It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to abuse Adderall, a stimulant drug primarily prescribed to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, sometimes this abuse involves combining Adderall with alcohol.
Mixing Adderall with alcohol has become routine in certain populations, yet most people don’t understand the dangers this behavior can cause.
This blog post will discuss the risks of combining these two substances and provide actionable steps that you can take if you feel like you or someone you know is engaging in such dangerous behavior.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is listed as a schedule ii drug from the US Drug Enforcement Administration. It is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Prescription medications like Adderall enhance the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, including dopamine and norepinephrine, allowing those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to manage their symptoms more effectively.
In addition to its therapeutic uses, taking Adderall as a “study drug” or study aid puts students at an increased risk for substance use disorders. Those taking Adderall for this purpose is due to its ability to enhance focus and concentration. Young adults and college students most frequently abuse Adderall, believing the drug will help them stay up late to study or cram for exams.
Side Effects of Adderall
Since Adderall is a stimulant medication, it can produce stimulant effects when used in larger doses or over a more extended period. Adverse effects from can be:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sex drive
- Mood swings
- Developing substance abuse problems
Unfortunately, in severe cases, Adderall drug abuse could potentially result in a cardiac arrest or an Adderall overdose that can be fatal. Between 1999 and 2003, there were 25 reported deaths due to ADHD prescription stimulants. Of the 25 people who died, 19 were children.
The same CBS report also found that 54 other people experienced severe medical issues related to Adderall usage, creating an alarming statistic that should not go ignored.
Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Misuse and Abuse
Substance use disorders such as Adderall addiction are medical conditions that can cause severe health and social problems. As with any other substance, if someone is misusing or abusing Adderall, they may show sure signs and symptoms.
The following are some common signs of Adderall misuse and abuse:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid weight loss
- Euphoria or heightened energy level
- Risky behaviors such as dangerous driving
- Financial difficulties due to excessive spending on Adderall or other drugs
- Doctor shopping
- Mood swings and irritability
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s essential to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Let’s Discuss Alcohol
Many people throughout the world drink alcohol. Alcohol, a widely consumed substance, is often seen as a social lubricant that can make people feel relaxed and happy. Nevertheless, overindulging in alcohol can cause grave health issues and in some cases – alcohol addiction dependency. It can also cause liver damage, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
Additionally, alcohol can harm cognitive functioning and impede a person’s ability to make sound decisions or restrain their actions.
If you drink alcohol, it is wise to be aware of what causes alcohol dependence as well as alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is also a real and severe danger of drinking too much. It happens when one consumes too much alcohol in a short amount of time. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal.
Alcohol abuse is a major public health concern requiring awareness and prevention.
Side Effects of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol occasionally is not considered a serious health concern. However, abusing alcohol can lead to various physical and psychological side effects. Some of the common side effects of drinking are:
- Impaired concentration
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Memory lapses
- Depressed moods or agitation
- Nausea and vomiting
When abused or excessively ingested, alcohol can cause dire health outcomes such as alcohol poisoning, seizures, comas, and even death. Because of the risk of alcohol intoxication poisoning, people who misuse or abuse alcohol should seek help immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Misuse and Abuse
Alcohol abuse is a severe medical condition that requires professional treatment. In 2021, 29.5 million Americans aged 12 or over suffered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Unfortunately, only 1.4 million of those individuals received treatment for AUD.
This statistic shows the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse or abuse. Some common signs include:
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Drinking in secret or hiding alcohol
- Neglecting responsibilities due to drinking
- Experiencing blackouts and memory lapses caused by drinking
- Mood swings and irritability when not drinking
- Inability to reduce drinking
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when not drinking
- Driving under the influence
- Making risky decisions while intoxicated
- Engaging in dangerous activities while drunk, such as swimming, climbing, or having unprotected sex
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, seeking help from a qualified medical professional is essential. Treatment programs like La Hacienda can address the underlying causes of alcohol misuse and reduce the risk of relapse and further health complications.
Mixing Alcohol and Adderall: The Dangers
Never mix Adderall and alcohol. This dangerous combination can have serious side effects and increase the risk of adverse health consequences.
College students and young adults are typically the most likely to mix alcohol and prescription stimulants. This type of polydrug abuse has been linked to various mental, physical, and emotional complications.
Some of the risks associated with mixing adderall and alcohol:
- Increased impulsivity
- Heightened risk-taking behaviors
- Decreased motor skills
- Agitation or aggression
- Higher chance of overdose
- Cardiovascular complications
- Respiratory depression
- Memory lapses
- Organ damage
Mixing alcohol and Adderall can also increase the risk of developing an addiction and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Since there is an ongoing shortage of Adderall as of February 2023, there is an increased risk of severe withdrawal symptoms for individuals currently addicted to the drug.
Treatment for Adderall and Alcohol Abuse
It is not advisable to stop taking Adderall and drinking alcohol abruptly. Detoxing from the combination of these two substances can be dangerous, as withdrawal symptoms can have serious physical and mental implications.
Symptoms of Adderall and alcohol withdrawal include:
- Agitation or irritability
- Intense cravings for the substance(s)
- Mood swings
Professional help is recommended to detox from Adderall and alcohol safely. Treatment programs like La Hacienda offer support to address the underlying issues contributing to a physical dependence and/or substance abuse.
Treatment options that can help individuals struggling with alcohol and Adderall abuse include:
- Inpatient rehabilitation centers: Most inpatient rehabilitation centers offer a variety of programs tailored to fit the needs of each individual. Residential treatment programs provide 24-hour care and support for individuals struggling with addiction, as well as therapy and medication management.
- Outpatient treatment programs: With outpatient treatment programs, individuals can receive the same quality of care as inpatient rehabilitation centers in a more flexible setting. Outpatient programs allow individuals to continue working or attending school while receiving help for substance abuse.
- Individual therapy: Combined with treatment for substance abuse, individual therapy can be extremely beneficial in addressing underlying mental health issues and learning healthy coping skills.
- Self-help Support Groups: Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide individuals with a safe and supportive environment to share their experiences and build a support system.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT combines counseling with medication to help individuals manage their substance cravings and reduce the risk of relapse. (La Hacienda does not provide MAT.)
La Hacienda Addiction Treatment Center specializes in helping people with a substance use disorder. For more than 50 years, we have been on the frontline fighting addiction. Our excellent doctors and counselors understand what our patients are experiencing.
We strongly urge young adults to take extra caution when using Adderall and mixing it with alcohol. Both alcohol and Adderall can harm one’s mental health and cause severe physical and emotional harm over time.
If you or a loved one require assistance overcoming an addiction to Adderall and alcohol, La Hacienda’s detox and residential treatment programs offer the resources necessary to break free from addiction.
Take the first step toward recovery — contact us now for more information on our services!