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The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Adderall

Apr 29, 2021 | Alcohol

Some drugs should never be mixed. Alcohol and ADHD medications such as Adderall are just one example. In the past, doctors mistakenly believed that mixing some ADHD medications with alcohol was fine. However, more recent studies show that you should never mix the two. Let’s take a closer look at the dangers of mixing alcohol and Adderall or similar prescriptions.

Why Alcohol and Adderall Don’t Mix

The main reason you can’t mix ADHD medications with alcohol is that their compositions are different by nature. Alcohol is a depressant, while ADHD medications such as Adderall are stimulants. Oftentimes, people believe that the combination of a stimulant and a depressant cancels each other out. In reality, the drugs battle for control over your body. As a result, mixing Ritalin and alcohol, or a similar combination can cause a number of issues.

In some cases, people mix these drugs because they don’t know that ADHD medications are stimulants. After all, they assume that stimulants are the last thing doctors would want to prescribe to individuals with hyperactivity. On the contrary, the stimulants actually help them stay focused.

When mixing these drugs, such as Vyvanse and alcohol, you end up with a dangerous combination that can make you drink more than you should. This puts your health at risk and can even lead to an emergency room visit.

Side Effects of Mixing ADHD Medications With Alcohol

With a better idea of why mixing alcohol and Adderall is detrimental, let’s discuss some of the side effects that can arise. In fact, some people mix the drugs because they aren’t aware of the real danger that they put themselves in. It’s never safe to mix ADHD medications, or any prescription stimulants, with alcohol. Some of the side effects that can arise include:

  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep problems
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Depression and anxiety

Also, such a combination of drugs can harm your judgment, causing you to make choices that you normally wouldn’t. Since the stimulant enhances focus, it can be harder to tell when you become drunk. This can lead to more drinking, which may lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be life-threatening.

Types of ADHD Medications

There are many ADHD medications in the prescription market. Sometimes, people take them without knowing what they are. That’s why it’s important to know some of the different types and what sets them apart.

The most commonly talked about ADHD medications are probably Ritalin and Adderall. Both are brand-name drugs but are different versions of generic drugs. Ritalin is an immediate release version of methylphenidate, and Adderall is an immediate release version of dextroamphetamine.


Another popular ADHD medication that people often abuse is Vyvanse. Like other ADHD medications, you shouldn’t mix Vyvanse and alcohol. Similar to Adderall, Vyvanse is a brand-name version of dextroamphetamine, but it comes in the form of a chewable tablet.

Some other ADHD medications include Concerta and Daytrana, which are different versions of methylphenidate. Concerta is an extended-release formula that keeps the medication in your body longer. Rather than a pill, Daytrana is a skin patch.

The last popular medication for treating ADHD is Focalin. It’s slightly different from the rest because it’s a brand name of dexmethylphenidate. Despite that, it’s still an immediate-release tablet. In general, it stays in your system for around four hours. Another version of the brand, Focalin XR, can stay in your system for eight hours.

Is There a Potential for Abuse With Adderall and Alcohol?

Yes, there’s a potential for abuse with both alcohol and ADHD medications. Despite being easy for people to get, alcohol is an extremely addictive and dangerous substance. Like other stimulants, ADHD medications are also very addictive. Mixing these different drugs together creates a dual dependency that’s a health risk.

When combining these two drugs together for an extended period of time, people put their mental health at risk as well. These drugs have the ability to destroy memory, concentration and problem-solving skills.

Keep in mind that the potential for abuse is higher in some individuals than others. Those who have a history of drug abuse in their families are more likely to abuse drugs themselves. Individuals with underlying mental health issues are more likely to abuse drugs too.

Treatment Options For Managing Adderall and Alcohol Abuse

It should go without saying that overcoming any addiction isn’t easy, and alcohol and ADHD medication abuse is no different. That’s why it’s vital to seek professional treatment. That said, what kind of treatment should you look for when you choose a rehab center.

Before getting into specific programs, remember to find rehab and detox centers that create custom treatment plans. There’s no one way to deal with addiction because no two people are the same. You need to seek rehab centers that put your individual needs first.

Detox Comes First

The first thing to remember is that detox needs to be the first step. You can’t focus on recovery if you can’t get past withdrawal. Both ADHD medications and alcohol can cause withdrawal symptoms. In fact, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be deadly, increasing the importance of seeking professional care.

In general, people start to notice the first withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours. Within 48 hours the symptoms peak in severity. It’s essential to be enrolled in a detox center by the time this happens. Sometimes, the symptoms can last for weeks, but the intensity eases after the peak period.

While detox is just the first step on the path to getting clean, it’s an important step. People who fail to undergo proper detox treatment have a higher risk of relapsing compared to those who do.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Another important program to look for in a rehab center is dual-diagnosis treatment. In most cases, people don’t choose to develop an addiction. There’s usually some kind of underlying problem that leads them down that path. Failure to deal with the problem can lead to relapse even after seeking professional help.

For example, people who struggle with anxiety and depression often drink or abuse drugs to get relief. Of course, the relief that they get is only temporary. As a result, they continue to abuse drugs. Eventually, this behavior turns into a dependency.

Going to traditional rehab will set them down the road to recovery. However, if they don’t address the underlying problem, they’re likely to fall victim to relapse. The reason is that drugs are the only way that they know how to deal with the anxiety, depression or other mental health issue that they have.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great way to address not only drug abuse but also some mental health disorders. The idea behind it is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Experts believe that replacing negative thoughts can mitigate negative or bad habits, such as drug abuse.

Don’t Underestimate Family Therapy

Family therapy is another important part of every recovery program. In fact, a large majority of addiction problems start within the home. Anything from poor relationships to a history of abuse at home can lead to these problems.

Family therapy helps people get to the root cause. By addressing the problems straight on, they can start the healing process. Like with dual-diagnosis therapy, the main goal here is to deal with the underlying issue.

Additionally, family therapy provides people who struggle with addiction some much-needed support. It’s always nice to know that they have the support of their loved ones behind them, and family therapy facilitates that comfort.

Gender-Specific Treatment

Men and women aren’t the same in many ways, so they often require different approaches to rehab treatment. Thankfully, many centers offer gender-specific rehab. Such a program is designed in a way that it addresses the immediate concerns of men or women.

Another benefit of gender-specific treatment is that men and women are often separated for the duration. This aspect is important because studies show that both genders typically have an easier time concentrating and sharing information when members of the opposite sex aren’t around. It gives them a better opportunity to focus on their recovery.

Don’t Wait to Get Help; Reach Out to CNV Detox Today

If you or a loved one abuses Ritalin and alcohol, or a similar combination, it’s crucial to get help right away. This dangerous combination of drugs can become addictive and lead down a dangerous path.

At CNV Detox, we can help you not only detox from these drugs but also begin the journey to recovery. Beyond detox, some of the programs that we offer include:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Individual and group therapies
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic addiction treatment

CNV Detox offers gender-specific treatment as well. We have a women’s detox program that can help women get the most out of their treatment. This program can address some gender-specific concerns and reasons why women abuse drugs.

Our goal is to provide the tools that you need to overcome addiction. Don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact us today to start the recovery process.

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