Adderall And Xanax? Risks And Dangers Of Mixing

Adderall and Xanax are prescription drugs that perform very different functions but which are sometimes mixed together for recreational use. Xanax and Adderall can be a dangerous combination which can increase a person's risk of overdose.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax (alprazolam) and Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) are opposites in terms of what they treat and how they make a person feel.

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that are typically used to treat anxiety disorders such as panic disorder.

Xanax is also used to treat insomnia and help a person fall asleep. Benzos like Xanax and Valium are considered downers.

On the other hand, Adderall is a CNS stimulant medication that is most commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It is also used to treat narcolepsy and help a person stay awake. CNS stimulant drugs are considered uppers.

Mixing opposing medications like this can confuse the central nervous system and result in some risky and dangerous side effects.

Risks Of Mixing Adderall And Xanax

Adderall and Xanax are both easily abused and potentially addictive on their own, and can also pose some additional risks when mixed together.

Polydrug Abuse And Addiction

Both Adderall and Xanax are controlled substances and can be addictive when taken by themselves. When abused at the same time, they amplify the addictive nature of each other.

When someone has a substance use disorder involving two or more drugs at the same time, it is called polydrug abuse.

Decreased Effectiveness

Because Adderall and Xanax have opposite functions, their resulting effects can counteract each other to the point where neither effectively treats what it was intended to treat.

This can be detrimental to a person’s mental health.

For example, Xanax won’t be able to effectively treat a person’s insomnia if they are also taking Adderall that makes them more alert and focused.

In contrast, Adderall won’t be able to effectively treat a person’s ADHD if they are also taking Xanax that causes sleepiness and drowsiness.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

Taking Adderall and Xanax together to the point of abuse can result in severe withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to go off them.

Xanax abuse in particular can result in Xanax withdrawal symptoms that are potentially lethal.

Both medications should be tapered off at a rate that is safe and comfortable and which will result in minimal withdrawal symptoms.

A person’s physician may recommend tapering off Xanax separately from Adderall.

High Risk Of Overdose Death

Taking high doses of Xanax and Adderall together can be harmful to the body.

One is a stimulant that increases a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, while the other is a depressant that slows down a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

A person mixing Xanax with Adderall may find themselves taking more of one or both drugs in order to level out whichever effects they are feeling most strongly.

In turn, they may not realize how intoxicated they have become in the process until it is too late. This can lead to Adderall or Xanax-related overdose.

Why People Mix Adderall And Xanax Together

There are a couple of different reasons why a person might take Adderall and Xanax together, in addition to simply wanting to amplify their high.


Taking Xanax and Adderall together can mimic the effects that one might experience while taking illicit stimulants and depressants together, most commonly cocaine and heroin.

A person might take these drugs together in order to experience what they consider the best of both worlds.

However, some people who have tried this describe it as extremely unpleasant, as if their mind and body cannot decide how to feel.

“Level Out” The Effect Of Both Drugs

A person may choose to take these drugs together as a way of “leveling out” the effects of each.

They may use Xanax to level out the stimulating effects of Adderall, or they may use Adderall to level out the sedating effects of Xanax.

This idea of leveling out the effects of each drug may have been why they were prescribed together for someone in the first place.

A person taking Adderall may feel more anxious as a result of the drug and use Xanax to treat any panic attacks that potentially occur.

Common Side Effects Of Mixing Adderall And Xanax

Mixing Xanax and Adderall together can result in some very serious side effects, many of which involve or worsen the conditions that the medications were originally supposed to treat.

Side effects of Xanax and Adderall misuse can include:

  • onset of sleep disorders
  • impulsiveness
  • increased anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • aggressive behavior
  • seizures

Treatment Programs For Xanax And Adderall Abuse

Use of Xanax and Adderall should never be stopped without medical advice from a person’s healthcare provider.

Xanax abuse may lead to withdrawal symptoms that can be severe and life-threatening.

Medically monitored detox at a respected treatment center is the optimal choice for Xanax addiction treatment.

Treatment options for Xanax and Adderall abuse include:

  • outpatient treatment
  • inpatient treatment
  • 12-step programs
  • case management
  • court-ordered rehab
  • family therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • life skills workshops

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Are you or a loved one currently struggling with polydrug abuse or addiction to Xanax and other substances? You are not alone, and recovery is possible with Bedrock Recovery Center.

When you are ready to get started on getting your life back on track, give our helpline a call. It is never too late to free yourself from drug abuse and addiction.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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