Mixing Adderall & Alcohol: Effects & Dangers

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 Despite its legitimate uses, Adderall may be misused for its stimulant properties, especially by younger adults, who often mix it with alcohol.2 Mixing Adderall and alcohol can be dangerous and lead to unpredictable outcomes.3

This article will explain what you need to know about Adderall and drinking and help answer the important questions, like can you drink on Adderall? Keep reading to learn more about what Adderall is, why people mix Adderall and alcohol, and what the risks of combining stimulants and alcohol are. We also look at the dangers of overdose and let you know how to seek help for Adderall and alcohol addiction or misuse.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription central nervous system (CNS) stimulant medication approved for the treatment of ADHD.1It contains a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.1,4,5 Although it has valid medical uses, Adderall can be misused.5

Misuse of Adderall can involve one or all of the following:5

  • Taking Adderall in ways or amounts other than prescribed
  • Using it only to get high or for other non-medical uses
  • Taking someone else’s prescription

Adderall misuse can occur among younger adults who use it for different reasons, such as to improve their grades or to help them study, but it is also increasingly being misused by older adults who take it thinking it will improve their memory.5 According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 3 million people age 12 and older misused prescription amphetamine-type stimulants in the past year, with 226,000 of those between the ages of 12 and 17 and more than 2.9 million age 18 and older reporting past year misuse.6

Why Do People Mix Adderall and Alcohol?

People combine alcohol and Adderall for various reasons, and it’s not always intentional.7 For example, people may mistakenly believe that prescription medications, such as Adderall, are harmless when combined with legal substances, like alcohol. They may overlook the negative consequences of drinking on Adderall, or believe that the effects of one substance will negate the effects of the other.7

Some reasons why people misuse Adderall can include:5

  • To get high.
  • To increase alertness, attention, and energy.
  • To improve academic performance.
  • To improve memory.

Some of the reasons why people might intentionally misuse substances like Adderall and alcohol at the same time may include: 9-11

  • To offset the unpleasant effects of alcohol.
  • To stay awake to keep partying.
  • To increase euphoria.
  • To prevent alcohol withdrawal.

Risks of Combining Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall and alcohol side effects can be unpredictable.3 However, although mixing Adderall and alcohol does not necessarily result in more dangerous interactions than when alcohol is combined with certain other substances, like cocaine, the combination can at least worsen the effects associated with misusing each substance on its own.5 ,12, 13

Some of the potential adverse effects of alcohol misuse can include an increased risk of:13 

  • Alcohol use disorder (AUD), the diagnosis of alcohol addiction.
  • Liver disease.
  • Certain types of cancer, including breast, oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectal cancer.
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Death or injuries.

Some of the potential adverse effects of Adderall misuse can include an increased risk of:1,5

  • Developing a substance use disorder (SUD).
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Psychiatric problems, including psychosis, paranoia, and anger.
  • Contracting infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis if you inject Adderall.

Some of the potential adverse effects of combining alcohol and Adderall can include:11

  • A higher risk of cardiovascular problems, such as increased blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, or heart failure.
  • An increased risk of overdose.

Overdosing on Adderall and Alcohol

Combining Adderall with alcohol has the potential for overdose.1 Both substances have opposing effects on the body (alcohol is a depressant and Adderall is a stimulant) and when used together they can mask each other’s effects.This makes it difficult for individuals to recognize when they’re feeling the effects of either substance, potentially resulting in the consumption of dangerous amounts of either alcohol or Adderall.

Furthermore, the stimulant properties of Adderall may lead to people drinking more alcohol than they would typically, as they may not feel as intoxicated as they usually are due to the masked effects of the prescription stimulant.

Additionally, using illicit Adderall can be especially dangerous because it may be cross-contaminated with substances like fentanyl, which can increase the risk of overdose.3 Illicit pills that are sold as Adderall may, in fact, be a combination of any number of harmful substances.

Treatment for Adderall & Alcohol Addiction in Florida

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol and Adderall addiction or misuse, you should know that treatment is available to help you regain control of your life and prevent the potential consequences associated with the Adderall and alcohol combination.

River Oaks is an inpatient rehab facility near Tampa that offers a complete continuum of care. This includes different levels of addiction treatment, such as:

  • Medical detox, which helps you safely withdraw from alcohol and Adderall and assists you with becoming medically stable so you can enter further treatment.16
  • Residential or inpatient treatment, which is a highly supportive option that can be especially useful to those dealing with acute or chronic issues requiring 24-hour observation. 
  • Intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization programs, which can be a beneficial step down from inpatient care as you continue to strengthen the skills you’ll need to stay sober. 
  • Aftercare, which is designed to support lifelong recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about your rehab options, please call to speak to an Admissions Navigator with River Oaks today. You can also find out more about rehab admissions, insurance coverage for rehab, handling the cost of rehab, and easily verify your insurance.

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