and your brain builds up a tolerance to it after a while. the options are to either increase the dose, change the brand (they all have different active ingridients), or stop taking it for a while. (Note that you can combine the second and third option, in other words switch brands for a while then switch back)

      • John March 27, 2016, 8:23 pm

        It is illegal in the USA and many countries for different brands of the same medication to have different active ingredients. That said, the inactive ingredients and blood plasma levels can vary SIGNIFICANTLY between manufacturers! I would strongly recommend sticking to brand name Adderall when possible and AVOID TEVA ADDERALL AT ALL COSTS. IT IS TERRIBLE!

  • kait November 4, 2014, 6:57 am

    I have been on Adderall for about 13 years 30 mg XR now and I have an eating disorder also. First off when I don’t take my Adderall I feel as if I can’t get out of bed it takes every ounce of energy to even shower. I wanna get off of the Adderall but I’m scared I’m going to gain weight and not be able to focus in my last year of college.

    • trav November 5, 2014, 5:23 pm

      I think the best thing you can do is talk with your doc about this. However, if you want my advice, I would to slowly reduce your mg and monitor your eating habits and weight. I have experience with eating issues and all I can say is that you can manage it by easing into the change slowly. You’ll start to have more natural energy when you quit relying on the stimulants so much. Exercise too, but ease into it. Best of luck.

      • lorra January 6, 2016, 8:12 am

        I agree with trav, kait. I have been experiencing the same thing as you, kait. On the days I don’t take my medication, I could sleep for 14 hours straight if I allowed myself to do so… I have once or twice, but I HIGHLY don’t recommend giving into that. I felt worse than forcing myself into the shower, even if my goal was to just breath that day. Eventually you will find a bit of motivation (mine is after a venti from starbuck’s).

        Personally, I think XR is the worst for “crash” or side effects. However, I hated how irritable I was on IR. I felt like ‘jekyll and hyde’ all the time. The best thing I have found to do is plan a time to do about 45-60 of cardio. I’m into running, but when my head is pounding and having feelings of panic with every thought because ‘focus’ isn’t on the menu that day.

        I don’t get on my treadmill thinking I’m gonna be me a year ago and 10k it with a 8 minute mile. I walk then run at a steady pace for ten minutes to get the ‘amp’ out of me, then walk/run (2-3 minutes for each). I try to do this every afternoon when my meds start to hit that shift when you feel edgy and your foot starts tapping away or switching positions to try and sit still for two minutes.

        I find I avoid the entire comedown that night, but I have that extra calming hour to finish my homework. Sorry for the long note, and I hope you see this if you haven’t found your routine yet. I too suffered from an eating disorder. Even though I’m past the content daily mind games it grips you with, it never truly goes away. All the best; this too shall pass.

        • Alex January 13, 2016, 12:16 am

          This strategy helps with me as well! My comedown at the end of the day consists of anxiety, irratiability, and sometimes sadness. I forced myself to go to the gym and eat a small snack and I swear… After running in intervals like running then walking, I felt much better and happier. Hope this helps with your comedown! (:

  • Karen Barrett December 2, 2014, 3:36 pm

    I’ve been taking adderall 30 mg on a daily for almost 10 years now. I’ve been cut off by my Dr because I refused a blood test. I knew she would cut me off anyways when she found I had marijuana in my system. I’m going through serious depression right now. Any suggestions?

    • Jacob June 28, 2016, 4:27 pm

      Marijuana doesn’t show up on blood tests…at least not for very long. It’s urine tests that last for a month.

  • Bridget January 23, 2015, 8:58 pm

    I have been taking adderall 10mg since yesterday. My dr said to take 1 around 7am, see how I feel and after a couple of days increase to a second tablet. Today and yesterday I started to feel the “crash” around 2pm. Could this just be my body getting used to the medicine? Will taking the second dose help stop it? I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night and as the mom of a 2 year old still adjusting to a toddler bed, I’m scared to use any sleep aids. This was my first visit with this doctor and she wasn’t big on conversation, but I’d rather get advice from people who are actually on the medicine. I’m starting college and there’s no way I could focus in class without something. How did everyone adjust when they first started? Will this get easier? Thanks!

    • Julie January 29, 2015, 12:04 am

      Geez, Bridget, you have GOT to find a way to focus in college without depending on Adderall. I did. Something’s gotta give somewhere else. Try using a sugar free Rockstar, those are great.

      • MG February 6, 2015, 12:43 am

        That’s a pretty narrow-minded and misinformed answer Julie. Some people NEED to have some type of supplement to focus. ADHD isn’t just laziness that you can overcome, it’s a chemical imbalance. Sugar free Rockstar isn’t going to solve the problem. It still can cause a crash from the caffeine, taurine and guarana. In long-term it can also cause adrenal fatigue which is basically a permanent crashlike state.

