We often hear news reports about celebrities and common people dying from drug overdoses.
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports the death of more than 200,000 people in the US from 1999 to 2016 because of overdoses related to prescription opioids and depressants. Drug overdose deaths involving prescription drugs were five times higher in 2016 than in 1999.
Alprazolam, which comes under the trade name Xanax, is one of the most popular drugs for treating anxiety and panic disorders. This drug is also highly addictive and highly susceptive to overdosing.
Nevertheless, Xanax by itself is very safe to use. It will not cause overdose issues unless one consumes it in large amounts.
However, taking Xanax and alcohol together may cause overdose effects and other fatal side effects. Similarly, combining opioid medications and benzodiazepines (a key ingredient in Xanax) increases the risk of overdose leading to emergency medical care.
It is common for individuals to abuse alcohol and Xanax together.
Chronic use of either Xanax or alcohol can increase the risk of developing major physiological and physical problems. A long treatment program is required to overcome Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
Medical professionals warn patients of the dangers of mixing Xanax with alcohol.
What is Xanax?
Alprazolam is one of the most popular prescription drugs in the United States for treating anxiety and panic-related issues. It is available under the brand Xanax.
It is a psychoactive drug known as a benzodiazepine. Xanax effectively treats panic disorders, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal issues.
Despite the warning, the regulated use of alcohol and Xanax can help treat alcohol withdrawal problems.
Xanax contains benzodiazepine, which acts as a central nervous system depressant.
It should be noted that substance abuse or combining benzodiazepine with opioids can cause dangerous and deadly side effects.
Related article: How Long Does Xanax Last In Your System
Generally speaking, benzodiazepine medications are effective for the short-term treatment of many health conditions. Importantly, it does not cause side effects or overdosing issues if taken as prescribed by the doctor.
Unfortunately, ‘benzos’ are one of the most misused prescription drugs because of their psychoactive effects. Another reason for its misuse is its easy availability. In many cases, abusers have easy access to this medication without a prescription.
However, drugs like Xanax that contain benzodiazepines are very risky when taken concurrently with opioids or alcohol. Xanax’s psychoactive effects increase by several folds when taken with alcohol. For this reason, many drug addicts mix it with alcohol.
Xanax is often mixed with other depressants to get that ‘high’ sensation. Some of the depressants that can go wrong with Xanax are:
- Hypnotic drugs (Ambien)
- Barbiturates like Nembutal and Seconal
- Opioid analgesics such as Vicodin, Morphine, Oxycontin
If you use Xanax along with other depressants, it may cause side effects like weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, and nausea. In severe cases, the interaction of Alprazolam with other depressants can result in unconsciousness, breathing difficulties, or death.
Dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol
Importantly, alcohol acts as a depressant that influences the functions of the central nervous system.
Mixing alcohol with Xanax can increase the activity of the brain’s inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter mutates excitation in the brain, which causes a soothing effect. A combination of alcohol and Xanax causes over-sedation with fatal side effects.
Alcohol increases the potency and effects of Xanax several times and produces overdose effects. It involves the risk of excessive sedation, loss of consciousness, low rate of reparation, cardiac problems, dangerous accidents, or coma. In addition, it can cause death to the user.
Combining the two substances is far more dangerous than each substance by itself.
Liver enzymes do the metabolization of both alcohol and Alprazolam. Therefore, when these two are taken together, purging them out of your system takes much longer. This produces the overdosing effects of Alprazolam which is dangerous to your health.
According to a study, increasing deaths from an overdose of benzodiazepines occur because of mixing alcohol, Xanax, and opioid drugs.
In addition, poly-drug addiction can be complicated as such patients take a long time to respond to treatments and de-addiction programs. This kind of addiction issue can cause strong withdrawal symptoms that are both mentally and physically unbearable for patients.
Related article: How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System
Side effects of mixing alcohol and Xanax
A combination of alcohol and Xanax drastically reduces overall activity in the brain by partially blocking signal reciprocations in the central nervous system. Alcohol builds upon the effects of Alprazolam, leading to dangerous side effects such as:
- A low rate of respiration
- Low rate of heartbeat
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and hypertension
Role of alcohol in overdosing on Xanax
Generally, when you take Xanax as your doctor prescribes, it is safe without overdosing. Overdosing this drug is impossible unless you take large doses of Xanax.
Without a doubt, mixing a large quantity of alcohol or opioids and Xanax can quickly cause an overdosing effect in your system.
You can suspect a Xanax overdose if you have some of the following symptoms:
- Inability to balance and coordinate your body
- Strong drowsiness
- Confusion and blurred vision
- Muscle weakness and spasms
Treatment for Xanax and alcohol addiction
One of the dangerous drug addictions is getting ‘high’ by using alcohol and benzodiazepines like Xanax or other opioid drugs. The user subjected to alcohol and Xanax addiction thinks he’s sober despite his inebriated status.
First and foremost, admitting that you need help is the first step toward quitting any addiction.
Secondly, detoxifying your system from alcohol and Xanax abuse is the next part of your treatment. This stage is critical as you begin to experience strong withdrawal symptoms and a compulsion to consume Xanax and alcohol again. Your addiction counselor and physician can help you cope with withdrawal symptoms.
Reach out to a treatment center for substance use, or alcohol rehab to find the right treatment program for you.
As for the next step, suppress your repressing feeling that treatment for addiction to Xanax and alcohol abuse is overwhelming. Once again, your treatment team is the best person who can help you cope with the issue. They will try to mentally transform you into submission of yourself to sobriety and recovery.
The final thought
Consuming alcohol while on Xanax leads to a strong depression of the central nervous system.
High doses of Xanax use can lead to liver damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory depression, and even death.
Alcohol magnifies the potency of Xanax and can result in several health hazards associated with overdosing on the drug. An extreme overdose of alcohol and Xanax mixture cause coma or death of a person.
As life-threatening complications likely result from mixing alcohol and Xanax, seek help and medication intervention at the earliest.
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