In this article we will be addressing what seems to be a very important concern: Taking Xanax and alcohol together. This is definitely a topic you would want to educate yourself about, as the result of not doing so can be fatal.
With that said, let’s take a quick look at what Xanax is all about and what can be the effects of mixing Xanax and alcohol.
An Introduction to Xanax
First things first, Xanax (alprazolam) is believed to be the result of an effort to finding an alternative to Valium (diazepam), something that’s primarily used to treat anxiety and other related disorders, especially the ones associated with the activity of the central nervous system. When it comes to classifying both these drugs, they would fall under benzodiazepines, which are basically nothing but tranquilizer drugs.
These drugs also have other uses apart from the ones mentioned above, although it’s not known whether they are medically recommended to be used for any other purpose than they were originally intended to.
A Study Proving That Taking Xanax With Alcohol May Be Fatal
Based on a study conducted by the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, while Xanax can be a dangerous drug to consume, the cases of Xanax turning out to be fatal on its own are very rare. The majority of cases that end up with fatal consequences due to the use of this drug are often those where Xanax is mixed with other drugs.
To be a bit more specific here, the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology studied 178 cases of postmortem. Out of these cases, only two cases were found to have been a result of using Xanax alone. On the other hand, as many as 87 fatalities were reported to be due to mixing Xanax with other drugs. This study concluded, with more than a fair bit of certainty, that anyone using Xanax would be subjected to extremely fatal, deadly consequences if they mix it with other drug, a practice known as polydrug abuse in medical terms.
Alcohol is a Drug!
Now, if you’re wondering what this information has to do with using Xanax with alcohol, then we have to say that we pity you. This is because it means you’re not aware of the fact that alcohol is just as much a drug as the other conventional drugs out there, if not more.
The reason it’s not believed to be so is probably due to its common use, or the fact that it’s never used as a drug in the typical sense. However, alcohol has been proven to be a depressant, being associated with things like slowing down vital functions of the body as well as the ability to think and react quickly. This is a typical “drug” behavior.
Furthermore, alcohol also heavily affects and interferes with the way the brain performs, which is often what many other drugs seem to do as well. But as we all know, alcohol actually has far stronger effects than other drugs, which makes it even more “drug-ish” than most other conventional drugs.
What Makes Drinking Alcohol When Taking Xanax Dangerous?
Drinking alcohol when taking Xanas triggers a process in your body that can be extremely dangerous and fatal. The thing is, the same liver enzymes in your body are responsible for clearing both alcohol and Xanax. And as they are broken down by the same compounds, it takes significantly longer for your body to get rid of them.
This basically means that these substances stay in your body for much longer than they would had they been taken alone. This, in turn, leads to both of them augmenting the effects of each other. Xanax makes the alcohol in your body much more potent, and alcohol returns the favor by making the Xanax present in your body more potent. This substantially increases the risk of dangerous health conditions such as respiratory depression, extreme sedation, cardiac issues, loss of consciousness as well as makes you much more likely to end up having dangerous accidents.
If you ignore the initial effects of taking these drugs together and continue doing so, it would be a matter of time before you start experiencing much more worse problems including serious psychological and cognitive issues. A few of the things you’re likely to encounter due to long-term use of these drugs include sleeplessness, depression, memory problems and agitation.
Furthermore, you also become much more likely to get extremely addicted to both these drugs. There are also severe consequences of withdrawing them when you’re taking them together for a long period of time. Some of them include:
- Extreme agitation
FDA’s Take on the Issue and Other Important Facts
Although we have walked you through more than enough perfectly reliable information on why mixing Xanax and alcohol is something you should totally avoid, you may also be interested in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) opinion.
There’s a warning label issued by the FDA and if you read it, you will find that it clearly mentions that taking Xanax with alcohol, or any other drugs for that matter, can have life-threatening consequences. It says this is especially true if you have been taking the other drugs without being prescribed to take them.
If you’re wondering the extent of the effects you may face due to abusing these drugs, then let us tell you that the worst of them would set in when these drugs start heaving interfering with the activity of your central nervous system – the brain and the spinal cord in particular – which they usually do, many times sooner rather than later. Apart from alcohol, some of the other, less common drugs taken with Xanax include:
- Hypnotic drugs
- Opioid analgesics
Besides the highly worrying health issues we discussed above, using alcohol or any other drug with Xanax would greatly compound the side effects of Xanax itself. Some of them may include fatigue, drowsiness, clumsiness and weakness. Similarly, you would also want to note that apparently a surprisingly large number of accidents are linked with using Xanax with alcohol or other drugs. Some of the other issues you make yourself very likely to develop during the process include unconsciousness, serious breathing difficulties and even unintentional death.
There’s also the fact that alcohol has a reputation for damaging your ability to remember and judge things properly. This could lead to you being much more likely to lose track of the amount of Xanax you have taken, which drastically increases the chances of an overdose. Needless to say, an overdose of Xanax may very well cost you your life, as the statistics clearly suggest.
Symptoms of Alcohol and Xanax Abuse
Although we have discussed quite a bit about the effects of taking these drugs together, we will now also take a quick look at most of the common symptoms that are associated with this type of drug abuse. Of course, if you find yourself dealing with any of these symptoms, it may very well be your last chance to get yourself out of a situation where the eventual result may be an unexpected, sudden death.
- Slow breathing or difficulty in breathing
- Your memory power taking quite a hit
- Slowing down of your pulse rate
- Slurred speech
- Problems with coordination
- Unsteady gait
- Weight loss
- Problems related to urination
Now, here are some of the more severe symptoms, which usually seem to show up when you ignore the symptoms above.
- Serious issues with your consciousness
- Many serious issues that are a result of personal neglect
A Final Word
If you’re someone that didn’t bother doing any research before getting into the dangerous habit of using Xanax with alcohol or other drugs, you may definitely want to seek help immediately. Of course, to anyone that’s still on the fence about following something as stupid and dangerous as polydrug abuse, you would absolutely want to avoid doing so at any costs.
As a matter of fact, Xanax itself is something you may want to avoid taking. Pfizer, the company that introduced this drug to the world, says that anyone taking this drug may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to quitting long-term alcohol habit, as well as even develop dependency towards it.
However, if you’re facing some serious health issues and have been prescribed the drug by a reliable medical professional, and if you or your doctor fail to find a better alternative, then quitting your alcohol habit is the least you need to do in order to not put your life on the line just to continue drug abuse. In fact, whether or not you need to take Xanax, quitting alcohol is certainly one of the best things you can do to yourself and your loved ones.
If you’re finding it difficult, you may want to check out our detailed guide on how to quit drinking alcohol. It would make it considerably easier to no longer be a slave to alcohol.