At What Age Should You Stop Taking Adderall?

Updated on February 3, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Understanding the optimal age to transition off Adderall for cognitive health.

At what age should you stop taking Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication most commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant that works by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, leading to improved focus, attention, and impulse control. 

In this article, we will share everything you need to know about how age affects the way Adderall works and share insights on the signs that you may need to discontinue use.

Start to make informed decisions about how to best treat the symptoms of your neurobehavioral conditions today!

Understanding Adderall and Its Benefits

Adderall can provide several benefits for individuals of all age groups.

It is commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can help improve focus, concentration, and impulse control. It may also be beneficial for individuals with narcolepsy, as it can help promote wakefulness and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness.

Additionally, Adderall has been used off-label to enhance cognitive performance and productivity in students and adults.(1)

Some notable benefits of Adderall for users of all ages: 

  • Improved Focus and Concentration: One of the key benefits of Adderall is its ability to enhance focus and concentration. It stimulates the release of certain chemicals in the brain, helping individuals stay alert and attentive. This can be particularly beneficial for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as it helps them better manage their symptoms and improve their overall productivity.
  • Increased Energy Levels: Adderall is known to provide a boost in energy levels, making it easier for individuals to stay motivated, engaged, and productive throughout the day. This can be especially helpful for those who struggle with fatigue or lethargy, allowing them to accomplish more tasks efficiently.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Function: Adderall has been shown to enhance cognitive function, helping individuals think more clearly, process information faster, and respond more effectively. It can improve memory retention, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving skills, making it beneficial for students, professionals, and anyone who needs to perform mentally demanding tasks.
  • Improved Mood and Well-being: The stimulant effects of Adderall can also have a positive impact on an individual’s mood and overall sense of well-being. It increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and motivation. This can lead to an improved mood, increased motivation, and a sense of accomplishment, helping individuals to feel happier and more content.
  • Enhanced Weight Management: Adderall has been found to have appetite-suppressing effects, which can aid in weight management. It reduces cravings and increases feelings of fullness, making it easier for individuals to make healthy food choices and maintain a balanced diet. However, it is important to note that Adderall should never be used solely for weight loss purposes and should always be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Improved Time Management: With its ability to increase focus and productivity, Adderall can help individuals better manage their time. It allows them to stay organized, prioritize tasks, and complete them in a timely manner. This can be particularly beneficial for students or professionals who need to juggle multiple responsibilities and deadlines.
  • Enhanced Performance in Work and Academics: Due to its cognitive-enhancing effects, Adderall can boost performance in academic and work settings. It can improve attention span, memory, and overall cognitive abilities, allowing individuals to perform at their best. This can lead to better grades, improved job performance, and increased opportunities for success.
  • Increased Motivation and Drive: Adderall has been reported to increase motivation and drive in individuals, helping them stay focused on their goals and tasks. It can provide a sense of purpose and determination, making it easier to overcome obstacles and achieve desired outcomes. This can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with motivation or lack of interest in daily activities.

What Age To Stop Taking Adderall?

The appropriate age to stop taking Adderall varies among individuals. It’s typically advised to continue ADHD medication such as Adderall until adulthood. However, some individuals may outgrow their symptoms or develop coping mechanisms as they mature.

The prevalence varies across different age groups.

Let’s take a closer look at the age factor in Adderall consumption:

  1. Prevalence among 12th-grade students: According to a study conducted in 2022, around 3.4 percent of 12th graders in the United States reported taking Adderall in the past year. This percentage has decreased since 2012 when the usage was more prevalent. It indicates that Adderall consumption tends to be more common among older adolescents.
  2. Usage among young adults: The study found that 60 percent of non-medical Adderall use among individuals aged 12 and above was reported among 18-to-25-year-olds. This age group is often seeking cognitive enhancement and increased focus for academic and professional purposes.
  3. Higher usage among college students: Another study reported that approximately 17 percent of college students have misused stimulant medications, including Adderall. The pressure to perform well academically and the desire to stay focused and alert during exams contribute to higher Adderall consumption rates among college students.
  4. Lower prevalence among children: The usage of Adderall among children is generally lower compared to older age groups. ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in childhood, and children with the condition may be prescribed Adderall. However, the prevalence of Adderall use among children has also shown a decreasing trend in recent years.
  5. Seasonal fluctuations in children’s usage: Stimulant medication prescriptions for children aged 0-17 years may exhibit seasonal fluctuations, primarily reflecting school attendance patterns. The demand for Adderall is often higher during the school year when children need help with focus and attention.
  6. Age-specific trends: The study mentioned earlier found significant increases in Adderall dispensing rates among adults aged 20-39, 40-59, and ≥60 years. This indicates that Adderall usage is not limited to younger age groups and that adults also rely on it for various reasons, including managing ADHD symptoms.
  7. Concerns over diversion and misuse: Adderall, like other stimulant medications, has a high potential for diversion and misuse. It is often obtained without a prescription or used at higher doses than prescribed, leading to various health risks and potential substance abuse disorders. Monitoring the trends in Adderall consumption, especially among younger individuals, is important for addressing these concerns.

