Mixing Alcohol And Other Drugs
Recreational drug users combine alcohol with other drugs at a higher rate than any other combination. This is because alcohol is legal and readily available to most people.
Alcohol is a CNS depressant, so it reduces the functioning of neurons in the brain.
The effects of combinations with alcohol will differ depending on the drug used.
Combining alcohol with other central nervous system depressants enhances the effects of both drugs and increases the possibility that you may overdose on one of them.
If alcohol is combined with central nervous system stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine, each drug cancels out some of the effects of the other drug. This makes it very likely that you will take too much of one of them .
Other Prescription Drugs
When combined with antidepressant medications and other prescription medications that are typically not drugs of abuse, alcohol can reduce the medications effectiveness. The combination can also produce different side effects that can be very distressing.
Over the Counter Medications
Cold medicine and alcohol are another highly dangerous combination. Chronically combining alcohol with over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen , ibuprofen , or naproxen , can lead to an increased risk for liver damage, ulcers, and cardiovascular issues.
Whenever you drink alcohol, your liver gives priority to metabolizing the alcohol in your system overall other substances.
Dangers Of Mixing Drugs
Mixing any combination of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Most fatal overdoses involve use of more than one type of drug .
Poly-drug use is dangerous because different drugs act on our bodies in different ways. The harmful effects are magnified by using more than one drug type. For example, the more alcohol in the body, the less heroin needed to cause an overdose.
Examples of drug interactions:
Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Other Depressants
Combining medicines with alcohol can lead to unpredictable and unwanted results. It is essential to understand the dangers of mixing alcohol with other depressants to avoid them.
Consuming alcohol with other depressants like Xanax or Valium can have a synergistic effect, with potential for dangerous or even lethal consequences.10
The combination may lead to the following:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Feeling worthless
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Lack of energy to complete daily tasks
- Challenges concentrating
Symptoms of alcohol use disorder may include:
- Drinking too much alcohol in any one episode
- Drinking frequently
- Sneaking alcohol so others will not notice it
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite adverse consequences, both to physical health and personal relationships
- Avoiding activities to drink alcohol
- Continued drinking despite symptoms of depression
Getting Help For Alcohol And Drug Abuse
Many people who abuse alcohol also abuse other drugs and vice versa. People who are regularly abusing multiple substances should seek help at a drug treatment center. Even if these people arent addicted yet, long-term abuse can lead to addiction down the line. Its best if addiction or abuse is caught early to prevent further consequences.
Below are some common treatment options:
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Taking Antidepressants Vs Drinking
Do not stop taking antidepressants or any other medication abruptly stopping psychiatric medication suddenly can have serious psychological ramifications.
Most antidepressants have to be taken regularly and in consistent doses to maintain their level in your system and help with the symptoms of depression. Stopping the medication abruptly and taking it again after a few days can make your symptoms worse.
Stopping antidepressants abruptly can have severe health complications. For example, some people experience antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, which refers to unpleasant, withdrawal-like effects.
This withdrawal can heighten feelings of depression. It can also manifest in physical complaints, such as flu-like symptoms, abnormal sense of touch, difficulty with coordination and movement, and dizziness.
Likewise, if people struggle with acute symptoms, like suicidal thoughts, they may notice an exacerbation in these issues.
Although it is highly recommended that you do not consume alcohol and antidepressants together, an occasional drink may not hurt depending on the type of medication that you have to take.
Talk to your doctor about any health conditions that you may have which require medication and discuss how alcohol and antidepressants that you have been prescribed react with each other. Also, mention any supplements including herbal products that you may be taking to be absolutely safe.
The Difference Between Depressants And Stimulants
Stimulants and depressants both affect your brain function and central nervous system. However, they do so in opposite ways.
Stimulants heighten and excite your central nervous system
They may increase your heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in more energy. In high quantities, they can lead to insomnia and make you jittery and impulsive.3
Examples of stimulants include weak or mild caffeine, more potent prescription amphetamines, and illegal drugs like cocaine.
Depressants slow you down by reducing your heart rate and blood pressure
They may help you feel relaxed. On the extreme end, they may sedate you entirely.4
Benzodiazepines are a type of depressant drug. They are used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. Prescription opiates are another type of potent depressant drug.
Some compounds can have characteristics of both depressant and stimulant drugs. Nicotine is one example, although it is most frequently characterized as a stimulant.
Alcohol is another example, which is typically characterized as a depressant but has stimulant effects.
You should avoid mixing alcohol with depressant or stimulant drugs due to the risk of severe side effects.
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Risks Of Combining Depressants
Depressants are the most widely used class of recreational drug in the world. Yet, despite and perhaps due to their relative ubiquity, their dangers are often not well known and respected by users. As a result of this, depressants and combinations of depressants are the most common cause of drug-related deaths. Here we discuss the dangers of depressant use, and explain why they are heavily compounded when used in combination with each other, and thus why such mixes should almost always be avoided.
