Mixing Adderall and Alcohol: The Side-Effects, Statistics, and Dangers

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Picture showing stats of Adderall and alcohol usage in the United States

Alcohol is a depressant, whereas Adderall is a stimulant. This does not mean that the two substances cancel each other out. Alcohol and Adderall come with very different effects, and their combination increases the risk of serious complications. In recent years, combining alcohol and Adderall has grown in popularity among young adults.

Combining alcohol and Adderall can lead to increased use of both substances, and if addiction develops, treatment may be the only way to regain healthy control. Untreated addiction to one or more drugs can jeopardize your physical and mental health in various ways, and any delay in getting professional help can have dangerous consequences.

From 2010 to 2015, the number of emergency room visits connected to the non-medical use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs increased from 5,212 to 15,585. In young adults, the number nearly quadrupled, and over half of these visits were attributable to the combination of alcohol and ADHD drugs.

Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Nearly all written instructions for prescription medications caution against combining the medication with alcohol. In addition, the majority of physicians advise against combining alcohol with any prescription medicine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published multiple warnings about the hazards of drug combinations, and many textbooks outline some of the reasons why it is not advised to combine alcohol with any prescription medication:

  • Alcohol decreases the effectiveness of the majority of medications when combined with them. When alcohol is combined with stimulant drugs, the effects of both substances are seen as less potent than if they were consumed separately.
  • Despite the perception that stimulants or alcohol are not working as effectively as believed, the actual content of the drug has not changed. This makes it far simpler to overdose on stimulants or alcohol when both substances are used together.
  • There are a lot of unpredictable effects that could occur when multiple drugs are combined; these effects frequently wouldn’t happen if one consumed either alcohol or Adderall alone. These might consist of potentially harmful side effects, including seizures.
  • The likelihood of idiosyncratic effects (drugs’ effects depending on individual differences in physiology and psychological make-up) is significantly increased. You never know how your body or mind might react to the combination of alcohol and Adderall.
  • Continual use of excessive amounts of Adderall and alcohol can result in the development of polysubstance abuse or co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs).
  • Alcohol-Adderall combinations lead to increased body temperature, convulsions, heart palpitations, and tremors. Mixing alcohol and Adderall can even result in damage to the central nervous system. And, both substances can cause hallucinations or psychosis.

When alcohol and Adderall are used simultaneously, the central nervous system stimulant effect of Adderall might disguise the effects of alcohol, which raises the risk of alcohol poisoning. There is also an increased risk for cardiac complications when Adderall is used with alcohol.

In case of an overdose, it is important to call 911 immediately. If you believe that someone has alcohol poisoning, you should always seek medical attention. Do not wait for symptoms to emerge.

Common symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow breathing
  • Bluish skin color or paleness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Low body temperature

Who is More Likely to Mix Alcohol and Adderall?

Young adults and college students are amongst the most at-risk populations for excessive alcohol consumption and Adderall usage. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), college students between the ages of 18 to 24 are more likely to drink excessively than their non-college peers. 

The commonness of alcohol in college social life leads many students to link the positive outcomes of meeting new friends and feeling less anxious with alcohol consumption. When the burden of managing academics and social life becomes too heavy, many students turn to Adderall in order to thrive in both. Some students believe that Adderall is a “study drug” after learning that it can improve their concentration and academic performance. Others consider it a recreational drug and deliberately mix it with alcohol in order to prolong parties and consume more booze.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a staggering 90 percent of non-medical Adderall users also reported excessive drinking. According to a study, one-third of college students who use prescription stimulants do so to “stay awake to party.” The majority of teenagers and young people mistakenly believe that because Adderall is prescribed by a physician, it is safe, and they cannot become addicted to it.

Can Mixing Adderall and Alcohol Kill You?

Yes, combining Adderall with alcohol can be deadly.  Because Adderall and alcohol belong to different drug groups, they might interact to produce unpredictable and hazardous adverse effects. For the same reason, alcohol might impair the effects of Adderall, motivating the individual to take more Adderall in order to feel the increased alertness and concentration it provides. 

However, consuming alcohol with Adderall does not reduce the drug’s original amount but merely dulls its effects. When the individual takes more, they expose themselves to the risk of an overdose. When alcohol is introduced to a situation, the risk of overdose increases. The combination of Adderall and alcohol is not only dangerous but can be fatal. Whether unintentional or intentional, an Adderall overdose can result in death.

Treatment for Alcohol and Adderall Addiction

Regardless of the reason, it is never really safe to mix alcohol with Adderall. Both alcohol and Adderall are addictive substances that affect mood, behavior, and cognitive function, and their overuse produces a range of unpleasant and potentially fatal side effects. 

If you have a history of heavy alcohol and Adderall use, you may have a co-occurring condition and need professional help. There are various treatment options available for the treatment of alcohol and Adderall addiction:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does it feel like mixing Adderall and alcohol?

Mixing alcohol and Adderall in the long-term can impair your ability to concentrate, remember, and solve problems. Additionally, it might result in depression and other mental health issues. Alcohol should be avoided if you are on ADHD medication.

What happens when you mix alcohol and Adderall?

Mixing alcohol and Adderall can lead to:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Heart problems
  • Behavioral issues

Hope is Not Lost. The Haven Can Help.

The risk of addiction is high for those who combine Adderall and alcohol, especially if the behavior is frequent and involves excessive use of both substances. Anyone combining these substances should be evaluated for substance dependence, and if a substance use disorder is identified, treatment in a residential facility that treats alcohol and Adderal addiction should begin immediately. 

If you or a loved one is battling with alcohol, Adderall, or both, The Haven Detox can provide help. The Haven is one of the most luxurious drug rehab facilities. We use a holistic approach to treat the person as a whole, including mind, body, and soul. Our medical professionals offer a range of effective treatment options, including medical detox, inpatient care, dual diagnosis, and individual therapies.

Contact us at (844) 933-4145 to learn more about treatments to help you begin a new, healthy life.