The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol
Xanax® is the trade name of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication. When mixed with alcohol, it can produce dramatic effects including blackouts and overdose. Xanax and alcohol side effects can be incredibly dangerous and even lethal, and should absolutely not be mixed together. Even if taking alprazolam as prescribed, you should steer clear of consuming alcoholic beverages.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine, a class of drugs that act as depressants on the central nervous system. Xanax is most often prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders, and works by increasing activing at the GABA receptors. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the body's main inhibitory compound in the central nervous system. This means it calms the body and promotes relaxation and ease. This can be useful in working with anxiety, but also means there is a high risk of abuse.
Although Xanax may be prescribed by a clinician and have powerful uses, many people abuse Xanax for its anxiolytic and calming effects. Xanax abuse can lead to addiction within just a few weeks, as the body builds dependence quickly with benzodiazepines. Overdose is possible, although rare without the inclusion of other drugs or substances. Furthermore, benzodiazepines like alprazolam can lead to severe symptoms of withrawal which may be dangerous.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
Alcohol acts similarly on the body as alprazolam. It impacts the GABA receptors and sedates the central nervous system. When drinking alcohol, the GABA receptors are activated and the central nervous system deactivates. Like Xanax, alcohol is a depressant. Drinking produces similar effects as benzodiazepines, and this is one of the reasons it is dangerous to combine the two.
Alcohol has many effects on the body, including a decrease in heart rate, slowed breathing, and general sedation. This is the result of the central nervous system's decrease in activity, much as happens when taking alprazolam. Like benzodiazepines, long-term effects of alcohol can result in an increase in heart rate and high blood pressure, pancreatic disease, and heart disease.
Mixing Xanax and Alcohol
Mixing Xanax and alcohol can be incredibly dangerous. Even if you are taking alprazolam with a doctor's prescription, you should steer completely clear of consuming any alcohol. The combination of the two substances can create unintended side effects which can result in harm and even death. General symptoms of combined xanax and alcohol use include:
- Slowed breathing
- Decrease in heart rate
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slurred or jumbled speech
- Poor motor coordination
- Irritability or anger
- Poor short term memory function
- Blackout and stupor
- Coma and death
Using two drugs together is known as polydrug use, and carries additional risks when compared with the use of a single drug. When two drugs are combined in the body, their effects may amplify each other. With alcohol and alprazolam, over-sedation may happen. A blackout is likely, and the user is not likely to be able to remember much. This also carries with it the risk of severely poor judgement and decision-making, and individuals can find themselves in dangerous situations when combining these two drugs.
Perhaps the biggest risk is of a profound respiratory depression. This is when the over-sedation caused by the polysubstance abuse stops the lungs from breathing. They actually can collapse on themselves, resulting in brain damage, coma, and death. Even when taking a benzodiazepine exactly as prescribed, this is possible with alcohol consumption.
It's important to find help if you or somebody you love is abusing Xanax and alcohol together. Addiction is not a joke, and abusing these two substances together cna be fatal. Furthermore, the withdrawal process from these drugs can be lethal, which means it is crucial to seek professional help when coming off them. At a detoxification facility, you can get help to detox the body and build some sobriety. A detox can minimize the difficult and dangerous symptoms and help you get the drugs out of the system in a safe and effective way.