Alcohol and benzodiazepines

The Dangers of Mixing Benzos and Alcohol

Dangers of Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol

When I think of benzodiazepines and alcohol I think “Black Out.” The standard combination is Xanax and alcohol. Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are sedatives and tranquilizers that treat insomnia, anxiety and sleep deprivation. Combining alcohol and benzos intensifies their depressive qualities. This jeopardizes the users physical and emotional abilities. Both alcohol and benzos perform a nearly identical function; depressing the central nervous system. This combination is lethal. They inhibit the user’s judgment, cause seizures, comas, decrease mobility, attack the central nervous system and can result in death. In young adults this is alluring because they can drink less and feel drunk faster.

Mixing Xanax and alcohol

Why Benzodiazepines and Alcohol Can be a Lethal Combo

It is feasible to have bad judgment while drunk, and a lot easier when on benzos and alcohol. The black out can happen quickly. A couple minutes prior to the black out your body feels warm, comforted and things start feeling fuzzy. During the blackout the user loses all sense of time and space. After the black out you wake up (come to) in a totally different place and time, unaware of events that happened several hours before. Anything can happen while in a black out. Users will drive in a black out which is how accidents happen. Even though their blood alcohol level may not be high the Xanax comes in, undetected and multiplies their appearance of being drunk. Due to inhibited judgment many engage in destructive dangerous behaviors that would normally be avoided such as theft, physical altercations, spending frivolously, unsafe sexual interactions and other various decisions the user regrets upon awakening.

Medical complications arise when alcohol and benzos are mixed. Some side effects are: nausea, irritability, slurred speech, confusion, aggression and depression. In addition, users forget the drugs they have taken causing them to take more, leading to possible comas and deaths. Both Benzos and alcohol have their own health repercussions, so to combine the two is hazardous. Not to mention, that withdrawal from benzodiazepine and alcohol can cause death.

The reason why this is dangerous among young people is easy accessibility. Many benzos are found in the average medicine cabinet. Also this is very common in high school, college and the party scene. Binge drinking is popular for younger adults, this combination provides a short cut for their desired effect.

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10 Comments
  • Martha
    Posted at 07:54h, 23 June Reply

    Thanks, Julia. I am always inspired by your honestly and willingness to let others know about drug and alcohol addiction in young people!

    • Jessica renteria
      Posted at 01:31h, 04 April Reply

      I just read up on this and it scared me because I made a dumb decision to drink with a friend and I blacked out and couldn’t understand how I got so violent but I did test positive for Benz’s and I don’t like taking pills period so this has me wanting everybody to please be aware of who’s bottle u drink from if deciding to drink although not at all is best but please be sure u know what ur drinking no matter who ur with because I thought the person I drank with was my friend that could have killed us both BE WISE ENOUGH TO SAY NO PLEASE JUST SAY NO TO WHAT CAN HARM UR HEALTH THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS IM STILL IN SHOCK ABOUT WHO I THOUGHT I KNEW BUT I REALLY DONT

  • Paula Ashton
    Posted at 16:59h, 24 July Reply

    I’m not impressed with my past but I dealt with it. I was on Prozac for depression but it seemed to make my addictive qualities intensify. I was on 40mg of Prozac a day, still feeling utterly rubbish, if not worse and then I was drinking vodka 4 nights a week to the tune of almost 1.5 liters. I was so crabby, nasty and violent that on 2 occasions I physically beat my husband. I don’t know how he didn’t leave me but I threw the prozac and the vodka away and now take Saint Johns Wort as I never want to be in that position again but obviously, I’m still battling depression.

  • francheska murphy
    Posted at 19:27h, 04 June Reply

    It was very interesting reading your article. Last September I experienced first hand a terrifying episode with my 25 year old son. I invited him to attend a birthday celebration for a friend of mine out of town which had an open bar. After being
    there a couple hours, I sensed something was
    terribly wrong. ( he is prescribed xanax, but rarely drinks). He did not want to leave, became
    beligerant, angry and I could barely get him in my
    car to return to the hotel. It escalated from there
    quickly and terrifying. He became a totally
    different person, abusive, swearing, pushing me
    down and acting like a crazy animal. The next
    morning he remembered absolutely nothing, it was
    the scariest thing I have ever encountered in my
    life. Long story short, he consumed xanax and had a lot of shots. If he were to drive he would have easily killed some one. It’s so painful to see a loved one abuse their life, right in front of your eyes.

    • Derek Free
      Posted at 09:23h, 05 June Reply

      A person’s behavior while under the influence of alcohol and drugs (especially when combined) can be a frightening thing. But it is important to remember, you are not alone. Many families have experienced similar situations and have come to help their loved ones through educating themselves on alcoholism and drug addiction and just what it can do to an individual.

      I am glad you had the willingness to share your story, though. Thank you for reading our blog.

