A Deadly Combination
After Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in 2012 from an apparent alcohol and Xanax-related overdose, the very real threat of mixing benzodiazepines with booze reemerged as a hot topic of conversation. Drug-related overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death nationwide, with death rates increasing by nearly 200% since 2000. In 2014, there were a total of 47,000 recorded overdose-related deaths – and this number only continues to climb as the years go by. Frighteningly enough, out of all the potential chemical combinations out there, few are more lethal than benzodiazepines and alcohol – as has been unwittingly and repeatedly proven by hundreds of addicts nationwide. Why is this combination so life-threatening, and why do hundreds of men and women continue to risk it all despite widespread knowledge of the dangers involved? Let’s find out.
Why is Mixing Xanax and Alcohol So Lethal?
Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, are highly potent sedatives designed to reduce anxiety, induce sleep, and relax the muscles. Those who are prescribed benzodiazepines are advised to avoid drinking while taking them, seeing as combining a tranquilizer with a depressant can result in a host of serious side effects. Combining two central nervous system depressants can (and typically does) result in dangerous unconsciousness, slowed respiratory functioning, and decreased coordination. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines work to reduce the function of several major neurological capabilities, though Xanax only affects one specific brain receptor while alcohol has no limitation. Of course, people tend to pass out long before they can physically overdose on alcohol. When Xanax is involved, the potential for overdose becomes an actuality. Because the effects of alcohol are essentially amplified when Xanax is involved, drinking 3 cocktails is more like drinking 6 – and so forth.
Risks of Xanax and Alcohol Abuse
Memory is also intensely affected when these two chemical substances are consumed in conjunction. Those who are taking both pills and drinking will often forget just how many pills they have already ingested, or just how many vodka tonics they have already thrown back. It is often common for those taking this combination of substances to feel exceedingly drowsy or disoriented, and attempt to take a shower in order to ‘wake themselves up’. Unfortunately, because they are so heavily sedated, they may be unable to keep themselves awake and upright – leading to accidental drowning. Xanax is the fastest-acting of all benzodiazepines, making it the most dangerous to use in conjunction with ethanol (alcohol). Those who struggle with dual addictions (addictions to more than one chemical substance) are at even higher risk of drug-related injury or death than those who are afflicted with only one dependency. If you or someone you love is battling a cross-addiction, please contact us at Lighthouse Recovery Institute for a comprehensive list of treatment options. Recovery is possible, and help is available.