The Hidden Dangers of Mixing Drugs and Alcohol

mixing drugs and alcohol

Mixing Drugs and Alcohol: An Unsafe Decision

Having just one drink while taking drugs of any kind, including prescription medications, can have a significant impact on your health. Some mixtures of drugs and alcohol can even have lethal consequences. It is critical to be aware of the hidden dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol, for your own safety and well-being.

The Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol can make you lightheaded, drowsy, or sleepy. When you mix medications with alcohol, the resulting effects can be intensified. You may have more trouble focusing or concentrating. Performing any type of mechanical skill can be challenging after even a small amount of alcohol, which is why you should not drive after drinking. Mixing drugs and alcohol puts you and others at even greater risk.

Even something that seems like it wouldn’t have much effect on your body can hold hidden dangers. Mixing caffeine, such as that found in popular energy drinks, with alcohol can be unsafe. Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant so when you combine their opposite effects, you can be fooled into drinking more alcohol than your body can handle, resulting in toxic consequences.

Complications with Over-the-Counter Drugs

Likewise, over-the-counter medications may not seem like they would cause many problems when mixed with alcohol. However, some medications, such as painkillers and cough, cold, and allergy medicines, contain a number of ingredients that have the potential to negatively interact with alcohol.

In fact, some cough and cold medicines contain alcohol themselves, adding to the dangerous consequences. The painkiller ibuprofen can upset your stomach when taken with alcohol in your system and can even cause stomach bleeding and liver damage.

Dangers for Older Adults

The dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol are even greater for older adults. Because aging slows down the body’s natural ability to break down the alcohol, it remains in an older person’s system longer. In addition, older people typically take more medications, particularly medications that can interact negatively with alcohol. The combination of drugs and alcohol can cause an older person to become disoriented and experience more falls, leading to serious injuries.

Alcohol and Opioid Painkillers

Opioids carry their own risk of dangerous health effects if taken too long or in excessive quantities. The dangers of mixing alcohol with opioid painkillers, including codeine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone, can lead to devastating results. The effects of combining opioids with alcohol can include slowed breathing, excessive drowsiness, or worse. The mixture of opioids and alcohol slows down the central nervous system, which could cause you to stop breathing completely, go into a coma, or even die as a result.

Mixing Alcohol with Antidepressants

Taking anti-anxiety or antidepressants while consuming alcohol can cause serious health issues for you as well. Anti-anxiety medications include Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin that may have prescribed for you for a specific reason. When you mix these drugs with alcohol, they make you very drowsy or even unconscious.

The hidden dangers of mixing drugs and alcohols can also be seen when you drink alcohol while taking any kind of antidepressant. You may experience dizziness, drowsiness, worsening feelings of depression, problems with movement, serious heart effects, liver damage, and even overdose.

Mixing Sedative Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol by itself can make you drowsy or sleepy. When you combine it with sedatives such as sleeping pills, including prescription Ambien, barbiturates, tranquilizers, or GHB, your central nervous system can be severely affected. You may lose consciousness, slip into a coma, or die from the dangerous combination of drugs and alcohol.

Other Prescription Medications

There are over 150 prescription medications that can interact negatively with alcohol, resulting in dangerous consequences. When you drink alcohol while taking any of these prescription drugs, your liver’s ability to metabolize the medication can be impacted. In addition to the dangerous side effects of mixing these drugs with alcohol, your medication’s effectiveness can be reduced as a result. The combination of drugs and alcohol can also cause severe liver damage.

California Addiction Treatment Center

If you are living with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for help. We are uniquely equipped to help you recover from addiction. At HVRC, we offer a full continuum of care, from acute medical detoxification to sober living programs. We are licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH), enabling us to provide more services than most addiction treatment centers. During COVID-19, we remain open and continue to follow all of the CDC guidelines to keep you safe and healthy.