Adderall & Anxiety

Adderall: What Is It?

Adderall is a medication in the stimulant drug category. This brand-name prescription, which also comes in a generic version, is the combination of two generic drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall is available as both an oral tablet and an extended-release oral capsule; the form and dosage that someone will be prescribed is at the discretion of the patient’s doctor. Typically, a doctor will start someone off at a low dosage to see how their body responds to the medication.


What Adderall Does to the Body

Primarily, adderall affects the central nervous system. This drug causes the body to release neurotransmitters, which send messages or signals between the cells, in the brain. When someone has more neurotransmitter chemicals in their brain, they may develop more focus and attention. Additionally, adderall may trigger a calming effect for individuals with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).


Why Do People Use Adderall?

ADHD is a very common disorder among both children and adults that affects one’s ability to pay attention and settle down. Because of adderall’s reputation for calming people with more activity in their brain, the drug is often prescribed to people with ADHD. It is also known to reduce impulsive behaviors and increase focus in those with this disorder. A doctor may also prescribe adderall to someone with narcolepsy, a condition that causes individuals to involuntarily fall asleep.

Unfortunately, many people also use adderall if they do not have a prescription. Illicit adderall use is perhaps most common among college students, who are known to take the drug in order to stay awake and study or complete an assignment.


Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall is a controlled substance, which means it is very likely to cause dependence or addiction. Those who abuse adderall may be at risk for insomnia, skin problems, fatigue, heart damage, and unwanted weight loss.

Someone who abuses adderall may also be at risk for a condition called “adderall crash,” which mimics some symptoms of withdrawal. If a person suddenly stops using adderall after taking it frequently, they may experience intensified or magnified side effects.

Those who use adderall according to prescription may also be at risk for certain side effects. Serious side effects, which require medical attention as soon as possible, may include heart problems, depression, aggressive behavior, impaired thinking, hallucinations, blurred vision, allergic reactions, and muscle breakdown.

More common side effects of adderall, which should only last up to a couple of weeks, include lack of appetite, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, weight loss, stomach pain, constipation, and headaches.

Another side effect of adderall that is perhaps less common but more threatening to one’s overall wellness, is anxiety.


The Connection Between Adderall & Anxiety

There are several connections between adderall and anxiety that are important to be aware of, whether you have a history of anxiety or not. First, use of adderall may worsen the symptoms of existing anxiety disorders. Additionally, adderall may cause anxiety in adults who do not already have an anxiety disorder.

Since adderall causes excitement in brain activity, some people’s brains  may not know how to respond. This overactivity may cause anxiety. Other symptoms of adderall use, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, may also contribute to anxiety disorders.


Managing Symptoms & Side Effects

If you are currently prescribed adderall, be sure to talk to your doctor if you are thinking of stopping or changing your dosage. Adderall should not be taken with alcohol and should not be stopped suddenly. If you experience side effects from adderall, it’s recommended to tell your doctor then begin to slowly taper off of the drug.

Those who experience adderall crash may also benefit from eating nutritious foods, sticking to a regular sleep schedule, and maintaining an exercise routine.

If you or someone you love is misusing adderall or are thinking of stopping, medical detox might be the best next step. For more information about adderall’s impact on anxiety and other mental health disorders, contact our team of substance abuse and mental health treatment professionals by calling 267.209.7312.