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Taking Adderall For Treatment-Resistant Depression

The use of stimulants like Adderall for cases of treatment-resistant depression is not very common these days. It is much more common for a psychiatrist to put the patient through the ringer of SSRI, SNRI, Tricyclic, and MAOI classes before they are likely to consider a psychostimulant. This is in part due to the fact that these have not been directly approved by the FDA for “depression.” However, if we take a look at most of the literature surrounding psychostimulants in cases of treatment-resistant depression, it seems to indicate that not only do they work, they work quite effectively.

Psychostimulants for Treatment-Resistant Depression Study

In one study by Stotz et al. (1999), they examined 65 patients that were diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. When these patients were treated with psychostimulants (amphetamine and methylphenidate) in addition to conventional antidepressants, 38 of these patients showed “significant improvement.” Their energy improved, their mood improved, and they showed increases in overall psychomotor activity.

The best response for these patients was when psychostimulants were used in combination with Tricyclic antidepressants. It should be noted that none of the patients developed drug dependency and risk of side effects was low. The authors of the study suggest that psychostimulants should be considered more in cases of treatment-resistant depression.

Taking Adderall for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Adderall is one of the most common, most potent treatments for cases of depression. Most people that take it experience instant improvements in mood and motor activity. In cases of depression and comorbid ADD or ADHD, this may be the single most effective treatment option. Some things listed below may be a reason people should consider Adderall for their depression.

  1. Boosted confidence – In many cases, people that take Adderall feel more confident. This is because it acts on dopamine receptors and can make socialization feel more pleasurable. For some people, having more confidence goes a long way towards feeling normal again.
  2. Increases in energy levels – Depression is associated with low energy, tiredness, and overall mental and physical fatigue. Adderall can help increase your energy in the fact that it is a “stimulant” – it stimulates brain activity.
  3. Improvement in focus – In cases of depression, most people experience “clouded” thinking and slow motor activity. Adderall helps them improve their focus and concentration so that they can complete tasks. The completion of tasks is rewarding in itself to make the person feel more productive.
  4. Instant mood improvement – Within hours of taking Adderall, many people feel better. Not only do they not have to wait “4 to 6 weeks” before their antidepressant “kicks in” they feel better right away (read more about why antidepressants take so long to work). This can be a huge plus for someone who is really suicidal.  Although some antidepressants do work immediately, most take awhile and Adderall can help pick up the slack.
  5. Pro social effect – Some people experience a pro-social effect related to Adderall. They feel more social, more outgoing, and want to interact with people. Most stimulants can cause this in one form or another.

Why Adderall isn’t used for “standard” depression

Not everyone should be on Adderall for depression. It is up to you and your psychiatrist to take a look at available options and consider what might work. There are cases where it may seem like a good idea to try Adderall, but some people may have an overall tough experience.

  1. Addiction potential – The medication can be very addictive for some people. If you have an addictive personality, the medication may make you feel so good, that it will be tough to go through life without it. However, I guess dependence on this medication is better than feeling suicidal 24/7.
  2. Antidepressant effect fades quickly – The drug is geared mostly towards improving cognition in people with ADD and ADHD. Individuals with depression may notice a mood improvement for the first couple weeks, but this effect may wear off relatively quickly.
  3. Dependency – Certain people may become dependent on this drug in order to function. Although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, some people may not like the fact that they are essentially hooked. Then again, going from a cloud of major depression to something that actually works probably feels much better.
  4. Not intended for depression – This is not formally approved by the FDA to treat depression. Studies have shown that it works, but it’s intended to treat attention-deficit disorder. Depression is not what this is primarily used to treat.
  5. Quickly build up a tolerance – Some people build up a tolerance relatively quickly to Adderall. This requires constantly increasing the dosage and tinkering to find a strength of medication that works. Because this medication is so fast-acting, you can get quickly accustomed to this medication both psychologically and physically.
  6. Worsening depression during withdrawal – I have personal experience with Adderall to treat my own treatment-resistant depression and I know how coming off this medication can be – very tough. If you have been taking a high dosage and are trying to stop taking it, you may be extremely depressed during withdrawal. However, I tend to think that it’s far easier to come off of Adderall than it is to come off of an SSRI – that’s my experience.

Supplementing Adderall with an SSRI or TCA

It is most common practice to supplement Adderall or another psychostimulant with an SSRI or TCA (tricyclic) antidepressant. Using a stimulant by itself to target depression doesn’t have as high of a success rate and is not formally approved for depression treatment. Star D studies have shown that when used in combination with an antidepressant, this is more effective than either standalone treatment option. It has become a practice to supplement Adderall with an SSRI to help target deep cases of depression.

Psychostimulants for Treatment Resistant Depression

Despite the fact that Adderall has never been directly used as treatment for depression, it may be something to consider if nothing else is working. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the stimulant class really works for cases of depression, but they do work for some people. If nothing else is working and you are at your wits end, they may be something to consider. I think more people are starting to realize how difficult SSRI treatment can be and how powerful SSRI’s really are – especially upon withdrawal.  It should also be noted that some people experience that Adderall helps with anxiety too – so it may tackle both depression and anxiety altogether.

Is Adderall safe to take?

Contrary to popular belief, Adderall has been around for a long time and is universally considered one of the safest psychiatric medications. Although people online can paint horror stories regarding addiction and dependence on this drug, it has helped many people. A lot of people that take it for the right reasons don’t experience any major side-effects upon withdrawal. Many people have been taking this drug for years to treat their attention-deficit disorder and they stop with no major side effects.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181580/

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{ 70 comments… add one }
  • john April 2, 2014, 12:52 am

    hi-

    my doc has suggested possibly adding a adderall to my ad.

    can i ask a few questions?

    1. any bad side-effects? i hear of people ‘crashing’ when the med wears off…

    2. sleep. sexual, increased anxiety, other stuff?

    3. how long were you on it?

    4. any other info you might add now since you wrote the above?

    thanks for the article and site.

    i am nervous to try the drug. but, i have pretty severe depression and have tried many meds, therapies, etc with little result.

    john

    • GLOOM April 2, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Hi John, like any other drug there will be side effects. I have experienced crashing, but not too bad because I usually only take it on an “as-needed” basis when my depression gets really bad. I noticed that my sleep is actually better as long as I don’t take it before bed. I wouldn’t be too “nervous” to try the drug as it is one of the most well-researched medications and has been around for a long time. No major sexual side effects and my anxiety actually decreases on Adderall. It affects everyone differently though, so my experience may not be the same as yours. Best of luck man.

    • Kathy August 7, 2014, 5:18 pm

      I have extreme depression. I’ve been taking anti-depressants for 20 years. One would be ok for a few years, then would stop working so I would have to switch. I was only seeing my primary care physician for treatment which I now realize was completely insufficient. Since seeing a Psychiatrist I have been through a variety of cocktails but nothing quite stabilized me. When Adderall was added, the depression balanced out. I have been supplementing (under a Dr’s care) my anti-depressants with Adderall for almost 5 years. It took a while to find the right dosage. I had to force myself to eat the first 6 -12 months because food just wasn’t appealing. I don’t always take it on weekends and of course not too late in the afternoon. If I take it too late in the day, either I can’t get to sleep or my sleep is less restful. I do find that too much caffeine will make my hands shake all morning. The Dr. said to be certain to always take the correct dose, i.e. don’t break them in half, to reduce the risk of developing a tolerance. I am less energetic on weekends and somedays have to nap, which I love, but I don’t feel depressed during that time. When I first began I had anxiety, but that was actually situational. I have made some personal changes and no longer experience abnormal anxiety. No change to my libido.
      I have also seen a therapist during most of the last 10 years and worked on improving the way I see myself and the world. I believe we all have to find our personal treatment”recipe”, but I wanted to share my experience with you. Good luck to you.

  • Gary Gray April 24, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Have psychiatrist who is very hesitant to try new things. based on the articles I’ve read, which are many i really think. After all the ineffective antidepressants I’ve tried, this could be the answer . Though as I indicated I’m very dubious about my Dr be willing actually write me a script do to his extremely cautious approach. Do you think if I found a new Dr he would be willing to give this a try or are they all reluctant to try unorthodox treatments?

    • GLOOM April 24, 2014, 10:59 pm

      Yes, your psychiatrist should be hesitant. Most are simply because they know a lot more than their patients about the literature surrounding the drugs. They need to go off of protocol so that people don’t end up further complicating their problems with drugs that they wanted to “try.” I wouldn’t necessarily “doctor shop” if you like your current doctor. If he knows his stuff I’d stick with him. But if he isn’t listening to you that the drugs you’ve tried aren’t working and still tries the same “class” of drugs, it’s recommended to find someone new… if multiple SSRI’s don’t work, a third fourth or fifth probably aren’t going to either. Most psychiatrists take a pretty cautious approach because they don’t want people simply “requesting” drugs… especially controlled substances like Adderall.

