The Dangers of Mixing Xanax with Alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Xanax with Alcohol

Don’t mix Xanax with alcohol. It’s as dangerous as you might imagine and maybe even more so. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to turn on your TV, watch the news, and hear about celebrity deaths involving a mixture of alcohol and drugs. This has been happening for decades, actually. “The King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley died that way. So did Judy Garland of “Wizard of Oz” fame. most recently, dangerous drug concoctions have done away the likes of Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse. However, the problem isn’t limited to Hollywood or celebrities in the least.

According to The Centers For Disease Control or CDC, drug overdose deaths have spiked back in 1999 to 2000 by 102 percent. Then, 10 years later in 2010, there came about 38,000 drug overdose deaths, with 60 percent of these involving prescription drugs like Xanax versus illicit drugs like cocaine. Furthermore, 30 percent of the 22,000 deaths involving prescription drugs were by Xanax. Doubly so when mixed with alcohol.

What Is Xanax and What Is Alcohol?

Xanax is a trade name for alprazolam. It’s a benzodiazepine prescription drug used to treat panic attacks or panic disorder, anxiety, and social anxiety. So it’s a lot like alcohol in pill form, if you think about it. Just like beer or wine, Xanax serves as a depressant. There are whoever some people out there who push partying to unsafe limits and mix alcohol and Xanax together without understanding how dangerous such an act is. Taking alcohol with Xanax can cause increased confusion, muscle weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, or even the risk of death.

This is because alcohol, also known by ethanol (which is its chemical name), is a psychoactive substance used as the active ingredient found in drinks that are also called alcohol or alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, and other distilled spirits or hard liquor. They’re hard drinks as opposed to soft drinks like soda. Many alcoholics have undergone withdrawal symptoms before and fear experiencing them in the future. This is what pushes them to take Xanax. They might take it to induce an alcoholic stupor and prevent withdrawal symptoms. However, they might go a step too far and take Xanax without prescription or with alcohol.

What Makes Mixing Alcohol and Xanax So Dangerous?

Xanax is a drug used to treat anxiety. You can avail of its generic form under alprazolam, which is its chemical name. It’s classified as a depressant of the central nervous system of the benzodiazepine variety. Benzodiazepines are usually offered as prescriptions to patients suffering from panic disorder, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal. That last part should give you a clue as to why you shouldn’t take Xanax with alcohol.

  • The Main Effects of Xanax: The main effects or goal of taking benzodiazepines like Xanax is to slow down central nervous system activity. Thusly, this produces a relaxing or calming effect in your body. When Xanax is combined, misused, or abused with other drugs or substances like alcohol, it like other benzodiazepine drugs can cause side effects that are dangerous or even deadly when push comes to shove.
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substances: According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA, the risks for mixing alcohol and Xanax are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances. What this means is that the DEA views such a concoction having high potential for abuse and development of addiction or physical dependence. In fact, individually, both alcohol and Xanax by themselves are highly addictive substances, so becoming addicted to both can spell doom to anyone unfortunate enough to develop the condition. What’s more, Xanax is currently one of the most prescribed benzodiazepines to boot.
  • Alcohol and Xanax Are Similar: Alcohol, like Xanax, is a depressant that affects your central nervous system. Therefore, Xanax has a warning label that specifically warns against mixing it with alcohol or using alcohol to chase or wash it down like water. Xanax can interact terribly with drinks like beer, wine, and so forth along with many other non-prescribed drugs. Ironically, despite its high addiction potential, Xanax was originally developed as a safer alternative to the more infamous Valium.
  • It’s All About The GABA: Xanax and alcohol also share the ability to increase Inhibitory Neurotransmitter Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) activity in the brain. GANA is needed to mute brain excitation, resulting in an effect of relaxation or sedation. When you mix together depressants, you can become overly sedated. You don’t want to end up like that because it can result in your own death.
  • They Boost Each Other Up: You don’t want to mix Xanax with alcohol because they boost each other up. Xanax intensifies the alcohol symptoms and effects and vice-versa because they’re practically the same, which is to slow down central nervous system activity. That’s why people who are drunk seem dumber than usual. Alcohol becomes more potent with Xanax just as Xanax becomes more potent with alcohol, even when it comes to the effects they don’t share.

If you’ve taken them on their own, like drinking alcohol moderately or taking Xanax as recommended by your doctor then you’re in the clear. However, if you mix them even if you only took the amount recommended to you, you risk excessive sedation, respiratory depression, dangerous accidents, cardiac issues, and loss of consciousness when push comes to shove.

