Adderall and alcohol: what happens when you mix them

Taken together, Adderall and alcohol can help you party all night long. But what happens to your body when you mix Adderall and alcohol? And what side effects can you expect? Also, we ask what universities can and should do to help address this new national pastime.

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Why mix Adderall and alcohol?

In general, high doses of amphetamines like Adderall are likely to increase the impairing effects of alcohol. So, some people take Adderall to party longer, so that they can drink more while at the same time delaying the “sleepy, drunk-like” feeling and avoiding passing out. The primary motivation for taking Adderall with alcohol is to achieve desired psychoactive effects (to increase or decrease certain alcohol effects or to “get high”).  Effects of mixing Adderall and alcohol on the body include:

  • decreased depressant effects of alcohol
  • euphoria
  • excitation
  • increased alertness
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased pulse
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite

What happens when you drink and take Adderall

Adderall is a long-acting amphetamine stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. If you use stimulants to prolong a drinking session (how long does Adderall last?), the stimulant effectively blocks the depressant effects of alcohol, so it’s much easier to overlook the warning signs that you’ve had enough to drink. This is why mixing alcohol and Adderall can lead to alcohol poisoning. Additionally, alcohol can decrease your seizure threshold and interact with Adderall, resulting in seizures. Additionally, alcohol seems to worsen many of the side effects of Adderall. Mixing alcohol with Adderall can result in:

  1. alcohol poisoning
  2. seizures
  3. worsened side effects of Adderall

Withdrawal symptoms from Adderall and alcohol include:

  • apathy
  • depression
  • disorientation
  • irritability
  • long periods of sleep

Connections between Adderall and alcohol use

According to a 2008 study from Dalhousie University in Canada, most cases of mixing meds with alcohol (around 80%), occur such that people take Adderall after they start drinking. Another study from 2006 by the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) found that on college campuses, Adderall is typically snorted and used in combination with alcohol, but was though to be least harmful when used alone to study. And finally, another 2006 study from the University of Michigan found that men and women with alcohol problems are 18 times more likely to use prescription drugs for non medical reasons than people who don’t drink at all.


Adderall is one of the most popular and available drug on U.S. campuses at the moment. With easy access and relative ease of use, students are popping and drinking without thought. What should universities do to address the problem? And are students willing to seek help? Is it better to teach students HOW TO DRINK longer (eating food, taking smaller sips, drinking water) than to risk the serious hazard of mixing stimulants with alcohol? What do you think? I publish all relevant comments here.

Western Washington University studen health center “Ask the Doc” topic on Adderall and alcohol
Go Ask Alice topic on mixing alcohol and Adderall
U.S. Department of Justice website
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I recently was diagnosed with ADHD however, I was diagnosed with bi-polar 30 years ago and did not recognize how Odd my study habits were/ are. I excelled to masters level. I request some insight from individuals with adult ADHD

    How dangerous is it to consume alcohol on Adderalll , as prescribed , What is ur experiences please.

    Linda, MS

  2. I have been (and in reality still am) exactly where you are at with alcohol dependence. Unable to detox myself by abstaining for a few days, I had to check myself into a hospital detox facility for 4 days. From reading your post, I suggest that you give this a try since you are unable to stop. Besides, stopping by yourself could result in DT’s, a seizure, or even worse. Alcohol is absolutely the worst substance in terms of damage to your body organs and brain, and along with benzo’s is the only one that can be fatal during the withdrawal process. I wish you luck.

  3. i don’t really need adderall. i appreciate the extra work output it adds for me, but i wouldn’t be upset or clueless or lost if i didn’t have it tmrw. it’s nice, fine, whatever. all i know for a fact is it pretty much ended any ceiling i used to have for an alcohol limit. with adderrall (and probably without it now too) i no longer have a limit to my tolerance anymore. i can (and do) now drink between 18 and 24 beers every single day and i act no different at beer 24 as i did at 7am when i had my first sip of coffee. i fucking hate myself. i don’t blame adderall, hell i don’t blame alcohol either. i’m only saying adderall made my likely-already alcohol problem a full blown epidemic. now i can practically feel my liver dying. “well just stop drinking”. sure, np, makes total sense. will do. tomorrow i won’t drink… b.s. i say it everyday and yet here i am. just blame me. it’s my fault. it must be my weak mind. “your liver is going to shut down, you must stop drinking”, i fully comprehend what you’re saying, i fully understand, i know i need to stop, i want to stop, yet all the while my other side of the brain is basically saying “Cheers!”.

