Most of us are aware that combining prescription drugs with alcohol can be extremely dangerous. Regardless of its dangers, mixing Adderall and alcohol has become increasingly common. College students and young adults in particular are experiencing higher rates of using substances together. 

If you abuse Adderall, take it illegally and recreationally, it might not seem like a big deal to add alcohol to the mix. Mixing Adderall and alcohol from time to time is not necessarily lethal, but the combination can cause negative side effects and complications. Here in San Diego, Healthy Life Recovery offers addiction treatment if you or someone you know is abusing and mixing substances.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a combination of two drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This medication is a prescription stimulant that gives you feelings of pleasure and excitement, since increased dopamine levels are sent to your brain. It is classified as a Schedule 2 drug which means there is a high risk for drug addiction and abuse. As a result Adderall contains many risks, even just taken by itself.

You probably recognize Adderall as a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you have ADHD and take this medication, you will experience improved concentration, reduced impulsivity and hyperactivity. Less frequently it is used to treat narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder that exhibits excessive, uncontrollable sleepiness. Having said that, this does not mean that this medication should be used if you’re feeling exhausted and do not have a sleeping disorder.

The medicinal use of stimulants like Adderall is not typically endorsed. However, people who have ADHD and use prescription stimulants may lower their risk of drug and alcohol abuse. A recent study suggests that individuals treated with stimulants for ADHD were 85 percent less likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD). In addition, people who have ADHD and are not using medicinal stimulants have an increased risk of obtaining a SUD. 

For this reason, if you think you experience signs of ADHD, speak with a medical professional. Find out if a medicinal stimulant would benefit you. 

Adderall Abuse

When Adderall is taken as prescribed, the medication can be a safe, effective treatment for ADHD. Although, in reality this prescription drug is commonly abused with more than 7 percent of adults 18 to 49. What is even more concerning is that over half of those people who abuse this ADHD medication reported mixing Adderall and alcohol together.

While anyone can abuse Adderall, as mentioned before, college students make up a large portion of this drug misuse. Typically, this is because of their desire to study for long periods of time and having to stay awake. According to the NSDUH, among full-time college students 18-22 who used Adderall non medically were:

  • more than 1.5 times as likely as their counterparts to have used alcohol in the past month,
  • more than twice as likely to have been binge alcohol users,
  • and more than 3 times as likely to have been heavy alcohol users.
Adderall and alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

The fact of the matter is Adderall is a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant. The two different effects of each drug do not cancel each other out, despite popular opinion. Instead, these two substances are competing with each other in the body, causing negative side effects.

Alcohol Poisoning

Adderall can tone down and hide the signs of intoxication from alcohol. The problem with this is people then become unaware of how much alcohol they have consumed. It becomes easy to drink too much when you are not feeling the usual effects of alcohol. Mixing the two becomes a slippery slope for unpredictable behavior and alcohol poisoning. 

Some symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Pale skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed or irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Hypothermia

Heart Complications

Many stimulant drugs like Adderall, increase your heart rate, and carry a risk for life-threatening problems. This risk increases when you combine this medication with other substances, especially alcohol. When mixing them, Adderall and alcohol can cause:

  • Raised body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Behavioral issues

When it comes to substance abuse, people often experience significant changes in their behavior. Sometimes when consuming alcohol, an individual might have reduced inhibitions, feelings of rage, and show aggressive behavior. Drinking alcohol and taking Adderall simultaneously, can amplify intoxicated behaviors. Consequently, you may engage in impulsive, risky activities that you would never partake in while sober.

Adderall and alcohol

Finding Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Due to the benefits Adderall provides for some people, you might not be thinking about its negative side effects. It is possible you did not intend to mix Adderall and alcohol together. Maybe you used the medicinal stimulant to cope with your ADHD and power through the day. Afterward, you grabbed a couple of drinks with some friends. Whatever the case is, there are still harmful risks of combining the two substances.

Adderall and alcohol are both addictive drugs that can impact your health, cognitive function, and behavior. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction with either or both substances, we can help you. We are dedicated to helping people recover from substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders (mental or behavioral issues together with addiction). At Healthy Life Recovery, our addiction treatment facility in San Diego can help you achieve long-term recovery.

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San Diego, CA 92109

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