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Adderall and Caffeine | A Dangerous Combination or Safe in Moderation?


Adderall and Caffeine | A Dangerous Combination or Safe in Moderation?

We’ve all been there at some point—you need to start early and pull an all-nighter, and you’re wondering if that extra cup of morning coffee is going to affect your Adderall medication. 

The answer is yes! In fact, popping caffeine pills or sipping on energy drinks along with Adderall is downright dangerous. 

This article explains why you should avoid combining Adderall and caffeine and give you options on what you can do instead to give yourself that extra mental boost.  

Key Takeaways: Adderall and Caffeine 

  • Adderall is a stimulating substance commonly prescribed for treating ADHD but used for other sleep disorders.
  • Caffeine is a natural drug that stimulates the brain and nervous system and is found in food, beverages, and some medications.
  • Adderall and caffeine have similar adverse effects, including headaches, insomnia, mood changes, and high blood pressure.
  • Caffeine increases the effectiveness of amphetamines like Adderall, making the user feel a stronger impact and increases negative side effects leading to a possible medical emergency.
  • People taking high doses of Adderall and caffeine may experience severe psychological and physical dependence that can intensify unpleasant side effects.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand-name prescription drug, approved by the food and drug administration, and contains a combination of amphetamine along with dextroamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant. This mixture of amphetamine salts affects chemicals in the brain that contribute to impulse control and hyperactivity [1]

What Does Adderall Do?

Adderall increases the level of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine which plays a direct role in how we receive pleasure as well as how we think, plan, and focus [2]. It’s also the reason we find certain things interesting.  

Drugs like Adderall can produce the following symptoms on the body and mind: 

  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved focus
  • Decreased restlessness and fidgeting
  • Increased alertness
  • Longer attention span
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Higher blood pressure

What Is Adderall Used For?

Doctors prescribe Adderall for the treatment of ADHD which can improve focus and concentration by reducing hyperactivity and improving attention span. Because Adderall produces an excess amount of dopamine, this treatment affects even those who do not have ADHD and can create feelings of euphoria and increase energy levels [3].

This prescription drug treatment is also used for the sleep disorder narcolepsy and aids in boosting levels of a brain chemical called norepinephrine. This stimulant helps those with narcolepsy stay awake during the day and promotes general wakefulness [4].

Can Adderall improve mood?

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Compared to a placebo drug, Adderall significantly improved the positive activation score

adderall and caffeine Mood effects of Adderall compared to a placebo

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural substance found in the leaves and fruits of over 60 plant species, including coffee beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves. It’s the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world [5]. Caffeine is found in everything from beverages like soda and caffeinated coffee, food such as chocolate and energy bars, and some non-prescription medications and supplements like caffeine pills. 

What Does Caffeine Do to the Body?

As a stimulant, caffeine consumption increases activity in the nervous system, helping you stay awake and prevents tiredness. It can also increase the circulation of chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol [6]

Some of the effects of caffeine on the body and mind include:

  • Increased breathing and heart rate
  • More physical energy
  • High blood pressure
  • Uneven heart rhythm
  • Increased mental alertness 

Caffeine also acts as a diuretic causing you to urinate more, which helps get rid of extra water and salt in the body [7]. It can increase the release of stomach acid leading to digestive issues like heartburn and upset stomach [8]. There’s also the possibility of caffeine interfering with the absorption of calcium in the body [9]

Caffeine vs. Adderall: Side Effects

Even though caffeine and Adderall are very different substances, they are both stimulant drugs and affect the body in similar ways with a number of negative effects.

Caffeine Side Effects

For most people, caffeine products, like coffee, are non-harmful stimulants as long as you follow the recommended dose which is 400mg (about two cups a day) [10]. However, if your caffeine intake is much higher, you may experience a high risk of negative symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness 
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Dependency

Adderall Side Effects

Being a powerful prescription drug, Adderall has far more side effects than caffeine, coffee, or other stimulants. It may negatively affect people even when taken as directed for the treatment of ADHD. These effects increase if this drug is taken in toxic doses and may include the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Increased heart rate, palpitations, and blood pressure
  • Mood swings (irritability, excitability, agitation)
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Insomnia or inability to stay asleep
  • Digestive issues (constipation, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Hair loss
  • Sexual problems (decreased sex drive, impotence)
  • Addiction and dependency

Do Caffeine and Adderall Interact?

