Taking Xanax with other drugs or alcohol can be a deadly mistake. According to the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, fatalities from taking Xanax, or alprazolam, on its own are rare. Out of 178 postmortem studies reviewed by the journal, 87 deaths were caused by mixing drugs, while only two fatalities were caused by taking Xanax alone.
Most deadly overdoses occur when the user takes Xanax along with other drugs, a practice known as polydrug abuse.
Xanax is categorized as a benzodiazepine. This class of drugs is effective at controlling seizure activity, reducing anxiety, easing muscle spasms, and relieving insomnia. Because Xanax takes effect quickly to calm the activity of the central nervous system, it should not be taken with other drugs that depress vital functions like respiration. Nevertheless, a large percentage of recreational Xanax users put their health and safety at risk by abusing other substances at the same time.
What Makes Mixing Drugs So Dangerous?
When you read the warning label issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you’ll notice that the FDA strongly advises against taking alprazolam with alcohol or with drugs that you’re taking without a prescription. The consequences of combining drugs can be life-threatening, especially if those drugs depress the activity of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Some of the depressants that are commonly mixed with Xanax include:
- Opioid analgesics (OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine)
- Barbiturates (Seconal, Nembutal)
- Hypnotic drugs (Ambien)
Combining drugs can augment the side effects of Xanax, causing severe drowsiness, fatigue, weakness and clumsiness. The risk of motor vehicle accidents and falls increases greatly after you take Xanax along with other drugs, as does the risk of breathing difficulties, unconsciousness and unintentional death.
Because alcohol and other drugs can impair your judgment and memory, you can easily lose track of how much Xanax you’ve taken, and before long, it could be too late to avoid an overdose.
What Happens When You Drink and Take Xanax?
Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax is extremely dangerous. According to Scientific American, both alcohol and Xanax are cleared from the body by the same liver enzymes. Because both drugs are broken down by the same compounds, it takes longer for the body to detoxify itself after you take Xanax and alcohol together. This means that these substances remain in your system longer.
Xanax augments the effects of alcohol, and vice versa. When you take Xanax while you’re drinking, both drugs will be more potent than if you used either one of them alone. As a result, your risk of excessive sedation, dangerous accidents, respiratory depression, cardiac problems, and loss of consciousness increases exponentially.
If you continue to abuse Xanax and alcohol together, you could have serious cognitive and psychological consequences. Memory problems, depression, sleeplessness and agitation are a few of the long-term consequences of combining Xanax with alcohol. In addition, you raise the chances of becoming addicted to both drugs if you take them at the same time.
How Can I Get Help for Polydrug Abuse?
When you think about recovering from polydrug abuse, the future might seem overwhelming. How can you effectively withdraw from Xanax while going through detox from alcohol, opioids, meth or cocaine?
The compassionate treatment professionals at Black Bear Lodge understand that recovery is complicated, especially when you’re faced with multiple drug addictions. We provide a secure, safe haven away from the chaos of your daily life, so you can give your recovery the full attention that it deserves. If you’re ready to start healing, we’re waiting with information and support.