  • L G August 3, 2014, 11:50 am

    My Dr. first suggested I use Adderall, I was hesitant. I am taking methylphenidate and I still have anxiety and severe depression. I have tried almost all of the anti-depressant drugs and had ill effects. I wish I would have took his advice in the beginning. Now I have anxiety over asking for this other possible opportunity I am prescribed this for my ADD/ADHD. Which I need help with still.

  • Alex August 15, 2014, 2:36 am

    I don’t get the “addiction” risk. For people who are diagnosed and have to take it every day, what’s the difference?

    • GLOOM August 15, 2014, 4:12 pm

      That’s a valid point Alex. The addiction risk is less for those who actually need it to function. The problem lies in people who end up exceeding their prescribed dosage and abusing the substance to achieve a desired effect or “high” on a consistent basis. In this case it would be more of an addiction as opposed to taking it for an antidepressant effect.

  • Michelle November 9, 2014, 6:49 pm

    I have had depression for as long as I can remember. I am 47 and over the years I have been diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder with recurring episodes and Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic. I have tried every antidepressant and I have no relief. My doctor says I’m non responsive to them, yet I still take: Paxil, Wellbutrin, Trazodone and Klonopin. About 10 years ago I was hospitalized for severe depression and anxiety.

    My doctor added a small dose of Ritalin, I only took it once, I had hallucinations that night when I slept and never took it again. Would Adderall have the same effect? I’m frightened of certain medications and this is one of them. I don’t like the feeling of being drugged or feeling out of control or a buzzed feeling. I have never took any kind of drugs. Besides my psych meds. My depression has gotten worse over the last 6/7 years.

    Have had a lot of tragedy that I can’t get over. I’m constantly depressed and no medication has helped me. I have been in counseling for years, and that hasn’t helped me. I have been hospitalized 2 times and have been in a partial day treatment center 11 times. This has helped a little, but it is temporary. I have been absolutely non functioning several times. This is a horrible way to live.

    Feels like my depression never leaves me. I have all the symptoms and I have tried to fight this disease for so long. I feel like I just can’t take it any longer, I have lost all of my fight I once had. It just keeps coming back. I really don’t know what else to do at this point. I don’t want to continue living this way. I’m no suicidal at all, thank God. But everyday has became a struggle. I see my psychiatrist regularly, go to counseling every week.

    I work everyday and that is so hard. I’m not willing to give up and try for disability, I would be worse. I see my psychiatrist this Friday, 11/15/14. Do you think Adderall would be a good choice for me? Would it cause hallucinations as Ritalin did? I’m not afraid of addiction, I’m afraid of living with this depression for the rest of my life. Just want some feedback please. About at my wits end. Living shouldn’t be this hard. Thank you.

    • GLOOM November 11, 2014, 6:27 pm

      Sorry to hear that, you’re in a very difficult situation. In my honest (unprofessional) opinion, you may be overmedicated. If you are severely depressed on or off the meds, I partially wonder, why take Paxil, Wellbutrin, Trazodone and Klonopin? You even said they provide no relief… At some point, throwing more meds (fuel) to the combination (fire) is likely counterproductive.

      Also, the combined effects these medications is likely throwing your brain into chemical disarray. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend Adderall in your situation based on the fact that you are on an a smorgasbord of other medications. However, it’s ultimately a personal decision regarding what meds you want to take or try and what ones you don’t. Wish you nothing but the best.

      If I were in your situation, I’d look to find a REALLY GOOD therapist who isn’t affiliated with your psychiatrist. I would also consider making lifestyle changes such as dietary ones, exercise habits, etc. I would then try to minimize the amount of meds I was taking (especially since they are not helping) and keep trying different classes of antidepressants until one clicks. You are in a tough place right now, so you can’t expect to improve overnight, but keep putting forth the effort and remain hopeful.

    • Beckie November 17, 2014, 1:40 am

      Hi Michelle – I know exactly how you feel. I have been depressed for my entire adult life. I always think it’s situational and some of it is, but I know that it’s more than that. I don’t bounce back from set backs like others do. I see them as very severe things and some take me years to overcome. I take Adderall for my ADHD and it works miracles for my depression in the first 3 hours after taking it.

      I am in love with everything. Lol. That is the great part, but after 3 hours, I just can concentrate and that is great. After 8 hours, my depression gets worse and then stabilizes back to dysthymia after 2 more hours. The reason I found your post and this website is I’m looking for something that would work with my Adderall to help my depression all day. If I find it, I will let you know. You are in my prayers! -Beckie

    • colleen January 11, 2015, 6:59 pm

      I have been battling depression my whole life. All I can comment on is what has worked for me. I have been on just about every anti-depressant anti-psychotic drug. I have had several ECT treatments. I’ve been in therapy with all types of therapists for 20 years. I have tried to take my life three times over the course of it. I have been taking adderall for approximately 2 years now. As well as a very low dose of wellbutrin and Pristiq. Adderall has saved my life and gave me enough hope to live it and make it better.

      It is not a cure all but it allows me to see things clearer without the doom and gloom thoughts. I can now use the tools and techniques I’ve been taught over the years to improve upon in my life. As far as the addictive properties I was on Prozac for 5 years and nearly died coming off of it nothing could be worse than that. If us depressed people are going to have to take medication for life then why is there a fear of coming off it. You don’t have to.

      I will battle depression for the rest of my life. I have come to terms with that. At least with adderall I feel like I have a fighting chance. My depression is not situational it’s chemical. Both parents had a form of mental illness. That’s not to say that situations do not trigger a relapse but when things get rough I have the hope I can get through them. I really hope this information helps someone. It has saved my life.

      • John September 10, 2015, 7:02 pm

        Colleen, Thank you for your post. I can empathize with you. My experience nearly mirrors yours. I’ve survived serious depression for 37 years. I think I’ve tried every anti-depressant at least once and have seen a few therapists over the years. I was diagnosed with ADD 4 years ago and was prescribed Adderall. For the first time in my adult life I felt real hope. I was able to focus like never before and my depression significantly subsided.

        After being on it for appx. 9 mo.’s w/ almost no side effects I came off of it due to concerns about becoming addicted to it. Some time later I became extremely depressed and ended up having ECT treatments. They weren’t effective. Since then I’ve been on some new anti-depressants. They haven’t worked. I’m now back on Adderall (for 2 days). My dr. said he often prescribes it for severely depressed elderly patients who are resistant to anti-depressants and has great success doing so.

        Though I’m not elderly yet I’m already feeling more focused and am hoping to have the same result that I did the first time I tried it. I’m also looking into seeing if I can get my elderly father on the medication as he’s suffered with serious depression for appx. 20 years. I really appreciate your comment regarding concerns with addiction and coming off of medications. I too expect to be dealing with this condition into the foreseeable future, if not the rest of my life.

        My heart goes out to you and everyone else who’s suffering from this and other mental illnesses. I keep praying that better treatments will come soon. I know they will. In the meantime we need to be as patient as possible, hang in there and help others do the same. Thanks again Colleen, John.

    • Carla June 14, 2015, 6:18 pm

      Michelle, I relate so much to your story. Please know that there is someone out there (me) who cares about you and your situation. May your life get better and may you experience joy and happiness. Hang in there.

      • John W March 27, 2016, 12:31 am

        Carla, Thank you. I needed to hear your comment today. Even though it wasn’t directed to me, the reminder that there are people out there who get it and who are kind was… important (the right word for what it was doesn’t exist). Thank you.

        • Anthony P Jester April 1, 2016, 12:26 am

          I am a 62 year old male who has struggled with treatment resistant depression for over 35 years. This journey began when I was suffering from the appearance of gyrate erythemas on my torso. Much testing later, to eliminate such culprits as Lupus, Lymes, Infiltrates of Jesner, Giant Herpetic Lesion disorder, and even Leukemia. During this juggernaut of testing, observing, bloodwork, etc., et al., I realized that what I had considered normal for virtually my entire life at that point, (I was just under 30) was in actuality depression.

          I don’t mean a little case of the blues. I mean not suicidal, but if I fell down in the road, what is the sense of getting up just to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. In essence, there was no joy in my life. All the ingredients were there. Stable environment, good career, two young boys and spouse, dream farm outside Atlanta., etc.

          But occasionally I would have what I termed “flash-backs) wherein for a brief instant I could literally feel, see, taste and know what HAPPINESS and JOY felt like. My conclusion was that I must have felt it at some point, or I would not recognize it. When the merry go round of trying to diagnose a mystery illness was solved, (congenital spinal stenosis with 9 bulging or herniated discs, plus facet joint involvement) I began the typical routine mirrored here. Try this SSRI.

          Now piggy back this one onto it. NO GOOD< NO PROBLEM< We have lots more we can try. At one point I actually had medically induced psychosis which resembled schizophrenia. Seeing things that were real…in my mind. Hearing radio transmissions from anything with a motor…..in my mind. After several years of this with NO improvement, I said enough is enough. Finally, about 8 years ago I was forced because of the ever increasing physical pain to enter a pain management program run by a prominent Anesthesiologist at a large hospital outside Atlanta where my wife was employed.

