Ativan and Alcohol
Continuing our look at booze and benzo’s, this week we turn our attention to Ativan and alcohol. This dangerous combination can lead to a number of disastrous outcomes, the first of which is an almost instant blackout.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. We first need to examine what exactly Ativan is and why people mix it with alcohol to begin with.
Ativan goes by the chemical name lorazepam and is a potent, immediate-duration benzodiazepine. This means it’s in the same chemical family as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Ativan and alcohol both affect the same neurotransmitter, GABA.
As mentioned above, Ativan is one strong benzo. In fact, with the exception of Xanax, it’s the most potent benzo available. Also much like Xanax, it begins to produce effects almost immediately after ingestion.
This rapid onset of action is due to Ativan’s short half-life. It’s metabolized by the body very quickly and achieves peak blood levels within an hour. This makes it the fastest acting oral benzo around and, arguably, more addictive than its brothers and sisters.
This also makes mixing Ativan and alcohol dangerous for a number of reasons. We’ll explore some of them below.
Mixing Ativan and Alcohol
As mentioned above, mixing Ativan and alcohol leads to an almost instant blackout. This is due to Ativan’s rapid psychoactive effects coupled with the amount of GABA being produced by the brain.
Simply put, mixing Ativan and alcohol is dangerous because Ativan packs a punch and alcohol potentiates that punch. Both chemicals release GABA and, when mixed, are more than the sum of their parts. Alcohol also strains the liver, making it harder to clear the blood of Ativan. This leads to increased plasma levels of Ativan, which leads to more intoxication.
So, why would anyone mix alcohol and Ativan? Well, the combination produces an incredibly strong high. For all the reasons just mentioned, lorazepam and booze are a potent mixture.
They’re also incredibly dangerous. Find a detailed breakdown of the dangerous associated with Ativan and alcohol’s effects below.
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Ativan and Alcohol Effects
Ativan and alcohol effects include, among other things, decreased respiration, low blood pressure, confusion and disorientation, and intense intoxication.
- Decreased Respiration
Mixing Ativan and alcohol, two strong depressants, will immediately slow how quickly the body takes in oxygen. Combining the two tranquilizers sends signals to the brain to cut down on necessary bodily functions, including breathing.
- Low Blood Pressure
Also known as hypotension, low blood pressure is defined as any pressure under 90/60. Mixing Ativan and alcohol produces hypotension due to their sedative qualities. Just like the combination decreases respiration, it also makes the brain slow down the heartbeat and how quickly blood is moved throughout the body.
- Confusion & Disorientation
These Ativan and alcohol effects are to be expected. Combining two strong tranquilizers will almost immediately distort how stimuli are perceived and interpreted. It’s also worth noting that GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter and one of Ativan and alcohol’s main effects is producing GABA in spades.
- Intense Intoxication
This is the “instant blackout” I mentioned above. Mixing Ativan and alcohol produces a dangerously strong high. In fact, the deadliest drug combination is Xanax and alcohol. This is only true because of Xanax’s popularity. The true deadliest drug combination, based on strength alone, is Ativan and alcohol.