Alcohol is a substance that can be all around us. Even people struggling with substance abuse or addiction have to face alcohol consumption at parties and celebrations. As a result, a lot of people ask the question, “can you mix alcohol and Ritalin?”.
Most people disregard alcohol as a harmful substance. And they see no problem “having a few beers” despite what other medications they’re currently taking. But, mixing alcohol with other substances can be dangerous.
People often wonder, “can you mix alcohol and Ritalin?” The reason is Ritalin is a popular treatment option for ADHD. And, people who take it don’t want it to disrupt other aspects of their daily lives.
But mixing alcohol and Ritalin can cause other health complications. That’s why it helps to get educated on the potential dangers of mixing alcohol and Ritalin.
What Is Ritalin?
When answering the question, “Can you mix alcohol and Ritalin?”, it helps to get familiar with what Ritalin is and does. Ritalin is a pharmaceutical drug that’s popular for the treatment of ADHD. In certain cases, it’s also been used as a treatment for narcolepsy.
Ritalin is classified as a stimulant. And, much like alcohol, users can also develop a physical dependence or addiction to it. But, people see Ritalin as virtually harmless. This is because it’s a prescription medication and it’s prescribed quite often in cases of ADHD.
Ritalin works by increasing the amount of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling good. It’s typically associated with feelings of attention or reward. Experts say social media’s addictive qualities are from giving people a “dopamine hit”, for example.
Can You Mix Alcohol and Ritalin?
Since Ritalin is a substance with the potential for abuse, some users get into a situation where they attempt to consume it with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and Ritalin is not recommended. In fact, mixing alcohol with any ADHD medication is not a smart thing to do.
When they are combined, alcohol and Ritalin don’t necessarily work together in your system. But, you can experience side effects from both substances. You end up feeling much worse and putting yourself in more danger, than if you had just taken one or the other.
Users who combine the two substances may subject themselves to anxiety or mood swings, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and serious issues like alcohol poisoning or Ritalin overdose. Some medical professionals may prescribe time-released forms of Ritalin. These can be even more dangerous than the standard medication if they’re combined with alcohol.
Side Effects of Combining Ritalin and Alcohol
As mentioned earlier, Ritalin works by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. The two neurotransmitters that Ritalin targets are norepinephrine and dopamine. These are two of the most potent “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
Any medication that alters brain chemistry in this way should be taken carefully. Individuals with a prescription for Ritalin should always follow their medical professional’s recommended dosage.
Some of the side effects of increasing neurotransmitter levels in the brain are a rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, and higher blood pressure. Ritalin is speeding the body’s systems up because it’s a stimulant.
Alcohol, on the other hand, slows down the body and the functions of the central nervous system (CNS). This is why when alcohol is consumed irresponsibly it can result in slurred speech, loss of coordination, and a feeling of sedation.
If you’re still wondering, “can you combine alcohol and Ritalin?”, the answer is no. By combining the two substances, you’re engaging your brain and central nervous system in a game of tug-of-war. Ritalin is attempting to increase neurotransmitter levels and speed your body up, while alcohol is attempting to slow everything down.
The opposite effects of the drug don’t mean that they cancel each other out. Both drugs are working independently to have their natural effect on the body at the same time. The result is that this combination of substances can put a lot of stress on vital organs and other bodily systems. Your liver, heart, kidneys, and vascular system can all struggle to deal with the competing substances as they work through your body.
Can You Overdose?
It’s entirely possible to overdose on Ritalin. In fact, the chances increase when patients are taking the time-release formula. Combining Ritalin with alcohol or other substances can also increase your risk of Ritalin overdose.
If you’re wondering if you or a loved one are experiencing Ritalin overdose, there are certain signs you should be looking for. Individuals with too much Ritalin in their system can experience aggression, anxiety, alertness, confusion, delirium, and euphoria.
Ritalin overdose can also result in brain fog or confusion in patients. In certain cases, users can experience hallucinations, paranoia, restlessness, and toxic psychosis as well.
When combining these two substances, users have to worry about more than just a Ritalin overdose. Using the two substances together can also increase the likelihood of alcohol poisoning. This is because a stimulant like Ritalin will often mask the effects of alcohol in your system.
As a result, people think they’re “not getting drunk” and need to drink more to experience the same feeling they normally would. This can be scary because the effects of alcohol poisoning can result in hospitalization or death.
Can You Mix Alcohol and Ritalin At All?
If you don’t feel you have a dependence or addiction to either substance, you may be able to consume alcohol after taking Ritalin. It’s important that if plan on consuming alcohol, you wait until the Ritalin has completely left your system before doing so.
Each substance has something known as a “half-life”. The half-life is the amount of time it takes the concentration of the substance in your system to decrease by half. A substance will half, and then half again, until it completely leaves the body.
The half-life of Ritalin is 5 hours and the substance needs to undergo 3 half-lives before it completely leaves your body. That means anyone who is taking Ritalin, and wants to consume alcohol, should wait at least 15 hours before having an alcoholic beverage.
You’re Not Alone
We hope we’ve answered the question, “can you mix alcohol and Ritalin?”. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with physical dependence or addiction to alcohol or Ritalin, Just Believe Recovery can help. Contact us today and we can discuss your options and get you or your family the help that’s needed.