Ritalin vs Adderall Withdrawal Effects: Which is Worse?
ADHD, or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects both children and adults like. Prescription amphetamine drugs, such as Ritalin and Adderall help to better regulate the types of brain chemical imbalances that cause ADHD symptoms.
Over the years, Ritalin vs. Adderall have become the go-to treatments for helping people with ADHD lead normal, productive lives. As these drugs work to enhance overall energy and concentration, they’ve also become the go-to drugs for people with demanding lifestyles, such as college students and business executives.
As beneficial as these drugs may seem, prescription amphetamines carry a high risk for abuse. When drug abuse becomes an issue, potential withdrawal effects are not far behind.
As far as Ritalin vs. Adderall goes, both drugs can leave users to contend with some fairly uncomfortable withdrawal effects, but which is worse?
While they may produce similar “intended” effects, regular and long-term users stand to experience more than a few unintended Ritalin vs. Adderall withdrawal effects over time.
How ADHD Medications Work
The effects of Ritalin and Adderall stem from how these drugs work to speed up brain activity. According to Boston University, prescription amphetamines increase the production of certain neurotransmitter chemicals, most notably dopamine and norepinephrine.
Whereas dopamine regulates pain and pleasure experiences (both physical and emotional), increased levels of norepinephrine set the body’s “fight or flight” response system into motion. Increased levels of both neurotransmitters produces:
- Surge in energy levels
- Improved focus and concentration
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased confidence
Habit-Forming Effects: Ritalin vs. Adderall
Withdrawal in any form develops out of growing chemical imbalances in the brain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more often than not, withdrawal symptoms mark the first sign a developing, habit-forming dependence.
Differences in Ritalin vs Adderall duration effects make Ritalin slightly more habit-forming than Adderall. Ritalin remains active for up to three to four hours, whereas Adderall’s effects last anywhere from four to six hours.
The euphoria producing effects of amphetamines in general, coupled with Ritalin’s shorter duration encourages drug-using behavior more so than Adderall. In effect, the more often a person uses a drug the more quickly the brain “learns” to associate drug use with euphoric effects.
For someone wanting to stop prescription amphetamine use altogether, differences in Ritalin vs. Adderall half-life duration can greatly influence how lengthy the withdrawal process will be. Half-life duration has to do with how long it takes the body to eliminate half the dosage amount taken from the bloodstream.
On average Ritalin has a half-life of one to seven hours depending on a person’s health, age and body weight. Adderall’s half-life time runs from 11 to 13 hours.
Someone coming off Adderall will likely have a longer withdrawal period (from one to three months) than someone coming off Ritalin, though withdrawal effects experienced with Ritalin will likely be more severe.
Withdrawal effects experienced tend to be very uncomfortable, which accounts for why it’s so hard to stop using these types of drugs. If you need help finding a rehab program to stop amphetamine abuse, call our helpline at 800-768-8728 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.