          Went through every conceivable narcotic, combos, and finally four years ago onto the Fentanyl patch which is supposed to be for end of life palliative relief. After all, if you are dying, what does dependence matter?? Fortunately, my Dr. and myself (I am a high level Commercial Appraiser who does expert witness testimony and judges the work of others to see if there was collusion, crime, etc., involved. We are talking BIG money properties.)

          But my Dr. and myself struck up a friendship outside the patient-doctor relationship. When I asked him to review all my medical history he was shocked!!!! Fortunately, Anesthesiologists are the one group less prone to falling into the clutches of Big Pharma. We were close to the same age, and though alike; both of us enjoyed digging for answers, deep research. After some very routine testing he noted that he could find at least four markers that would indicate I should NEVER have been given the litany of drugs, singly or piggy backed, but the Psych profession loves that script pad.

          And the paid "educational conferences", etc. First, with my friend/Dr. help I kicked a 30 year narcotics dependence/addiction. He said I was only the second person he had seen quit Fentanyl cold turkey. 100/mcg hr., round the clock. At times it resembled an exorcism more than withdrawal I think!!! Now it was time to address a life time of treatment resistant depression. I needed movement as I had weight loss surgery due to lack of mobility, and have had three knee replacements, (and yes, I only have two knees; one was re-injured when a careless driver T-boned me at 45 mph.

          Tore the good work done by my Ortho all to pieces. Secondary repair surgery, lots of pain, but no more opioids!!Some people don't realize that opioids induce a near zero testosterone level in men. Mine was under 200 on a 300-1100 scale. No ops, testosterone levels at 55 that of a 30 year old. Still depressed. Friend/Dr. said lets try Adderall. I didn't even know what it was. But he had attended some continuing education on using psychostimulants on the "elderly" population for resistant depression.

          Long story short, he saved my life. MOVEMENT is what was needed. The lifting of a virtual lifetime of depression that felt like a wet 90 pound woolen blanket draped over my life lifted within days. I began to move, losing an additional 30 pounds in addition to the nearly 110 pound loss from the gastric sleeve. I now take an average of 15mg of Adderall IR when needed, usually 1 to 3 times weekly.

          The sun shines again; the air smells and feels life sustaining; life is an adventure that I look forward to daily. Now granted, I have made other changes, but the Adderall is what enabled me to find additional coping mechanisms that turned an otherwise "just watch the clock tick down till its time to bury me" kind of existence into exactly what I experienced in my minds eye when I would catch those brief "flash-backs" of what I now know was JOY and HAPPINESS in life.

          This is a long post, I know, but for those suffering as I did for so very many years, don't give up. I am a researched by vocation. Dig deep. Talk to a Dr., (Psychs are not the way to go, IMO, talk to someone who hears you when you say that while you may not be ready to kill yourself, you really don't care if tomorrow comes or not. I owe my very existence to a friend who happened to be a Dr., and who had the foresight and the intestinal fortitude to practice MEDICINE, as opposed to being told by Big Pharma what to do next.

          Good luck to any and all who have been through what I have, and don't give up hope. Lots of literature pointing in the direction of Adderall for treatment resistant depression. But it takes a Dr. who cares, and who is willing to listen and at least try to find a modality of treatment that will have his patient looking forward to tomorrow as opposed to dreading the next minute, and the one after that, and the next, etc.

          DON'T DO ANYTHING RASH, AND JUST KNOW THERE IS HELP OUT THERE. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND THE PROVIDER WHO WILL LISTEN AND WORK WITH YOU TO FIND THE ANSWER. I did, and now at nearly 63 my only regret is that I did not meet me friend/Dr. until later in life. But the key word is LIFE. I now have one. God Bless you all in your search for your own healing.

          • leyla September 4, 2016, 3:45 pm

            Anthony – Are you my twin? I read your comments and kept nodding my head and saying “yes”, “yes”. I am currently seeing a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to try and get my 45 yr-depression under control. Her first move was a DNA swab to a lab to find out what meds my body can tolerate. Her motto is WHATEVER will give you a good quality of life is what you NEED.

            No nonsense about being an ‘addict’, etc. I was at the point where I think anti-depressants may not be the way to go and that Adderall may be an option–when–EUREKA! I read your comments. Wish me luck! I am emailing my PNP this link. Regards, Leyla

    • YoungSally July 2, 2015, 8:45 pm

      Sorry to hear how tough things have been for you. I’ve had major depression with GAD forever and I tend to agree with the other posters that having a clinical psychologist seeing you on a weekly (or twice weekly) basis could be infinitely helpful.

      The talk process is often about having a trained professional observe and monitor your thoughts and moods in a way that is very distinct from your own perception. By observing you in the therapeutic setting on a regular basis, a good therapist will work to understand feelings and beliefs that are clinical vs. those which may be situational or relational.

      My long-time therapist notices patterns, agitations, all sorts of things that I don’t perceive. Her observations are very helpful with the prescribing physician in figuring out when and which medications are most appropriate.

    • felicia August 17, 2015, 2:06 am

      You might want to look into natural progesterone cream. Many women are deficient in this hormone and it causes depression. My story us similar to yours and this did help me. There is a book about it by Dr. John Lee. Can’t remember the name of it, but look up his name on the internet and you will find it. There’s a good natural progesterone cream that works well and is over the counter at health food stores called Emerita progest cream. Could just follow the directions on the package and try it, see if it helps you. Hope you find something that brings relief. Best wishes!

    • Deb January 4, 2016, 8:34 pm

      I can’t tell how old these posts are but I’d recommend trying a low dose. If you take the Extended release early in the morning it will not interfere with sleep (I’ve had to take melatonin for sleep prior yet always woke up at 1:30 or 2, now sleep at least til 6). I received prescription for ADHD but realized my mood has lifted – fatigue exhaustion and sometimes lack of ability to get out of bed is also fixed. Been on Zoloft for years and tried others prior, nothing helped too much but would get myself through day on adrenaline. Now I feel ‘normal’ and love it. Best of luck.

    • JJ March 31, 2016, 10:13 pm

      Please have your doctor check your thyroid free t-3 and free t-4s. I was so bad and nothing worked for 2 long years and was one week away from shock therapy. My thyroid always came back as normal until this test was done. A week later after starting Armour thyroid med I was so different. Now I am supplemented with Adderall 20mg/ day and feel like a real live human being! Good luck!!!

  • gramybear November 10, 2014, 3:58 am

    I heard a Psychiatrist talk about how he has prescribed Adderall for depression. I cannot find anything that works and I’m going through a decision as to whether or not live with my severe depression and stay on my pain medication (that causes my depression to worsen) and live with the depression, or do the opposite. I don’t know if I just made any sense. I am so frustrated and tired of trying every medication out there. I don’t want to be depressed anymore. It has ruined my life. Any suggestion? Thank you

  • T January 20, 2015, 3:23 pm

    I have to say I was very nervous to take Adderall XR or any med. I have tried many mess for my anxiety and nothing seemed to work. I have been taking Adderall for 2 weeks now. As of now, it has really helped my anxiety. I am in school now and have always had a hard time focusing and strugged with what I was reading. The dr thought this med would help. I didn’t know it would help anxiety too. I know a lot of people say it makes anxiety worse. For me its been great.

  • Vigila January 20, 2015, 8:36 pm

    Adderall is merely a concoction of amphetamine salts, and d, l-amphetamine was marketed historically as the elite treatment for melancholic depression and related syndromes… Then idiots who lacked all moral self-governance ruined things for others by abusing it in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s so the paternalistic government was practically forced to act so the idiotic average Joe would not abuse himself to death… There is only one rule for Adderall, and its cousins, and real doctors know: IS THE SPECIFIC PATIENT OF THE RIGHT ETHICAL PROFILE? HISTORY OF IRRESPONSIBILITY, OR SELF-MASTERY?

    With self-governing people not controlled or dominated by the neurons of the lower brain-stem and its ape-like hedonistic drives, Adderall is IMMENSELY THERAPEUTICALLY HELPFUL in innumerable scenarios… The biotechnology exists now to determine whether a person is of a profile behaviorally and genetically, to be predisposed to drug abuse. The exact gene-sequence, or at least the apparent main one, is well-known now – Adderall should be considered as absolutely an open-ended clinical tool for all Homo S. members lacking the addictive-hedonistic genotype.

    Genome-based pharmacology is revolutionary because medicine and “doctoral conservatism” is now utterly obliterated – there is no such thing as generalities that are authentically applicable to all individuals, and the FDA guidelines are a joke only to fetter immoral individuals… All is IDIOPATHIC, case-by-case… Pseudo-conservative foolish doctors who are afraid of Adderall usage due to its stigmatization are simply perpetuating the cycle of stupidity – every doctor MUST genotype and sequence each individual patient IMMEDIATELY, and everything else falls into place from there.

