Out of all of the concoctions and cocktails of drugs that people choose to mix, Xanax and Alcohol are probably one of the worst ones. Looking back at a majority of the celebrity overdose deaths we have seen over the last decade, many of them were attributed to this lethal combination, most likely with a dash of painkillers.
In more recent years, with the widespread awareness of the opioid epidemic and need for inpatient treatment, it seems as though more people are turning to Xanax and alcohol as a “safer” alternative to reach that state they are looking for but is it really safer?
The Terrible Twosome
Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, and not everyone who takes Xanax abuses it, those people make no sense to me but they are real. For those of us who do not qualify under that category, the reason WE combine Xanax and alcohol is for complete oblivion. However, apart from these two drugs being the most deadly to withdrawal from, there are also more pressing dangers to worry about the night of.
Danger Number 1 – Alcohol is a sedative
Believe it or not, alcohol is a depressant – it slows down the internal systems. This is why the slurred speech, the lack of coordination, and blackouts occur. Apart from those side effects, alcohol also:
- Slows heart rate
- Strains the liver
- Slows production of insulin
- Increases Blood Pressure (through widening veins as a means to release body heat)
- Weakens the immune system
- Effects hormones (skipped periods and ED!)
For many hard drinkers and alcoholics, those health problems seem like something that could “never happen to them”. When many of us think about people who develop cirrhosis or esophageal cancer, we think of people who have been drinking daily for forty years.
So what about those effects that are more short term? The obvious ones are the blackouts and the horrible hang-ups we get ourselves into when we are drunk. Drunk driving, public intoxication, fights with friends and loved ones, losing our keys and sleeping with strangers are only a short list of some of the chaos we get ourselves into when drinking. Now imagine that your drunk is multiplied by ten via adding Xanax into the mix.
Danger Number 2 – Xanax is ALSO a sedative
Aside from the fact that booze is a sedative, Xanax is as well. People who primarily abuse this benzo are well aware of the blackouts, the brownouts, and the stupid activities done under the guise of “chilling out”. However, if you read any warning label or article on Xanax, most of them specifically state that combining the drug with alcohol is one of the biggest no-no’s.
A little joke among people who have abused Xanax is that it makes you steal the most random and unneeded things. Aside from that, it also:
- Damages the liver
- Decreases blood pressure (causing dizziness and faintness)
- Impairs memory and judgment
- Decreases heart rate
- Slows brain functioning
- Results in blackouts
The alarming part is that Xanax is the single most prescribed pharmaceutical drug on the market.
Combining the Two
The ‘clever” addict-alcoholic in me reads those bullet-pointed lists and thinks, “Well, if one increases blood pressure and the other decreases it, mixing Xanax and alcohol should create a happy medium, right?”
Not exactly. Since both of these drugs are sedative in their effects, they actually create a compounding effect and can dramatically increase the side effects of each other. For people who are experimenting for the first time, the end result will probably be that they get a whole lot more messed up than they planned to.
For those who combine Xanax and alcohol often, they know darn well what they are getting themselves into, and they are most likely aware that they are going to wake up tomorrow with a lot of regrets.
When the user drinks on top of the benzo or vice versa, a blackout is sure to follow. The stories people tell in the rooms of their experiences with drinking on Xanax range from absolutely hilarious antics to completely destructive accidents that ruined their lives. Combining these drugs leads to no happy medium, at least not for long.
But My Doctor Gave me Xanax!
If there is one lesson that we can all take from the opioid epidemic, it is that just because a doctor prescribed you a pill, does not mean you should take four instead of one. It does not mean you should sell them to your friends, steal them from your family members, or pawn your PlayStation to get more.
A prescribed pill can be just as dangerous and just as addictive as anything bought off of the street. Sure, it might be a little bit purer, but when taken in ways other than directed, Xanax can turn the user into a Jekyll and Hyde like monster. Except, rather than a quirky doctor in 18th century England, they seem like someone who is drunk, high, and tripping all at the same time.
When the doctor wrote a prescription for Xanax, they did not intend for you to also get drunk, go out to the bar, and try to fight every bartender, bouncer, and patron in the place. They also did not intend for you to go into the 711 and steal windshield washing fluid, a whole box of donuts, sunhat, and three bottles of Gatorade. Yet, that is what we do.
Combining Xanax and alcohol may seem like a cheap and easy way to have a fun night out – but when the party turns from every once in a while into every weekend, to every day, it has most definitely become a problem.