Some people say that they got depressed after taking Adderall. But many people take it every day to help with their ADHD symptoms.
Adderall does not usually cause depression. A small percentage of people who take it may experience symptoms of depression. However, depression from Adderall is much more common if the person misuses the drug for recreational purposes.
Does Adderall Cause Depression?
Adderall is a stimulant. People with ADHD take it to control hyperactivity and impulses. People with conditions like narcolepsy take it to fight excessive daytime sleepiness.
People who do not have ADHD that take Adderall may take it to feel energetic and focused. Some college students take it because they believe that they can study for hours. Doing this on rare occasions (in small doses) may be fine.
A small percentage of people may feel symptoms of depression while they take Adderall with a prescription. However, symptoms of depression are much more common for people who abuse Adderall.
Adderall and Addiction
People may take Adderall to help them excel, as stated earlier. However, people also abuse it to get a “high” off it. Some people become dependant on the feeling and start to seek it out. Other people try the drug once and get depressed on the come-down after it wears off.
Adderall abuse often leads to depression. People who abuse it may think that they cannot function without it, so they take it without a prescription and usually in very high doses.
Self-medication is dangerous. Adderall can be potent, so it can create serious side effects if misused. People may wind up taking it daily to perform daily tasks that they could otherwise do by themselves.
Taking Adderall without medical supervision can be dangerous because a doctor usually monitors your intake. They often slowly start giving lower doses that will suit your needs.
If you take it without medical supervision, you will not know exactly how much you need.
It is more common for people to take more than what they need when they take it without a prescription. It is also common for them to gradually increase their intake, which is dangerous.
Many people get symptoms of depression when they stop taking it. You can compare it to other stimulant drugs like cocaine; once it wears off, you crash.
Crashing from a stimulant often causes depression. You feel happy and alert when the stimulant is in your body, so you may feel the exact opposite once that wears off. Some people may abuse Adderall to mask their depression.
The feelings of depression, anxiety, etc., are common signs of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be difficult for many people to go through, but many treatment options can help you recover and be stable.
Taking this drug with medical supervision is usually safe because the doctor will give you just the right amount. They will also likely lower your dosage to make sure you do not rely on it or crash.
Therefore, the drug itself may not cause depression. There are rare cases where people may feel depressed when they take it with a prescription. However, it is more likely to happen if you take it unsupervised.
The Connection Between Depression and ADHD
Depression often occurs in people with ADHD. People with ADHD may mistake their potentially already-present depression as a side effect of Adderall. Some research believes that almost 70% of people with ADHD get treatment for their depression at one point in their lives. Therefore, the likelihood of depression is higher when you have ADHD.
One study focused on 135 children with ADHD (Xia et al., 2015). They found 18% had a depressive disorder, while 15% had a mixture of depressive and anxiety disorders.
Another study focused on how likely children with ADHD were to develop depression in their teen years (Chronis-Tuscano et al., 2010). The children in the study were 4-6 years old. This study was one of the better ones concerning the link between ADHD and depression. They did annual checks on the kids from ages 1-4, 6-9, and 12-14.
The study also found that girls were more likely to develop depression. However, boys had a higher chance of having ADHD. That study found that those children were about ten times more likely to have depression as teenagers compared to kids without ADHD at that age. Children with ADHD may also be more likely to think of or attempt suicide, but that was somewhat rare. Around 80% of the group did not attempt suicide.
The study also looked into how the subtypes of ADHD would make the kids more likely to get depression. Children with inattention or mixed subtype were more likely to get depressed. Children with hyperactivity or mixed subtype were more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The study also states that children with uncomplicated ADHD (with few symptoms) had a low risk for depression. However, the ones with concurrent symptoms had a much higher risk.
Can You Take Adderall if You Have Depression?
If your doctor prescribes Adderall if you have ADHD and depression, then you may take it. However, Adderall is not a medication for depression. It treats ADHD, so you need to find another way to treat your depression.
Therefore, it would be ideal for you to find another way to treat your depression while you take Adderall for ADHD. Treatment for depression can vary from therapy, antidepressants, coping mechanisms, etc.
If you take it and have undiagnosed and untreated depression, you may think that your depression comes from Adderall. Therefore, you would only be treating your ADHD but not your depression.
Another example would be when a person takes Adderall for ADHD, but that may not work for them. They may not have methods to treat their depression. The depression will likely continue while they take it.
These two examples often make people think that their medication makes them depressed, which may not always be the case. They may not be responding to the medication and will likely need a different form of treatment.
They may also have another undiagnosed condition like depression, which they may assume that Adderall caused. Additionally, it would be important to note that depression can make it hard for people to maintain habits. For instance, your doctor may say that you need to take Adderall and other medicine daily for your ADHD and depression. If you forget to take one or several doses, it can worsen your symptoms and make you think the medication caused them.
Some people also misdiagnose ADHD for depression and vice versa. They have similar symptoms, like forgetfulness, poor focus, etc. So, you may actually only have one condition, like ADHD, but think you have symptoms of depression.
For example, let’s say that you have an Adderall prescription. You need to drink the given dosage daily. If you forget to take one or several doses, you may think the returning ADHD are symptoms of depression.