How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

How long Adderall lasts in the body depends on a variety of different factors, including the type of test or screening done.  

Adderall in your body

Table of Contents

What Is Adderall Used For?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant used to change the number of certain chemicals in the brain. It is mainly made of two chemicals: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. These work as a catalyst in the body to improve chemical levels by bolstering communication throughout the nervous system.

What Disorders Does Adderall Treat?

Since Adderall is composed of a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, it’s beneficial in treating disorders rooted in a chemical imbalance. Two of these disorders are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder.

For ADHD, Adderall is designed to target hyperactivity and executive dysfunction by working to increase attentivity while also aiding in controlling impulsive behavior. Adderall is also used in the treatment of narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder, by aiding in the body’s ability to stay awake during the day.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall stimulates the central nervous system. This stimulation boosts the rate of communication between the brain and the body, which in turn can elevate certain chemicals.

When Adderall is prescribed for ADHD, it elevates the levels of dopamine in the brain by increasing its production in the nervous system. The result combats the effects of ADHD, including executive dysfunction, impulsivity, and poor attention span.

For narcolepsy, Adderall works the same way: it boosts the available levels of a brain chemical. However, rather than dopamine, Adderall works as a treatment for narcolepsy by increasing norepinephrine. Those with narcolepsy suffer from a decreased amount of hypocretin, which is the chemical responsible for regulating sleep. Adderall increases norepinephrine, which promotes wakefulness.

Adderall Side Effects

As with any substance, Adderall has the potential to cause various side effects. However, when used without the guidance of a health professional, the risk for negative side effects is increased.

Some of the most observed Adderall side effects include:

For those using Adderall with a health professional’s guidance, serious side effects are rare. However, individuals should alert their doctor if they experience any of these severe Adderall side effects:

Poor blood flow

Uncontrollable movements

Continuous chewing

Unusual wounds

Severe psychological changes

How Adderall Affects Those Without ADHD

When Adderall enters the body of someone who does not struggle with ADHD or even a sleep disorder, it can cause the opposite effects compared to when it is used to treat a chemical imbalance.1 For those without ADHD, the increased dopamine that occurs because of Adderall can lead to feelings of euphoria and increased energy.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Any time the brain experiences synthetic changes in chemicals, there is a potential for addiction. This factor is because the brain becomes accustomed to the elevated state, making it difficult to return to normal without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Why Do People Misuse Adderall?

Adderall abuse has become a growing occurrence on college campuses where it has earned the name of the “study drug.”2 More and more students are turning to un-prescribed Adderall to boost their cognitive performance, improve executive dysfunction, and reduce the need for sleep.3 Adderall misuse is also common because the substance is a stimulant. The drug causes elevated dopamine levels, which is a “feel good” chemical in the brain. Someone may develop a substance abuse disorder in response to these positive feelings.

Who Abuses Adderall?

Anyone can develop a substance abuse disorder. However, for Adderall, it is most often seen around younger people, especially those on college campuses. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health recorded that, of college students aged 18-22, 6.4% have misused Adderall.4 Adderall abuse can also occur in those prescribed the substance either for ADHD or narcolepsy. This happens when the body becomes accustomed to straying away from prescribed guidelines, leading to abuse and addiction.

How Long Do Adderall’s Symptoms Last?

The duration for the symptoms associated with Adderall varies between individuals. However, once the substance has been eliminated from the body, then a majority, if not all, of the symptoms should cease as well. How long Adderall lasts in the body, and how long is it detectable on tests and screenings, is dependent on several factors.5

What Affects How Long Adderall Stays in the Body?

Because Adderall is a chemical stimulant, it will affect different people in different ways. Several factors affect how long Adderall lasts in the body, including:

Body’s Makeup

Different parts of the body’s makeup – height, age, body mass, and health – can impact how long Adderall lasts in the body. These aspects impact metabolism, which oversees breaking down and eliminating substances.


Dosage also plays a large role in how long Adderall lasts within the body. Larger doses will take longer to metabolize and be eliminated from the body compared to smaller doses. The type administered in each dosage also impacts the Adderall length.

Currently, there are two main forms: Adderall and Adderall XR. Normally, Adderall is an immediate-release substance, meaning that it begins to metabolize the moment it enters the body. Adderall XR, however, is an extended-release, which means that it lasts longer than other forms of Adderall.

Frequency of Use

With frequent doses, the body has higher amounts of a substance to break down. Since the body metabolizes at a relatively consistent rate, frequent administrations can cause Adderall to last longer.

Adderall Tests

Several Adderall tests detect whether a substance is present within the body. The results of these tests vary based not only on the factors listed above but also based on which type of test is used.5


All substances are transferred around the body through the bloodstream. As a result, a blood test can be beneficial in determining whether Adderall is still present within the body.

However, due to the rate of diffusion of medicine, substances can metabolize and be eliminated quickly in the blood. As a result, blood drug tests will only show the presence of the drug if the test is conducted within 48 hours of the Adderall timeline.


Urine tests are one of the most common ways to test whether a drug is still present in the body. These can determine if a dose was administered within the last 72 hours.


Like blood, saliva has a short window for results. A salvia drug test will only display the presence of Adderall if the last dose occurred in the previous 48 hours.


Hair tests offer the most information about how long a drug lasts in the body. A hair test can determine what substance was administered as well as when the first and last dose occurred. Hair tests show results for up to 90 days in the past, which can go beyond the Adderall timeline.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

After prolonged use, the body becomes accustomed to the substance. As a result, when the substance is no longer administered, withdrawal symptoms can occur.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can come in many forms. Taking into consideration how long Adderall lasts in the body and how long dosages have been administered, Adderall withdrawals can begin within only a day or two of disuse. Withdrawals are the second aspect of the Adderall timeline, occurring after the euphoric feeling. Cravings as well as physical and psychological side effects can last for several weeks and may include:6

Once the physical symptoms of withdrawal fade, the third phase, which consists of psychological effects such as cravings, may linger for several more months. This side effect depends on the Adderall length of use, including dosage, frequency of doses, and the individual taking it.

Adderall Addiction Treatment

For people with a substance use disorder, treatment can considerably improve their quality of life while also reducing the side effects of Adderall addiction. Undergoing treatment as guided by a medical professional can aid in the body’s recovery by working with the individual to understand triggers and cope with withdrawal.


To begin the recovery process, the substance must be completely removed from the body. While this removal may cause withdrawal symptoms, it is important in helping return the body to its normal state.

Adderall’s withdrawal effects vary from person to person, which means that each detox process requires a degree of customization to best meet each person’s needs.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis focuses on providing treatment for a person with a substance abuse disorder and underlying health issues that could lead to substance misuse. Often, underlying health issues can be a significant factor behind substance abuse disorders and treating those issues can be beneficial for recovery.


Contingency management (CM) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are the two most common therapies used to aid in recovery from Adderall addiction. Both types of therapies provide the skills necessary to understand different behaviors and learning new coping mechanisms.



If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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