Combining Adderall and coffee is not dangerous to your health in small amounts. However, it is not recommended for everyone.
One of the essential organs of the body, the heart, can be adversely affected by each substance. Adderall, a stimulant medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can be especially hazardous.
In severe cases of misuse, Adderall overdose, and its life-threatening effects are also possible when these substances are taken together. This can result in insomnia, an increase in heart rate, and a spike in blood pressure.
It’s rarely a good idea to mix two substances that are in the same category, especially without consulting your doctor. Two drugs with similar effects can cause something called potentiation, which is when the effects combine to create a more intense experience.
But what about an everyday substance like caffeine? Learn more about the combination of Adderall and coffee.
What Is Adderall?
In Adderall, amphetamine is the active ingredient. This brand-name prescription stimulant increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. The medication also contains the stimulant dextroamphetamine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall in 1996. With more than 24 million prescriptions sold in 2019, Adderall ranks 24th on the list of most popular drugs in the United States.
In addition to treating ADHD, Adderall can also cause side effects, such as addiction, dependence, and overdose. If you use the drug without a prescription or beyond what has been prescribed, you may experience unpleasant side effects and become addicted. Misuse and abuse are usually responsible for these symptoms.
Many people misuse Adderall for cognitive enhancement, but it can also be used as a recreational stimulant. In college, students may use the drug to stay awake and focus during long study sessions. However, no research suggests it improves mental performance in people without ADHD, although it can keep you awake—just like caffeine.
Adderall’s Effects on the Body
Adderall addresses ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, forgetfulness, disorganization, and fidgeting when taken as prescribed. It may also be used for treating narcolepsy symptoms.
In addition to amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate, the prescription stimulant contains several other amphetamine salts.
Researchers believe people diagnosed with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, a chemical transmitter in the brain that governs reward-motivated behavior. Adderall stimulates the release of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Consequently, Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed as medications.
Nevertheless, such actions caused people to feel more alert and focused as a result.
Users report feeling a euphoric rush when they use Adderall. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II drug on its list of controlled substances, along with opioids like oxycodone, fentanyl, opium, and morphine. DEA officials state that Adderall has a high abuse potential that may result in severe psychological or physical dependence.
In contrast, Adderall can produce a range of negative symptoms when used non-medically.
As a stand-alone drug, Adderall can generate the following effects:
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Menstrual cramps
- Sex drive or performance issues
As well as causing serious, life-threatening physical and psychological effects, it can also cause:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Frenzy or abnormal excitement
- Verbal/motor tics
- Believing things that are not true
- Feeling unusually suspicious of others
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat
- Numbness, pain, burning
- Tingling of the hands or feet
- Blurry vision or vision changes
- Pale or blue fingers or toes
- Mysterious wounds on fingers or toes
- Slow or difficult speech
- Numbness or weakness felt in the arm or leg
- Teeth grinding
- Loss of coordination
- Rapid heartbeat
- Twitching or severe muscle stiffness
What Does Coffee Do in the Body?
In addition to coffee beans, cacao pods, which are used to make chocolate, and tea leaves, coffee contains a stimulant, which is caffeine.
As soon as caffeine enters the bloodstream, it stimulates the central nervous system, making coffee drinkers feel alert and awake. The Cleveland Clinic reports that an average American adult consumes 200 mg (milligrams) of caffeine every day, about the same as two cups of coffee, which is 5 ounces each.
Caffeine can affect people in various ways, such as making it hard for them to fall and stay asleep, causing them to feel anxious, dehydrated, and even have headaches. Excessive caffeine intake can cause the following effects:
- Restlessness and shakiness
- Abnormal heartbeat
What Happens When You Combine Adderall With Coffee (or Other Stimulants)?
It is known that Adderall and coffee will intensify each other’s negative effects. These effects include:
- Increases in heart and blood pressure
- Extreme jitters
- Nervousness and anxiety
Using both products together can cause you to become addicted to them, meaning you will continue to use Adderall and coffee regardless of how negatively it affects your health. The deleterious effects of Adderall abuse are magnified in the form of overdose symptoms associated with its medications. These overdose symptoms include:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Feelings of panic
- Upset stomach
- Blurry vision
- Muscle aches or weakness
- Aggressive behavior
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Dark red or brown-colored urine
In general, high doses of stimulant medications can cause dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
How Dangerous Are Stimulants?
When you use stimulants in high doses, there’s a danger that you will overdose. Stronger drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin are more likely to produce a deadly overdose than amphetamines. When a stimulant causes an overdose, it can cause exceptionally unpleasant symptoms. Overdose symptoms can include anxiety, headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Overactive reflexes
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle pains
- Muscle weakness
Stimulant overdose is also associated with heart palpitations, hypertension, and irregular heartbeats. Heart failure is a frequent consequence of stimulant overdoses.
The effects of stimulants can be masked by taking high doses of a powerful stimulant such as cocaine or by mixing stimulant medications. When taken with alcohol, stimulants can also be dangerous. Stimulants and depressants can mask each other’s effects, making you believe you can take higher doses witout consequences if you take them together.
The problem is that mixing cocaine and alcohol can lead to a toxic chemical called cocaethylene, which is produced when cocaine and alcohol are broken down in your system. Cocaethylene is more cardiotoxic than cocaine by itself.
The Benefits of Professional Treatment
You should seek professional addiction treatment rather than attempt a detox yourself if you are abusing multiple substances. The physical and psychological aspects of addiction are addressed with proven therapies in a reputable program.
A medical team of doctors, nurses, and other personnel will provide round-the-clock supervision and care when Adderall and other drugs are removed from the body. Detox is the first step in professional treatment. They will treat and address any withdrawal symptoms.
When you are addicted to two or more substances, residential treatment is advisable. Why? Because this type of treatment addresses the profound psychological and emotional problems associated with your addiction.
A full range of evidence-based treatment services is available in a residential program, not just addiction treatment. These services include:
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Behavioral Therapy
- Life Skills Training
- Motivational Interviewing
If you have completed treatment and are interested in relapse prevention, you may be able to get ongoing support through a relapse prevention program. Communities such as these are vital for helping people with addiction to recover and live a healthy life.