Why You Shouldn’t Mix Xanax With Alcohol

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


The abuse of drugs like Xanax is part of a disturbing trend in America. Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug, also known as benzos – meant for treating anxiety. However, some people abuse Xanax to get high. As if this behavior wasn’t dangerous enough already, many people also drink alcohol while on Xanax. This behavior is very dangerous and can lead to overdose, as well as other mental and physical health issues. Benzos are not safe drugs when abused – in fact, more than 11,500 people died of benzo overdose between 1999 and 2017. By learning about the dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol, you can understand why it is important to stay away from this deadly combination.

What Happens When Xanax and Alcohol are Mixed?

Xanax and alcohol are both depressants. This means that they slow your system down. That includes your heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily and mental functions. Taking them both together can lead to dangerous symptoms, such as respiratory depression. This is when your breathing slows so much that it can stop at any time. That’s not the only reason why mixing Xanax and alcohol is dangerous, though. It has been shown that drinking actually raises the concentration of Xanax in your bloodstream. While this interaction may lead to temporary feelings of being ‘high’, it can also pose big problems.

Short-Term Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

People mix Xanax and alcohol because doing so can result in an euphoric ‘high’. But what they do not realize is that there are several dangers of this behavior.

Short term effects of mixing Xanax and alcohol include:

  • Sedation: Both these substances have sedative effects. Fatigue, drowsiness, and extreme impairment are all likely when you mix these drugs. Controlling muscle movement and bodily function may become difficult.
  • Mood and behavior changes: This drug mixture might make you feel euphoric, but it can also trigger a depressed mood, as well as suicidal thoughts. In rare cases, people who mix alcohol and Xanax might experience rage, aggression, and hostile behavior.
  • Memory problems: People who mix these drugs often report ‘blacking out’. You might not remember what happened at all when you are under the influence of these substances.

Long-Term Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

This dangerous combination of substances doesn’t just pose risks in the short-term. Although there are several immediate dangers of taking these drugs together, their combined use also has many long-term effects.

These long-term effects include:

  • Changes in weight and/or appetite.
  • Memory and cognitive difficulty.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Liver damage and failure.
  • Personality changes.
  • Cancer.
  • Heart disease and stroke.
  • Depression.

In addition to these effects, it is possible to have both alcohol addiction and Xanax addiction at the same time. In this case, your body would be dependent on these substances, and you would go through withdrawal if you stop taking either of them.

Can Xanax and Alcohol Kill You?

Taking Xanax and drinking at the same time increases the risk of overdose. Either one of these drugs can be lethal when taken improperly. Taking them together makes them even more dangerous.

If you are worried that someone you are with is overdosing on Xanax and alcohol, check for these signs:

  • Blue or grey skin
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Fixed pupils
  • Slowed or stopped breathing

Call 911 immediately if someone you are with is showing these kinds of symptoms. A person who is overdosing on Xanax and alcohol might not respond to you. You need to know what to look for so you can save their life.

Get Help for Polydrug Abuse

Abusing alcohol or Xanax alone is absolutely no joke, but using them both together is simply a disaster waiting to happen. If you are looking for alcohol addiction treatment or treatment for addiction to drugs like Xanax, look no further: our treatment center is here to help. We have several years of experience working with these substance use disorders. Call us today at Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about how we can help you live a sober life.

  1. Influence of ethanol on the metabolism of alprazolam. (2018, 14). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17425255.2018.1483338
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 29). Overdose Death Rates. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  3. Vandergriendt, C. (n.d.). Xanax and Alcohol: Side Effects and Risks. https://www.healthline.com/health/xanax-and-alcohol#xanax-and-alcohol-side-effects

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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