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How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Adderall is a stimulant drug that’s used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleeping disorders. It’s also known by the generic name amphetamine-dextroamphetamine. 


Adderall clears from the bloodstream more quickly than from other bodily substances. You begin testing positive for Adderall 12 to 24 hours after using it, and only continue testing positive for 24 hours. 

Because the “window” where the test is useful is so small, blood tests aren’t normally used for Adderall. However, there are specialty blood tests available that check for Adderall. 


A hair test doesn’t show a positive result for Adderall until around a week after using it, but it’s the longest-lasting test despite that. You can test positive for Adderall on a hair test up to three months after your last use. 

Because hair tests are effective for so long, it’s common for employers and probation offices to use them to check for Adderall and other amphetamine use. 


Saliva tests can detect Adderall in your system very quickly, starting about 20 minutes after use. Most people continue testing positive on a saliva test for about 48 hours after the last time they used Adderall. These tests aren’t used as commonly as urine or hair tests, but they’re used more often than blood tests for Adderall. 


The most common urine test used for employment is the five-panel urine test. Adderall contains amphetamine, which is part of the five drug types included on the test, so you should assume that a urine test could check for Adderall. 

You can test positive for Adderall on a urine test beginning an hour after you take the drug. Depending on how much you take and how often you use it, you could continue testing positive for four to seven days after using Adderall. 


It’s easier to understand how long Adderall stays in your body if you understand how your body processes it. Adderall is taken orally as a pill and it dissolves in the stomach, where it’s absorbed into your bloodstream. 

There, it makes its way to the brain, where it blocks the receptors for serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters, or chemicals found in the brain that help regulate mood and many body and mental functions. 

Because the receptors are blocked, serotonin and dopamine can’t be used up as easily. That means there’s more of it available for your brain to use, which speeds up attention, cognitive processing, and more. 

Within 30 minutes to an hour after taking Adderall, you’ll begin feeling the effects. The effects of Adderall can include: 

  • A euphoric “high”
  • Improved attention span
  • Better impulse control

You may also feel negative side effects of Adderall, such as:

  • Anxiety and other mood changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Grinding teeth
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Numb fingers and toes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach upset
  • Swelling of the tongue, throat, and face
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

In the meantime, your liver filters contaminants out of your blood over time. That includes medications such as Adderall. 

Over a period of hours, the amount of Adderall in your bloodstream starts to decrease. It clears from your bloodstream within 24 hours, but can stay in other substances such as hair and saliva for longer. 


There’s no way to test negative for Adderall more quickly. In fact, the best way to test negative is to avoid using Adderall at all. 

While you can’t detox faster from Adderall, there are some factors that predict how quickly you’ll test negative. 

They include: 

  • Dose and frequency: Large, frequent doses of Adderall clear the system more slowly than small, infrequent doses do. 
  • Whether you’ve eaten: Your body processes Adderall much more quickly when it isn’t processing food. Taking Adderall on a full stomach means that it takes longer to clear your system. 
  • Your body size: Adderall only binds to fat molecules, not to water. Bodies that are larger may have more body fat, which means your body uses up Adderall faster. 
  • Your body’s pH level: A pH level describes how acidic something is. Bodies with a high pH level process Adderall more quickly, so it leaves the system faster. Diet and medications can affect your pH level. 
  • Whether you’ve taken other drugs or substances: Taking other drugs with Adderall can cause drug interactions. These can affect how your body metabolizes Adderall. Some common interactions include Cymbalta, Lexapro, Prozac, and tramadol. 


How long you feel the effects of Adderall depends on what formulation you take. The drug is available in two formulas: Adderall IR and Adderall XR.

  • Adderall IR, or Instant Release, lasts four to six hours. 
  • Adderall XR, or Extended Release, lasts 12 hours. 

These time periods are estimates, not exact. Other factors can affect how long you feel the effects of Adderall. Those factors include:

  • Your weight and body composition (e.g. how much body fat you have) 
  • How often you use Adderall 
  • How much Adderall you use
  • Whether you use other substances at the same time as Adderall 
  • Your liver health 

Sometimes negative side effects can last longer than effects such as euphoria or increased attention. And just because you don’t feel “high” or focused anymore doesn’t mean that Adderall is gone from your system. You can still test positive for Adderall on a drug test for a period of time after using it. 


Even though it’s often used for legitimate purposes, Adderall is often abused for its euphoric effects. Adderall can make you feel high even at prescribed doses, so it’s common for prescriptions to find their way onto the black market. 

Because of the drug’s abuse potential, it’s common for Adderall to be part of a standard drug screening. If you’re on probation or applying for a job, then you have a reason to wonder how long Adderall stays in your system. 


There’s no way to help your body clear Adderall out faster, and the only way to test negative on a drug test is to abstain from it. If you have an addiction, then it can be scary to stop using. For many users, the only way they can stop using drugs for good is to get treatment. 

Treatment for amphetamine addiction is customized to your needs. Your care team will review your medical history and substance use, helping you choose a treatment plan that’s right for you. 

Options in Treatment 

  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment offers patients a safe place to detox from stimulants, which can be uncomfortable enough to derail treatment without medical care. Patients can receive 24/7 care in this environment, including symptom management and monitoring. 
  • Outpatient treatment: Many patients transition to outpatient treatment after finishing inpatient. Others never go to inpatient treatment, choosing outpatient from the start. Outpatient is a good option for patients who have some stability and are able to manage their condition independently. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: A therapist helps you work through your behaviors and thought processes in this therapy, also known as CBT. This treatment is the most commonly used in drug abuse treatment because it’s so effective at helping patients recognize the patterns that lead to drug abuse. 
  • Group therapy: This kind of therapy gives you a chance to share your recovery in a safe space with other individuals who know what you’re going through. It can help you find other people who know what stimulant abuse does to you. 
  • Family therapy: Having a solid support system at home can make a huge difference in your recovery. Family therapy gives you and your family an opportunity to connect over the issues that divide you. 

Don’t wait to get treatment for Adderall addiction. Amphetamines don’t have to rule your life when there’s a safe and effective treatment waiting for you. Call a certified treatment center today to begin the path toward sober living! 

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