Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall pills spilling out of a prescription bottle next to an image of a glass of alcohol

Adderall is a stimulant medication commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, signifying positive medical benefits but also the potential for abuse. Prescription and illicit Adderall pills are commonly mixed with alcohol. One study found that over 95 percent of individuals that report prescription amphetamine misuse in the past year also reported alcohol use in the previous 30 days. Although Adderall is commonly mixed with alcohol, the combination can lead to serious, even life-threatening side effects. It is critical to understand the dangers of combining Adderall and alcohol to avoid dangerous situations.

Is it Safe to Drink While Taking Adderall?

Many individuals wonder if they can take Adderall and drink alcohol. Adderall and alcohol have opposing effects on the body. Stimulants, like Adderall, increase central nervous system activity while depressants, such as alcohol, decrease central nervous system activity. Due to these opposing effects, some individuals mix alcohol and Adderall to limit adverse Adderall side effects. Other people may socially drink while taking prescription Adderall for ADHD. However, the biological interactions between Adderall and alcohol are complex and difficult to predict. 

Mixing Adderall and alcohol can lead to dangerous, life-threatening physical and behavioral side effects due to how the two substances impact the body. Medical professionals do not recommend mixing alcohol and Adderall.

Side Effects of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

The effects of mixing alcohol and Adderall can be serious. Alcohol competes with amphetamine, a component of Adderall, for metabolizing enzymes in the body. This competition can enhance and prolong the effects of both substances, resulting in a dangerous high specific to Adderall and alcohol

When blood alcohol content rises as an individual drinks, alcohol has an initial stimulating effect. Thus, using prescription stimulants such as Adderall alongside alcohol during this timeframe exacerbates and extends stimulant side effects. Stimulants such as Adderall may also mask the side effects of alcohol, such as feeling relaxed or tired. As a result, an individual drinking while using Adderall may be at an increased risk of consuming too much alcohol and suffering from alcohol poisoning. Mixing Adderall and alcohol increases the risk of adverse side effects from both substances.

Physical Effects

Physical side effects of Adderall that may be increased when the drug is mixed with alcohol include:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Involuntary leg or arm shaking
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness and fainting

Physical side effects of alcohol use that may be increased when mixed with Adderall include:

  • Blackouts
  • Motor coordination problems
  • Slurred speech
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Liver damage

Behavioral Effects

Behavioral side effects of Adderall that may be increased when the drug is mixed with alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Aggression

Behavioral side effects of alcohol use that may be increased when mixed with Adderall include:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased risk-taking
  • Memory problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Aggression

Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Adderall

The dangers of Adderall and alcohol include physical and psychological risks. Alcohol and Adderall have adverse effects on the heart. Severe Adderall side effects include rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase blood pressure as well as damage heart muscles. Using both substances amplifies the risk of severe heart side effects such as heart attacks. 

Individuals using both substances may wonder, can you overdose on Adderall and alcohol? Impaired judgment and irrational behavior can increase the risk of overdose when Adderall and alcohol are used together. Stimulants such as Adderall may also mask the effects of alcohol, making it difficult for an individual to feel how much they have had to drink. As a result, an individual drinking while on Adderall is at an increased risk of alcohol poisoning, a life-threatening condition.

Individuals who use alcohol and non-medical prescription drugs such as Adderall are more likely to experience alcohol-related consequences linked to risk-taking behaviors and interpersonal problems. Consequences include intoxicated driving, physical altercations and sexual victimization. Individually, alcohol and Adderall misuse can lead to aggressive behavior. Using both substances together increases the risk of aggression, which can lead to negative consequences, including legal or relationship problems. 

The use of alcohol and Adderall together can exacerbate underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Studies demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption may increase vulnerability to the abuse-related effects of stimulants such as Adderall.

Treatment for Adderall and Alcohol Abuse

Adderall addiction treatment includes a combination of medical detox, cognitive behavioral therapy and support groups. Alcohol addiction treatment consists of a combination of medical detox, inpatient or outpatient rehab programs and medications. Individuals who abuse both substances will benefit from a program tailored to recovery from both alcohol and Adderall addiction. Professionals treatment centers are recommended for Adderall and alcohol addiction recovery, as trained medical professionals manage and monitor withdrawal symptoms and formulate an individualized recovery plan.

If you or a loved one struggle with Adderall or alcohol, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to speak with a representative who can help you explore Adderall and alcohol addiction treatment programs. You deserve a healthier future, call today.

Egan, Kathleen; et al. “Simultaneous use of non-medical ADHD prescription stimulants and alcohol among undergraduate students.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, July 1, 2014. Accessed August 7, 2019.

Government of South Australia. “The dangers of mixing drugs.” July 26, 2019. Accessed August 7, 2019.

Stanley, Matthew; Poole, Megan; Stoops, William; Rush, Craig. “Amphetamine self-administration in light and moderate drinkers.” Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, October, 2012. Accessed August 7, 2019.