However, as helpful as this medication is for ADHD, many users have also wondered, “does Adderall cause depression?” We did the research, so you don’t have to.
Depression isn’t simply an intense sense of sadness but a severe medical illness that negatively impacts how you feel, think, and behave. Like other mental illnesses, major depressive disorder can make completing common day-to-day tasks nearly impossible.
It can affect your relationship with your loved ones and how you interact with your coworkers. Your job, school work, and social life may all be heavily impacted.
Depression can have physical side effects, as well, such as unexplainable body aches and pains. People who have depression are also at an increased risk of self-harm and suicide.
Common symptoms of depression include:
Symptoms must last for two weeks and represent a significant change in the person’s level of functioning. Depression can be caused by various things, from the sudden loss of a loved one to a chemical imbalance caused by drug use.
Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It’s made up of a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and is part of the stimulant drug class.
Like other central nervous system stimulants, Adderall works by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. These are chemicals used by nerve cells to communicate with each other.
Norepinephrine and dopamine are both related to mood, focus, cognition, and alertness. When a person with ADHD takes Adderall, symptoms like difficulty concentrating, impulsive behavior, and fidgeting are alleviated.
However, sometimes people who don’t have ADHD take Adderall or similar medications like Ritalin to improve their performance at school or work. However, due to these drugs’ effects on the brain, this form of drug use increases the risk of developing an addiction significantly.
Yes, Adderall can cause depression and worsen symptoms.
Depression is a genuine concern for people who take Adderall. In fact, even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has spoken of the dangers of Adderall causing depression. They’ve said that depression can occur if someone overuses or abuses Adderall and then suddenly stops taking the medication. In cases like this, the individual is most likely dependent on the medication.1
Dependence means that they’ve become mentally and physically tolerant of Adderall, and taking less than usual or suddenly stopping their use can lead to uncomfortable side effects like depression. It’s also common for people who have become accustomed to taking Adderall or have overused it to experience depression as a comedown symptom.
When abused, Adderall can produce a rush of euphoria, energy, and alertness. When its side effects wear off, however, the person may experience a sudden crash. Also known as a comedown period, this crash may include irritability, fatigue, and depression.
The more frequently this occurs, the higher the person’s risk of developing depression. Some common signs of Adderall-induced depression to look out for include:
There are also physical signs of depression that may occur as a result of Adderall abuse, including:
So, Adderall and depression are more tightly linked than you might have thought. If you’re taking this medication, be sure to speak to your doctor about this and other possible side effects. If you’re hesitant, ask about other treatment options that don’t involve this medication.
Not only does Adderall cause depression, but long-term abuse can also lead to addiction, physical ailments like kidney and liver disease, and increase your risk of overdose. Prescription stimulant abuse also often escalates to illicit drug use, such as the use of cocaine and methamphetamine, which are even more dangerous and impactful.
If you notice that your Adderall use has gotten out of hand, or you’re frequently experiencing withdrawal symptoms like depression, it’s time to get help. Our Christian recovery center for addiction offers prescription drug addiction treatment for people addicted to their medications.
Our rehab programs offer a multidimensional form of care, from medically monitored detox to therapy to aftercare services for long-term recovery. If you need help overcoming drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here to help.