Depressants are so named because they are Central Nervous System depressants which are drugs that can be used to slow down brain activity. CNS depression refers to physiological depression of the central nervous system which results in a decreased rate of breathing, decreased heart rate, and potential loss of consciousness at higher doses. In excess, CNS depression will eventually lead to coma or death. CNS depression is specifically the result of inhibited brain activity in this case caused by depressant drugs. In more general terms: the more of a depressant drug ingested, the weaker a persons breathing and heart rate become if they are slowed enough, the user will stop breathing entirely.
Heavy use of depressant drugs carries other dangers outside of direct CNS depression. A common depressant-related cause of death is aspiration when one vomits while sleeping, cannot expel it due to a suppressed gag and cough reflex, and thus chokes on it.
Intervention For Polysubstance Use Disorders
If you suspect that someone you care about is suffering from a polydrug addiction, time is of the essence. Polysubstance abuse is extremely dangerous and the sooner the user can get help, the better their chances are at achieving recovery.
Sometimes, addiction to multiple substances creates an even stronger addiction than a single substance could, and the user may be incredibly resistant to the idea of getting drug treatment. You’ll lose nothing by trying to help, but if you plan to stage an intervention, make sure you have preparations in place:
Treatment For Depressants And Alcohol
Treatment for alcohol and depressant abuse can be approached in several different ways. At a professional rehab center, the treatment process typically starts with a medical detox program that helps people undergo withdrawal in a safe, comfortable manner. Patients may be given medication to relieve symptoms, as well as behavioral support. Withdrawal from alcohol and other depressants can be dangerous, so it is important to find treatment that provides detox care.
After the detox process ends, the true healing journey begins through inpatient or outpatient care. Outpatient treatment allows a person to continue their day-to-day obligations, such as attending work or school. Inpatient treatment, however, is for more severe cases where these obligations cannot be met.
Our advanced medical care, wellness programs and holistic treatments are aimed toward treating each person as a whole not just their drug or alcohol addiction. Each center is staffed with a team of caring, experienced professionals who want nothing more than to see each and every patient find long-term recovery.
Our alcohol rehab facilities provide safe, secure treatment alongside a variety of indoor and outdoor amenities. Contact us today to speak with one of our intake coordinators and learn more about treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
Treatment At Aton Center
AToN Center is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment recovery center located in San Diego, CA. Our treatment programs for addiction address the whole person, not just the addiction to a drug, and we can help each client we serve move into a full recovery. No matter what your drug of choice is or what drug you have abused, we can offer the proper treatment to assist you in getting clean and sober, free from drugs or alcohol.
Our addiction treatment center is unlike any other in the country, and our luxury facility offers first class healthy cuisine from a highly trained chef, and holistic care options that include yoga and mindfulness. We offer both traditional 12 step programs as well as non-12 step programs, depending on what type of treatment you are looking for.
If you or someone you love is looking for help with an addiction problem, please contact our treatment center right away. For more information about our accommodations, alcohol and drug treatment, executive rehab services or admission into our luxury, private rehab in California, email or call us today.
Drinking And Antidepressants: What Happens When You Mix Zoloft And Alcohol
When you drink alcohol and take Zoloft or another SSRI, you will likely feel more depressed, anxious, and impaired than if you were drinking alcohol by itself.
In addition, alcohol directly counteracts what SSRIs are formulated to domoderate brain chemistry to make you feel better. Although mixing alcohol with antidepressants may significantly improve your mood at the time, alcohol inhibits the ability of SSRIs to produce long-term, therapeutic benefits.
Signs of alcohol intoxication, such as impaired thinking and judgment, delayed reaction time, loss of coordination and motor skills, and sedation, can significantly intensify when you mix antidepressants and alcohol. Doctors call this condition pathological intoxication, a type of markedly severe intoxication that involves a person behaving in an uncharacteristically violent or aggressive manner. Combining antidepressants like Prozac and alcohol have been known to cause people to become pathologically intoxicated, even though they may have had only one or two drinks.
Can You Become Addicted To More Than One Drug
Its possible to become addicted to more than one drug. This is called cross-addiction. One study shows that 57 percent of people in rehab have used more than one drug.
Frequently using one drug already increases your dependence on it. It also affects your brains reward system. When you start taking another drug, you can also develop an addiction to that and make your existing one even worse.
Cross addiction differs from a dual diagnosis in that the latter involves two different mental health disorders occurring together. Cross addiction is a dependence on two different kinds of drugs.
What Are The Cognitive And Emotional Effects Of Mixing Drugs
The effects of combining different types of drugs also affect your ability to think, control emotions, or inhibit impulsive behaviors.
If you combine central nervous system depressants, you are more likely to have decreased reaction times, slow rates of thinking, be irrational, and have problems controlling your emotions, leading to emotional outbursts of anger, depression, and even aggression.
Combining stimulant medications often leads to feelings of invulnerability that can lead to significant problems with judgment. It can also result in psychotic-like states due to high levels of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine being released in your brain.
Combining drugs with opposite actions nearly always reduces your ability to make quick decisions, think clearly, and control your emotions and impulses. This can lead to numerous issues, including accidents, legal entanglements, and other serious problems.