Xanax is typically mixed with other depressants such as:

  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Seconal, Nembutal, and other barbiturates
  • Clonazepam, Klonopin, and other tranquilizers
  • Vicodin, OxyContin, morphine, and other opioid analgesics
  • Ambien, Chlordiazepoxide, Librium, and other hypnotic drugs
  • Ativan, Alprazolam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Valium, and other benzodiazepines like Xanax

Because side effects have the potential for life-threatening complications, it’s important that you look for help ASAP if you or someone you know have ingested or become addicted to mixing alcohol and Xanax.

The Side Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

depression, drug abuse and addiction people concept - unhappy drunk man with bottle of alcohol and pills committing suicide by overdosing on medication at night

By mixing these two together, this dangerous concoction can decrease your overall brain activity to the point of reducing the amount of central nervous system signals. In short, it kind of makes you dumber. When you take them independently or in the right doses, they can give you a relaxing effect. However, when they’re together, they’ll chemically build upon one another, resulting in you having an effect similar to binge drinking or overdosing on Xanax.

Reduced central nervous system activity has its own set of potentially fatal and outright risky side effects, so watch out. Avoid mixing the two at all costs. When you mix alcohol and Xanax, you can end up experiencing the following:

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Slow pulse
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow breathing
  • Impaired coordination

It’s never a good idea to mix alcohol with Xanax or drinking while taking Xanax because of these side effects in mind. Whether you’re washing down your Xanax pills with wine, beer, or any other type of alcoholic beverage, you should combine them in any way, especially if you’re overdosing or binging on both. It’s a death wish to do so and not worth the extreme relaxation you’ll experience.

Can You Overdose on Xanax?

Can you overdose on Xanax? Can a person actually die from it? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about this drug. Party animals who are considering mixing alcohol with Xanax for a more potent buzz might want to read this part carefully: Even if alcohol isn’t mixed with Xanax, you can face a handful of risks and health issues by abusing Xanax alone. Don’t think that it’s only a danger when mixed with other drugs.

When you take this medication in bigger doses than recommended or for a much longer time than prescribed, you can become addicted to it. As you chase the depressant relaxation you can get from it, you can in turn run the risk of becoming overdosed. The “good” news is that to overdose on Xanax you need a ton of it. However, you’re likelier to overdose on Xanax with a lesser amount of it when you combine it with depressants or alcohol.

This is because these other depressants—and alcohol is technically part of that family—compound the effects of Xanax such that it seems like you’re taking more than what you’ve consumed. At any rate, you might end up overdosing on Xanax if you have the following symptoms:

  • Coma
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of balance or coordination

Call 911 in the U.S. or your respective emergency number if you or someone you love experiences these overdose symptoms after taking too much Xanax or after mixing Xanax with alcohol or other depressants.

Dead body with toe tag, suicide by drug overdose and alcohol

Getting Help During an Emergency

Seek help immediately when you or someone else has ended up ingesting alcohol with Xanax with troubling regularity. You should go to an addiction treatment facility post-haste. Treating co-occurring addiction with Xanax and alcohol typically needs a period of detoxification that’s medically monitored. You want both substances out of your system ASAP in places like a local rehab facility or at Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Thailand if you want a vacation feel when it comes to your addiction treatment.

  • Xanax and Alcohol Dependence: You might be dependent or addicted to both Xanax and alcohol if you’ve been abusing them by mixing them together or even taking them separately. If you feel like you can’t live without taking another drink or pill then it’s time to go to rehab to sort things out with your life. The rehab center is mostly responsible for treating any withdrawal symptoms you might have when you stop taking these depressants.
  • About Withdrawal Symptoms: Withdrawal symptoms for both alcohol and Xanax range from dangerous medical conditions that can be fatal to mild discomfort. Attempting to quit cold turkey or to do self-detoxification at home like it’s a do-it-yourself kind of project isn’t recommended. This is especially true if you’ve been using alcohol and/or Xanax for an extended period of time. Alcoholics that binge drink or are heavy drinkers as well as people who’ve been using Xanax for a long time should be wary.
  • Breathing Problems and Nervous System Depression: Essentially, both alcohol and Xanax depress your central nervous system. In turn, it’s the system that takes care of your breathing, so breathing problems are among the issues you face when taking both Xanax and alcohol together. You can end up having slow and shallow breathing that can result in death. Taking in alcohol and Xanax excessively can also exacerbate breathing issues such as asthma.
  • The First Step to Recovery: The first step towards recovery from alcohol and Xanax mixing addiction is getting the help you need. You shouldn’t be ashamed of admitting that you’re struggling because pride comes before the fall. If you know where to look you’ll see that there are people all around you who love you and want to help you. You also want to end up sober and clean because it will lead you to a happier, better, and healthier life that doesn’t depend on the rickety crutches of substance abuse that sets you up towards falling to your doom.

