Can adderall help with anxiety?

This blog explores the question “Can adderall help with anxiety?”

The blog also briefly explores what adderall is, it’s usage, side effects, as well as who should not use the drug. 

Can adderall help with anxiety?

While Adderall might be prescribed for anxiety comorbid with ADHD, most research articles and experts concur that adderall doesn’t help treat symptoms of anxiety. 

In fact, it can worsen anxiety symptoms as it is not an anti-anxiety medication but rather a stimulant that proves to be effective for individuals who have ADHD- a neurochemical disorder. 

Now, if you have ADHD and it has been diagnosed by a medical professional after going testing and assessments, Adderall tends to have a calming effect on the individual, allowing them to focus, and concentrate on tasks and proceed with their daily lives. 

However, if you do not have ADHD or even if you have ADHD with comorbid Anxiety disorders, it is possible that Adderall will make your anxiety symptoms worse 

While Adderall increases focus, it can also cause people without clinically diagnosed ADHD to feel anxious because Adderall increases the amount of dopamine in your brain that helps treat ADHD symptoms but it has no direct function related to anxiety. 

The question as to why Stimulants such as adderall can worsen anxiety, has to do with those the stimulant affects brain chemistry- it can raise the levels of various neurochemicals that can “arouse” the brain and other body functions such as increase heart rate and other symptoms that can be perceived negatively leading to heightened anxiety and restlessness.

What is adderall?

Adderall is a brand name for the drugs amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two stimulants that increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body. 

Adderall is the first choice treatment and prescribed medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as well as narcolepsy. 

The drug is a controlled substance since there is high risk of drug dependency and has potential for misuse. So the US government has special regulations with regards to it’s prescription and commercialisation. 

Adderall has its primary effect on the nervous system, triggering it to release neurotransmitters in the brain. The elevated levels of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine tends to stimulate the brain, leading to more focus and attention while reducing impulsive behaviours. 

Adderall, in the US, comes in two forms:

  • Adderall oral tablet
  • Adderall XR extended-release oral capsule

What is adderall used for?

The FDA approved uses for adderall is for two conditions only- ADHD and Narcolepsy. However, physicians tend to also prescribe adderall for it’s off-label uses for disorders such as:

  • Depression, usually people who have both depression and ADHD. 
  • Anxiety, usually for people who have both ADHD and anxiety. 
  • Bipolar disorder, usually with other medications to treat bipolar. 

These off-label prescriptions are usually made in the case of a last resort for the conditions listed above and require strict observation by the clinical professional or medical doctor due to its side effects. 

What are the side effects of Adderall?

Adderall, like any other drug, has various side effects that range from mild to serious. 

Common side effects, listen out by Medical News Today, include:

  • lack of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • trouble sleeping
  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • weight loss
  • anxiety
  • dizziness

These common side effects usually arise after a few hours of use and tend to do away after a few days or weeks with continued use. If these side effects do not do away, it is best to take to your doctor about changing the dosage or switching to something else for ADHD treatment, 

Some of the serious siddeffects that warrant immediate medical care or emergency attention include:

  • heart problems including high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heart attack, and stroke
  • depression
  • Hallucinations, in individuals who have had a history of psychosis before starting adderall.
  • impaired or delusional thinking
  • agitated or aggressive behaviour
  • irritability
  • blurred vision
  • severe allergic reaction
  • muscle breakdown called rhabdomyolysis (MedicalNewsToday)

While adderall is considered safe for long term use, strictly following the doctor’s prescription and use, by individuals who have been diagnosed with ADHD by a clinical professional, it is possible for the side effects to occur and continue. 

However, long term use of adderall can cause some changes in the brain such as a decrease in the natural level of the chemical messenger dopamine which is usually seen in individuals who misuse adderall in high doses. 

Misuse and inappropriate use of adderall can lead to other side effects and serious conditions such as:

  • severe insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • skin disorders
  • moodiness or irritability
  • symptoms of psychosis such as aggression and hallucinations
  • heart damage
  • anorexia and unwanted weight loss
  • Adderall high, which does not occur when used in typical prescribed dosage. 

What is the appropriate dosage of Adderall?

When prescribing Adderall, the doctors take into consideration a few things:

  • The type and severity of the condition
  • Age
  • The form of adderall that you take
  • Any other medical conditions you might have. 

Your doctor will start you off on the lowest dose for you based on these criterias and gradually increase the dose until the desired effect on your symptoms occurs. 

The medication must be taken as soon as the individual wakes up and the additional doses should be taken after four to six hours. It is safe to take adderall on an empty stomach. 

