Depression is one of the most debilitating mental health issues impacting millions of Americans every year. Having major depression can increase the risk of substance abuse, and even suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year olds and accounts for more than 12% of all annual deaths in that age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One-third is positive for alcohol and one in five has evidence of prescription drugs. Adderall and depression can be considered comorbid issues. Learn the signs, symptoms, and treatment options available.
Learning why dual diagnosis is impactful to individual health is imperative. Dealing with prescription abuse can be a heavy undertaking. Add to it the complexities of mental health disorders like depression and the combination can feel insurmountable. For help and treatment of co-occurring disorders, contact addiction specialists with Colorado’s AspenRidge Recovery at 855-281-5588.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It is a brand name for a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Adderall is prescribed for those diagnosed with ADHD, narcolepsy, anxiety, stress, or depression. It alters chemicals in the brain. It enhances neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Adderall is often prescribed to improve concentration and focus.
According to a Cleveland Clinic study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Adderall has proven effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD in seventy to eighty percent of children, and seventy percent of adults.
Adderall is a federally controlled substance that should never be taken without medical supervision.
Prevalence of Adderall Use
Statista noted that Adderall was the 24th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. In 2018, over 25 million prescriptions were written for this medication. The popular conception has been that Adderall abuse is most severe among older children and adolescents. But the Hopkins researchers found that 60% of non-medical Adderall use for ages 12 and up was happening among 18- to 25-year-olds.
As many as 61.8 percent of college students were offered a prescription stimulant at some point while in school, according to a 2011 study compiled by the Center for Young Adult Health and Development.
The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found a high misuse of Adderall among college students. It’s frequently misused or abused as a study aid, as it increases alertness and focus. Where are users obtaining Adderall?
Surprisingly, Adderall is not frequently purchased on street corners or from illicit drug dealers. Because it’s a prescription medications, most Adderall is obtained from friends or family who have a prescription medication.
Health Concerns about Adderall
If you take Adderall, you need to be aware of its side effects. When taken as intended and in the proper amount Adderall can be effective. However, if abused, Adderall effects can be dangerous.
Adderall can interfere with sleep, so taking it after lunch or later in the day is not recommended.
Doctors prescreen for preexisting physical or mental health problems and other medications. Healthline notes several concerns involved in taking Adderall besides sleeplessness. Other side effects may include:
- hoarse voice
- slurred speech
- vision problems
- slowed growth in children
- altered sex drive in adults
- weakness in arms and/or legs
- anaphylactic reaction
- spasms or tics
- paranoia, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts
- depression, anxiety, irritability
Adderall, in combination with alcohol or other addictive substances, increases the likelihood of heart problems or alcohol poisoning. Because strong stimulants like Adderall can be addictive, you may develop an Adderall dependency. Adderall can lead to deadly side effects. Adderall overdose can cause heart attack, stroke, or liver failure. Taking Adderall with other substances heightens the risk of a fatal overdose.
According to the American Addiction Centers, hypertension, or high blood pressure, and tachycardia, an elevated heart rate, are commonly reported with stimulant drug use or abuse. The lungs may also be damaged with Adderall use, resulting in reduced lung capacity, trouble breathing, and possible pulmonary disease. Chest pain, irregular heart rate, and heart palpitations may also be present in someone using Adderall. For someone who may already have a heart condition or underlying medical issue, Adderall can be particularly dangerous, and its use may result in heart attack, seizures, or stroke.
Adderall and Depression
Depression is a genuine concern for people who take Adderall for ADHD or narcolepsy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration – responsible for ensuring the safety of medical drugs – states that severe depression can occur if someone has been abusing Adderall, especially when abruptly stopping the medication. In addition, depression can also be a withdrawal symptom when someone stops using Adderall.
Because Adderall is a stimulant, coming off the medication too quickly can feel like a letdown. That crash can be accompanied by an overwhelming sadness, which, if it persists, can be a major signal of depression.
You may be suffering from an Adderall-induced depression if you are also experiencing some of the other symptoms of depression:
- Anger or irritability
- Sense of hopelessness
- Sleep issues such as insomnia
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of interest in normally fun activities
- Difficulty speaking or moving at normal speeds
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Feeling worthless or even suicidal.
On top of that, there are additional physiological signs of depression, which include a low pain threshold, achy joints and muscles, headaches, blurred vision, stomach pain or nausea, and diarrhea, constipation or other digestive issues.
Antidepressants in Combination with Adderall
Adderall has been prescribed or taken without prescription along with antidepressants. This has been done because stimulant medications like Adderall have improved depression symptoms.
There is a danger. Taking Adderall along with antidepressants may increase the risk of side effects. These combinations should never occur without talking with your doctor.
Signs it is Time to Seek Help for Adderall Addiction
Addiction Center recommends seeking help when answering yes to any of the following questions:
- Do you have bouts of manic behavior?
- Have you experienced a loss of appetite? Excessive weight loss?
- Are you withdrawing from friends, family, or activities you once enjoyed?
- Are you experiencing financial troubles?
- Do you feel or act aggressively?
- Do you sleep for prolonged periods of time?
- Do you feel exhausted?
- Have you developed secretive behaviors?
- Are you suffering from memory loss? Are you unable to complete thoughts?
- Are you having relationship problems?
- Has your interest in and attention to personal hygiene declined?
- Have you increased the frequency of taking Adderall? Are you running out of your Adderall prescription early?
- Are you working harder and longer but being less effective in your work output?
- Are you having trouble concentrating?
- Do you feel disoriented?
- Do you engage in impulsive behaviors?
If any of these symptoms describe you then it is time to consider getting help for your Adderall addiction.
How Can AspenRidge Help?
If you find yourself asking, am I addicted to Adderall, it may be helpful to speak with a licensed drug abuse specialist. Treating Adderall addiction begins with an initial evaluation. The longer Adderall is abused, the stronger an addiction can become. Quitting is possible with treatment specialists like providers from AspenRidge Recovery.
It’s extremely common for individuals who suffer from Adderall addiction to also suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD are at increased risk of developing a substance use disorder, including Adderall addiction.
Those battling depression are almost three times as likely to experience substance use disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, among adults being treated for alcohol and substance abuse, the rate of depression is about 32% total.
Treatment for Adderall addiction, therefore, should address dual diagnosis conditions. AspenRidge addresses substance misuse as well as underlying mental health concerns that may contribute to a substance use disorder. Our programs include:
- Day Partial Hospitalization (PHP)
- Day Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- AspenRidge REACH Online IOP
- IOP for Professionals and Working Adults
- Outpatient Program
- Alumni & Aftercare Program
There are many options available for treating stimulant addictions, such as therapy and intensive outpatient rehab. Contact our dedicated treatment providers at 855-281-5588 to find help in overcoming Adderall addiction today.