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Effects of Mixing Benzos and Alcohol

Mixing benzos and alcohol is a dangerous practice. These 2 substances are both highly addictive, and both can lead to severe impacts on the health and well-being of individuals using them.

Using alcohol in conjunction with benzodiazepine medications can heighten the effects as well as produce other side effects that may be unpleasant. Recognizing potential signs of benzo and alcohol abuse in a loved one can help to set a path for them to receive much-needed help to quit.

The Effects of Mixing Benzos and Alcohol

The common practice of mixing benzos and alcohol can lead to devastating results. Alcohol is a substance that leads to intoxication, lack of coordination, lowered inhibitions and can increase angry outbursts. Benzodiazepines are medications used in the treatment of seizure, anxiety, and panic disorders.

Similarly, benzos also can produce effects like lack of coordination and intoxication. They also cause drowsiness and slowed breathing. Both substances are depressants that cause brain activity to slow down. When these substances are mixed, these effects can increase, leading to dangerous side effects.

Recognizing Signs of Benzo and Alcohol Abuse

Being able to recognize signs of potential benzo and alcohol abuse can be beneficial to the individual receiving professional help. Signs that could be indicative of abusing these substances, or even addiction to them, can include:

  • Drinking at inappropriate times
  • Seeking out benzos and alcohol to get “high”
  • Lying about usage
  • Hiding the reality of usage
  • Avoiding friends and family to use
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Slurred speech
  • Engaging in risky behaviors like drinking and driving

Defining the term “abuse” is necessary here. Abusing benzodiazepines means taking more than prescribed, a friend’s medication, or in a manner not intended. Prescription benzo drugs such as Xanax come with a warning on the bottle. It explicitly states avoiding alcohol and operating heavy machinery, such as a car. So mixing benzos and alcohol could be considered abuse. 

Benzo and Alcohol Withdrawal

Benzos and alcohol both wreak havoc on a person’s body. With continued use of either substance, a person can develop a tolerance. This can lead to needing to use higher amounts to feel the effects. As the dosage and quantity get greater, they then develop a dependence on the substance. Through dependence, comes addiction and inevitable withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from these substances can be excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Mixing benzos and alcohol can cause these symptoms to be even more uncomfortable. Symptoms of withdrawal can include things like sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and lack of appetite. More dangerous symptoms of withdrawal can include depression, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms should be monitored professionally to prevent complications that could turn deadly. 

Why is Benzo Abuse Harmful?

Benzodiazepines can change brain chemistry and activity. Continued benzo abuse can cause permanent changes in the way the brain reacts and thinks. It can lead to permanent changes in how a person thinks, moves and acts. Benzo abuse can also lead to addiction, resulting in severe impacts to a person’s life. As a depressant substance, benzo abuse can lead to lack of consciousness, and injury due to accidents and falls. 

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Similarly, alcohol abuse can affect the brain’s chemical makeup and structure. Alcohol abuse also leads to the deterioration of a person’s physical and mental health. Vital organs such as the liver and the heart can be affected by alcohol abuse. When these organs get damaged, the effects can be difficult or impossible to reverse.

Struggling with alcohol can be harmful, especially when the struggle is long-term and severe. However, even those who moderately use alcohol can have some of the same effects. 

The Role of Treatment

Recovering from substance abuse or addiction is possible. Treatment can help those who struggle with mixing benzos and alcohol to find hope for a better future. It provides a safe and healing environment for individuals to remove the substances from the body, and then begin a process of healing and recovery.

Evidence-based therapies like CBT and DBT can help to teach positive coping skills. These necessary skills can help those who struggle to maintain long-term recovery.

Other options available through professional treatment can include medication-assisted treatment or MAT. MAT is an evidence-based approach to treating drug and alcohol addiction. It combines the proven therapy methods with medications that can assist in alleviating withdrawal symptoms and fending off cravings.

It can help individuals who are struggling to build a stable foundation and prevent relapse. Treatment is a positive first step to overcoming their struggles with alcohol and benzos.

Overcoming Benzo and Alcohol Addiction

Benzo and alcohol addiction is a dangerous combination. The mixture of these 2 substances can lead to severe impacts on a person’s life. Alcohol and benzo abuse can both be deadly and should be addressed by professionals specializing in helping those who are struggling.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or benzo abuse, we can help. At Enlightened Recovery, we offer a safe and healing environment to begin a recovery journey.

Call us today and begin your journey of healing and recovery.

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Enlightened Recovery is here to help you or your loved one overcome drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. Our holistic treatment programs treat the whole person in recovery. We have locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

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