Why Drugs and Alcohol Don’t Mix

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Why Drugs and Alcohol Don’t Mix

If you frequently use drugs and alcohol, you have certainly heard that drugs and drinking don’t mix. But most people who abuse drugs have also used alcohol, whether at the same time or in a general sense. While you may not feel that “it could happen to you,” mixing these two types of substances can be fatal.

Why Drugs and Alcohol Don’t Mix

Alcohol slows your nervous system down due to its depressant nature, impairing your functioning, causing poor coordination and possibly leading to addiction. If you mix drugs and alcohol, the results can be dangerous and even fatal. This is true, whether the drugs are prescription, recreational or even over the counter.

Taking drugs with alcohol can:

  • Cause the drug to become ineffective
  • Exacerbate the drug’s effects
  • Strengthen the drug’s side effects
  • Change how the alcohol affects the body
  • Lead to negative health effects
  • Cause death

How Drugs and Alcohol Used Together Cause Harm

When mixing drugs with alcohol, how your body reacts to the mixed substances largely depends upon the type of drugs used. Below are some of the most commonly abused drugs and how alcohol affects people using them:

Anxiety Medications, Antipsychotics and Antidepressants

When people taking these types of medications mix those drugs with alcohol, their depression may actually worsen, the central nervous system may be slowed dangerously and respiratory failure is a distinct possibility.

Painkillers

Mixing pain pills with alcohol can cause liver damage, kidney failure, internal bleeding, ulcers, unconsciousness, respiratory depression and death.

Cough Medicine

Heart problems, respiratory distress and death are possible when drinking while taking cough medicine.

Recreational Drugs Like GHB and Marijuana

Vomiting, unconsciousness, respiratory failure, coma and other results may occur from a mixture of alcohol with these drugs.

Stimulants

Bad hangovers, organ damage, alcohol poisoning, liver failure and death may occur.

Even mixing recreational drugs and alcohol on one occasion can be fatal. At the very least, doing so regularly makes addiction far more likely.

1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, FL Helps Patients Addicted to Both Alcohol and Drugs

Whether you’re addicted to alcohol, drugs or both, 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida can help you overcome your substance abuse. Long-term residential, partial hospitalization, outpatient and intensive outpatient rehab treatment programs are all available through 1st Step Behavioral Health, for focused treatment of your addiction. Being addicted to one or more substances is scary. But lifelong recovery is a possibility when you’re ready to work for sobriety and are committed to putting your past behind you.

If you or someone you love are ready for comprehensive addiction treatment therapies, call 1st Step Behavioral Health now at (866) 319-6126 for more information about available programs. Make this call before addiction leads to fatal consequences in your life.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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