    10 years ago i successfully kicked a 10yr daily cocaine addiction. every day. 10 years. no more. i don’t even think about it anymore. so i even understand how possible it is to kick addiction, how much better you feel, how everything will finally go away. but alcohol.. why can’t i kick that? i’m sitting here screaming to myself and the world that i will die if i don’t stop drinking, and– wait, hold that thought,.. GULP– take another sip. WTF?

    i need to quit immediately. will i? no. i’ve given up on me doing it myself. but nobody can do it for me either, so what the fuck are my options? i have none. why the hell can’t i even try? not even step 1, day 1. don’t drink tomorrow. i can’t even do that. that’s what scares me most. don’t tell me to “just grow a pair”, don’t tell me “just man up and stop drinking”. i’ll only totally agree with you, and then i won’t do it. why?? i want to. but i wont. why not? i have no idea. i have no excuse. all i know is i want to quit tmrw and i definitely will not do it. i won’t even try. i never have. i can’t even grow balls enough to try. why?? mind is a total blank. i have no clue. nothing.

    he’s weak. powerless. lazy. pathetic. whatever, all fine, take your pick. your choice. all true. i don’t care what you choose to blame it on. doesn’t matter to me. i’m just trapped. best i can come up with. fact is fact.. i suck at quitting drinking. i fail at it. i’m doing nothing even remotely close to trying to take step 1 and i’ve lost all faith in myself ever trying. how’s that for honesty? so now what? i’m still an alcoholic. just wait to die i guess.

    i must be condemned to this. there’s nothing any of you can do about my problem. only i can, and i won’t. starting to sound redundant so i’ll stop. guess i’m just speaking my mind to all you internet strangers. i don’t care for or expect a response. grain of salt, nothing anybody but me can do about it and i promise i can’t do a damn thing. no matter how bad i really want to. aint gonna happen. count on not counting on me.

    so freaking awful

  4. A stronger scare tactic could work a little better. I mean, the dangers of the combination is lethal, and it needs to be known in a more brutal approach to get through to these kids like drinking alcohol and driving fatalities. But College kids are also more “physically fit” these days w/ gyms on every Campus. Some might finally”get it” if they really understood the physical harm it does to the body. perhaps posters on the walls and computer images at these Gyms might actually help get through to them. Gyms are just as popular than Bars on some Campuses..

  5. I was prescribed adorall for my HDHD. I had a bonfire the other night and drank like shit. My mother cam out and realized we where FUCKED UP everyone was. I didnt care tht i got introuble the alcohol was good te party was great all in all i was happy. I am diagnosed with major depression dissorder, bipolar, sycotics, HDHD, and ADD and on all thoes meds and drinking i felt fine, EVERYTIME. But when you are prescribed a medication and youve been on it for a while, your body gets used to it and adjusts your body to it and to things aroud you and things your are doing (facts) so yeah…it doesnt effect you as much to drink with it as it does when you take it for the hell and fun of it and over do it. But yeah just keep your drug uses in moderation and youll be fine.

  6. I take Adderall almost everyday, usually i don’t take it on the weekends or when I am not busy and have no reason to be focused. However, after I have had a productive day and start to come down from the Adderall i feel edgy, irritable and its hard to relax before bed. This has caused me to make Drinking alcohol a routine habit at night. I’ve never really had anything bad happen although i know it isn’t Healthy. BUT today i woke up and started a nosebleed that has continued through out the day. It’s like I’m always on the verge of a nosebleed and since 730 a.m. I’ve had 5 episodes of it. (5pm now) I hear this can be due to increased BP idk if the abuse of daily adderall and alcohol combination has raised my BP to a dangerous level. I go to the doctors fairly often to discuss my use of adderall with my doctor and they take my BP each time i go in and never tell me it’s an issue.

  7. The whole insomnia affect is beyond right. I’ve been sitting here for three hours and I can’t sleep at all. Probably shouldn’t have taken both together. Silly me.

  8. I had a little bit of trouble falling asleep but once I did I was fine. i felt like garbage the next day (anxious, depressed, cranky, etc). So.. I guess when mixing adderall with caffiene just keep it in moderation. i think it was more of a mental thing because I got excited every cup of coffee i poured. like the addict in me was thinking this was going to be the cup that makes everything EVEN BETTER. This is why I try to stay away from amphetamines. I would have NEVER fallen alseep if i didnt drink the alcohol though. Just bad news all around. a little caffiene with adderal is fun, but cool it, lol.

  9. Ugh, i searched for this because i was a bit concerned. i took an adderall 30mg from a buddy for recreational purposes. I like how caffiene intensifies the effect…. however i drank a pot and a half of coffee….. no, not joking, lol. So i felt ultra jittery and anxious, kind of like coming down off of cocaine. so i went to the store and bought three 24oz. Steel Reserves (8.1% alcohol) and drank them. it seemed to have balanced me out (granted, i am a self proclaimed alcoholic, and i can drink a fifth of vodka in the AM, pass out for 3 hours, wake up and start drinking again like it’s nothing… again, i’m serious). i feel ok now but i have this overwhelming fear that i have too many substances in me. The paranoia is driving me crazy. I’m going to book mark this page and respond tomorrow and let anyone who’s wondering know if i make it, lol. (dont know what else to say!)

  10. I think adderall should be available for everyone for the indication of academic pressure and hardcore prohibitionists are fooling no-one.

    and mixing anything with alcohol is a bad idea.

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