Using the prescription stimulant Adderall recreationally with alcohol is both dangerous and risky. Some might believe that when mixing a stimulant with a depressant, the effects of each cancel out. This is untrue. Adderall only masks the alcohol’s depressant effects, leading to serious, even fatal, outcomes.
The Adderall and alcohol combination has become a favorite recipe for partiers. The belief is that while Adderall stimulates their central nervous system, they will be able to prolong the social drinking behaviors, basically to party the night away. The reality is that by mixing Adderall and alcohol, there is a higher risk for alcohol poisoning. At the very least, there is a long list of adverse effects experienced by combining these two substances.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant that doctors prescribe for individuals diagnosed with ADHD or narcolepsy. For many years, people without legitimate prescriptions have gotten their hands on Adderall.
College students often rely on the drug, thinking that its stimulant effects will help them study all night and be sharper by day. As a result, rates of Adderall addiction have been rising steadily among young adults, and overdoses have also been increasing among young people.
Adderall shares many of the same addiction traits and symptoms as illicit stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Like other stimulants, those who use Adderall recreationally will begin to build up a tolerance to the drug’s effects, causing increased dosing. Adderall misuse can result in these symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Unusual excitability
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Talking excessively, rapid speech
- Mood swings
- Heart arrhythmia
Over time, using Adderall recreationally can lead to both physical and psychological addiction.
Effects of Alcohol with Adderall
Most of us are familiar with the relaxing effects of alcohol. Alcohol is favored in social settings because people feel more self-confident, relaxed, and sociable while under its influence. But consuming too much alcohol in a short time can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency event.
Those who combine these two powerful substances may be unaware of the dangers of using them together. Here are some of the negative effects of mixing alcohol and Adderall:
- While under the influence of both substances, the individual has decreased ability 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 alcohol-Adderall combination include convulsions, heart palpitations, increased body temperature, and tremors.
- Seizures are more likely to happen when these substances are used simultaneously.
- Overdose can occur when the individual 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.
- Damage to the central nervous system can be a result of long-term misuse of Adderall and alcohol.
- Both substances can cause psychosis or hallucinations at higher doses.
- The possibility of developing a poly-substance use disorder increases with continued use of both substances.
Treatment for a Poly-Substance Use Disorder
When the Adderall and alcohol use spirals into chronic substance use, it is time to seek a treatment program. Treatment for the poly-substance, or having more than one substance use disorder, is available in either outpatient or residential settings. During treatment, the primary goal is to change the substance-seeking behaviors that have led to the cycle of addiction.
A comprehensive recovery program will offer a multi-pronged approach, with multiple treatment elements that work together to help make these fundamental shifts in thought/behavior patterns. These include:
- Withdrawal management
- Individual psychotherapy sessions
- Process group therapy sessions
- Family counseling
- 12 Step Program or SMART Recovery
- Education and relapse prevention
- Holistic therapy
- Nutrition and exercise
If you believe you or a loved one have developed a poly-substance use disorder with alcohol and Adderall, understand that there is treatment available to help you overcome it. With therapy and support, you can break from these two substances. Reaching out for help is the first important step to take that can lead you back to a healthy, happy life.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.