Concurrent Alcohol and Amphetamine Use: Know the Risks
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff
Alcohol and amphetamine use is not all that uncommon. Many of those affected would not think twice about combining alcohol and amphetamines. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 25% of adults admitted to drinking alcohol, which is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. That statistic can be paired with the three million individuals who admit to taking amphetamines for non-medical needs, with numbers on the rise among high school and college students. So, while alcohol is a depressant “downer” used to calm and relax you, you might feel the need to take an amphetamine as an “upper” to wake you up, giving you a sense of focus or attention. Amphetamines will give you a jolt of energy while increasing your heart rate and constricting your blood pressure.
What Are Amphetamines and Where Do They Come From?
Amphetamines, often with brand names like Ritalin or Adderall (dextroamphetamine), are often prescribed to children or adults for attention disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’re used to stimulate the brain and are safe and effective methods for mitigating the sometimes overwhelming impulses that kids experience every day. Amphetamines first appeared in the 1930s in the form of Benzedrine, which was available as an inhaler for nasal congestion. In 1937, it was prescribed in a tablet formulation for narcolepsy and ADHD. With the popular prescriptive use of the drug, it’s also a popular drug for illegal purchase under street names like Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, and Uppers.
Despite the efficacy of amphetamines in treating ADHD and other conditions, their effects have been compared to cocaine. A difference is that amphetamines do not take effect as quickly, and they stay in the body for a longer period, which means that there’s also more time for them to interact with other substances you may be taking.
When Does Amphetamine Use Become Problematic?
It only takes one factor to make amphetamines a problem, but in many cases, a few factors contribute to the use and misuse of amphetamines. Amphetamine use can lead to agitation and psychosis that is similar to schizophrenia and can even cause hallucinations and violent outbursts. There are a few other ways amphetamine use will become problematic.
While amphetamine use is generally accepted as an effective method for treating ADHD, a problem arises when it is used in doses or at frequencies that are not prescribed by a doctor. You might adjust the dose because you have developed a tolerance to the prescribed amount or frequency. In those cases where you are not following your doctor’s directions, you are likely to become addicted. You might have initially adjusted the dose to get the same effects as what you experienced at a lower dose. But that innocent intent can quickly turn into a desire to achieve that feeling of euphoria or “high.” And, since you’re not following your doctor’s directions, you may experience side effects that are more severe and unexpected than before.
Borrow or Buy Amphetamines Without a Prescription
Amphetamine use is also problematic when it is used by individuals for whom it was not prescribed. You might have borrowed a dose to help you focus on a test that’s coming up, or you may have tried it out just because you were curious. Without the oversight of a prescribing physician, you don’t know how the dosage will affect you.
When you seek out amphetamines to help you deal with the stress from home, work, or school, your behavior and state of mind will quickly lead you to addiction. You may initially think that you need it just to get through the day or through that test, but your body then becomes dependent on the drug. Then, you start experiencing the physical and psychological effects of taking the drug in addition to the stress and feeling of being already overwhelmed. You may continue to take it because you don’t see it any other way. It’s an addiction.
Amphetamine Use To Build Self-Confidence
Your use of amphetamines may be a way to build your self-esteem and confidence since one of the positive side effects is that it helps with social anxiety. It could even make you feel overconfident, and that’s a wonderful feeling, particularly if you’ve always struggled in social situations. A problem arises when you continue to use it to cope every day in every situation. And another problem is that you are probably not taking a dosage prescribed by your doctor or medical provider. So, you don’t know how it will affect you.
Amphetamine Use To Lose Weight
Actors and models may use amphetamines to keep up with their busy schedules, but there’s also the added benefit of weight loss. They do have to maintain or reduce weight to get and keep their jobs. And because there’s often such a huge price tag or payoff associated with meeting those goals and maintaining their appearance, that quick fix can becomes an addiction.
Amphetamine Use To Stay Awake
Another popular use for amphetamines is as a way to stay awake, with street names like go-pills, pep pills, speed, or uppers, which quickly leads to addiction. Amphetamines work better than many of the stimulants that you might be able to get over the counter. So, it’s tempting to try it out for a one-time trip, an all-nighter, or to combat the exhaustion of being a working mom with four kids. That one-time event, however, quickly turns into a more frequent use scenario when you find that nothing else works that well.
