Can Adderall help with anxiety? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will try to understand whether Adderall can help with anxiety. We explain the main and side effects of Adderall. We also talk a bit about what drugs are used in the treatment of anxiety, but also what alternative methods for managing anxiety symptoms are out there. 

Can Adderall help with anxiety? 

Adderall is a drug that is prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit disorder. In fact, that’s where his name comes from (from the English term: Attention Deficit Disorder).

It is currently a medication that is most frequently prescribed in adults and is quite popular among the university community, as well as among young professionals and athletes, which has generated a lot of controversies.

What exactly is Adderall?

Adderall is a medicine made from amphetamines. For their part, amphetamines are synthetic substances that belong to the group of stimulants of the central nervous system (psychostimulants or psychoactive), and as such, they stimulate both attention and physical performance.

In other words, Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is medically prescribed, especially for attention deficit disorder (without hyperactivity) but is also used, for example, to treat narcolepsy. Not only that, but in recent years its recreational use and for purposes such as improving school, physical or work performance has increased significantly.

It has been approved for production and marketing in the United States since 2001 under the name ADDERALL TX, in tablets with a concentration of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 mg.

Main effects of Adderall

Technically, stimulants favour and increase the release of catecholamines in the brain, that is, of substances such as norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine that are transported in the bloodstream and in neural networks so that we can respond to stressful situations.

The latter has the effect of increasing reaction times, causing a feeling of alertness and being always awake, and even producing euphoria, thus increasing tolerance to pain. Therefore, the Adderall is used to maintain attention longer and to increase physical performance.

Side effects of Adderall

Regarding its adverse effects, the constant and prolonged use of amphetamines can cause sleep disturbances, anxiety, psychotic and manic episodes; issues that may eventually require taking other drugs.

Among the more serious side effects, and since it significantly accelerates the heart rhythm, a relationship has been reported between amphetamine intake and sudden death, cardiovascular accidents, psychotic or manic episodes, visual disturbance, and the development of gastrointestinal diseases, endocrine and hepatic.

Therefore, it is contraindicated in people who have symptoms of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, agitated states or a history of addiction to psychoactive drugs. In the same way, it can increase impulsivity in the case of children who have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Apart from all of the above, perhaps the most problematic and controversial effect of amphetamines is that they are highly addictive substances, which means that they generate a large number of problems, not only privately but publicly: the need to consume them gradually increases, as well as tolerance (which also increases the dose that must be taken);

 And then the chances increase that its uncontrolled use increases the number of people susceptible to developing chronic diseases and even the illegal market.

Difference between Adderall and Ritalin

The difference between Adderall and Ritalin is that the basic component of Adderall is an amphetamine, and the basic component of Ritalin is methylphenidate. Both amphetamine and methylphenidate are substances that stimulate the nervous system, with which their effects are practically the same.

What is the controversy?

The use of Adderall (as well as Ritalin) has generated significant controversy in recent years, especially for its highly addictive and highly normalized effects.

It has also been widely discussed because, although educational and work performance has improved, the use of this type of drugs often hides deficiencies that are characteristic of educational and work environments.

In other words, they are used in an increasingly widespread and standardized way, not only to compensate for difficulties in the teaching-learning process of children but also among the university community or among young professionals and athletes who are required to maintain rates of productivity that they go beyond one’s own abilities.

As a consequence, their commercialization is increasing, even though the tendency to diagnose attention deficit disorders on a large scale (especially in the United States) has been questioned enough.

What drugs are used in the treatment of anxiety and what effects do they have?

Two types of drugs are commonly used in the treatment of anxiety: anxiolytics and antidepressants.

The most widely used anxiolytics belong to the group of high potency benzodiazepines (Alprazolam, Lorazepam, Diazepam, Chloracepam, etc.). They produce a calming effect. 

They work by reducing anxiety symptoms in a matter of minutes and decreasing both the intensity and frequency of distress episodes. The main adverse effects of benzodiazepines consist of drowsiness, memory disturbances, attention and concentration disturbances. 

The deterioration of these cognitive functions is usually transient (it is experienced while taking the medicine) and only occurs with high and prolonged doses over time. Another drawback is that its prolonged consumption can generate effects of dependency (addiction) and tolerance (progressive loss of effectiveness).

The antidepressants used today in the treatment of panic disorders are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). They are the primary treatment of choice. Various studies point to the involvement of serotonin as the main neurotransmitter involved in anxiety disorders, although there are others. 

The SSRI group consists of Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine, Sertraline, Citalopram and Escitalopram. They have a high specificity against anxiety and few side effects (mainly weight gain, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction). They hardly interact with other medications and do not create dependency.

As for the disadvantages of SSRIs, we will cite the side effects of the first days (nausea, headaches, temporary increase in anxiety, etc.). Therefore, it is convenient to start treatment with a low dose and associate tranquilizers in the first weeks. 

In some patients, depending also on the chosen drug, they can cause some weight gain or some loss of appetite or sexual response. Normally, the doctor will inform the patient about the mild and transitory nature of these possible adverse symptoms. Another drawback is that the therapeutic effect does not start until 2-3 weeks after starting the antidepressant.

Alternative methods for managing anxiety symptoms

The most important thing you need to do is talk to a specialist about your condition. Usually, you have this discussion with your general practitioner. Because it is a disorder, he will recommend that you talk to a specialist. In this situation, it is the Psychiatrist.

