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Can Quitting Adderall Cause Depression?

November 14, 2022 , Agape Treatment

man struggling with depression after quitting his adderall medication
 

Quitting the stimulant medication Adderall has many side effects if done incorrectly. It can cause depression, irritability, and insomnia that can last for weeks. In fact, people with mood disorders should be especially careful when using Adderall. Misusing Adderall is mostly common among people between 18-25.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant drug that doctors typically prescribe for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. It is a combination of two drugs, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine.

It is important to note that stopping Adderall often causes severe depression; therefore, people must try to do this in a safe and guided way. Adderall is a stimulant used to improve focus.

What is Adderall Prescribed for?

Adderall is typically prescribed for people who need to conquer or control their ADHD symptoms. Unfortunately, if abused, the drug often proves to be quite addictive for many users.

Understanding Adderall Withdrawal

Stopping Adderall suddenly can have negative repercussions and cause extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. According to experts, withdrawal symptoms do not occur immediately, but when they do occur, they can be intense.

Some common symptoms include fatigue, depression, low motivation, irritability, and more. Unfortunately, these psychological symptoms can make it difficult for people to attend work and school, spend time with family, and handle daily activities.

It is also important to note that long-term use of Adderall can cause increased withdrawal symptoms. Other important symptoms include nausea, stomach aches, cramping, and vomiting.

Adderall Half-Life & Withdrawal Duration 

Adderall half-life is the amount of time Adderall stays in one’s system, which can typically range from 9 to 14 hours. Different factors can affect how long Adderall will remain in your system, including sleeping habits, dosage, body weight, and kidney and/or liver function. Other factors include your genes, the health history of your family members, and your overall health or health history.

The duration of withdrawal when coming off of Adderall can last from 5 days to 3 weeks or more, depending upon the person in question. As mentioned above, people who use Adderall for a longer period tend to have withdrawal symptoms for longer than those who have a shorter time of use of Adderall.

Adderall & Depression

Depression after Adderall is a very common symptom that Adderall users face. Not only can drugs alter how we think, but they can also change how we feel and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, which is the communication process between neurons (nerve cells) in our brain. As a result, some people experience depression for a week after stopping Adderall use, while others experience symptoms for months after attempting to come off the drug.

Since ADHD can contribute to depression, you might be wondering if the opposite is true. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Research has not found that depression can cause ADHD. 

In order to have ADHD, at least some of a person’s symptoms must begin before age 12, even if they don’t get a diagnosis until adulthood. On the other hand, depression can develop at any point in time.

Some of the more common signs of depression include:

  • Feeling empty
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Spending little time with family or friends
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Trouble thinking
  • Lack of excitement to make plans
  • Loss of interest in sex or exercise
  • Intense self-criticism
  • Overall lack of self-love or appreciation and more.

Adderall withdrawal can lead to depression. This is because taking Adderall consistently can cause dopamine levels in the brain to decrease over time. Often, doctors prescribe counseling or antidepressants to help people cope with their depressive symptoms.

Can Quitting Adderall Cause Depression?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that causes feelings of pleasure, which can trigger feelings of motivation. Ultimately, Adderall can cause dopamine levels to decrease, which is why it is common for people to experience depression after Adderall.

It is important to note that it is vital to consider coming off of Adderall with the help of a doctor. Taking advantage of any resources available when dealing with depression is also important. Another way to potentially combat the depressive symptoms people usually face is to engage in regular activity, sleep on a regular schedule, eat nutritious food, spend time with loved ones, and more.

How to Taper off Adderall the Right Way

 When attempting to taper off Adderall, it is vital to ensure that you are doing it with the help of your doctor. Doctors typically suggest that patients avoid stopping Adderall abruptly. Instead, doctors recommend that the best way to wean off Adderall is to slowly lower one’s dosage. This way, the body can gradually get used to the effects of having less and less Adderall in its system.

Tapering can become very difficult if you start to experience any side effects. Behavioral therapy can help you learn strategies to cope with stress and identify warning signs of relapse. It can also modify your attitude and behavior related to Adderall abuse and help you identify any triggers that could result in intense cravings for Adderall.

Other ideas for safely coming off of Adderall include:

  • Asking a trusted friend or family member to check in with you
  • Planning time off from responsibilities
  • Drinking plenty of water or fluids with electrolytes
  • Surrounding yourself with people, activities, and items that bring you joy and peace
  • Regular exercise

These are all great ways to manage withdrawal symptoms and curb depression as best as possible.

Agape Treatment Center Can Help

If you or someone you know is currently facing addiction to Adderall, Agape Treatment Center can help. Our comprehensive drug and alcohol recovery center, located in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, emphasizes providing exceptional, patient-focused care to help those struggling with addiction begin to heal. 

Everybody deserves the chance to live a full life free from the shackles of addiction. Thankfully, Agape Treatment Center uses evidence-based approaches to therapy and counseling to help those in need begin and stay on their journey to recovery. We offer comprehensive care using a variety of treatment approaches, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, group therapies, and more.