Ritalin / Focalin and Alcohol Abuse

dangers of focalin and alcohol abuse
Last Edited: August 3, 2020

Madison Kimberlin

Clinically Reviewed
Andrew Lancaster, LPC, MAC

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

There are many people out there in the world who suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Chances are you or someone you know is affected by ADHD, and medications such as Focalin may make a difference. However, in the United States abuse of prescription focalin and alcohol can cause serious harm. The National Center for Health Statistics published fascinating results from the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. This survey  found that attention deficit disorder was the primary diagnosis from 13.6 million visits to physician offices in the U.S. Plus, there has been a rise in children diagnosed with ADHD, as confirmed by the National Survey of Children’s Health. The survey results indicated a 42% increase in the prevalence of juvenile ADHD, as there were 7.8% in 2003 and 11% by 2011.

what is focalin

As more and more people are diagnosed with ADHD, it’s important that people have access to ADHD medication. These prescriptions can change their lives for the better and help them cope with their condition. ADHD can have an impact on a person’s education, work and personal relationships, so having an appropriate prescription medication is crucial. Focalin is one of the more common medications for ADHD, and it is used successfully by many patients.

What is Focalin?

focalin and the brainIf you’re wondering what’s focalin used for, then you should know that this is a stimulant prescription medication. Its used for the treatment of ADHD as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. Focalin XR is also used for the treatment of ADHD. These medications affect the brain chemicals that lead to the hyperactivity and poor impulse control that are characteristic of ADHD. It’s official term is dexmethylphenidate, and doctors across the country are very familiar with how focalin works. Essentially, focalin increases the level of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This can come in handy for ADHD, as well as for weight loss. Those who need help for anxiety may be prescribed focalin in some cases too.

It’s important to remember that focalin is a controlled substance. Although focalin is used for health reasons, it needs to be taken just as prescribed by doctors. When you’re looking at focalin vs. adderall, another popular ADHD medication, the risks for abuse and addiction can be quite high. This is especially true if patients do not adhere to their prescription and start taking these pills more often than they’re supposed to. As long as everyone is careful and appropriate when they use focalin, their chances of successful ADHD treatment are high. They are more likely to achieve a healthy lifestyle as well.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1504909974508{padding-top: 35px !important;}”]

Focalin and Alcohol Side Effects

heart side effects of focalin and alcoholWhen taking Focalin, you want to make sure you thoroughly read the drug facts. This way, you have all the information you will need about your prescription and possible side effects. As with many other prescription medications, mixing Focalin and Alcohol isn’t the best idea. In fact, doctors strongly recommend avoiding Alcohol consumption with Focalin, as the side effects can be quite detrimental. Intense mood swings, drowsiness, elevated heart rate, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure are all associated with the combination of Focalin and Alcohol.

There’s several reasons why medical professionals are adamant about the dangers of simultaneous Focalin and Alcohol consumption. Basically, these substances are opposites. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the central nervous system while Focalin is a stimulant that affects certain neurotransmitters in your brain. Some people mistakenly believe that the depressant and stimulant will cancel each other out. This is a dangerous misconception that can lead to unpleasant and oftentimes serious side effects. After all, drinking Alcohol and taking Focalin at the same time will force your body to work harder than it should to keep up. This leads to an increased risk of overdose.

Particularly in those with pre-existing heart conditions, the risk of heart attack or stroke also rises in startling fashion. Erring on the side of caution and staying away from Focalin and Alcohol together is definitely in the best interests of anyone who is prescribed this medication.

Signs of Focalin and Alcohol Abuse

signs of drinking while on focalinCan Focalin be abused? The answer to this question is most definitely yes. The combination of dexmethylphenidate and Alcohol is unfortunately a prime example. When people get in the habit of mixing Alcohol with Focalin to get high and experience the sensation, they are putting their lives at risk. Using Focalin to study and combat ADHD is one thing; using Focalin and Alcohol at the same time recreationally will lead to impaired social interactions, blackouts and many other unappealing and downright painful side effects.

There are several signs of Focalin and Alcohol abuse that you should educate yourself on and learn to watch out for. Of course, the most obvious would be the clear and unhidden combination of popping Focalin pills and drinking Alcohol at the same time. If you or someone you know seems to be having more noticeable and significant side effects during drinking, this may be due to the presence of Focalin or other prescription drugs in the bloodstream. Mood changes, short-term memory loss, extreme tiredness and extremely high body temperatures are all signs of unhealthy and concerning activity involving the combination of Focalin and Alcohol abuse.

The risks associated with using Focalin and Alcohol at the same time should be enough to stop anyone from partaking in this risky behavior. Sadly, sometimes that’s just not enough. There are people out there who fall victim to the addictive nature of these substances, and that’s when professional medical help is needed.

Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) Side Effects

side effects of Dexmethylphenidate misuseAnother key thing to consider is Focalin uses and side effects. Whenever you’re planning on taking a certain prescription, you need to be fully aware of any possible side effects. These symptoms could have a large impact on your life and could change your mind about your medication. While many people who take Focalin are completely fine and experience minimal, if any, side effects, the possibility is there for both physical  and psychological symptoms. Emotional effects such as mood swings, increased anger, feelings of depression and other forms of emotional dysregulation have been listed as Focalin XR side effects.

While these are most certainly a concern for adults, the side effects associated with Focalin for children  are another major aspect of medication management. There’s so many kids who are diagnosed with ADHD. It’s normal that their parents and teachers want to help them perform well and succeed in school and other activities. That’s why doctors are likely to prescribe Focalin, as it has and will work well in so many cases. Parents and other adult guardians should always follow up with any questions regarding possible side effects. This way they know what to look out for when caring for children who are taking Focalin to control their ADHD. Just like with any of the thousands of medications out there, every individual may respond differently to certain prescriptions, Focalin included.

Dangerous Effects of Focalin Addiction

The possible side effects of Focalin are one thing, while the dangers of Focalin addiction are another. Those who ask “is Focalin dangerous?” or “can you overdose on Focalin?” should know the devastating truth to these questions. Like many other prescription medications widely used today, there is a risk for addiction and abuse. Those who misuse Focalin and begin to take it more often than they should are at risk of developing a dependency. This would lead to medication withdrawal, and it’s no fun going through  Focalin withdrawal symptoms. This includes changes in heart rhythm and blood pressure, sleep disturbances, extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression and nausea.

The effects of stopping ADHD medication once your body is used to the substance can be difficult to deal with. That’s why it’s not uncommon for those with unhealthy habits to become addicted.

drinking while on prescription stimulants

In many cases it can seem easier to resolve these uncomfortable and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms by taking more Focalin. In reality, this just sets people up for negative long term effects of Focalin. They get trapped in the vicious cycle of stimulant addiction. Taking Focalin long-term can be bad for your body in certain cases, especially if you’re abusing this medication and taking more than you should. Can Focalin cause brain damage? Many are surprised to hear that the answer is yes. If too much Focalin is taken too frequently, this can be the outcome.

The more that the brain is exposed to Focalin, the more familiar it will become with this substance. This also means the more its functions will change in response to the constant presence of Focalin in the central nervous system. Over time, the brain may stop producing dopamine or norepinephrine, or at least it won’t make the levels of these neurotransmitters that it’s supposed to. Once an individual suddenly stops taking Focalin, the body will struggle to respond as the brain has become dependent on this substance. That’s what causes those unwanted withdrawal symptoms that contribute to the cycle of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Treating Stimulant Addiction

While Focalin stimulant is quite popular for the targeted treatment of ADHD, there are many other prescription stimulants out there used by people everyday. While some carry a higher risk of addiction than others, it’s crucial that anyone who takes medication makes themselves aware of the risks and the signs to watch for. If Focalin dependency does occur, rest assured that there are professional rehab and addiction treatment centers where recovery is an attainable goal.

When it comes to treating Focalin and other stimulant addiction, the detox process is important in managing withdrawal symptoms and keeping patients on the path to recovery. Those who suffer from Focalin addiction are likely to have co-occurring disorders as well, whether that be in the form of other addictions or mental health challenges. The best treatment centers are well equipped to handle these complex cases on an individual basis, which will set patients up for optimal success. It takes patience, preparation and personal reflection to treat an addiction and achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle without this medication, but it can be done.

While Focalin is used just fine by many individuals with ADHD, the risk for addiction remains, and if this risk becomes a reality then it’s in your best interests to seek help. Focalin addiction is a difficult battle to beat by yourself, and the support and guidance of professionals can make all the difference.

Focalin and Pregnancy

Treating ADHD during pregnancy can be complicated, as there have been links to birth defects. Pregnant women need to be extremely careful and consult their doctor before continuing with any ADHD medication once they learn they are carrying a child. Focalin is a prescription medication that should be avoided during pregnancy. The risks to the fetus outweigh the benefits to the mother. By speaking with your doctor about your pregnancy and ADHD, you can hopefully reach a solution that is better for you and your baby.

When it comes to the miracle of life, it’s better to play it safe and avoid any possible consequences of using medication that has been shown to cause health problems in developing babies. Focalin is a medication that changes the brain’s chemicals, and thus it needs to be avoided during pregnancy. Otherwise, if this medication is taken regularly throughout the course of a pregnancy, the baby could be negatively impacted and even harmed.

If you or someone you know is pregnant and currently prescribed Focalin, or you’re taking Focalin and want to know more about this medication and the possibility for dependency, you should remember that there are resources out there designed to help you. Speaking to your doctor or another medical professional could help you make the right choice for your ADHD and your overall health.