Xanax is a widely prescribed benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, as well as depression and insomnia. This tranquilizer drug depresses the central nervous system, easing the symptoms of many anxiety and mood disorders.
As a Schedule IV controlled substance, benzodiazepines do have the potential for abuse, which can lead to physical dependence. Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos. Because it is so easy for many people to access, it is not uncommon for it to be abused by those that do not have a prescription.
On its own, Xanax can cause unpleasant side effects. But one of the most common drug cocktails is Xanax and alcohol. This common combination can lead to many ill effects, including blackouts, coma, and even death. The good news is, if you are addicted to Xanax and alcohol, you don’t have to face detox and recovery alone. With the help and support of an inpatient/intensive outpatient rehab facility, you can have a successful, long-term recovery.
Xanax and Alcohol Side-Effects
Xanax, or alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and sometimes even insomnia and depression. One of the most important things to keep in mind when taking Xanax is that there are many potential side effects. Most of them are harmless, but a handful of them are uncomfortable at best.
Some of the most common side effects of taking Xanax are:
- Appetite or weight changes
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Loss of interest in sex
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance or coordination
- Sleep problems
- Slurred speech
- Stuffy nose
- Swelling of hands or feet
- Trouble concentrating
- Upset stomach
While Xanax is a depressant and relaxes the individual taking it no matter what, alcohol is a bit different. The amount you consume can determine whether it is going to affect you like a depressant or a stimulant. In smaller amounts, people tend to feel more energized and social, while larger amounts can lead to loss of coordination and a more sad or depressed mood.
Some of the common side effects of drinking alcohol include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Decreased perception and coordination
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Impaired judgment
- Upset stomach
On their own, you can certainly experience some intense side effects, but combined, Xanax and alcohol can be even worse.
Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol
Xanax and alcohol should never be combined, as countless people have done just that and overdosed. One of the biggest concerns with mixing the two is that they exaggerate the effects of each other. This is especially dangerous because normal amounts of Xanax suppress your central nervous system. When this is amped up by alcohol, the extreme depression of your central nervous system can easily lead to an overdose. Even worse, you could fall into a coma, or even die.
Just because Xanax and alcohol are both legal does not mean they are completely safe. Most things are safe in small enough amounts. When you take more than you are supposed to or combine your Xanax with other drugs, especially alcohol, things can get much more dangerous.
Some common side effects when combining Xanax and alcohol are:
- Blacking out
- Fainting spells
- Impaired memory
- Respiratory arrest
- Slowed breathing
- Slowed pulse
Xanax and alcohol both require the same liver enzymes to break them down. When you take both xanax and alcohol, your liver has to work much harder to break down both. This means it will take longer for your body to naturally detoxify itself and remove the drugs from your system. Being in your body longer means they can have much worse effects on the body.
This combination is especially dangerous because there is no way to tell exactly how much will be safe and how much will cause a reaction. Some people can drink 6 beers and take a Xanax bar and be somewhat functional (although this is uncommon, more often than not the user will experience intense side-effects that significantly impacts them), while others can take Xanax, do one shot, and be on their way to the hospital. The safest way to approach Xanax and alcohol is individually and never mix them together.
Xanax and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Because Xanax and alcohol can create feelings of relaxation and euphoria, it’s not surprising that so many people get hooked on this combination. The popularity of alcohol and Xanax together is very popular, especially with younger folks. The unfortunate truth is that Xanax and alcohol are a serious combination that can lead to dangerous, and potentially deadly, withdrawal symptoms.
Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is never a fun or easy journey. For those that became addicted after being prescribed Xanax for an anxiety disorder, withdrawals will be even more difficult as your body and brain get used to no longer having the benzodiazepine to help with your anxiety or panic attacks. Many people that detox after getting in too deep with their anxiety medications end up with anxiety symptoms that were worse than they were before being medicated. This new anxiety often eases after time, but some individuals choose to use medication to get through the tough times.
When detoxing from Xanax and alcohol, it’s important to seek medical attention so medical professionals can monitor your body’s vital signs while you go through the detoxification process.
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms folks report during detox include:
- Blurred vision
- Delirium tremens
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Impaired breathing
- Sweating and fever
- Tingling in arms and legs
Detoxing without medical supervision is risky and could potentially be dangerous. It is highly recommended that someone detoxing from drugs never do it alone.
What To Do if Addicted to Xanax and Alcohol
Whether you or a loved one are addicted, you are not alone. Addiction impacts hundreds of thousands of people each year. If you are ready to get help, one of the best things you can do is contact treatment professionals for help. They can guide you through detox and help you with a plan to stay clean.