Ever take stimulants for depression? Advice needed.

Do you take stimulants?

Stimulants are occasionally used to to combat treatment-resistant depression. Having done a bit of research, it appears there are varying opinions on this. It is largely agreed that stimulants can be useful for short-term treatment, while waiting for antidepressants to build up. Long-term use of stimulants to treat depression is a bit more controversial.

If you’ve used stimulants to treat depression for more than a couple months, I’d be super grateful if you could tell me about your experience.

  • What stimulants did you take, what dosage and for how long?
  • Did you have to increase the dose often, a few times, never?
  • What was your diagnoses – depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc?
  • Did you take other medications – antidepressant, mood stabilizer, etc?
  • What impact did stimulants have – improved energy, euphoria, etc?
  • Did you ever take more than prescribed?
  • Anything else you think could be helpful?


Ever take stimulants for depression? Advice needed.

15 thoughts on “Ever take stimulants for depression? Advice needed.

  1. I’ve been on Adderall immediate release (went up to 30mg 2x daily) and Vyvanse (currently on 40mg, going up at my next appt). The main reason I take stimulants is because I have ADHD. I also have bipolar I, anorexia, and anxiety.

    I was told by my doctor that Vyvanse in particular is a good medication for other things besides ADHD and it has been approved for binge eating disorder, one of the reasons being that it helps with compulsions. For me, anorexia comes with compulsive exercise, and Vyvanse has successfully calmed down my purging behaviors including exercise, in addition to treating my ADHD symptoms. It also helps a lot with my depression. I haven’t had any lows at all since being on stimulants.

    My doctor doesn’t have a problem treating my depression and eating disorder with a stimulant because I’m already taking it for ADHD and she tries to keep me on as little meds as possible. She also told me that stimulants can help with racing thoughts. This is true for me and it has calmed my anxiety greatly, and means stimulants can also help with some aspects of bipolar disorder (though I know you have to be careful because they could trigger mania). Some have stated stimulants make anxiety worse or trigger mood swings, but that is not true for me. I’ve been fortunate in that I don’t have any notable side effects.

    Overall, they have been very helpful for me in a number of ways, particularly Vyvanse. For me, stimulants also get me through the day. I am not naturally motivated, organized, or interested in life in general but since I’ve been on stimulants I’ve been more productive and felt more fulfilled and alive. Vyvanse lasts all day for me. It is enough to keep me going until I go to bed, and it does not interfere with sleep. Adderall was also helpful, but to a lesser degree.

    Everyone is different and for me Vyvanse is the right medication. The psych medications I take daily are essentially 2 mood stabilizers, 2 antidepressants, 1 stimulant, and 1 sleep med. I do think that doses do have to periodically change, but I’ve been on 40mg of Vyvanse for two months now and it still works, though not as potent as it was in the beginning. My Adderall dose changed more frequently. I’ve never taken more than prescribed of any medication.

    Stimulants get a bad rep sometimes, but I think some of the criticism and concerns are a little over the top…they can cause side effects, as can any medication. I look at it from a more balanced approach, as does my doctor. They’re great meds and they can be really beneficial for some people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “She also told me that stimulants can help with racing thoughts.”

      Yes, yes, yes. This is what I keep saying to my psychiatrist. My mind will focus in on one thing, so that constant voice of doubt in my head kinda disappears. I can just play a video game, or work on a project, and halfway through I don’t get this since of hopelessness. My mind is easier to control.

      Vyvanse does trigger some anxiety in me at the three hour mark, but the overwhelming benefit they provide is worth it.

      Two months isn’t that long. I want a more permanent solution. If I have to increase my Vyvanse every six months, a few years down the road it will stop working altogether.

      Thanks for your input.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It does give me a kick in the ass in the morning, but unfortunately it wears off. Doesn’t seem much different than a few cups of coffee. And of course it does nothing for the spontaneous sadness of depression. Oh well.


  2. I had terrible post partim depression after a miscarriage and my doctor increased my mood stabilizer and added symbalta. He explained to me it was the safer choice because it worked on all thee chemicals norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine. Whereas others just tackle one or two chemicals which can give bipolar people a spike. Anti depressants are a temporary fix for seasonal or short term situational depression and I believe you should be willing to check in with the Doctor more frequently when you take it so you can stop taking it when needed. It helped lift my depression, helped me sleep, and helped me get back to normal in a bad time.
    I am bipolar II and have been consistently and happily on Depakote ER for 14 years.
    Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I took Ritalin for about two weeks to try and help get me out of a really lethargic episode of treatment resistant depression. I do not remember the dose, and my psychiatrist was very ambivalent about giving it to me. It didn’t help and I ended up in the hospital just short of the two weeks and the hospital would not give it to me, even though I had a short term prescription and I didn’t have the energy to argue.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have bipolar II and ADHD (seems like the two go hand-in-hand pretty often). I am prescribed Adderall instant release 15 mg pills and I do them a few times a week, though I’ve done my fair share of Vyvanse (on it right now lol). Both help with my depression and are good at keeping me productive+happy; Vyvanse helps a lot with racing thoughts; and it’s nice that Adderall instant only keeps me off food for four or five hours.

    Obviously I’m not going to say that using stimulants several times a day for a long period of time is ever a good idea, but it has really helped me with my bipolar. I just always have to be sure to take everything early in the day so I can still sleep, and I always have to make sure to take breaks while I’m on anything—rather than reading, writing, blogging, and the like for hours nonstop. I don’t think stimulants are affective at treating depression, especially since they’re basically just distracting the brain from such problems. Still, I find them great for my bipolar issues since they keep me my mind forward-thinking and less manic. They usually make me less manic, but on occasion they’ve also made my manic moments even worse. Guess this just goes to say that every brain handles things differently, right?

    The best treatment for depression, in my case, was getting outside, going to bed and waking up at the same times, interacting with people more, and eating well. Stimulants are beautiful but I wouldn’t ever rely on them to help me get through anything—except cleaning my room or making a viral blog post, of course.

    Hope this information is helpful to the research! Happy Saturday


    1. “Vyvanse helps a lot with racing thoughts,” yes, yes, yes. If my mind isn’t occupied, it often dives into depressive thoughts. Vyvanse keeps those thoughts from racing to the surface.

      I do agree that long-term use could be problematic, it just works so well for me over the last six-weeks.

      “Especially since they’re basically just distracting the brain from such problems,” I’d also agree with this. However, I’d take distraction if that is all I can get at the moment.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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