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Is Xanax and Adderall a Safe Mixing Combination (How Much?)

It is not safe to mix Xanax and Adderall. This combination comes with a range of risks.

What Type of Drug Is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication that is most commonly used to treat symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy. The active ingredients in Adderall are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which help to increase attention and focus and decrease impulsivity.

Adderall is a highly effective stimulant. Studies have found that 75 to 80 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD experience an improvement with their symptoms after taking stimulants like Adderall.

Adderall may also be prescribed to people struggling with maintaining daytime wakefulness, such as those who have narcolepsy.

Adderall has been shown to be highly effective for increasing alertness, though there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this.

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and psychological and physical dependence. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hopes that by scheduling Adderall like this, it will serve as warning to people of its addictive potential.

Adderall is only meant to be used through a doctor’s prescription to ensure safe use of the drug. It is, however, commonly misused for recreational purposes.

Adderall misuse is extremely common across the United States. It is frequently misused on college campuses as a “study drug” by people who wish to increase their focus and improve their academic performance.

People also misuse Adderall for recreational reasons. When taken in high enough doses, Adderall can increase mood and create a euphoric high.

What Type of Drug Is Xanax?

woman suffering from anxiety

Xanax, like Adderall, is a prescription medication that is also commonly misused.

It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, and it is most commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in the U.S.

Xanax works by calming excess neural activity in the brain in people who struggle with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or anxiety that is caused by depression. It provides a calming effect relatively quickly, making it highly effective for managing anxiety.

The effectiveness of Xanax is also what makes it so appealing to misuse. People report using Xanax recreationally for the pleasant calming effects it can produce.

When taken in high doses, it can also cause a euphoric high, similar to Adderall.

Xanax is also known to be habit-forming. The DEA has labeled it as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This signifies it has a lower potential for abuse relative to Schedule I, II, and III drugs; however, many medical professionals disagree with this classification. Xanax can result in dependence very quickly, and it is dangerous to experiment with it recreationally.

Is It Safe to Combine Adderall and Xanax?

No, there is no way to safely combine these drugs.

In general, combining multiple prescription drugs at the same time, especially for recreational reasons, is not safe. Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, work to calm you down, while stimulants, like Adderall, work to increase your alertness and focus. The contradictory effects of these drugs make them dangerous when taken together.

Any time drugs are taken together, your risk of overdose increases. When Adderall and Xanax are combined, they render each other less effective. This may lead someone to take higher doses of either drug to achieve the desired high. The more you increase doses of a drug, the more likely you are to experience an overdose.

An additional risk of combining Adderall and Xanax is the risk of addiction. As controlled substances, both drugs have a high potential for misuse and abuse, which can quickly lead to addiction. When used in combination, the risk is even higher. If you are combining these drugs with the intention of getting high, you are already exhibiting signs of prescription drug misuse that should be addressed before you encounter more severe consequences.

woman on bed suffering from xanax hangover

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Adderall and Xanax

Adderall and Xanax have very different short-term effects, but their long-term effects are quite similar. As addictive medications, the use of either drug should be closely monitored to reduce your chances of experiencing significant long-term effects on your health.

The short-term effects of prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, include the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Opened breathing passages
  • A rush or sense of euphoria

When taken in high doses, prescription stimulants can also cause heartbeat abnormalities, precariously high body temperature, convulsions, and heart failure.

The short-term effects of benzodiazepines include the following:

  • Increased sense of calm
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Improved sleep
  • Sleepiness
  • Bewilderment
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Decreased coordination
  • Vision issues or blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Headache

The long-term effects of any prescription medication include a risk of dependence and addiction. In addition to experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop long-term use of a drug, people sometimes experience rebound symptoms, or a re-occurrence of the symptoms they started taking the drug to treat in the first place. Rebound symptoms can be just as bad as or worse than your symptoms were before you started taking these medications.

The risk of overdose also increases. The higher the doses of a drug you take to achieve desired effects, the more likely you are to experience an overdose, whether accidental or intentional.

Since Adderall and Xanax counteract the effects of each other, dosages are likely to be increased when they are taken in combination.

Prescription Drug Abuse in the U.S.

The misuse of prescription drugs, like Xanax and Adderall, in the United States has become a major public health concern. In 2017, 18 million people reported having misused prescription medications in the past year.

The high rates of misuse are likely due to the relative affordability and easy accessibility to these drugs. They can be obtained fairly easily through doctors and even through multiple doctors at once.

Counterfeit prescription pills are also widely bought and sold on the black market. Illicit drug manufacturers produce fake pills that are often laced with other more potent substances, such as fentanyl. Cheap access to such potent drugs allows people to easily abuse the substances.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), young adults (ages 18 to 25) and older adults (ages 57 to 85), display the highest rates of prescription drug abuse. Roughly 14 percent of young adults reported using prescription medications for nonmedical reasons in 2017. Older adults, half of which are likely to be taking more than five medications per day and 80 percent of which take at least one prescription daily, are at a high risk of accidental prescription drug misuse.

Whether being misused intentionally or accidently, prescription drug abuse puts people at a high risk for experiencing serious consequences.

opioid crisis depiction

How Much Xanax and Adderall Is Safe to Mix?

Again, no amount of Xanax and Adderall is safe to mix. These prescription medications can cause serious side effects when taken individually, and their potential complications only multiply when taken together.

People using Xanax and Adderall recreationally may take more of either medication than they intend to in order to achieve the desired effects since these medications counteract each other. To maintain safe drug use, it is recommended to only use prescription medications as directed by a doctor. Never mix them unless carefully instructed to do so by a medical professional.

References

A Review of Pharmacological Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. (May 2016). The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine). (August 2018). Healthline.

Adderall and Xanax: Is It Safe to Use Them Together? (June 2016). Healthline.

Controlled Substance Schedules. U.S. Department of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration.

Misuse of Prescription Drugs. (December 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Prescription Stimulants. (June 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Benefits and Risks of Benzodiazepines. (January 2018). Medical News Today.

Xanax. (September 2018). Drugs.com.

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