Dextroamphetamine Withdrawal Signs, Symptoms, and Timeline
Dextroamphetamine, marketed under several brand names—Dexedrine, Dextrostat, ProCentra, and Zenzedi—is a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. 1,2 Dextroamphetamine can be safe and therapeutic when used as prescribed. But it carries the risk of tolerance and dependence with consistent use as well as the danger of addiction, especially when abused in large doses. 1,3
People who abuse dextroamphetamine commonly experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it or reduce the dose. 3 These symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, hunger, and an increased need for sleep. The effects usually follow a 3-to-5 day timeline. But some symptoms can last for months. 6
Professional intervention can improve comfort and increase the chances of a sustained recovery.
Signs, Symptoms, and Effects of Withdrawal
Dextroamphetamine withdrawal symptoms may begin when the substance is not available in the body or drops to a level lower than what the body has become accustomed to. These signs and symptoms may include: 3,4,5,6
- Low energy and fatigue
- Inability to sleep followed by an increased need for sleep
- Hunger and thirst
- Vivid dreams
- Lack of interest in socialization
- Muscle aches
- Possible psychotic symptoms (paranoia, disordered thoughts, hallucinations)
- Strong cravings for the drug
How long Does Dextramphetamine Withdrawal Last?
The onset, intensity, and length of these symptoms depend on:
- The duration of use.
- The dose, frequency, and method of use.
- Whether alcohol, other prescription drugs, or illicit drugs were consumed with dextroamphetamine.
- Physical health or mental health problems.
Someone who used dextroamphetamine at the recommended dose will generally have less intense symptoms than someone who used dextroamphetamine in binges. However, it is very difficult to predict what withdrawal effects someone will experience.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Some people may develop withdrawal symptoms as part of what is known as a post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).7 PAWS symptoms continue or develop beyond the typical withdrawal timeline. These symptoms may continue for 1-2 months. 6
For stimulants such as dextroamphetamine, post-acute withdrawal symptoms include problems with concentration and attention. poor memory, difficulty making good decisions, and issues managing emotions. 7 Other post-acute signs and symptoms may include, ongoing fatigue, mood swings, unstable sleep patterns, and continued drug cravings. 6
Unfortunately often overlooked or minimized, the depression some people experience during dextroamphetamine withdrawal can lead to self-injury and suicide. 5 Similarly, some people withdrawing from dextroamphetamine can become so disorganized, agitated, and paranoid that they begin to behave erratically or violently. 6 These issues are more common for people with preexisting mental health conditions. When appropriate, prescription antidepressants can be used to improve depressive symptoms. 5
In many cases, the timeline for dextroamphetamine withdrawal is between 3 and 5 days. 6 However, not everyone will have the same experience. The dextroamphetamine withdrawal timeline is heavily influenced by several factors, including the length of use, the amount used, use of other drugs, medical problems, and individual physiology. Below is a breakdown:
First 24 Hours:
- Withdrawal symptoms begin within about a day after the person stops using. 6
- Withdrawal symptoms usually last for 3 to 5 days. In some cases, they may persist for up to 2 weeks. Symptoms include agitation, irritability, depression, increased sleep and appetite, muscle aches, and fatigue. 6,7
5 days – 2 Months:
- Following the 3-to-5-day withdrawal period, the user may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms for several months. 6,7 These effects may complicate recovery and must be addressed to help maintain abstinence. 6
. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015). Dexedrine.
. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. (2016). Dextroamphetamine.
. NIDA for Teens. (2016). Prescription Stimulant Medications (Amphetamines).
. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2001). Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders: Quick Guide for Clinicians.
. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment.
. World Health Organization. (2009). Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Setting.
. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Protracted Withdrawal.