Xanax and Alcohol: The Deadly Cocktail

We live in a world where stress and anxiety often feel like constant companions.  Between looming deadlines, demanding bosses, rising cost of living, and world events out of our immediate control, it’s not surprising that many turn to substances like Xanax and alcohol for relief. However, what may start as a seemingly harmless coping mechanism can quickly spiral into a dangerous habit with devastating consequences, especially when it comes to xanax and alcohol. In this blog, we’ll delve into the risks associated with combining alcohol and xanax, shedding light on why this combination is a recipe for disaster.

Understanding Xanax and Alcohol

Before we dive into the dangers of combining xanax and alcohol, let’s first understand what they are individually.

Alcohol, a legal and socially accepted depressant, is commonly consumed for its euphoric effects. However, its sedative properties can quickly lead to impairment, affecting judgment, coordination, and cognitive function. Consumption of it can quickly lead to a life of addiction and alcohol use disorder.  It is estimated that over 29.5 million Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of alcohol use disorder:

  1. Memory Lapses: Experiencing blackouts or gaps in memory after drinking.
  2. Continued Use Despite Harm: Persisting in drinking despite the negative consequences it brings to oneself or others.
  3. Loss of Control: Drinking more or for longer periods than intended, unable to stick to predetermined limits.
  4. Mood Changes: Feeling irritable or agitated when not drinking, indicating a psychological dependence on alcohol.
  5. Frequent Hangovers: Regularly experiencing the physical aftermath of alcohol consumption, such as headaches and nausea.
  6. Engaging in Risky Behavior: Putting oneself in dangerous situations while under the influence, like driving or engaging in unprotected sex.
  7. Prioritizing Drinking Over Activities: Sacrificing hobbies, responsibilities, or social engagements to consume alcohol.
  8. Cravings: Experiencing intense urges or desires to drink, even when it’s not appropriate or beneficial.
  9. Interference with Daily Life: Facing repeated difficulties at work, school, relationships, or with the law due to alcohol consumption.
  10. Increased Tolerance: Needing to consume larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effects, a sign of developing tolerance.
  11. Difficulty Stopping: Being unable to quit drinking once started, indicating a loss of control over alcohol intake.
  12. Time Spent Drinking: Devoting significant time to drinking or recovering from its effects, impacting daily routines and responsibilities.
  13. Failed Attempts to Cut Back: Wanting to reduce alcohol consumption but finding it challenging or impossible to do so.
  14. Preoccupation with Alcohol: Obsessing over thoughts of drinking, indicating a psychological fixation on alcohol.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms is crucial for identifying alcohol use disorder and seeking appropriate help and support to address the issue effectively.

Xanax, a brand name for the drug alprazolam, belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It’s primarily prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps calm the brain. However, this drug can be highly addictive.  In fact, nearly 125,000 ER visits are due to xanax overdose a year.

Effects of Xanax Withdrawal:

  1. Heightened Anxiety: The absence of Xanax during withdrawal triggers a rebound effect, leading to intensified feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
  2. Memory Issues: Long-term abuse of Xanax has been linked to memory problems and even dementia. However, in most cases, memory function improves within several months of withdrawal.
  3. Mood Swings: Withdrawal from Xanax can result in unpredictable mood swings, with individuals oscillating between periods of euphoria and profound sadness.
  4. Nightmares: Many individuals undergoing Xanax withdrawal report experiencing distressing nightmares as a side effect.
  5. Suicidal Ideation: The overwhelming anxiety and stress associated with withdrawal may lead to or exacerbate thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  6. Psychosis: Although rare, cessation of Xanax without gradual tapering may precipitate psychotic symptoms in some individuals.

Recognizing and addressing these withdrawal symptoms is essential for individuals seeking to discontinue Xanax use safely and effectively. Consulting healthcare professionals such as ARIA for support throughout the withdrawal process can significantly mitigate the risks and discomfort associated with Xanax cessation.

The Danger of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Combining Xanax with alcohol creates a perilous concoction. Alcohol intensifies the effects of Xanax consumption, amplifying its symptoms and hastening the progression of addiction. Moreover, it accelerates tolerance buildup, leading users to seek higher doses of both alcohol and Xanax to satisfy cravings. While both Xanax and alcohol can induce relaxation and sedation on their own, combining them intensifies these effects to a dangerous degree. Here’s why:

  1. Respiratory Depression: Both Xanax and alcohol depress the central nervous system (CNS), slowing down brain activity and breathing. When taken together, this depressant effect is magnified, leading to profound respiratory depression. In severe cases, this can result in respiratory failure and death.
  2. Increased Risk of Overdose: Mixing Xanax and alcohol significantly increases the risk of overdose. Since both substances depress the CNS, the body’s ability to metabolize them slows down. As a result, toxic levels can accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to overdose symptoms such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, slowed or shallow breathing, coma, and even death.
  3. Impaired Judgment and Coordination: Both Xanax and alcohol impair cognitive function and motor skills. Combining them exacerbates these effects, increasing the likelihood of accidents, falls, and injuries. Moreover, individuals under the influence of this deadly duo may engage in risky behaviors such as driving, further endangering themselves and others.
  4. Memory Impairment: Xanax and alcohol can both cause blackouts or gaps in memory. When used together, these memory impairments can be more severe and prolonged, leading to situations where individuals may engage in dangerous activities but have no recollection of them afterward.
  5. Addiction and Dependency: Using Xanax and alcohol together can quickly lead to physical and psychological dependence. The pleasurable effects of the combination may reinforce substance-seeking behavior, making it challenging for individuals to stop using despite the negative consequences.

While alcohol and Xanax may offer temporary relief from stress and anxiety, their combination poses significant risks to both physical and mental health. From respiratory depression and overdose to impaired judgment and addiction, the dangers far outweigh any perceived benefits. 

If you need treatment, you need ARIA. Come call us today.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, seeking help from a healthcare professional or support group is crucial. Remember, there are healthier and safer ways to cope with life’s challenges than resorting to the deadly duo of Xanax and alcohol. At the Addiction Recovery Institute of America, our addiction treatment specialists provide expert care for individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders. Our goal is simple: to provide each of our clients with the tools they need to achieve long-term recovery. When you enroll in any one of the programs at ARIA, you are committing to sobriety, right here in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

We are dedicated to holding up our end of the bargain by designing individualized substance abuse treatment programs that serve each of our client’s individual needs. To get in contact, Call us at (844) 973 2611 or head over to our Contact Us page, fill out our information form and our representatives will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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