Adderall and depression (+Understanding the connection)

In this article, it will be discussed if there is a connection between the use of the medication Adderall and the appearance of symptoms of depression. To do that, it will show what is the chemical formula of the medication,  how it works in the person’s body, its side effects, and when it is prescribed. 

Aside from that, the article will explain what depression is, what are its causes, and what treatments can be done, be it with the use of medicine or other forms.

Can the use of Adderall make a person depressed?  

Yes, the use of Adderall can cause depression. But to understand why this happens, it is important first to learn about why a person would take Adderall and how the medication works in the human body.

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is the commercial name of the drug Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine! They are what are called stimulants, they work by increasing the activity of the central nervous system by releasing a big amount of dopamine in the brain.

It is a medication usually used to treat Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy.  This drug will help improve a person’s focus and attention span, give them more energy, decrease restlessness and fidgeting, and improve behavioral problems.

The dosage each person will take is related to how their condition is at the moment and will be established by the doctor that is following your case. The doctor might start your treatment with a more dose to give your organism a chance to adjust and increase it to the adequate dosage little by little.

Because it is a stimulant, the first dose is usually taken in the morning and if more doses are prescribed, they usually will happen from 4 to 6 hours after the previous dose. The medication is highly effective in treating ADHD symptoms.

What are the precautions to taking Adderall?

There should be some precautions to taking these medications. So if you are prescribed to take it, you should tell your physician if you have any allergies to the substance, but you should also tell them if you have any of the following conditions so they can decide if the benefits of the medication surpass its risk, or if it’s better to choose another medication.

  • Blood circulation problems
  • History of mental illness: if you or people in your family have a history of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression, or suicidal ideation.
  • Heart problems: such as irregular heartbeat, cardiomyopathy, or coronary artery disease.
  • History of stroke, high blood pressure, and thyroid problem (hyperthyroidism)
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizure
  • Family history of addiction: the medication can cause someone to get addicted to it, so it is important to investigate the history of it.
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: since the medication can be transmitted to the baby, women in those conditions should only use it when necessary. They should also be aware that once they go off the medication, they and the baby can go through withdrawal.
  • Older people: older people tend to have an enhanced impact of the side effects of this medication.

What are the side effects of Adderall?

Although when prescribed the medication can be helpful, there might be some side effects to it. They can be:

  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Diminished appetite, can cause a person to lose weight
  • Insomnia
  • Change on the bowel movement
  • Irritability
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Uncontrolled movements like teeth grinding
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional thinking
  • Mania
  • Paranoia
  • Change in sexual drive

What is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition in which a person experiences an intense sense of sadness, lack of purpose and meaning in life, hopelessness, low self-esteem, and a decreased sense of self-worth.

It can happen because of multiple factors. It can be related to family history, or maybe the person already had a depressive episode before, being that people with previous depressive episodes tend to have a greater chance of developing it again.

It might also happen because the person is experiencing some sort of traumatic experience, it can be the loss of a loved one, losing a job, or having some financial or legal problem.

Someone can be diagnosed with depression if they experience the intensity of its symptoms for two weeks. The symptoms of depression one should be aware of are:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of pleasure in doing activities that the person used to enjoy before
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Change in eating pattern
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Change in sex drive
  • Excessive feeling of guilt
  • Feeling without energy
  • Pains not originated by physical problems
  • Headaches
  • Isolation
  • Thought of death and possible suicidal ideation

A depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, and severe depending on the intensity of the symptoms and how they are being prejudicial to the person’s life. 

There are different patterns of depression episodes. There can be a single depressive disorder, which is when a person only goes through one episode of depression in their life. There is also a recurrent depressive disorder, this might mean that the person suffers from chronic depression and that they have gone through at least two depressive episodes during their lifetime.

When a person is diagnosed with depression, some things might be done as a treatment and to improve their quality of life. Depending on the intensity of depression, a person needs to look for a psychiatrist so they can start the medication for the treatment.