He is best able to assess your condition and make a correct diagnosis.

Depending on the symptoms you have and their severity, you may or may not be prescribed anxiety medications.

Attention! Medications do not cure anxiety. It diminishes or makes disappear the states and feelings of anxiety that you have.

Nowadays there are very effective drugs to treat the symptoms of anxiety. Their effect is usually fast and they are also affordable.

Nootropics are considered as a treatment for the cognitive symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. If you’re interested in trying nootropics to better manage your anxiety disorder, try the Best Nootropics for Anxiety and Racetams for anxiety.

If the medicines are not taken according to the doctor’s instructions, the effects will not be good. If the medication is stopped, in more severe cases of anxiety the symptoms will definitely reappear. They usually appear even more intense than the first time

Thus, your doctor will never recommend pills for treating anxiety without recommending psychotherapy.

Anxiety Treatment – Psychotherapy

The treatment of anxiety is analyzed from two points of view: medical and therapeutic. In many of our cases, they often go hand in hand to create an effective framework for the therapeutic process.

The psychotherapist helps you solve certain emotional problems or change certain aspects that make you vulnerable, as is the case with anxiety. It aims to find out the states you are going through, to determine their cause, the intensity and seniority they have. Which helped shape this problem.

A first part of the therapeutic process will focus on identifying the problem and finding the motivation to achieve this change to the end.

Another part of the process focuses on analyzing the underlying problem and finding alternative ways to deal with it, other than the current behaviour.

During therapy, we begin to acquire skills that help us become more and more resistant to harmful behaviours and increasingly strong stimuli. When during this period of time we encounter a stronger stimulus than our current level, we are certainly tempted to have the same behaviour that led to the appearance of emotional disorder.

Therapy is a long-term process because it aims to change already mature behaviours.

Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a form of therapeutic intervention that combines psychotherapy and education. It can be used both in individual work and with families, but it is very suitable for groups of people.

It plays a very important role in supporting interventions that are already underway – for example, in individual therapy or in the management of drug treatments.

Psychoeducation involves informing the person on the aspect that reflects the present problem of the client, but also therapeutic interventions based on various theoretical models (cognitive-behavioural therapy, systemic therapy, client-centred therapy, etc.).

Learning the principles as well as the basic skills by the patient considerably increases the effectiveness of the therapeutic act. There are psychoeducation studies for anxiety that attest to this, as well as the indications of the latest international guidelines.

Why group psychotherapy?

Because we “form” in a relationship, our own conception is based on a relationship.

Most problems arise because of the relationships we have with others or with ourselves.

As human beings, we “belong” in a group from birth. This first group is the family, whether it is the natural or the adoptive one. We are learning to relate for the first time with family members. Then we go to kindergarten where we have another group, then to school and later in a professional group.

In this psychotherapeutic orientation, the psychotherapist does not work with every member of the group. It also focuses on the relationships that appear within the group. Each member will understand his contribution to the group and will have the opportunity to choose to change something in his own life. 

At the same time, you will benefit both from the support of colleagues and from the professional help of the psychotherapist.

In an anxiety treatment group, you will address topics such as:

  • What is anxiety
  • How the physical symptoms of anxiety occur
  • How to get out of the vicious circle of anxiety
  • You will learn new ways of thinking and acting that lead to decreased anxiety
  • you will learn relaxation techniques
  • You will learn ways to control stress and increase satisfaction in life.
  • Methods to increase self-confidence.
  • Finding interest, balance and hope in life.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
  • Stress management techniques.
  • Self-control techniques.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

In this article, we found out whether Adderall can help with anxiety. We explained the main and side effects of Adderall. We also talked a bit about what drugs are used in the treatment of anxiety, but also what alternative methods for managing anxiety symptoms are out there. 

Adderall is a medicine made from amphetamines. For their part, amphetamines are synthetic substances that belong to the group of stimulants of the central nervous system (psychostimulants or psychoactive), and as such, they stimulate both attention and physical performance.

With anxiety symptoms, we are looking at slowing down our central nervous system, not stimulating it, as Adderall would do. However, there is still a controversy regarding this matter. The best thing is to consult your doctor and get the best possible advice. Do not self-medicate!

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

FAQ on Can Adderall help with anxiety?

Can Adderall help depression and anxiety?

In some cases, yes, Adderall can help depression and anxiety. However, the two types of drugs are commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and depression are anxiolytics and antidepressants. The most widely used anxiolytics belong to the group of high potency benzodiazepines (Alprazolam, Lorazepam, Diazepam, Chloracepam, etc.). They produce a calming effect, as opposed to Adderall. 

Can stimulants help with anxiety?

Stimulants do not help with anxiety symptoms as well as anxiolytics. Some stimulants, like Adderall, may exacerbate one’s anxiety symptoms, which would not be the desired effect. 

What symptoms does Adderall help with?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is medically prescribed, especially for attention deficit disorder (without hyperactivity) but is also used, for example, to treat narcolepsy. 

Can you take Adderall only when needed?

Yes, you can take Adderall only when needed, but still, it is recommended to follow your doctor’s guidance. 

Does Adderall calm you down?

Adderall calms down people with ADHD, making them feel sleepy. However, being an amphetamine, it does not have the same effects on worries or repetitive thoughts – like in the case of anxiety or OCD. 

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

References

WebMD – What’s the Link Between Anxiety and ADHD?

The Recovery Village – Adderall and Anxiety

Add.org

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