Alcohol is among the most popular drug in the world. With its popularity comes a large number of those who develop an alcohol use disorder, and even worse, a significant amount succumbs to their alcohol intake.

Each year in the United States, an estimated 88,000 people die from excessive alcohol intake. It’s no secret that alcohol, even in small doses, can harm your health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights that there are 2.5 million years of potential life lost due to alcohol. Drinking is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults 20 through 64.

As we can see, alcohol on its own is dangerous enough. Many people consume alcohol as a means of self-medicating disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Some, however, use benzodiazepine medications to relieve their stress. Xanax is among the most popular benzo drugs that can be an effective means of combating symptoms of anxiety when used correctly.

Xanax was patented in 1969 and later released to the public in 1981 by Pfizer to treat panic disorders. It is classified as a Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act, and it was the first benzo to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat panic disorders.

Alcohol and Xanax both fall under the same umbrella of drugs. They are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants that cause the user to feel sedated and relaxed.

In a generation rife with drug overdoses, the drug combination can be deadly. The CDC reported drug overdoses spiked 102 percent from 1999 to 2000. In 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths. While opioids dominated the overdoses, benzos accounted for 30 percent of all deaths.

We are fooled to believe that drugs prescribed by highly respected physicians are safe. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Xanax is extremely addictive, and it is easy to overdose on it when it is used in conjunction with substances, such as alcohol. You should never use these two drugs together. You may feel you are responsible when it comes to drinking, or use Xanax the way it is prescribed, but you still need to be aware of the dangers of mixing Xanax with alcohol.

Why is Mixing Xanax with Alcohol so Dangerous?

Xanax, which also goes by its generic name alprazolam, and is a benzodiazepine medication. The primary objective of benzo drugs is to slow down the activity in the central nervous system and produce an anxiolytic effect. When this type of drug is misused or abused, they can cause adverse and sometimes deadly side effects.

Since alcohol is a depressant, Xanax labels will typically warn you of the dangers when it comes to drinking alcohol and using other non-prescribed drugs.

Both alcohol and Xanax increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. GABA is responsible for slowing down excitation in the brain and causing a sedative effect. When the drugs are mixed, oversedation may occur, which is a problem that can result in death.

Alcohol will intensify the effects of Xanax. When used together, the drugs become much more potent than if you used them alone. You put yourself at risk of dangerous accidents, excessive sedation, cardiac issues, and a loss of consciousness.

Side Effects of Mixing Xanax with Alcohol

Because alcohol and Xanax both work to reduce activity in the brain, they can cause an array of side effects when used together. When used independently, they produce a relaxing effect. Unfortunately, when used together, their effects are much more potent.

A reduction in the central nervous system can cause deadly side effects. Those who mix Xanax with alcohol are at risk of:

  • Fainting
  • Vertigo
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slow pulse
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death

Knowing these side effects should be enough to know that mixing Xanax with alcohol is a bad idea. You may feel that Xanax and a glass of wine are harmless, but no one should consider using these two substances together.

Can You Overdose on Xanax?

When Xanax is used on its own, it can be a dangerous medication that requires a cautious approach. You must always use Xanax as prescribed by your physician, because yes, you can overdose on Xanax. When it is used in large doses or longer than prescribed, addiction is not far behind. While it takes a significant dose to overdose on the drug, it is a common occurrence when used along with alcohol or other depressants.

Signs of a Xanax Overdose May Include:

  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Inability to breathe
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma

If you suspect that either you or someone you know is experiencing an overdose, you must immediately call 911. The minutes leading up to help are crucial. If you can speed up this process by reaching out to emergency services, you must call right away.

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