The Harms of Drug and Alcohol Interaction
Mixing medications, whether prescription or illicit, with alcohol, has the potential to be very destructive as the outcomes are unpredictable. Since each and every one of us reacts to drugs and alcohol differently, the fusion of these two can be a recipe for disaster. By knowing the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol together, the likelihood of doing so will be lessened.
Let’s take a look at a number of different drugs and the effect on the body and brain when combined with alcohol.
- Depressants: Drugs such as Valium and Xanax have an enhanced or synergistic effect when combined with alcohol yet much more risk and danger involved when taking them together. The combination of alcohol and depressants have the potential to be fatal.
- Stimulants: Stimulant drugs such as Adderal and Ritalin, when combined with alcohol, hide the effects of alcohol so that individuals are unable to gauge how intoxicated they truly are. The outcome of this is the over-consumption of alcohol which results in impaired judgment and ‘blacking out’.
- Prescription Opiates: Doctor prescribed drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin, when combined with alcohol, slow down breathing and lower blood pressure, potentially causing unconsciousness or even death.
It is important that you never under any circumstances combine drugs with alcohol as this is a life-threatening decision that can be fatal. Individuals who decide to combine drugs and alcohol, often believe that it will enhance their experience, therefore, hoping it will make it more enjoyable. This is a dangerous mentality as it may lead to continuous consumption and may result in an overdose.
Medications Consist of Many Ingredients
What many people do not realize is that prescription medication, as well as illegal drugs, consist of ingredients that are not supposed to ever be combined with alcohol. When alcohol is combined with drugs, it can have a detrimental effect on the body and the brain.
Conversely, some medications actually contain a small amount of alcohol. Certain brands of cough syrup, as well as laxatives, are both known to contain alcohol which can have a number of effects when taken with other drugs or alcohol. The best idea is to avoid combining and mixing any sort of alcohol with drugs and vice versa in order to mitigate the adverse effects of blending these two substances.
Older individuals are at a higher risk level when alcohol and medications interact. This is because as the body ages, the ability to break down alcohol lessens. In turn, alcohol stays in the system for much longer than it would stay in a younger person body. Older individuals are also at a higher risk of alcohol-drug interactions for the simple fact that as we age we are more likely to require prescription medication for certain health issues.
Abusing two or more substances such as drugs and alcohol is referred to as polysubstance abuse. Sometimes, the combination of these two substances is unintentional. This can occur when an individual is on a certain prescription medication that they are unaware cannot be mixed with alcohol. This is a common attribute of many prescriptions medications.
Increased Side Effects
There are countless dangers that are associated with ingesting drugs and alcohol together. Whether you are combining alcohol with recreational drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or doctor-prescribed drugs, the side effects will be increased. Every time that you combine drugs with alcohol, you are taking a life-threatening risk.
Prolonged use of both drugs and alcohol, whether used together or separately, can deteriorate both your mental and physical health as well as negatively affect meaningful relationships. Aside from these repercussions, substance abuse and alcohol abuse will leave you financially unstable and decrease your ability to perform your best at work, as a parent, and as a citizen.
Keep in mind that if you are prescription medication, your best bet is to avoid alcohol consumption at all costs. If you are unsure of whether or not your medication can be combined with alcohol, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.