The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing prescription medications like Xanax and alcohol is never a good idea as the effects of multiple drugs and/or substances can react differently depending on what is being mixed. Mixing Xanax and alcohol is quite common when abusing substances. While abusing just alcohol or Xanax can be dangerous, the consequences of mixing them can be quite fatal and lead to alcohol Xanax overdose. 

What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant drug that has a euphoric effect when it is consumed. In lower quantities, alcohol causes stimulation where you can feel happy, upbeat, and even euphoric. These effects result from alcohol reaching the brain and inducing an increase in the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a natural chemical in the brain that makes you feel good and brings about sensations and feelings of pleasure. 

As you consume a significant amount of alcohol or binge drink, the sedative effects start to kick in. You will start slurring words, have difficulty balancing, have problems with coordination, feel drowsy, of having difficulty focusing or concentrating. In some instances, you may “blackout” — a term used to describe a state where memory is impaired.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication with the generic name of Alprazolam. Benzodiazepines are sedatives used to treat anxiety, seizures, and various mental health disorders, such as panic disorders, and sleep disorders. Xanax causes the electrical impulses that send signals through the central nervous system in the brain to slow down. It also decreases muscle tension and stress. Additionally, it slows the respiratory system, so breathing becomes slower. 

Just like alcohol, Xanax increases the amount of dopamine released in the brain. As a result, those taking Xanax often experience a calming effect while the drug is in their system. These effects make Xanax an attractive drug for young adults who often complain of high stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues

What Happens When You Mix Alcohol and Xanax?

When Xanax and alcohol are combined, even higher amounts of dopamine are released, causing an intense euphoric, calming state. The feelings experienced in this state can be very enticing for young adults, especially young men. Young men who are experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders, daily stress, or are going through significant life changes may use alcohol and Xanax together in order to find relief from complex emotions. Over time, even casual use can turn to dependency and repeated use can lead to an overdose — a potentially life-threatening consequence.

It only takes a few drinks and a low dose of Xanax to experience the enhanced effects. However, since both substances are highly addictive, your body’s response is to develop a tolerance to them. Eventually, you will find that you need more than just a few drinks and a low dose of Xanax to trigger the enhanced effects. As you increase the amount you drink and Xanax you take, the sedative effects of both substances intensify. 

Your muscles and body become very relaxed to the point where you can have difficulties moving, talking, thinking, concentrating, and focusing. In addition, the slowed respiratory response caused by Xanax is elevated with the sedative effects of alcohol. As your respiratory system slows, your breathing slows (respiratory depression), and you can pass out. You could be seriously injured if you pass out while driving a vehicle, or are standing and fall down. You could even slip into a coma, or worse the sedative effects of the combination of Xanax and alcohol could cause breathing to stop causing the user to suffocate to death from an accidental fatal overdose. 

Why Young Men Are At Risk of Mixing Xanax and alcohol

College-aged young men find this is the time in their life for self-discovery and experimentation. They are encouraged to drink, experiment with drugs, explore their sexuality, and engage in reckless and risky behaviors, which can include:

  • Prescription medication abuse
  • Abusing alcohol
  • Illicit drug abuse

Many young men believe prescription drugs like Xanax are safer than street drugs. So, it is no wonder they mistakenly assume it is okay to mix Xanax with alcohol. 

Furthermore, many young men have pre-existing anxiety and stress, so they are more likely to experiment with Xanax. They quickly discover the euphoric effects, especially when they combine them with alcohol. As a result, young men can find it hard to stop combining alcohol and Xanax. Plus, the enhanced effects they experience can cause a substance use disorder to develop more quickly. 

Withdrawal Symptoms, Xanax and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Both Xanax and alcohol are substances whose withdrawal symptoms can be fatal when not supervised by a medical provider at a treatment center. Read below for more details on the dangers of withdrawing from both alcohol and Xanax abuse.

What to expect when detoxing from alcohol.

Dangers of Xanax withdrawal.

Upon intake, each client is assessed based on their medical history and substance abuse profile to curate an individualized treatment plan that will include prescribing medication to make the withdrawal process as safe and comfortable as possible.

Xanax and Alcohol Abuse Rehab for Young Men in Southern California

If you are a concerned parent of a young man struggling with Xanax and alcohol substance abuse, help is available at New Life House. We offer customized rehab programs for both alcohol and Xanax addiction and family programs for young men at our residential treatment centers in Southern California.

Our rehab programs specialize in peer groups, where young men are placed with other young men their age. This approach helps the young men focus on their treatment while developing strong bonds with their peers that can turn into life-long support and friendships. 

Our goal is to help young men achieve long-term sobriety by assisting them in creating a solid foundation they can build on. 

For further information about our rehab treatment programs for young men, please feel free to contact us by filling out our online “contact us” form, emailing us at [email protected], or calling (888) 357-7577 today!

Last Updated on February 19, 2024


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