Can Ritalin Worsen Depression?

Can Ritalin Worsen Depression?

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression are related both in function and treatment, but many people are confused about how each problem influences the other, and about which medications treat these concerns. People commonly use Ritalin and other pharmaceutical amphetamines to treat ADHD, and many people take antidepressants, but these are not the only choices.

Ritalin as an Anti-Depressant

If someone’s health resists anti-depressants, then other options may be prescribed. For example, someone who does not respond well to one medication may find relief by trying other anti-depressants, medication combinations, therapy sessions, amphetamines such as Ritalin and etc. In fact, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience published “Psychostimulants in the Therapy of Treatment-Resistant Depression,” a review of various studies on the therapeutic effects of psychostimulants on depression. These studies found that, if use is properly prescribed by a doctor and prescriptions are followed precisely, then Ritalin and other psychostimulant use can benefit such conditions.

Although Ritalin may have multiple medical roles, side effects are present even in therapeutic settings. The aforementioned review explains that, “at low doses (2-10 mg per day), amphetamine can induce sleep and libido disturbances as well as nausea, tremor, agitation, and restlessness. At higher doses (30-60 mg per day), amphetamine may induce anxiety, psychoses, exhaustion symptoms,…prolonged depression, and prolonged hallucinosis.” In other words, side effects like agitation, anxiety and continued depression symptoms can plague people who seek relief from depression. These side effects prompted the authors to stress that “the dosage of the psychostimulants must imperatively be individually adjusted.” Individuals who misuse their prescriptions, self-medicate pain or recreationally use Ritalin are at greater risk for side effects and creating/worsening co-occurring depression.

Ritalin abuse and using it to self-medicate depression is rarely effective and highly dangerous. The risks of dependence, addiction and serious health consequences skyrocket when medication and dosage are unsupervised by a medical professional. If people become dependent upon Ritalin, then withdrawal symptoms can damage both wellness and depression management. Withdrawal symptoms include “apathy, decreased activity, and sleep disturbances,” all of which are also symptoms of depression. Additional withdrawal symptoms include “mild depression, tiredness, and anxiety.” However, using Ritalin in a medical setting allows doctors to monitor use while it helps patients quit drugs safely.

Anti-Depressants and Treating ADHD

People can address depression while they take Ritalin, because the drug can relieve depression’s symptoms. If amphetamines influence mood symptoms that endure in spite of medical dosage adjustments, then the next drug prescribed for ADHD is a tricyclic antidepressant. People may be tempted to continue using Ritalin or to combine it with another substance to address their problems, but simply switching to an anti-depressant, under the guidance of a medical professional, may prove therapeutic for both concerns.

Treating Depression Without Drug Dependence

Depression can be managed, and you can live a fulfilling and drug-free life without Ritalin. If you struggle with co-occurring concerns of mental health disorders and substance abuse, then know that help is available. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to talk with an experienced admissions coordinator. She can help you or a loved one end substance abuse and find the right treatment for complete mental and physical health. All calls are confidential, so call now to begin recovery.