Can You Mix Alcohol and Ritalin?
Ritalin is a prescription drug that remains relatively commonly used in the U.S. There are risks and side effects of Ritalin on its own, however, and there are also potential interactions and dangers of mixing it with other substances.
So can you mix alcohol and Ritalin? Below is an overview of what Ritalin is, and information about the possible interaction and dangers of combining alcohol and Ritalin.
Ritalin can be habit-forming, and as with any other prescription stimulant, there are risks, some of which can be severe. For example, stimulants have been linked to interactions and dangers like stroke, heart attack and sudden death in people with preexisting heart conditions.
Ritalin may also cause new or worsening psychosis, particularly in people with a history of mental health and mood disorders like bipolar and depression.
Some people are advised not to take Ritalin at all including individuals with glaucoma, a history of tics or Tourette’s and people with severe anxiety or agitation because the medicine can make the symptoms worse.
With Ritalin, there is a significant potential for abuse. For example, it’s frequently abused among young people and college students because as a stimulant it can help them stay awake for long periods of time, have an increased level of focus and attention, be more alert, and experience a euphoric high in some cases. People who abuse Ritalin usually don’t have a legitimate prescription and instead will buy it illegally or obtain it in other ways. When people abuse Ritalin, they may combine it with other substances. For example, they may combine alcohol and Ritalin to amplify the effects of both, or to stay up and party for longer.
When people combine alcohol and Ritalin, they’re often not aware of the possible side effects and risks that can come with this.
Even without combining alcohol and Ritalin overdose of the drug is possible. Signs of a Ritalin overdose can include shaking, vomiting, agitation, seizures, sweating, a rapid heart rate and muscle twitching.
So, can you mix alcohol and Ritalin? If you do mix alcohol and Ritalin, what are the possible interactions and dangers?
First, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system, while alcohol depresses it. When you take Ritalin, it affects your brain by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain, and because of the way it acts on the CNS other effects of the drug can include faster breathing, dilated pupils and raised blood pressure. Alcohol, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and is a depressant of the central nervous system. When you drink the depressing effect on your CNS is why you have symptoms such as impaired speech and coordination.
When you mix alcohol and Ritalin, it alters how the Ritalin is processed, which means that you can have higher concentrations of the drug in your system than you would ordinarily. Interaction and dangers with this can include amplified symptoms of the Ritalin on its own such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, anxiety and mood problems. Mixing alcohol and Ritalin can also increase the likelihood of severe heart-related issues.
Another reason you should never mix alcohol and Ritalin is because it increases the chances of a drug overdose, and this risk is raised even more if you take extended-release versions of Ritalin.
Mixing alcohol and Ritalin can up the chances of becoming addicted or dependent on one or both of these substances as well. If you develop a physical dependence, your body becomes used to the presence of these two substances, and if you stop using them, you may go through withdrawal.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, nausea, sweating, and anxiety. Symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal include depression, sleep problems, and tiredness.
If you’re taking Ritalin because you have a legitimate medical issue such as ADHD and you drink, it can make the condition worse.
In short, you should never combine alcohol and Ritalin or alcohol and any other ADHD medication. There are many possible interactions and dangers of mixing alcohol and Ritalin, ranging from more severe side effects of both, to an increased chance of an overdose or alcohol poisoning.
You are also putting yourself at a greater risk of addiction and dependence if you’re mixing alcohol and Ritalin.
Have more questions about Alcohol abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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