Adderall is a stimulant drug, commonly prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (sudden attack of deep sleep). Adderall can have significant side effects. Mixing Adderall with alcohol could increase the severity of these effects, and result in permanent damage to the heart and nervous system.
It’s not typically advised to mix medications like Adderall with other drugs, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that mixing alcohol with medications like Adderall could cause individuals to have adverse reactions, including seizures or stroke.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a central nervous system stimulant, prescribed to help those that suffer from ADHD or serious cases of narcolepsy. While Adderall can be effective in the treatment of certain medical conditions, it is classified as a Level II controlled substance, and has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
Adderall may come in an immediate-release version or an extended-release tablet. To avoid possible sleep disturbance, this medication should be taken at the same time every day, preferably in the morning and early afternoon.
Adderall may be sold under additional names, such as:
- Adderall IR
- Adderall XR
- Mixed Amphetamine Salts
The effects of Adderall can be intensely altered by food, drink, and other drugs, including alcohol. While Adderall can be a helpful treatment for those suffering from ADHD or narcolepsy, this medication is not for everyone. Adderall can be especially dangerous for those who have a history of struggling with drug abuse.
Can You Mix Adderall And Alcohol?
Since alcohol is classified as a depressant and Adderall is a stimulant, these two drugs are intended to induce opposite effects in the mind and body. While Adderall stimulates the central nervous system and promotes a sense of focus, alcohol slows the body’s systems and can result in blurred thinking.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Adderall and alcohol should not be mixed. Both of these substances are associated with serious side effects, and mixing alcohol and Adderall can result in grave side effects.
Side effects that may be caused by Adderall include:
- blurred vision
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- trouble sleeping
- heart palpitations
- heart attack
- change in thoughts or behavior
- increased risk of seizures
- higher chance of serotonin syndrome (when mixed with other medications)
Because of Adderall’s wide range of side effects, it’s important to be honest with your doctor about whether or not you drink alcohol. Mixing Adderall with alcohol can amplify the side effects of both substances, and could result in overdose or death.
Mixing Adderall and alcohol could lead to harmful side effects, including:
- reduced effectiveness of Adderall
- worsening of ADHD or narcolepsy symptoms
- increased risk of seizures
- compromised judgment
- greater chance of engaging in risk-taking behavior
Who Mixes Adderall And Alcohol?
Several research studies determined that college students are at an increased risk for Adderall abuse. Some students may take Adderall without a prescription — in order to study for an exam or prepare a project — and then drink alcohol to diminish the negative “comedown” effects of Adderall.
This dangerous combination could lead to an individual consuming a lethal amount of alcohol, without realizing their level of intoxication. Recreational Adderall abuse is dangerous on its own, and combining the drug with alcohol increases the chance of a fatal reaction, such as heart attack or stroke.
Long-Term Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Adderall
Mixing alcohol and Adderall even once can be life-threatening, and if someone combines these drugs regularly, there are critical long-term health hazards to consider.
Mixing Adderall and alcohol can result in long-term health risks, including:
- skipped doses of Adderall, leading to unmanaged ADHD or narcolepsy symptoms
- increased risk of developing a physical dependence on alcohol
- higher chance of becoming addicted to alcohol or abusing Adderall
- increased risk of overdose and death
Medically Supervised Detox Programs For Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the United States, and over 18 million Americans struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. Adderall is also highly addictive, and combining these two substances can be fatal. If someone is mixing alcohol and Adderall, it may be a sign they are struggling with an alcohol use disorder.
Realizing you or someone you love may be addicted to alcohol can feel scary, but you are not alone. Treatment is available, in the form of inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs. If you or someone close to you is combating alcohol abuse and addiction, the first step toward treatment is to encourage the individual to safely detox from alcohol.
Heavy alcohol use can lead to a physical dependence, and a sudden lack of alcohol could cause someone to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, and should always be monitored in a medical environment.
Some of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal include:
- trouble breathing
- digestive issues
- rapid heartbeat
- elevated blood pressure
- extreme sweating
In a medically supervised detox program, individuals are provided a safe environment in which to detox. Medication-assisted treatment is administered by hospital staff in order to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety, and direction is provided for the next steps of treatment.
Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment, and by itself, does little to change long-term drug abuse.” Once someone has detoxed from alcohol, it’s vital to provide them with treatment options that can address some of the underlying physical, emotional, and mental effects of alcohol abuse.
There is no single treatment type that is ideal for everyone. Instead, several options exist so that individuals can choose what’s best for them. Treatments vary depending on the characteristics of the patient and the type of drug used, but the most innovative programs provide a combination of therapies to help individuals in their recovery.
To learn more about the dangers of mixing Adderall and alcohol, or to find information on alcohol addiction treatment, reach out to one of our specialists today.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Nationwide Trends
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration — Drug Interactions: What You Should Know
- U.S. National Library of Medicine — Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine (By mouth)
- U.S. National Library of Medicine — SIMULTANEOUS USE OF NON-MEDICAL ADHD PRESCRIPTION STIMULANTS AND ALCOHOL AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Alcohol Withdrawal