Mixing Alcohol with Other Drugs

Alcohol is very reactive with other substances, especially both legal and illicit drugs. These reactions can have serious effects on the mind and body, many of which are very dangerous in the long and short term.

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    Mixing Alcohol and Other Substances

    Woman Mixing Alcohol With Other Drugs

    As the most commonly used intoxicant in the United States (and much of the world), alcohol is very likely to be mixed with any number of legal and illicit drugs. Because alcohol is a highly reactive substance that impacts many different body systems, it is also very likely to encounter any other substances in the body and react with them.

    In some cases (such as with many opioids), alcohol magnifies and amplifies the effects of the other medication, often to a dangerous level. In other cases (including a number of prescription medications), alcohol will partially or fully negate the impact of the other drug, which can have equally drastic consequences. Sometimes, alcohol will react with another drug (a well-known example being cocaine) and create impacts that are entirely different from either of the original substances.

    Because so many of the interactions between drugs and alcohol are dangerous, it is very important that you never mix alcohol with any drugs without first consulting a physician. If you are on a prescription but find that you are unable to stop drinking in order to take it, you may need help. Find a rehab facility now that can help you deal with an alcohol use disorder.

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    Substances Commonly Mixed with Alcohol

    Adderall

    Adderall causes individuals to feel less drunk than they actually are, potentially leading to dangerous levels of consumption. Mixing the depressant alcohol with the stimulant Adderall can cause cardiac arrhythmia, psychosis, paranoia, vomiting, muscle twitching, and headaches.

    Antibiotics

    There are many different types of antibiotics, each of which will interact with alcohol differently. It is very important to consult with a physician and carefully read all labels. The biggest risk to mixing alcohol and antibiotics is liver damage, as both are metabolized in the liver. Other common reactions including nausea, dizziness, vomiting, tiredness, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath.

    Antidepressants

    Antidepressants and alcohol magnify the impacts of each other, making an individual feel more intoxicated than they would otherwise. Alcohol can also negate the effect of the antidepressant, eliminating the desired impacts and possibly limiting the success of treatment. This combination can also cause unexpected and extreme emotions.

    Antihistamines

    Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of antihistamines if the body chooses to metabolize the alcohol before the antihistamine. Alcohol may cause more severe side effects when mixed with certain antihistamines.

    Cocaine

    There is a widespread myth that cocaine and alcohol cancel each other out, but that is far from the truth. Alcohol and cocaine combine in the body to form a third substance, cocaethylene. Cocaethylene causes the highest level of cardiovascular activity of any drug, which puts extreme pressure and stress on the heart and often leads to cardiac arrest and death.

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    Energy Drinks/Caffeine

    These drinks trick your body into thinking it is less tired and intoxicated than it truly is, leading to greater, and potentially dangerous, levels of alcohol consumption. These drinks also dehydrate the body, increasing the risk of alcohol poisoning and the severity of hangovers. Those who drink alcohol with caffeine are more than twice as likely to be injured, require medical attention, or accept a ride from an intoxicated driver than those who drank alcohol without caffeine.

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      Ecstacy

      Alcohol reduces the euphoric feeling that Ecstacy causes and puts a tremendous strain on the kidneys. Mixing alcohol with Ecstacy causes dangerous dehydration. Most Ecstacy-related deaths are the result of mixing the drug with alcohol.

      Legal and Illicit Opioids

      Mixing alcohol with opioids such as heroin, Vicodin, Fentanyl, Percocet, and more is extremely dangerous. Alcohol and opioids magnify the depressive effects of each other, leading to potentially fatal sedation and respiratory failure. These two types of drugs can also cause serious liver damage if mixed.

      Marijuana

      Mixing marijuana and alcohol can cause severe effects, including dizziness, vomiting, paranoia, and decreased functioning. Marijuana suppresses the gag reflex and may leave intoxicated individuals unable to throw up, therefore causing alcohol poisoning.

      Hallucinogens

      It is very dangerous to mix alcohol with hallucinogens like mushrooms and LSD because it is very frequent for the ingredients in these substances to not be pure so the user does not actually know what they are taking. Even in their purest form, mixing alcohol with hallucinogens is likely to cause nausea and vomiting, and can cause mentally scarring, “bad trips.”

      Meth

      Mixing alcohol with meth is one of the most dangerous possible combinations. The combination of alcohol and meth puts extreme pressure on the heart and greatly raises blood pressure. Individuals under the influence of both meth and alcohol are very likely to act extremely aggressively and irresponsibly. This mix also causes significant kidney damage and worsens hangovers.

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      Treating Addiction to Alcohol and Other Substances

      A Man Mixing Alcohol With Other DrugsIn many cases, the same individual may be addicted to alcohol and other substances at the same time. This poses extra challenges during treatment, because the patient will have more specialized needs. In particular, detox can be especially challenging and dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms from all substances may be present and exaggerated. It is critical that patients who are addicted to alcohol and other substances detox under the supervision of a professional because of the many serious and potentially fatal impacts that can occur. Even after initial detox is completed, treatment experts will have to deal with all addictions at once, which can be difficult. After leaving treatment, the patient is advised to attend support groups for all substances, for example Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

      The Time for Treatment Is Now

      If you have a prescription medication that requires you to stop drinking, but you find that you can’t you need help. If you’re mixing alcohol with illicit drugs, you also need help. Luckily, there are dedicated treatment experts waiting on the line to help you find the right treatment center to get your life back. Contact us now and get started on the road to recovery.

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