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🧑‍⚕️Let’s find the scientifically proven answer to the question: Can Adderall cause depression? And, explore what to bear in mind before and during taking Adderall.


Overview: Can Adderall cause depression?

A calming drug may be necessary for your daily life if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is the medicine of choice for many people. But if you’ve been sad for a long time while taking Adderall, you might be feeling one of the drug’s side effects: depression.

A prescription drug called Adderall or its substitute, Ritalin is taken by about 2.5 million people in the US. One of the many potential side effects listed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is depression. However, this only frequently happens when Adderall is abused.


Researchers note that persons with depression may be more susceptible to misuse of Adderall in the first place, making it difficult to confirm if Adderall causes depression or vice versa. For more information on Adderall and depression, including additional probable side effects, resources for Adderall misuse and depression, and alternative treatment options, continue reading.

What is Adderall & its effects?

The combination of the medicines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is known by the brand name Adderall. There are two types of it: Tablets of Adderall can be used twice or three times a day, as prescribed by a doctor, and are intended for adults and children aged 3 and older. The extended-release capsule form of this drug, Adderall XR, should be used once daily by adults or older children (ages 6 and older).

The major reason Adderall is prescribed is to treat ADHD-related symptoms. You can keep focus, be still, and regulate your movements with the aid of the drug, all of which are necessary for getting through a typical day at school, work, or home. Children’s ADHD treatment plans frequently include medication. According to CDCP, stimulants like Adderall can assist up to 80% of children with ADHD to manage their symptoms.


It’s hardly surprising that Adderall sales are big business, accounting for 38% of the market share for drugs for attention disorders. It is given that around 6.1 million children and an extra estimated 9 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. Narcolepsy sufferers often find relief from their condition using Adderall. In some circumstances, the medication can aid in preventing the disorder’s sporadic naps or severe daytime sleepiness.

Unfortunately, a lot of people abuse Adderall by taking the medication even if they haven’t been given an ADHD or narcolepsy diagnosis because they believe it will help them go through long days at work or school with an incredible capacity to focus without interruption.


The stimulant Adderall has an impact on the central nervous system. It functions by fundamentally altering the chemistry of the brain, particularly its neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are substances that allow brain cells to communicate and send information to one another.

Dopamine and norepinephrine are the two specific neurotransmitters that Adderall targets. These neurotransmitters are believed to have an impact on behavior and attention, both of which play a significant role in how ADHD presents itself. 

One issue with Adderall is that not everyone who uses the drug experiences the same effects from it. As various people can react to Adderall differently, doctors must carefully manage the drug with their patients, typically starting with low dosage amounts and increasing as necessary. This implies that it’s critical to keep an eye on how Adderall is impacting you, particularly if you’re exhibiting signs of depression.

What is Depression?

The term “depression” refers to a variety of mood disorders with comparable symptoms and clinical presentations. This major mental illness can hurt a person’s quality of life.

Depression is typically treated with counseling or talk therapy, lifestyle changes, and, increasingly, antidepressant dosages. Even though depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults, or roughly 6.7 percent of the adult population in the United States, every year and that 1 in 6 persons (or roughly 16.6 percent) will at some point in their lives suffer depressed symptoms, this condition is relatively treatable.

Can Adderall cause depression?

There are various connections between Adderall and depression. When depression coexists with ADHD in a patient, Adderall has been used as an off-label treatment for depression. Stimulants can raise the mood of depressed people because they can increase alertness, attentiveness, and vitality.

However, Adderall can lead to depression, particularly if a person is taking a high dosage and abruptly stops using it. Additionally, Adderall is frequently abused and consumed without a prescription. Adderall is commonly referred to as the “study drug” because of its well-known capacity to sustain attention for extended periods. Plus, a lot of college and high school students use it for leisure.


The issue is that a lot of individuals are unaware of how stimulants function, their potential adverse effects, and both short- and long-term effects on the body. The reliance on and withdrawal from Adderall can be harmful and lead to symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, despair, exhaustion, and sleep issues.

Can Adderall cause depression?

💡Yes, Adderall can cause depression if a patient takes a high dosage and abruptly stops using it without consulting medical experts.

