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Mixing Alcohol and Adderall?

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Taking more than one substance at a time can lead to a host of  side effects. This is especially true when mixing alcohol and Adderall. Though both substances are considered safe when used appropriately, mixing the two (1) can increase the danger of each. Alcohol, a powerful depressant, and Adderall, a powerful stimulant, impact the body in very different ways. When both are present in the body, the effects become unpredictable. Systems your body needs to function can become unstable, or at worse, fail.

Many times alcohol is mixed with Adderall for recreational purposes. Occasionally, however, combining substances is a symptom indicative of a substance use disorder. If you or someone you know is in need of treatment for a substance use disorder, help is available. Guardian Recovery is a national leader in providing quality substance use treatment. Our network of treatment facilities are committed to providing the highest quality of care available. Call today to speak with a treatment advisor to review your treatment options.

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What Is Adderall & What Does It Treat?

Adderall is a brand name for the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This powerful amphetamine increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a powerful chemical found throughout the brain. This chemical sends signals of motivation, pleasure, and focus. As Adderall takes effect (2), high levels of dopamine are secreted throughout the brain. This allows the user the ability to focus their attention on a particular task for a longer period of time.

Recent studies suggest that over 41 million Americans (3) are currently prescribed Adderall. Along with those who take as prescribed, Adderall is also used recreationally. It produces the same feelings of euphoria and focused energy that many find appealing. It is especially common among students for both enjoyment and increased academic performance.

Common Side Effects of Adderall Use

Though it is considered safe when used as prescribed, Adderall does pose a risk for some potential side effects. These include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Adderall?

Consuming alcohol while taking Adderall can have potentially harmful results. Whether you are taking Adderall as prescribed or using it recreationally, adding alcohol to the mix can cause a host of unpredictable side effects. Alcohol is a powerful sedative. When mixed with the stimulating effects of Adderall, it can either negate or increase the effects of each substance.

Does Alcohol Affect the Absorption of Adderall?

As both substances take effect on the brain and body, many times the sedative effects of alcohol are stunted by the stimulating effects of Adderall. This can lead some to increase their alcohol consumption in order to achieve the desired effect. Increasing alcohol consumption can have a variety of potentially dangerous results (4) including:

  • Poor judgment.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Increase in risk taking behavior.
  • Liver Damage.

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Does Alcohol Negate the Effects of Adderall?

A common misconception is that Adderall negates the effects of alcohol. Many believe this to be true and drink more than normal in order to receive the same sedative effects. Though the effects of alcohol can be temporarily suspended, the full impact of the amount of alcohol will take its toll on the body. Though users may not have the same associated feelings, their brain and body will feel the full effect.

Potential Adverse Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol & Adderall Together

When mixed together, Adderall and alcohol can have the potential for negative side effects. Often masking the effects of alcohol, Adderall use while drinking can lead the user to drink excessively. Once the stimulating effects of adderall wear off, the full sedation of the large amount of alcohol will be felt.

Risks & Dangers of Mixing Alcohol & Stimulants

Adderall is a powerful stimulant. Though it is considered safe when used as prescribed, it can have effects that resemble other stimulants. These stimulants can include other amphetamines, caffeine, or cocaine. Alcohol is a depressant classified as a sedative-hypnotic. Other sedative-hypnotic substances include Xanax and Valium. Mixing these two opposing substances can lead to unpredictable results. These can include excessive drinking, liver damage, and alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol, Adderall, & Liver Damage

The body’s primary filter is the liver. It is made up of various enzymes required to safely dispose of substances within the body. Both alcohol and Adderall require the same liver enzymes to break down. When mixing the two (5), this can cause high amounts of stress on the liver. Too much stress for an extended period of time can lead to potentially dangerous liver conditions. These liver conditions can include:

  • Fatty liver
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis

How Long Should You Wait After Taking Adderall to Consume Alcohol?

Many who take Adderall ask the question, “When is it safe to drink alcohol?” Many doctors recommend waiting 4 to 6 hours after taking adderall before consuming alcohol. This period of time is enough for the body to break down the Adderall and allow it to pass through the liver. This will alleviate any unnecessary stress that both of these substances will put on the liver when taken together.

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Seeking Treatment for a Substance Use Disorder

If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder related to Adderall or alcohol, contact Guardian Recovery today. Our centers are available 24/7 to answer questions and assess your needs. Our treatment advisors will ensure that you are met with the highest quality of substance use treatment as you begin your recovery journey. They are even able to conduct a free insurance check over the phone with no obligation to you. Contact us directly to learn more.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321542
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/drugfacts_stimulantadhd_1.pdf
  3. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11595829/One-EIGHT-people-ADHD-drug-adderall-prescription-rules-relaxed.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3706063/

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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