How You Can Support Your Loved One Through Adderall Withdrawal

adderall withdrawal

Do you have a friend or family member that is going through Adderall withdrawal? They will be experiencing a lot of painful symptoms that are made even more painful by the judgment of the people around them. They need one person to be a pillar of support and helpfulness during this trying time. 

They need you. Even if you aren’t a direct family member or haven’t talked to the person in a while, you may actually be all that they have, given how stigmatized drug abuse is.

Keep reading to find out more about what they are going through and all the things that you can do to keep them from falling back into the clutches of Adderall.

1. What Is Adderall? 

The first step in helping your loved one is becoming familiar with the enemy. In this case, it’s Adderall.

Adderall is a drug that is used to treat those with ADHD and narcolepsy. As helpful as it is for these things, it becomes abuse when it’s relied on for normal functioning, or when someone without a prescription starts using it. 

Why Is It So Appealing?

Adderall causes a huge rush of stimulation throughout the brain and nervous system. People feel like they are able to get more done while under its influence because it makes them feel stronger and full of energy.  

It also has the habit of making someone feel more confident which allows them to accomplish more than they normally would, for example, taking it before you have to give a big speech to a class. Adderall also represses the appetite, so someone may take it for weight loss. 

It’s a drug that is very popular with college students with demanding schedules that force them to have to get a ton of work done. Students with full schedules are also more prone to weight gain and depression so it allows them to cope with that as well. 

College students aren’t the only ones vulnerable to Adderall. People with eating disorders use it to try and lose weight easier and faster. These people will be a little tricky because they will need treatment that will help them handle both issues.

Athletes may take it to increase their performance in practice and in games by ridding themselves of fatigue. 

2. What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone is addicted to Adderall, they will start going through horrible withdrawal symptoms when they are trying to come off of the drug. It’s important that you also understand this so you can help them get through it. 

If the person doesn’t have someone to be by their side during this time, they may turn back to the drug to deal with the symptoms which will just create an endless loop. 

Physical

The first thing you need to know is that withdrawal is going to leave them in a lot of pain. They will go through multiple physical symptoms like: 

  • Headaches 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fever 
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash and itching
  • Fainting
  • Seizures 

To help ease nausea and other stomach pain, talk to their doctor. They can tell you or give you paperwork on all the acupuncture places in their abdominal region that you can massage to give them a little relief. 

Psychological

On top of the physical symptoms, you’ll also notice a bunch of psychological ones as well. They may shake their leg or another body part due to feeling a bit of anxiety. People coming off the drug are also more prone to depression.

The depression that they feel may escalate into suicidal thoughts or the inability to perform their usual daily tasks. They were used to performing homework and other things under the influence of the drug, so it’s hard to do these things without it now. 

Behavioral  

Your friend isn’t going to make helping them very easy. They will display a bunch of behavioral issues that may leave you frustrated. For example, they will be quite irritable and hard to deal with. 

If they start working again, if you aren’t there to stop them, they may attempt to use all of their money on Adderall. If it’s really bad, you may notice things from home go missing because they are trying to sell them and get money for the drug.

If this happens, please remember that it’s not their fault. They are just trying to relieve some of the painful withdrawal symptoms by getting their hands on the drug.  

In a lot of cases, the person may refuse treatment because they think the drug is helping them or that they will lose their edge without it. This makes convincing them that they have a problem hard because fighting with them will get you nowhere. 

3. Provide a Stable Environment 

First off, you need to provide your loved one with a quiet place to lay down and rest. They may need to you massage their temples or stomach to relieve any pain from a headache or nausea. In some cases, you’ll have to administer over the counter drugs to help them with withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea or constipation. 

They may also need you to help them with normal self-care routines like taking a bath or brushing their hair. You may have to be the person that reminds them to get plenty of liquids and fresh fruits and veggies in their system.

Keep in mind that you are providing a safe environment for them to recover in. This means that you’re responsible for keeping them away from the drug. It’s important that if they ask you for money for something substantial, instead of giving them the money, purchase the thing for them. 

You need to keep anyone who is a negative influence away. This includes people that may give them access to the drug (accidentally or not) or a friend or family member who doesn’t approve of their actions and will just cause conflict. Chances are, your loved one already feels bad enough about themselves, so they don’t need someone coming along to make it worse. 