        I’d talk to your Dr. about trying to find a solution. It’s possible that a second dose or splitting up the dose could work. There is also Concerta XR which is extended release which may cause less of a crash. If neither of those work you could also look into Strattera which is stimulant free. In addition, if your focus stems simply from fatigue/feeling tired, it’s possible that it could be due to diet choice or a vitamin deficiency.

        When starting any type of medication in this category, unfortunately it takes a little bit of time to find the right dosage that will work for you.

    • Jen February 10, 2015, 7:16 am

      I take adderall, 10mg as well. I have kids also and cannot take the second dose or I’m up all night. I take the pill around 9 or 10, come down around 4 I have a coffee and short 20 min nap and I’m fine until bed at 1030-11pm. I’ve been on it for about 5 years and never had to increase my dose.

    • Marilyn October 4, 2015, 6:45 am

      I had the same problem when I started adderall. Your body is sensitive in the beginning but it will get much better with time. Instead of taking the whole second pill at lunch time you can split them into quarters and take as needed. Then the crash will be minimized. Also remember to eat. If you have trouble sleeping you can ask your Dr to give you Dexedrine as well. They have less impact on the body and are in my opinion better. I take adderall in the morning and Dexedrine during the day. Works perfectly. Also Melatonin is a great supplement to take an hour before bedtime. 5-10mg puts me to sleep and I wake up feeling rested and without feeling groggy.

      • Where Are My Keys? March 28, 2016, 1:52 am

        This is very similar to my routine – except that I only take dexedrine (dextroamphetamine IR) b/c I had issues with Adderall (strangely it made me very tired). I’ve been taking Melatonin for, like 20 years. A lot of people don’t like it, but it’s been perfect for me. One thing I can recommend about this is that the doses are typically too high — like 3-10mg.

        If you’ve tried it and didn’t like it, try taking 0.5 – 1mg instead — you can break up the common 3mg tablets if you can’t find 1mg — and you’ll get better results. Less is more with melatonin. And also agree strongly with all those who feel cardio exercise helps with side effects. Prob. because it helps restore dopamine, and it’s also a proven natural anti-depressant.

  • Loker February 17, 2015, 4:12 am

    One thing that really helps me that isn’t on this list is eating a big and healthy meal right before taking a pill. I used to get really severe anxiety when I came down and that really helped mitigate it.

  • Taylor February 19, 2015, 8:40 am

    I’ve been taking adderall 20mg for about a year now and I now have to take 2 tablets a day. Lately I’ve been crashing very hard. I will become extremely depressed around night time and it’s the worst thing ever. I will get extremely sad and cry non stop. Its ruining my relationships because I will get angry very easily and get sad while crying for no reason. Not really sure how to deal with it. Does anybody know how I can relieve these symptoms without cutting down my dosage?

    • Julius May 5, 2015, 3:04 pm

      I totally understand where you’re coming from Taylor when you say the depression really comes on at night. At night or during your crash try and do something fun every night to boost your morale. This will trick your brain into thinking your happy or neutral even if you’re really feeling miserable. For example try and play a video game you might really enjoy, watch one of your favorite movies, listen to your favorite happy music that you always like listening to, or exercise even if it feels hard at first. For me, exercising always makes my anxiety and depression wear off and make me much more clear headed and feeling accomplished because of getting a great exercise. I hope these ideas might work for you to feel more content. Keep Smiling :)

  • Brandon Lowe July 5, 2015, 6:05 pm

    Didn’t see this in any post but addy is highly addictive and tolerance builds fast. I recommend rehab. More power to you if you can tapper on your on and come off but I’ve tried that over and over. Rehab is best option if possible. Addy had wrecked havoc on my life and trust me me you will continue to increase dose crash will get worse doc will put on Xanax for crash and the cycle repeats and worsens. That is my story hopefully not yours but be aware!

    • James August 13, 2015, 5:05 pm

      What type of rehab did you attend? For how long? How did it work for you? How much did it cost?

  • Natasha July 7, 2015, 8:17 pm

    I’ve been taking adderall for about a year and it’s changed my life. I’m also a mom of two and going back to school in the fall. I can avoid the crash if I eat something high in protein for breakfast and a snack before my second dose. If you don’t eat your body has nothing burn. You need brain food :-) drink lots of water and avoid vitamin c until the evening as it pushes adderall out of your system, causing you to crash.

  • Megan August 24, 2015, 4:54 am

    Back when I had a prescription I took one and just one and after the high faded, I became severely depressed about everything. I would go into crying spells it was terrible!

    • Marilyn Zeman October 1, 2016, 4:05 am

      Oh yikes! Thanks for the warning! I have just started Adderall with 5 mg 2 times daily, last time I saw the Dr., he prescribed 10 mgs twice daily. One day I didn’t take at all because I was sick and felt no need for it, but slept A LOT! Today I took it twice, but it didn’t feel like it did anything, but I felt terribly depressed all day long, and felt like crying and doing nothing! Mow I know why I am feeling like this!

