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Old 01-21-2005, 07:39 AM   #1
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Question Adderall Causing Depression?

I was wondering if anyone has experienced depression while taking Adderall XR? When I started taking the med 4 months ago I noticed a drastic improvement in my ADHD symptoms as well as a slight mood lift. This lasted until about 2 weeks ago when I started feeling depressed. I just don't feel like myself anymore. The depression gets worse when the Adderall starts kicking in & wears off as the medication wears off.

Prior to starting Adderall I have never had to deal with depression. That is what leads me to believe the med is causing it. I'm just so frustrated! Either I can stop taking the Adderall & go back to my fidgety/inattentive/impulsive self OR I can continue taking it & feel sad all the time. Do you think a dosage adjustment needs to be made?

Please help me I'm so confused!

 
Old 01-21-2005, 02:04 PM   #2
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

You need to get to your Dr. and have a med check. A lot of ADD/ADHD folks I know struggle with depression but it's before AND during meds.

 
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Old 01-21-2005, 02:55 PM   #3
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Well, amphetamines raise dopamine levels and in doing so, the seratonin levels drop. And when certain antidepressants are taken alone, they raise seratonin, but drop the dopamine levels. So, that's why an anti-depressant is often needed along with amphetamines....to keep it all in balance.

I've always taken an anti-depressant along with the Adderall for this reason.

Talk to your doctor about it and maybe he/she can put you on a mild anti-depressant to offset the amphetamine.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malibubarbie999
I was wondering if anyone has experienced depression while taking Adderall XR? When I started taking the med 4 months ago I noticed a drastic improvement in my ADHD symptoms as well as a slight mood lift. This lasted until about 2 weeks ago when I started feeling depressed. I just don't feel like myself anymore. The depression gets worse when the Adderall starts kicking in & wears off as the medication wears off.

Prior to starting Adderall I have never had to deal with depression. That is what leads me to believe the med is causing it. I'm just so frustrated! Either I can stop taking the Adderall & go back to my fidgety/inattentive/impulsive self OR I can continue taking it & feel sad all the time. Do you think a dosage adjustment needs to be made?

Please help me I'm so confused!
New studies have linked amphetamines to development of depression, so this is probably not your imagination.

 
Old 01-23-2005, 09:35 PM   #5
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Glad to know this isn't just in my head...

VintageWine: Thanks for putting things in plain English, I wasn't aware that amphetamines lower serotonin levels. I'll talk to my doctor about possibly trying an antidepressant if this continues. I'd hate to give up a med that's made such a HUGE difference in my life, but at the same time I miss the way I used to feel... happy.

 
Old 01-24-2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

You are very welcome, Malibubarbie.

 
Old 01-25-2005, 08:18 PM   #7
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Question Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Hey there ... I've been wondering the same thing. It seems like you and I have been taking XR for about the same length of time (I started taking 25mg in the middle of August) and we seem to be experiencing the same symptoms around the same times. If you recall, a few weeks ago I posted a question related to whether or not the XR is what's causing my hands to be so cold. Lately--or over the past month, anyway--I've also been experiencing similar symptoms of depression. During the day, when I get that initial "high" shortly after taking the meds, I'm usually in a SUPER mood. However, there are times where something will put me in a bad mood and I'll be in a BLAH mood all day long... I wonder if it might be connected to that dopamine-seratonin reaction that Vintage was talking about? ...

Also, I've noticed over the past few months that in terms of a social life, I'm becoming very dissociative... I stay at home, I never have a desire to talk to any of my friends on the phone, never have the desire to hang out with anyone other than my better half (which to him is great!), never go out anymore, and now, more than ever, I feel like Im getting more and more irritated with my job which in turn puts me in a bad mood by the time I leave at the end of the day.

Like you, I've noticed a great deal of improvement in my attention span and in my grades at school, and I'd hate to give up a good thing. I usually won't take the Adderall on the weekends (only because due to the fact that it's so expensive I can't usually justify taking it on the weekends unless something important is going on) and the withdrawal symptoms are more than evident. I end up being really hateful on Saturday and don't usually have a ton of energy, then on Sunday, I find myself sleeping in til 3pm, getting out of bed to get something to eat, then going right back to bed and I sleep thru til Monday morning...

So essentially, Im as curious about the possibility of depression as you are. UNFORTUNATELY, getting in to see my doctor is not so easy so I have to schedule an appointment months in advance... but yeah, Im with you there... and I'll keep checking your post to check for replies to see if anyone else has additional input. Have a great Wednesday!

