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The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

by | Last updated Oct 18, 2021 at 3:07PM | Published on May 29, 2020 | Alcohol Addiction, Drug Addiction, Sober Living

drug-and-alcohol-deadliest-combination

As if drug and alcohol addiction weren’t fatal enough, many addicts found themselves mixing some of the deadliest drug combinations. For example, mixing Xanax and alcohol is one of the most lethal drug combinations around. With prescription drug addiction rises at dangerous levels, learning about the effects of various drug abuse is critical.

Xanax is a prescription medication used to help those who suffer from anxiety, sleep problems, and other mental health conditions. However, it has a high potential for misuse, dependence, and abuse.

The Deadliest Mix: Alcohol and Xanax

The combination of Xanax and alcohol is more common than most people think. Most people, like me, are unaware of the dangers inherent in mixing narcotics and alcohol. While there’s information highlighting the deadly effects of mixing Xanax and drinking, that information isn’t as prevalent as you might think. College students are young adults among the top demographics for these deadly combinations.

In 2014, the CDC reported that alcohol and benzodiazepine combinations resulted in 39,573 emergency visits and 13,063 deadly overdoses in the United States alone.

Other people are looking to alter the way they think and feel. That is, they’re looking to get high. It should come as no surprise that mixing a powerful tranquilizer pill and a potent depressant beverage will produce a powerful euphoria. When paired with the sedative effects of Xanax, the effects of alcohol can place people in dangerous situations.

The Effects of Xanax & Alcohol

Xanax targets the central nervous system. By inducing dopamine, which increases pleasure, Xanax can reduce anxiety and other negative mental states. For someone with anxiety disorder, the effects of Xanax can help them function normally and avoid debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. However, when people use the drug for recreational purposes, it can become very addictive.

Some of the effects of Xanax include:

  • Increased relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased feelings of panic and anxiety
  • Lightheartedness
  • Sedation
  • Feelings of detachment

At the same time, alcohol also targets the central nervous system. While one or two glasses with dinner won’t do much harm to your health, alcohol abuse can have long-lasting effects. Some of the short and long-term effects of alcohol include:

  • Behavior changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Liver damage
  • Frontal lobe damage
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory damage
  • Hallucinations
  • Infertility
  • Stomach distress
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Fatigue

A Lethal Dose

Most people believe someone needs an insane amount of Xanax and alcohol to experience an overdose. The truth is, it differs. Most Xanax prescriptions range anywhere between 1 to 10 milligrams per day. When people add alcohol, the blend triggers unpredictable side effects that could lead to death.

Tolerance to either substance, weight, sex, age, and other health issues plays a significant role in determining a lethal dose. For example, someone with heart, kidney, or liver conditions might be at higher risk. However, in the end, there’s no safe dose from taking Xanax and alcohol together.

Other substances that are frequently combined include mixing Xanax and weed, or even cocaine and Xanax. These can lead to a fatal overdose. Even if you have a valid prescription, it’s essential to educate yourself about the interactions and dangers of mixing these drugs.

Side Effects of Xanax and Alcohol 

Mixing Xanax and alcohol produces some dangerous side effects. The first reason for this is that they’re both central nervous system depressants. That means that both Xanax and alcohol slow how the body sends, receives, and processes information. The short-term and long-term effects of abusing these substances can bring serious health problems and be potentially life-threatening.

It also means they slow how the body carries out its tasks, like breathing, heartbeats, etc. Side effects can affect the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart attacks and other fatal conditions.

Some side effects of these two chemicals can lead to:

  • Recklessness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Vomiting
  • Cold skin
  • Risk of blacking out
  • Dizziness

Next, both substances work on the same neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. These are the GABA receptors, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in our nervous system. So, mixing Xanax and alcohol potentiates each chemical. That is to say, combining the two makes each individual stronger.

The potential overdose side effects are even scarier:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Risk of heart failure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Coordination loss
  • Memory loss
  • Death

Who’s at Risk?

Unfortunately, those in college are at higher risk of falling for this deadly combination. Many students engage in unhealthy habits, including binge drinking and prescription drug abuse. Various studies suggest that those enrolled in a full-time college program are more likely to struggle with substance abuse and misuse of alcohol and Xanax than those who don’t attend college.

In 2016, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 50% of full-time college students consumed alcohol in the previous month. Of those, 38% experimented with binge drinking. Plus, over 10% engaged in heavy drinking for five or more days in any given month. On the other side, the same studies looked at people in the same age group who didn’t attend college, and this group was less likely to exhibit problematic drinking behaviors.

However, this isn’t to say other demographics aren’t at risk. Anyone who struggles with drug addiction and alcoholism will go to great extents to increase the euphoria and rush they get from substance abuse. Many drug addicts will turn to alcohol as an instant way to enhance or amplify the effects of whatever drug they’re misusing.

Seeking Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance use disorders, don’t hesitate to seek help and call 1-866-326-4317 today. Getting the right medical advice diagnosis or treatment is paramount. Learn more about dual diagnosis and addiction treatment.

Our drug rehab programs that comprise inpatient and outpatient treatment options help you find the right path towards recovery. If you or someone you know is mixing Xanax and alcohol, seek medical attention immediately.

Don’t let the lethal effects of combining substances take away your life. Treatment is more available than you think. Reach out today and speak with an addiction therapist who can help you find the right treatment plan. You could be one phone call away from saving your life or the life of a loved one.

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we’re committed to helping people receive the treatment they need. Our team wants everyone to know that recovery is possible. No matter how you feel right now, we promise there’s hope in your future. We’ll walk the path of healing with you and be there to offer the support you need.

Molly

Molly

Molly is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Case Manager and Vocational Services. She has a Bachelor’s in International Relations, is a Certified Addiction Counselor, and it’s currently working towards her Master’s in Social Work. Molly’s experience allows her to provide expert knowledge about solution-based methods to help people in recovery maintain long-term sobriety.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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