Can You Drink Alcohol with Xanax?
Mixing alcohol and Xanax isn’t just common practice on college campuses and in other party scenes. It happens in homes across the country every day. People of all different ages and walks of life drink alcohol while on Xanax. But that doesn’t make it safe.
Most prescriptions come with warning labels explicitly cautioning users against mixing pills with other substances. Yet, we know that many people do it anyway. Read on to find out why this is never a good idea.
Xanax and Alcohol: A Clear and Present Warning
From 1996 to 2013, benzodiazepine prescriptions rose from 8.1 million to 13.5 million, a 67% increase. Not one of these prescriptions would allow for drinking while under the effects of Xanax. So, why do so many people mix the two?
Mixing alcohol and Xanax or alcohol and many other prescription medications can temporarily enhance the effects of each. Both Xanax and alcohol are central nervous system depressants.
Taking them together can heighten the feelings of calmness or peacefulness that users of each are often looking for. Drinking alcohol and taking Xanax can soothe anxiety or help you get to sleep. But it will also increase the likelihood of an overdose and other troubling health conditions.
Effects of Taking Xanax and Alcohol
Xanax and alcohol interactions are unsafe in any dose. There is no safe way to drink and take Xanax at the same time. We mentioned earlier that they can amplify the effects of one another. The short-term sedative effects may be the ones you’re looking for.
These may include fatigue, drowsiness, or feelings of relaxation. The sedative effects of Xanax are what makes the drug effective in medical settings. These effects are the reason that doctors give patients Xanax before intensive surgical procedures.
But they won’t be the ones that last when you mix Xanax and alcohol. Some of the more serious effects of Xanax include memory problems, coordination issues, and seizures. And some of the more serious effects of drinking too much include nausea and vomiting, coordination issues, unconsciousness, and seizures.
As you can see, since they do similar things to the central nervous system, they produce similar effects. Both lower your body’s defenses and make it easier to become overwhelmed by their collective side effects.
How Long After Taking Xanax Can I Drink?
So, since they shouldn’t be taken together, you may be asking now, how long after taking Xanax can I drink? There are high risks involved when you mix alcohol and Xanax or another benzodiazepine.
Caution should be taken to avoid having the two substances in your system at the same time. And Xanax stays in your system for longer than you might think. One dose of Xanax stays in your system for an average of 22 hours.
But depending on certain individual factors and the milligram count, it can last up to several days. The longer you consistently take Xanax, the longer it can remain in your blood. The best way to avoid dangerous Xanax and alcohol interactions is to avoid drinking during a prescription and for several days after it runs out.
If you have recently stopped or started taking Xanax, talk to your doctor before drinking. It is always better to be more cautious than less. The short-term effects of drinking are not worth the potential long-term risks of mixing alcohol and Xanax.
Prolonged Usage of Xanax and Alcohol
With prolonged usage of Xanax and alcohol, the potential side effects become more varied and more severe. Potentially fatal overdoses and long-term health impairments before more likely. In addition to the sedative effects that you experience in the short term, both substances affect your muscles.
These effects can make it harder to balance, control your limbs, or coordinate your movements or speech. This is why we slur or stumble when we drink too much. We are more prone to accidents, falls, and memory lapses.
Prescription Uses for Alprazolam (Xanax)
Xanax is the brand name for the generic drug alprazolam. Alprazolam is a powerful benzodiazepine that makes the brain less sensitive to stimulation. This is a useful effect in patients with anxiety and panic disorders, as well as insomnia and pre-surgical anxiety.
Doctors also give alprazolam to patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobias. It can help reduce anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, and worry. It can also reduce your heart rate or racing mind to make it easier to relax or go to sleep.
But taking alprazolam and alcohol can have the opposite effects. Whether it’s Xanax and beer, hard liquor, or wine, benzos and alcohol should not be mixed. Alcohol can alter the concentration of certain medications in your blood to toxic levels.
Complications are also more likely if you have pre-existing health conditions like high blood pressure. Those with heart disease and other conditions that impair the central nervous system are also at a higher risk.
Physical and Mental Effects of Xanax and Alcohol
There are many different physical and mental health impairments that can occur from mixing alcohol and Xanax, whether or not you have pre-existing health problems. Human health is fragile and can deteriorate more easily than we like to believe.
Blood pressure changes, mood and behavioral changes, dizziness and blurry vision, coordination problems, headaches, nausea, and vomiting are common. Alcohol poisoning and overdoses are two of the most troubling, as they can be life-threatening.
Slowed breathing, abnormal behaviors, impaired motor control, and memory loss are others that can cause long-term complications. Because alcohol is legal and Xanax is readily available, it is easy to assume that both substances are safe.
This mistaken impression is a dangerous one. Even in small doses, the two substances can have fatal consequences. And do not be fooled if you have mixed the two before and experienced nothing alarming. Over time, the risk only gets greater.
Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Abuse
Xanax and alcohol are two addictive substances that can alter the course of your life. When taken as directed by a medical professional, Xanax can be a helpful tool in reducing anxiety and other disorders, as well as the symptoms that come with them.
But with these benefits comes a significant risk – dependence. And that risk is amplified when you mix your pills with alcohol and other substances. Polysubstance abuse, or the abuse of multiple drugs at once, requires professional treatments.
Today is a good day to stop your addiction in its tracks before the effects become too severe to come back from. Help is available at Circle of Hope.
Circle of Hope Addiction Treatments
Circle of Hope is a luxury addiction treatment facility in Los Angeles. Our patient-centered, evidence-based approach allows us to put our clients first. Whether you need inpatient, outpatient, or another form of care, we provide the foundation for long-term recovery.
When you choose Circle of Hope, you choose the very best in luxury addiction treatments. You choose a state-licensed facility and compassionate addiction professionals that put the care of our clients at the forefront of everything we do.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available at Circle of Hope. Call 818-392-5259 today to get started.