Substance Use

Mixing Ritalin and Alcohol: Can You Drink on Ritalin?

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What Are The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Ritalin?

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a prescription drug praised for its ability to increase focus and alertness in children and adults with ADHD. However, mixing Ritalin with other substances such as alcohol can increase their risk of dependence and overdose.

When used in accordance with a legitimate prescription, Ritalin is considered safe and effective. However, someone taking Ritalin recreationally can rapidly develop a dependence since Ritalin has stimulant effects. This in turn can lead to a Ritalin addiction.

If you have questions about substance misuse, reach out to a team of caring professionals who can help. Contact us today by calling (855) 430-9439 or see our rehab facilities near you to learn more. 

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Can You Drink on Ritalin?

No, when you are prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) you should not drink any alcohol because the alcohol can change the way the drug works in your body and put you at risk of causing dangerous side-effects.

How Long After Taking Ritalin Can You Drink Alcohol?

You should wait at least a minimum of 24 hours after taking your last dose of Ritalin before considering drinking any alcohol.

This is because the half life of Ritalin in adults is 3.5 hours, which means it will take quite a few hours before all the active Ritalin is out your system.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol With Ritalin?

Many recreational Ritalin users attempt this combination because Ritalin is a stimulant while alcohol is a depressant. The motivation behind mixing the two together is to counteract the depressant or sedative side effects alcohol induces, allowing them to drink more and party longer.

However, mixing alcohol with Ritalin is considered highly dangerous and puts an individual at greater risk of dependence and overdose. 

In many cases, a person’s first experience with Ritalin may be in a social setting, such as a party.

Ritalin can also be used as a “study drug” to help students improve focus and concentration during study sessions and exams.

Because of the nature of Ritalin abuse in study and party settings, misuse is especially common among young adults.

Why Is It Dangerous to Mix Ritalin with Alcohol?

The primary reason mixing alcohol with Ritalin is so dangerous is because alcohol causes more of the Ritalin dose to be absorbed by the body.

When taking a drug, the body actually uses only a certain amount. The rest is wasted through normal processes, such as urination.

Alcohol interacts with Ritalin and increases the amount of Ritalin that the body absorbs, and the higher concentration puts individuals at an increased risk of overdose.

The lack of impulse control and impaired judgment that results from the combination can also lead to binge drinking.

Repeated use can result in alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder

Drinking alcohol with Ritalin will affect everyone differently.

But, depending on the type and amount of alcohol consumed along with the prior use of Ritalin, symptoms can range from uncomfortable to deadly.

If you or a loved one are currently using Ritalin and alcohol, or any combination of substances, it’s important to seek help from a team of caring professionals. Contact us today by calling (855) 430-9439 to learn more. 

What Can Happen if You Drink on Ritalin?

While mixing alcohol with Ritalin might sound like a good idea to those who misuse Ritalin, the two do not counteract each other in the body.

Instead, they combine to create a dangerous combination that puts the central nervous system under extreme stress.

1. Change in Ability to Breathe

Stimulants like Ritalin increase the heart rate and boost the mood, while depressants like alcohol sedate the body and cause slow breathing.

This combination can be deadly as breathing becomes shallow, slow, or irregular to the point that major organs aren’t receiving enough oxygen.

This can lead to long-term, irreversible organ damage, especially with repeated events of mixing alcohol with Ritalin.

2. Risk of Alcohol Poisoning

Ritalin’s stimulant properties can also make a person feel less of the depressant effects induced by alcohol, which can lead to someone drinking more alcohol than is safe.

In turn, mixing alcohol with Ritalin puts an individual at increased risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can lead to severe health complications and even death.

What Are the Symptoms From Drinking Alcohol with Ritalin?

Other negative side effects of alcohol abuse and Ritalin use together include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in mood
  • Increased anxiety
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Rapid onset of physical dependence
  • Impacts on mental health, such as anxiety and insomnia
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Higher risk of Ritalin overdose
  • Development of alcohol addiction

One of the most notable effects of mixing Ritalin with alcohol is the combination’s ability to speed dependence and addiction.

Once dependence forms, an individual will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking a substance.

For instance, the effects of alcohol withdrawal include trouble sleeping, anxiety, and hostility.

Withdrawal symptoms are not permanent, but they can take weeks to stop. This is why seeking out a knowledgeable addiction treatment team and proper support groups is important in overcoming drug use.

Without the help of substance abuse treatment professionals, relapse is common.

How to Get Help For a Ritalin Addiction

Mixing alcohol with Ritalin can lead to unpredictable outcomes in the body that could be deadly.

The abuse of alcohol and Ritalin together is also a type of polysubstance use, which requires specialized treatment programs to address the withdrawal symptoms and health risks.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Ritalin misuse, it’s important to reach out to a team of knowledgeable, caring professionals who can help guide you down the path to recovery.

At Zinnia Health, our team is experienced in handling prescription medication and alcohol addiction.

When you’re ready, we can introduce you to your treatment options and explain the next steps. Contact us today by calling (855) 430-9439 or find a Ritalin rehab center near you

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Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
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