By Naomi Carr

Last updated: 20 March 2024 & medically reviewed by Dr. David Miles

Dexedrine is a brand-name medication containing dextroamphetamine sulfate. It is an amphetamine medication with stimulant effects, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. [1]

Amphetamines, such as Dexedrine, are regularly prescribed and abused substances, often used for their euphoric or performance-enhancing effects. Due to the risk of abuse and dependence, Dexedrine is a Schedule II controlled substance and can cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. [2]

Does Dexedrine cause withdrawal symptoms?

Stopping Dexedrine is likely to cause withdrawal symptoms, especially if it is stopped abruptly and after prolonged use. Because of this, it is recommended to gradually reduce the dosage when stopping. [1]

Dexedrine use can lead to the development of tolerance and dependence. This can cause individuals to require larger and more frequent doses to prevent unpleasant symptoms and to achieve the desired effects. Once physical dependence has developed, stimulant withdrawal symptoms occur as the substance leaves the body and the effects wear off. [3][4]

Amphetamines, including Dexedrine, impact several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Dopamine is involved in the reward circuit in the brain and causes a feeling of pleasure or euphoria. Dexedrine causes a significant release of dopamine, which reinforces use and abuse and contributes to the development of dependence. [3][5]

When Dexedrine use is stopped, the body must adapt to the lack of the substance and its effects on neurotransmitters. These changes, particularly altered dopamine levels, can cause many physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. [3]

Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms

Stopping Dexedrine use is likely to cause the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe.

Common Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms

Common Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms can include: [1][3][4][6]

  • Increased appetite

  • Increased need for sleep

  • Oversleeping

  • Insomnia

  • Vivid dreams or nightmares

  • Restlessness

  • Agitation

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Low mood

  • Fatigue

  • Slowed movement

  • Lack of feeling of pleasure

  • Cravings

  • Aches and pains

  • Cognitive impairments

Severe Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms

Severe Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms can include: [1][3][4][5]

  • Symptoms of psychosis: Including hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. The risk of psychotic symptoms during withdrawal is often higher in those who have previously experienced these symptoms.

  • Extreme changes in mood and behavior: Including severe anxiety, depression, and aggression

  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

Dexedrine withdrawal timeline

After stopping Dexedrine use, withdrawal symptoms typically emerge within 24 hours of the final dose. This initial phase is often referred to as a ‘crash’, during which symptoms can be at their most severe. This phase tends to last around one week and can include extreme changes in sleep, appetite, and mood. [3][4]

Following this phase, symptoms can continue for around three weeks but may be less severe during this time. Some people may continue to experience extreme changes in mood, such as irritability and depression, along with persistent insomnia and cravings. [3][5]

In many cases, withdrawal symptoms will be alleviated after several weeks. However, some people may continue to experience symptoms for several months or longer, including mood changes and ongoing depression. [4]

The severity and duration of Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person and may depend on the amount and duration of use, as well as physical and mental health conditions. [1]

Dexedrine cessation timeline

It can be beneficial when stopping Dexedrine use to gradually taper off the medication. This can help to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the risk of relapse. Individuals taking small doses of Dexedrine for a short period may not need to taper or might be able to complete cessation in a short time. [3]

However, individuals who have taken large doses of Dexedrine for a prolonged period may require a slow and gradual cessation to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms. This can vary depending on the individual’s needs and may need to occur over several weeks or months with small dosage reductions. [1][3]

During the cessation process, dose reductions can be paused or slowed to allow for withdrawal symptoms to be alleviated. It is recommended that a doctor monitor and advise throughout this process. [5]

Is Dexedrine safe to withdraw from at home?

Dexedrine withdrawal can be severe or even life-threatening in some cases, so it is typically not recommended to withdraw at home. However, it may be safe for individuals who have used small doses for a short period, as prescribed. [6]

Sometimes, people who take prescribed Dexedrine take breaks from their medication for a day or two and do not experience adverse effects. However, it is still advised to be aware of the dangers and potential withdrawal symptoms and to consult with a professional, who can advise on how to do this safely. [7]

People who have used large and prolonged doses of Dexedrine are not recommended to withdraw from the substance at home or without professional advice, as they may experience severe withdrawal symptoms that require treatment. [3]

Typically, it is recommended for individuals to discuss how to safely reduce or stop Dexedrine use with a medical professional. It is also not advised to abruptly stop Dexedrine use, especially after heavy usage, as this can increase the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. [1][6]

Dexedrine detox treatment

In many cases, it can be necessary to utilize professional services to receive support and treatment during Dexedrine detox. This can be provided through an outpatient service, during which individuals can attend appointments with a doctor to receive medicinal and/or therapeutic support. [3][6]

Alternatively, individuals can utilize inpatient services, such as a rehab center, where professionals can provide continuous monitoring and treatment of withdrawal symptoms, with medication, group and individual therapy, and holistic approaches. [6]

Detox treatment should be implemented as quickly as possible before reducing or stopping Dexedrine, as withdrawal symptoms can emerge within 24 hours. This treatment often continues for around two weeks, or as long as severe withdrawal symptoms occur. [3]

There are no medications approved for Dexedrine detox treatment, although various medications can be utilized as a short-term treatment to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. This can include: [3][4][5]

  • Antidepressants, particularly mirtazapine, to reduce anxiety and low mood

  • Benzodiazepines, to manage insomnia, irritability, and aggression

  • Antipsychotics, if required to manage psychotic symptoms

Therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can be utilized to help reduce addictive behaviors, manage underlying mental health issues, teach coping skills to manage cravings, and prevent relapse. During Dexedrine detox, appetite and sleep will be significantly affected, so professionals need to provide support in managing these areas during the detox and recovery process. [3][6]

Additional treatments can be implemented or continued following the detox process, including psychotherapy, psychosocial interventions, and support groups, which can help improve recovery. [6]