4. Show That You Care 

The first few days are the worst. It’s during this time that your loved one will be more likely to relapse but something as simple as your love or support can stop this from happening. 

Again, they will most likely be in too much pain to do much, so you’ll have to care for them by making them meals that are easy to digest, and by helping them bathe. Also, insomnia is a common symptom of Adderall withdrawal. It’s during this time that they are the most vulnerable. 

Instead of going off to bed yourself and leaving them alone with their thoughts that may tempt them to turn back to the drug or another unhealthy coping method, stay up with them. This will show them that they aren’t alone.

5. Be Patient and Kind

The road to recovery won’t happen overnight. Even when the behavior they show going through withdrawal gets a little frustrating, it’s important that you don’t show them that you are frustrated. 

Even when you’re tired from staying up with them, don’t give in to the temptation to snap. To this end, make sure you take care of yourself too. Don’t work yourself into the ground. 

If you feel like there’s starting to be a little too much pressure on you, there is no shame in reaching out to other understanding family members or friends for their assistance. It can be tempting to become bitter towards this loved one either after everything is over or before. 

Don’t mull over these feelings because it could wreck your relationship with the person. Instead, seek out family counseling after the withdrawal process is over. It’s important that you don’t do it before, because your loved one is going to be too emotionally vulnerable to handle this and it could destroy what you’re trying to do for them. 

Remember, addiction is seen in some cases as a form of disease. They are suffering as much as if not more than you are. 

6. Take Time Off Work

Helping your loved one through withdrawal will be a very exhausting process for not just them but yourself as well. Your loved one is also going to need a lot of time and attention so it’s better for both of you if you just take a few days off work. 

The worst of the symptoms will be within the first few days of quitting, so you should take that time off at least. This will allow you to easily devote your time to them, and most bosses won’t mind once you’ve told them a little bit about the situation.

If you absolutely can’t take the financial hit by taking these days off, then talk to your boss about using some of your vacation or sick days. 

7. Help Them Fight Off Cravings 

Like most drugs, the cravings will hit them pretty hard when they are going through the withdrawal process. You can help them with this in a few ways. The first is staying up with them to make sure that they don’t seek it out during the night, which we’ve already been over. 

The second thing is keeping their mind occupied so they don’t think about it. To do this you can do an activity with them that they enjoy like playing video games, pick up a pack of playing cards or a board game, or jam out to some of their favorite music.

If you feel like they are being tempted or things are getting a little difficult, encourage them to put off making any big decisions, or remind them of why they are trying to get off of Adderall in the first place. You can sit down with them if you want and make a list of the reasons and then refer back to it if their will starts drifting again. 

Staying physically fit and doing exercises releases endorphins in our brains that causes joy. They may not be up to doing heavy exercise but you can do some of the lighter ones with them. This includes activities like yoga or tai chi. 

Exercises such as these also help clear the mind and calm stress. You can have them couple it with meditation for added benefits. 

8. No Enabling or Codependency 

The tricky thing about helping someone with withdrawal is that it could put your own mental health on the chopping block because of codependency. Codependency often gets lumped in with enabling but it’s a little different.

Enabling would be if your loved one asks you for cash for something like a textbook or food and you give it to them rather than just getting them the thing they need. Naturally, when you refuse to give them money, if they were planning on using the money that they requested for drugs, they will get a little angry. This is where codependency comes in. 

Often times, when we are caring for someone, their happiness suddenly outweighs our own and your life becomes making that person love or approve of you. This can be a problem because when they start to argue about the money, you may cave and give it to them. This turns you into the enabler on accident. 

If you feel yourself start to tilt into this territory, it might be a good idea for you to talk to someone, or get counseling yourself. You have to keep yourself well to help your loved one get well.

Help Your Loved One Get Through Adderall Withdrawal and Back on Their Feet

Watching someone go through Adderall withdrawal or any drug-related withdrawal really is difficult. They oftentimes need a caring individual to help them get back on their feet and stop them from relapsing. Sadly, a lot of times, family members become judgmental with anything involving drug abuse, so it’s up to you to be the difference.

Use these tips for helping a loved one get through Adderall withdrawal to be their pillar of support.

Most of the time with any drug addiction, the first step before you can help your loved one is detox. Contact us to find out if our facility is the right fit for them.  

Article Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.