Taking Adderall and coffee in small amounts will not harm you. That still does not make it a good idea.
Each substance on its own can negatively impact the heart, one of the body’s most essential organs. Adderall, a stimulant medication prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can especially pose life-threatening effects.
When taken in combination, these substances can doubly impact that vital organ, leading to insomnia, increased heart rate, and a spike in blood pressure. In profound cases of misuse, Adderall overdose and its life-threatening effects are also possible.
Consider this experience that was posted in an online forum at ADDitude, an online resource for families and adults with ADHD:
“My first day on Adderall, I had a cup of coffee. I didn’t even get through half of the 20oz cup before my heart started racing and I was wired and over-stimulated, canceling all the benefits of Adderall and leaving only harsh side effects. I had to quit. I miss it dearly, but I’d rather be able to focus and caffeine stopped helping years ago.”
In that same thread, another poster wrote, “…I quickly found that the combination of Adderall and my normal two cups of coffee in the morning made my heart practically jump out of my chest.”
In general, taking two stimulant substances in combination, even if it is something as benign as coffee, is never safe.
What Adderall Does to the Body
When taken as intended, Adderall treats ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, forgetfulness, disorganization, and fidgeting, according to ADDitude. It also treats symptoms of narcolepsy.
The prescription stimulant itself is made up of four amphetamine salts, which includes amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate.
Adderall stimulates the release of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. According to Healthline, scientists believe people who have been diagnosed with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that governs reward-motivated behavior. So, they have prescribed medications like Adderall and Ritalin.
Nevertheless, the result of such action causes people to feel more alert and focused.
However, when Adderall is abused, users report a euphoric rush. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) designates Adderall as a Schedule II drug under its list of controlled substances, along with opioid medications like oxycodone, fentanyl, opium, and morphine. According to the DEA, this designation means that Adderall has “a high potential for abuse which, may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
The non-medical use of Adderall, however, is capable of producing a spate of ruinous symptoms.
By itself, Adderall is capable of generating the following effects, according to MedlinePlus:
- Weight loss
- Menstrual cramps
- Dry mouth
- Impacted sex drive or performance
It can also produce serious, life-threatening physical, and psychological effects, including:
- Believing things that are not true
- Feeling unusually suspicious of others
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Frenzy or Abnormal Excitement
- Verbal/motor tics
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat
- Numbness, pain, burning, or tingling of the hands or feet
- Blurry vision or vision changes
- Pale or blue fingers or toes
- Mysterious wounds appearing on fingers or toes
- Slow or difficult speech
- Numbness or weakness felt in the arm or leg
- Rapid heartbeat
- Twitching or severe muscle stiffness
- Loss of coordination
What Coffee Does to the Body
Coffee contains the stimulant known as caffeine, a white substance that naturally occurs in more than 60 plants, including coffee beans, the cacao pods that make chocolate, and tea leaves.
Once caffeine enters the bloodstream, it stimulates the central nervous system, causing coffee drinkers to feel awake and alert. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average American adult consumes 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, which is about two five-ounce cups of coffee.
Even moderate amounts of caffeine can cause people to have trouble falling and staying asleep. It can also cause them to experience rapid heart rate, anxiety dehydration, and even headache. Excessive amounts of caffeine can result in the following effects, according to MedlinePlus:
- Restlessness and shakiness
- Abnormal heartbeat
What Happens When You Use Adderall With Coffee (Or Other Stimulants)
When you take Adderall and coffee together, the latter will magnify the negative side effects of the former, according to Medical News Today. Those effects include:
- Spikes in heart and blood pressure
- Extreme jitters
- Nervousness and anxiety
Dual use can cause you to develop an addiction to both, meaning you will continue to use Adderall and coffee even if it negatively impacts your health and well-being.
When Adderall is abused with other stimulant drugs, the deleterious effects are further magnified in the form of overdose symptoms. These overdose symptoms are associated with Adderall medications, according to MedlinePlus:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Feelings of panic
- Upset stomach
- Blurry vision
- Muscle aches or weakness
- Tiredness or weakness
- Aggressive behavior
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Dark red or cola-colored urinea
It is worth noting that high doses of stimulant medications, in general, can result in dangerously high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure, states the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
How Professional Treatment Can Help You
For polysubstance abuse cases, it is pertinent that you receive professional addiction treatment rather than attempt a detox by yourself. A reputable program will offer a supervised process where the physical and psychological aspects of addiction are addressed with proven therapies.
The first step in professional treatment is detox, where the Adderall and other substances are flushed from the body. A medical team of doctors, nurses, and other personnel will provide around-the-clock care and supervision. They will address and treat any withdrawal symptoms that manifest.
For instances of polysubstance abuse, residential treatment is recommended. Why? Because it offers comprehensive counseling and care that examines the profound psychological and emotional components of your addiction.
In fact, a residential program will provide an array of evidence-based treatment that considers the whole person — not just their addiction. Those services include:
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Behavioral Therapy
- Life Skills Training
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
You can also receive ongoing support through a relapse prevention program after you have completed treatment. This kind of program will connect you to others in recovery. A community like this is vital in helping people with addiction achieve sustained recovery and wellness.