Adderall is a prescription drug prescribed to treat Attention-Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There is a growing trend, especially on college campuses, of people without prescriptions taking Adderall to improve the performance or get high. Many people who both legally and illegally use the drug combine it with alcohol at times, either intentionally to increase the effects of either substance or because they do not know the risks. Although mixing alcohol and Adderall is common, it can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.
What makes the combination of Adderall and alcohol so dangerous?
Adderall and alcohol Adderall both contain chemicals that affect the brain but in very different ways. Adderall works by increasing the efficiency of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine to improve focus and increase alertness. Alcohol works in opposition to this by decreasing the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain.
In general, alcohol acts as a depressant, particularly in large quantities. But in small amounts, such as one drink, alcohol works a stimulant. This means that a small amount of alcohol mixed with Adderall can enhance Adderall’s amphetamine side effects.
Combining large amounts of alcohol with Adderall can make the user feel the sedative effects of alcohol more slowly, so they are likely to drink more than they would if they were not on Adderall. This can lead to the overconsumption of alcohol and alcohol poisoning. Alcohol and Adderall are both digested in the liver, so when combining the two, the liver has to work twice as hard to rid the body of toxins.
Symptoms and side effects
Mixing Adderall and alcohol can have various side effects depending on the person, their tolerance to Adderall and/or alcohol, whether they are prescribed Adderall and take it regularly or not, the amount of either substance that is consumed, and more.
After one or two drinks combined with Adderall, a person will most likely experience a stronger buzz or level of intoxication than they would with just alcohol alone.
After more than one or two drinks combined with alcohol, most people show the following symptoms: lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, slowed reaction time, distorted judgment, and impaired decision-making. If a person continues drinking beyond this point, more severe symptoms include loss of control over the body, inability to feel pain, total lack of judgment or ability to make decisions, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.