Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. Given the many risks that are associated with this behavior, why anyone would ever do it?
Why Do People Mix Prescription Drugs with Alcohol?
Here are a few reasons why someone might take a prescription drug along with alcohol:
- Lack of awareness: Most prescription drugs are accompanied by warnings that a person shouldn’t consume alcohol while they are taking the medication. But if someone isn’t aware of the potency of the medication that they’re taking, they may not heed (or even read) such warnings.
- Desire for enhanced effects: If a person is abusing prescription drugs for recreational purposes, they may combine them with alcohol or another substance in an attempt to experience a more intense high.
- Alcoholism: When someone is addicted to alcohol, they may be unable to abstain from drinking for even a limited period of time. Thus, even when they are taking prescription medications, they won’t be able to resist the compulsion to consume alcohol.
Mixing Prescription Drugs With Alcohol Can be Dangerous Because:
Even if you know that mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be hazardous to your health, you may not understand the cause of this danger, or the degree of harm that can result. Here are just a few reasons why mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be so dangerous:
- Impaired coordination and judgement can increase your risk for physical injuries due to slips, falls, and recklessness.
- You may incur damage to your heart, lungs, and other organs.
- You may be more likely to develop an addiction.
- Polysubstance abuse and addiction can lead to the development or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders.
- You may develop memory problems, other cognitive deficits, and even brain damage.
- This behavior can be a source of conflicts in your relationships as well as problems in school and/or at work.
- If you acquire prescription drugs via illicit means, you may be arrested, fined, or jailed.
- Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can result in overdose and death.
It is extremely important to understand that there is no such thing as safe polysubstance abuse. Though your risk for harm increases the longer you engage in this behavior, many of the negative outcomes listed above (including overdose and death) can occur the first time you combine alcohol abuse with prescription pill abuse.
If you have already begun mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, do not wait until you have incurred catastrophic damage to seek help. Needing to “hit rock bottom” before you can benefit from treatment is a myth. The sooner you get the care you need, the quicker you can regain control of your behaviors and start living a healthier life.
What Are the Most Dangerous Prescription Drugs to Take While Drinking Alcohol?
Mixing alcohol with virtually any prescription drug can be dangerous – but certain medications can significantly increase your risk for serious harm. The following are examples of prescription drugs that can be particularly dangerous to use while drinking alcohol:
- Opioid-based painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet
- Anti-anxiety medications such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium
- ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse
- Antidepressants such as Cymbalta, Effexor, Lexapro, and Paxil
- Mood stabilizers that contain lithium or valproic acid
- Sleep medications such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Restoril
Please note that this is by no means a complete list of prescription drugs that are dangerous to mix with alcohol. Before you take any prescription drug, you should discuss its effects with your physician and thoroughly read any information that the pharmacist provides.
What to Do if You Took Prescription Drugs With Alcohol
If you have taken a prescription drug with alcohol, the most appropriate response can depend on a variety of factors, including which medication you took, the size of the dose, and how much you’ve been drinking. With these caveats in mind, here are some steps that can help:
- Stop drinking immediately. Additional alcohol use can only exacerbate the risk to your health and well-being.
- Don’t take any other substances in an attempt to counteract the effects of what you’ve already ingested.
- Do not drive. If you think you need medical assistance, get someone who isn’t under the influence of any substances to drive you, or summon an emergency responder.
- Call your doctor’s office or a poison control center. They can advise you on the best response based on what you’ve taken and what symptoms you are having.
- Be prepared to tell any professional exactly what you took. If you have the bottle that the prescription drugs came in, keep it nearby or bring it with you.
- If you fear that you have overdosed or that you are about to lose consciousness, call 911.
Once you are out of immediate danger, you should think about getting professional help so that you can stop mixing prescription drugs with alcohol for good.
What if I’m Addicted to Prescription Drugs and Alcohol?
If you have become addicted to prescription drugs and/or alcohol, you may need professional help. The good news is that this problem is treatable – but you need to be sure you are getting the type and level of care that aligns with your needs.
To find the right services for you, consult with your family doctor or contact a reputable addiction treatment center such as Los Angeles Detox. Completing a thorough assessment, receiving an accurate diagnosis, and getting information about appropriate treatment options can be essential steps toward improved health and long-term recovery.
Contact Our Rehab Center in Los Angeles, California
LA Detox is a respected source of personalized care for adults who have become addicted to alcohol, prescription drugs, and other substances. At our addiction treatment center in southern California, skilled and compassionate professionals can help you end your substance abuse and build a foundation for successful lifelong recovery. To get details about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.