      Back to the drawing board. Does anyone know if taking an SSRI like Prozac or Zoloft for a long time makes one’s Dopamine run low? I am just starting to think I am totally on the wrong track! I took Zoloft for 10 years, now I am on Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Adderall, now I feel more like a zombie than ever!

  • Doug September 14, 2015, 12:11 am

    I started taking adderall when I went back to college as I had ADHD. I never really knew about the side affects until I read this site. Makes sense as what goes up must come down. Problem is I crash around 3:00 pm. I’m a teacher and need to be “ON” at lease until 5 or 6 to prepare my lessons for the next day. I get to work around 7 and have to take my pill then or else I am tired and lethargic…my brain feels like mush. I’m debating taking a low dose of the IR version of adderall on top or the XR version I take in the morning. Does anyone else do this and if so how does it work?

  • Nina September 19, 2015, 12:51 pm

    I can honestly say the medication has these side effects. Some of them are increased heart rate, tightness of the chest, and lower back pain. Also, the come down crash is awful, I don’t know why anyone would want this medicine if they didn’t absolutely need it for ADHD. I find that instead of taking Adderall for ADHD, Wellbutrin has the same focus effects, and less intense comedown. Wellbutrin is used for treating depression and in some cases ADHD. Outside of that I am praying my ADHD is just something that goes away with age.

  • Bl428 September 23, 2015, 8:44 pm

    If you want to avoid a crash, taper your doses down in 5mg increments. If you’re taking 20mg twice a day, take 15 twice a day, then 10, then 5. Avoid “sleeping it off” get up, caffeinate yourself and keep going.

  • Solo October 20, 2015, 1:15 pm

    I’ve been off adderall for 10 days and I’m actually keeping a journal on my journey in hopes of maybe helping someone else, I’ve read a lot of these comments/websites and it’s a shame that a lot of people don’t follow up or back for someone who is trying to stop. I spoke to my doctor about it, I was using adderall for a year and half started at 10mg and went up to 30mg (the last month and half I weened myself of to 1omg-20mg every other day). The adderall was amplying my anxiety and depression and it made my WORK life even more miserable (I hate my job).

    After 10 days there is no symptoms of fatigue however I’m depressed and disinterested. It doesn’t help I work in sales where I have to talk to people cause I get agitated easily. Right now I exercise and take L-Theanine/5htp for mood support. But it’s been rough. My energy level is pretty good because of working out and I believe diet is key but I don’t have that extra PEP and it certainly is affecting my performance at work

  • Rachel October 21, 2015, 5:16 am

    @Solo I’m basically about to say the same thing as you omg! The thing is though, it’s not that I can’t go multiple days in a row without Adderall, it’s just that I actually feel I need it for school so I take it at least twice a week, and more during more stressful times, and sometimes I just feel so awful after the comedown I can’t believe I made myself feel so bad and think cutting down is my best option

    Anyways, I’m so glad I found this, I feel like I can relate to a lot of you and it’s always good to remind myself that the crash symptoms are just that. I started on 10 mg IR my freshman year of college, have tried 25 mg xr and hated it, and am currently on 30 mg IR. I don’t take them every day of the month though, so sometimes I’ll take more than 30 just because I won’t feel anything sometimes.

    I’m at the point where I feel like even though I’ll go aprox. a week without taking it sometimes, I just have crazy tolerance to it. I do get a lot of work/studying done while on it, I’ve just been finding it harder and harder to concentrate whereas the 10mg used to literally keep me focused for hours at a time. In high school I could keep up in school without it even though my ADHD made it difficult, but in college I don’t feel that I can (I’m at a top university).

    After lots of consideration, I don’t think I need to quit altogether, I just need to find a way to take lower doses. I feel fine while I’m on it and getting my work done, I even feel kind of good on it at times, but it makes it so hard to sleep even if I don’t take it late in the day and sometimes I do feel lonely or depressed after. I didn’t realize that the longer you’re on it, the worse the crash… but that makes sense. That also explains why I hated my XR prescription so much, the comedowns for that were unbearably bad.

    I guess I’m wondering what are some tips for cutting down your dose? I already have because I gave up my Xanax prescription after having it for more than a year so I no longer need to take as much Adderall or take it as often (thank god, even when I used to only take 10 mg taking it multiple days in a row makes me feel disgusting), but even the 30 mg can make sleep difficult (though its possible), and on days I take a little more it almost feels impossible (though it happens eventually).

    I think my main problem is that the increased mental activity also increases my anxiety so what keeps me up is anxious thoughts that cause increased heart rate since I never take it less than 6 hours before I want to sleep (and by that I don’t mean the full dose… my doctor tells me to take it twice a day). Ugh anyways, I just feel like I’m in a bit of a bind since I ideally could take the drug less and want to take less of it but also feel really dependent on it to do school work that isn’t extremely minor.

