Adderall and Alcohol: The Risks of Mixing Them

A drug prescribed for deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is called Adderall. There are cases where some people take this medication with alcohol. Let’s take a closer look at the risks of doing this.

Pills in a wine glass

A typical drug prescribed for managing attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults is called Adderall. It is a schedule 2 drug which means it is a controlled substance that carries a high risk for addiction and abuse. In some cases, some individuals prescribed with this medication continue to drink alcohol which is ill-advised. So, what are the effects of mixing Adderall and alcohol?

What is Adderall?

Before jumping into that, it is vital to understand what exactly Adderall is? As mentioned above, it is a medication often prescribed for managing symptoms and behavior associated with ADHD in children and adults. It is a stimulant that works mainly on the nervous system, and its active substance is called amphetamine. The primary effects of the drug both physically and mentally include the following.

  • Increased breathing and heart rate
  • Improved focus
  • Alertness
  • Sense of competency

Aside from its effects on individuals with ADHD, Adderall is also prescribed as a treatment for narcolepsy. While it helps an individual stay awake in the day, the drug is not specified as a treatment for tiredness. It is also not advised as a treatment for holding off sleep in individuals who do not experience narcolepsy or other sleep disorders.


The drug is taken orally without or with food. Depending on the doctor’s orders, the drug is taken one to three times a day. If additional doses are prescribed, then these are usually taken within a four to six-hour interval.

Side Effects

Much like other drugs, this medication may cause adverse reactions. Some of the common side effects include the following.

ConstipationDecreased Appetite
Difficulty Falling AsleepDry Mouth
HeadacheLoss of Interest in Sex
RestlessnessWeight Loss


This drug may also cause dangerous side effects. Some of the more serious adverse reactions of Adderall include the following.

Aggressive BehaviorDelusions or Hallucinations
Chest PainDifficulty Talking or Swallowing
Skin RashIrregular Heartbeat
FaintingUncontrollable Voice Sounds or Movements Severe
Vision ChangesSwelling of Tongue, Lips, or Face
SeizuresUncontrollable Behavior
Difficulty BreathingSevere Numbness or Weakness


Take note as well that this drug may raise serotonin levels which might lead to a dangerous condition known as serotonin toxicity or serotonin syndrome. The risk is heightened if the individual is also taking other drugs that may raise serotonin levels. An individual is advised to get immediate medical attention if he or she develops the following signs.

  • Diarrhea
  • Fast Heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Severe Nausea and Vomiting
  • Severe Dizziness
  • Twitching Muscles
  • Unusual Agitation or Restlessness
  • Unexplained Fever

While an allergic reaction to Adderall is rare, it may occur. Seek immediate medical aid if the following symptoms manifest.

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Rash
  • Swelling and Itching of Throat, Tongue, and Face
  • Severe Dizziness

Regular use of the drug, especially in high doses, may lead to withdrawal reactions. Such symptoms of withdrawal include sleep problems, severe tiredness, and mood or mental changes. Withdrawal is likely to occur if the medication is suddenly discontinued. Prevent such an occurrence from happening by speaking with the primary healthcare provider who had prescribed the drug. He or she may reduce the dose in gradual amounts.

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Alcohol is often consumed due to its depressive effects. An individual is likely to feel content and relaxed when alcohol is consumed. This is why some individuals believe that alcohol works as a sedative and is alright to be mixed with Adderall, which is a stimulant. However, this is a misconception, and the combination of Adderall and alcohol may result in adverse effects on the body. Some of the effects of mixing both substances include the following.

Heart Problems

Stimulant drugs like Adderall heighten the risk of getting heart problems. Also, taking a dosage that is higher than what has been prescribed increases the risk. However, the risk is more significant when Adderall is taken with alcohol. Apart from heightening the risk of getting heart disorders, a mix of both compounds leads to the following effects.

  • Causes irregular heart rate
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Raises body temperature

Research that was done by St. Joseph’s Medical Center also states that concurrent Adderall and alcohol use is linked to hypertension, arrhythmia, and heart attack.

Behavioral Problems

Consuming too much alcohol reduces an individual’s inhibitions which may also result in aggressive behavior. When Adderall is added alongside alcohol, it increases the effects of behavioral changes. An individual is highly likely to engage in situations that may harm others or themselves. Moreover, the behavioral risks associated with a combination of alcohol and Adderall include the following.

  • Drunk driving
  • Immoral behavior
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Unnecessary risk-taking
  • Unlawful behavior
  • Violent or aggressive behavior

Alcohol Poisoning

The symptoms of being drunk may be dulled by Adderall. This is why individuals taking Adderall and consuming alcohol at the same time are not aware of the amount of alcohol already consumed. Thus, it may likely lead to over-drinking, risky behavior, and alcohol poisoning. Symptoms associated with alcohol poisoning include the following.

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Organ Failure
  • Uncontrollable Vomiting

Heightened Risk of Addiction

As both substances are highly addictive, an individual mixing and consuming both substances may increase his or her risk of getting a substance use disorder. Moreover, it heightens the possibility of an individual developing dependence for both alcohol and Adderall.

Side effects of Adderall And Alcohol

Side Effects of Adderall and Alcohol

For individuals who continue to mix and use both substances at the same time, some of the adverse reactions likely to occur include the following.

  1. Convulsions
  2. High Body Temperature
  3. Muscle Twitching
  4. Palpitations
  5. Tremors

Such side effects are likely to lead to dangerous health problems and severe damage to the body. The damages may be permanent and remain untreatable as well.


Given that the drug is a stimulant, the drug is already linked to health risks. These risks are heightened especially if consumed in extremely high doses. The risks associated with an Adderall overdose include the following.

  1. Coma
  2. Death
  3. Heart failure
  4. Heart attack
  5. Seizures

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