Adderall can help manage symptoms of ADHD but can make symptoms of anxiety worse in some cases.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopment condition that affects how you think and behave.
It’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of anxiety when you have ADHD. In fact, nearly half of adults who live with ADHD also have some type of anxiety disorder.
Managing ADHD and anxiety are difficult. When both conditions occur together, it can be even more of a challenge.
Adderall is a stimulant often prescribed to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. It can help improve attention, focus, and concentration.
If you live with ADHD and anxiety, you may be wondering whether Adderall can also help improve your anxiety symptoms.
The answer to that is a complex one, as the effects of ADHD can differ from person to person. In some people, Adderall may make symptoms of anxiety worse.
Adderall is FDA approved to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. It isn’t typically used to treat anxiety, and when used alone, it may worsen your symptoms. This medication can also produce side effects similar to symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness, irritability, and restlessness.
A 2016 study found that excessive use of Adderall may increase symptoms of ADHD and anxiety in college students.
Adderall may help in the short term but the benefits may not last. There’s also a chance of dependence when taking stimulants such as Adderall.
This medication can also produce side effects similar to those of anxiety such as nervousness, irritability, and restlessness.
Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. It can help improve your mood, attention, and focus.
Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and works by increasing the level of dopamine and norepinephrine. This activates the sympathetic nervous system and the fight, flight, or freeze response.
It affects the natural substances in your brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control — common symptoms of ADHD.
Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that often involves excessive fear and worry. We all experience anxious feelings from time to time.
But when that anxiety occurs all the time and begins to interfere with your daily functioning, it may be an anxiety disorder.
The common symptoms of anxiety include:
- rapid heart rate
- feelings of danger
- difficulty focusing
- repetitive behavior
If you’re unsure whether what you’re experiencing is anxiety, consider taking our anxiety test. While this test can’t be used as a diagnostic tool, it can help keep track of your moods.
Adderall is a prescription medication, which means a prescription is required from a healthcare or mental health professional.
Taking medication for anxiety when it’s not prescribed isn’t advised. If you’re curious about whether Adderall can help with your anxiety symptoms, consider speaking with a healthcare or mental health professional.
Serious side effects may occur if you take Adderall with an anti-anxiety medication.
Yes. Like most medications, Adderall does come with side effects. Some common side effects are:
- problems sleeping
- dry mouth
- slowed speech
- decreased appetite, sometimes disrupting growth and development in children
- constipation or diarrhea
- irritability or agitation
- elevated blood pressure
- stomach or bladder pain
There are also some rare but intense side effects to watch for, including:
- uncontrollable shaking
- worsening mental health conditions
You may have a higher chance of experiencing side effects if you have:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder
- another mental health condition
If you’re pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, you may want to consult with your doctor before taking Adderall. Suddenly stopping Adderall may result in withdrawal symptoms. Slowly tapering off the medication may help you avoid any unwanted side effects.
When ADHD and anxiety coexist, learning how to manage them is crucial.
Anxiety is often treated with anti-anxiety medications. Stimulants are often used to treat ADHD, but other options are available.
Common treatment options aren’t the best choice when the two disorders coexist. Instead, your doctor might suggest therapy for anxiety and try a few different options for ADHD.
They’ll likely monitor your progress and symptoms to determine what’s working and if any changes are necessary.
Your lifestyle and specific symptoms will be considered to determine a unique treatment plan that best fits you.
Psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might also be recommended. Therapy can help address the underlying factors of both conditions to determine where they overlap as well as provides coping tools to help you manage your symptoms.
Adderall may be prescribed to help treat ADHD. It isn’t often used for anxiety and could even worsen symptoms in some people.
While the evidence is mixed, it largely suggests that Adderall may make symptoms of anxiety worse, particularly if used in the long term.
If you have ADHD and anxiety, consider speaking with a healthcare or mental health professional to determine what medication may be helpful. They can develop a treatment plan that works for you and your unique set of symptoms.