Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Xanax

Person mixing Xanax with alcohol

The effects of Xanax with alcohol are extremely dangerous and even fatal in some cases. For example, it is possible to die from a lethal dose of just one drug if mixed with another substance or medication like benzodiazepines (Xanax). This means mixing these two substances is highly discouraged. 

Benzodiazepine prescriptions such as Xanax have many legitimate uses but also come with several risks due to their addictive potential. This makes it easier for an individual taking them to not only become addicted more quickly but also risk death by overdose if combined with any other substances, especially alcohol.

The Effects of Xanax With Alcohol?

Both alcohol and Xanax are considered depressant drugs. By taking both, the combination will essentially multiply the effects of the other. For this reason, taking them both at the same time will cause excessive sedation in the form of respiratory depression, slowing down the central nervous system, and activity in the brain. 

This combination can escalate fatigue, weakness, incoordination, difficulty breathing, and slower motor skills. 

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a prescription medication that is generally used to treat anxiety. It is classified as a benzodiazepine, meaning that it is considered a depressant for its sedative effects. Doctors typically prescribe to help the individual achieve a calm, relaxed feeling. Xanax can be extremely helpful for those suffering from panic disorder or even seizures. 

Xanax works by slowing down the central nervous system (CNS). The drug increases the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA in the brain). This neurotransmitter is ultimately what’s responsible for slowing the activity in the CNS. 

What is Alcohol?  

Alcohol is also a depressant, as it too can slow down vital functions within the body. Alcohol (ethyl alcohol) is produced by the chemical process of fermentation of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Most people know alcohol like wine, beer, and liquor. 

Alcohol is generally best understood by how it slows down a person’s ability to think, judge, or even act. Alcohol affects the way our brain functions, making social interaction much more complicated than before. The more alcohol a person consumes, the more the effects will increase. 

Xanax and Alcohol Side Effects

Both alcohol and Xanax will decrease activity in the brain. What starts a slightly sedative effect can quickly multiply as the substances will build on each other. 

Common Xanax and alcohol side effects include: 

  • Passing out
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Memory blackouts
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Vertigo
  • Seizure
  • Psychosis 
  • Overdose/death

What makes the mixture of alcohol and Xanax so especially dangerous is that it’s difficult to know when you’ve taken too much. A person can go from feeling slightly sedated to completely inebriated pretty quickly. Your body has to process the substances, which takes some time. During that time, it’s possible to ingest too much without realizing it. 

Medical use of Xanax does not allow for mixing with alcohol, it should always be taken as prescribed. This means there is no amount of alcohol that is considered safe to take Xanax. Some people may take Xanax with alcohol and never suffer any negative side effects. 

Is it Possible to Suffer an Overdose from Xanax and Alcohol?

Yes, it is extremely possible to suffer a fatal overdose from mixing Xanax and alcohol, that is why the combination is highly discouraged. Abused alone, both alcohol and Xanax can cause an overdose, that’s why abusing them together makes it that much easier. Abusing either alcohol or Xanax with another substance like prescription opioids, cocaine or heroin will also increase the likelihood of overdose. Mixing addictive substances is often referred to as polysubstance abuse and is extremely dangerous. 

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Effects of Xanax with alcohol may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty in standing or walking
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Vomiting

If you or someone you love is currently abusing alcohol and Xanax, the first step in addiction treatment is getting a medical detox. Medical detox will help with some of the more dangerous withdrawals associated with both substances. 

Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Addiction

Getting treatment for alcohol and Xanax addiction starts with detox, but it does not end there.Getting treatment for alcohol and Xanax addiction starts with detox, but it does not end there. Detox will only stop withdrawal symptoms, psychological factors associated with addiction are still present. It’s important to seek an addiction treatment program that can suit your needs. 

In many cases, you may need more than one program to overcome addiction. Many individuals start with a more intensive program and work their way through the process. This ensures a more well-rounded recovery. 

Residential Treatment for Alcohol and Xanax Abuse

This type of program is also referred to as inpatient treatment. This type of program involves a person staying at the treatment facility and receiving round-the-clock care for their substance use disorder. Life is highly structured and the individual attending treatment will attend therapy regularly. People with moderate to severe addictions find inpatient treatment extremely beneficial during their recovery. Not only does inpatient treatment focus on stopping substance use, it can help people develop essential relapse prevention skills. 

Outpatient Treatment for Alcohol and Xanax Abuse

Outpatient programs allow a person to attend therapy as necessary based on their schedules. This form of treatment is also used as a step down from residential treatment since it allows someone to spend their evenings at home instead of a treatment facility. 

You still attend the same therapies and treatments as you do in an inpatient program however, you have the flexibility of going to school or work as well. 

Get Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Abuse Today!

If you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder or the dangerous effects of Xanax with alcohol, Lifetime Recovery can help find the treatments and therapies that suit your needs. Our team of addiction treatment specialists are standing by to help assist you in finding a plan that works for you. 

We accept many different types of insurance and can work with whatever plan you currently have. Call us today to get started on your road to recovery! 

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Our behavioral health and substance abuse treatment experts also treat co-occurring disorders/dual diagnoses (including trauma), and we are one of the few alcohol and drug rehab centers offering gambling addiction treatment.