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Adderall and Alcohol

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Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol. Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Adderall Addiction and Alcoholism

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand name for the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment and narcolepsy (sleep disorder) [1]. It is a stimulant that can cause euphoria when taken inappropriately. It can be addictive, and Adderall’s side effects can be life-threatening in some cases. One should never assume a drug is somehow “safe” to use in any quantity or conditions simply because it’s prescribed.

Recreational use of Adderall can quickly progress to addiction and quitting the drug can be hellish and often leads to Adderall withdrawal symptoms. Recovery professionals recommend beginning the first phase of treatment in a supervised facility. This will all start by undergoing medically assisted Adderall addiction treatment in an inpatient drug rehab.

Adderall and Alcohol
Because Adderall is designed to help the brains of people with ADHD, misusing the drug may increase the risk of Adderall’s side effects.

In addition, taking psychoactive drugs like Adderall and mixing them with alcohol poses a great risk. Not only is mixing Adderall and alcohol bad, but it’s also deadly. Whether an Adderall and alcohol overdose happens accidentally or on purpose, it can lead to death. Adderall by itself carries an increased risk for heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure. Add alcohol into the equation, and the risk factor for these side effects increases.

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Adderall Side Effects

Adderall is prescribed to treat mental disorders such as ADHD and sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, but many individuals take it without a prescription, due to the desired effects. As with every other drug, this medication can also cause several harmful side effects, both for prescription and non-prescription users. It’s crucial to know what these side effects are, for your safety [2]. And of course, it’s best to take it only with a prescription and only in the prescribed dosage.

Short-term Side Effects

If you have any concerns or questions about the following harmful Adderall side effects, contact your health care provider:

  • Circulatory issues (including finger numbness and discoloration)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach ache
  • Back pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Jitteriness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth

Long-Term Effects of Adderall

There are signs of Adderall addiction that may be visible to people, such as the sense of excitability and talkativeness the individual shows. There are also long-term effects of Adderall abuse that may happen.

These can usually become even more harmful and can include numbness or weakness in extremities, chest pain, vision problems, peeling or blistering skin, and mental problems such as mania, paranoia, or seizures.

Eventually, with regular use of Adderall, users will start to experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t take the medications, and ongoing use of Adderall can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain. Signs someone is experiencing withdrawal from Adderall may include lack of energy, irritability, anger, headaches, constipation, and insomnia.

As with many other drugs, there are also lifestyle indicators that could point to someone is abusing Adderall. As people’s dependency on this drug continues to increase, it might become their priority. What might have started as a way to excel at work can actually lead the person to renounce interest in these areas and display dropping performance. The abuse of Adderall can also lead to poor health overall, relationship crises, and financial and legal problems.

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Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Many people without ADHD may abuse these prescription drugs recreationally for their stimulant-associated effects of increased energy and euphoria, which also suppresses the side effects of alcohol and can lead to alcohol poisoning. In recent years, combining Adderall and alcohol has become an increasingly popular trend among college students. Non-prescription Adderall use is so prevalent on college campuses that college students take dangerously high amounts of it to cram before an exam or stay up all night to write a paper.

Adderall and Alcohol
No matter the reason, mixing Adderall with other drugs increases overdose risks and complications such as heart attack.

What Happens When You Mix Alcohol and Adderall?

Some people think that taking Adderall before drinking will help them keep up their energy. If Adderall stimulates them up and alcohol makes them tired, they should balance each other out, right? But that is not the case. Young people intentionally mix alcohol and Adderall in order to party longer and drink larger amounts. Unfortunately, this practice is extremely risky and dangerous because it can result in potentially-fatal consequences, including anxiety, depression, seizures, alcohol poisoning, and even heart attack.

Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Alcohol 

 Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. It’s expected to think they cancel out, but in reality, these two substances butt heads. The conflict between them often results in:

  • Having a more challenging time focusing on what’s going on around them
  • Lowering someone’s inhibitions and making them more inclined to risky behavior
  • Decreased impulse control

But that’s not all that happens when combining Adderall and alcohol. Adderall abuse increases the risk for heart problems, such as high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. Mixing it with alcohol and the risk factor for these side effects skyrockets. The bottom line? mixing Adderall and alcohol can cause long-term damage to the heart.

