Substance Use

Mixing Concerta and Alcohol: Can You Drink on Concerta?

young woman drinking beer and taking concerta pill

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Mixing Alcohol With Concerta: What Are The Dangers?

people with ADHD or narcolepsy. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly common for Concerta to be misused, abused, and even mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, which can increase the potential for overdose and lead to serious side effects including difficulty breathing.

Are you or a loved one struggling to stop mixing Concerta and alcohol? Zinnia Health can help. Call one of our caring specialists at (855) 430-9439.

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What Are The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Concerta?

Contrary to a popular misconception, the depressant effects of alcohol do not “cancel out” the stimulant effects of Concerta. In reality, when you mix a stimulant, like Concerta, and depressant, such as alcohol, your central nervous system must navigate mixed signals, which can lead to:

  • Dizziness
  • Impaired judgement
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in your heart rate
  • Higher potential for overdose

Can You Drink on Concerta?

Concerta is a stimulant medication that should never be combined with a depressant like alcohol. Intentionally combining Concerta and alcohol is a type of drug abuse that can rapidly lead to physical dependence on one or both substances.

If you combine central nervous system stimulants like Concerta with a central nervous system depressant like alcohol, you will be at a higher risk of serious health complications, including overdose and alcohol poisoning.

As such, if you have a Concerta prescription, ask your doctor before drinking.

How Long After Taking Concerta Can You Drink Alcohol?

You should avoid drinking for at least 24 hours after taking Concerta to ensure it is out of your body’s system.

Concerta is an extended-release prescription drug, which means it is delivered to a person’s system throughout the day when taken orally as directed. Its half-life is only 3.5 hours, which means it takes that long for half of the drug to leave your system. However, if you take it in larger doses, your body will not process it as quickly, and therefore you will need to wait longer before drinking alcohol. 

Even if you don’t mix alcohol with Concerta often, it can result in permanent and dangerous side effects. If you’re worried about your or a loved one’s substance use or alcohol addiction, Zinnia Health has caring specialists knowledgeable in addiction treatment ready to help. Reach out to us online or call us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol With Concerta?

Drugs in the psycho-stimulant class like Concerta (methylphenidate) work similarly.

When used according to your doctor’s medical advice, there can be benefits, but people have started abusing Concerta by taking it in large doses or mixing it with alcohol because they are able to experience the following effects:

  • Intense euphoria
  • Feelings of invincibility
  • Dizziness
  • Increased energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia

These side effects can lead to alcohol and Concerta addiction as the stimulant boosts a person’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels, both of which contribute to dependence. Once dependence forms, an individual will likely need help from a professional treatment facility in order to fully recover and avoid relapse. 

Why Is It Dangerous to Mix Concerta with Alcohol?

When you drink alcohol after taking a stimulant like Concerta, the effects of alcohol may take the “edge” off the stimulant, meaning you’d need to take more of the stimulant in order to still feel its effects the same. This means a person could unintentionally take dramatically high amounts of a Concerta.

Conversely, a stimulant works to reduce the intoxicating effects of alcohol. This means an individual could also inadvertently consume too much alcohol, leading to a dangerous balancing act that can result in an overdose of one or both substances.

What Can Happen if You Drink on Concerta?

Given that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that more than 59 million people aged 12 and older used illicit substances, it’s not surprising that Concerta is misused, but that doesn’t make it safe.

Physical effects of mixing alcohol and Concerta include:

  • Diminished reaction time
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired breathing
  • High blood pressure and faster heart rate
  • Heart attack

In addition to the above, when someone takes a stimulant drug with alcohol, they put excess stress on vital organs like their heart, kidneys, and liver, which can contribute to longer-term risks and side effects as well.

What Are the Symptoms From Drinking Alcohol with Concerta?

Concerta and alcohol together can affect an individual’s mental health and behavioral health, leading to an array of unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects, such as:

  • Worsening ability to pay attention
  • Weakened impulse regulation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased potential for “blackout” periods
  • Other psychological effects include:
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Nervousness
  • Threatening behavior

In addition to the above, abusing Concerta and alcohol repeatedly can lead to further long-term concerns as well, such as:

  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Depressed immune system
  • Increased potential for cancer

Other neurological issues can also occur, such as stroke, seizures, or memory problems. Long-term motor or mobility issues and psychological problems can worsen too.

How to Get Help For a Concerta Addiction

Once dependence on Concerta and/or alcohol forms, you can’t simply quit “cold turkey.”

When you stop drinking alcohol or taking a prescription stimulant that you have become dependent on, you will go through a period of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle aches
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability and anger

The withdrawal process can take two weeks or more and, depending on the severity of your addiction, it can be both unpleasant and dangerous. In order to prevent relapse and minimize long-term effects, it’s worth reaching out to an addiction center and learning about a drug and alcohol detox.

Fortunately, there are treatment centers that offer a safe, confidential, judgment-free environment where you can recover. If you’re wondering what the next step is in getting help for your substance use disorder, here are some of your options:

  • Reach out to a medical professional and discuss an in-hospital detox where you’ll receive 24/7 medical supervision
  • Find an inpatient treatment facility, also known as a residential treatment center, where you can get help for drug and alcohol use in a home-like setting
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about outpatient treatment options, which can support you while you recover at home

At Zinnia Health, there is help and hope. If you’re struggling with polydrug use, mixing alcohol and Concerta, call our team at (855) 430-9439 to discuss your options. Our substance abuse specialists are standing by to help you find the path to recovery.

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(855) 430-9439
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