Amphetamine drugs work wonders at increasing energy levels as well as overall focus and concentration. Amphetamines also work well at treating conditions involving ADHD, narcolepsy and obesity.
While some people may only use amphetamines on occasion, such as to study for a test or put in late nights at the office, occasional use can still cause withdrawal symptoms to develop along the way. That being so, how long does amphetamine withdrawal last if you only use the drug on occasion?
Ultimately, the answer depends on how often you use these drugs and at how large a dose.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, amphetamine drugs, such as Adderall, Ritalin and methamphetamine work by altering neurotransmitter-producing processes in the brain and speeding up central nervous system functions. In effect, amphetamines alter essential chemical brain processes with each dose of the drug. These changes can have long-lasting effects over time.
The truth of the matter is, if you’re only using occasionally and still experience withdrawal episodes, there’s a good chance occasional use will evolve into frequent or more regular use over time. In turn, you’ll likely experience ongoing episodes of physical discomfort and emotional distress.
Under these conditions, the question “how long does amphetamine withdrawal last” will soon be replaced with the question, “when will amphetamine withdrawal end.”
Amphetamine withdrawal, in any form, only becomes an issue when a physical dependence on the drug has taken hold. Physical dependence results from growing brain chemical imbalances.
These imbalances take shape as the cells responsible for producing neurotransmitter materials start to take on damage from being overworked. So if you’re experiencing withdrawal effects, the damage has already been done.
How long does amphetamine withdrawal last will depend on a range of factors, including:
Acute withdrawal effects occur directly after stopping amphetamine use. Post acute withdrawal entails ongoing residual effects that develop once the acute phase ends.
According to the University of Florida, symptoms commonly experienced with amphetamine withdrawal include:
Acute withdrawal typically lasts from one to four weeks, while post acute withdrawal can go on for as long as three to six months. If you’re stopping and starting amphetamine use every other week or every other month, the brain never really gets a chance to recover from the drug’s effects.
Someone in these circumstances may well experience ongoing withdrawal effects until he or she stops using the drug altogether on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, the longer withdrawal effects persist the harder it is to function normally without the drug’s effects. This, in turn makes it harder to stop using the drug.