It’s possible for the body to have a negative reaction when taking Adderall and caffeine but this can vary from person to person. In general, it’s advised to avoid combining these two stimulant drugs as the symptoms and side effects of Adderall may become more intense if also consuming caffeine [11].

Is It Safe To Mix Adderall and Caffeine?

That depends. A minor caffeine intake, such as a chocolate bar or a cup of coffee, mixed with Adderall is generally safe. Unfortunately, some people seek a more heightened effect by taking high doses of these drugs. This is not advised and can be dangerous, leading to a possible Adderall overdose. 

Mixing Adderall and caffeine may affect the following:

adderall and caffeine

  • Sleeping Patterns – Both Adderall and caffeine can increase attention and alertness. When taken together, the effects of these two substances can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and may lead to insomnia [12].
  • Mood – Adderall and caffeine have similar side effects on the central nervous system that may affect mood. If taken together, this can intensify feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and aggression [13]
  • Heart and blood pressure – The chemical substances in Adderall are similar to caffeine as they can cause the blood vessels to constrict. Combining these two could raise your heart rate and bring your blood pressure to dangerous levels [14]
  • Addiction and dependency – When Adderall treatment is abused and enhanced by caffeine use, there’s a greater chance of caffeine dependence and Adderall addiction. Withdrawal symptoms, like headaches and fatigue, become stronger between doses and are common with this kind of substance abuse [15]

Does Caffeine Make Adderall Less Effective?

Caffeine products such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks may reduce the effectiveness of Adderall treatment. Caffeine is a diuretic and aids in the body’s release of water and salt, which could shorten the effects of Adderall by pushing the drug out of the body faster [16]

Adderall vs. Nootropics 

A nootropic is a natural supplement or drug compound used to enhance mental function, including concentration, motivation, and attention. It does this by increasing and improving the blood supply and circulation to the brain [17]. They also improve memory by protecting cells from inflammation. 

Some nootropics include natural ingredients like ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and creatine. Still, some manufacturers combine a variety of nootropics to make a more potent supplement that can be in the form of pills, powders, and beverages. Because these are natural supplements, they are safe to take with other caffeinated foods, beverages, and other products. 

The most significant difference between nootropics and Adderall is that nootropics do not require a prescription. However, nootropics are not regulated by the food and drug administration like other medications [18]. Your local healthcare professional can provide medical advice on the best nootropics for your lifestyle goals. 

Is It Safe To Use Adderall as a Study Pill?

Many students use Adderall for academic purposes to stay awake, alert, and focused for classes and exams. But Adderall was not made as a study pill, and students who use these drugs for this purpose are prone to Adderall abuse and addiction. 

Adderall will eventually wear off, leading to a withdrawal period that may cause depression, restlessness, and anxiety [19]. Overuse of the drug can also lead to high tolerance, meaning that you need more of the drug in higher doses to attain the desired effects. 

Eventually, Adderall treatment will lose its effectiveness to help you study and may lead to an addiction.

Best Nootropic Alternatives 

Suppose you’re in the market to find something that will give you the benefits of Adderall treatment without the negative side effects. In that case, nootropic alternatives are available that will provide the same mental boost and motivation. Here are our top picks for the best nootropic alternative. 

adderall and caffeine

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a non-prescription supplement for anyone looking to boost their cognitive abilities. This formula contains 11 neuro-nutrients and herbs including vitamins B6, B9, B12, citicoline, and lion’s mane mushroom, and is considered a universal nootropic. 

This supplement improves short-term cognitive function in various ways, including inmproving mood, mental energy and improving memory and focus [20]. It’s a well-known substance designed for students, professionals, athletes, and many others. 

Check out our Mind Lab Pro Review for more information on this natural nootropic.