And 10 Other Questions Related To Mixing Substances
Many people use depressants to come down from a stimulant high and vice versa. People may also be seeking a certain high. For instance, the polydrug use of heroin and cocaine produces an intense and long-lasting high. However, these and other drugs are fatal drug combinations.
But, fatal drug combinations can happen by accident. Subsequently, those taking medication for pain, depression, or anxiety need to be careful. For example, many people like to have a drink or two after a long day. But, if they also take benzos for anxiety, it can increase the effects of benzos.
Polydrug use minimizes the side effects of either drug. This use creates the feeling of not being as intoxicated as they are. Stimulants motivate the user to continue partying. They also hide the fact that the CNS system is slowing down. At the same time, depressants might hide a dangerously high heart rate.
For example, if a stimulant is taken with alcohol, it can lead the user to drink more. The bodys response to alcohol is to induce unconsciousness, but stimulants stop that from happening. Therefore, a person can drink more before passing out. If other depressants are taken, it can lead to coma or death.
Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
SNRIs are one of the most commonly prescribed types of antidepressants. They are used to treat symptoms of major depression, mood disorders, and occasionally attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, menopause, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. SNRIs work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which help to stabilize mood.
Common SNRIs include:
SNRIs are not known to have any serious adverse interactions when combined with alcohol, though general symptoms of drowsiness and reduced alertness are likely.
In comparison to the other types of antidepressants, SSRIs dont typically cause as many negative side effects when taken with alcohol. Consuming alcohol while also on SSRIs is still not advised, however, since alcohol can cause excessive drowsiness for someone on this type of antidepressant.
The Dangers Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Depending on the amount of alcohol and type of drug consumed, you can experience an array of harmful side effects. Since alcohol is a depressant, mixing it with another drug can be detrimental for your health.
Here are the most common drug and alcohol combinations, as well as their specific dangers:
Cocaine And Alcohol
Cocaine and alcohol use is one of the most common combinations among drug users because of the powerful high that both substances produce. Cocaine is a stimulant that increases your blood pressure, heart rate and alertness. This helps alcohol reach the brain quicker. Mixing cocaine and alcohol causes cocaethylene, which produces intense feelings of pleasure. Other risk factors of combining cocaine and alcohol include heart attack, overdose or death.
Heroin And Alcohol
Both heroin and alcohol are depressants which can cause similar side effects. One of the most dangerous risks of depressants is slowed breathing. When you consume heroin with alcohol, these breathing problems can be even more serious and life-threatening. Heroin is a highly addictive drug, so it can prove difficult to quit. The consumption of both heroin and alcohol can also lead to an extremely slow heart rate and overdosing.
Ecstasy And Alcohol
Painkillers And Alcohol
Antidepressants And Alcohol
Sleeping Pills And Alcohol
Dr. Gregory Smith
Effects Of Polydrug Use
There is no safe level of drug use.Use of any drug always carries some risk. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Polydrug use may affect everyone differently, based on:
- size, weight and health
- the strength of the drugs
- if alcohol or medications are consumed as well.
It is difficult to predict the effects of one drug, but it is even harder to predict the effects of multiple drugs.
Taking multiple drugs of the same class increases the impact on the brain and body and overdose can occur.3
Effects become even more complicated to predict if different classes of drugs are taken. For example, taking a stimulant with a depressant.3
Any drugs taken in combination increase the risk of harm.
Alcohol Abuse And Antidepressants
As with any prescription medication, it is important to speak with a doctor regarding possible interactions of alcohol with prescriptions. A person who has a depression diagnosis and is taking any type of antidepressant should be aware of the potential dangers and the risk for alcohol addiction.
For some individuals, mixing antidepressants and alcohol can be a sign that their antidepressant isnt working to effectively treat their symptoms. In turn, those with untreated depression have an increased risk of developing a problem with drugs or alcohol. Someone who is on an antidepressant and finds themselves drinking despite doctors orders or despite any side effects they may be experiencing is likely suffering from an alcohol use disorder and could benefit from seeking help from medical detox and treatment.
Individuals who are suffering from an alcohol use disorder while being prescribed an antidepressant may be at risk of discontinuing their medication because it may stop working. This can lead to further complications like antidepressant withdrawal, seizures, worsening of depression symptoms, and a high risk of self-harm and suicide.
Checking into an alcohol detox program and attending an inpatient alcohol rehab can help these individuals safely detox, get on the right medication to treat their symptoms, and learn how to cope with their symptoms of depression without the use of alcohol.
Alcohol Use And Abuse
Alcohol is among the most used and abused drugs in the United States. Alcohol generally has central nervous system depressant actions however, at very small doses, individuals who consume it may experience mild stimulant-like effects.
Drinking alcohol is associated with numerous physiological reactions, including significant effects on the central nervous system. Basically, alcohol increases activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid and glycine as well as decreases the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters such as NMDA .
Social use of alcohol in restricted amounts may have some beneficial effects however, regular and moderate to heavy use of alcohol is associated with numerous adverse effects to physical and emotional wellbeing. In addition, deaths associated with the misuse or abuse of alcohol run into the millions when one begins to look at the long-term effects of alcohol use and the probability of developing conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, etc.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015 found the following to be true: