Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall and Alcohol, Dangers, Risks, Symptoms, Effects, Addiction, Withdrawal, & Treatment

Why Are People Combining Adderall and Alcohol?

Before we talk about the effects of combining Adderall and alcohol, it’s essential to understand why this happens. There’s a popular misconception when it comes to drinking alcohol on Adderall. Many think that taking Adderall before drinking will help someone keep up their energy. If Adderall stimulates them up and alcohol makes them tired, they should balance each other out, right?

This is not the case. In fact, drinking on Adderall leads to a variety of dangerous side effects, such as being more receptive to alcohol poisoning. In addition, taking a prescription stimulant like Adderall makes it harder for the body to recognize how much alcohol a person is drinking. That simple fact significantly increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Many individuals intentionally mix alcohol and Adderall in order to party longer and drink larger amounts. Unfortunately, this practice is extremely risky and dangerous because it can result in potentially-fatal consequences, including alcohol poisoning, anxiety, depression, seizures, and even cardiac arrest.

This has become a popular trend, particularly among young adults and predominantly with college students [1]. Despite being meant for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall is commonly abused for the alertness and enhanced focus it gives. Similar to other stimulants, these prescription drugs can produce an energetic high that increases confidence and sociability.

Adderall and Alcohol
Not only is mixing Adderall and alcohol bad, but it’s also deadly. Whether an Adderall overdose happens accidentally or on purpose, it can lead to death.

The Dangers and Risks of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol 

The truth is that alcohol is a depressant and Adderall is a stimulant. It’s expected to think they cancel out, but in reality, these two substances butt heads. The conflict between them often results in:

  • Lowering someones inhibitions and making them more inclined to risky behavior
  • Having a more challenging time focusing on what’s going on around them
  • Decreased impulse control

But thats not all what happens when mixing Adderall and alcohol. Adderall by itself carries an increased risk for heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure. But, add alcohol into the equation and the risk factor for these side effects skyrockets. The bottom line? mixing Adderall and alcohol can cause long-term damage to the heart.

Yes, mixing Adderall and alcohol can kill you. Although this may seem disturbing, the risk of overdose is increased when several drugs or substances are taken at a time. In addition, as previously mentioned, because Adderall and alcohol belong to different drug classes, they can collide to produce unpredictable and dangerous side effects. 

For the same reason, alcohol can lessen the effectiveness of Adderall, prompting the user to take more Adderall to experience the increased focus and alertness it gives. But taking Adderall with alcohol doesn’t reduce the original amount of the drug taken, but it only dulls its effects. When someone takes more, they open themselves up to an overdose.

Symptoms of Adderal and Alcohol Use

Adderall and alcohol cause very different symptoms.

Upon drinking alcohol, a person may experience a temporary uplift in mood. This feeling may be similar to taking small doses of Adderall. However, if a person continues to drink more they may experience symptoms that can include:

  • Stumbling, unsteady movement, or poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Reduced ability to think rationally
  • Distorted judgment.



Symptoms can depend on a person’s body weight, medical conditions, and history of alcohol usage.

Effects of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Most people are familiar with the relaxing effects of alcohol. As a result, alcohol is favored in social settings because people feel more relaxed, self-confident, and friendly while under its influence. However, drinking too much alcohol in a short time can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency situation. 

Those who mix these two powerful substances may be unaware of the risks of combining them. Here are some of the negative effects of combining Adderall and alcohol:

  • While under the influence of both Adderall and alcohol, the person has decreased capacity to make sound judgments, possibly leading to dangerous impulsivity or high-risk behaviors.
  • Impairment by the alcohol may not be recognized because of the Adderall in the system, possibly leading to an accident or injury.
  • Adverse effects of the Adderall and alcohol combination include heart palpitations, convulsions, increased body temperature, and tremors.
  • Seizures are more likely to happen when Adderall and alcohol are used simultaneously.
  • Overdose can happen when the person can’t perceive the actual effects of the substances. They may not experience the Adderall or the alcohol’s full effect and continue to use them, potentially leading to an overdose.
  • Both Adderall and alcohol can cause hallucinations or psychosis at higher doses.
  • The possibility of developing a polydrug use disorder increases with continued use of both Adderall and alcohol.
  • Despite the perception that reflexes and motor coordination are not as affected by alcohol when one mixes Adderall and alcohol together, individuals remain significantly impaired in regard to their reaction time, motor coordination, and visual perception. This can lead to a number of potentially dangerous situations.
  • The potential to develop serious neurological effects, particularly seizures, is significantly increased when one mixes the two drugs.
  • Long-term abuse of Adderall and alcohol can lead to serious cognitive issues that reflect damage to the central nervous system. These issues most often manifest as issues with attention/concentration, learning and memory, and complex problem-solving. In addition, a number of emotional effects that may represent damage to the central nervous system may also occur, including longstanding issues with depression, apathy, loss of motivation, and even potential psychosis.
Adderall and Alcohol
Because Adderall is designed to help the brains of people with ADHD, misusing the drug may increase the risk of Adderall’s side effects.
  • Even though one of the primary reasons that individuals give for abusing Adderall is to enhance their ability to study, learn, and improve their grades, research indicates that individuals who abuse Adderall, or who abuse Adderall and alcohol together, typically have lower grades and significantly lower levels of academic and professional achievement than individuals who do not abuse these drugs. Thus, even though the primary reason that many individuals report for abusing stimulant medications like Adderall is to enhance their cognitive abilities, this alleged effect appears to be a myth.