 
Old 01-27-2005, 09:58 AM   #8
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Arrow Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Hey there Josh --

Yes, I remember your post about the cold hands. That is weird how we seem to be experiencing the same side effects around the same times. I could deal with the cold hands, but depression? No thanks! I'm so frustrated! It's like I don't wanna stop taking the med because it has helped improve my attention span/motivation/grades went up/etc. But then again, I just don't feel like myself anymore.

I know exactly what you mean by the whole dissociative thing. I, too, have been blowing friends off for the simple reason that I no longer have the *desire* to chit-chat or hang out. It just seems like too much work. Normally I am an extremely outgoing person/always on the go/spontaneous/etc. I just don't feel like myself anymore!

Last night I was chillin' with my bf (like you said, my sig other is the only person I have hung out with lately) & I was getting irritated over really stupid things that normally wouldn't bother me at all. Also, I feel like crying sometimes for no reason. It's a terrible feeling!!! I mean, is this depression going to go away or will we hafta stop taking the Adderall for that to happen?!?! Or is the depression going to get even worse?!? I mean, usually when you start taking a drug, as your body gets used to it the side effects become *LeSS* bothersome... not worse!!!

So you take "drug holidays"? I've never went more than maybe a day w/o taking the Adderall since it was prescribed to me. I can only imagine how horrible the withdrawal symptoms are!!! Ya know, I don't think I have ever been prescribed anything that has had such negative effects along with the withdrawal you mentioned. I was taking narcotic pain relievers (Oxycontin/Vicodin/Vicoprofin) for 4 mos. straight after a car accident (broken leg) last year & even w/ those drugs I had NO negative side effects or withdrawals at all. Then we have Adderall on the other end of the spectrum, w/ so many negative effects I could write a book on them!

So are you planning on sticking w/ Adderall to see if the effects lessen at all, or will you be switching meds? I am seriously considering changing meds (maybe to Concerta or something) if this depression & moodiness doesn't subside w/in the next month or so. I am kind of weary when it comes to long-term Adderall use anyway. Afterall -- it *is* amphetamine which can lead to negative consequences down the road. Maybe I'm just paranoid but I have read quite a few reports on young children dropping dead of heart failure who had been taking the med. Afterall Adderall was on the market as a diet drug in the 70s (under the name Obetrol) & was taken off the market for safety concerns. Then 20 yrs later it's brought back as Adderall & given to kids?! Oh also, I don't know how true this is, but I also read that Adderall has been linked to 11 separate cases of psychotic episodes/mental illness as a result of regular use. I dunno, but maybe this depression we're feeling is a warning of what's to come... I sure hope not!!!

Also, lately I have been experiencing headaches? Do you get headaches at all? So far I've experienced these side effects from Adderall:

1. Loss of appetite/unintentional weight loss
2. Dizziness
3. Headaches
4. Depression/moodiness/emotional instability/"zombie"-like demeanor
5. Cold hands

But hey, according to the pamphlet from Shire (maker of Adderall), the majority of these symptoms are "normal." Anyway, let me know how you're doin' & take care!!! Just remember, you are *NoT* alone!!!!!

 
Old 01-27-2005, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malibubarbie999
Hey there Josh --

Yes, I remember your post about the cold hands. That is weird how we seem to be experiencing the same side effects around the same times. I could deal with the cold hands, but depression? No thanks! I'm so frustrated! It's like I don't wanna stop taking the med because it has helped improve my attention span/motivation/grades went up/etc. But then again, I just don't feel like myself anymore.

I know exactly what you mean by the whole dissociative thing. I, too, have been blowing friends off for the simple reason that I no longer have the *desire* to chit-chat or hang out. It just seems like too much work. Normally I am an extremely outgoing person/always on the go/spontaneous/etc. I just don't feel like myself anymore!

Last night I was chillin' with my bf (like you said, my sig other is the only person I have hung out with lately) & I was getting irritated over really stupid things that normally wouldn't bother me at all. Also, I feel like crying sometimes for no reason. It's a terrible feeling!!! I mean, is this depression going to go away or will we hafta stop taking the Adderall for that to happen?!?! Or is the depression going to get even worse?!? I mean, usually when you start taking a drug, as your body gets used to it the side effects become *LeSS* bothersome... not worse!!!

So you take "drug holidays"? I've never went more than maybe a day w/o taking the Adderall since it was prescribed to me. I can only imagine how horrible the withdrawal symptoms are!!! Ya know, I don't think I have ever been prescribed anything that has had such negative effects along with the withdrawal you mentioned. I was taking narcotic pain relievers (Oxycontin/Vicodin/Vicoprofin) for 4 mos. straight after a car accident (broken leg) last year & even w/ those drugs I had NO negative side effects or withdrawals at all. Then we have Adderall on the other end of the spectrum, w/ so many negative effects I could write a book on them!

