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Can Adderall Cause Depression?

Links between depression and Adderall use have been established since at least 1999. In prior decades, Adderall had been used as a controversial treatment option for people suffering from depression. Most of the evidence suggests that Adderall and other psychoactive stimulants had a negative effect on a person’s well-being and mental health.

Short-term effects of Adderall don’t include depression. However, the Adderall crash does meet the requirements of drug addiction and withdrawal. Specifically, Adderall withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, overall unhappiness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Many people are aware of the opioid epidemic in America, in which more than 130 people overdose on opiates every day. Addiction experts and researchers fear that a stimulant epidemic is beginning, too.

Why People Abuse Adderall

There are many reasons people use Adderall, ranging from a legal prescription as a treatment for ADHD to party drug and academic study aid. Adderall is classified as an extended-release amphetamine that has been used to treat ADHD.

Imagine a pill that could increase focus and attention, and it keeps you awake to be productive for hours straight. Now, imagine such a pill would not have any negative side effects? Sound like a dream or a movie? Limitless, the sci-fi movie about a pill that turns a perpetual underachiever into a billionaire super genius, shows the dark side of society’s obsession with finding a medicine that cures everything. The side effects in the movie are similar to the side effects of Adderall withdrawal.

Whether prescribed or acquired illegally, Adderall and other psychostimulant drugs have a high rate of abuse and misuse. At the same time, there is little to no evidence that suggests Adderall improves brain function in people who do not have ADHD.

Adderall is the most recognizable prescription pill for the treatment of ADHD. However, there are only a few studies that demonstrate Adderall improves focus and cognitive ability in persons struggling with ADHD. Dozens of more studies demonstrate that abuse of Adderall and other “smart drugs” actually decrease most complex and long-term memory and cognitive brain functions.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than one out of six people will experience depression during their life. Depression symptoms vary between individuals, but they typically include;

  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Loss of interest or pleasure from activities that used to be enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleeping too much or having insomnia
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Depression is different from grieving or sadness. Symptoms from depression must last for a minimum of two weeks, and they usually cannot be traced back to a recent critical life event, such as the death of a loved one, a breakup, etc.

Depression is a severe mental health issue. It can cause problems with work performance, physical health, relationships with friends and loved ones, and, in severe cases, death.

There is good news. Depression is treatable, and with the right support, anyone can reclaim a healthy and positive mindset and outlook.

Adderall and Depression

Drug use and addiction make it challenging to figure out if these symptoms are from depression or a result of substance use disorders. Co-occurring disorders, or dual-diagnosis, are common in people who suffer from addiction.

Aside from the physical symptoms of Adderall abuse, mental and emotional problems are strongly tied to substance abuse of amphetamines. With the right treatment and support system, people do recover from both addiction and depression.

Boardwalk Recovery Center specializes in treating the underlying conditions that cause addiction. Sometimes, those suffering from depression self-medicate. This is a dangerous phenomenon that leads to a complicated web of addiction and mental health.

If you suspect a loved one’s use of Adderall has caused depression, only a doctor can diagnose co-occurring disorders. From there, the doctor and patient will set a plan to deal with both diseases. Contact us today for more information and what steps you can take to help your loved one improve their quality of life.

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