About Prescription Stimulants (Ritalin)

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What do comedowns from prescription stimulants feel like?

Some people may experience a comedown as the effects of prescription stimulants wear off. The effects of these drugs can last for up to 8 hours and the comedown usually starts shortly after. How long the effects of a comedown last can depend on how much you have taken, which type you have taken and how often you use.

If You…


Have cravings to use more prescription stimulants

Feel tired or sleepy

Feel nauseous

Have difficulty concentrating 

Have difficulty sleeping normally

Experience low mood

Feel anxious

Experience a lack of motivation

Have vivid or unpleasant dreams

Feel irritable

Have headaches

Feel very hungry

Experience mood swings

Try these things at home:  

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep  
  • Remember to eat and drink plenty of water 
  • Get moving to release feel good brain chemicals 
  • Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support  
  • Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well  
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs  
  • Practice mindfulness, deep breathing and try writing your thoughts and feelings down  

Have intense cravings to use prescription stimulants

Experience intense nausea

Are vomiting

Have mild hallucinations

Have severe headaches

Experience severe tiredness or exhaustion

Experience intense low mood

Experience intense anxiety or panic

Experience mood swings

Have lasting insomnia

Feel paranoid

Feel increased agitation or aggression

Have panic attacks

Call a Doctoror Healthline (0800 611 116

They can talk you through the next steps.  


Experience severe hallucinations

Act violently

Experience psychosis

Are severely dehydrated (from vomiting)

Have seizures*

Lose consciousness*

Attempt suicide

Call 111  

These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly.  


*The comedown from prescription stimulants is unlikely to cause loss of consciousness or seizures. However, these are included in the list as they can occur from the psychoactive ingredients that are sometimes in counterfeit prescription stimulants.

One regular user on Reddit talks about their experience of coming down quickly off Ritalin:

“I will take it, feel the positive effects for 45 mins to an hour, and then as if someone's hit a light switch I get SLAMMED with anxiety. Which leads to me picking at my skin, ruining my self-confidence, and just making myself more anxious.”

Another Reddit user talks about how they feel coming off Adderall:

“The comedown makes me feel a little lifeless and irritable.”

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