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Does Adderall Help With Social Anxiety—What You Need To Know

Does Adderall Help With Social Anxiety—What You Need To Know

Social anxiety is a widespread issue, with approximately 4% of the global population experiencing it at any given moment. Numerous medications have been developed to help individuals cope with this condition, but the results often vary among individuals, so off-label drugs are also commonly prescribed to people who don’t respond to traditional treatment. One such example is Adderall, a drug primarily recommended to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

But does Adderall help with social anxiety, and is it effective in the long run? Check out Aderall’s mechanism of action, potential benefits, side effects, and suitable alternatives in this helpful guide.

Can Adderall Help With Social Anxiety?

Even though Adderall can be effective in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, there’s not enough evidence to claim that it can help with social anxiety. Interestingly, it can even contribute to anxiety symptoms because of its:

  1. Mechanism of action
  2. Common side effects 

How Adderall Works

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that contains two active ingredients—amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These ingredients increase the levels of specific neurotransmitters—norepinephrine and dopamine—in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that facilitate communication between the nerve cells in your brain.

Dopamine is associated with pleasure, movement, and attention, while norepinephrine is linked to attention, alertness, and reaction speed. By increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters, Adderall can help improve focus and attention, reduce impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, and promote a feeling of wakefulness.

While enhanced alertness and focus can be beneficial when facing tangible threats, they can also lead to heightened insecurity when the perceived threats are intangible or non-existent, contributing to anxiety.

Common Side Effects of Adderall

The common side effects of Adderall include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Some of these side effects, specifically increased blood pressure and difficulty sleeping, can exacerbate anxiety. To reduce the risk of elevated unease, consider other effective, safe, and fast-acting medications for social anxiety, such as beta-blockers.

Source: Kindel Media

Using Beta-Blockers for Quick Relief from Situational Anxiety

Beta-blockers are primarily used to treat heart-related conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat. However, they can also be prescribed off-label to help alleviate the symptoms of situational anxiety, especially before public performances, such as tests, interviews, public speaking events, or even on-stage appearances.

How Beta-Blockers Work

Beta-blockers reduce the effects of the hormone adrenaline, also called epinephrine. Once administered, the active components in these drugs bind to beta receptors in your heart and blood vessels, preventing adrenaline from making contact with these receptors. They slow down your heart rate and reduce the force with which your heart pumps blood, leading to a blood pressure drop.

By blocking adrenaline, these drugs also reduce some of the physical symptoms associated with the body’s “fight-or-flight” response, including the following:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shaky voice and hands
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Two beta-blockers typically prescribed to people with social anxiety are:

  1. Propranolol
  2. Atenolol

Check out the table below for more details about these drugs:




Drug class

Non-selective beta-adrenergic antagonist

Selective beta-adrenergic antagonist

Typically prescribed for

  • Angina

  • Hypotension

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Anxiety

  • High blood pressure

  • Arrhythmia 

  • Angina

  • Anxiety


  • Tablet

  • Extended-release capsule


Available doses

  1. 10 mg

  2. 20 mg

  3. 40 mg

  4. 60 mg

  5. 80 mg 

  6. 120 mg

  7. 160 mg

  1. 25 mg

  2. 50 mg

  3. 100 mg

Pregnancy category

C (risks can’t be disregarded)

D (pregnant women should avoid it due to potential fetal risk)

How To Get Beta-Blockers for Anxiety

Beta-blockers are prescription-only drugs. Even though they’re not controlled substances, they can alter neurotransmitter levels in the body, affecting your thoughts and feelings. Due to the potential for interaction with specific substances and medical conditions, healthcare providers typically assess their patient’s health status to determine whether they’re the right candidate for these drugs.

The biggest challenge is that taking beta-blockers for performance anxiety is somewhat stigmatized, so most people avoid disclosing to their doctors that they need these drugs for specific occasions.

The good news is that telemedicine platforms like Kick are changing the game. From the comfort of your home, you can discuss your needs with healthcare professionals in a secure and confidential environment.

Source: cottonbro studio

Kick—Instant Relief for Occasional Anxiety

Kick offers a personalized approach to coping with situational anxiety. The consultation takes ten minutes and happens online, eliminating the discomfort that comes with explaining why you need beta-blockers in person. The program’s key features include:

  • Personalized treatment—Kick tailors the treatment to your specific needs, ensuring you receive the most effective care
  • Regular consultation—You can have regular check-ins with our doctors, who monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment
  • Access to beta-blockers—Kick provides access to beta-blockers like propranolol and atenolol, which are commonly used to manage the symptoms of social anxiety
  • Confidentiality—Your privacy is respected throughout the process, from the consultation to the discreet packaging of your medication

Kick’s program has numerous positive reviews on Trustpilot, which serve as a testament to its effectiveness in helping many individuals overcome situational anxiety.

