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Does Adderall Help with Anxiety?

A young adult overcomes his social anxiety disorder to enjoy coffee with friends.
Some people turn to stimulants because it helps them overcome social anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, it can also lead to addiction.

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. But when that anxiety interferes with your ability to function, it can cause many problems. For this reason, many people look to prescription medications such as Adderall for anxiety.

Those suffering from an anxiety disorder commonly experience the following:

  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • nervousness
  • avoidance
  • rapid heart rate

Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are commonly used off-label by people looking to push their productivity. Now, they’re also being used by people battling anxiety, especially social anxiety.

For some people, it appears to work—at least for a little while. Ultimately, however, Adderall cannot treat anxiety and, over time, can worsen anxiety due to its effects on your brain.

The problem is that—because these pills come in bottles, not baggies—people think of them as harmless. In reality, Adderall is a schedule 2 drug, just like heroin or cocaine, and is highly addictive.

Practically speaking, that means that you’ll crave it and need it to feel normal. In fact, you’ll find that you can’t concentrate or focus without it anymore.


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Treating Anxiety With Adderall

There are times when Adderall is prescribed for anxiety, but this is rare, as it is only FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. This is especially true for Adderall and social anxiety, but patients must be closely monitored to ensure that the drug is not doing more harm than good.

Adderall is a stimulant, not an anti-anxiety medication, meaning it increases your attention span, energy, and motivation. For this reason, students sometimes abuse it to power late-night study sessions without feeling drowsy.

Adderall and Anxiety: Can Adderall Cause More Anxiety?

Many people ask, “Is Adderall good for anxiety?” The answer is no.

In fact, Adderall can cause additional anxiety, especially if you do not currently struggle with ADHD. The drug boosts the number of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals improve your mood and give you a “high,” which can result in more anxiety.

A person can also experience anxiety as the drug eventually wears off and the feel-good neurotransmitters return to normal levels.

Prescription Medication Addiction and Anxiety: Co-Occurring Disorders

As with any drug, taking it regularly means tolerance and dependence can build up, and higher doses are required to achieve the same level of energy, attentiveness, and self-confidence.

If you’ve been taking Adderall for anxiety—or any other mental disorder—and find that you’ve lost control of your drug use, it’s time to seek help for your addiction and your anxiety.

While that may seem like a lot to sort out, it’s quite simple. It would be best if you found a treatment center with experience in treating those with a dual diagnosis.

That’s important because treatment for prescription drug addiction is unlikely to work if any co-occurring mental condition is not addressed.

In an ideal world, all rehabs would be equipped to treat addiction and mental illness, but that’s not true.

Before choosing a place to recover from Adderall for anxiety, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask:

  • Do you assess each resident for mental health disorders?
  • Are both the addiction and the co-occurring conditions given the same level of attention and care?
  • Is your treatment team experienced in treating those with co-occurring disorders?

Getting Well at The Raleigh House

With all that said, anxiety can be a very real problem that severely limits a person’s ability to function normally.

In such cases, you need to see a doctor—not a dealer.

You may find that therapy is enough to keep your anxiety at bay. Or there may be a less addictive drug that works for you.

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that seeks to treat the whole person, not just the addiction, through a comprehensive approach to recovery that includes treating any co-occurring conditions. We offer a safe and comfortable environment where you can recover at your own pace.


Fill out our form to contact us today to learn more about our stimulant addiction treatment program or call us at (720) 891-4657.

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