Adderall is a prescription medicine used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. It has been shown to increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity. It has also been used in the treatment of narcolepsy and sleep disorders because the medication is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Because Adderall also suppresses appetite, it has been abused as a weight-loss drug.
Adderall’s active ingredients are amphetamines; as such, Adderall can be abused and/or lead to dependence and is accordingly categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II is the highest schedule from which doctors can prescribe the medicine. In practice, Adderall is administered at the lowest effective dosage and individually adjusted according to the needs and responses of the individual. When used as intended, Adderall is typically taken orally, in a tablet form, which is either immediate- or extended-release. When abused, Adderall pills are crushed and snorted or injected for a more rapid onset of effects.
Amphetamines have been extensively abused. Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability have occurred, and there are reports of some people who have taken Adderall dosages many times higher than recommended. The FDA warns that misuse of amphetamine can cause sudden death and seriously impact the heart including adverse cardiovascular events, most commonly hypertension, and tachycardia.
Adderall tablets contain a mixture of stimulants–dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts–which increase the activity of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain by blocking the reuptake of those neurotransmitters. Over time, the brain develops a tolerance to the increased presence of neurotransmitters and will require greater quantities of Adderall to achieve the same chemically driven experience. Thus, when Adderall leaves the body, there may be signs of Adderall addiction, including insomnia, difficulty focusing, lethargy, and irritability.
Adderall Abuse in College Students
Nonmedical Adderall use is primarily seen in college students who mistakenly believe that the effects of the drug can improve their grades or study habits by increasing concentration and energy levels, or for recreational purposes such as fueling a long night of drinking. However, long-term use increases the risk of developing a stimulant addiction.
DANGERS OF COMBINING ADDERALL AND ALCOHOL
Physicians generally warn against combining prescription medications without prior professional consultation. Combining two drugs of unknown quantities can have serious ramifications, both short- and long-term, on one’s health.
Adderall and Antidepressants
For instance, Adderall is known to interfere with some antidepressant medicines, which can cause negative side effects. Given this fact, it’s no surprise that Adderall and alcohol can also have unwanted, negative results. The substances have opposing effects on the central nervous system because Adderall is a stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant. Thus, taking these substances together results in a perceived weakened effect of each- an individual may feel less inebriated by alcohol, and less energized by Adderall.
The risk of alcohol poisoning, fatal if untreated, is increased because more alcohol may be consumed than is safe to feel the same inebriation when Adderall is taken with alcohol. Consequently, judgment and rational thinking are more impaired, nausea and vomiting are more likely, and long-term abuse of Adderall and alcohol may lead to serious cognitive issues with concentration, and memory, as well as issues with loss of motivation, apathy, and depression.
ADDERALL AND ALCOHOL ADDICTION TREATMENT
Adderall and alcohol are both addictive substances that when abused produce many negative and potentially life-threatening side effects. A history of excessive alcohol and Adderall use may indicate a co-occurring disorder and should be treated by a professional, particularly from a recovery center that specializes in dual-diagnosis for addiction to alcohol and Adderall. Programs specializing in treating these conditions provide holistic therapies instead of treating one at a time. Detox is typically not a sufficient treatment for addiction alone, so comprehensive substance abuse programs are necessary to prevent relapse and support long-term recovery from Adderall addiction and alcoholism.