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Dextroamphetamine Detox: Symptoms, Side Effects & Timeline

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dextroamphetamine red pillsDextroamphetamine is a stimulant drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It belongs to the class of drugs known as amphetamines 1. Dextroamphetamine is available for prescription under the brand names Dexedrine and ProCentra, and in combination with amphetamine, as Adderall. Due to its highly addictive qualities, the ADHD medication, dextroamphetamine, is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that the drug is approved for medical use, but it also has a high potential for abuse and dependence 1.

The prevalence of prescription stimulant abuse comes only second to marijuana among college students who engage in illicit drug use 2. Most individuals who misuse or abuse dextroamphetamine do so to:

  • Enhance academic performance.
  • Increase energy and concentration.
  • Induce feelings of euphoria.
  • Lose weight.

However, chronic dextroamphetamine abuse can lead to dependence and addiction. Stimulant dependence develops when the body adapts to the presence of dextroamphetamine and is unable to function optimally without it. Although dependence is different from addiction, which is a progressive condition characterized by compulsive drug use, it typically accompanies addiction. Stimulant dependence is most evident when a dextroamphetamine user begins to suffer withdrawal symptoms after suddenly reducing or stopping use. While dextroamphetamine withdrawal itself is not fatal, it is extremely uncomfortable and can lead to relapse.

Stimulant detoxification can be a struggle, as it may give rise to several emotional and psychological symptoms. In these instances, the process of dextroamphetamine withdrawal can exacerbate any pre-existing psychological conditions. If you or someone you know suffers from dextroamphetamine addiction, or are apprehensive about going through dextroamphetamine withdrawal, it can be helpful to speak with a mental health professional who is able to perform a thorough assessment and further discuss your options for detox or addiction treatment.

Drug Addiction Detox

doctor talking to patientThe best way to determine the appropriate course of treatment is to discuss your issues with your physician. A doctor can evaluate your current level of addiction and physical health and help set up a plan for recovery. Read More

Dextroamphetamine Detox Symptoms

Dramatically decreasing or quitting dextroamphetamine use after developing significant dependence can result in unpleasant and distressing dextroamphetamine detox symptoms. Dextroamphetamine withdrawal symptoms may include the following 3,4:

  • A dysphoric mood (feelings of unease or dissatisfaction).
  • Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure).
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Paranoia.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Vivid, unpleasant, or disturbing dreams.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Problems moving, difficulty controlling one’s movements, or slowed movements.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Severe dextroamphetamine cravings.

Throughout the withdrawal experience, many people feel emotionally and physically exhausted, which can make the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms even more difficult to bear. In order to get through this difficult time as comfortably as possible, a formal dextroamphetamine detoxification program might be advisable. While there, medical and mental health professionals will monitor your progress and ensure your safety. They will also be able to prescribe any medications you may need to get through the symptoms, such as sleep aids for insomnia or anti-anxiety medication for severe anxiety.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with dextroamphetamine abuse, help is available. It’s never too late to look for recovery programs near you.

Withdrawal Timeline

On average, acute withdrawal symptoms typically last between 1 and 2 weeks.

It is impossible to predict exactly how long your dextroamphetamine detox experience will last. The duration and severity of drug detox depends on many factors, including:

  • How your body metabolizes drugs.
  • Your recent pattern of dextroamphetamine abuse.
  • Whether you have been using any other drugs.
  • Your current physical and mental health condition.
  • Your mode of dextroamphetamine administration (oral, snorting, or injecting).

Each person is affected by symptoms of dextroamphetamine withdrawal in a unique way. While some people are more prone to experiencing psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, others suffer from irritating physical symptoms such as movement problems, changes in appetite, and fatigue. Still, others will experience a combination of both.

Oftentimes, amphetamines are used in a “binge and crash” pattern, characterized by long runs of high doses of the stimulant followed by a severe comedown off of the high 3. Those who engage in this pattern of dextroamphetamine abuse may experience withdrawal symptoms once amphetamine blood levels begin to drop and may require days of rest to recover. These crashes can be accompanied by intense fatigue, depression, and suicidal ideation 3.

In general, the more severe and long-term your dextroamphetamine addiction, the longer you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. However, on average, acute withdrawal symptoms typically last between 1 and 2 weeks 6.

Dextroamphetamine Detox Complications

Acute dextroamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can lead to psychological and medical complications, which may increase the danger of detoxing alone. It is common for people experiencing stimulant withdrawal to have severe depression and suicidal thoughts, which may lead to attempts 4. Enrolling in a detox treatment program where you can be monitored while your body adjusts to being without dextroamphetamine is wise, particularly if you begin suffering from these effects. Most drug detox programs have trained mental health professionals on staff who can help you get through this challenging time, as well as medical professionals who can ensure your physical safety and comfort.

Another serious danger of dextroamphetamine withdrawal is a heightened risk of relapse. Because dextroamphetamine withdrawal can cause intense drug cravings and unwanted symptoms, many dextroamphetamine abusers return to using the drug at the same dose they were using before. This can be particularly dangerous because a person’s tolerance is reduced during the detox process. If they relapse and continue using the amount they’d been using before detox, overdose may occur.

Symptoms of dextroamphetamine overdose include the following 7:

man vomiting and having dextroamphetamine withdrawals

  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Panic.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Dizziness and fainting.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Dark red urine.
  • Uncontrollable shaking.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Coma.

Furthermore, some people going through dextroamphetamine withdrawal may attempt to self-medicate with other substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids, to alleviate the unwanted symptoms. This can further complicate withdrawal and, should it become a frequent practice, eventually lead to a polydrug addiction.

Detox Options

Dextroamphetamine detox can be a taxing process. It can be difficult to remain dedicated to your recovery during the withdrawal phase, which is why it is so important to seek professional help. You do not have to go through dextroamphetamine withdrawal alone. If you are ready to start the detoxification process and take the first step on the road to recovery, consider which detox option is right for you. There is a range of detox settings available and it’s important to have a medical professional evaluate you and your addiction in order to provide you with an appropriate recommendation for detox. The settings include:

  • Inpatient detox: At an inpatient detox program, you will receive 24/7 care for all of your symptoms and will be separated from triggers and your old using environment.
  • Hospital detox: If you suffer from any medical conditions, a detox program in a hospital setting may be the best fit for you. Many people wind up detoxing in a hospital after experiencing a medical emergency related to stimulant abuse.
  • Outpatient detox: Outpatient detox programs are well-suited for anyone who wants to live at home while going through detox. Most outpatient programs require you to check in daily.
  • Detox under a physician’s care: Under a physician’s care, you can go through detox and receive prescriptions and medical evaluations as needed.

Detox is the first step in the recovery process. In order to facilitate and promote long-term sobriety and health, it is important that you transition into a rehab program once you are stable and have completed detox. A dextroamphetamine addiction treatment program can provide you with a number of interventions designed to help you avoid relapse and stay clean in the long run.

Sources

  1. Food and Drug Administration. (2007). Dexedrine.
  2. Lakhan, S. E. & Kirchgessner, A. (2012). Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects. Brain and Behavior, 2(5), 661-677.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment: A treatment improvement protocol (TIP 45).
  5. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment: Overview, essential concepts, and definitions in detoxification.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Protraccted withdrawal. Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory, 9(1), 1-8.
  7. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Dextroamphetamine.

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