Treatment Options For Xanax and Alcohol Addiction

Xanax’s primary effects as well as side effects can escalate when you take other depressant drugs or alcohol, mostly because it’s like you’re overdosing with depressants all in all. This in turn could cause things like clumsiness, weakness, fatigue, and severe drowsiness. Your risk for unconsciousness, breathing difficulties, and unintentional death also rises significantly by letting these drugs interact with one another.

With that in mind, here are your treatment options for Xanax and alcohol addiction rehabilitation.

  • Medically Assisted Detoxification: Going to a rehab center in order to undergo medically assisted detoxification can assist in reducing the risk of dangerous symptoms for withdrawal and side effects, particularly the ones that are potentially fatal. This is because you’re monitored 24/7 by a team of medical professionals. If it’s required, you will even be offered medications to alleviate the withdrawal pangs, urges, and impulses that might otherwise lead to relapse. They can also minimize the more dangerous of these symptoms.
  • Outpatient Addiction Treatment Program: You have the option to undergo a 12-step outpatient rehab program wherein you undergo group therapy with fellow addicts and ex-addicts in order to overcome your alcoholism or Xanax addiction. This comes in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. They’re much more flexible than inpatient programs at centers because you can simply attend meetings and progressively get over your addictions while still keeping up with your everyday life involving school, work, and/or family obligations.
  • Inpatient Addiction Treatment Program: If your addiction is much more intense that outpatient meetings every day or every week isn’t enough for you to get over it, then you should enter an inpatient addiction treatment program. Although all-day monitoring, medically assisted detoxification, and a more comprehensive program that also includes 12-step rehab on top of individualized therapy, group therapy, holistic therapy, and esoteric therapy in one package, it’s worth it in the end. Why? The intensity makes it less likely for you to relapse once you’ve gotten the Xanax and alcohol out of your system.
  • What to Expect from Detox: While under detox treatment for Xanax and alcohol, you should inform the treatment team if you’re feeling physically or emotionally uncomfortable. This is because they can in turn administer medication to ease your discomfort, pain, or other withdrawal symptoms, thus improving your experience until the whole process is done with. You can also speak to a trained counselor if you’re dealing with mental or emotional anguish since he’ll help you work through your feelings and thoughts as you detoxify all those substances in your system.
  • What to Expect from Rehab: The rehab proper after detox is all about helping your brain chemistry to go back to normal. Individualized therapy and dual diagnosis are there to cater to not only the addiction itself but also to any co-occurring condition like PTSD, depression, and ADHD. Psychological therapy in the form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Group Therapy, and Family Therapy help the addict react more positively to stimuli so as not to depend on drugs as a crutch to deal with life. More esoteric therapies like mindful meditation, massage, and acupuncture also help ease the troubled addict’s mind.
  • Long-Term Care and Aftercare: The beauty of receiving inpatient rehab locally or abroad through rehab tourism isn’t only from round-the-clock monitoring from medical professionals. It also has long-term care that will provide you the tools needed for you to stay clean and healthy long after you’ve left the center. This comes in the form of hobbies and activities you can pick up in order to fill in the hole left by addiction. You can also call the rehab center in case you relapse and require an additional month or so of treatment.

Xanax Is Highly Addictive Like Alcohol

Parents Sit On Sofa With Children Taking Drugs And Drinking

Benzodiazepine, also known as Xanax, is a highly addictive drug. However, it’s a relatively safe when taken on its own or according to doctor’s instructions. Despite its addictiveness, you can prevent addiction by not abusing it or taking it recreationally. Furthermore, in order to get an overdose, you need to take an incredibly high amount of Xanax in a short period of time. The danger here is when you have it mixed with alcohol. To be more specific, it’s easier for you to end up overdosed with Xanax when you mix it with alcohol and other drugs.

Combining alcohol and Xanax and result in a multitude of side effects, some of them even life-threatening or outright fatal. This is the reason why these two substances should never be combined, like fire and gasoline. Even if you believe you’re being a responsible drinker and only taking the moderate amount of drinks while making sure Xanax is taken as prescribed by your doctor, the interaction between these two drugs remain quite dangerous. Educate yourself on the dangers of mixing the two to keep yourself from making that fatal mistake.

Lanna Rehab Will Help You Detox from a Xanax and Alcohol Cocktail

Xanax and alcohol is a dangerous cocktail indeed. After reading this article, you probably have a good idea why mixing those two substances together is so dangerous in the first place. However, if you have issues when it comes to addiction from alcohol or Xanax, then give Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Thailand a call. They offer a comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab program that holistically treats you with evidence-based medicine, psychotherapy, esoteric eastern modalities, and so much more. It’s also more affordable than inpatient treatment at your country even when taking into account the travel cost.

If you want to know more about Lanna Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chiang Mai, Thailand, then call their 24/7 hotline right now for booking information, travel packages, and price quotes.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.



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