Pediatric Use of Adderall

In pediatric cases, Adderall is considered for children aged 3 years and older who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The starting age for Adderall treatment can vary depending on the child’s symptoms, the severity of ADHD, and their individual response to other treatment options.

The dosage for pediatric patients is typically based on the child’s weight and may start at the lowest possible effective dose. Regular follow-ups and monitoring are necessary to ensure the medication’s effectiveness and manage any potential side effects.

In some cases, children may transition to different medications or discontinue Adderall as they grow older and their needs change.

Adult Use of Adderall

Adults with ADHD can also benefit from Adderall treatment under the guidance of a healthcare professional. The starting age for adult use of Adderall is not limited, as many individuals receive a diagnosis later in life.

The dosage and duration of treatment are determined based on the severity of symptoms, the individual’s response to the medication, and their overall health.

As adults age, the effectiveness and tolerability of Adderall may change. Some adults may find that their symptoms improve and no longer require medication, while others may choose to continue using Adderall for ongoing symptom management.

Risks and Side Effects of Long-Term Adderall Use

Long-term use of Adderall, especially at higher doses, can carry certain risks and side effects.

Some of these risks may include:

  • Dependency: Prolonged use of Adderall can lead to dependence, where individuals may experience difficulty stopping or reducing the medication without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tolerance: Over time, some individuals may develop a tolerance to Adderall, requiring higher doses to achieve the same therapeutic effects.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Abrupt discontinuation of Adderall cause withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, depression, and changes in sleep patterns.
  • Health Risks: In rare cases, long-term Adderall use has been associated with cardiovascular problems, including increased blood pressure and heart rate. Regular monitoring of heart health is essential for individuals on long-term Adderall treatment.

It’s crucial to work closely with a healthcare professional when using Adderall to minimize potential risks and side effects.

What Age Should You Stop Taking Adderall?

There are several situations where discontinuing Adderall may be necessary or beneficial. However, they do not revolve around an individual’s age, as there is no specific time frame for how long Adderall should be taken. 

There may come a time when individuals and parents start questioning whether it’s necessary to continue taking Adderall, but the reason behind the decision to stop varies between individuals. 

4 things to consider if an individual of any age wants to stop taking Adderall:

  1. Changes in symptoms: If symptoms of ADHD have significantly improved or resolved, it may be appropriate to consider gradually reducing or discontinuing Adderall.
  2. Side effects or health concerns: If the side effects of Adderall become overwhelming or if there are underlying health conditions that contraindicate its use, stopping Adderall may be necessary.(2)
  3. Missed Doses: If the individual has missed a few doses of Adderall and hasn’t experienced a resurgence of ADHD symptoms, it could be an indication that they may no longer need the medication.
  4. Transition to alternative treatments: In some cases, individuals may choose to explore non-pharmacological treatments or switch to different medications that better suit the needs of their neurobehavioral condition. This is especially the case when ADHD medication stops working and tolerance has started to build up.(3)


Adderall can be an effective medication for managing ADHD symptoms in children, adults, and the elderly. The appropriate age for starting and discontinuing Adderall treatment varies based on individual circumstances.

Are you considering whether you’re the right age to start nootropics like Adderall?

If so, remember that regular assessment, open communication with healthcare professionals, and consideration of potential risks and benefits are crucial to optimize Adderall use.

This is true for every stage of life, no matter your age.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Weyandt, Lisa L et al. “Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students.” Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,3 58. 27 Jun. 2018, doi:10.3390/pharmacy6030058 ↩
  2. Berman, S M et al. “Potential adverse effects of amphetamine treatment on brain and behavior: a review.” Molecular psychiatry vol. 14,2 (2009): 123-42. doi:10.1038/mp.2008.90 ↩
  3. Handelman, Kenneth, and Fernando Sumiya. “Tolerance to Stimulant Medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Literature Review and Case Report.” Brain sciences vol. 12,8 959. 22 Jul. 2022, doi:10.3390/brainsci12080959 ↩