Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Polysubstance use (i.e., using more than one substance simultaneously or consecutively) can have dangerous and unpredictable effects.1 For instance, the combined sedation of drinking and using benzodiazepines such as Xanax can increase the risk of certain adverse effects, including fatal overdose.2 In fact, of the more than 118,000 benzodiazepine-related overdose deaths recorded with the National Vital Statistics System between 2000-2019, 16.3% also involved alcohol.3

This page will explore the dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol and treatment options for alcohol or Xanax addiction.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders.4 As a potent but short-acting benzodiazepine, alprazolam may be helpful for quickly addressing acute anxiety or panic attacks.5

Xanax and other benzodiazepines are Schedule IV controlled substances, which indicates they have medical uses but also a noted potential for misuse and dependence.6

Effects & Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Taking Xanax and alcohol together can have dangerous results.2 Both drugs are CNS depressants that,1 when taken together, may heighten the sedating effects of each.2,5

Drinking while on Xanax may cause:1,2

  • Profound over-sedation.
  • Heightened risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Fatal overdose.

Compounding these risks, people who misuse benzodiazepines in combination with other substances such as alcohol often consume much higher doses than people who only misuse benzos.7

Not only does mixing Xanax and alcohol have immediate dangers like overdose, but chronic use of both substances can also increase the likelihood of:2

  • Injury from falls or other accidents.
  • Significant memory impairment.
  • Disinhibition of certain behaviors.

Chronic use of alcohol and benzodiazepines can also worsen existing psychiatric conditions,2 lead to the development of an addiction to either or both substances,8 and complicate the withdrawal process when someone attempts to quit or reduce their use.9

Mixing Alcohol with Other Benzos

Many of these combination risks aren’t unique to just Xanax and alcohol. Examples of other common benzos that are similarly unsafe to combine with alcohol include:5

  • Ativan (lorazepam).
  • Klonopin (clonazepam).
  • Valium (diazepam).

Though they may vary in their potency, duration of effect in the body, and more, combining any benzodiazepine with alcohol carries the risk of overdose and other dangers.5

Drug & Alcohol Rehab in Tampa, FL

If you or a loved one are struggling with benzodiazepine and alcohol addiction, help is available. Treatment for addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines may involve the following approaches:10

  • Medication is often administered during medically managed detox or prescribed for ongoing recovery from alcohol use disorders. Medications may be used to mitigate dangerous withdrawal symptoms,9 reduce cravings, diminish the rewarding effect of alcohol, or help prevent relapse.
  • Behavioral therapy is a crucial part of most effective treatment programs. Various forms of therapy can help patients recognize the impact of their behaviors, develop motivation for recovery, or build coping skills to manage cravings, stress, and other triggers.
  • Peer support (mutual aid groups) may begin during rehab and continue throughout a lifetime of recovery. Examples include 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, and others.

River Oaks Treatment Center is an inpatient rehab near Tampa that offers multiple levels of treatment, including:

Admissions navigators are standing by at to guide you through the treatment admissions process. They can answer questions about what to expect in rehab, using insurance to pay for addiction treatment, other ways to pay for rehab, and more.

You can also verify your insurance coverage using the confidential .

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