So are you planning on sticking w/ Adderall to see if the effects lessen at all, or will you be switching meds? I am seriously considering changing meds (maybe to Concerta or something) if this depression & moodiness doesn't subside w/in the next month or so. I am kind of weary when it comes to long-term Adderall use anyway. Afterall -- it *is* amphetamine which can lead to negative consequences down the road. Maybe I'm just paranoid but I have read quite a few reports on young children dropping dead of heart failure who had been taking the med. Afterall Adderall was on the market as a diet drug in the 70s (under the name Obetrol) & was taken off the market for safety concerns. Then 20 yrs later it's brought back as Adderall & given to kids?! Oh also, I don't know how true this is, but I also read that Adderall has been linked to 11 separate cases of psychotic episodes/mental illness as a result of regular use. I dunno, but maybe this depression we're feeling is a warning of what's to come... I sure hope not!!!

Also, lately I have been experiencing headaches? Do you get headaches at all? So far I've experienced these side effects from Adderall:

1. Loss of appetite/unintentional weight loss
2. Dizziness
3. Headaches
4. Depression/moodiness/emotional instability/"zombie"-like demeanor
5. Cold hands

But hey, according to the pamphlet from Shire (maker of Adderall), the majority of these symptoms are "normal." Anyway, let me know how you're doin' & take care!!! Just remember, you are *NoT* alone!!!!!
IMHO, it's not so much that this is a side effect but the result of brain changes caused by the amphetamines. For example, there is a study out there that suggests over many years, SSRi's will cause serotonin receptor damage, possibly because of receptors being burnt out, overused, etc. by the antidepressant actions of keeping serotonin in the brain longer than it should be. Serotonin has a natural metabolism process which re-uptake inhibitors like SSRi's block.

So, even though they haven't discovered this yet with amphetamines, perhaps the same can happen with those...overused dopamine/adrenaline receptors perhaps shut down and then the person cannot get enough.

I've also read that the brain eventually tries to fight synthetic chemical dominance by creating new, opposing receptors to the drugs, which could also cause an imbalance such as tolerance. For example, a person who took downers like Valium, which is inhibitory, could end up with too many excitatory receptors in a defensive move by the brain, and vice-versa with uppers like Adderall.

So either scenario would prove to cause some imbalance of receptors I imagine. In the case of stimulants, the end result may be the opposite of being "up" and energetic, aka depression and fatigue.

One study recently does indicate a connection to amphetamines and later development of depression, so there's a hint but I think they've only just begun to really explore long term issues of these drugs.

 
Old 01-27-2005, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Headaches? Very rarely. In fact, I've noticed that since I started taking the XR, I very seldom have headaches anymore. I used to get them frequently but I think there have only been like 2 occasions--maybe 3--since August where I had to pop a couple of Tylenol. I've kinda noticed that I'm more photosensitive in terms of my vision, though, seeing as I CANNOT go outside during the daytime without sunglasses... my eyes are just too sensitive now, and i WILL get headaches if I dont have my sunglasses.

Quite honestly, I've never really looked into the long-term effects of taking XR for an extended period of time. Obviously, constant exposure to amphetamines CAN'T be healthy and you find that the abuse of Methamphetamines is growing to be one of the nation's leading causes of illegal substance abuse/addiction.

I've considered asking my doctor about switching medications, but like you, I have that fear that all of the good things that Adderall XR has given me won't be found in anything else. I don't want to become dependent on ANY kind of medication, but I like the fact that XR improves my attention span (thus, also improves my ability to get good grades at school) AND puts me in a good mood (most of the time) AND gives me additional energy (just a side note, I'd usually only be in this good of a mood when I would go out and have a few drinks, which I have done only ONCE since taking the XR). Similarly, when those negative effects show up, it's not pretty. For Josh to be depressed about something, yeah, there's something up, because I am never, nor have I EVER been depressed about anything. My mom passed away a few years ago and while it was very hard to deal with, I never suffered depression symptoms. I'm usually a strong-willed person and I just face any problems that come my way head on and then put them behind me.

So yeah, occasionally I do take breaks from the meds, but never during the week. One day last month I didn't take my meds in the morning because I was planning on an all-nite drive after work that evening, so until about 730pm I was pretty hateful and moody. After taking the meds tho, there was that great mood again and everything was fine. I only break from the meds on the weekends, and that's only if I sleep in past noon... and usually if that happens, I'll end up not taking them at all that weekend and I'm pretty much useless.

Regarding the other symptoms you mentioned, I have experienced the appetite loss, but everyone I know that takes XR experiences that. My weight rarely fluctuates, but despite the fact that I might now have an appetite, I still force myself to eat.... Dizziness has occurred on one occasion, but i think that was due mainly to overworking myself at the gym. And of course, you know the deal with the cold hands....

