Adderall is a stimulant medication that doctors typically prescribe to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Rarely, doctors may prescribe Adderall or other stimulants as off-label treatments for depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes changes in a person’s moods, behaviors, energy levels, and ability to concentrate. The disorder may cause episodes of mania, in which someone experiences periods of intense energy or irritability and depressive episodes.
More research is necessary to determine the efficacy of Adderall as a treatment for people with mood disorders. Stimulant medications may cause severe side effects in those with bipolar disorder.
This article looks at why people might use Adderall for bipolar disorder, the side effects involved, and the links between ADHD and bipolar disorder.
It also looks at alternative treatments for bipolar disorder and answers some frequently asked questions.
More research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of stimulant medications to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder.
According to the researchers of a
- mood destabilization and triggering of manic episodes
- rapid cycling through extreme high and low moods
- misusing medication
As people with bipolar disorder are already at
People with bipolar disorder are also at increased risk of alcohol and drug misuse. The two stimulant substances in Adderall — dextroamphetamine and amphetamine — are potentially habit-forming, which could represent a danger to people with the disorder.
Other side effects
Other side effects of Adderall include:
- dry mouth
- changes to sexual appetite or ability
- unintentional weight loss
- painful menstrual cramps
Potentially severe side effects that require emergency medical treatment include:
- numbness or weakness in an arm or leg
- speaking slowly or with difficulty
- verbal or motor tics
- teeth grinding
- pain, tingling, burning, or numbness in extremities
- pale or blue toes or fingers
- vision changes
- hives or rashes
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling in the throat, eyes, face, or tongue
ADHD and bipolar disorder commonly co-occur. Up to
Although Adderall and other stimulant medications are
A doctor may explain the risks of Adderall for bipolar disorder to someone before they decide to prescribe it. A person with ADHD and bipolar disorder may need to carefully track and monitor any symptoms or side effects that the medication may trigger or cause.
According to the
Other treatments can include:
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): TMS is a type of magnetic brain stimulation therapy that involves a healthcare professional placing magnets on a person’s head. The magnetic fields affect areas of the brain responsible for depression and mood regulation.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT involves stimulating the brain with a short electrical pulse to induce a controlled seizure. The procedure may help relieve symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Below are the answers to some questions people frequently ask about Adderall and bipolar disorder.
What is the best stimulant for bipolar?
More research is necessary to determine if stimulant medication is safe and effective as a treatment for bipolar disorder.
The study researchers also mention other small studies that suggest the stimulants in Adderall, in combination with mood stabilizers, may also safely and effectively treat ADHD in people with bipolar.
However, more research is necessary to determine which, if any, stimulants are suitable for people with bipolar disorder to use.
Do stimulants calm symptoms of bipolar disorder?
There is not enough evidence to determine whether stimulants calm bipolar symptoms.
However, stimulants could potentially increase the risk of triggering or worsening some symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Does Adderall help to stabilize moods?
Adderall may not stabilize moods in people with bipolar disorder. Anyone with co-occurring ADHD and bipolar disorder who takes Adderall may also have to take mood-stabilizing medication, such as lithium.
Doctors may prescribe Adderall or other stimulants as an off-label treatment for depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. Doctors may also prescribe Adderall for people who have both ADHD and bipolar disorder.
Adderall may increase the risks of certain severe bipolar symptoms, such as mania, hallucinations, and delusions. People with bipolar disorder are also at increased risk of drug misuse, which is a risk that experts associate with Adderall.
Adderall may be a safe and effective treatment for ADHD symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, in combination with mood stabilizers. However, more research is necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of Adderall in those with bipolar disorder.