    Do individuals of good character deserve the exceptional consideration? YES. Do individuals of an ethos degenerate and prone to anti-social, deviated patterns require things like “Adderall”? NO – EMPHATICALLY. CASE-BY-CASE is now the rule… My mother suffers and suffered from Multiple Sclerosis-related depression and fatigue for years and idiotic doctors refused to even consider Adderall (even the laughably impotent “MODAFINIL” was considered “troublesome”) because of its “populist” stigmatization.

    She found a new doctor last year open to Adderall, and her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are VASTLY clinically IMPROVED… All those years of tears and suffering, for NOTHING – due to nothing but the cowardice of ignorant, half-educated, careerist, bureaucratic conformist doctors… Paracelsus was wise, if one disputes from another angle: “Alle Dinge sind Gift und nichts ist ohne Gift, allein die Dosis macht es, dass ein Ding kein Gift ist.” [‘All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poison.’]

    • Lynn Mathews August 31, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Wow, you said a mouthful! I am a recovering alcoholic. I drank for 30 years and have been sober for 12. One reason I believe I drank for so long is because I was using alcohol to deal with my depression. When I was young we didn’t even hear a diagnosis of “depression” and I had no idea that non-situational depression even existed. Alcoholism is a very complicated mental/spiritual/physical disease – and I didn’t drink only because of my depression; but it didn’t have anything to do with my character, my ethics or self-mastery of any kind.

      I thank everything that is holy to me that I am now taking Adderall – it has literally saved my life. Whether I am moral or immoral has nothing to do with my non-situational depression. Look, I can tell you are educated and articulate, however your ideas and attitudes towards others is judgmental and, at the very least, uninformed.

      • John W March 27, 2016, 12:57 am

        Thank you for your response to Vigila’s post. I have never suffered from alcoholism or other addiction, so I’m not speaking from that context. I do, however, take Adderall for treatment of chemical depression, and it has provided relief. While there is wisdom in some of what Vigila has written, I too was put off by the tone.

        He/she wrote “…there is no such thing as generalities that are authentically applicable to all individuals.” It could be argued that Vigila’s universal standard of “morality” is one of those generalities. I understand that we each express ourselves through the filters of our own experience, and of course Vigila’s experience is valid.

        But it’s important for me to add to his/her comments, Lynn, that I feel empathy for, not judgment of, your struggle. I congratulate you for not giving up, for taking action (which adheres my own standard of “morality”) and for finding something (Adderall) to help you emerge on the other side.

    • Brent November 7, 2015, 11:13 pm

      Yep you nailed it, the tried and true drugs of old have all become controlled, abuse potential they say…possible because they work and actually alter the mind’s thought patterns that are the root of the depression. Addictive? Well taking anything for long periods of time and your body will adapt to it, take it away and your body will notice. The new drugs and their ridiculous side effects are just as addictive to the body, no abuse potential (because they don’t work to alter mood, which is what needs to happen in a depressed brain) and prolonged withdrawal that is worse than many of the controlled meds.

      Any Dr with a history with the patient should feel great satisfaction knowing he is finally improving their quality of life no matter what the drug is. Drugs are here to improve our quality of life…Why fix what we know works?

  • mt February 18, 2015, 7:13 pm

    For years I have felt ashamed being on adderall. I have had people tell me it’s meth. I would go to the pharmacy to get it filled and felt tremendous guilt. I knew I was not addicted as I could go off it for months with no issues. However, when I did go off of it… I fell into a depression and did not want to socialize. I was always depressed as a child and had the best home life ever so I had no reason to be so sad.

    After the guilt set in from taking this medication I stopped it. I stayed in my house for 6 months. I didn’t even want to leave it. I quit my job because I did not feel worthy. Could I cut this cold turkey? Yes. BUT I WANTED MY LIFE BACK. I’ll tell you one thing…it got me out of a bad funk and I had tried zoloft, clonazepam etc. I DO NOT LIKE TAKING ANY FORM OF MEDICINE. I gave the zoloft and colonzapam back to the Dr. People may talk and abuse this drug which is really hard on those who truly need it.

    I believe without it my world would not be as productive. Multi-tasking was a huge chore for me. Sitting down to read a book? Not me! I couldn’t concentrate. I still feel shame in taking something people classify as meth. It’s hard for me. Depression and anxiety are even harder. So I’ll pick my battles. This medicine helps me so much.

    • Carla June 14, 2015, 6:24 pm

      Your comments could have been written by me! I don’t want to be on medications, but not only do I NOT want to be miserable and unproductive, but I have 3 lovely young children depending on me. I am so thankful for Adderall.

    • Brent November 7, 2015, 11:31 pm

      Don’t feel any guilt about that “meth” reference. Those people are uninformed, meth has no ceiling effect like Adderal has, in other words meth will continue to ramp up the euphoric effect as more of the drug is injested. Adderall doesn’t act that way, it basically hits a ceiling tops off at a certain dose. Also meth users will use a gram (that’s 1000mg…33×30mg Adderal caps) or more daily after the addiction has control of every aspect of there life. Not really the same. :)

  • Brett March 9, 2015, 11:58 am

    Tried 4 different anti-depressants and was still plagued by constant depression, causing total lack of energy, inability to concentrate, sleeping for 10-12 hours a day, and social isolation. All the typical antidepressants gave me weird side effects such as muscle twitches or associative dyskenesia, or made me lethargic. So I stopped taking any antidepressants and told my doctor that I suspected I suffered from ADD that had never been diagnosed – always scored well on aptitude tests, but was an underachiever in school and had trouble with the mental discipline required to learn complex topics.

    I told him that given my complete inability to get motivated lately, my trouble concentrating, my sleeping 10-12 hours a day, maybe I should try some ADD medicine. So he agreed to let me try Adderall XR and I’ve been amazed at the difference it makes. Not only does it wipe out my depression for most of the day, it gives me the mental focus I’ve been lacking all these years AND seems to magically alleviate my lower back pain, which I thought was untreatable as I refuse to take narcotics for it (been down that road once, ain’t going back).

    I’ve since done some Googling and found many other patients with anecdotes about how it has helped their chronic pain and even helped some people to get off prescription pain killers altogether. So, in my personal experience Adderall by itself has cured my depression, back pain, and improved my cognitive functioning. It’s a wonder drug for me. The only bad thing I can say about it is it does tend to make me stay up too late being overproductive at the expense of my mornings. I no longer sleep more than 7-8 hours a night, but sometimes I get up really late because I go to sleep so late.

    Also the fact that it’s a schedule 2 controlled substance makes more expensive than it should be and a much bigger pain in the ass to get scripts filled. I’ll be moving to a different state soon and I’m worried I’ll get some timid doctor that won’t want keep prescribing it to me and I’ll end up having to go doctor shopping. I try to skip taking it at least 2 days a week, or on days when my depression seems manageable without it or when I feel like I’m getting a little “strung out” on it from taking it every day.

    But it doesn’t really seem addictive to me in the typical sense, not like something such as narcotics which are DEFINITELY addictive in my experience. I don’t feel any compulsion to abuse Adderall or take more than prescribed, in fact I sometimes feel a compulsion to take less than prescribed so I crack open a capsule and dump half down the drain when I don’t want the full effects or when I forget to take it until later in the day and don’t want to be up all night. I just wish I’d been on this stuff much sooner in life as I probably would have done much better in school and had the focus/motivation/lack of back pain to pursue a better career.

    • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 6:41 pm

      I’m having a similar experience where I am constantly worried about abusing it and take as little as I can. It’s great. I am taking it on the book for ADD (inattentive type) but when I went in to get tested for ADD I walked out with a duel diagnosis of that and dysthymia (or Persistent Depressive Disorder as it’s called now).

      I wasn’t at all surprised about the dysthymia, I knew that about myself, it’s obvious, and due to some prior experimentation I knew that small doses (5-10mg) of adderall helps with it. In general I think I just have a dopamine deficiency that causes both constant low level depression, lack of motivation AND concentration problems. I have never been on an antidepressant and quite honestly find them pretty scary.

      I know to many people go bonkers being cycled through one SSRI after another and my problem isn’t serious enough to screw up years of my life playing around with meds to find the right one. Adderall does really help but I’m always distrustful of the short effect (4 hours max for me). I worry that I’m just “popping pills”. The effects are subtle but I do feel down/sad/lazy or anxious when I’m not on it but it’s hard to feel like I’m taking legitimate medication when I’m popping pills every few hours.

      I ask myself every day “How can I tell if I’m abusing it?”. The effects are so subtle that sometimes I wonder if I should be taking more. That’s why I haven’t tried XR, because I’m so nit-picky about how much I think I need exactly, right now at this moment. I’ve never taken more than 10mg but sometimes I think I should try just to establish an upper threshold.

