Is depression a potential side effect of adderall?

The drug Adderall is typically prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. As a stimulant containing two active ingredients, the effects can feel like a mood boost, but they only enhance one’s focus and attention. Just as your morning coffee can give you a jumpstart, it’s more of an energy booster than a mood lifter. The active ingredients (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) increase levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, thus improving one’s focus, attention, and impulse control in those with ADHD.


As a potent stimulant, it is classified as a controlled substance and should only be taken as prescribed. There is a risk of depression from taking Adderall as prescribed, as well as if it is abused. Abusing the drug can result not only in depression but in adverse side effects, including psychosis, anxiety, and high blood pressure.


Even when Adderall is taken as prescribed, depression can occur. You can even take Adderall to treat depression and experience worsened depression down the road. These potentialities are due to the “crash” that can happen when the effects of Adderall wear off, worsening Adderall’s depression. For more information on depression as a side effect of Adderall, continue reading.

The overuse of medication can lead to Adderall depression.

Accidental overuse of the medication is one reason Adderall is considered an “off-label” choice for treating depression. Since it is not an antidepressant, it is used in small doses and is typically combined with other medications. The drug can induce adderall depression if the individual is taking it in high amounts and then quickly stops. The misuse of the drug can also cause depression due to developing a tolerance to the medication.

Drug abuse and dual diagnosis can lead to depressive symptoms.


Depression can be an outcome of enduring more than one mental health condition. For example, individuals with ADHD are susceptible to depression. If Adderall is overused, adderall depression may be a more likely side effect for those with ADHD. Moreover, those with mental health disorders often have dual diagnoses because of drug abuse or addiction. Those with depression who take Adderall may use the drug to induce mood-boosting or calming effects, increasing the likelihood of a comedown of depression.

Prevent adverse health outcomes with an experienced psychiatrist.


Taking Adderall as prescribed and having frequent follow-ups with your psychiatrist about the dosage and how you are feeling can prevent the accidental overuse of the medication and potentially avoid Adderall depression. Adderall misuse or dependency can induce depression. If these factors are protected against, it is unlikely that the drug will cause depression in individuals taking the medication to treat conditions like ADHD.

If you’re struggling, get the help you need.

Working with a psychiatrist who is aware of your medical history and is careful with the dosage prescribed may prevent the possibility of depression while taking a stimulant like Adderall to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. If you are struggling with Adderall depression and addiction, reach out to a drug detox center and get the help you need.


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