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Xanax and Alcohol – The Dangerous Interactions When Mixing Them


Xanax is a powerful medication prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. It works by slowing down the central nervous system.

Alcohol is a depressant that also slows down the central nervous system. When taken together, the effects of both drugs are multiplied. This can lead to blackouts, respiratory failure, and even death.

This article looks at why people mix the two together, why this is so dangerous, and how to quit.

Why People Mix Alcohol and Xanax

There are several reasons why people mix alcohol with Xanax:

Some users start drinking on Xanax because they are trying to self-medicate. This means they are using substances to deal with underlying mental health issues. These include:

  • Anxiety. Xanax and alcohol both reduce anxiety. The most common reason that doctors prescribe Xanax is to treat one’s anxiety levels. Even if you have a prescription for Xanax, you should not combine these substances.
  • People with depression sometimes combine the two to help ease depression. This typically does not work and can sometimes make users more depressed.
  • People with PTSD often experience flashbacks related to a traumatic experience or series of traumatic experiences. Some believe that Xanax and alcohol may help block these flashbacks out temporarily, however it has been found to make them worse in the long run. As with other mental illnesses, the best approach to tackling PTSD is by seeing a mental health professional.

When someone is taking Xanax and alcohol and may have a co-occurring mental health disorder, they require dual diagnosis treatment. This is vital, as it is impossible to treat these conditions successfully separately.

Other users combine Xanax and alcohol to increase the high they feel. They may have started off taking Xanax by itself, but became tolerant, meaning they have to take more to experience the same high.

When someone drinks while taking Xanax, the high may be heightened, but the risks are also increased. Taking these substances together means dicing with death.

What Happens When You Mix Xanax and Alcohol?

Xanax and alcohol both cause central nervous system depression. This means they slow down your breathing and heart rate. When taken together, the effects are amplified. The risks from Xanax and alcohol interactions are unfortunately amplified, too.

People who take these substances together may be belligerent, and become a menace to themselves and the people around them. Users of these two substances together often wake up in jail with no recollection of what they have done.

You may say or do things that you would not normally do, and act completely out of character.

If you continue to take Xanax and Alcohol, dependency happens, and addiction follows soon after. When you are addicted to these two drugs, you must have them, otherwise face potentially fatal withdrawal.

People taking Xanax with alcohol often start by taking a 0.25mg tablet. When this stops producing a high, they move up to 0.5mg and higher dosages. People who have been addicted for a long time take far higher doses than when they first started taking the drug.

The Dangers Of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are dangerous when used by themselves. However, when someone uses more than one substance, it increases the dangers exponentially.

Using downers like Xanax and alcohol together is usually considered the most dangerous drug combination. Other combinations of downers that people regularly take include Xanax and heroin, heroin and alcohol, and alcohol and ketamine.

Dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol include:

  • Drowsiness. Xanax and alcohol cause you to be sleepy and may even cause you to fall asleep. This can be dangerous, as it can happen quite abruptly, even when you are in a public place.
  • Slurred speech. You can become very difficult to understand.
  • Slow reflexes. When you take these substances together, your reflexes are significantly slowed down. Do not attempt to drive when you are intoxicated by either of these.
  • Loss of coordination. You may injure yourself or others by losing control of your body.
  • Difficulty thinking. Thought patterns are slowed down, and you will not be able to think clearly. This can happen with only 0.25mg of Xanax when combined with alcohol. At doses of 0.5mg and over, difficulty thinking becomes more pronounced.
  • Memory problems. When you mix Xanax and alcohol, you can struggle to remember things that would be easy to recall if you were sober.
  • When you blackout, your brain stops making new memories. Both of these substances are renowned for causing blackouts. When combined, the risks are far worse. When people blackout, they often engage in behavior that is dangerous to themselves and others, and are not able to remember what they did. Blacking out also increases the risk of overdose, as users drink and take more Xanax than they usually would.
  • Both substances can cause coma by themselves. The chance of this happening is massively increased when both are used together.
  • Death is rare from Xanax, but far more common from Alcohol. Mixing the two together increases the risk of fatal misadventure.

One often overlocked danger of mixing Xanax and alcohol comes only when use is stopped. Both substances can cause death during withdrawal. The chance of this happening is higher when they are used together. People withdrawing from Xanax and alcohol have a greater risk of experiencing the Delirium Tremens, the most serious form of alcohol withdrawal.

Symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Delirium
  • Hallucination
  • Fast heart rate
  • Tremor
  • Anxiety
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Seizure
  • Death

If you have been taking Xanax and alcohol in large amounts for a long time, you must go through withdrawal under the care of a trained professional, who can measure your vital signs and administer Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), if required.

Getting Help For A Xanax and Alcohol Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to Xanax and alcohol, there is help available. If you are addicted to Xanax and Alcohol, you must find a center that is both a drug rehab and an alcohol rehab.

At Prosperity Haven, we know how difficult it is to quit when you are addicted to Xanax and alcohol. We excel at assisting people who are addicted to more than one substance, and our team has helped hundreds of clients lift themselves out of addictions to these substances in a supportive and agreeable environment.

Treatment at Prosperity Haven involves detoxification, therapy, and support groups. We provide clients with MAT, so that they can detox safely and comfortably.

It is because we care that our track record of treating people with addictions to Xanax and alcohol is excellent.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can call Prosperity Haven now. Our staff are waiting to take your call.


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