Amphetamine Use To Formulate Illegal Drugs
Another problem arises from amphetamine use when the drugs are used to formulate crystal meth, methamphetamines, MDMA, or ecstasy illegally. While amphetamines are a legal prescription drug, the derivative formulations are not. Like their parent compounds, these derivative drugs elevate your body temperature and increase respiration while speeding up your blood pressure and heart rate. The reason these drugs are so popular is that they are designed to help you focus and give you more energy while helping you better focus on the task at hand.
Amphetamine and Alcohol Consumption – Concurrent Use
Severe issues can also develop when amphetamines are combined with other substances like alcohol. With more than 90% of American adults estimated to consume alcohol, it’s a safe bet that there are instances where amphetamine use is combined with alcohol use. The concurrent use of alcohol and amphetamines can lead to more severe and unpredictable symptoms than those experienced by one or the other of these substances. The effects of sedation may become more pronounced, but it can also mean that you might continue to drink beyond the point where you would usually stop. That feel-good stupor can lead you to alcohol poisoning or even more dire consequences.
Combining a meth or ecstasy formulation with alcohol may lead you to not feel the full negative side effects of alcohol. If you are under the influence of an amphetamine and alcohol concoction in a concurrent use scenario, you might continue to party for longer. Instead of being able to stop yourself, your overindulgence may lead to overdose or other severe side effects when the full impact of the party experience hits.
The concurrent use of amphetamines and alcohol will raise a person’s blood-alcohol level to dangerous or even deadly levels. Even if the effects do not prove to be life-threatening on the first try, continued behavior that includes excessive drinking and drugs is likely to lead to alcohol poisoning, overdose, or other dangerous side effects. The CDC reports that six people in the U.S. die from alcohol poisoning every day.
How Does Alcohol and Amphetamine Use Relate to Substance Abuse?
Alcohol dependency does have a genetic component. Those most affected by alcohol and amphetamine use and abuse also experience substance abuse, and they may have issues with anxiety and ADHD. The combined effects may lead to a dual diagnosis, which may make recovery a more complicated process. Special oversight and a trained medical team are the best way to ensure that treatment is as safe and effective as possible through the detox and recovery process.
What Does Alcohol and Amphetamine Use Treatment Look Like?
Since the symptoms and severity of alcohol and amphetamine use can range widely for each person, it’s important to understand how the treatment options might also vary. As part of our comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment options, we offer these services to support your recovery.
Medication management monitoring: We monitor the current levels of prescribed medications, as well as prescribe any new meds that might be appropriate to alleviate your current dual-diagnosis withdrawal symptoms.
On-site nursing 24/7: Depending on the symptoms and severity of your alcohol and amphetamine use, you may need more intensive nursing options, particularly if you have experienced an overdose. Our nursing team is standing by to assist you with any urgent care request.
Individual/group counseling: We offer a variety of options for counseling to best meet your needs and preferences. You’ll find you have a group of people who are willing to listen and offer kind support to support your needs.
Case management: We work with you to manage the symptoms and achieve a balance with your care, counseling, and treatment protocols.
Daily activities: Building a schedule and continuity helps you achieve cohesion and regularity that can extend far beyond treatment.
As you cope with your recovery from alcohol and amphetamine use, we help you manage the disparate emotions and symptoms that will affect you. Our goal is to support your health and wellness while making it as easy as possible for you to reach a state of recovery and sobriety.
Why Is Zinnia Healing the Best Solution for Your Alcohol and Amphetamine Concurrent Use Recovery?
At Zinnia Healing, we offer the tools and resources you need to overcome the roller coaster of emotions that you may already be experiencing. We have an experienced team of accredited medical and health professionals who are here to support your recovery. It’s important to understand why our level of care is what you need for your alcohol and amphetamine recovery. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll experience when you come to Zinnia Healing.
Evidence-based and holistic therapy
A private and intimate environment
Specialized care for co-occurring disorders
Customized treatment plans
Variety in therapy options
With more than 150 years of combined years clean and sober, our staff at Zinnia Healing understands your situation and is here to make sure you know that you’re not alone. We also employ staff members who are ideally suited to help you manage your symptoms and your return-to-life plan, with physicians, nurses, social workers, family and marriage therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists available to work with you every day.
Zinnia Healing offers dual-diagnosis facilities, which means that we’re the experts when it comes to treating your alcohol and amphetamine use issues. We also address underlying mental health issues that may be a factor in your substance abuse. We work with you to determine if other mitigating factors like anxiety, depression, trauma, attention deficit disorders, or other conditions may be affecting your attraction to and dependence upon alcohol and drugs. Then, we offer custom treatment options that will best meet your current needs on your path toward long-term sobriety and wellness.
Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about how we can help you recover from addiction.