Mixing drugs is an unfortunately common occurrence in the United States, but many people mistakenly believe some drugs to be less dangerous than others are. The reality is that most drugs have the potential to cause serious and even life-threatening medical complications under the right circumstances.
Similarly, mixing drugs – even prescription drugs – with certain other substances has the potential to cause devastating results.
Why Is Mixing Drugs Dangerous?
When a doctor issues a prescription for a certain type of medication, he or she must check the patient’s medical records and known drug history to identify any potentially dangerous allergies or interactions. Doctors also provide prescriptions under the assumption that patients will follow the instructions for proper use to the letter.
Unfortunately, some patients may misunderstand a doctor’s instructions or may believe that mixing a prescription drug with another substance won’t be harmful.
Risks of Adderall Abuse
Adderall is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, Adderall abuse has become one of the leading types of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.
When used correctly for a qualifying condition, Adderall can help manage the symptoms of ADHD and improve:
- Attention span
- Short-term memory
However, Adderall also carries a high potential for abuse, due to the fact it is a very powerful stimulant.
Adderall’s side effects can include several negative symptoms when abused or misused. A person who starts to take Adderall beyond the scope of their prescription may experience long-lasting bursts of energy followed by crashing.
It’s also possible for Adderall to interfere with sleep cycles. This amphetamine drug can also cause paranoia, aggression, mood swings, rapid heart rate and a host of other symptoms. When an individual combines Adderall with other drugs, the risk of adverse side effects dramatically increases, and the effects will differ based on the other substance used.
Adderall and Heroin Abuse
If a person who has a prescription for Adderall starts abusing heroin, there are many possible consequences. On the street, “speedball” is a common term for a combination of an “upper” like Adderall and a “downer” like heroin.
Some people mistakenly believe that a speedball offers the benefits of both drugs while canceling out the negative effects, but this is not the case. Adderall mixed with heroin simply increases the chances of suffering the adverse effects of both drugs at the same time.
Adderall and Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine abuse isn’t as widespread as it was in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, but it is still a problem for countless Americans. Combined Adderall and cocaine effects can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Extreme spurts of energy and alertness
- Trouble breathing
Both of these substances are powerful stimulants. Taking both together greatly increases the risk of heart attack and brain damage.
Mixing Adderall and Alcohol
Similar to the thinking behind a speedball, many people combine Adderall with alcohol in an attempt to experience the benefits of both without the negative side effects. A person may drink to calm down from the burst of energy that Adderall offers, or may use Adderall to wake up from the sleepiness that alcohol intoxication can cause.
Unfortunately, the effects of Adderall can make it harder for the person to feel the effects of alcohol, encouraging him or her to drink more alcohol than he or she normally would; this increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. Additionally, long-term patterns of combining Adderall and alcohol can lead to heart failure and other cardiac conditions.
Xanax and Adderall Abuse
Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that can treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. It can produce feelings of calmness and relaxation, the polar opposite of what Adderall causes.
While there are no immediate dangers of taking both together, doing so can greatly increase the risk of developing an addiction to either or both substances. Since these medications effectively counteract each other’s effects, a person who takes both may feel diminished effects of both, eventually encouraging him or her to take more of either than necessary.
Adderall and Marijuana Use
Marijuana’s legal status is a hot topic of public discussion, as many states have legalized medical marijuana, and a few have even decriminalized recreational pot. No matter how a person obtains marijuana, it’s important to know the risks of combining it with Adderall.
Combining marijuana and Adderall has the potential to increase the user’s risk of heart failure. Additionally, these two substances counteract one another and may encourage the user to ingest more than necessary, which can speed up the development of Adderall addiction.
Methadone and Adderall Use
Methadone is a common prescription for opioid addiction. This synthetic opioid medication can help a person transition away from harder opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. But, methadone also carries the potential for abuse on its own.
When combined with Adderall, the stimulant can actually mask the signs of methadone overdose, potentially putting the individual’s life at risk.
Methadone abuse can lead to respiratory depression, coma, heart failure and a host of other complications. Adderall can effectively keep a person alert and moving through the early stages of an overdose. Meanwhile, others nearby may not recognize the danger before it is too late.
Adderall and Methamphetamine Abuse
Methamphetamine (or simply “meth”) is a very powerful synthetic stimulant capable of severe side effects on its own. Adderall and meth together become a very powerful surge of stimulants that can have devastating consequences.
Meth on its own can cause:
- Heightened energy
- Personality changes
- Severe brain damage
Combining meth with another stimulant like Adderall, especially over repeated episodes, is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
Risk of Overdosing on Drug Cocktails
Most forms of substance abuse carry a risk of overdose, and it’s essential to acknowledge the risk of overdosing that Adderall presents on its own. Some patients who take Adderall may start using the drug in different ways for more pronounced effects. For example, snorting Adderall produces the desired effects much more quickly, but it also dramatically increases the risk of overdose.
Adderall Overdose on Its Own
It’s possible to overdose on Adderall alone. Too much of the drug in a short time or a concentrated dose can cause tremors throughout the body, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and several other adverse effects – including episodes of mania or even psychosis.
Most people who combine Adderall with other drugs do so to either counteract or enhance the effects of Adderall, and some take Adderall to counteract or enhance the effects of other drugs.
Some people who experience illicit drug withdrawal may start taking Adderall for its stimulating properties. They may feel relief from the symptoms of withdrawing from other drugs, but this relief is short lived and creates more problems.
For example, opioid withdrawal can cause extreme fatigue and depression, and a dose of Adderall may temporarily relieve these symptoms, thanks to this amphetamine’s stimulating properties. Eventually, this type of use will lead to Adderall abuse and make an already bad situation worse.
Getting Help for Adderall Cocktail Mixing and Abuse
An overdose can lead to respiratory failure, coma or death in a very short time without medical intervention. When an individual abuses Adderall with another illicit drug, these interactions can produce extreme results very quickly.
It’s essential to acknowledge the risks of Adderall abuse and how it can interact with other drugs – licit or illicit. A person who takes Adderall with a prescription may assume that it is safe simply because a doctor prescribed it, but this is only true when the patient takes it exactly as intended and directed.
Additionally, individuals who take other prescriptions or who abuse illicit drugs cannot fall into the trap of believing that Adderall can cancel out the effects of those other substances. If you know someone who has been using Adderall in a dangerous way, reach out to Reflections Recovery Center for guidance on how you can help stop their drug abuse.