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Xanax and Alcohol

May 10, 2023

Abuse of alcohol commonly occurs with use of other drugs, and one of those drugs is a routinely prescribed benzodiazepine. People who take benzos, like Xanax, while drinking may assume mixing the two is safe as use of either one alone isn’t necessarily harmful when taken as prescribed or when drinking in moderation. The truth is, the kind of drug interaction can have harmful consequences, and knowing what makes mixing the two dangerous may save your life or the life of someone you love.

Mixing benzodiazepines, or benzos, and alcohol can have serious consequences on your health. When consumed together, they can intensify each other’s sedative effects and lower your heart rate and respiration. The result can be life-threatening, yet many educated people who combine these substances still may not be aware of the risks involved. It’s essential to know that mixing these substances can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or even death. If you know someone who routinely mixes drinking with other substances, let them know that private and confidential help is available at Headwaters in Florida.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

When Might Xanax and Alcohol Be Mixed?

There are two ways for Xanax and alcohol to interact. One is the unintentional mixing of the two. If you’re prescribed the drug, you may have started with a low dose of 0.25 to 0.5 mg three times a day for general anxiety. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends no more than 4 mg total daily, in divided doses. Having a drink with dinner or when out socially with friends while taking the drug multiple times a day may lead to a drug interaction. The severity of side effects will depend on numerous factors, such as how high your dosage and how much you drink. The second way these two interact is intentionally, when someone uses Xanax to enhance the results of drinking or vice versa.

What Are the Effects of Using Xanax?

Used on its own, Xanax generally produces positive effects. It offers relief and a sense of calm for those struggling with anxiety by slowing down activity in the brain. It should be used as a short-term solution as long-term use to treat chronic anxiety can lead to serious problems. Taken long-term, Xanax can allow the body to build up a tolerance to the drug, leading to potential addiction and withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. Withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, headaches, and even seizures.

What Are the Effects of Drinking Alcohol?

When consumed in excess, alcohol can lead to a slew of negative impacts on your mental and physical health. Effects range from mood swings, poor judgment, and impeded memory to liver disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Its withdrawal symptoms are unmistakable and include severe discomfort and life-threatening harm to the body’s organs. Some symptoms include tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens.

What Are the Main Dangers of Mixing Them?

Mixing Xanax and alcohol can have serious consequences. Think of each substance intensifying the effects of the other. The first causes drowsiness and a sense of relaxation and the second also leads to relaxation and a sense of euphoria. Combined, these two can slow down the central nervous system to a dangerous level. The symptoms of the drug interaction can be slowed breathing and decreased heart rate. A person can lose consciousness for a short period of time or fall into a coma, a prolonged loss of consciousness. Using the two together can increase the risk of overdose. The ultimate outcome of mixing the two can be fatal as well.

What Happens during Xanax Withdrawal?

Attempting to quit Xanax use can be challenging. The onset of withdrawal symptoms can compel people to start using it. Some of the most common symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include anxiety, sweating, tremors, headaches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, confusion, seizures, and muscle pain. These symptoms can last for several weeks and can be incredibly uncomfortable. The safest way to experience withdrawal is through a medically-supervised detox where symptoms can be managed by doctors while your needs for hydration, nutrition, and medical care can be addressed, too.

What Happens during Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal from alcohol is a difficult process and can be a frightening experience. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal so you or a loved one can get timely medical attention. As it can be life-threatening, alcohol withdrawal should only be experienced when under the care of medical personnel. Some common signs of alcohol withdrawal include tremors or shaking, anxiety, sweating, nausea, insomnia, hallucinations, seizures, rapid heart rate, and confusion. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is critical to get medical help immediately to avoid any dangerous complications.

How Do I Get Help for Misuse of Xanax and Alcohol?

Struggling with misuse of substances puts a great deal of demands on you and the people around you. If you have been misusing Xanax and alcohol, it may have already harmed relationships, affected your professional reputation, and damaged your career. Seeking confidential help to begin recovery is a recommended next step. At Headwaters Headwaters, a private setting designed for high-profile professionals like you, personalized treatment can help you learn how to cope with the challenges of life and career without returning to substance use. Headwaters Headwaters also provides recommendations for continuing care, which will be valuable once you complete a treatment program and need additional resources to maintain your sobriety.


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Bedroom at HeadwatersHanley Foundation’s Headwaters is a non-profit addiction treatment program for executives, public figures, other affluent individuals, and their loved ones. Headwaters offers leading-edge, personalized clinical care for mental health and substance use disorders, and our professional and compassionate staff can help you achieve holistic wellness. To start your healing journey, call 561-270-1753 today.

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