Adderall and Xanax

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Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Adderall and xanax are the two most widely prescribed psychiatric medications in America. These two medications help millions of people who are struggling with certain conditions, but they both carry a risk for dependence and abuse.

In this article we will explore what both medications are prescribed for, and compare their strengths, uses and potential for addiction. We will also discuss the potential dangers and side effects of mixing adderall and xanax.

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is a stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes people to feel drowsy most of the day and experience sleep paralysis at night.) Adderall promotes alertness and wakefulness, which helps both disorders.

In schools and colleges, some students take Adderall without a prescription to enhance focus, especially during important exams like finals or SATs. While the risk of addiction is relatively low for individuals with ADHD using Adderall as prescribed, students who misuse Adderall without a prescription may find themselves struggling with addiction once the demanding test season is over.

Individuals in fast-paced and stressful occupations may also turn to Adderall to boost their focus. Those working in the food industry, characterized by long hours and limited breaks, are particularly susceptible to Adderall misuse.

What is Xanax? 

Xanax  is a brand name for alprazolam, which is a depressant belonging to the class of drugs known as benzos. Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and occasionally insomnia. When used as directed by a healthcare professional, Xanax can be effective in managing these conditions.

However, the drug has the potential for abuse and dependence, especially when taken in larger doses or for more extended periods than prescribed. Abuse of Xanax often stems from its rapid onset of action, potential for inducing euphoria, self-medication tendencies, and the heightened effects that can result from combining Xanax with other substances, a practice which is not recommended.

Can You Take Adderall and Xanax? 

It's important to understand that combining Xanax, a depressant, and Adderall, a stimulant, without proper medical guidance can have very serious consequences. When these medications are mixed, their opposing effects on the nervous system can create a complex and unpredictable reaction in the body. The sedative nature of Xanax can counteract the stimulating effects of Adderall, leading to many adverse reactions. Individuals who mix Adderall and Xanax may experience:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Sense of confusion 

Why Do People Mix Adderall and Xanax? 

Using Adderall and Xanax at the same time usually stems from those who seek the delicate balance between the stimulating and sedative effects of each medication. Adderall, a stimulant, is known for enhancing focus and alertness in people with ADHD. However, it can also induce side effects such as increased heart rate and anxiety. Some individuals may turn to Xanax to calm those effects.

Another motivation for mixing Adderall and Xanax is the desire for an intense experience, often in the pursuit of enhanced cognitive (thinking) performance or mood regulation. This experimentation with medication combinations is not recommended and can cause serious risks like:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart problems
  • Cognitive difficulties

You may wonder “can I take Adderall during the day and Xanax at night?” People with ADHD or narcolepsy who also have anxiety may be prescribed both Xanax and Adderall at the same time. In such cases, healthcare professionals carefully assess and prescribe these medications to address specific symptoms. However, misuse arises when individuals self-adjust their doses without proper consultation, attempting to manage symptoms or emotions independently. This is why it’s crucial to stick to your doctor’s instructions for best results. 

Potential Side Effects of Mixing Adderall and Xanax 

Below is a summary of all of the potential side effects of mixing Adderall and Xanax:

  • Increased risk of overdose: Combining benzos like Xanax and stimulants like Adderall increases the risk of an inability to breathe, coma, or even fatal overdose.
  • Heart problems: The combination may lead to an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and even heart failure.
  • Central nervous system depression: Both drugs can depress the central nervous system, which may result in drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.
  • Cognitive impairment: Combining Adderall and Xanax may lead to confusion, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood changes: The mixture of a stimulant and a sedative can result in mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability.
  • Increased risk of addiction: Both Adderall and Xanax have the potential for abuse and addiction. Combining them may increase the risk of developing dependence. 

 Xanax vs. Adderall





Primary Use

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) treatment, narcolepsy

Anxiety and panic disorder treatment

Drug Class



Mechanism of Action

Increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain

Enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, reducing excitability

Common Side Effects

Insomnia, loss of appetite, increased heart rate

Drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems

Potential for Abuse



Risk of Dependence



Withdrawal Symptoms

Fatigue, depression, increased appetite

Anxiety, insomnia, seizures

Onset of Action

Rapid (within 30 minutes to 1 hour)

Rapid (within 1 hour)

Duration of Effects

4 to 6 hours

4 to 6 hours

Interaction with Alcohol

May increase heart rate and blood pressure

Dangerous central nervous system depression

Prescription Status

Prescription required

Prescription required


 What Is the Treatment for Adderall and Xanax Addiction? 

This is the general treatment for an addiction to Adderall and Xanax:

  • Medical Evaluation: A healthcare professional can assess the extent of the addiction, identify any underlying health issues, and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Detoxification: Depending on the severity of the addiction, a medically supervised detoxification may be necessary. Abruptly stopping these medications can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and even life-threatening in some cases.
  • Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment: The level of care needed depends on the individual's circumstances. Inpatient treatment provides 24/7 care and support, while outpatient treatment allows individuals to live at home while attending therapy sessions. At Avenues Recovery you will find both types of expert care.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or contingency management, can help individuals address the root causes of addiction, learn coping mechanisms, and develop healthier behaviors.
  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART Recovery, can provide a sense of community and understanding.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): In some cases, medication-assisted treatment may be considered. This involves using medications under medical supervision to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet, can contribute to overall well-being and support recovery.


If you or a loved one suffer from Adderall and Xanax abuse, reach out to us at Avenues Recovery Center so we can guide you on your path to recovery. Our expert team has helped thousands of people overcome their addictions and they can help you too! We use a mix of traditional and holistic therapies as well as personalized treatment plans to ensure optimal success. Our staff are highly trained and are committed to treating every client with utmost respect and care. Contact us today to discover premier addiction treatment and unbeatable support. If you are serious about addiction recovery, reach out to us so that we can begin your journey to sobriety together.

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