  • Michaela November 18, 2015, 5:55 am

    I am 16 year old girl and I got diagnosed with ADD when I was 5. I remember I used to hate Adderall but now I use it all the time. For years I have struggled with depression on its own and Adderall helped so much but for some reason after 3 hours of 10mg I feel like crap. I didn’t even know that there was such thing as a “Adderall crash” until I looked it up.

    So I’m happy I’m not alone. After around 3 hours with half of one of my pills (I split it in half) I feel horrible, quiet, really pissed and sad. And I’m like really confused. But sometimes I rely on Adderall recently I stayed up two nights to get some homework done and I felt super exhausted and I. Know I shouldn’t use to much of it but I still rely on it it seems sometimes. After a couple days of taking it I give my body a break and don’t take it for around 3-5 or more days.

    Then I start up again with that super happy feeling. Adderall has made my life so much better but also so much worse if anyone out there understands what I’m saying. I also use it to help me lose weight and it helps a lot. I still have the crash and I don’t want to lower my dose or I won’t get happy so I guess I’ll just deal with the crash.

  • Max December 30, 2015, 10:38 am

    I was diagnosed with add when I was young. I’ve been on adderall for maybe 5 years started with 10mg XR. Up to 30mg, the switched to 30mg IR. These past 2 years I’ve been extremely busy with school and an online eBay business. So I would take one whenever I felt that crash. It’s become normal to work 2-3 days, crash a day and do it again.

    Now I’m too the point where the crash is unbearable. Lasting sometimes a week. It’s scary, no energy to leave my bed, skipping showers. Its hard. Does anyone here have any ideas to beat this level of crashing? I take klonopin 0.5 low dose but it doesn’t really help much. I read somewhere about how someone worse than this weaned off the dosage but taking a 4th less for about 2 weeks, and gradually eased off until it was down to every other day.

    I think I’m mentally capable of easing off on my own, but the bedridden lack of energy is definitely an obstacle. BTW I drink Red Bulls and coffee while I’m on adderall already so I don’t think caffeine would suffice as a substitute. Hopefully one of you managed to make the crash less intense… Thanks for listening.

    • Where Are My Keys? March 28, 2016, 1:58 am

      You might have exhausted your dopamine system. I had a bad experience with this a few years ago, and just stopped taking it (it took about a week to get over the tired feeling you get with withdrawal, but it’s really not as bad as you probably think it is… caffeine helps).

      Anyway, I think you should try cardio exercise to get your heart rate up. It really does seem to help a lot. Don’t worry about your performance, all that matters is getting up a sweat for at least a half an hour a few times a week.

  • Bailey May 6, 2016, 5:49 am

    Hey, I’m an ex-adderall addict. It’s been over a year Id say since I stopped. Yesterday my friend came to church with 20mg addy’s, and I just couldn’t help myself. She gave me 4 so I took two, and then today at school I took two more because I started to crash. I’ve been crashing since about 5-6 PM (it’s now 12:45 AM). I’m experiencing nausea, and a little bit of dizziness. When I stand up my vision goes blurry for a few seconds. This has never happened any other time I have relapsed. I’m 14 years old, 5’3, and 111 pounds.

  • MoodySchmoody May 8, 2016, 8:06 pm

    I can’t take adderall, and be in public and be normal. I get all anxious and irritable and just weird all around. I only take it when finals are hitting me hard and I have 20 papers and 2 exams to do in a week. It helps and saves my grades.

    But oh man, the crash that I get after I finish the exams is real. And normally I take 10-15 IR per day, so not too much, but the crash is still there. It’s great medication to take when you need to study hard, but I don’t think it’s something that should be taken everyday.

  • Saylor Cooper May 14, 2016, 3:52 am

    My first stimulant I took was Vyvanse and of course I didn’t like it because I would have the same symptoms as Adderall like depression and anger, but it would happen during the day instead of right on the crash come down. So then I switched to 10 mg IR Adderall and yes I would feel terrible like angry at people when they’re not at fault and anxious and depressed plus it was really really bad when I only took one tablet.

    Finally I switched to IR Which has been a little better but as I’ve been taking it longer during the week the symptoms would come back. I’ve decided that once I’m done with my career training class and I’m working on the job, I will get off of this stuff. Honestly I feel that this medication has taken control over my personality by making me be as mentioned above which is truly not who I am.

  • Becky October 11, 2016, 7:01 am

    I’ve been taking Adderall for almost 7 years without a prescription. I can easily spend $70 a week on 30 MG and take all of them within 2 full days. The next couple of days I’m tired, grumpy, drained, and hungry. I know it’s not good for me, but I can’t find a way to get myself off of them.

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