Ritalin and Alcohol

by on May 17, 2012

When being treated with prescription drugs, it is important to pay attention to any substances that can react with the treatment. Alcohol is known to interact with many drugs and researching the affect it can have on your prescription is a very important step to ensuring your treatment is not compromised.

Ritalin and Alcohol

It is not recommended to drink alcohol while using Ritalin as a treatment. Ritalin is a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant. Subjecting your body to these two things at one time can have unexpected and unpredictable results. The intake of two opposing drugs can confuse the body, and this is partly responsible for the unpredictable outcome.

It also creates a problem with how the body processes the drugs – it may compromise the effectiveness of one of the drugs in order to deal with the other. This can be a dangerous prospect for the patient.

Why is it Dangerous?

Because Ritalin is a stimulant, it can mask the psychological effects of alcohol. The patient, who is not feeling the effects of alcohol, may ingest more than they normally would, possibly drinking to a dangerous state. Once the stimulant wears off, however, the person still has all of the alcohol left in the bloodstream. This has the potential to make someone who moments before felt fine, feel instantly drunk, and possibly past a state they can manage.

Excessive alcohol does not just produce drunkenness, which in itself can be risky; it can be very hard on the body, particularly the liver and kidneys. Alcohol, like many drugs, also has the ability to become addictive, especially when consumed in large amounts.

Dependency Issues

When prescribing Ritalin, doctors will ask patients if they have any history with drug or alcohol dependency. This is meant to determine if the drug is a good fit for the patient. Ritalin has a slight chance of creating dependency issues, and for those who have struggled with other addictions in the past, it may be dangerous to attempt this treatment. In the case of alcohol dependency, because the effects of alcohol can be minimized with this drug, it is not recommended for those in recovery or who may have an increased chance of developing an alcohol dependency during the treatment.

Possible side effects

There is no specific interactions affecting how Ritalin and alcohol perform together, rather, the combination can have unpredictable consequences. It may affect the ability of the patient to perform tasks that require concentration, such as driving or operating any machinery. It may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment not only when it is being combined, but also for days after ingesting alcohol. It is important to discuss with your doctor any previous issues with drug or alcohol dependency, in order to determine if this treatment is right for you.

Though alcohol use is not recommended, it is possible to drink in moderation, if the patient monitors his or her intake. A very small amount of alcohol, one or two drinks per week, is not associated with any long term negative effects. Most physicians, however, prefer if patients abstain from drinking alcohol to ensure the treatment is not compromised.