How Alcohol Interacts with Ritalin

How Alcohol Interacts with Ritalin

All prescription medications have unpleasant side effects that accompany their benefits. Many of them interact badly with other drugs, increasing the risk or the intensity of negative side effects. Ritalin is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, which means it acts directly on the brain to produce a sense of alertness and mental acuity. Many people believe that prescription drugs are safe to use no matter the circumstances, so they underestimate how Ritalin can impact the brain.

Side Effects and Risks of Ritalin Abuse

While Ritalin can help treat attention disorders and narcolepsy, it is also addictive, and it can be dangerous when used without a prescription. Abuse of this drug can result in any of the following problems:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite loss
  • Convulsions
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and panic
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety

Long-term effects can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs, blood vessels and brain. It can also cause malnutrition, weight loss, infectious diseases (if injected), psychological dependence and depression.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Ritalin

Ritalin increases brain activity, but alcohol is a CNS depressant that causes brain activity to slow down. When people combine two substances with opposite effects, then the central nervous system receives mixed messages. People mix alcohol and Ritalin either because they do not know the risks, or because they hope one will cancel out the effects of the other. For example, someone at a party might take Ritalin to keep drinking without getting out of control or passing out. On the other hand, a Ritalin user might abuse alcohol to relax while hyped up. Unfortunately, mixing “downers” and “uppers” can be dangerous and even deadly. Because the effects cancel one another out, sometimes users do not even feel the effects they desire until an extreme reaction occurs, such as a blackout, alcohol poisoning or Ritalin overdose.

Can People Be Addicted to Alcohol and Ritalin?

Because alcohol and Ritalin cancel out the other’s effects, users may take more of one, the other or both to experience the desirable, intoxicating outcome. Consistent Ritalin and alcohol abuse can lead to dependence on, and eventually addiction to, both substances. Users will then need treatment for co-occurring addictions that addresses both with equal priority.

Help for Addiction to Ritalin and Alcohol

If you or a loved one is addicted to Ritalin, alcohol or both, then call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about professional treatment options. Our staff are available 24 hours a day to connect you with the treatment plan that meets your individual needs. Please call today for instant, professional support.