However, one should remember that there is no additional dosage required for adderall extended release form and one should not crush or split the extended release tablet. 

It is also best to avoid taking adderall in the evenings or during night time as it can disrupt sleep. 

It is advised that the patient follows the advice of the doctor as they tend to prescribe the most suitable dose for you; however, on an average, here are the dosages for adderall. 

For Adults (ages 18 years and older)

 For the immediate release form, typical starting dosage is 5 mg once or twice daily and this may be increased gradually every week by 5mg. 

For extended release form,  typical starting dosage is 20 mg once or twice daily and this may be increased gradually every week.

In Children (ages 6–17 years)

 For the immediate release form, Starting dosage is 5 mg once or twice daily and this may be increased gradually every week by 5mg. 

For extended release form,  typical starting dosage is 5.-10 mg once or twice daily and this may be increased gradually every week.

For children (ages 3–5 years)

 For the immediate release form, Starting dosage is 2.5 mg once or twice daily and this may be increased gradually every week by 2.5mg. 

Extended release form is not recommended for this age group. 

In the event that you or your child misses a dose, it must be taken as soon as possible or as soon as you remember it.

However, if it is close to the next dose, skip the missed dose so as to avoid changing the schedule as well as to avoid double dosing, and proceed to take the next dose on time. 

Does adderall cause withdrawal?

Yes, it is possible that you can undergo adderall withdrawal if you suddenly stop taking the medication along with the remembrance of the symptoms of the condition you were taking adderall for. 

Withdrawal symptoms usually occur when it has been taken for a long time and in high doses and the symptoms include:

  • tiredness
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • How to take Adderall
  • How you take Adderall depends on the form you’re using.

Thus it is advised that the doctor should oversee the process of you coming off adderall while taking the tapering off approach which involves slowly getting off the medication by reducing the dosage gradually. 

Who should not use adderall?

It is very important that you give a complete medical history to your doctor before considering adderall as it may not be appropriate for you if you have the following conditions:

  • Disorders or conditions related to blood circulation as Adderall can decrease blood flow.
  • Heart disease as one of the side effects of Adderall is that it can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. In severe cases can lead to sudden death, heart attack, and stroke. History of drug abuse or addiction as it is highly addictive. 
  • Glaucoma as it can worse symptoms, 
  • Mental health disorder like anxiety, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders as it can worsen the conditions
  • Seizure disorders
  • Thyroid dysfunction.
  • Tics or Tourette’s syndrome.

Conclusion

This blog explored the question “Can adderall help with anxiety?”

The blog also briefly explored what adderall is, it’s usage, side effects, as well as who should not use the drug. 

FAQ related to “Can adderall help with anxiety?”

Can Adderall give you anxiety?

It is possible that when an individual is not diagnosed with ADHD and they misuse adderall for whatever gains, or that adderall has been prescribed “off-label” to treat other conditions, it can cause anxiety because of how stimulants affect the brain this can lead to panic attacks, severe anxiety, mania and paranoia. 

What does it mean if Adderall calms you down?

Adderall is a stimulant that boosts levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine for an individual with ADHD who has decreased levels of these chemicals in the brain, it can help calm the individual down so that they can focus better. 

What should you not mix with Adderall?

It is advised that adderall should not be mixed with Alcohol, opinions, other stimulants, and suppressants as well asMAO inhibitors.

Can you take anxiety medication with Adderall?

Adderall can interact with other medications, including anti-anxiety medications. This interaction can be life threatening thus it is not suggested that these two should be used together. 

What are symptoms of anxiety?

Common anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

What causes anxiety?

Some causes of anxiety disorders are:

  • Genetics and biological vulnerability in the family history.
  • Brain chemistry
  • Environmental stress and negative experiences like trauma, loss.
  • Drug withdrawal or misuse
  • Medical conditions.

What does anxiety feel like?

Anxiety often feels like nervousness, restlessness, or being tense. feelings of danger, panic, or dread where your body is on high alert. 

References

Does Adderall help with anxiety and depression? Drugs.Com. Retired on 1st February 2022. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/adderall-anxiety-depression-3560125/#:~:text=by%20Drugs.com&text=There%20is%20no%20evidence%20that,depression%20and%2 For%20anxiety%20worse.

Adderall and Anxiety. TheRecoveryVillage. Retrieved on 1st February 2022. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/adderall-addiction/adderall-anxiety/

Bergen.R. Does Adderall Help With Anxiety? Farr Institute. Retrieved on 1st February 2022. https://www.farrinstitute.org/does-adderall-help-with-anxiety/

Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) MedicalNewsToday. Retrieved on 1st February 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326219#about

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