      Then again the fact that I’ve never taken more than 10mg at a time does suggest that I’m not abusing it. As far as my psychiatrist goes, because the dosage is so different for different people he pretty much gives me what I say I need (within reason). Also, just a tip. It’s really cheap at Costco and they never seem to run out.

      Also, for what it’s worth, hasn’t caused any sleep problems. Even when I take 5mg at 6 at night, I sleep at 11 or so no problem, maybe I’m up a little later than usual but nothing crazy and nothing that doesn’t happen sometimes anyway. Same how your back pain went away even though that has nothing to do with what the pills supposed to do, I had/have some mysterious stomach issue where if my stomach gets empty (skip a meal) or I am feeling very specific kinds of anxiety my stomach just kind of shuts down and I feel sick (but not nauseous, it’s really hard to describe) and can’t/really don’t want to eat.

      It was getting worse and worse and I was discussing with my PM what to do. The most promising thing was a pill that is actually a dopamine blocker, I decided to hold off because I was days away from getting my Adderall script and that seemed like of counter-intuitive. Since I’ve been on Adderall I haven’t had any stomach issues.

      No idea why. Is it that feeling better emotionally prevents the stomach issues? Was there something up with my dopamine? who knows? In this way it’s actually increased my apatite. Hunger feels normal now.

      Only negative side effect is that I went from a very very casual smoker to a human chimney in about a week.

  • Ned March 14, 2015, 6:03 pm

    I am 29. I have been on just about every medication from 7-16. Though the base of my depression has no cure, the depression was only getting worse. I went to a few psychiatrists only to be told they don’t know how to help me or think I need therapy, my therapist is the best in the field. I recently fired my last psychiatrist who treated my depression with antipsychotics that left me in the ER all night on a few occasions. Anyway I had tried adderall in college and of course it worked great. My GP Doctor had retired or I would have went to him about adderall for depression. Anyway I went to a new GP who is willing to try it and I am currently waiting for the pharmacy to get it in stock.

  • Kristy April 6, 2015, 5:56 am

    I have been on just about everything you can think of and my doc now says I have drug resistant depression. She wanted to give Adderall a try to see how it would work for me (I am also bipolar). The first few days were great and I felt so amazing but then all went to hell for me and I am the worse I have been in years.

    I don’t understand how it is working so well for around 97% of people but not for me. It really sucks. Meds often do that for me though – the longest I’ve gone feeling good on a med is maybe 4-6 months and it just stops. So now we are going to the very last resort which is ECT. I’m very happy that this medication has worked well for so many of you :)

    • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 6:55 pm

      It’s the bipolar. By definition your brain chemistry is fluctuating. From what I’ve heard bipolar is really difficult to treat chemically. I’m sure you know this yourself very well by now. Best of luck to you!

  • koula April 12, 2015, 12:44 pm

    I have been on EVERY ANTIDEPRESSANT, nothing works. I tried my son’s Adderall and got instant relief… Energy, focus, not sleeping all day everyday, etc. Can I ask for this or what?

    • Heather April 16, 2015, 1:56 am

      Ask your doctor about it. Just beware that like antidepressants, and any drug for that matter, the positive effects have a tendency of lessening over time in favor of negative effects, such as increased depression and anxiety. Adderall was amazing for me at first, but over time, my depression worsened. After going off of it, I was able to slowly regain my original state, but it was a long, painful process. But that’s just my experience. Just beware of the possible negatives. It’s up to you if the risk is worth it or not. Good luck!

      • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 7:00 pm

        It really depends on the personality of your doctor. Adderall is a (rather highly) controlled substance so I’d be nervous about asking for it by name but I don’t know your doctor. What I did was emphasis the inability to pay attention symptoms over all the other ones I have and the first thing my psych said when I stopped talking was “let’s try adderall” and he put me on a very low dose.

        I came back a month later and said that dose was fine but I need it 3 times a day, not 2. I was surprised how easy it was. If your taking low doses, which for this kind of thing is typical, I only take 5-10mg at a time, it’s obvious your not drug seeking.

  • Snoopy April 14, 2015, 4:19 am

    Adderall is just weird. I don’t know why it works but it does. For me it lifted my anxiety and then it helped me reduce the amount of Klonopin I was taking for anxiety. I take the IR and I will admit the ‘crash’ people talk about is real, so I don’t take it very often. I have been on every antidepressant out there but this is different.

    • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 7:06 pm

      I don’t really crash but I was taking nodoz (caffeine) for many years before I started Adderall and that crash was way harder so maybe that’s by comparison. I can’t take caffeine now that I’m on adderall, its amplifies the caffeine so much I can barely handle green tea. I take IR and stagger my doses, on paper I take 10mg 3x a day but really I take 5 in the morning (I don’t need that much concentration to get out of bed and drive to work) then 5 every 2 hours as needed (I skip some) so the first and last 2 hour window of time I’m only on half a dose.

      It’s complicated, I know, but it prevents any crash and also cuts down on the “omg it just kicked in and I feel really good” thing which freaks me out a bit. Helps me adjust to exactly how much I need. The downside is it makes me feel like a druggie taking pills so often.

  • heather April 16, 2015, 1:50 am

    It’s interesting seeing so many positive reviews of adderall for depression. I personally have found that adderall is ultimately like any other drug; it gets less effective quickly and the withdrawal gets worse and worse and eventually makes taking the adderall not worth it. Some nights after using adderall during the day were so forlorn and almost unbearable; my brain wouldn’t shut up and I felt much sadder than I did without the adderall.

    It helped my anxiety when I took it, but multiplied it as I tapered off throughout the day. I must say that in the beginning, adderall is truly a MIRACLE; I was so incredibly happy, full of energy, productive, no anxiety, no depression, I felt like, wow, this is who I really am and I’m finally getting to show it. It was awesome and an incredible experience. It just didn’t last. Luckily for me, my depression is generally mild to moderate, depending, so I’ve done decently well without meds for a few years now; it’s still hard, though.

    I’m glad adderall has proven so great for many of you, but if anyone is reading this and considering it, and if any of you who have posted are new to it, just be careful. Adderall is an upper, and what goes up, must come down… I strongly suggest using the lowest dose possible and being weary of upping the dose as the effects wear off; you could be setting yourself up for a depression like you’ve never experienced before. I saw someone say that SSRI withdrawal is much worse than adderall withdrawal, and on that, I agree.

    I’ve never been more utterly hopeless and depressed than when I came off celexa… such a great help in the beginning, but a profound nightmare I can’t put into words when I chose to stop taking it. This is the price of most drugs for mental illnesses. You just have to decide if it’s worth it or not. For some of you with debilitating depression no matter what you do, I completely understand using these drugs. For those of you who are more mild, maybe it’s not worth it in the end. Good luck to everyone. I wish you all well in your journeys fighting off those lifelong monsters.

    • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 7:09 pm

      Thank you for this. I started it about 2 months ago for mild (but really starting to get to me) depression. I finally feel like I can be the person I feel like I’m supposed to be. But I am scared of the “too good to be true” and the long term.

  • Lydia June 26, 2015, 1:14 am

    Hi all. I have had chronic depression for 5 years and currently take Prozac and Adderall. When I am depressed, I get in a rut where I withdraw and feel too awful to get anything done, which further fuels the depression. It feels impossible to be social or to read, both of which are problematic especially because I am a graduate student. Adding Adderall has significantly helped with my sociability and concentration, and ultimately with my depression.

    I am still introverted, will have depressive episodes, and my irritability is worse than normal. However, Adderall likely saved my life, and certainly saved my academic career, by giving me the push I needed to get out of social isolation, read and write academic work, and be confident in myself. For me, the pros of taking Adderall far outweigh the cons. About me (if it’s helpful): perfectionist, introvert, academic, cutter, eating disorder, musician, 20’s.

  • Anthony July 8, 2015, 7:20 am

    Adderall has been the only pill that works for depression for me, all others just seem to make it worst, and is a waste of time. I however, use generics, due to expense so there are for me some generics that work better than others. Everyone is different, so you need to find a generic that suits your depression the best. There are about 5 types of generics out there. And, some or all may work for you. So, it’s a bit and miss with them. If all work, then you’re lucky. Usually, the small pharmacies can order a specific brand of generic for you.

  • Matt July 25, 2015, 12:16 am

    I’ve been diagnosed bipolar (manic depressive), borderline personality. I hate labels, but understand why ‘they’ think they have to make them. I am now in my 50’s. I’ll be the first to say most GP doctors are completely ignorant on what to do with severely depressed people and psychiatrist seem far to eager to prescribe a mind altering drug that makes life a living hell.

    I’d far rather be addicted to Adderall than some of the SSRI’s doctors forced down my throat. I also have Fibromyalgia. For what its worth, I successfully played college football, but remembered my muscles seemed to ache more than my teammates and as I’ve aged the fiber has worsened. I never partied much when young and was in bed, at latest by midnight. Some party animal.

