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  • Mixing Adderall and Alcohol can come with many side effects, which can be dangerous in some cases.

    Adderall is an amphetamine that is prescribed to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. It works by increasing the number of specific neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to increased attentiveness and wakefulness.

    The official label for Adderall states that people with a history of alcohol abuse should be careful when taking Adderall. However, there are no confirmed interactions between alcohol and Adderall. Health experts still advise against mixing alcohol and Adderall.

    Effects Of Mixing Alcohol With Adderall

    When you mix alcohol and Adderall in the short term, you may feel more effects of Adderall than effects of alcohol. Adderall can mask the depressant effects of alcohol and make you feel less intoxicated than you actually are.

    You may also feel side effects from both Adderall and alcohol, including:

    • increased heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • increased body temperature
    • impairment
    • changes in decision-making
    • changes in behavior

    Some people report a “high” from mixing Adderall and alcohol. Both affect the central nervous system, though their interactions in the brain and spinal cord have not been studied.

    Dangers Of Mixing Adderall With Alcohol

    Adderall is only available as a prescription drug, but it is also a controlled substance according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Health experts are aware of Adderall’s abuse potential, especially among teenagers, college students, and young adults.

    Substance Abuse

    Some studies show that alcohol and extended-release Adderall are mixed by young adults to increase side effects or get high. Taking substances outside of their intended use is a form of substance abuse.

    Long-term alcohol and Adderall abuse can be a sign of a larger mental health problem, such as a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. Substance use disorders can cause long-term health problems, potentially requiring professional help at a treatment facility to cure.

    Reduced Effects Of Alcohol/Increased Alcohol Use

    Adderall is an amphetamine that increases norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, leading to increased brain activity, concentration, and stimulation. On the other hand, drinking alcohol decreases brain activity, which can get in the way of the effects of Adderall.

    If you drink alcohol to feel intoxicated, you may need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects. Even if you feel less effects of alcohol, your body still has to break down alcohol the same way. This can lead to an alcohol overdose, even if you do not feel heavily intoxicated.

    The risk factor for alcohol overdose while on Adderall has not been studied fully. More research may be needed to find how Adderall increases the risk for alcohol poisoning or overdose.

    Increased Risk For Cardiovascular Effects

    A study that paired alcohol with methamphetamine reported a greatly increased heart rate compared to each substance taken alone. Dextroamphetamine is not the same substance as methamphetamine, but both affect the body in similar ways.

    A case report of a young adult reported heart problems after mixing alcohol with a high dose of Adderall. Eventually, the patient was diagnosed with myocardial infarction or heart attack. 

    It is unknown how alcohol and Adderall led to this outcome, but the study advised against mixing alcohol and Adderall, especially in high doses.

    Treatment Options For Substance Abuse

    Adderall is a commonly prescribed ADHD medication, and alcohol is consumed by millions of U.S. citizens every year. The risk of mixing these substances is always present, and can even be life-threatening.

    If you regularly mix alcohol and Adderall, the risk to your health may also be significant. Long-term substance abuse can be difficult to beat, even if you want to quit. Sometimes, a professional treatment center can be the difference between quitting and not quitting.

    To find a treatment center that caters to the needs of you and your loved ones, please contact our helpline today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - Adderall
    Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine - Myocardial Infarction Associated with Adderall XR and Alcohol Use in a Young Man
    Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Extended Release Stimulant Medication Misuse with Alcohol Co-administration
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 29, 2022
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