Aside from that, therapy would be a great way for a person to cope with depression. Have a safe space, full of compassion and understanding where they can share their thoughts and feelings, understand what might trigger them and how to cope with it.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

When dealing with depression, social support is also important, to feel loved, safe, and comforted may give the person some moments of relief. Aside from that, exercising may be a great way to release endorphins in your body, and that substance can also increase your sense of well-being.

So how are depression and Adderall connected?

Adderall and depression can be connected in many ways. Adderall can be used combined with other medications to treat depression when the patients are diagnosed with depression and a combination with ADHD.

When a person with depression takes medication, they can feel it might be a mood buster, since they can feel more energetic, with a greater ability to focus. but if they suddenly stop taking the medication, it can cause them to feel depressed.

Since it is a drug that is highly addictive, people might continue taking it even without a prescription and when they stop, people can get depressed, experience suicidal thoughts, fatigue, and sleeping problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can the use of Adderall cause depression?  

Does Adderall make me anxious?

When talking about mental health medication a person should always be aware that each person reacts differently to the medication, some people can take Adderall and feel great, while the other might get anxious.

Because of that, it will only be possible to know if the use of Adderall will make you anxious once you take it. But if you already have symptoms of anxiety, there is a great chance that the use of any stimulant medication, which Adderall is a part of, can cause you to become more anxious. In that case, your doctor might prescribe other medications that are not stimulants.

Does a person that takes Adderall age faster?

Yes, people that take Adderall, like all other types of amphetamines, even illegal ones, might age after. This happens because once you take a type of amphetamine it has a profound impact on your cardiovascular system.

The chemicals act on your brain to make your heart rate faster, with time, that can have, in the long-term, a great impact on your cardiovascular system. When a person uses stimulants for a prolonged amount of time, their heart’s health is comparable to a heavy smoker or a methadone user.

That can cause faster aging of your skin. Aside from that, It can give the person a skin rash. But once the person stops its use, the symptoms tend to decrease.

How do I know if my Adderall is wearing off?

If you take multiple doses of Adderall during the day, it might happen, sometimes, that the effect of it wears off before you take the pill. There are some signs your body sends you so one can be attentive to it.

Once it is wearing off the person may start feeling sluggish or disconnected. If it means you are stopping to take the medication for good, you might go through a withdrawal period, to deal with that, you should be in touch with your doctor and treat the withdrawal symptoms as they happen.

How would it feel to take Adderall if I don’t have ADHD?

The first thing to say here is that it is not recommended to take Adderall without a prescription since it is a highly addictive drug that can bring serious consequences to a person’s health.

When a person doesn’t have ADHD, the use of Adderall will release a huge amount of dopamine in the brain, which might make a person experience feelings of euphoria and increased energy levels.

Is 10mg of Adderall a lot?

In children with ages between 6 and 12 years old, the initial dose is 5mg, in the morning, it may be needed to increase the dosage, which can get up to 10 mg.

The initial dosage of Adderall for teenagers ages 13 through 17 with ADHD is may be 10mg each day,  but if their symptoms are still strong after a week of beginning treatment, the doctor might increase the dosage to 20mg.

As for adults, the dosage given is usually 20mg, a doctor may start with a smaller dosage so your system can adjust to the medication until it reaches its maximum effect.


In this article, it was discussed how the use of the medication Adderall can cause a person to become depressed. It was explained what the medication does when someone takes them, and how that can cause a person to be depressed.

Aside from that, the article explained what are the signs to be alert when taking Adderall and its possible side effects, and when to get in touch with your physician to rethink your treatment.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write in the space below.


Weyand LL, White Tl, Gudmundsdottir BG, Niterói AZ, Rathskeller ES, De Leon KA, Björn Sá. Neurocognitive , autonomic, and mood effects of Adderall: a pilot study of healthy college students. Pharmacy (Basel). 2018 Sep; 6(3): 58.

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