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What are the Health Risks of Mixing Ritalin and Alcohol?

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    March 7, 2022
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Ritalin can have several benefits for those suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however, the moment it is abused and mixed with alcohol, several health risks develop for the user. Ritalin and alcohol should never be mixed as they can cause dangerously serious outcomes. Here is everything to know on the health risks of mixing Ritalin and alcohol. 

What is Ritalin?

Ritalin is a prescribed medication used to treat symptoms of ADHD. It is classified as a central nervous system stimulant and works by increasing certain chemicals in the brain, known as dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals are linked with control, attention, and pleasure in the brain. When used appropriately, Ritalin can help the user pay better attention, stay focused, and control any problematic or disruptive behavior. 

ADHD is a commonly diagnosed mental health disorder among children, and Ritalin effects can help to increase self-esteem, increase the ability to think more clearly and improve behavior in social interactions. 

While Ritalin can be an effective tool for treating ADHD, it is often abused which can lead to extremely dangerous effects. 

Is Ritalin Dangerous for Health?

Each person is going to react to Ritalin differently and when used as prescribed, your doctor will be able to help monitor any potential side effects of dangerous health issues associated with Ritalin use. Mild side effects of Ritalin include headaches, agitation, mood swings, anxiety, nausea, reduced appetite, and difficulty sleeping. 

The serious side effects include: 

  • Increased blood pressure and heartrate 
  • Psychiatric reactions including the development of new psychiatric disorders
  • Erectile issues for men 
  • Poor circulation 
  • Cardiovascular issues including sudden stroke, heart attack, or death 
  • Growth suppression in children  

The risk of developing drug dependence and further drug abuse and addiction is another serious health risk associated with Ritalin use. It must be noted, that the side effects can increase and worsen when Ritalin and alcohol are mixed. 

Mixing Ritalin and Alcohol

Both Ritalin and alcohol are at risk of being abused and when these drugs are combined, the risks are greatly increased. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant while alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that while Ritalin is working to increase bodily functions (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.), alcohol works to slow the body down. 

Although it can be assumed that the two drugs might cancel the other out, this is not the case. Mixing Ritalin and alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, and painful withdrawal symptoms. 

Signs and Symptoms of Ritalin and Alcohol Abuse

The signs and symptoms of Ritalin and alcohol abuse might look similar to other forms of drug abuse. Any type of Ritalin use without a prescription is considered abuse. Other signs of Ritalin abuse include: 

  • Hyperactive and euphoric state of mind
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Fast heart rate 
  • Increased blood pressure 

Signs of alcohol abuse include: 

  • Euphoric state of mind
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Loss of coordination and lack of inhibition 
  • Self-destructive behavior 

When someone has begun mixing and abusing Ritalin and alcohol you can expect to see the listed signs and symptoms as well as drastic changes in behavior, mood, appetite and weight loss, and overall mental wellbeing. 

Ritalin and Alcohol Side Effects

Ritalin and alcohol should never be mixed and if dangerous side effects are presented in the user, 911 must be contacted immediately to prevent drug overdose, alcohol poisoning, or death. Side effects of Ritalin and alcohol use include: 

  • Memory problems 
  • Dangerously high energy 
  • Self-destructive behavior 
  • Reduced alcohol sensitivity 
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Dramatic changed to diet and appearance 
  • Damage to major organ systems 

Alcohol poisoning and drug overdose can result in coma or death and medical attention must be sought out immediately to ensure the safety of the using individual. 

How to Withdrawal Ritalin and Alcohol from Your Body?

Ritalin and alcohol abuse can increase the chances of developing tolerance and dependence, in which case, the user is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop the use of both drugs. Withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Increased anxiety 
  • Sweating 
  • Tiredness 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Depression 
  • Difficulty sleeping 

Through a supervised detox program or an addiction recovery treatment center, you will be able to remove the drugs and alcohol from your body and break free from the drug abuse. If you are struggling with substance abuse or alcohol addiction, contact Lion Recovery (888-616-3179) today to learn more about the best treatment options for you. 


Health Line. “The Effects of Mixing Ritalin and Alcohol.” Reviewed 11, March 2019

Medical News Today. “What are the Effects of Ritalin?” 4, November 2020

American Addiction Center. “Concurrent Alcohol and Ritalin Abuse.” 25, November 2018 

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