    I had had suicidal ideations from as early as five, but didn’t know it was a bad thing, I thought all people felt like me. Long and short, after seeking help from doctors and clergy throughout the 70’s & 80’s – there seemed very little hope for my kind back then – but I finally have a cocktail that works. Make no mistake, it will be a cocktail of drugs that ‘helps you survive’ – if you have what I have.

    So thank God for Adderall and Vyvanse. (Not at the same time) My cocktail consists of hydrocodone, Gabapentin, tramadol, adderall, valtrex, clonapin, and ambien. Before you judge MY cocktail, just know – I am now a full time teacher and parent of three young adults. And compared to the deep blues and rages I lived with before having the meds – I’ll fight any doctor or politician that attempts to alter what I can take.

    Why? Because the alternative for me is hell… most likely worse. Typically, I have 4 good days a week, 2 okay and one that’s usually pretty rough – I just fight through it and know it’ll be better tomorrow. I say all this to let you know there is hope. Get several GOOD doctors that will work with you – it will take all of you to figure what works for you. God bless!

  • Terry Adams July 31, 2015, 1:48 am

    Thanks to all for commenting on this adderall subject for depression. I really enjoyed reading about how obstinate Docs can be about prescribing this drug. Quite frankly, I’ve had to suffer with my nonconforming cocktail to treat my severe depression because of others recreational abuse of the drug.

    The government is controlled by pharmaceutical companies. Sad, but true. How do we stop thisthis? For real. I am absolutely sick about people not getting the utmost in mental health care. Doctors have to be cautious, but to limit the use of a drug like adderall for the treatment of depression caused me to personally try and take my life.

    What is this country coming to? Not even to mention if you are low income state funded program stricken! You may not believe this story… After being baker acted for attempting suicide, My Doctor in the Institution prescribed me adderall, klonopin and effexor. After two days she could tell I was back on my correct meds. She released me to follow-up care. The follow-up care was with a state funded program.

    The reason for being off my meds in the first place, market crash. Like so many others. Couldn’t afford my medication. Upon going to the mental health center, they could not prescribe a controlled substance. I was put on the latest list of drugs the rep had just dropped off for Free. AD’s if course. Nin-addictive they say. Well let me tell you about non-addictive antidepressants.

    If you’ve ever tried to come off them, Effexor in particular. Do you think they’re non-addictive? Come on. The worst torture in my life. But, you won’t prescribe Adderall to save a persons life. Why? Because some speed freaks decided to snort it up their nose!! I have to suffer? Cost of Adderall, abusers and nearsighted professionals in the mental health field need to wake up. Seriously!

    We winder why people out there are doing some crazy things we hear in the news? Our lack of help, assistance for people in the low income bracket with mental health DISEASE. Not issues. DISEASE, Is still like a third world country in these United States. Absolutely disgraceful. But, we still sit back and wonder why people are still on welfare or homeless. In other words, in survival mode.

    Not all can be contributed to mental health disease, so let’s just stay in denial and go back to our picket-fenced houses and wonder why you need a security gate and Alarm System with a gun under your bed. Or, we can all move to Colorado and smoke weed. Whatever you do, don’t try and get some Adderall. Out of the question. It’s a controlled substance ya know.

    Adderall has given me my life back. After 23 different combinations of drug cocktails, ECT, Ten hospitalizations, Cognitive therapy, Behavioral modification therapy, hypnotherapy and seeing a Psychiatrist once a month for the last 34 years, Finally I’ve found relief from my Depression and anxiety disorders and a successful person who no longer wants to die every day! Feel me?

    I can help others and really want to live. It all came with a price. A price predicated by greed, judgement and lack of education. Pray for Adderall awareness. It is my experience it would keep many people out of institutions and death! -Terry

  • Beth August 29, 2015, 6:23 pm

    I have had treatment resistant depression for 20+yrs. No SSRI no ECT has helped. My husband (bad back) was taking vicodin, I took one and low and behold my depression was gone. I have taken Adderall for many years I can stop with out any withdrawal problems. Last year I was weaning off Cymbalta and ended up in the ER 4 times with Serotonin Syndrome, resting pulse of 190! Doctors kept coming in, some what shocked my heart was able to keep up! Problem: it has become a drug that those who do not need it, addicts, are giving it a bad rap. My family is giving me trouble about my taking it!!! Beth

    • John September 10, 2015, 7:04 pm

      Don’t listen to your family Beth. If it’s working for you keep taking it!!!

      • Brent November 6, 2015, 4:05 am

        If everyone alive were to experience treatment resistant Major Depression with anxiety bordering on fear, things would change. It’s interesting that amphetamines and opiates were among the first drugs prescribed for depressed patients. Hmm…because they work, without the laundry list of side effects these so called modern era wonder drugs have. I right there with you…If it works it’s life saving and needs to be viewed as approved treatment like chemo to a cancer patient.

    • Sarah Mathews July 8, 2016, 7:13 pm

      There needs to be more research into dopamine deficient depression vs serotonin.

  • DONNA September 23, 2015, 2:16 pm

    I too have suffered from “incurable depression” my entire life. I have been to one psych after another since 18 (I am not 60). After a divorce and another heartbreaking tragedy back to back, my depression got so bad I had to be hospitalized 2 times!! I have been on every antidepressant and mood stabilizer available but could not stand the side effects of each one.

    Cymbalta finally offered “some” relief but not enough to have any quality of life. A psych finally gave me Ritalin which I took for 10 years, AND IT CHANGED/SAVED MY LIFE!! I was finally able to get out of bed and laugh with my family and draw, sew and go on vacation. After 10 years tho, it no longer seemed to be working at the same dose, at which point I was switched to Adderall. Adderall is stronger and more intense and my side effects (teeth grinding) have gotten worse.

    I am still depression free mostly but I am also anxiety ridden and sometimes feel like a “speed freak”. I deal with it all because its better than wanting to commit suicide which I haven’t considered in years now. Adderall, Ritalin have literally saved my life and I strongly urge anyone who is as depressed as I was to at least give it a try. And I have much empathy for all of you. Don’t give up-things change everyday and you never know whats around the corner.

  • Crazyman September 27, 2015, 8:12 pm

    I am 37 and have suffered terrible OCD, anxiety, panic attacks and bipolar depression for 30 years. After trying almost 30 different depression /bipolar meds I was about to give up. After researching adderall and Ritalin for this use I was on a mission. I had to see 4 or 5 doctors as they all refused to try it and claimed it would make me worse. I finally found a doctor who listened, and actually knew of how the drugs had helped people like me, so he let me try them. I take adderall in the am and Ritalin the rest of the day.

    I have never felt better in my life. Ever. No depression, no panic attacks, no suicidal issues, and it’s amazing. Don’t give up and find an open minded doctor. Hell I even had medical reports showing proof and the others wouldn’t listen and I’m tempted to email the jack offs and tell them how ignorant and wrong they were and would have had me in hell trying more crap. I feel like I’ve wasted 30 years but persistence paid off and now I can function. These do work and I encourage anyone suffering like I was to find a doctor who will try them for you.

    • Brent November 6, 2015, 4:13 am

      Wow reads like my story, I finally decided to fake ADD. It’s ridiculous that off label use is such an issue, should be between you and your doctor – that’s it.

  • Carol October 19, 2015, 2:12 am

    I wanted to thank you for providing info-as general as it may be- to explain to me my use of adderall these past 3 years in my decades-long struggle with major depression. My guilt at relying on this med to help me get out of bed each day has been substantially reduced after reading of your personal experience as well as that which you’ve researched and presented in an easy to understand way. Thank you very much. Been searching long for this.

  • Hern October 26, 2015, 4:32 am

    I don’t want to excite people to take adderall because over a long term it’s not good. Since I can remember I’ve been depressed. I tried all kinds of medication. And adderall 15mg in the morning and sometimes other 15 at afternoon saved my life. So I recommend it, but it obviously depends on the case. Always under Dr supervision.

  • Chucky December 3, 2015, 8:43 am

    I’ve been depressed for years and have tried all kinds of depression drugs, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Zoloft, and now Prozac. I am 43 yrs old and have a great wife and a 15 yr old son who is also depressed like me. He is on adderall and Prozac. My problem is I’ve taken some of his adderall and have even bought them on the street.

    I recently lost my mom at age 62 and father at 52. Wife and I lost a 7 month old baby years ago. To get to the point finally… The adderall has helped me tremendously! I feel good on this and am the happiest person when on them. I tried to explain how this works for me, but my wife doesn’t get it. She hates pills and thinks that if a doctor prescribed them to me, then it would be ok.

    I feel like I passed this depression on to my son and my wife kind of thinks so too. We have a lot of trouble with him still on the drug. So tonight after I told her I bought some on the street, she was historic to say the least but I told her anyway. Tonight I agreed to see a psychiatrist to explain my depression and see if he or she would put me on it for awhile. Then my wife says it’s ok to take them if I’m monitored.

