Written by: Nicki Hari
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: February 7th, 2023
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one mixing Ritalin and alcohol, this article may help you.
When alcohol is mixed with any substance, it can increase the health risks to your body. This is no different with Ritalin, and mixing this substance with alcohol can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, if you, or somebody you love, is in trouble right now from abusing Ritalin and alcohol, it is highly likely there are underlying issues driving the substance abuse.
Primrose Lodge has worked with many people with an addiction to Ritalin and alcohol, providing a safe space to overcome addiction and some of the associated issues which may have caused this to develop. Our rehab treatment uses a holistic, non-judgmental approach to help you improve your situation.
What happens when you mix Ritalin and alcohol?
Alcohol has an adverse reaction to many drugs. It is never safe to mix Ritalin with alcohol as both can alter and enhance the effects of the other substance.
The alcohol intensifies the effects of the Ritalin, and the Ritalin masks the effects of alcohol. These two substances also have opposing effects on the central nervous system, which places the body at further risk.
Ritalin is a stimulant which accelerates the central nervous system, whereas alcohol has a depressing effect. The opposing effects do not cancel each other out; instead, they create stress on vital organs in the body which can cause long-term health issues.
Risks of mixing Ritalin and alcohol
The stress placed on the body from mixing Ritalin and alcohol can lead to several detrimental health conditions, many of which cannot be reversed. These include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Cardiac Arrest
- Mood disorders
There is a higher chance of overdose when mixing Ritalin and alcohol. As with any drug, if you notice any of the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is important that you seek professional help immediately by contacting 999 for an ambulance:
- Increased heart rate
How much Ritalin is safe for use?
In the UK today, Ritalin can only legally be obtained by prescription as it is a class B controlled substance in line with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Many individuals often presume that because Ritalin is a drug that is obtained through a prescription, it is always safe and legal to use; this is not the case.
Ritalin is a stimulant medication that should only be consumed by clients who require treatment for specific conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The medication is heavily prescribed to children and young people in the UK, which creates concerns for young people and the potential they abuse or develop a Ritalin addiction due to long-term, ongoing use. Typically, it is recommended that adults consume about 20–30 milligrams of the substance per day, divided into doses to keep the effects controlled and consistent. In children aged six or above, they are started on a much lower dose, five mg twice a day, though this may be adjusted by the doctor as needed.
It is important to remember that higher doses of Ritalin can present an extreme risk of harm to the body. As individuals begin taking more of the drug than is advised, this can lead to changes in their bodies and mind. For example, while Ritalin is usually taken orally in tablet form, some may resort to crushing the tablets to snort up the nostril to get the drug into the bloodstream quicker.
Eventually, Ritalin can become a gateway to even harder drugs. For this reason, we would recommend that you remain mindful of your Ritalin consumption, consulting with a healthcare professional if you feel yourself becoming reliant on the substance.
How much alcohol is safe for use?
Alcohol is a legal substance used and accessed by many in the UK today. For anybody over the age of 18, alcohol is easy to acquire and can be purchased anywhere, from local shops to pubs and restaurants. Unfortunately, the accessibility of this drug makes alcohol addiction the most common form of dependence, with many other addictions also involving alcohol abuse in some form.
Therefore, while there is no legal limit for alcohol consumption, it can still be dangerous, posing harm when taken in larger doses. As well as this, it affects people’s behaviour, thoughts, feelings, and decision-making. Alone, alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol poisoning, vital organs in the body becoming damaged, and even death. When alcohol is mixed with another substance, such as Ritalin, these risks increase further.
It is hard to offer an exact figure for safe drinking without more specific information, and we would advise you to speak with your GP for more detailed advice. If this cannot be done, you can also consult with Alcohol Change UK’s unit calculator to learn more. Generally, however, alcohol guidelines state that adults should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This makes around:
- Seven 50ml measures of spirits (such as whisky)
- Five 250ml glasses of wine
- Six pints of beer
Armed with this information, we hope that you will be aware of what is safe when it comes to alcohol consumption. However, we would still like to remind you that even users drinking in safe quantities can still fall victim to alcohol addiction; therefore, we would implore individuals to approach this substance with a great deal of caution and attention.
How can I stop mixing Ritalin and alcohol?
If any of the information in this article has resonated with you, then Primrose Lodge can help. We offer alcohol rehab for people with alcohol addiction and people who mix Ritalin and alcohol.
If you want to find out more information about mixing Ritalin and alcohol, or you feel like you are ready to make the first steps towards recovery, get in touch with us today.