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How safe is it taking alcohol while taking Adderall?

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Adderall is most commonly used to treat attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. According to research, many people who use Adderall drink alcohol while taking the medication.

A 2013 study found that 46.4 percent of students who used Adderall non-medically had simultaneously used alcohol within the past year.

Another study found that 19 percent of people surveyed, who were prescribed Adderall to treat ADHD, intentionally misused their medication while drinking alcohol.


Although many people do it, mixing alcohol and Adderall can be life-threatening, especially when people consume them at the same time.

Drinking alcohol while taking Adderall can be dangerous. Combining alcohol and Adderall is especially dangerous for people using Adderall for non-medical purposes.

A 2013 report found that 19 percent of the emergency room visits related to ADHD medications in the United States, involving people aged 18 to 25, also involved alcohol use.

Examples of misusing Adderall include:

  • using the medication in a way not prescribed, such as more frequently or in larger doses

  • taking the medication in a different form than prescribed, such as crushing the tablets or opening the pills and smoking, snorting, or injecting the contents

  • taking someone else’s Adderall or using it for non-medical purposes, such as for studying, partying, or getting high.

  • Adderall and alcohol contain chemicals that affect the central nervous system differently.

    Adderall contains chemical salts that increase the effect of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in areas of the brain that improve focus and alertness.

    Alcohol decreases the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain, slowing down bodily processes and mental function.

    There are a few reasons why mixing alcohol and stimulants, such as Adderall, is not safe.

    Alcohol is a depressant in moderate to large quantities. But in small doses, such as a glass of wine or beer, it usually acts as a temporary stimulant. This means Adderall may intensify and lengthen the period of stimulation people experience after a few drinks.

    It may also delay the sedating effects of larger doses of alcohol, which might cause people to drink more than they would do otherwise. Consuming large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the liver, leading to an alcohol overdose.

    In other words, Adderall masks the sedating effects of alcohol that usually help prevent people from overdosing on alcohol.

    Alcohol and the stimulants in Adderall also require the same liver enzymes for digestion.

    People who drink while on Adderall may also feel the effects of one of the two drugs more than usual, depending on which drug is processed quicker by the liver.


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