Mind Lab Pro vs. Adderall

These two share some similarities, including enhancing cognitive performance and chemistry, but several differences make Mind Lab Pro a better option: 

  • Natural vs. Pharmaceutical – Mind Lab Pro is a product made with natural ingredients to target mental performance pathways. On the other hand, Adderall is made by combining four amphetamine salts and is entirely a pharmaceutical-grade product.
  • Dosage – Patients prescribed Adderall may be instructed to take anywhere from 5mg to 40mg a day to reach the desired effect. That’s a pill every 4 or 5 hours as needed. Mind Lab Pro dosage is only two pills a day. Smaller dosing places less strain on the body, including the liver and kidneys [21].
  • Side Effects – Adderall is a powerful drug with many side effects that can possibly lead to addiction. Mind Lab Pro is entirely natural. The only reported side effects are headaches, digestion issues, and insomnia. More importantly, there are no addictive qualities in this supplement, and there’s no chance of you experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Pricing – A 3-month supply of Mind Lab pro comes to only $57.75 per bottle, which is less than $2 per dose. A single 5mg dose of Adderall is around $8.65 without insurance, $259.50 a month! And that’s only if you’re prescribed 5mg per day.    

Performance Lab

Performance Lab is a vegan-friendly nootropic designed to improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain, which positively impacts memory, focus, mood, and other mental processes. It also increases your ability to process complex problems. 

There are only four main ingredients in Performance Lab, which are specifically designed to aid in cognitive recovery, helping you to bounce back after moments of intense stress and pressure. This makes Performance Lab an excellent supplement for students and professionals. To learn more, check out this Performance Lab Nootropics article.  

Performance Lab vs. Adderall 

Performance Lab is similar to taking Adderall. They both aid in improving cognitive performance and function, and identical to Mind Lab Pro, Performance Lab is all-natural, with lower dosing and very few side effects. However, there are a few additional reasons why Performance Lab Pro may be a healthier nootropic option. 

  • Caffeine – There’s no caffeine added to the Performance Lab formula, and therefore it’s perfectly safe to combine with caffeinated foods and beverages, unlike Adderall.
  • Vegan-friendly – The ingredients in Performance Lab are completely natural with no synthetic additives, and it’s one of the only nootropic supplements that use capsules made out of fermented tapioca, which is safe for vegans and vegetarians. 
  • Dosing – The dosing for Performance Lab Pro is one pill a day, perfect for those with busier schedules who find it difficult to take pills multiple times a day.
  • Pricing – A three-month supply of Performance Lab Pro is $207, about $2 per dose — significantly less expensive than a single 5mg dose of Adderall.  

FAQ

We scoured the internet to make sure we answered all of your questions about Adderall and caffeine. Here’s what most people are asking.

How Should Adderall Make You Feel?

Some people claim a feeling of being high or euphoric while on Adderall. However, if taking this drug as prescribed, you typically only experience feelings of being energetic, self-confident, excited, and focused.

If Adderall is taken without a prescription or abused, you may experience manic and sometimes psychotic symptoms such as delusional thinking and hallucinations linked to Adderall overdose. There’s also the possibility of panic attacks, anxiety, and paranoia. Find out more about what Adderall abuse really looks like.

Does Adderall Help With Anxiety?

Taking Adderall does not help with anxiety or depression. It’s a prescription drug only used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. In fact, some symptoms of Adderall can intensify unpleasant side effects like depression and anxiety.

Does Adderall Help With Motivation?

Yes. Adderall is one of many prescription stimulants used to increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with attention, pleasure, and motivation. Adderall is designed to increase your cognitive motivation. 

The benefits of performing a task are elevated, and the feeling of motivation makes you want to achieve your desired goals. If you’re looking for Nootropics for Motivation, this is the article for you.

Can Caffeine Make ADHD Worse?

Yes. ADHD can cause insomnia and anxiety, which are also side effects of consuming caffeine and caffeinated products. The less sleep you have, the more cognitive issues may arise in someone with ADHD and can increase the very symptoms they’re trying to combat, such as focus and forgetfulness. 

Conclusion

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant containing amphetamine and is only prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy. Caffeine, the most widely consumed drug found in nature, is also a stimulant used in many foods, beverages, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs. 

When consumed, even in moderate amounts, the effects of these two substances can be magnified, posing a severe health risk and the possibility of dependence, addiction, and drug abuse.

Fortunately, for those looking for that extra brain boost, natural nootropics provide the same positive effects without adverse reactions of other stimulants.

If you take Adderall for ADHD or narcolepsy and suffer from drug abuse or other substance abuse, reach out to your healthcare provider, who can provide medical advice on your best options. 

References

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