Adderall and Alcohol Addiction & Withdrawal

Alcohol is the most regularly abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [3], publishes that over 1.5 million American adults were considered to be currently abusing a prescription stimulant drug.

Combining these Adderall and alcohol magnifies the side effects of both and may promote more use of both. One may be taken to offset the effects of the other, to enhance the “high,” or to lessen the “crash” that can ensue when one substance wears off. Increased dosage of stimulants and intensified alcohol consumption can cause a person’s brain chemistry to be altered.

Both alcohol and stimulant drugs such as Adderall disrupt the normal absorption, production, and transmission of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is essential in regulating moods and controlling willpower [4]. High levels of dopamine, which happen due to both alcohol and Adderall pleasure. 

When these substances wear off, however, levels of dopamine drop, and moods fall as a result. This can encourage a person to keep taking these “feel-good” substances to increase happiness. Repeated alteration of the brain’s natural chemistry disrupts its chemical makeup and can even physically alter some of its circuitry and lead to drug dependence.

When someone is dependent on drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can manifest when these substances are not active in the body. Therefore, an individual may take a different psychoactive substance to attempt to dispel withdrawal symptoms. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) [2] Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) reports that alcohol may be used to counteract symptoms of stimulant withdrawal, for instance, which can in turn lead to withdrawal symptoms from alcohol as well.

Withdrawal symptoms may be more significant and last longer when multiple mind-altering substances, like alcohol and Adderall, are involved. 

Adderall and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal can cause:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Disorientation
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irregular heart rate and blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Drug cravings

Physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can even be life-threatening, and withdrawal from Adderall can be tough. In addition, when you combine both alcohol and an Adderall, these side effects may be especially hazardous. As a result, medical detox in a drug rehab facility is required to safely process these substances out of the body while managing the symptoms, often with medications.

Treatment for Adderall and Alcohol Abuse

Since Adderall and alcohol are both substances that individuals can become physically dependent on, quitting will cause withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms have the potential to be moderate, or severe, and life-threatening. Therefore, people attempting to stop drinking alcohol, using Adderall, or a mixing of the two, should seek professional help through the aid of an inpatient substance abuse treatment center. Symptoms of withdrawal may include tiredness, anxiousness, irritability, headaches, depression, nightmares, decreased appetite, tremors, vomiting, pupil dilation, and a fast pulse.

For those experiencing an addiction to mixing Adderall and alcohol, detox may not be sufficient enough for long-term recovery. As a result, attending an inpatient treatment center may provide recovering individuals with the support and tools needed in order to build a strong foundation of sobriety. Treatment centers like We Level Up NJ understand the struggles linked with battling addiction on their own. Because of that, we ensure that each client’s needs are met through individualized and comprehensive treatment plans.

When Adderall and alcohol misuse spirals into chronic substance use, it is time to seek a treatment program. Treatment for polydrug, or having more than one substance use disorder, is available in residential or inpatient settings. During rehab, the primary aim is to change the substance-seeking behaviors that have led to the cycle of addiction.

A comprehensive and individualized recovery program will give multiple treatment elements that work together to help make these fundamental shifts in thought and behavior patterns. These include:

Adderall and Alcohol
With therapy and support, you can break from these two substances

Find the Right Treatment Plan at We Level Up NJ

If you’ve tried to quit in the past but ended up using Adderall and alcohol again, that’s a clear sign you need professional help. Get them the safest help they need and deserve. Our team at We Level Up NJ specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies.

Sources:

[1] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/drug-alcohol-use-in-college-age-adults-in-2018

[2] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants

[3] SAMHSA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse

[4] SAMHSA – https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma15-4131.pdf

[5] We Level UpAdderall Addiction Treatment

[6] We Level UpAlcohol Detox