By: Ava
August 10, 2021

Is Adderall a Stimulant or Depressant?

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Most frequently used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aka ADHD, Adderall is a very commonly prescribed drug due to the prevalence of ADHD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that “as of 2016, 6.1 million children aged 2-17 years living in the U.S. had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder”.

Adding that among that group, 6 out of 10 were taking medication which represented 1 out of 20 of all kids in the United States.

Distressingly, the CDC goes on to say that “nearly two-thirds (64%) also had another mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, such as conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, autism and Tourette syndrome”.

Among adults aged 18 to 44, prevalence is at 4.4% with a lifetime prevalence of 8.1% according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

All this to say that given the large number of people diagnosed with ADHD, a lot of prescriptions for Adderall have been written and filled to try and help them.

This circles us back to the question, is Adderall a stimulant or depressant? 

Is Adderall a Stimulant or Depressant?

Short answer: a stimulant.

As mentioned, prescription stimulants like Adderall typically are meant to treat ADHD but can also help with narcolepsy, asthma, obesity, nasal and sinus congestion and hypotension.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) puts it, “they increase alertness, attention and energy”.

How exactly do they do that?

Well, “Adderall” is a brand name and that serves to obfuscate and mask what the drug actually is; Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Amphetamines are of course highly addictive and Adderall in particular is considered a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), alongside substances like cocaine.

As NIDA explains, “prescription stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Norepinephrine affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar and breathing”.

The effect of the drug is to keep the overstimulation of the mind in check; slow the mind down, bringing clarity and an ability to focus better.

A recent study found that “total stimulant usage doubled in the last decade”.

What Are the Signs of an Adderall Addiction?

Being able to identify an addiction to Adderall is among the best tools you have in combating it, here’s what you can look for:

  • Fast-talking, rapid thoughts and/or incomplete thoughts
  • Easily excitable and impulsive
  • Appetite loss and weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Restlessness
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of anxiety, agitation or paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irregular heartbeat and/or chest pains
  • Being overly secretive
  • Using Adderall in ways other than as prescribed, i.e., snorting it
  • Finishing prescriptions early
  • Shopping around for more doctors to write new prescriptions
  • Intense worry about not having access to Adderall
  • Having cravings
  • Work, school and/or homelife suffer
  • Trouble with relationships
  • Financial difficulties
  • Worsening personal hygiene

You may not see all these symptoms all at once but as you start to suspect Adderall abuse, begin to take note of it. If the signs start to add up and get worse, which is the case with addiction that’s left unchecked, it’s time to seek help.

How to Get My Loved One Help With an Adderall Addiction Today 

These days, getting help with an Adderall addiction is legitimately a phone call or email away.

At Multi Concept Recovery we take an individualized approach to treatment, focusing on the whole person rather than just fixing the signs and symptoms. Because the circumstances of each person’s addiction are unique, we know that a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t a solution.

In addition to treating adults for Adderall addiction with partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care or regular outpatient rehab programs, we also have a specialized program for treating teens suffering from mental issues, including ADHD.

Reach out to us today to learn more.