What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Alcohol? Effects and Dangers

Adderall and Alcohol: How Are They Different?

Alcohol and Adderall could never be any different, but they are both subject to abuse. Adderall may have medicinal functions that have helped people living with ADHD, but it has an extremely high potential for abuse and the development of physical dependence. Like Adderall, alcohol can also be abused.

Drinking alcohol offers an entirely different experience to the body from Adderall. Since it’s a depressant, it slows down brain functioning and neural activity. When you drink a certain amount of alcohol, you may experience slurred speech, disturbed perceptions, unsteady movement, and other forms of impairment.

On the other hand, Adderall is a stimulant medication. As a stimulant, it increases the activity of some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, improving focus, physical activity, and alertness.

With Adderall and alcohol being vastly different from each other, why are they often mixed?

The Dangers of Combining Adderall With Alcohol

Adderall and alcohol make for a dangerous mix! Just because Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant doesn’t mean they cancel each other out; that is not how it works. 

There is not much information on how ADHD medication and alcohol interact, but we do know that taking them at the same time can reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Moreover, mixing alcohol with stimulants could also cause the following effects:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Nausea, vomiting, dehydration
  • Poor reaction time, coordination, and vision
  • Faster heartbeat or higher blood pressure
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Strokes and seizures

With continued consumption of excessive amounts of Adderall and alcohol, you may end up developing polysubstance abuse or co-occurring substance use disorders. Some doctors may allow you to have a beer every so often or a glass of wine, but just to be safe, it’s better to wait until the effects of Adderall wear off before drinking anything alcoholic.

The Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall provides positive effects on the body and can help one manage their ADHD symptoms, as long as they’re taken as directed. However, even with responsible consumption, this medication may still cause you to experience some side effects, such as:

  • Changes in vision;
  • Hoarseness;
  • Dizziness;
  • Restlessness;
  • Nervousness;
  • Slowed speech;
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep; 
  • Dry mouth;
  • Stunted growth in children; and
  • Changes in sex drive or sexual performance in adults.

Other than the common side effects, Adderall may also lead you to experience the following conditions that require immediate medical attention:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Numbness of limbs
  • Uncontrollable shaking or seizures
  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Depression or anxiety

Aside from the side effects mentioned above, stimulants such as Adderall may also cause your blood vessels to constrict, raise your blood pressure, and make your heart beat faster. Taking Adderall may also cause further interference with your blood circulation, so your toes and fingers may start to hurt or feel numb.

adderall withdrawal
Adderall Overdose

Long-Term Effects of Adderall Abuse

Abusing Adderall over a long period of time subjects you to a wide range of harmful side effects. From sleep difficulty to depression, abusing Adderall can negatively impact your life and prevent you from living comfortably and well.

Some of the long-term effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Constipation
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic attacks
  • Weight loss
  • Aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart disease

With extended Adderall use, your brain may also experience a significant impact. By increasing the activity of several neurotransmitters, Adderall suppresses the appetite for sleep. Over time, the changes in some neurotransmitters can affect the brain’s reward center, altering one’s ability to experience pleasure without relying on amphetamine.

The effects of Adderall do wear off as it leaves the bloodstream, but when it’s taken more often, the changes within the brain will become more ingrained. Moreover, you may also form a tolerance to the drug, so you’ll need a higher dose of it to feel the desired effects.

The longer Adderall is abused, the more pronounced your mood swings will be when it has left the bloodstream. Furthermore, abusing Adderall for an extended period of time may cause low moods due to the decrease in dopamine.

Living With ADHD

As one of the most prevalent childhood disorders, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about 11 million adults in the U.S. alone. Many children outgrow the symptoms of ADHD, but others don’t. As a result, its symptoms affect one throughout the rest of their adult life.

Disorganization, inattention, restlessness, and lack of focus may seem like typical issues that can be fixed. Still, when you have ADHD and are managing all of these and other behavioral control difficulties, it may be more challenging to have a functional life.

If you have ADHD, you understand the troubles it can cause across all areas of life—the symptoms may lead to impulsive behavior, extreme procrastination, and trouble meeting deadlines, all of which can risk your livelihood.

Managing ADHD With Medications

Although ADHD isn’t always possible to overcome, you can still live well even with your condition! Even if not many people fully understand the challenges you’re up against, you are not alone! Many adults are facing the same difficulties you are and can live their life to the fullest.

Your ADHD symptoms don’t have to hinder you from living well. By honing a few skills, such as recognizing and using your strengths, improving your daily habits, and developing work techniques, you’ll have as much of a chance to advance your career and have a rich social life!

Medication is known to help with ADHD, but it is not the only solution. Keep in mind that taking Adderall won’t magically make your symptoms disappear. To take control of your life and to improve your self-worth, you must take the medication in conjunction with self-help strategies or treatments.

Taking Adderall to Deal With ADHD

Adderall is a combination medication composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that’s used to treat ADHD. This drug works as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, increasing the availability of norepinephrine and dopamine in one’s CNS connections. 

Besides ADHD, Adderall may also treat narcolepsy to keep awake during the day. It’s not recommended to take Adderall to treat tiredness or old off sleep if you don’t have a sleep disorder.

The amphetamine and dextroamphetamine in Adderall help increase one’s ability to pay attention, stay focused, and control behavioral problems. Moreover, Adderall may also help with disorganization and listening difficulties. 

Some stimulants such as phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and caffeine are considered over-the-counter. However, Adderall cannot be taken without a prescription; you must speak with your doctor if you wish to include this combination medication in your treatment plan.


Adderall may have proven to be a game-changer in helping manage the symptoms of ADHD, but it must be taken responsibly and cautiously. Fortunately, the changes in the brain caused by mixing Adderall with alcohol or abusing it can be repaired over time. With the proper treatment and addiction center, you can recover from the impact of abuse and live an active life once again.