  • Adam S.
    Posted at 00:18h, 11 January Reply

    I’ve quite the horror story to share pertaining to this formidable mixture. About 3 1/2 months ago I commited an unspeakable act of violence against the one who I love most. Behind the scenes there was much tragedy with lack of emotional repair that also could have played a role in our alcohol and substance abuse such as: “We’re pregnant!” 4 months later..dad dies. Then “We’re pregnant again!” 2 months later mom dies. “Baby’s born!” a month later, other mom dies. Another month or so later, Oh dogs got cancer, she dies. Estates,work,family drama,raise kids,work,argue,work and so on. Too busy, no time for counseling. One at a time we each evolved into our own downward spirals of addiction/alcohol abuse. After months of going back and forth between Late night benders/drunk driving/cocaine binges/heated arguments,etc. the volcano was about to blow. I begged for her help, I was done (or so I thought) with the craziness, she wasn’t. I pulled up to her job late night and, saw something that rubbed me the wrong way as it would have for anybody who would know all of the details. Being that it was late and, it was mom’s job to get our daughter ready for school (which she’d already been late to twice and missed a day because of moms late night benders) I asserted that she go home immediately. It didn’t happen so, after a few attempts to call her (phone off) I reacted by going to a local bar. I drank 4 or 5 stiff drinks for a bit while complaining and grumbling about my woes to the patrons. Guy next to me thought it would be best if he gave me a ‘xani bar’. Said it would calm my anxiety down and I needed to stop thinking about it. I had never taken xanax before, nor have I ever been diagnosed with anxiety. Pills were not my cup of tea. Apparently a ‘xani bar’ is quite a large dose compared to what doctors normally perscribe. I didn’t know this nor could I have cared at the time being drunk already. I drank 2 more mix drinks as that ‘fuzzy’ feeling started to kick in. I remember my speech becoming slurred and intermittent moments of feeling nothing. I remember trying to leave and many at the place would not let me drive. I almost wish I did, crashing and injuring myself or getting a DWI would have been a more favorable outcome. One of the guys gave me a ride to my house. She was in her car in our driveway. We made our way into the house. Thats when the terror began. I felt blank, like I was in a walking coma watching someone else do my actions but yet turning their head at the same time because they couldn’t bare to watch. Towards the end, something clicked in my brain, almost like a supernatural force helped me back into some form of reality. In my head I was thinking to myself: “what the f*** am I doing? What the f*** did I do?” I stopped and, she ran away. By the time I got up and went outside, she was in an ambulance and I got arrested. I kept saying to myself, “I cant beleive I did that” over and over for the next few hours. I was devestated and had no idea the extent of damage that I had done. I thank god every day that she is now O.K. and that, my kids were sleeping during the incident. I prayed every day and night for her, begging god to have mercy on them and not me. Before the incident happened I was never abusive, never tried to control,never attacked her in any way. In our rough patches I have gotten angry and mad at things, yelled, argued somewhat normally I guess. 80% of the time I was on the defense. I was a provider, a great dad, a loving partner, a significant part of our family. Now, I have the state and D.V. machines with their barrels pointed at my head (It’s funny that these organizations with the word “family” in it have no intentions of preserving, fixing or keeping any family units together. There’s no funding in it for them if couples reconcile) My kids see me for one hour per week, I cant get a real job because of my now shifty schedule of classes and court dates amongst other things, and they are trying to throw me away for 2-7 years. I’ve never been a batterer by any means or manipulative and controlling. I’ll never minimize the incident, I know what I did, and am forever ashamed. The Xanax and alcohol combination did something to stop some control mechanisms and enhance aggression in my brain. I didn’t grow up in a violent home, never got in to a lot of fights growing up, always been the type of person to “talk things out”. Even with other combinations of drugs and alcohol that I’ve done in large quantities I would never hurt someone like that, especially the person who I love more than life itself. Since the incident I have been 100% clean of any mind altering substances, not because it “looks good on paper” but because I’m scared and ashamed of what drugs and alcohol have allowed me to do. I cant say that I wish things were back to the way they were before but, I would give everything to take that night away. We’ve been through so much together and she has no idea how remorseful I truly am. Xanax and Alcohol was a dangerous mix. The only things I can do now is try to stay positive, pick up the pieces that I’ve shattered one day at a time and, share my story with hope to prevent others from making the same mistake(s) i’ve made.

    • Howard Barker
      Posted at 13:28h, 11 January Reply

      The sad truth is that stories like this are all too common. Alcohol combined with Xanax, while highly toxic to the individual consuming them, also put those around at risk because of the highly de-inhibiting effects that they have on behaviors. We are glad that you have stayed clean and sober since the event. Taking some time to investigate Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and evaluating whether or not treatment is an option are also two steps that can be taken to begin picking up the pieces that the damage from drug and alcohol abuse causes.

  • Violet Pooler
    Posted at 23:15h, 15 August Reply

    About 6 years ago I was drinking heavily (I am an alcoholic) and taking klonopin and the antidepressant pristiq from my psychiatrist. I would black out on a frequent basis and my husband would have to put me to bed. I apparently tried to hurt him and got loud and argumentative and have no recollection. Another day I woke up and had a scratch on my nose and had no clue where it came from. Drinking alone didn’t make me black out but benzos plus alcohol did
    I am 7 years sober now and thank goodness. I have 2 children now and couldn’t imagine that.

    • Howard Barker
      Posted at 23:58h, 15 August Reply

      Congratulations on your recovery Violet! 7 years is fantastic – you are surely an inspiration to those around you.

  • Torrence
    Posted at 09:18h, 20 May Reply

    Is it possible that when alcohol a d benzos are combined you can have sex with someone and not remember it?

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