There is no doubt about it – alcohol is the most abused and addictive substance in the United States. According to the National Counsel on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 1 in 12 adults, or 17.6 million people, have once suffered from either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. Now, consider the problem of prescription drug misuse in our country. For example, Xanax, a powerful benzodiazepine, is prescribed for specific medical purposes, but often leads to addiction and abuse. Finally, consider the prevalence of both alcohol and Xanax, and ask yourself – am I privy to the dangers of abusing alcohol with Xanax?
Both alcohol and Xanax are depressants. Depressants affect the central nervous system and brain to slow down brain activity. This means they have a sedating effect on the user, creating feelings of pleasure and calm. Using multiple depressants at once increases the risk of various health issues, but let’s first examine the dangers of each drug individually.
The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse
Drinking alcohol is an accepted, social exercise for many adults in the United States. It’s legal, sold in vast quantities at nearly every corner, and is often a go-to activity for celebrations. Although it’s legal and socially acceptable, alcohol is estimated to cause around 88,000 deaths per year. Alcohol abuse is likely to degrade all aspects of life, from family to physical well being. The following list includes a few devastating facts collected by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
- 31% of all driving fatalities (in 2014), or 9,967 deaths, were related to alcohol impairment.
- More than 10% of children live with an alcoholic family member.
- Researchers estimate that each year over 1,800 college students (age 18 – 24) will die from alcohol related injury.
- Each year, it’s estimated nearly 100,000 college students will report some kind of sexual assault relating to alcohol.
Xanax And The Risk of Abuse
Xanax is generally prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. While all prescription drugs are medically useful to the patient, many, like Xanax, run the danger of addiction and abuse. It’s estimated that 54 million people have misused prescription drugs once in their lifetime with no medical reason for taking it. Xanax is one of the main culprits, routinely prescribed for short-term use only because of the ongoing risk of addiction and dependence. A person may build a tolerance to Xanax, take more as a result, develop a physical dependence, and become addicted. Once addicted to Xanax, a person is more likely to abuse it with alcohol in order to achieve a desired high.
Alcohol And Xanax: Dangerous Interactions
Most people have no idea how these two substances interact with each other once they enter the brain and body. The following highlight some of the potential dangers of abusing alcohol with Xanax.
One noteworthy fact is how the body gets rid of alcohol and Xanax through the same organ, the liver. Without getting too scientific, both substances are broken down by the same enzyme in order to be dispelled from the body. What this means is both substances end up competing to leave the body and therefore stay in the blood stream longer, dangerously increasing the duration of the effects for each drug. This is likely to contribute to overdose or accidental death, as the effects are stronger and linger in the body longer than usual.
Breathing And Heart Rate
Since alcohol and Xanax both directly affect the central nervous system, when taken together the two interact to slow the rate of breathing and heart function. These are essential life functions usually not a risk when taking either substance solo or as directed. But, once alcohol and Xanax are taken together, breathing and heart rates are subjected to double the effects, potentially slowing to a near-deadly rate.
Loss Of Memory
Loss of memory can be more dangerous than just not remembering what you did last night. If the person reaches a level of “blackout,” or not remembering their actions when under the influence, they may not remember when they took their last Xanax. Continuing to grab for that next pill, without remembering they already took one, increases their chances of overdose.
Patients are prescribed Xanax for real issues, like anxiety, panic, or sleep disorders. Alcohol is society’s legal drug of choice. Although both may serve a purpose for Americans, abusing either one, or abusing them together, can result in the loss of life. These are two very powerful drugs in there own right – mixing them is potentially a lethal combination. It may seem innocent to have few drinks and pop a Xanax, but the interaction of two can have debilitating effects on the person, especially if they suffer from abuse.
Call For Help
If you or a loved one have mixed these potent drugs, call the number on your screen and seek help immediately. The dangers of abusing alcohol with Xanax are likely to be life threatening. Imagine the risk of increased difficulty in breathing or heart rate, having a high-concentration of sedatives in your system for long periods of time, and blacking out to the point where you don’t know how many pills you’ve ingested. The results can be terrifying and deadly. Contact us today, and put an end this deadly combo of abuse.
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