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How to Study Without Adderall

Adderall is best known as a study drug that is sometimes used to treat ADHD. Many students take Adderall to pull all-nighters studying for finals or finishing projects. The problem is that Adderall is an amphetamine and can be addictive. Taking it regularly to study and meet deadlines makes it harder to do anything without it. Adderall disrupts sleep, so people taking it to study often take more the next day to help them function after a night of little sleep. This is a vicious cycle that leads to escalating use. If you try to quit, you may find you are suddenly lethargic and unable to concentrate. You may get depressed. If you’re driven to succeed, you may feel like you need to keep taking Adderall to maintain a high level of performance.

Fortunately, that’s not true. In fact, it’s likely that the apparent benefits of Adderall as a study drug are not what they seem. You may be very focused, but that doesn’t mean you’re learning efficiently or doing good work. What you gain in intensity you lose in quality. Meanwhile, you are risking your health.

The first step to studying without Adderall is to get off of Adderall. This is the most challenging part. You may need detox and treatment to succeed. This may take some time, but eventually, going 100 miles per hour with no sleep will catch up to you. When you are able to get back to studying, it will probably feel a bit difficult. You have to retrain your attention and deal with the fatigue that normally comes with mental effort.

The single most important tip for studying without Adderall is to do a little at a time. This means studying daily throughout the semester, rather than cramming before a test. Schedule regular study time every day, at the same time if possible. If you don’t have time, consider dropping a class or an extracurricular activity so you can focus on your most important classes. Studying daily not only means you can sleep the night before a test instead of cramming, but you remember the material much longer, which will make future classes easier.

Doing a little at a time also means pacing yourself during study sessions. You might be used to doing three hours at a time, but studying in small chunks is better. Start with 25 minutes and work your way up to 30 or 45 minutes. Take short breaks. Walk around or do some jumping jacks before getting back to work.

There are two reasons this helps. First, it gives your brain a chance to rest and absorb what you just learned. Second, there’s an edge effect in learning. You remember more of what you learn at the beginning and end of a session. Breaking up study sessions is cognitively inefficient, which is actually good because it forces your brain to engage more with the material.

Finally, test yourself as you go. Don’t just passively read the textbook. Do practice problems and try to explain concepts in your own words in a way a friend who’s not in the class can understand.

It can be extremely hard for driven people to let go of anything that feels like an advantage, but in the long run, you learn more and do better work without Adderall. If you or someone you love is struggling with Adderall addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.