Why Is Mixing Prescription Drugs With Alcohol Dangerous?

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Most prescription medications have a clear warning that you should not drink alcohol with them. This is due to the fact that mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is usually a very very bad idea. There are countless negative interactions that may result from mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, and these interactions can even be fatal. While it may seem that alcohol “makes it easier”, you will always be much better off exploring some of the addiction solutions Florida has to offer than choosing to mix drugs and alcohol. In this article, we will show you exactly why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous and how alcohol reacts with various types of prescription drugs.

What are prescription drugs and how do they interact with alcohol?

Prescription drugs include numerous medications that can help with a large variety of ailments. They may be used to relieve pain, maintain impulse control, help calm anxiety, etc. They are divided into categories such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Stimulants
  • Sedative/Hypnotic medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Barbiturates
Medications can interact with alcohol in different ways.

The fact of the matter is that most of us will have to rely on at least one of these drugs throughout the course of our lives. The drugs themselves have a plethora of potential side effects, such as nausea, loss of coordination, blood pressure changes, heart problems, etc. Furthermore, these drugs can be highly addictive, as well. That is why you can’t get these medications without a strict prescription. Even so, many people find themselves needing to undergo Florida prescription drugs addiction treatment due to misusing their prescription drugs. But when you introduce alcohol to the mix, these drugs get even more volatile.

Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is dangerous due to the fact that alcohol may change the performance of medications, as well as exacerbate their side effects. In some cases, any benefit you may have gotten from the prescription drug may be negated by drinking alcohol. This is, perhaps one of the most important reasons why mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is dangerous. You are running the risk of nullifying any of the positive effects that the drugs may have. Also, the interaction between alcohol and prescription drugs depends on the type of drug, with each type having different side effects associated with it. Let’s take a look at how exactly alcohol interacts with all the common prescription drugs.

Alcohol and antidepressants

Antidepressants, such as Xanax and Valium, have extremely synergistic effects when mixed with alcohol. This combination is particularly dangerous, as it can lead to numerous negative consequences including lethal ones. This is why most alcohol rehab Florida programs strictly avoid any use of antidepressants and rely instead on psychotherapy, yoga, music, meditation, and art. Mixing alcohol with antidepressants can also make everyday activities such as driving very dangerous, due to the fact that the combination usually induces dizziness and drowsiness.

Some of the other side effects may include amnesia and memory problems, loss of physical coordination, and depressed breathing.

person holding a handful of antidepressants
Antidepressants can be quite dangerous on their own.

Alcohol and stimulants

Drugs such as Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin are well-known to be some of the most abused drugs on the market. This is due to the fact that these drugs have similar effects to amphetamines or cocaine. In fact, many of the drug rehab Florida programs are specially designed to help with stimulant addiction. But when you add alcohol to the mix, the side effects that may be produced are particularly dangerous.  The combination may lead to physical impairment, dangerous changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and significantly increase the risk of overdose.

Stimulants also have a concealing effect when it comes to alcohol. This means that it becomes very hard to gauge the level of intoxication which easily results in over-consumption. And over-consumption may lead to all sorts of problems such as blackouts, unconsciousness, impaired judgment and coordination, and even death. Needless to say, this explains exactly why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous.

Alcohol and sedative/hypnotic medications

Sedative medications such as Lunesta and Ambien have a high potential for abuse if mixed with alcohol. Many people try to get “high” by combining the two and experience very nasty side effects. The drugs alone may induce parasomnia (sleep disorder where you take actions while you’re asleep) but combining them with alcohol may result in lowered pulse and blood pressure, arrested breathing, coma, and even death. One of the drugs that are especially dangerous when combined with alcohol is oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, etc.). This drug is highly addictive on its own and many people need to go to oxycodone rehab center after prolonged use. What starts as simple pain relief can easily turn into a full-blown addiction. And when you add alcohol to the mix, the chances of addiction only increase.

lethargic person, showing why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous
Alcohol and sleep medicine can induce lethargy.

Alcohol and antibiotics

Mixing antibiotics with alcohol can produce numerous side effects such as headaches, liver damage, rapid heartbeat, blood pressure changes, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and more. That is why doctors recommend avoiding any alcohol intake while taking antibiotics. While antibiotics are not addictive on their own, they have a tendency to produce serious side effects even without mixing them with alcohol. Therefore, if you have a tendency for binge drinking or struggle with alcohol use disorder, you will want to avoid alcohol consumption when undergoing an antibiotics course.

Why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous?

As you can see, the interaction between alcohol and prescription drugs has the potential to produce extremely dangerous results. The combination can interfere with your life in unpredictable and potentially lethal ways. Also, mixing alcohol with drugs leads to addiction more often than not. And addiction leads to all sorts of problems. For example, marriages surviving alcohol or drug addiction are quite rare. While addiction treatment is definitely possible, the process can be quite difficult and may require several years. It is always best not to get addicted in the first place. But mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is very dangerous on its own, even without addiction. Let’s take a look at a few more reasons why this is the case.

