Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam)

Mixing alcohol with certain prescription drugs is dangerous. This is especially true with regard to benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam), as concurrent use of alcohol and these substances carries a heightened risk of negative health consequences.1

This article will explore the effects of combining Valium with alcohol and other drugs, the symptoms of overdose from mixing these substances, and how polysubstance addiction is treated.

Valium Use vs. Misuse

Valium, the brand name for diazepam, is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine for anxiety relief, muscle relaxation, seizure disorders, and more.2 However, Valium is sometimes used for nonmedical reasons, a practice that can be dangerous.3

Prescription drug misuse may entail:3

  • Taking a medication for a longer period of time than it was prescribed.
  • Taking medicinal drugs in larger doses than prescribed.
  • Taking someone else’s medication.
  • Taking a prescription for the purpose of getting high.
  • Using the drug in ways other than prescribed (e.g., crushing and snorting pills).

One particularly dangerous—and common—form of benzodiazepine misuse is combining the drug with other substances to enhance the effects of these substances.3

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a strict warning to not drink alcohol while taking Valium, even when taking Valium in prescribed doses.2 Both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which slow brain activity,3 making drinking and using Valium highly dangerous.2

Valium and Polydrug Use

Benzodiazepines are often someone’s secondary drug of misuse.1 People commonly use benzodiazepines with other drugs to: 1

  • Enhance the feeling of euphoria.
  • Reduce the unwanted effects of other drugs (e.g., insomnia from stimulant use)
  • Alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Opioids are the most commonly used drug in conjunction with benzodiazepines, and alcohol is the second most common.1

Opioids, alcohol, and Valium all slow vital systems of the body like heart rate and breathing. This effect puts people that drink or use opioids while taking Valium at a heightened risk of fatal overdose.1

Mixing Valium and Alcohol

When alcohol and Valium are taken together, it increases both the degree of intoxication as well as the chances of experiencing severe and life-threatening effects.1

Mixing alcohol and Valium carries a level of risk at any amount but can vary in intensity based on a variety of different factors. Depending on the person, some or all of the effects of mixing alcohol and Valium may be present, as this combination affects people differently. For example, research has shown that alcohol affects men and women differently due to differences in water composition in their bodies, as well as body weight.4

Effects and Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Valium

Some of the effects of mixing Valium and alcohol can include:5

  • Exacerbation of pre-existing psychiatric conditions.
  • Injury to various organ systems, such as the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hepatic, kidney, and neurological systems.
  • Significantly increased risk of adverse events, such as fatal overdose.

Research has shown that people who combine alcohol and benzodiazepines are likely to consume much higher doses of benzodiazepines, further increasing the risks listed above.1

Overdosing on Valium and Alcohol

An overdose of Valium and alcohol is a potentially fatal emergency requiring immediate medical attention.

Signs of overdose on Valium and alcohol may include:2

  • Drowsiness.
  • Confusion.
  • Slowed reflexes.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Coma.

In some cases, counterfeit Valium, such as what is bought on the street, may contain other drugs, such as dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Very small amounts of these adulterants can be fatal.7

If you believe that someone is experiencing an opioid-involved overdose, call 9-1-1 and:6,8

  • Administer Narcan (naloxone) immediately (if available). Narcan can reverse an opioid overdose and will not affect someone that has not taken opioids.
  • Turn the person on their side.
  • Keep the patient awake and breathing.
  • Stay with the person until emergency services arrive.

How to Treat Alcohol and Valium Addiction

Withdrawal symptoms from both alcohol and benzodiazepines can be life-threatening. Polysubstance dependence on these substances further compounds these dangers.9,10

Alcohol and Valium withdrawal symptoms may include:10,11

  • Involuntary nervous system hyperactivity (sweating and increased heart rate).
  • Restlessness.
  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tremor.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Nausea and Vomiting.
  • Grand mal seizures.

Medically-supervised detoxification from these substances is often necessary. Medical detox often involves tapering doses of a long-acting benzodiazepine to mitigate the risk and severity of seizures and other severe symptoms of withdrawal.10

Detox is important for people with severe alcohol or Valium dependence, but most patients need continued treatment to remain in long-term addiction recovery.10,12

Finding Alcohol and Valium Addiction Treatment

Treatment for polysubstance addiction often includes multiple components, such as behavioral therapy, peer support, medication management, aftercare, and treatment for any co-occurring disorders.3

Different levels of addiction treatment at River Oaks Treatment Center include:

  • Medical detox, patients rid their systems of drugs or alcohol while under the care and supervision of a team of doctors and nurses.
  • Residential treatment, in which patients live at the facility and benefit from 24/7 care and support.
  • Partial hospitalization, in which patients visit the facility a minimum of 5 days a week for treatment.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment, in which patients visit the facility for treatment at least 3 days a week.

If you or a loved one are struggling with mixing Valium and alcohol, please call our admissions navigators today at to start treatment or to learn about insurance coverage for rehab and other ways to cover the cost of treatment.

Verify insurance coverage at our Riverview, Florida rehab center by using the confidential .

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