Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall and Alcohol Abuse Drinking too much alcohol can impair brain function and motor skills and lead to substance abuse. Mixing alcohol with illicit or other drugs such as Adderall—even legal ones—greatly increases the dangers: Combining alcohol with another central nervous system depressant like Xanax or painkillers like Vicodin can slow your heartbeat and breathing and may lead to death. Mixing […]

Adderall and Alcohol Abuse

Drinking too much alcohol can impair brain function and motor skills and lead to substance abuse. Mixing alcohol with illicit or other drugs such as Adderall—even legal ones—greatly increases the dangers: Combining alcohol with another central nervous system depressant like Xanax or painkillers like Vicodin can slow your heartbeat and breathing and may lead to death. Mixing alcohol with stimulants like Adderall or club drugs like Ecstasy can cause heart problems, too, as well as strokes and convulsions. Cough and cold medicines that don’t need a prescription can lead to medical complications if you abuse them or combine them with alcohol—once again, heart problems and trouble breathing. [1]

Adderall is a Schedule 2 drug. That means it’s a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Adderall comes with great risks.

Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. This does not mean that the two substances cancel each other out. Instead, they compete with each other in your body. This effect can cause serious problems.

Adderall can dull the symptoms of being drunk. So people who use Adderall and alcohol together are often not aware of how much alcohol they’ve consumed. This can lead to over-drinking and related consequences such as alcohol poisoning and risky behavior. [2]

First, mixing alcohol with some medicines can lead to excessive sleepiness, drunkenness, or difficulty walking. Less common but more severe interactions can cause toxicity, even death.

How to stop drinking alcohol
Some people are apprehensive about how to stop drinking alcohol due to withdrawal symptoms.

Mixing alcohol and medication can also make the drug’s effects stronger or weaker, or the medicine may not work at all when it’s mixed with booze. These interactions can occur with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicines, as well as supplements and herbal treatments.

Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even some herbal remedies. Alcohol interactions with medications may cause problems [3] such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Loss of coordination
  • Accidents

Mixing alcohol and medications also may increase the risk of complications such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart problems
  • Internal bleeding
  • Impaired breathing
  • Depression

In some cases, alcohol interactions may decrease the effectiveness of medications or render them useless. In other cases, alcohol interactions may make drugs harmful or even toxic to the body.  Learn more: Key signs of an alcohol overdose.

According to the CDC, about two-thirds of American adults over age 18 at least occasionally use alcohol. Of these, about 51% are current regular drinkers (defined as at least 12 drinks in the past year), and about 13% are infrequent drinkers (defined as up to 11 drinks in the past year).

Adderall and Alcohol
Adderall and alcohol contain chemicals that affect the central nervous system differently. Call to learn more.

Behavioral Issues Linked To Addiction

The use and misuse of prescription drugs in the United States is common, with over 16 million people aged 12 or over, are reporting misuse of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in 2019. However, mixing certain prescription drugs with alcohol can lead to potentially fatal side effects, in addition to other adverse short-term or long-term health problems. Prescription drugs commonly used in conjunction with alcohol include prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants.

Dual Diagnosis

Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover. Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder. For example:

  • Serious mental illness is defined by someone over 18 having (within the past year) a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. [3]

Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions. For the treatment to be effective, you need to stop using alcohol or drugs. Treatments may include behavioral therapies and medications. Also, support groups can give you emotional and social support. They are also a place where people can share tips about how to deal with day-to-day challenges.

A good dual diagnosis drug treatment program and drug addiction therapy facility need to be able to treat both conditions without treating one as the sole cause of the other. Addiction is a complicated disease and no one thing is to blame for it. There are various options available to handle drug addiction therapy.

A good drug treatment program will offer several levels of therapy as well as multiple treatment options. This allows the rehabilitation facility to meet the individual needs of its patients.

Most programs begin with a detox process to remove the physical dependence on any substances then a residency program. This type of program can last as long as two months and is designed to provide intensive focused therapy in a controlled environment to help you get over the first hurdle and give you the tools necessary to face the cravings and temptations of everyday life.

Adderall and Alcohol
If a person is concerned that taking Adderall and alcohol may be causing themselves harm, contact emergency services immediately.

For the Best Possible Chance of Full Recovery, Your Care Should Include:

  • Specialists in substance abuse and mental health treatment work together to ensure your mental health and substance abuse needs are met.
  • Psychotherapy plays a key role in treating co-occurring disorders, but prescription medication may also be required.
  • Therapy that enables the client to make choices is the most reliable and widely used approach.
  • In the treatment process, all household members, including partners, spouses, children, and any other members of a household or household members should all be involved regardless of whether they receive individual treatment or take part in family meetings

Although these problems often occur together, this does not mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first. In fact, it can be hard to figure out which came first. Researchers think that there are three possibilities as to why they occur together:

  • Common risk factors may contribute to both mental disorders and substance use disorders. These factors include genetics, stress, and trauma.
  • Mental disorders can contribute to drug use and substance use disorders. For example, people with mental disorders may use drugs or alcohol to try to feel better temporarily. This is known as self-medication. Also, mental disorders may change the brain to make it more likely you will become addicted.
  • Substance use and addiction can contribute to the development of a mental disorder. Substance use may change the brain in ways that make you more likely to develop a mental disorder.

Effects of Alcohol on ADHD

People with ADHD may have a problem in the parts of the brain that link to self-control, attention, critical thinking, and impulsivity. Symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Trouble concentrating and staying on task
  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness
  • Impatience
  • Easy distraction
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization

ADHD is also linked with lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. These are known as the feel-good neurotransmitters. They are part of your body’s reward system. 

Stimulant drugs like Adderall are the first-line treatment for people with ADHD. Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. It’s a blend of several different amphetamine salts.

This medication works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. It improves concentration and reduces impulsivity and hyperactivity in people with ADHD.

Though Adderall is safe when it’s used the right way, the medication can be abused. According to a study in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, the non-medical use of ADHD drugs is on the rise. The study showed that more than 7 percent of adults ages 18 to 49 years abused ADHD medications. The same study found that over half of the people who abused ADHD drugs also drank alcohol while using the medications.

Adderall and Alcohol
Adderall and alcohol misuse is also associated with substance use disorder (SUD), which can develop into addiction. 

The largest group abusing these drugs is full-time college students. Students may use the drugs in an effort to perform better in school and reduce their need to sleep. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 90 percent of students who abuse Adderall also binge drink alcohol. [4]

Adderall and alcohol make a dangerous combination. Mixing the two can lead to alcohol poisoning, heart problems, and behavioral issues. Alcohol can also make your ADHD worse. Many people who abuse Adderall also abuse alcohol. Even if you have a prescription for Adderall, you should not drink alcohol during treatment.

Many people with alcohol use disorder do recover, but setbacks are common among people in treatment. Seeking professional help early can prevent relapse to drinking. Behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Medications can also help deter drinking when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse (e.g., divorce, death of a family member). [5]

Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists here at We Level Up TX for substance abuse treatment options.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.


[1] Alcohol and Drugs Don’t Mix – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[2] Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol –
[3] Alcohol and Medication Interactions –
[4] Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration
[5] We Level Up – Rehab » Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder