Dangerous Concoctions: Mixing Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most deadly drugs on this planet. Not only does an addiction to alcohol pose deadly threats, but alcohol addiction is relatively easy to develop. Ranking amongst illicit drugs like heroin and highly addictive drugs like nicotine, alcohol is known as one of the most addictive drugs on earth. Along with posing high risks for developing an addiction, alcohol is easily accessible. Even though it has been proven time and time again that alcohol is highly addictive and poses many health threats, it is still legal to purchase and consume within the United States. Alcohol use alone is dangerous, but mixing drugs and alcohol is even more deadly. More often than not, alcoholics try and develop addictions to other drugs as well as alcohol, and these combined addictions pose bigger and more prominent threats to the health and safety of these individuals.

The Tie between Alcohol and other Drugs

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and their study on over 70 thousand college students, those that drink alcohol are at a higher risk for developing addictions to other drugs. There are a few theories as to why people who drink may be more likely to try and abuse other drugs including:

  • Alcohol causes impaired judgment which can lead to trying other drugs
  • Alcohol addiction changes brain functionality and makeup which can lead to trying other drugs
  • Alcohol is a “gateway” drug, which means that it is viewed as a drug that begins the cycle of addiction and makes an individual more apt to trying other drugs

Different Dangerous Drug and Alcohol Mixtures

Cocaine and Alcohol: While dangerous alone, cocaine and alcohol are even more deadly when combined. One of the reasons is due to a chemical the liver makes when the two are used together called cocaethylene. This chemical increases the heart rate and poses a risk for heart attack. It also is said to increase an individual’s tendency to act out aggressively and also increases the negative depressive symptoms alcohol is known for.

Benzodiazepines and Alcohol: Since both benzodiazepines (benzos) and alcohol are depressants, mixing the two can slow the central nervous system until it halts. This can lead to death for those willing to mix their benzo prescription with alcohol. Not only do mixing these two drugs slow the nervous system, but they slow the immune system as well; placing those who abuse both chemicals at a higher risk of developing life-threatening infections and illness.

Amphetamines and Alcohol: Since amphetamines like Adderall and meth are stimulants, they raise the heart rate and blood pressure. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant, producing the opposite effects. Mixing stimulants and depressants together confuses the body, and may minimize desired effects of either drug. This leads to higher dosing to experience desired effects and offers a heightened risk for overdose.

MDMA and Alcohol: MDMA, or ecstasy, is a club drug that is steadily increasing in popularity amongst the party scene nationwide. The most common problem with using MDMA is that it severely dehydrates the body. Alcohol poses the same problem, with the frequently experienced hangover as a result of this dehydration. Mixing both MDMA and alcohol increases the likeliness of dehydration, even more, leading to symptoms of sickness and even organ failure.

Treatment for Mixing Drugs and Alcohol

Are you mixing drugs and alcohol together and think that you may have a problem? Getting treatment for these addictions can give you a chance to reverse the awful consequences of mixing drugs and alcohol. Remember, you are not alone. In 2014, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health determined that for every 8 individuals who sought treatment for a drug addiction, one had a simultaneous addiction to alcohol. At The Discovery Institute, we do not shy away from treating an individual who suffers from more than one addiction, or who have experience mixing drugs and alcohol. Although every individual’s experience with drugs is different, there is hope for every single person that wishes to live a life of sobriety in recovery. If you are ready to see how we can help you, give us a call today to speak confidentially with an addiction specialist at 888-616-7177. Wonder what our facility is like or what type of programs we offer? Visit our website today to learn more about what we do to help end the cycle of addiction!

 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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