I think I need to do some additional research, though, only because if there are equally as effective and less *potentially* harmful ways of getting the results I get with XR, I'd like to know what's out there....

 
Old 02-02-2005, 09:08 AM   #11
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Arrow Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Hey there Josh --

Sorry to hear you are having a difficult time w/ the meds as well. Also, as a side note, sorry to hear about your mom. You're a strong person to pull through something like that at a young age.

So are you still feeling kinda detahced/depressed? It seems like my depression is kinda off & on now. Like you though, I never experienced any type of depression before Adderall came into the picture. I think the reason for the depression has a lot to do with the fact that Adderall (or any amphetamine for that matter) causes dopamine levels to soar in your brain. This is what gives you that sense of well-being shortly after dosing. Then, as the drug wears off hours later the dopamine levels plummett to almost nothing. So, naturally, you feel depressed/tired/irritable, etc.

I was looking at the drug information thing that comes with my Adderall the other day & read something kinda frightening. Apparently, when taken for a period of time, Adderall has been linked to "amphetamine psychosis" indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Also, it said that abrupt ceasation of Adderall should be avoided because a withdrawal syndrome will result with excessive mental fatigue, excessive hunger and changes in sleep EEG patterns. Uhh... schizophrenia and nasty withdrawal??? And they give this to kids?!?

For now anyway, I plan on taking Adderall for probably another year, then wean off by the time I finish college. I think as long as you're healthy, Adderall shouldn't hurt you if you only take it for a short period of time (like a couple years maybe). It's long-term use that seems to be associated with a slew of problems. How about you?

Anyway, let me know how you're doing. Hope all is well! Take care

 
Old 02-03-2005, 06:09 AM   #12
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grey_goose
I've read elsewhere on the internet that its very taxing on your brain & dangerous to mix amphetamines with anti-depressants, for the reason that they're positive/negative. Are you sure that its safe?
Actually, antidepressants and stimulants are quite commonly prescribed together because ADD and depression are often "comorbid" conditions.

 
Old 02-03-2005, 06:22 AM   #13
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malibubarbie999
I was looking at the drug information thing that comes with my Adderall the other day & read something kinda frightening... Uhh... schizophrenia and nasty withdrawal??? And they give this to kids?!?
What the drug insert actually says is: "Amphetamines have been extensively abused...There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration ..." leads to the withdrawal syndrome you describe. Discussion of the risk of amphetamine psychosis is in the same paragraph and refers to chronic abuse ("chronic intoxication"), not long-term usage at prescribed doses. There is a world of difference between the two.

 
Old 02-03-2005, 11:00 AM   #14
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Re: Adderall Causing Depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by index.html
What the drug insert actually says is: "Amphetamines have been extensively abused...There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration ..." leads to the withdrawal syndrome you describe. Discussion of the risk of amphetamine psychosis is in the same paragraph and refers to chronic abuse ("chronic intoxication"), not long-term usage at prescribed doses. There is a world of difference between the two.
You are right; however, long term use can lead to tolerance which forces the dosage higher, and some may reach a point where they need to take more than directed to avoid a phenomenon called tolerance withdrawal, meaning when the brain has built up tolerance, the regular dose is recognized as too small and the brain thinks its in withdrawal, or lacking in what it needs. Some refer to it as "accidental addiction", the accidental addict will not usually have euphoria/drug seeking traits but will take more of the drug to feel "normal" when tolerance builds up.

Sometimes this is offset with additional drugs by doctors, usually adding other diagnosis to the original diagnosis. For example, when one develops depression from long term use of amphetamines, one would be given an antidepressant. Now, if the AD causes anxiety, then they could give a benzodiazepine or neuroleptic for that. Polypharmacy makes a terrible tasting stew but alot of people are swimming in it that maybe shouldn't have been originally.

Then again, some people can stick to the same dose for ages and not need more to work properly.

Tolerance is a strange and unusual animal, never seems to follow an exact pattern but I'm guessing the majority of people do run into it eventually, some sooner than others.

Real addiction or abuse is when someone is seeking an abnormal feeling from the drug. People who end up "abusing" just to feel normal due to tolerance are not the same, but are usually put in the same catagory. In the first catagory, the person is to blame. In the second (accidental), it's the drug that is to blame.

But just because it takes "abuse" to run into trouble (aka adverse effects) we shouldn't assume it can't happen even at higher doses docs will prescribe. Everyone's drug sensitivity is not at the same level nor is their tolerance.

Last edited by Jennita; 02-03-2005 at 11:07 AM.

 
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