    I agree! The adderall does so much for me, I’m social, think better, handle my child better, without yelling and swearing all night. I am a foreman at work and I am able to teach new guys our line of work with ease and great patience. I’m busy all the time on them and just changes me into a nice person all the way around and somebody I want to be.

    Sorry so long, but I needed to put into words here and see if anyone else here is mine this. I’ve done a lot of research on this adderall, and just believe it’s right for me. Tell me what any of your thoughts, but don’t call me some kind of druggie. I do have shame from stealing my sons pills and putting my wife through this whole thing. I’m just trying to make her understand me and this depression. Thanks, Chuck

  • Mike December 10, 2015, 7:46 pm

    So much wisdom here, born of psychological pain. Anyone who struggles with depression knows how hard it is. I take Paxil, trazodone and ritalin. The addition of ritalin is something that I fought for too long. It helps a lot, and many of us have had the experience of choosing feeling well vs. despair. It takes courage and surrender to what will help. Right now, it is the best alternative, and I will stick with it. I hope that it continues to help.

  • Natalya December 20, 2015, 6:06 am

    I first started taking Adderal 6 months ago. I had ADD all my life and have never addressed it to my doctor. I decided to give Adderall a chance. From the fist pill I felt a major difference. My brain was sharp, all my stored knowledge started to come out. I wanted to read non stop. I wanted to learn everything. I wrote a lot of interesting ideas. I couldn’t stop working, organizing. I have never felt this motivated and productive.

    My cognitive abilities were in full force. I wanted to talk about everything in the world to my friends, I couldn’t stop sharing my ideas. I was funny, energetic, I felt happy. After work I cleaned my whole apartment, went to the gym, I’ve accomplished a great deal that day. The only problem is that I cloud the fall asleep and the next day I felt very tired and I needed Adderall to just keep me awake and active. There were also side effects, loss of appetite, need to urinate often, skin breakouts, I felt jittery, loss of regular sleep, coming down was not a happy feeling.

    I couldn’t stop thinking at bedtime which make it hard to fall asleep. I started to take higher dosages. I lost appetite, I wasn’t getting enough nutrients and not enough sleep so eventually I started to deteriorate physically and emotionally. I decided to stop. After stopping all my emotions came back, I felt unmotivated, unhappy, focusing at work was a major problem. I decided to do some research and see what other people have experienced on this drug.

    Most were positive and called it a life saver. I had nothing to lose and decided to try but with a different approach. I took 20mg every morning after breakfast. Tried to eat healthy and drink a lot of water. Then I took another 20mg in the afternoon after lunch, kept drinking water. At bedtime I started taking a little bit of Xanax to help me sleep. It worked wonders. Side effects vanished, appetite came back. I’m myself again and accomplish so much in a day with great interest.

    I fell emotionally stable, I’m not impulse anymore and spend time a sling before making a decision. My life has improved greatly!! Adderall is a great medicine for people who suffer from ADD, depression and bi-polar disorder. I tried antidepressants, they made me incredibly sick emotionally blank. Adderall is very effective when taken responsibly. Watch your diet, exercise, get enough of sleep. It will improve your life, but please use it wisely.

  • Jim March 15, 2016, 9:43 pm

    I can relate to many of these post because I know from experience if you are suffering from severe depression any drug that offers relief is welcomed although one person’s miracle drug can be another’s nightmare or sugar pill. The biggest drawback in my experience is building tolerance over time to the point it is no longer effective. The results tend to vary from one person to the next.

    Regardless, the only people to quickly condemn a drug that offers relief are those that have never truly experienced the horrors of severe depression and have no idea just how life threatening it can be. I personally have taken opiates and Adderall temporarily just to be able to survive the next few hours and will continue to do so when the need arises.

  • Anoymous April 5, 2016, 1:42 am

    I suffered severe Depression 2-3 times in my Life due to situations such as Divorce or Death of a Loved one. At age 40, a Psychiatrist prescribed Adderall, because nothing else had ever worked. Within 1 day, my Entire outlook on Life changed for the better! I took it off and on till age 59. Then, due to my Husband suddenly abandoning me and deaths of 3 past Loving friends, I became Severely depressed again and was also diagnosed with PSTD.

    I began Adderall again. Life was better. Only THIS time, my Narcissistic Estranged Husband sent a letter to my Doctor claiming I was a Drug Addict and all kinds of horrible things! I was dropped immediately from her Practice! I was on 90 mg Adderall daily and had a half bottle left. Ive been taking only 30- 45 mg Daily and I’m getting Severe Depression again.

    I’ve lost 15 lbs in 3 weeks and can’t move from my bed. I live alone in a new town with no friends and my Family is against Adderall because they don’t understand its effectiveness on treating Depression. They think I abuse it! I know I will not be able to endure the Horrible, Insane Depression that is awaiting me when the Only Medication that works in gone. I can think of Only One way out of it this time. It’s amazing how “Ignorance” can Kill.

  • Eric April 11, 2016, 1:52 am

    This is an amazing board. I have not seen anything quite like it. First of all I commend every one of you who has survived this battle. My own story is also 33 years in the making and it seems like either it requires G-d’s direct intervention or something that can provide long term stability. I have been on virtually every AD, 5 courses of ECT and just about every supplement you can imagine.

    I am currently taking ketamine\TMS on the North Shore in Chicago and have seen a lot of restorative benefit from it. The Adderall has also benefited me. The other thing I want to mention is zinc. It seems like zinc maybe the counterpart to lithium for the NMDA receptor whereas Lithium targets the AMPA receptor.

    I am on both Strattera and Adderall and too much zinc will cause my heart rate to really boost so I am trying to figure out how to balance this. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I know a rapid reduction in Strat would send me over a cliff. Anyway, I really appreciate this board and G-d bless all of you with a cure.

  • Alex April 19, 2016, 6:20 pm

    I happened on your article while trying to narrow down specifically what kind of depression I have. My whole life I’ve been told it’s severe/manic etc. It certainly feels that way after all the experimenting with different treatments and coming up short handed or worse in result… anyway I had recently started taking adderall… more as a drug than a treatment (didn’t know people were using it for treatments).

    But I also took it as a child and I hated the effects. Now as an abuse I snort them and to my knowledge or (bad memory) the effect isn’t the same as taking it orally at… 8 years old. It’s more enjoyable. Looking at it as a treatment gives me hope but also scares me in a way.

    I used to have a very bad meth problem. And I don’t want to relapse. So far I haven’t relapsed but if adderall is one thing that can help with this then I don’t want to stop… antidepressants seem to have an opposite effect making me a lot more suicidal. Currently my depression spike (as I call it) is pretty bad. And taking adderall with it I’ve noticed the following:

    -More shaky (hands)
    -Libido improves mildly (which is a big problem in the relationship)
    -No appetite. (Adderall is part of the amphetamine family so no surprise there)
    -Socially I see minuscule improvement but room for more. (Partially due to a constant negative household)
    -More focused
    -Easier to make decisions
    -More willing to be active through the day

    I haven’t been taking them too long so I hope I don’t eventually relapse. But I’d rather be an addict too if it meant I could actually feel something. Like I’m not numb and shut down to everything and everyone.

  • Cari May 2, 2016, 7:50 am

    OMG I am so excited to find this, I can hardly stand it! I’ve had depression for about 20 years, with 2 major depressive states. I’ve been on meds ever since. I was on Cymbalta for years. Coming off was horrible. I had to seek a compounding pharmacy and pay outrageous prices to have my dosage cut slowly over time. I lost a job due to depression (missing work and being anchored to my bed).

    I completed an out-patient treatment program and saw a therapist regularly, and eventually graduated myself from therapy. I continued taking citalopram. I was diagnosed with ADD several years ago and started taking adderall. It helped so much. I also have high blood pressure. I was shocked to learn adderall never caused my BP to go up, because in people who truly have ADD/ADHD (compared to those who take it illegally for a high) won’t be affected by adderall.

    Hallelujah! I can take adderall safely! My depression snuck up on me again, and I lost a second job. I’ve been anchored to my bed for a year and a half. I’ve been uninsured. I paid cash for my adderall, but weaned myself and stopped taking it so I could sleep, which has been all I want to do. I decided last week to check myself into an in-patient treatment facility.

    As I am uninsured, I have a lot of investigating to do to make it happen, but it’s my goal to check in very soon. I have suicidal thoughts, but I am too chicken to do it, and I’ve asked the lord many times to bring me home to live w him. A lightbulb went off at 1 am tonight (as y’all know we don’t sleep at night) and I was thinking about how much better I felt and lived when I was consistently taking adderall!

    Decided to Google it, and was shocked and EXCITED about what I found. I just emailed my therapist and sent her a couple of the articles I found. I look so forward to hearing back from her and I’ll be calling my doctor first thing in the morning. To add to this post, my experience with adderall was very positive. The only negative I can even think of, is that it caused my hands to shake.

