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  • Adderall is made up of a combination of dextroamphetamine and other amphetamine salts. It has a half-life of 9 to 14 hours, which is the time it takes for half of the drug to leave the body. 

    The rest of the Adderall may be detected in your system for 3 days or up to a month, depending on the type of drug test. How long Adderall stays in your system depends on other factors, too, such as your weight and how much or how often you take the drug. 

    Adderall Detection Times

    Adderall drug testing can be done on urine, saliva, blood, or hair. 

    Urine Test

    Adderall can be detected in urine 3 to 72 hours after last use. This is the most common form of Adderall drug test.

    Saliva Test

    Adderall is present in oral fluid 20 minutes after ingestion for up to 2 days. This is the least invasive form of testing but may only be used if a urine test is unavailable. 

    Blood Test

    Adderall stays in the blood for up to 24 hours. This is the least common testing method because it’s invasive and the window of detection is short. 

    Hair Test

    Adderall may be found in hair follicles for a month. This test can detect amphetamines for the longest time but makes it hard to tell when Adderall was last used.

    How Long Does Adderall Last?

    There are two types of Adderall available: Adderall IR (immediate-release) and Adderall XR (extended-release). 

    The immediate-release version lasts 4 to 6 hours. The extended-release version allows the drug to be distributed more slowly throughout the body, lasting 8 to 10 hours in total. 

    Adderall XR stays in your system longer, which can affect the drug detection time. But if you take Adderall IR twice as often because it’s a lower dose, the detection times are the same.

    What Affects How Long Adderall Stays In Your System?

    Everybody is different. Adderall should reach its peak level in your system 3 hours after the last dose. Then your body starts breaking it down so it can be excreted. How quickly you metabolize Adderall is affected by many things. 

    Adderall Abuse

    Adderall is a prescription stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. If you take it as prescribed, you’ll probably get it out of your system in the times listed above. With Adderall abuse, it can take longer for your body to get rid of. 

    Substance abuse is linked to tolerance, or your body getting used to a drug and needing more for the same effect. A high tolerance can affect drug metabolism. Abusing Adderall can also be harmful to your health, which makes it harder for your body to process the drug.

    Frequency & Dosage

    Taking Adderall more often than recommended by a medical professional affects how long it stays in your system. If you take another dose of Adderall before the last one has worn off, it can build up in your body and take longer to metabolize.

    Using Adderall in high doses can also cause a build-up, especially when paired with frequent use. The length of time you’ve been taking Adderall influences metabolism as well.

    Your Health & Age

    A healthy body is better at processing drugs. The liver and kidneys play a key role in breaking down Adderall, and abusing amphetamines can damage these organs. If you’re unhealthy (whether from drug abuse or other factors), Adderall is likely to stay in your system longer.

    A younger body is usually better at processing drugs, too. This is because age and health often go hand-in-hand. Young people also tend to have faster metabolisms.

    Your pH Levels

    Drug metabolism can depend on the pH level of your gastrointestinal (GI) or urinary tract. With a urine drug test, alkaline (high pH) urine is more likely to show amphetamines for a longer time than acidic (low pH) urine. 

    High acid levels tend to break down drugs more quickly. Your pH levels are determined by your diet, as well as how well your lungs and kidneys function. Since Adderall abuse can damage kidneys, it can mess with your pH levels, too.

    Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

    Your body mass index (BMI) is a significant factor in how long Adderall stays in your system. 

    Someone with a high BMI (weight-to-height ratio) will usually have a slower metabolism than someone with a low BMI. 

    Metabolism can also depend on the dose of Adderall you take in relation to your body composition. If you have a low BMI and you take the same dose as someone with a high BMI, your body may take longer to get rid of the Adderall because it’s a higher proportion of your body fat.

    What To Do If You Test Positive For Adderall

    If you have an Adderall prescription and you’re following medical advice, there’s no reason to worry about testing positive. But if you’re abusing Adderall, now is a good time to ask for help.

    Many people abuse Adderall because it helps them focus. Adderall abuse is especially common among college students who need a concentration boost for a big test or project. 

    As a central nervous system stimulant, Adderall increases brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in a pleasant, rewarding sensation.

    The calming effect of Adderall leads some people to abuse it more and more until they become addicted. They may experience withdrawal symptoms like depression and insomnia if they try to stop using it, which makes it even harder to quit.

    Adderall addiction treatment can help you break free from drug dependence. At Ark Behavioral Health, we offer inpatient and outpatient rehab programs that are tailored to your needs. 

    Our experienced clinicians use evidence-based methods like behavioral therapy to resolve the mental health issues causing substance abuse. Connect with one of our treatment specialists today to learn how you can reclaim your life from Adderall addiction.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    PubChem - Amphetamine
    Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy - Drug Detection Windows

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on February 6, 2023
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