Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

April 2, 2014

An image of powder exploding away from each other

Many people drink alcohol while taking other substances to enhance the effects of both drugs, but this activity is extremely dangerous. Mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines is especially risky, and can cause severe and permanent damage, both to a person’s body and to her relationships. Seek professional help to quit whatever drug you abuse.

Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Benzodiazepines are depressants that relax muscles, so they are often prescribed to treat muscle spasms, anxiety and seizures. As the Drug Enforcement Agency describes, the most frequently prescribed benzodiazepines are Valium, Xanax, Halcion, Ativan and Klonopin, which can all produce the following side effects:

  • Aggression
  • Amnesia
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Intense dreams
  • Irritability
  • Slower muscle movements

Benzodiazepine abuse can create many problems that will devastate users.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is also a depressant that relaxes muscles, so it can cause the following side effects:

  • Decreased coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Slurred speech

When people abuse alcohol, its side effects can be more deadly. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that the effects of heavy drinking include the following problems:

  • Severe loss of coordination
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Increased risk of developing cancer
  • Immune system depression

If you abuse alcohol, you risk any of these problems. The problem is that your risks increase when you abuse other drugs alongside alcohol.

Effects of Combining Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

While many people abuse these substances individually, other people combine them to increase their effects. A 2011 study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 95 percent of all patients admitted to rehab centers for benzodiazepine abuse also abused another drug. Alcohol was the other drug for about 25 percent of those patients.

Alcohol and benzodiazepines can each harm the body, but the damage increases when they are combined. Since both substances are depressants, they can greatly relax muscles and bring the central nervous system to a crawl, which can result in unconsciousness or even a coma. Their effect on the immune system can also increase the likelihood of life-threatening infections and accidents, especially those related to driving. Abusing these two substances in great quantities can also lead to massive organ failure and death.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 95 percent of all patients admitted to rehab centers for benzodiazepine abuse also abused another drug.

Mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines can also damage relationships. When people abuse these drugs, they might experience fatigue, memory loss and mood swings, which can strain relationships with friends and family members. Additionally, substance abuse can plague relationships when the user denies a problem and avoids professional help. Combining alcohol and benzodiazepines only multiplies these problems, and can make it harder for users to recover.

Find Treatment for Alcohol and Benzodiazepine Abuse

People who mix alcohol and benzodiazepines engage in dangerous behavior that, if unchecked, can threaten countless lives and permanent damage. Therefore, users must seek professional help to recover. Give us a call at 615-490-9376 to talk with our admissions coordinators about alcohol and benzodiazepine abuse. They can also discuss treatment options while connecting you with a treatment center that best fits your needs.

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