Hungover from a frat party? Very little time to study? Feeling anxious and restless? No worries, there’s Adderall for that. Sadly, Adderall is often seen as the answer by desperate young adults who feel the need to compete in this cutthroat world.
Known on campuses as the “study buddy”, Adderall is common in students who want to improve their academic performance. The drug itself treats ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
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Like other ADHD medications, this drug is supposed to help patients increase their focus and concentration. These effects are the reason why many students who want to “get-ahead” often use this drug. They want to enjoy the benefits of being hyper-focused, alert, and energetic.
But just like any other drug, the effects of Adderall are only temporary. Once you take the pill, the effects will wear off after some time.
Difference between Adderall IR and Adderall XR: How long do the effects last?
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that's composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
There are two major forms of Adderall and the duration of the effects will depend on the form you are taking. The first is the immediate-release version, also sometimes referred to as Adderall IR; and the second is the extended-release version, or also known as Adderall XR.
What is the difference between the two?As the names suggest, the duration of the effects for Adderall XR is longer compared to Adderall IR.
How Long Does Instant Release Adderall Last?
After taking an Adderall immediate-release 30mg tablet, you will typically feel the effects kick in at about 30 to 60 minutes. The peak effects of these stimulant medications will occur two to three hours after taking the tablet and in total, you could feel the effects last for around 4 to 6 hours.
For patients with ADHD, Adderall IR tablets are normally prescribed to be taken two times a day.
How Long Does Extended Release Adderall Last?
Adderall XR, on the other hand, is named “extended-release” because the formulation dissolves more gradually in the body. The effects also kick in within half an hour to an hour after taking the Adderall XR tablet with peak effects occurring 4 to 7 hours after use. In total, the effects of an Adderall extended-release tablet can last up to 12 hours.
It is not recommended to take an Adderall XR tablet more than once in 24 hours to reduce the risk of a drug overdose.
It is important to note that these durations are just approximations because several variables affect how long Adderall will affect you or how long Adderall stays in your body. The effects can be different depending on the person’s drug tolerance, weight, height, stomach content before and after taking the drug, if the person has ADHD or not, sleep patterns, etc.
Is it safe to take Adderall to improve your performance?
Since many students are using the drug, some people have the mistaken belief that it is safe to take the drug, however, not many realize that Adderall can be addictive. Many people who get addicted to Adderall confessed that they only planned to take the drug once or twice. However, they start becoming used to the “benefits” the drug is providing them until they find themselves getting addicted.
After taking Adderall, many users feel effects such as high energy, excitement, increased alertness levels, and having laser-sharp concentration. Some also experience euphoric effects which is why they also use Adderall as a recreational drug, in addition to being a performance-enhancer.
There are even accounts of users saying that they feel invincible, amazing, and it is as if they have superpowers when taking Adderall. These delusions are actually what makes the drug addictive. It gives you a false sense of security that you can handle anything and you can power through any difficulty – even without food or sleep.
When users start taking the drug to function in their day-to-day lives, they become dependent on Adderall. This is the first sign that they are going towards the path of substance abuse and addiction.
Aside from the danger of being addicted to Adderall, even unintentionally, you also risk overdose. When you regularly take Adderall or any drug for that matter, your tolerance for the medication will increase.
This means you will need a higher dose to experience the same effects. Taking higher doses in shorter periods can result in a drug overdose.
If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, help is available. Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.
Medically Reviewed by:
Dr. Preet Joneja PsyD and the clinical team at Anaheim Lighthouse
Preet Joneja is the Clinical Director at Anaheim Lighthouse in Anaheim, California. She is a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with individuals suffering from mental and emotional disorders.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (2008, September 18). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd
Cassidy, T. A., McNaughton, E. C., Varughese, S., Russo, L., Zulueta, M. G., & Butler, S. F. (2015). Nonmedical Use of Prescription ADHD Stimulant Medications Among Adults in a Substance Abuse Treatment Population. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19(4), 275–283. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054713493321
Weisler, R. H. (2005). Safety, efficacy and extended duration of action of mixed amphetamine salts extended-release capsules for the treatment of ADHD. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 6(6), 1003–1017. https://doi.org/10.1517/146565184.108.40.2063
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