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Is it Safe to Mix Adderall and Xanax?

3 minute read

Mixing Xanax and Adderall is dangerous. The only time it’s safe to take Xanax and Adderall together is when prescribed by a doctor. However, in the last couple of decades, mixing Xanax and Adderall has become a form of prescription drug abuse. Xanax (alprazolam) and Adderall (amphetamine) both affect your central nervous system, but in different ways. Both have a high potential for abuse and addiction and taking the two together can have serious side effects.

How Does Xanax Work?

Xanax is a brand name of the generic medication alprazolam, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1981. Alprazolam belongs to a group of medications called benzodiazepines that are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders as well as seizures and sleeping disorders.

Xanax works by slowing down central nervous system (CNS) activity, helping to reduce certain chemical imbalances that contribute to anxiety. Unlike some drugs that only lead to dependence or addiction, Xanax can lead to physical dependence even when taken according to a doctor’s orders. Therefore, Xanax use should be closely monitored by a doctor who can address any signs of Xanax abuse.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication. Doctors may prescribe Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Adderall is made with amphetamines that work on parts of the central nervous system tied to impulses and hyperactivity. It increases brain chemicals that speed up brain activity. That’s why Adderall helps some people focus better and have more energy. The FDA approves Adderall as a prescription drug to treat narcolepsy in adults and an ADHD medication for adults and children. It has no other approved uses though it may rarely be prescribed “off-label” for treatment-resistant depression.

Why Do People Mix Adderall and Xanax?

Stimulant abuse and sedative abuse often co-occur in people with substance use disorders according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. People may combine Xanax and Adderall to counteract the effects of one of the drugs. Adderall is a stimulant. Abusing Adderall can give you a boost of energy. Some people take Xanax to even out the overstimulation they feel on large amounts of Adderall. Taking stimulants and depressant drugs together is known as speed balling. People speedball with other combinations of downers and uppers as well, like heroin and cocaine. It’s an effort to achieve a certain kind of high described as euphoric.

Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Xanax

The drug interactions of taking Xanax and Adderall together at prescribed doses are not dangerous but abusing them puts you at risk for overdose. The effects of Adderall or Xanax can be masked when you’re taking them together. This makes it easy to take dangerous doses because you’re not feeling all the effects of the drug. When you’re abusing drugs, your judgement and perception are clouded. You may keep taking more Adderall when you start feeling the high wear off or more Xanax when the sedating, relaxing qualities diminish.

Mixing Adderall and Xanax can also intensify the side effects of each drug. These can include:

  • Seizures
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nasal congestion
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Overdose

Signs You Need Help

If you’re using more than the recommended dosage of prescribed medications like Adderall and Xanax, you need to take a closer look at your substance use. Taking Adderall, Xanax, and other prescription drugs for recreational purposes is substance abuse and puts you at risk for addiction. If you’re worried about your substance use, reach out for a free, confidential consultation. Our treatment centers offer evidence-based addiction treatment that helps you get to the reasons why you abuse drugs and alcohol. You’ll develop healthy coping skills, relapse prevention strategies, and build a rewarding life in recovery.


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