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Dangers of Mixing Prescription Drugs with Alcohol

Graphics include the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.

You must have noticed a warning sign label when you purchase prescribed medications. You can find such signs when you receive prescription pills like opioid painkillers (oxycodone), antidepressants (Xanax or Valium), or stimulants (Adderall). 

Warning signs on drugs should be taken seriously. In some cases, alcohol can make certain drugs toxic to your body. This combination can result in harmful effects. Even herbal remedies can have dangerous effects when used with alcohol!

Around 8% of citizens in Florida are exposed to illicit drugs at some point in their lives. Everyone deserves a chance to overcome addiction. 

At The Recovery Team in Florida, we provide that chance. Our team of medical professionals includes treatment for substance abuse and drug addiction

Alcohol Use Disorder 

Millions of people in America find it normal to consume alcohol. Because of this, 16 million people in America go through alcohol use disorder. 

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition in which an individual lacks the ability or motivation to control the amount of alcohol used. 

Drinking problems have many forms, like binge drinking, alcohol abuse, dependence on drugs, excessive drinking, and mixing with prescription or illegal drugs. 

Prescription drugs are a broad classification of medicines, including prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine stimulants. 

Patients should follow a doctor’s advice to avoid overdose. These medications are used for relieving pain to maintain impulse control and are beneficial to treat symptoms of anxiety.  

Substance Abuse Disorder

Prescription drugs are effective but dangerous when misused. When more than the prescribed dose is taken, then they can become addictive. The combination with alcohol or other substances also makes them lethal. 

Each substance will have its list of side effects, but the most common ones are:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Seizures

Opioids and other substances with alcohol result in short-term and long-term health problems. 

Following is the list of health issues that prescription drug abuse can cause: 

  • Internal bleeding  
  • Impaired breathing 
  • Depression
  • Liver damage
  • Heart problems
  • Changes in blood pressure

Warnings About Mixing Alcohol with Prescriptions

Various prescription drugs can interact poorly with alcohol. Patients should ask their doctor about specific drug interactions, especially if they have poor drinking habits. 

People who struggle with alcohol abuse and dependence require treatment and prescription medicines to treat alcohol use disorder. 

But drinking alcohol while taking medications can result in mental illness, and patients are prone to experience dangerous side effects due to this combination. 

Following is the list of prescription drugs that can interact with alcohol.

Antibiotics and Allergy Medications

If you are prescribed allergy medication for flu and allergic reactions, avoid using alcohol. A person can experience dizziness, headache, and impaired judgment. 

In this case, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery that requires attention. Antibiotics with alcohol can cause high blood pressure and heart rate, stomach ache, headache, and liver diseases. 

Sleep Aids and Muscle Relaxers

Alcohol with medication that causes drowsiness can affect breathing and slow it down. This combination also results in impaired motor control, memory loss, and blackouts. Combining prescription muscle relaxers with alcohol can cause difficulty breathing, drowsiness, memory loss, and seizures. 

Blood Thinners and Arthritis Medications

Heavy drinking can increase the risk of a blood clot and internal bleeding. Moderate drinking with prescription drug misuse can intensify each other’s side effects and increase the risk of stroke or heart failure. 

Arthritis medications with alcohol can have serious side effects. It can result in stomach bleeding and damages the liver and stomach. 

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotics like Seroquel or Zyprexa are prescribed to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. People with schizophrenia or other psychoses are more likely to abuse various substances, including tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. 

Alcohol with this medication can make them less effective. People can experience dizziness, sleepiness, and fatigue due to these substances. 

High Blood Pressure Medications

High blood pressure medications help manage your blood pressure. But alcohol with these medications can result in fainting and irregular heart rate. In rare cases, it can also result in a heart attack or stroke. 

Diabetes Medications

Alcohol dangerously interacts with these prescription drugs and can lead to deficient blood sugar levels. That can also result in nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, and sudden changes in blood pressure. 

Opioid Painkillers

Analgesics narcotic painkillers or opioid painkillers are the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Opioid abuse can lead to opioid addiction. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 91 people lose their lives daily because of opioid overdose. Narcotic prescription painkillers are pretty dangerous, but when mixed with alcohol, it increases the risk of overdose. 

People can die due to opioid overdose because of oxygen deprivation. 

Benzodiazepines

Anti-anxiety medications act directly on gamma-aminobutyric receptors that help a person have calming effects and relieve anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and other mental illnesses. 

Because alcohol and benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants, their combined effect can result in overdose or alcohol poisoning. Side effects of combining benzodiazepines include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of motor control
  • Blackouts
  • Liver damage

Prescription Stimulants

Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse are a few examples of stimulant drugs that can help people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

These medications alter the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, which helps people with ADHD stay focused and on task. 

Because they do not have ADHD, adolescents and young adults who take stimulants for these reasons have different brain effects, which may result in physical dependence and addiction. 

Young people are very likely to combine alcohol with ADHD medications that are trying to experiment with substances. Harmful side effects of alcohol with ADHD prescription medication include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heart problems
  • Liver damage

Prescribed Antidepressants

For treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are pretty beneficial. These drugs are usually prescribed during therapy sessions and should not be taken without doctors’ advice. 

Mixing antidepressants with alcohol can lead to long-term side effects. You may experience depression or symptoms of anxiety when alcohol is mixed with antidepressants. It can lead to cognitive impairment, memory or thinking abilities inhibited, and you may feel numbness. 

Other side effects of mixing antidepressants with alcohol include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Liver diseases
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Risk of overdose
  • Drowsiness

Treatment for Substance Abuse

When a person is addicted to one or more substances, there can be a visible change in their mental and physical health. If they try to reduce or stop alcohol or other addictive substances, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

In this situation, medical detox is the best option. Supervised medical detox allows patients to practice healthy habits in a safe environment. Medical detox helps to deal with withdrawal symptoms, and the chances of relapses are lower. 

Some of the withdrawal symptoms that an individual can experience are: 

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Changes in appetite
  • Body ache
  • Runny nose

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What happens when alcohol is mixed with prescription drugs?

Prescription medications are safe when they are used appropriately. But when an individual mixes alcohol with prescription drugs like Amphetamines, it can have serious health consequences. 

Some dangerous side effects that you may experience are internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulty breathing. Prescription drugs may contain certain ingredients that react with alcohol. Ask your pharmacist about drug interactions with alcohol and other substances.

What drugs should not be combined with alcohol? 

Combining alcohol with prescribed or over-the-counter medication can have unwanted results. 

Sometimes, people are unaware of these interactions and excessively use alcohol. They will experience sleepiness and fatigue. Inform your doctor about your drinking habits before taking any medications.

What happens when you mix pills with alcohol? 

Alcohol can react differently with different medications. It can make your pill less effective, and in some cases, it can be toxic to your body. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to drink on your medications.

Find Support With The Recovery Team

There are many reasons someone starts to abuse substances. People may go through substance abuse due to their past traumas. Past traumas impact mental and physical health and can result in alcohol dependence. 

You can stop this painful cycle. The Recovery Team provides a trauma program to help you overcome substance abuse. You can feel lonely when dealing with trauma, which is why our team of medical professionals helps you find connection and care when you need it.  

At our facility, we also provide residential treatment in South Florida. The residential program will allow you to learn new ways of a healthy lifestyle. 

For more information, call us at (800) 817-1247.