Mixing Alcohol and Adderall

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), is a central nervous system stimulant medication that is primarily designed to be used in the treatment of the mental health disorder ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It also has other medicinal uses, such as treating individuals with severe forms of the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is known to be a significant drug of abuse. Drinking alcohol has a totally different effect than using a stimulant. Stimulant medications generally increase the availability of excitatory neurotransmitters in areas of the brain that, when activated, improve focus, physical activity, alertness, etc. Adderall generally increases the availability of norepinephrine and dopamine. Alcohol acts to inhibit the function of the excitatory neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) while at the same time, enhancing functioning of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycline. Alcohol in its various forms is the most frequently abused substance in the United States.

Why People Mix Alcohol and Adderall?

Based on research findings, it appears that the reason individuals abuse both drugs together is to lessen the effects of the stimulant drug (e.g., Adderall) by drinking.

In studies, a number of individuals reported drinking alcohol with Adderall in an attempt to allow them to “party” longer. The stimulant will counteract some of the depressant effects of alcohol.

Adderall abuse in college students is associated with the onset of college examinations. Individuals abuse Adderall in an attempt to improve their concentration or to study for lengthy periods of time. Because using large amounts of Adderall can lead to hyperactivity, jitteriness, etc., individuals may drink alcohol to counteract these effects.

Risks and Dangers

Although it appears that individuals primarily drink alcohol when abusing Adderall in an effort to lessen the effects of the stimulant, it is far more likely that individuals will overdose on the alcohol or suffer from alcohol poisoning due to the effects of the stimulant negating the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Of course, alcohol poisoning or an overdose of alcohol is a potentially fatal situation. Issues with judgment and rational thinking are exacerbated when an individual is under the influence of both drugs.

Research indicates that the potential for negative side effects from either drug is enhanced when the drugs are combined. This can include issues with nausea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration, cardiovascular problems, issues with aggressiveness, and failure to inhibit behavior that can lead to taking serious risks.

Despite the perception that reflexes and motor coordination are not as affected by alcohol when one mixes Adderall and alcohol together, individuals remain significantly impaired in regard to their reaction time, motor coordination, and visual perception. This can lead to a number of potentially dangerous situations.

Mixing Adderall and alcohol leads to a significant stress on the cardiovascular system and can lead to short-term issues with hypertension as well as long-term issues with cardiovascular disease and even an increased potential for stroke.

Moreover, the potential to develop serious neurological effects, particularly seizures, is significantly increased when one mixes the two drugs.

Long-term abuse of Adderall and alcohol can lead to serious cognitive issues that reflect damage to the central nervous system. These issues most often manifest as issues with attention/concentration, learning and memory, and complex problem-solving. In addition, a number of emotional effects that may represent damage to the central nervous system may also occur, including longstanding issues with depression, apathy, loss of motivation, and even potential psychosis.

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