Alcohol is one of the most widely abused drugs in the United States, but it is often combined with other substances, which can have dangerous and even deadly results. Many people combine drugs with alcohol to enhance the effect of both substances. When alcohol is mixed with benzodiazepines such as Xanax, this can be particularly risky and could lead to severe consequences.
The Effects of Alcohol Use and Abuse
Many people drink alcohol socially, but when social use becomes abuse, this consumption can become even more dangerous. At small doses, alcohol can have stimulant-like effects, but alcohol itself is a central nervous system depressant.
When you drink alcohol in greater quantities, some of the side effects include relaxed muscles, drowsiness, reduced coordination, and slurred speech. According to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the effects of alcohol abuse can include increased risk of high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreas inflammation, certain types of cancer, and stroke.
As if these issues were not severe enough, you can compound them when you combine other drugs alongside alcohol.
The Dangers of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Even though no major company is actively marketing these drugs, medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin are still some of the most prescribed drugs on the planet. Between 1996 and 2013 alone, prescriptions for benzodiazepines increased 67 percent. Often shortened to just Benzos, these drugs are commonly prescribed for disorders related to anxiety, sleep disturbances, seizures, and depression.
Like alcohol, benzos are central nervous system depressants. Except in rare cases, they are not meant for long-term use, but the fact is that millions of Americans continue to use and abuse the drugs. When abused, benzos can lead to side effects that include irritability, aggression, drowsiness, amnesia, and slower muscle movements.
What Happens When You Mix Benzos and Alcohol?
While abusing these substances individually is common, so is combining them to increase their effects. SAMHSA released a study in 2011 which revealed that 95 percent of patients admitted to rehab centers for benzo abuse also abused other drugs. In 25 percent of those cases, alcohol was that other drug. When this combination is made, it can lead to dangerous and even deadly results.
When one drug or another is taken to excess, you may develop a resistance to its effects. This is sometimes the incentive to mix alcohol and benzos. The fact is that this also increases the toxic effect of both of these substances on the body, which can lead to illness and even a fatal overdose.
Both alcohol and benzos work on the GABA receptors in the brain. Use of either will make those receptors more sensitive to the drug’s effects. Because both drugs act similarly, an alcoholic may also develop a cross-tolerance for benzos, which makes overdose much more likely.
Get Help for Substance Abuse at a Florida Drug Rehab
Not all drugs pose a danger when it comes to detox and withdrawal, but two of the drugs that require the most caution and care during this process are alcohol and benzos. Whether you were abusing these separately or together, it is vital that you not stop taking them without medical supervision. Fortunately, this is something that you can receive at a Florida drug rehab.
The Orlando Recovery Center specializes in difficult medical detoxes and will provide you with the compassionate care you need and deserve. Contact us now to learn more about admissions and find out how we can tailor an addiction treatment program at our Florida drug rehab to suit your needs.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.