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Updated on September 14, 2023
5 min read

Adderall and Alcohol Interactions

Adderall is the brand name for the combination medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This medicine is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.

Adderall is often given as a prescription medication to people with ADHD to help improve focus and concentration. It can improve ADHD symptoms in 70 to 80 percent of children and 70 percent of adults shortly after starting treatment.1

adderall pill

Is it Safe to Mix Alcohol and Adderall?

No, it is not safe to mix alcohol and Adderall. Alcohol is a depressant, while Adderall is a stimulant. 

Combining the two can cause some adverse side effects, including: 

  • Your alcohol inhibitions reduce, thus predisposing you to risky behavior
  • Your impulse control reduces
  • Focus and concentration become more difficult for you
  • It increases your risk of addiction
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Why Do People Mix Adderall and Alcohol?

Most times, people who mix Adderall and alcohol do so out of ignorance. They believe Adderall helps keep them focused throughout the day. On the other hand, alcohol helps them cope with stress and other symptoms of ADHD, such as depression. 

Mixing alcohol and Adderall can predispose you to various health risks:

  • Heart problems 
  • Stroke
  • Seizures 
  • Increase in blood pressure 
  • Depression 

It can also increase your risk of alcohol intoxication.

Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Adderall

Even though Adderall is beneficial for treating conditions like ADHD, it has a high tendency for abuse and misuse. One way people misuse this drug is by mixing it with alcohol, which can cause serious side effects that can be life-threatening. 

Mixing alcohol and Adderall have short-term and long-term effects.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol and Adderall

Short-term effects of mixing alcohol and Adderall include:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Unsteady movement or poor coordination

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol and Adderall Interactions

When you abuse Adderall and mix it with alcohol, it can cause some side effects in the long run, such as:

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Numbness or inability to feel pain
  • Stroke
  • Malnutrition
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Heart problems 
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Side Effects & Risks of Adderall

Even though healthcare providers usually prescribe Adderall to treat ADHD, this prescription drug is not without side effects. 

Studies on whether the side effects of Adderall increase with higher doses are still vague. However, scientists have discovered that cases of side effects are low and similar to other ADHD medications.7 

Common side effects of Adderall include:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid changes in mood
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Tachycardia (a fast heart rate that is over 100 beats per minute) 
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal weakness
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irritability
  • Overstimulation
  • Skin rashes
  • Movement disorders
  • Tremors
  • Dependency

Not everyone experiences side effects with stimulant drugs like Adderall. However, those who experience them may be able to manage most of the side effects by adjusting the schedule and dosage. Giving people time to get used to the drug is also recommended.2

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Is Adderall Addictive?

Adderall can be addictive, especially if you’re taking Adderall and drinking alcohol. Mixing the two can increase your risk for a substance use disorder (SUD). 

Constant use of Adderall at an unprescribed dose (substance use) can cause you to build up some tolerance. This, in turn, can lead to addiction. 

Symptoms of Alcohol and Adderall Misuse

When people misuse substances like alcohol and Adderall, it tends to disrupt their body’s chemical signaling.

Someone that abuses alcohol and Adderall will most likely experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Withdrawal from socialization or social activities
  • Aggression
  • Being overly talkative
  • Exhaustion
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Dependence on alcohol and Adderall
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Sleeping for extended periods

Treatment Options for Polysubstance Use 

Addiction to Adderall and alcohol requires polysubstance abuse treatment. 

Polysubstance use means being dependent on or addicted to multiple drugs or substances simultaneously (e.g., mixing Adderall and alcohol). It also may refer to alternating between various drugs to counteract each substance’s side effects. 

Fortunately, there are treatment options available for polysubstance abuse, such as:

Inpatient and Outpatient Care

People who want to quit polysubstance use experience intense withdrawal symptoms. For this reason and more, they may require admittance into inpatient care.

Inpatient care requires you to stay in a treatment facility for several days or weeks for close monitoring. Outpatient care is for those who only need part-time treatment.

Medical Detox

Withdrawal from polysubstance use can be more complex than withdrawal from one substance.

The supervising physician will monitor the person’s vital signs during medical detox. The physician may also prescribe medications to combat specific withdrawal symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help the person establish coping mechanisms and new thought patterns. This will help them resist the substance and avoid substance abuse in the future.

The key to treating substance use is providing each individual with the best care tailored to their needs. Identifying what led the person to use substances in the first place is one of the best approaches for successful addiction treatment and long-term recovery.

Summary

Adderall and alcohol should never be mixed. Mixing the two substances can increase your risk for a substance use disorder (SUD).

Constant use of Adderall at an unprescribed dose may lead to tolerance, which can, in turn, lead to addiction. 

If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms of alcohol and Adderall misuse, seek help immediately. Various treatment options are available to help individuals with an addiction to these substances.

Updated on September 14, 2023
8 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Stimulant Therapy.” Cleveland Clinic, 2016.
  2. Boorady, R. “Side Effects of ADHD Medication.” Child Mind Institute.
  3. Faraone SV., Biederman, J. ”Efficacy of Adderall for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: a meta-analysis.” Journal of Attention Disorders, 2002.
  4. Lakhan S., Kirchgessner, A. "Prescription Stimulants in Individuals with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Misuse, Cognitive Impact, and Adverse Effects.” Brain Behaviour, 2012.
  5. Llamas, M. “Adderall Side Effects.” Drugwatch, 2020.
  6. National Prevalence of ADHD and Treatment.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020.
  7. The Effects of Combining Alcohol with Other Drugs.” University Health Service, University of Michigan.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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