Drinking on Adderall: Understanding the Risks – Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a prescription stimulant indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall contains powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that are effective for medical use at prescribed doses but can be harmful when abused. For this reason, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) places Adderall on the controlled substance list as a Schedule II drug.
Stimulant drugs act on the CNS by boosting the availability of excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in areas of the brain responsible for alertness and the ability to focus. Alcohol, on the other hand, inhibits the function of the neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), while also affecting the function of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Alcohol is a CNS depressant that, when abused, can induce symptoms such as euphoria, loss of inhibitions, dizziness, impaired cognition and motor functions, and fatigue.
Using these two substances in combination is considered by some to be among the most dangerous mixtures of intoxicants, but unfortunately, it is also one of the most popular. Some people who use this mixture of stimulants and alcohol do so without knowing the potential consequences. Many do so to achieve a more intense high than either substance could provide alone.
People who use Adderall and alcohol together with the purpose of getting high may erroneously believe that the effects of these two substances directly counteract each other because they are two different classes of intoxicants. A stimulant can temporarily offset a few of the symptoms associated with alcohol intoxication, such as fatigue. Nevertheless, it does not stop the body from being influenced by alcohol or from experiencing most of its psychoactive effects.
The Dangers of Drinking on Adderall
When a person mixes Adderall and alcohol, they may encounter the following symptoms:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle twitching
- Increased body temperature, possibly to the point of hyperthermia
- Accelerated or irregular heart rate (arrhythmia)
- Impaired coordination that can result in falls or injuries
- Reduced inhibition and impulsivity leading to poor decision-making
Stimulants such as Adderall do, in some ways, camouflage some of the depressant effects of alcohol. Because of this, using these two substances in combination can prevent a person from realizing how much alcohol has been consumed.
This effect can occur because the stimulant masks the slowed down, tired sensations of being intoxicated. Moreover, because the person cannot feel how intoxicated they really are, using both substances simultaneously can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning and overdose.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include the following:
- Extreme confusion
- Impaired memory
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in body temperature
- Blacking out (complete loss of memory)
- Depressed, labored, or irregular breathing
- Blue-tinged, cold, or clammy skin (cyanosis)
- Being awake but unresponsive (stupor)
- Being unrousable after falling asleep
Adderall can also prompt the body to process alcohol more rapidly, increasing how fast a person becomes drunk – another effect that can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.
Severe and dangerous side effects of combining alcohol and Adderall include the following:
- Memory loss or impairments due to extreme intoxication
- Head trauma, broken bones, or bruises as a result of serious falls due to a loss of coordination
- Psychosis, paranoia, or hallucinations that can lead to aggression, violence, or erratic behavior
- Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and damage to blood vessels related to high blood pressure
Who Is Mostly Commonly Drinking on Adderall?
College-age students may be more likely to combine Adderall and alcohol than others. Students have reported abusing Adderall to sustain a sense of focus during all-night cram/study sessions.
Research suggests, however, that Adderall does not actually increase the ability to focus or learn in those who do not have ADHD. Nonetheless, it is a widely held belief that using stimulants such as Adderall will aid a person in staying awake while writing a last-minute paper or studying for an exam.
College students may also be more likely to binge drink or consume large amounts of alcohol at parties, bars, or social events, even if they are underage. If a student has abused Adderall in order to study, then attends a party and drinks excessively, they could seriously injure themselves, engage in exceptionally risky behavior, experience alcohol poisoning, or die.
Alcohol is a popular component of polydrug use, and polydrug users often combine alcohol and another drug of abuse, such as Adderall or other stimulants. Polydrug users may also consume several other substances simultaneously, including cigarettes, marijuana, opioids, and more.
This complex form of substance abuse is common among amphetamine users, including those who take Adderall. This abuse can be implemented as a means to intensify the high from Adderall, or to moderate the effects of other substances so that use of amphetamine may be less likely to produce anxiety, paranoia or aggression.
Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
If you are currently drinking on Adderall, we encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible. Harmony Recovery offers a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that includes therapeutic services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, holistic therapies, group support, and more.
We employ caring addiction professionals who render these services to clients with compassion and expertise. Our staff provides clients with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to achieve sobriety and experience long-lasting happiness and wellness.
You can reclaim the satisfying life you deserve free from substance abuse! Call us today to find out how we can help you begin your journey to recovery!