💊 You might also like: Using Gabapentin for Depression: Is it Effective?

Other Risks of Adderall

Now, you’ve got the answer to the question: Can Adderall cause depression? Let’s explore other risks associated with Adderall usage.

In addition to depression, you could also experience other mood disorders. These include anger or violence, irritability, excessive excitement, restlessness, anxiety, nervousness, distrust of others, hallucinations, mania, or suicidal thoughts.

The usage of Adderall may also result in some physical adverse effects or symptoms. You might feel dizzy and sweaty, have dilated pupils, lose your appetite, be uncoordinated, have extremely flushed skin, have trouble falling asleep, be nauseated, and vomit. Extreme circumstances, particularly when the medicine is taken in excess, might result in heart issues or even abrupt death.

heart attack

You may also experience certain warning symptoms, which should serve as a reminder to see your doctor if your body is not reacting to the drug as expected. A rash or hives, itching, swelling in the face or throat, difficulty breathing regularly, disorientation, seizures, weakness in your limbs, tooth grinding, numbness or discomfort in your hands or feet, speech or motor tics, and slurred speech are some of these symptoms.

Given its potent stimulant properties, Adderall has the potential to develop an addiction. Adderall can cause tolerance if dosage recommendations are not followed correctly and if you take the drug in excess. As a result, you must take Adderall in ever-increasing quantities to achieve the same impact that you formerly did.

Furthermore, since Adderall interferes with the body’s ability to produce the feel-good chemical dopamine, your brain may begin to want the medication since it makes you feel good after taking it. There is a high chance of dependence on Adderall with this kind of strong & regular use.

And if you find that you can’t function in daily life without it, that dependence will turn into an addiction. This is one of the reasons that long-term use of Adderall is not advised.

There are warning indicators that point to a possible Adderall addiction. This could imply that you believe you need the medicine to concentrate or operate; that you spend the majority of your time obtaining and using Adderall at the expense of your regular obligations; that you wish to stop using it but are unable to; or that you experience withdrawal symptoms.

Ways to Avoid Depression or Other Risks While Taking Adderall

As with any drug, it’s crucial to strictly adhere to your doctor’s Adderall dose recommendations and thoroughly read all label instructions. When taking Adderall, you must work closely with your doctor to ensure that the medication is properly managed.

This may entail starting at a low dose, adjusting according to how you feel and any symptoms you may encounter, and carefully weaning yourself off Adderall once the decision has been made to stop using it. Additionally, you should feel at ease speaking with your doctor about your treatment strategy. You should also discuss your family’s medical history with your doctor as using Adderall may not be advisable if you have a history of cardiovascular disease or mental illness.

To make sure that any vitamins or other medications you are taking do not interfere with your prescription for Adderall, you should also inform your doctor about them. This might reduce the effectiveness of Adderall or result in issues like headaches, dry mouth, or altered sex desire, among others.

Finally, if you exhibit symptoms of depression or other Adderall side effects, don’t wait to schedule a visit with your doctor. Some side effects are manageable; for instance, if you have difficulties sleeping, you might be able to resolve the issue by avoiding taking medication too close to bedtime.

If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for assistance from a well-versed counselor. If you or your loved one is in immediate danger, dial 911.

Conclusion: Can Adderall cause depression?

Yes, Adderall can lead to depression if it’s abused & used improperly, researched by Depression Open Talks. Abusing Adderall can be dangerous, therefore it’s crucial to receive effective, evidence-based addiction therapy. For someone who struggles with Adderall abuse and depression at the same time, the treatment program must be tailored to treat co-occurring disorders.


Can Adderall Cause Depression? Here’s What the Research Shows. (n.d.). Serenity at Summit. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://serenityatsummit.com/stimulants/adderall/cause-depression/

Sheppard, S. (2021, December 20). What’s the Connection Between Adderall and Depression? Verywell Mind. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/adderall-for-depression-4845418

Why Does Adderall Make Me Depressed? (2019, October 22). Casa Palmera. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://casapalmera.com/blog/why-does-adderall-make-me-depressed/

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