Reaction between ingredients

Prescription medications may contain numerous ingredients that may negatively react with alcohol. This is why it is extremely important to read the label carefully and consult with your doctor before you attempt the combination. At the very least, inform yourself about various drug interactions. To be completely honest, you should always do your best to avoid drinking while using prescription medications. But if you absolutely have to do it, you want to try and minimize the risk by being aware of what can happen.

chemical reaction, symbolyzing why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous
Alcohol and drugs can produce all sorts of chemical reactions.

Some medicines may already contain alcohol

Even if you know your alcohol tolerance, the fact that some medicines contain up to 10% alcohol means that mixing alcohol with prescription drugs can easily exceed your tolerance limit. Some of the medicines that have a very high concentration of alcohol include laxatives and cough syrup. And we all know what happens when we exceed our alcohol tolerance limit. If you want to avoid that from happening, the best thing to do is to make sure that you either lower your alcohol intake when taking prescription medications or, even better, stop drinking entirely.

Older people and women face greater risks

As we get older, our bodies lose some of their ability to break down alcohol. This makes it so alcohol remains inside our system longer. And that means that it is much easier for alcohol to interact with prescription medications. The fact of the matter is that older people are usually taking at least some prescription medications, meaning that drinking alcohol becomes even more dangerous. Many older people choose to undergo an inpatient rehab Florida program due to alcohol/prescription drug interactions. While these programs are undoubtedly effective, it is always much better not to need to utilize them.

Women are particularly susceptible to the effects of the combination of alcohol and drugs, as their bodies, on average, have less water than men’s bodies. Due to the fact that alcohol mixes with body water, having a higher concentration of it makes it easier to sustain alcohol-related damage. It also increases the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.

old person
Older people are more susceptible to the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.

Why do people mix prescription drugs and alcohol?

There are countless reasons why someone would want to brave the dangers of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol. Some people simply want to get “high”, while it is a coping mechanism for others. In some cases, even past trauma can trigger alcohol or drug addiction. But for most people, the reason is actually quite simple. They are used to drinking alcohol on a regular basis and do not want to change their lifestyle. Other people may have social anxiety that they think can only be neutralized by drinking alcohol.

But regardless of the reason, mixing alcohol and drugs is never a good idea. As you may have seen, the potential side effects are simply not worth the risk.

Treatment for prescription drugs and alcohol

Most people who enjoy drinking alcohol occasionally do so while taking prescription medications. In most cases, this only becomes a problem if the relationship between alcohol and prescription drugs reaches an unhealthy level. As with everything else, moderation is key. That being said, circumstances can drive people to take needless risks and disregard their health. But after a while, most of us realize that we are doing something wrong and seek treatment. When it comes to addiction treatment for prescription drugs and alcohol, you may want to look into some of the best rehab programs. These programs are designed to help with both alcohol and drug addiction and can provide you with a way to return to a normal state of things. Here are a couple of programs that are available for Florida residents:

person undergoing a treatment program
Treatment programs can help you with your alcohol and drug addiction.

But your first course of action should be to undergo a detox program.

Alcohol detox and rehab programs

The fact of the matter is that every single person is unique when it comes to treating alcohol addiction. For most people who have developed a dependence on alcohol, stopping to drink will induce withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include depression, sleeping problems, sweating, vomiting, anxiety, hallucinations, and similar. Dealing with these symptoms on your own can be incredibly challenging and, in some cases, downright impossible. That is why the first step you may want to take is to enroll in an alcohol detox program. These programs are specifically designed to help with withdrawal symptoms through the use of psychotherapy and medications.

You may think that all you need is willpower and that you can go “cold turkey” but the reality is that it is much more difficult than that. Withdrawal symptoms have the potential to put your life at risk, after all. This means that trying to beat the withdrawal without any medical assistance is extremely dangerous. Furthermore, sticking to the detox program is much easier when you have someone else helping you. While your friends and family can be excellent means of support, it is always better if you have professional help. And why not have both? The more help you have, the better!

What happens during detox?

A detox program is very simple. You will undergo a basic intake exam to determine the level of support you need. This usually includes blood work, conversations about your drinking history and overall health, as well as a few tests to check your physical and mental state. After that, you will receive detox support in form of medicine for withdrawal symptoms and care for any other issues that may arise. The main goal of the program is that you return to a stable state, both mentally and physically. The detox program will also help you get into treatment for your addiction.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of why is mixing prescription drugs with alcohol dangerous. If you need any additional information, feel free to contact Bright Futures Treatment Center. We will be happy to provide you with the answers to all your alcohol and prescription drugs questions.


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