College kids mixing ADHD drug with alcohol
Students originally abused Adderall primarily to stay up later and focus while studying, but now students are using the drug to stay awake for long periods of time in party settings, without knowing the effects of mixing it with other drugs, particularly alcohol, according to new research.
A recent study published in the National Institutes of Health Journal suggests sporadic use of Adderall combined with alcohol can cause “serious cardiovascular adverse effects.” These side effects when mixing the two drugs can include raised body temperature, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.
There have also been three reported cases of heart attacks in adolescents after mixing the two, according to the study.
While alcohol is a depressant, Adderall is a stimulant. Instead of canceling each other out, the drugs compete with each other in the body, creating serious health risks.
“Adderall is considered a very potent stimulant and carries a high risk of side effects such as cardiac issues, sleep problems, anxiety, etc,” says Dr. Faisal Ahmed, Advocate Medical Group child and adolescent psychiatrist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.
Dopamine, the brain chemical that Adderall affects, also acts on the heart to increase its output and load, Dr. Ahmed says. If taken in a large quantity or mixed with another drug, which could potentially interact with Adderall’s key elements, it could have a disastrous effect on a person’s health.
“Avoid mixing Adderall with alcohol at all costs,” Dr. Ahmed says. “Alcohol can seriously interact with the components of this drug and may cause lethal side effects.”
Another study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that young adults between 18 to 22 years old who are enrolled in college were twice as likely to use Adderall as their counterparts who were not in college. The non-medical Adderall users were also one-and-a-half times as likely to have consumed alcohol in the past month.
“My advice to my patients with ADHD is to stay with your prescribed dose,” says Dr. Ahmed. “Do not give it to friends and family members. It is only meant for ADHD patients. Abusing Adderall for non-medical use can lead to heart attack or death.”
Prescription pill abuse is also illegal, carrying hefty fines and/or possible jail time for both the pill sharer and the pill abuser.
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