Could Adderall Help With My Anxiety?


Written by:

Adderall and anxiety: Two things that don’t mix too terribly well. 

Adderall is a medication used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This mental health condition can make it tough to focus and is characterized by feelings of impulsivity and hyperactivity.

If those things are causing you to experience anxiety, taking medication to manage your ADHD symptoms could remedy your anxiousness. 

At the same time, some people with ADHD claim they experience anxiety as a side effect of their medication. Which group do you believe? Well, if you look at the facts, it may be both.

Adderall is actually a combination of two things — dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. The medication is in a class of prescription drugs called central nervous system stimulants, which work by altering the amounts of certain neurotransmitters in your brain. The neurotransmitters are dopamine and norepinephrine in the case of Adderall.

These two stimulants help people focus or control their impulses and may also be used to treat narcolepsy. But they could also stimulate anxiety.

Below, we’ve weighed how Adderall might help anxiety, how it could make it worse or cause anxiety, and how to manage anxiety with Adderall if you’re experiencing it.

Can Adderall Help with Anxiety?

First things first: There’s no evidence that Adderall helps with the treatment or management anxiety disorders. Adderall is not an anxiety medication, and neither the medical community nor the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) thinks there’s any benefit to taking this medication for the treatment of anxiety. 

So why would we even bother talking about this topic? Because Adderall may indirectly help people with anxiety avoid their triggers.

Anxiety is fairly common. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. This includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) and panic disorder, as well as related stress disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

If someone is diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms, such as forgetfulness, distractibility, and disorganization, can cause life problems that lead to feelings of anxiety, which could ultimately amplify the condition. So if your anxiety is caused by ADHD, taking taking Adderall (which is designed to help diminish the symptoms of ADHD) may help.

Does Adderall Cause Anxiety?

On the other hand, Adderall might make everything worse. Why? Adderall is a stimulant, so it could make those without ADHD feel jittery and nervous.

One study on 13 healthy college students looked at how Adderall affected those who didn’t have ADHD. Overall, the researchers determined that the medication didn’t have much effect on the participants’ neurocognitive performance.

More research needs to be conducted before anything can be said with more confidence about whether Adderall can actually increase anxiety.

The explanation lies in side effects. Yes — Adderall does come with the risk of some side effects.

The common side effects and symptoms of Adderall abuse include:

  • Painful menstrual cramps

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Nervousness

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

  • Dry mouth 

Nervousness and an increased heart rate are both clear physical symptoms of anxiety, by the way. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between anxiety and the side effects of Adderall.

For those trying to distinguish ADHD vs. anxiety, symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Increased heart rate

  • Panic attacks

  • Hyperventilation

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Nervousness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Stomach issues

These are some of the most common anxiety symptoms, but everyone’s experience with the mental health condition is unique.

(Related: 5 Ways to Quiet Your Mind)

How to Manage Anxiety From Adderall?

As you can see, Adderall is not a solution for treating anxiety unless the anxiety is caused by symptoms of ADHD.

Both people who have and don’t have ADHD can get anxious or potentially experience an Adderall panic attack by using or misusing the medication. So while it may help anxiety in some ways, Adderall can also cause anxiety on its own.

Adderall is a serious ADHD medication. It can cause heart attacks and potentially death if misused. Plus, there’s the question of addiction: If you stop taking stimulant medications (like Adderall) quickly after a period of chronic misuse or overuse, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you have anxiety that’s not caused by ADHD, though, treating it with Adderall isn’t the right way to go about things. Some medical experts and mental health experts believe in three main pillars for treating anxiety (and none of them include stimulants). 

Treatment options for addressing anxiety include: 

  • Medication. Anti-anxiety medication is one way to get a handle on your anxiety. Some medications prescribed for anxiety are antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines and beta blockers. These medications can help you manage the symptoms of anxiety.

  • TherapyCognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often suggested for many mental health disorders, including anxiety. In this type of therapy, you work with a therapy provider to identify behaviors that add to your anxiety and figure out ways to stop them.
    We have a guide here if you want to learn more about therapy for anxiety.

  • Meditation. Though meditation may not be the only solution for erasing anxiety, it can be a good thing to use in conjunction with other treatments. A very small study from 2014 found that 20 minutes of meditation helped lower anxiety — most likely because it temporarily lowers brain activity.  

