Does Adderall Help With Anxiety

The answer to this question ” does Adderall help with anxiety?” is no. Adderall can only help treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but it can worsen the symptoms of anxiety in most cases. It is not rare to have symptoms of anxiety when you are suffering from ADHD. In some cases, adults who have ADHD also experience symptoms of any type of anxiety disorder. 

Treating or managing both conditions can be difficult. When they occur at the same time, it is extremely frustrating and challenging. In some people, Adderall can make the symptoms not anxiety worse. Continue reading to find out more about Adderall, anxiety and if the drug can help with the condition.


Adderall is a prescription drug used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This condition shortens attention span and make it difficult for you to focus on things, it also controls your actions and keep you still. Adderall can also be used to treat narcolepsy – a chronic sleep disorder that makes you to feel overly drowsy during the day.

Adderall is a combination of two ingredients which are dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Under the classes of medicines, Adderall is classified as a stimulant, it works on the central nervous system and changing the amount of neurotransmitters released in the brain. These neutrotransmitters are dopamine and norepinephrine, the activities of the drug activates the sympathetic nervous system and the fight, flight, or freeze response. Adderall is a popular drug and very effective in treating ADHD and narcolepsy.


Adderall comes with side effects, some common effects are:

  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Slowed speech
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Pain in the stomach or bladder.

Some severe side effects that you should watch out for are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening mental conditions
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack especially if you heart disorder 


Anxiety is a very common feeling, it is a normal emotion. However, when you always have excessive, intense and persistent fear or worry about everyday situations, it becomes a disorder. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) reported that about 40 million of adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. 

Symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty in focusing on anything other than worrying or think about things
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Urge to avoid people, objects or events
  • Stomach ache and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
Does Adderall Help With Anxiety
Does Adderall Help With Anxiety


There are many types of anxiety disorder and they can affect your mental health and quality of life in general.

Some of the types of anxiety disorders are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This is the most common type. It causes the patient to have trouble controlling their worry on different things. People with this disorder are overly worried about money, work, family, health and other issues. General anxiety disorder is diagnosed when you find it difficult to control your worry and fear more often than you do not within six months while having more than three symptoms.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): This type causes you to have a difficult to escape having unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts about certain repetitive behaviours. You have compulsive behaviours like always keeping your home excessively clean or always checking to see if the door is locked.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This happens when you cannot get over a traumatic experience like assault, an accident, natural disasters, child sexual abuse, military service or any other negative event that seriously impacted your life. 

Social Anxiety Disorder: This is also known as social phobia, it makes you to feel persistent fear or overwhelmed before or during social situations. It is not limited to just socializing with others, it may include things like public speaking.

Panic Disorder: This is a phase of intense anxiety. You have heart palpitations, feelings of fear, shortness of breath, trembling and other symptoms.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall to be used in treating ADHD and narcolepsy. It is not designed to treat anxiety and when used alone, it may worsen the symptoms. A review published by the National Institute of Health in 2018 discovered that amphetamines which is one of the component of Adderall are very helpful in reducing how severe the symptoms of ADHD are in adults for short term but it does not help or improve the symptoms of anxiety.

Another study in 2018 also published by the National Institute of Health showed that while amphetamines (like Adderall) can make the symptoms not anxiety worse, the use of methylphenidate for short term may help reduce anxiety in adults. However, from this study, the use of methylphenidate for long term in childhood can increase the chances of experiencing anxiety in adulthood.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Attention Disorders showed that the excessive use of Adderall may increase the symptoms of ADHD and anxiety in college students. If your anxiety is a symptom of ADHD, then Adderall can help as it is meant to treat all symptoms of ADHD. The drug will increase the release of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine, this chemical help you focus (ADHD) and keep you calmer (anxiety).

But if you do not have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and you take Adderall to treat anxiety, you will only make the symptoms worse. Adderall is a stimulant that can cause nervousness and jitteriness in those without ADHD. This is because Adderall has little influence in on neurocognitive performance.

Adderall is not the only stimulant being abused or misused. In fact, the misuse of prescription stimulants has become an issue not only in United States but places like the United Kingdom, Germany and more. The result of this misuse is worsening the symptoms of anxiety.


Depression is also a global common condition that affects millions of people. Some treat their depression by using antidepressants or undergoing therapies. The question most people ask if Adderall can help since it stimulates the brain. 

Although Adderall is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in treating depressions and mood disorders, it is sometimes used as off-label prescription especially if you have ADHD as well. A research review published by the National Institute of Health proposes that stimulants like Adderall may help the symptoms of depression only for short term by increasing mood, energy and concentration.

A study by the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry in 2016 states that there is not enough proof or confirmation to support the use of stimulants like Adderall to treat depression instead of antidepressants and therapies.

It is true that stimulants can boost your mood, energy and give euphoric feeling but these are only for a short time. Note that it does not treat the symptoms of the disorder but gives temporary relief. Also, the type of depression that can be treated by using stimulants is not stated or known.

In 2017, a review by the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology suggested that stimulants can be helpful in treating major depressive disorder (MDD), but another study in 2016 by this same Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that stimulants have no effects on generalized depression.


Adderall can help with anxiety and also make it worse. If you have ADHD and this condition causes you to have symptoms associated with anxiety, then Adderall can help with the anxiety. Adderall is designed to reduce the symptoms of ADHD by increasing the release of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine in your brain. The release of this neurotransmitter helps your brain to focus and this makes you to become calmer. So, Adderall can treat ADHD and anxiety (only if they are associated with each other).


Adderall is not the solution or best treatment for anxiety, in most cases, it can cause it to become worse. However, there are effective ways of managing anxiety and reducing its effects.

Some of these ways are:

1. Medications  

Anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety drugs are used to manage anxiety. They are to be used based on prescription. Some of these medications are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), beta-blockers and benzodiazepines. They are very effective in handling anxiety and the symptoms.

2. Therapy

There are many therapies used in managing not just anxiety and other mental health conditions. One of most suggested therapy is Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it is done with a therapy provider. The provider help you to identify behaviors, events, persons and objects that add to your anxiety and how to handle them.

3. Meditation :

Meditation is not only used a treatment method, it is combined with either medications or therapies. A study in 2014 by the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience discovered that 20 minutes of meditating will help to lower anxiety and lower the brain’s activity.


Adderall is designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is not meant for treating anxiety or depression as it can make the symptoms worse especially if used for a long period of time. If you have anxiety and ADHD, the drug may help but also for short term. It is best to see your doctor if you have anxiety for the best treatment methods.

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