Yes, taking Adderall and alcohol can kill you. Although this may seem disturbing, the risk of overdose is increased when several substances or drugs are taken at a time. In addition, as previously mentioned, because Adderall and alcohol belong to different drug classes, they can collide to produce dangerous and unpredictable side effects. 

For the same reason, alcohol can lessen the effectiveness of Adderall, prompting the user to take more Adderall to experience the increased alertness it gives. But taking Adderall and alcohol at the same time doesn’t reduce the original amount of the drug taken, but it only dulls its effects. When someone takes more, they open themselves up to an overdose.

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Effects of Alcohol with Adderall

Most people are familiar with the relaxing effects of alcohol. As a result, alcohol is favored in social settings because people feel more relaxed, self-confident, and friendly while under its influence. However, drinking too much alcohol in a short time can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency situation. 

Those who mix these two powerful substances may be unaware of the risks of combining them. Here are some of the negative effects of combining Adderall and alcohol:

  • While under the influence of both Adderall and alcohol, the person has decreased capacity to make sound judgments, possibly leading to dangerous impulsivity or high-risk behaviors.
  • Impairment by the alcohol may not be recognized because of the Adderall in the system, possibly leading to an accident or injury.
  • Adverse effects of the Adderall and alcohol combination include heart palpitations, convulsions, increased body temperature, and tremors.
  • Seizures are more likely to happen when Adderall and alcohol are used simultaneously.
  • Overdose can happen when the person can’t perceive the actual effects of the substances. They may not experience the Adderall or the alcohol’s full effect and continue to use them, potentially leading to an overdose.
  • Both Adderall and alcohol can cause hallucinations or psychosis at higher doses.
  • The possibility of developing a polydrug use disorder increases with continued use of both Adderall and alcohol.
  • Despite the perception that reflexes and motor coordination are not as affected by alcohol when one mixes Adderall and alcohol together, individuals remain significantly impaired in regard to their reaction time, motor coordination, and visual perception. This can lead to a number of potentially dangerous situations.
  • The potential to develop serious neurological effects, particularly seizures, is significantly increased when one mixes the two drugs.
  • Long-term abuse of Adderall and alcohol can lead to serious cognitive issues that reflect damage to the central nervous system. These issues most often manifest as issues with attention/concentration, learning and memory, and complex problem-solving. In addition, a number of emotional effects that may represent damage to the central nervous system may also occur, including longstanding issues with depression, apathy, loss of motivation, and even potential psychosis.
  • Even though one of the primary reasons that individuals give for abusing Adderall is to enhance their ability to study, learn, and improve their grades, research indicates that individuals who abuse Adderall, or who abuse Adderall and alcohol together, typically have lower grades and significantly lower levels of academic and professional achievement than individuals who do not abuse these drugs. Thus, even though the primary reason that many individuals report abusing stimulant medications like Adderall is to enhance their cognitive abilities, this alleged effect appears to be a myth.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Adderall Addiction and Alcoholism

Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [3], publishes that over 1.5 million American adults were considered to be currently abusing a prescription stimulant drug.

Mixing Adderall and alcohol magnifies the side effects of both and may promote more use of both. One may be taken to offset the effects of the other, to enhance the “high,” or lessen the “crash” that can ensue when one substance wears off. Increased dosage of stimulants and intensified alcohol consumption can cause a person’s brain chemistry to be altered.

A wide variety of options are available to help the person stop taking Adderall and alcohol and avoid serious side effects from polysubstance abuse. Many Adderall users respond well to residential rehab programs. 

If you are experiencing Adderall and alcohol addiction, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of Adderall and alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term drug abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

Adderall and Alcohol
With therapy and support, you can break from these two substances

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Sources:

[1] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/drug-alcohol-use-in-college-age-adults-in-2018

[2] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants

[3] SAMHSA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse

[4] SAMHSA – https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma15-4131.pdf