The answer is yes, but with a few caveats. Adderall is a stimulant medication that can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It works by boosting dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which helps with focus, concentration, and energy levels. Because of its effects on these neurotransmitters, it also has been used as an off-label treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.
However, Adderall is not recommended for people with bipolar disorder because it can cause mixed states—a condition where someone experiences both manic and depressive episodes at the same time.
There are two ways to safely take Adderall if you have bipolar disorder: one is by taking it under the supervision of your doctor; the other is by using a long-acting version called Vyvanse that doesn’t have quite as high of a risk of causing mixed states as regular Adderall does.
It’s important to note that if you have bipolar disorder and take Adderall for ADHD, you should not stop taking your medication without speaking with your doctor first. This can increase your risk of experiencing manic episodes or psychosis (a loss of contact with reality).
ADHD Drugs and Bipolar Disorder
When people think of ADHD, they often think of children who cannot sit still and need to move their bodies constantly. This is because ADHD is typically diagnosed in children, and the symptoms include:
- Inability to stay focused on a task for long periods of time
- Hyperactivity (which includes fidgeting, running around, etc.)
ADHD medications are a common treatment for bipolar disorder, but it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of these treatments.
There is a lot of debate about whether or not ADHD drugs can cause bipolar disorder, but there are some undeniable connections.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes people to experience extreme mood swings—from mania and euphoria to depression. The severity of these mood swings can range from mild to severe, depending on the person and their symptoms.
A person with bipolar disorder may experience mood changes that last days, weeks, or even months at a time. These episodes can be mild or severe:
- Mild: These include sudden bursts of energy and increased activity levels (mania).
- Moderate: Mania symptoms include excessive irritability, agitation, anxiety, decreased need for sleep and rapid speech.
- Severe: Mania symptoms are similar to those in moderate-level mania but may be more severe (e.g., delusions).
Combining ADHD Medication and Bipolar Disorder
The two most common drugs used to treat ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall. These are stimulants that increase dopamine levels in the brain, which helps to improve concentration and focus.
The combination of these drugs with bipolar disorder can be dangerous, because it can cause mania or hypomania in people who already have bipolar disorder. This is why it’s important to use caution when taking ADHD medication if you have bipolar disorder.
If you do take these medications, it’s important to talk with your doctor about how much you should take, how long it should be taken for, and whether there are any other alternative options that might be available for treatment.