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Xanax and Alcohol Overdose: The Risks of Mixing the Two

There is risk associated with almost everything that we do, from investing money in stocks to simply crossing the street. We usually weigh the cost/benefit ratio when making decisions for ourselves and our loved ones so that we keep our risks at a minimum. But sometimes, that thought process falls to the wayside, and the decisions we make do not reduce our risks, but instead increase them. Someone who is taking Xanax, whether as prescribed by a mental health professional or illicitly, is at risk for developing a substance use disorder simply because they are taking this habit-forming medication. The risk is much lower for those who follow prescribing guidelines than for those who abuse it for self-medication purposes, but the risk still remains. When something as problematic as alcohol is brought into the mix, risks can quickly become an unfortunate reality, and alcohol and Xanax overdose become possible.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine medication. Benzodiazepines work by interacting with gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, receptors in the brain. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), GABA is the “primary inhibitory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system,” meaning that GABA receptors help to control our central nervous system. When someone consumes Xanax, it binds to GABA receptors in the brain, producing symptoms such as mild sedation, detachment from surroundings, relaxation, and slowed physical function. Those who consume Xanax appropriately can benefit from these effects, as it helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety attacks. But, when Xanax is abused, there are no benefits, only dangers. Some of these dangers include slowed respiratory rate, slowed heart rate, and mental confusion that can lead to physical injury. 

On its own, Xanax is a dangerous drug. When it is combined with another mind-altering substance like alcohol, the risks only increase in a dramatic fashion.

Risks of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Alcohol is similar to Xanax in that it works to depress the body’s systems. That is why those who drink alcohol feel a sense of relaxation when doing so. But when alcohol is consumed in large amounts, the body can quickly start to shut down. Some of the signs that someone has drank too much alcohol include passing out, vomiting, developing poor motor function, and shallow breathing. While many people have experienced what it feels like to drink too much, not nearly as many have experienced the effects of combining alcohol and Xanax together, which can create several risks. 

Respiratory Complications

Individually, Xanax and alcohol send signals to the brain that it is time to slow down the body’s functions, such as breathing. When mixed together, these signals become more powerful and intense. The brain becomes flooded with substances that are telling it to slow down the body so it does just that — it slows the body and just as powerfully as it was asked. Unfortunately, this means that respiratory complications can develop. Respiratory depression, distress, and failure are all possible risks when combining Xanax and alcohol, all of which can result in vital organ damage and/or death. 

Physical Dangers

Being under the influence of just Xanax or just alcohol alone is enough to put someone at risk for suffering a physical accident. When both substances are being consumed simultaneously, though, the potential for being involved in a physical accident increases significantly. This is primarily due to the fact that both Xanax and alcohol slow down motor function and reaction time. This makes it more likely for an individual to fall, get into a car accident, get into a physical fight, or simply become unable to protect themselves from getting hurt in any way. 

Safety Risks

Both men and women face risk when it comes to becoming incapacitated in a public area or in the company of others. Most people in those situations are focused on using themselves, never mind what another person is doing. It becomes possible that when passed out from using too much Xanax and alcohol, other individuals can steal their belongings, put them in risky situations (such as leaving them outside in the cold), or even engage in a more nefarious activity such as sexual assault or rape.

Alcohol and Xanax Overdose

Alcohol and Xanax overdose become a significant possibility when someone is abusing the two at the same time. The body simply shuts down when too much of either substance is consumed, but when both are being taken together, this process can happen more quickly. Those who are unaware of the risks of combining the two can accidentally experience an alcohol and Xanax overdose. If medical attention is not sought immediately, an alcohol and Xanax overdose can be fatal.

Alcohol and Xanax Overdose Treatment Options In Drug Knoxville, TN

Do not wait until you experience an alcohol and Xanax overdose before you reach out for help. At Tennessee Valley Recovery, we understand how complicated it can be to try to get sober after abusing such addictive substances. We know that it takes specialized care in order to help someone establish a foundation in their recovery. That is why we encourage you to contact us right now. Our team of professionals offers the specialized care you need to stop using and begin living.
Do not wait any longer. Call us right now.