(Related: Common Causes of Social Anxiety)

Adderall and Anxiety: Takeaways

What it boils down to is this: If you don’t have ADHD, using Adderall to treat anxiety is not the way to go. However, if you have adult ADHD that’s causing anxiety, Adderall may help by easing the symptoms of ADHD.

Here are the main takeaways for those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who are concerned about anxiety symptoms:

  • There are differences between ADHD and anxiety. If your anxiety is caused by your ADHD, you may notice it goes away when taking Adderall. 

  • Adderall is not an appropriate treatment for anxiety. It is, however, a medication that can be prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

  • In very rare cases, Adderall can cause a heart attack — especially in those who have existing heart conditions.

  • If you’re dealing with anxiety outside of ADHD, you’ll need to explore other treatment options, as Adderall isn’t prescribed for anxiety and can make anxiety worse.

  • Treatments for anxiety include therapy, medication and more. 

  • If you get to a point where you’d like to stop taking Adderall, always speak to a medical professional first to come up with a plan for weaning yourself off it.

If you want to learn more about Adderall or discuss treatment options for anxiety, the first step is to speak with a medical professional

We can assist — our mental health services are a great place to get support.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

More from MediaFeed:

8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

If you’re charging prescriptions to a credit card or digging for change in your car and couch every month to scrounge up enough money to pay for prescriptions, you’re not alone.

Around seven percent of U.S. adults can’t pay for prescription drugs they need, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. That’s an estimated 18 million people who say they had to go without at least one prescribed medication in the last three months, according to the poll.

If you struggle to pay for your meds or even worse, go without necessary medications, here’s some good news. With a bit of research and a strategy for finding discounts, you can save on prescription drugs.


Drug discount cards have been saving consumers money on prescriptions for decades. If your insurance doesn’t cover a prescribed drug or you’re saddled with a high copay, check the price on these drug discount sites to see how much you can save.

  • GoodRX
  • Blink Health
  • SingleCare
  • WellRX

Not up to the research? Ask your pharmacist if they have information on how much you can save with certain prescription discount cards.

Just because you’ve filled your prescriptions at CVS for the last 10 years doesn’t mean that pharmacy is the only game in town. Check prices at other local pharmacies, including your grocery store. If you can save enough to make the switch worthwhile, dole out your prescriptions among more than one pharmacy.

Gligatron / istockphoto

Ask your doctor if the prescribed medication has a generic version to save big bucks. “Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less,” according to the Food & Drug Administration.

BCFC / istockphoto

Ordering a 90-day vs. a 30-day supply may save money on certain drugs. Check prices for both quantities before you fill a prescription. You’ll pay more upfront but the savings over three months may be worth it.

Check with local pharmacies for any discount programs they offer. For example, when you pay $20 (or $35 for a family plan) to join Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, you can get discounts on more than 8,000 medications. Plus, you can fill 90-day prescriptions on select generic drugs for the price you’d pay for two 30-day prescriptions.

Bonus: Walgreens’ program also provides discounts on prescriptions for your pets.

Save money by comparing prices at online pharmacies that deliver prescription drugs right to your doorstep. You may save a lot by ordering online.

 Plus, you’ll save on gas and time by not having to drive to the pharmacy and wait in line.

Many drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs if you meet income eligibility requirements. Contact the manufacturer for that pricey drug to find out if you’re eligible for deep discounts on a medication. To get an idea of how patient assistance programs work, visit RxAssist, which lists a comprehensive directory of patient assistance programs.

Weedezign/ istockphoto

It is important to choose your health insurance wisely.  Brokers are trained professionals that can assist you in finding the best plans for your unique needs.  If possible, find a broker that is familiar with plans in your area and that is certified to sell ACA plans.

“The least expensive plan is not always the best or the most cost-effective option.  Sometimes, a silver or gold plan may cost you less due to lower copays on brand name prescriptions. For those on Medicare, always have a broker review your part D (drug) coverage annually.  Even if your monthly premium is not set to increase, there is no way to know that your prescriptions are still covered the same way for the next year unless you do an analysis of this plan,” says Analisa Cleland, an insurance and financial advisor at Coto Insurance.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, have a certified broker review your coverage annually to ensure that your plan is still a good fit for your individual needs.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

IPGGutenbergUKLtd / istockphoto

Featured Image Credit: artisteer/istockphoto.