Can prednisone cause anxiety and depression symptoms?
Taking high doses of prednisone will increase the body’s overall stimulation level, like how high levels of stress can increase circulating cortisol levels.
People who aren’t anxious or hyperstimulated often notice increased stimulation, like they have ingested caffeine when taking prednisone.
However, taking a corticosteroid when the body is already hyperstimulated is like throwing gas on an already burning fire. Prednisone can dramatically stir the body up.
Moreover, insomnia (most likely due to the increase in stimulation) is a common side effect of prednisone. A lack of sleep can also cause an increase in circulating cortisol and stimulation, making everything feel worse.
While prednisone is useful for suppressing the body’s immune system and reducing inflammation (which is often why it’s prescribed), it can stir the body up, especially for those already dealing with anxiety and hyperstimulation symptoms.
Stopping prednisone should cause the cessation of side effects. However, it can take some time for the body to recover and calm down after prednisone has been stopped.
If you are familiar with the recovery strategies we recommend, faithfully practicing them, including containing concern about the increase in symptoms, can help your body recover. But don’t be surprised if it takes more time than you expect to notice a positive difference. It will take time for your body to recover from the boost in stimulation.
Faithfully practicing your recovery strategies, containing anxiousness, patience, and time generally brings about an end to the side effects of prednisone.
Since each body is somewhat physically and chemically unique, the length of recovery will vary from person to person.
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1. Amelink, Marijke, et al. "Anxiety, depression and personality traits in severe, prednisone-dependent asthma." Respiratory Medicine, March 2014.
2. Kenna, Heather, et al. "Psychiatric complications of treatment with corticosteroids: Review with case report." Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, October 2011.