How To Join Kick

Getting started with Kick involves three straightforward steps:

  1. Visit the signup page to begin your brief consultation
  2. Enter your medical details in the intake form
  3. Provide your payment and delivery details

If you prefer express delivery, you’ll receive your drugs at home within two days. Should you opt for local pharmacy pickup, your beta-blockers will be available on the same day.

Kick’s program is risk-free. If our team decides you’re not the best candidate for the program, you won’t pay for the initial consultation as per our Doctor Guarantee.

Source: Kindel Media

How To Take Beta-Blockers for Anxiety

Beta-blockers should be taken as needed and aren’t typically used for long-term anxiety issues. They’re most effective when used to manage episodes of situational anxiety, such as those experienced when delivering a speech to a large audience or other high-stress situations.

Follow these instructions to use beta-blockers safely:

  • Inform your doctor about other medications or supplements you use—Beta-blockers can interact with other drugs, which can impact their effectiveness or contribute to side effects
  • Take the medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider—Don’t adjust the dosage or frequency without consulting your doctor first
  • Pay attention to how your body responds to the medication—If you notice unusual changes or if your anxiety symptoms don’t improve, contact your healthcare provider

Beta-blockers can help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety, but they don’t treat the underlying psychological causes. If you’ve been grappling with chronic anxiety disorders, consider stronger anxiety medication.

Other Medications To Consider for Anxiety

Three other types of medications your doctor may prescribe if you have chronic anxiety are:

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  2. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  3. Benzodiazepines

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels in the brain by targeting specific serotonin receptors. Long-term use of SSRIs results in changes in the structure of neurons, promoting neuroplasticity—a process whereby neurons remodel themselves and their circuits. This adaptation can lead to changes in the way that neurons communicate with each other, influencing mood and anxiety levels. 

The table below lists SSRIs typically prescribed to people with anxiety:


Typical Dose for Anxiety

Treatment Duration

Zoloft (sertraline)

Starts at 25 mg per day but can increase up to 50 mg per day after one week

6–12 months

Prozac (fluoxetine)

Initially, 10 mg per day, increasing to 20 mg per day after a week

6–12 months

Celexa (citalopram)

10 mg–40 mg per day

6 months

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (two neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood and anxiety) in the brain.

Like SSRIs, SNRIs can stimulate neurons to remodel themselves and their circuits, promoting increased flexibility and reducing anxiety and panic attacks.

Check out the table below for more details on the SNRIs commonly prescribed for anxiety:


Typical Dose for Anxiety

Treatment Duration

Effexor (venlafaxine)

37.5 mg–75 mg per day

6–12 months

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

50 mg once per day


Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Initially, 30 mg per day but can be increased to 60 mg per day after two weeks

6–12 months


Benzodiazepines enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, so it reduces the activity of neurons. This reduction in neuronal activity has a calming effect, alleviating feelings of anxiety and panic.

Because benzodiazepines enhance the effect of GABA, they can provide quick relief from acute anxiety. They’re typically used for short-term relief due to the risk of dependency that comes with long-term use.

Check out the table below for a breakdown of the benzodiazepines commonly taken for anxiety:


Typical Dose for Anxiety

Treatment Duration


2 mg–10 mg taken 2–3 times per day 

2–4 weeks

Alprazolam (Xanax)

0.25 mg–3 mg taken 2–4 times per day

A maximum of four months

Lorazepam (Ativan)

2 mg—6 mg per day in divided doses

Typically four weeks

While these are the typical doses and treatment durations, the specific dosage may vary depending on your needs and health history.

Non-Pharmaceutical Methods for Coping With Social Anxiety

Source: Pavel Danilyuk

Beyond medications, you may need non-pharmaceutical methods to address the underlying factors contributing to unease. Some natural ways to calm nerves in the long term are:

  • Mindfulness and meditation—Regular practice of mindfulness and meditation can help reduce anxiety by focusing your mind on the present moment and reducing negative thought patterns
  • Exercise—Regular physical activity is beneficial for mental health. It can reduce anxiety symptoms by improving mood and acting as a natural stress reliever
  • Healthy diet—Eating a balanced diet can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and mood. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also help manage anxiety
  • Sleep—Quality sleep is essential for mental health. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to improve sleep quality

Patients with chronic anxiety disorders can significantly benefit from psychotherapy, including classic cognitive-behavioral and exposure methods.

Featured image source: cottonbro studio