Xanax is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine drug that people take to treat anxiety and panic. While its use is common, it is crucial to take steps to avoid severe complications and harm to your health. One of the most important precautions is to avoid mixing alcohol and Xanax.
Millions of people take Xanax with a prescription, and many more take it recreationally. It’s important to understand the dangers of mixing alcohol and Xanax and seek treatment if you need help to stop using these or other substances. Contact the Arise Treatment Center specialists to learn about our holistic addiction treatment programs or for guidance at any stage of your recovery journey.
What is Xanax?
Xanax, a brand name for Alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine drug that slows activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Doctors may prescribe Xanax to help patients manage anxiety and panic disorders.
Even when people take Xanax as prescribed, they may experience unwanted side effects, including:
- Poor concentration
- Loss of coordination
- Joint pain
- Dry mouth
- Changes in libido
People also take Xanax and other benzodiazepines recreationally, meaning without a prescription, for its sedating or euphoric effects.
Recent research showed that about 17 million people used Xanax in the previous 12 months and that one million reported misusing it.
The Effects of Misusing Xanax
Xanax and other benzodiazepines have the risk of abuse. When people take Xanax, they may experience euphoria and other desirable effects that make them want to use more Xanax. People may take it more frequently, in higher doses, or for longer than prescribed.
Misusing Xanax increases the risk of experiencing unpleasant, sometimes severe side effects. Some of the possible side effects of misusing Xanax include:
- Memory impairment
- Severe drowsiness
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of consciousness
- Respiratory depression
- Suicidal thoughts
Mixing Xanax and other substances, including alcohol, can lead to severe, sometimes life-threatening complications.
The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol
In many cases, it can be dangerous to mix alcohol and prescription medications. Medical experts advise against drinking alcohol if you take prescription medications to prevent hazardous, potentially deadly complications.
Mixing alcohol and Xanax is very dangerous. Both substances are CNS depressants, and mixing them can cause severe problems, including poor decision-making and severe drowsiness. Alcohol can also increase the effects of Xanax, and taking the substances together can cause people to feel drunk or intoxicated faster.
Here are some of the most significant risks of mixing alcohol and Xanax.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax can slow down activity in the brain related to autonomic functions like heart rate and respiration. Mixing alcohol–another substance that slows CNS activity–and Xanax can lead to dangerously slow heart rate and low blood pressure.
Mood and behavioral changes
Alcohol and Xanax can influence your moods and behaviors. Mixing Xanax and alcohol can exaggerate the effects of both substances. People who misuse these substances or combine them may experience mood changes that include:
Liver and kidney damage
Your liver and kidneys play a crucial role in metabolizing Xanax and alcohol. Mixing these two substances can strain your liver and kidneys and lead to long-term damage.
Sometimes, people will experience severe neurological symptoms when mixing alcohol and Xanax, including:
- Impaired judgment
- Memory problems
The risk of neurological complications increases when people use large amounts of Xanax and alcohol at the same time.
Xanax is involved in a disproportionate amount of drug-related overdoses. Mixing Xanax and alcohol increases the likelihood of overdosing because it’s possible to overdose on either substance.
Symptoms of an overdose include:
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
An overdose is a life-threatening emergency. If someone near you is experiencing an overdose, call 911 right away and stay with the person until EMS arrives.
Xanax and alcohol cause changes in your body and brain that can make it difficult to stop using them. Both substances enhance the effects of the other, and mixing them can increase the risk of misuse and addiction.
Recognizing the Signs of Addiction
If you mix Xanax and alcohol and cannot stop, you may need professional substance abuse treatment. No one chooses to develop an addiction to Xanax or alcohol or to live with its consequences. Treatment can help you regain control over your substance use and work toward a healthier future.
Recognizing the signs of substance abuse and addiction is the first step in getting the help you need to recover. Some of the most common symptoms of substance abuse and addiction include:
- Needing to use more of a substance to get the desired effects
- Using prescription drugs differently than prescribed or without a prescription
- Neglecting your responsibilities, hobbies, and relationships because of substance use
- Spending a lot of time and money getting, using, and recovering from using drugs and alcohol
- Legal or financial trouble
- Wanting to stop using the substance but feeling like it’s impossible
- Continuing to use drugs and alcohol despite the harm it causes
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop using a substance
If you or someone you love exhibits some of these symptoms of addiction, seek treatment right away.
Get Help Now
You do not have to carry the weight of substance abuse or addiction alone. Treatment can help. If you or a loved one are addicted to alcohol and/or Xanax, please reach out to the specialists at Arist Treatment Center now to find the holistic, comprehensive treatment you need to recover.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): XANAX, Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/018276s052lbl.pdf
- National Library of Medicine: Benzodiazepine and Unhealthy Alcohol Use Among Adult Outpatients, Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7217068/