The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Woman Holding Xanax

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol is a dangerous cocktail that has been on the rise in recent years. The drug combination can cause intense sedation, respiratory depression, and death. In this blog post, we will look at the dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol, as well as what to do if you think someone might be abusing it.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name for the drug Alprazolam, which is used to treat anxiety disorders. It works by increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain, which helps reduce anxiety symptoms. There are other brand names for Alprazolam, including Niravam and Manor.

What Happens if you Mix Xanax and Alcohol?

You must know both alcohol and Xanax are sedatives. Sedatives are drugs that calm the body and mind by slowing down brain activity. Mixing sedatives with other sedatives is dangerous as it can cause both medications to work more intensely on your body, leading to an increased risk of overdose and death.

It is essential to know that Xanax has a very long half-life of 18-50 hours, which means it stays in your system for a long time. This increases the risk of experiencing side effects even if you took medication many days ago.
If you drink excessively while taking Xanax, it can increase the depressant effects of both substances. You may not be able to control your breathing or heart rate, which increases the risk of having severe side effects or even death.

Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Xanax


Xanax slows down brain activity. Alcohol is also a depressant, so it too can cause drowsiness and sedation. When you take both medications together, the effects are intensified, which causes extreme sedation. That’s why most people don’t know how intoxicated they genuinely are when drinking alcohol with Xanax.

Loss of coordination

Alcohol and Xanax is a dangerous combination as it causes loss of motor control. Xanax can make movements difficult or impossible, while alcohol can cause you to lose your balance and fall over. This creates a high risk of injuries such as head trauma, muscle damage, and bone fractures.

Respiratory depression

Xanax slows down the central nervous system, which regulates breathing. Alcohol can have similar effects, so taking both together increases the risk of respiratory depression. If you are excessively sedated, it is possible for your heart rate and breathing to slow down too much, which can lead to severe respiratory distress or even death. The risk of respiratory depression is higher when alcohol is mixed with opioids, commonly prescribed for pain relief.

Nausea and Vomiting

When you mix alcohol with Xanax, both medications can cause nausea and vomiting. If you drink a lot of alcohol when taking Xanax, this increases the risk for aspiration when contents in your stomach are inhaled into your lungs. This can cause pneumonia and other lung problems, in addition to making you feel incredibly nauseous.


Xanax can have adverse effects on your coordination as well, causing you to feel dizzy. When you drink alcohol with Xanax, this increases the risk of falls and other accidents. Many people also lose consciousness when drinking alcohol while taking Xanax.

Memory Problems

Alcohol is known to cause blackouts and memory problems, which means you won’t remember events when drinking. This increases the risk for alcohol-related tragedies such as car accidents and unprotected sex. Xanax can also cause memory problems, which increases the risk of forgetting not to drink alcohol while taking it and forgetting whether or not you’ve taken your medication.

Liver Problems

Everyone has different metabolic rates so drugs can affect people at different rates. You may process Xanax very quickly, which means you won’t feel the effects of alcohol when it is mixed with this sedative. However, your friend may process Xanax slowly, so they experience more intense side effects when mixing alcohol with Xanax. Drinking heavily while taking Xanax can cause damage to the liver, in addition to slowing down brain activity.

Coma and Death

People who drink alcohol after taking Xanax may stop breathing or never regain consciousness. It can also cause death in people who have other medical conditions.

Behavior and Mood Effects

During the initial stages of taking Xanax, people report feeling relaxed and happy. When mixed with alcohol, these effects are amplified, causing you to feel more at ease and possibly experiencing a pleasant buzz. However, if you take too much alcohol or your tolerance is low, it can cause aggression and other abnormal behaviors such as violence and suicide attempts. Alcohol and Xanax may cause euphoria but can also trigger depression or suicidal thoughts.

Physical Side Effects

Both alcohol and Xanax are sedatives which means they cause sleepiness. Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax can interfere with your standard sleeping patterns and disrupt the REM cycle. It is best to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Getting Help

If someone has consumed too much alcohol while taking Xanax, call 911 immediately. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be addicted to alcohol or Xanax, reach out to Pomarri today. By utilizing Pomarri’s outpatient rehab resources we’ve been able to help many of our patients overcome their addictions, stay sober, and prevent relapsing.

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