How Can I Avoid the Stimulant “Crash?”

Stimulant Crash
Woman facing discomfort due to ADHD stimulant crash which includes hunger, dehydration, and tiredness.

Learn About Simulant Crash When Taking Medications for Adult ADHD and See What Steps You Can Take to Keep From Experiencing the Crash

Albert Hernandez

October 16, 2021
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 21, 2022
  6 min read

October 16, 2021
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 21, 2022
  6 min read


Spending time in nature can be so nourishing for your physical and mental health. Some of my patients from El Paso or Albuquerque love hiking. Have you ever been on a hike, enjoying the scenery, feeling fine, when boom, you’re suddenly completely wiped out? Maybe it’s the altitude or maybe it’s dehydration, but the drained feeling hits hard and fast. 

That sudden exhaustion can be similar to what some patients who take stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, or Vyvanse for their ADHD report. These adults who are being treated for ADHD might be having a great day where they feel focused and calm. Then they experience sudden rebound symptoms, like fatigue or mood swings, around the time their ADHD medication begins to wear off. Some people call it the “Concerta crash.” More broadly it can be thought of as a medication rebound or a stimulant crash

What is the ADHD Stimulant Crash?

ADHD Stimulant Crash

So, how do you know if what you are experiencing is stimulant crash? It’s about the timing. If you experience symptoms that appear around the time that your Adderall, Vyvanse, or Concerta is filtering out of your system, that can indicate stimulant crash. The symptoms that adults with ADHD experience during stimulant crash might be similar to their ADHD symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling restless or fidgety
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Talking too much and/or interrupting other people’s conversations
  • Being disorganized
  • Inability to complete steps in a task

However, during a rebound, not everyone notices their usual ADHD symptoms returning. Instead, some adults who experience stimulant crash notice:

  • Sudden feelings of sadness
  • Irritability or anger
  • Feeling extremely tired

It can feel very unpleasant and disruptive to experience stimulant crash. Let’s look at the ways you can reduce these symptoms if you find you’re experiencing any of the above issues as your Concerta, Vyvanse, or Adderall starts to wear off. 

Tips for Managing Stimulant Crash

If you suspect you are dealing with stimulant crash, the best person to talk with is your mental health specialist. A board-certified behavioral health expert can help you navigate the best options for feeling better and reducing ADHD medication rebound. He or she can advise you on your treatment options, such as:

  • Changing the dose of your ADHD medication
  • Adjusting the timing of when you take your ADHD medication
  • Switching you to a different stimulant medication in the treatment of your Adult ADHD
  • Adding a “booster” dose of ADHD medication to lower the crash effect
  • Adding an antidepressant medication to assist with moodiness

In addition to medication adjustments that can reduce the risk of stimulant crash, you and your provider might discuss some of these non-medication ideas:

Patients manage their Adult ADHD better with a healthy diet.


Make sure to eat regularly. Sometimes adults with ADHD skip meals since stimulants can suppress hunger. However, not eating regularly can lead to mood changes. If you need to eat smaller meals and healthy snacks more frequently, do that. Try to fit in all of the protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that you need throughout the day. It’s okay if they’re not in three large meals. 

It is important to stay properly hydrated when taking ADHD medication.


Make sure to hydrate regularly as well. Being dehydrated can contribute to or worsen anxiety, depression, tiredness, and other symptoms. If drinking plain water isn’t appealing, you can:

  • Add mint, lemon, or cucumber to your water
  • Try flavored, unsweetened seltzer water
  • Mix a flavored electrolyte powder or liquid into your water bottle

Pay attention to the amount of water intake that makes you feel best, and note that you will likely have to increase your intake when it’s hot out or if you’ve been exercising. 

Exercise may offset an Adult ADHD stimulant crash.


Exercise may help deal with mood issues during crash. A 15-minute run or one hour of walking/movement in a day have been shown to elevate mood. The best news is that you don’t have to do the whole hour at once--finding smaller bursts of time throughout the day to walk or move can have the same benefit. A quick bike ride down El Paso's Transmountain could be just what you need to feel happier and calmer.  

Many patients report fatigue when experiencing an ADHD stimulant crash.

Adequate Sleep/Avoiding Stimulation Close to Bedtime

Getting enough high-quality sleep is a very important competent of controlling mood changes. In today’s hectic world, it can be tough to get the sleep you need. There are some actions that you can take to help ensure better sleep: Avoid pre-bedtime workouts, coffee, or other stimulants at night. Try to keep a consistent nighttime routine in which you find time to wind down before bed and go to bed around the same time each night. 

Getting The Right Treatment For ADHD

Getting the right treatment for your ADHD can make a huge difference in your quality of life. It may take some trial and error to discover the correct medication, dosing, and timing to get your ADHD symptoms under control. Working with a board-certified mental health expert that you can trust gives you the ability to collaborate with a true partner. Together, you and your behavioral health provider can find the medication that will improve your ADHD symptoms, which in turn can improve your work life, your energy levels, and your relationships.

It’s not just El Paso or New Mexico residents who worry about crashes or other effects from stimulants. If our practice serves patients in your area, we would love to be your ADHD treatment provider. Click here to view the full list of cities we currently serve. Fill out our quick intake form when you’re ready to be seen by one of our board-certified experts. 

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not replace instructions from your licensed prescriber. Please consult your healthcare provider for guidance on your specific medication regimen.

Tags: ADHD, Living with ADHD, ADHD Awareness, ADHD Problems, ADHD Medication, Mental Health, ADHD Meds, ADHD Tips, Adult ADHD

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