Is Adderall a Stimulant or a Depressant?

Adderall Chemical Structure
Adderall Chemical Structure.

One common drug question is whether Adderall, a drug commonly prescribed for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is a stimulant or a depressant. Adderall is an amphetamine, which means it is a stimulant, in the same class of chemicals that includes methamphetamine and benzedrine. Technically, Adderall consists of a mixture of amphetamines: racemic amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, racemic amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharide, and dextroamphetamine sulfate.

The drug's effects include euphoria, increased wakefulness, increased focus, increased libido, and diminished appetite. Adderall effects blood pressure, cardiac function, respiration, muscles, and digestive function. As with other amphetamines, it is addictive and discontinuing its use may lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Part of the confusion over whether the drug is a stimulant or depressant arises from the different effects people experience depending on dose and individual physiology. While one person may feel jittery and hyper after taking Adderall, another may feel more an increased sense of focus.

Sources

  • Heal DJ, Smith SL, Gosden J, Nutt DJ (June 2013). "Amphetamine, past and present – a pharmacological and clinical perspective". J. Psychopharmacol. 27 (6): 479–496. doi:10.1177/0269881113482532
  • Stahl SM (March 2017). "Amphetamine (D,L)". Prescriber's Guide: Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology (6th ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 45–51. ISBN 9781108228749.