    It wasn’t even noticeable to me for the most part. When I was using my phone, texting, my right thumb would shake, or when I tried to take a picture, I could never hold it still. I had a bit of a sleeping issue, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Definitely worth a phone call to your doc/psychiatrist! P.S. If anyone has anything to share about in-patient treatment, please share. I’m in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

    Best wishes to all who suffer from this awful disease. I feel like it’s doubly debilitating, as someone with cancer, diabetes, etc. can continue moving and working and living and loving (just using that as an example – I realize many physically ill people can’t function either), but our disease is physically AND mentally debilitating, and we have to defend it, because no one understands! So frustrating. Blessings to y’all!

  • Barry Wilson June 23, 2016, 4:41 pm

    I have refractory depression and have been using vyvanse for years. I find the word treatment is not accurate. I cannot use it every day as that leads to tolerance. I use it as someone would use an aspirin. To make bad feelings go away and be able to function. They depressive symptoms are mostly removed but when the drug begins to wear off I need to take lorazepam and clonazepam so that I don’t crash and feel terrible.

    I am careful to take a little at a time until I feel I am somewhat even. But I usually feel quite depressed at some point during the process. But I need it ion order to accomplish things. I am beyond hope as a functioning member of society, But I can work on personal projects. Or even just play a video game. Without it, I am depressed and find sleeping through the day the most pleasant way to deal with the sadness.

    Or I will wake up with anxiety, and Vyvanse will calm my nerves. I know I have gotten past the point where I should have taken a break from the drug when it makes me sleepy not stimulated. It is a tool, it is not a treatment that makes things all better. Excuse the misspelled words but I don’t feel like correcting them.

  • James June 24, 2016, 10:30 am

    I was severely injured at work 10 years ago and it took worker’s comp 3 & 1/2 to approve a back surgery that 3 well known spinal surgeons were begging to be approved for 3 yrs. I was severely depressed, so much pain, anxiety like crazy, muscle spasms constantly, tried to kill myself at least 5 or more times 3 before surgery and 2 after because it failed. Over those years I was on Fentanyl 100mcgs daily plus numerous pain pills from oxy to dilaudid every opioid ever created, muscle relaxers, and always a different antidepressant.

    They never worked made things more dull and me even more depressed. So I was basically only leaving the house for Drs appts, the ones I had to be at. I was fired BC of my injury and it was their fault. But this rollercoaster of emotions and stress and anxiety and pain and so many different antidepressants I just gave up trying them BC they never worked like I was saying.

    But last month my psychiatrist said, I’m going to treat you as a real patient and not a worker’s comp patient and BC you you are so bed ridden, full of anxiety about everything, basically agoraphobic, no energy, just wasting away, missing everything in life esp family – I’m going to put you on something that I think will help – but it has a lot of stigma attached to it. So I listened to my psych for the 30-45 minutes talk and I didn’t even realize what he was putting me on, never heard of it. He said it’s abused in the form of crystal meth.

    And I was like no way I like my teeth and this and that and he said no no no it’s not something you smoke and has rat poison in it. It’s used for ADHD but he has seen complete 180’s with people in my condition with severe major depressive episodes for so long a time span with no help from and of the SSRI’s etc. And it took a few weeks to get approved BC of my age and the first day I picked them up about an hour after taking my first pill I was outta bed, showered, and sitting in the living room just waiting for my family to wake up and they didn’t recognize me.

    I was making jokes, laughing, not complaining like usual and actually wanted to do things. Now it did increase my pain but that was bc I was actually up and walking but was able to think clearer than ever like putting on glasses and not knowing you needed them, so I knew exactly what I needed to do when I was feeling the pain. Take a break LOL, relax, let it pass if it was time for pain meds take them, and I didn’t just curl up into bed.

    I actually would focus on like doing a little light cleaning like dusting for 5-10 mins or organizing something in my extremely messy room and actually remembering what I did, where I put things, and what I was going to do next. So far I’m only on week 5 and still take my regular meds but I’m actually starting to figure this life thing out I believe and in conjunction with anxiety meds, pain meds, and sleep meds I really feel like I can start to become a person again and not a vegetable laying in weeks old underwear and not showering or having even decent hygiene.

    And I don’t find myself needing more or even wanting more and I take breaks off the Adderall with no side effects actually. My bed actually feels more like a bed then before when it felt like a prison. Anyway it’s helping and the euphoria has gone which is really good BC that was like I could climb the Empire State Building so know I’m just ready to better myself and hopefully be able to join the real world a little more every month. So to me it’s basically saving my life at the moment and I’ve had some horrible, shocking, and utterly heartbreaking things happen to me the last year in particular.

    So if you are reading this and you seem anything like myself why not try Adderall low dose? It has made things more enjoyable for me and I’m hoping it will help me build back some muscle tone BC I have none and hopefully help me make some friends BC I have none. Time will tell but so far so good, no drawbacks, just good things to report.

    • Gren August 27, 2016, 7:17 pm

      How are you doing now?

  • Stuart Adams August 7, 2016, 8:05 pm

    I’ve suffered from depression all my life but when I turned 29 I had a breakdown and the aftermath of severe depression was intolerable. I most had no energy, felt an extreme inner angst and could sleep often all day and night for up to 19 days at a time. Even then I didn’t escape as my sleep was a feeling of being zombified rather than relaxed.

    On the medication front I was prescribed dozens of either tricyclics, SSRIs and SNRIs, none of which had the slightest benefit whatsoever. Now I’m not here to sound like an angel, just to tell my tale and aged 43 I was at my wits end and by then only had mild hesitance in telling my psychiatrist that the only time I felt total relief from depression was when I had taken amphetamine unprescribed. I’m in the UK and even prescribing stimulants for Attention Deficit is fairly rare so I was amazed when my psychiatrist referred me to a pharmaceutical expert with a view of giving me amphetamine for my treatment resistant depression.

    I was even more amazed when I walked away with a prescription for Dexedrine which for the sake of argument is almost identical to Adderall. Now that was 6 years ago and although I can get mildly flat at worse I haven’t really suffered from serious depression since. I have much more energy and don’t have these whole weeks in bed anymore.

    For the most part I’ve been relatively cheerful ever since, only sorry that I wasted so many years depressed prescribed only conventional antidepressants. In the UK the deal now is that once authorized by the psychiatrist the GP has to continue with the ongoing prescribing. My GP. despite my massive improvement including no more suicidal ideation just couldn’t get her head around the fact that I was prescribed something unheard of here and finally refused to prescribe.

    I admit there are dependency issues as I immediately plunged into a state of withdrawal and a state of depression even I had never suffered so bad. But I agree with those who say so what about dependance if it means a life free from the despair of depression. My psychiatrist and I fought tooth and nail to have my prescription reinstated and eventually we were successful.

    Six months later in fact and my depression immediately subsided and I became alive again. There was no point just switching GPs as a new GP would probably have been just as reactionary! I really do think in the UK it’s about time the medical profession looked at the awful efficacy of today’s standard antidepressants and realised how much there is to be said of the old stimulant type drugs which used to be the only medication on offer for depression.

    I admit they have their difficulties but I believe without a prescription for Dexedrine or Adderall I would have probably found severe depression so intolerable by now that I probably would have succumbed to suicide.

  • Casey Clifford September 7, 2016, 7:31 pm

    Great article, I am prescribed for ADD but honestly, I feel as though it’s more helpful for my energy / depression. When I’m depressed I often eat too much, and then I’m off into a downward cycle. 1 10mg Adderall will snap me out of it, thus no over eating, and no unhealthy weight gaining. If used responsibly, I feel it’s an excellent solution to depression!

  • Lana Jones September 13, 2016, 12:01 am

    I began using Adderall for my relentless depression 4 years ago. In the beginning, it was a wonder drug but now it has become a nightmare as I can’t function without it. It has changed me into a person who rarely enjoys anything even when I’m not depressed. I’m in the process of weaning off of it. I’m terrified of this as I hear it is a very hard process but I can’t continue to live this way. So if I were you, I’d think before going down the Adderall route. Good luck.

  • Caleb November 30, 2016, 1:37 am

    Hi, I have been on just about every antidepressant out there in addition to being misdiagnosed with bipolar. Most medications I received put me in a zombie like state and I did nothing but sleep. When I quit taking all my meds, the sleepiness stayed. This is when I got put on adderall. It did help somewhat with my mood and definitely helped with energy, but I still had a very hard time dealing with the lingering symptoms of depression.

    Now I thought SSRIs weren’t the answer since I had been on so many, but my combo of zoloft and adderall work AMAZING. I never thought I would feel this close to normal again and I strongly recommend anyone finding it difficult to find something that works to try this. The first few weeks the side effects are pretty weird like tingling sensations and small visual hallucinations, but for me, they went away very quickly… for anyone struggling out there, give this a shot!

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