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Mixing Adderall And Alcohol: Understanding the Risks

by Demarco Moore

August 25, 2023
a bottle of adderall pills and a glass of whiskey alcohol

What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Alcohol?

Every year, over 140,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes. Mixing Adderall with alcohol adds to this danger.

Adderall, an ADHD medication, speeds up your brain activity, while alcohol slows it down. When combined, Adderall can mask alcohol’s effects, making you feel less intoxicated than you are. This can lead to overdrinking, causing serious health issues like alcohol poisoning or addiction.

To minimize risks, medical experts advise waiting at least 4-6 hours after taking regular Adderall, or more than 8 hours for extended-release, before drinking alcohol.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a medication doctors prescribe to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It combines two active ingredients: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Adderall can be a lifeline if you struggle with ADHD, improving focus and controlling impulsive behaviors.

How Adderall Works in the Body

Adderall targets parts of the brain that control focus and attention. The drug increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels, two chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) responsible for focus and impulse control. For people with ADHD, these neurotransmitters may be out of balance, which Adderall helps to correct.

The Dark Side of Adderall: Abuse and Addiction

For some, Adderall is more than an ADHD treatment. Many misuse it as a “study drug” or for recreation. In U.S. middle and high schools, 1 out of 4 students reported misusing prescription stimulants like Adderall.

Research also shows that over 1.5 million Americans aged 12 and older struggled with prescription stimulant addiction in 2021. This proves that Adderall abuse can lead to addiction on its own, and when alcohol is added to the mix, the risks increase.

Alcohol’s Individual Effects

Most people know what alcohol is, but understanding how it affects the body is crucial, especially if you mix it with Adderall. Alcohol depresses the CNS and slows brain activity, leading to relaxation after a drink. However, overdrinking can impair your judgment, coordination, and reaction times.

Heavy drinking can lead to long-term health issues, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart problems
  • Addiction

If you struggle with ADHD or stimulant abuse, understanding alcohol’s individual effects is vital, as it proves why mixing it with substances like Adderall can be harmful.

Editor’s Note: This blog’s information shouldn’t replace professional medical advice or consultations from licensed doctors or addiction treatment professionals. If you need help with the topics discussed, consult a healthcare professional.

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol: Realistic Dangers

a glass of wine alcohol is poured on top of adderall extended release pills

Short-Term Effects

Mixing Adderall and alcohol can cause immediate health problems. As previously explained, Adderall, a stimulant, speeds up the CNS to improve focus. Combined with alcohol, it can hide usual intoxication signs, making you feel less drunk even though the alcohol’s effects are unchanged.

This misleading sensation can lead to overdrinking and health risks, including:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Heart problems
  • Behavioral issues

The clash of slowing down (alcohol) and speeding up (Adderall) brain activity can form a dangerous combination, leading to increased impulsiveness and worsening existing conditions.

Long-Term Health Risks

Mixing Adderall and alcohol regularly may harm your long-term health. This combination strains the heart and could cause chronic problems like heart attacks or heart disease. It might also affect your mental health, leading to disorders like depression and anxiety.

If you’re dealing with ADHD or stimulant abuse, this risky mix can complicate your treatment and slow recovery. Your relationships, career, and overall life can be negatively impacted. If stimulant abuse, ADHD, or alcohol addiction has affected you or someone you love, understanding these risks is crucial to preventing the problem from spiraling out of control.

Legal and Social Risks

Mixing Adderall and alcohol isn’t just a health risk. It can lead to legal troubles and damage relationships.

Here’s how:

  • Driving Under the Influence: Drinking alcohol affects your judgment, and Adderall can mask those effects. This can lead to risky behavior, like driving under the influence (DUI).
  • Drug Possession Without Prescription: Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it’s illegal without a prescription. This CNS stimulant has a high abuse and addiction potential. Mixed with alcohol, the combination can lead to legal troubles.

Legal consequences can include:

Social Issues

  • Strained Relationships: Mixing Adderall and alcohol can lead to mood swings, including aggressive and erratic behavior. These effects can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Work and School: Regular alcohol or stimulant use could affect your work or school performance, leading to job loss or academic problems.

Understanding this combination’s legal and relational fallout provides another perspective for those dealing with stimulant and alcohol addiction. The information presented here can be an addict’s wake and a call to action for friends and family.

Can You Mix Adderall and Alcohol?

Mixing Adderall and alcohol is a dangerous habit with real-life consequences. From immediate health risks to potential legal troubles and relational issues, the combination is best avoided. If you or a loved one are caught in this cycle, know that recovery is possible.

Adderall and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options

Recovering from addiction is tough. Whether it’s alcohol or stimulant abuse, including Adderall, professional care makes a difference. Landmark Recovery is here to help, offering expert treatment programs for your unique needs.

Our medical team caters to specific recovery needs whether you or a loved one is facing addiction. Find treatment close to home. Explore our locations page to find a rehab center near you:

Call our confidential admissions line at 888-448-0302 anytime, day or night. Embrace a new beginning with the support you need.

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About the Author

Demarco Moore

Demarco Moore

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Demarco Moore currently writes blogs about drug addiction treatment and recovery to help save lives at treatment provider Landmark Recovery. Before that, he cut his teeth as a sports writer at the Manchester Times, where his coverage and stories won Tennessee Press Association awards in 2016 and 2017.

He’s always had a knack for storytelling. Moore’s written content for junior golf tournaments and helped to amplify the “People Not Profits” message of credit unions. When he’s not writing, Moore loves to travel, laugh and put his mental health into the hands of the Tennessee Titans during football season.