Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make You Black Out?

Last Updated: Aug 14th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make You Black Out?

Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, a medication prescribed mostly for anxiety and panic disorders. It’s a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down activity in the brain.

Like Xanax, alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain activity. Using the two together is extremely risky and can be life-threatening. Although there are many, blackouts are one of the most dangerous side effects of mixing Xanax and alcohol.

Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make you Black Out?

When you use Xanax and alcohol together, the effects of both central nervous system depressants are significantly amplified. The term for this effect is “potentiation,” which means that both substances become much more potent when combined than they would be if you used them alone. 

Side Effects of Combining Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and alcohol together, it’s easy to drink more alcohol than you realize, and you can become intoxicated very quickly. An alcohol and Xanax combination will make you feel uncoordinated, and you may stumble and fall. If you drive, you are at risk of car accidents, which can be fatal.   

Using both substances together can also make you feel nauseous, tired, dizzy, or faint, and you may have severe headaches. If you use Xanax and alcohol over long periods, you may develop stomach problems, or serious issues with your heart, liver, or kidneys. You’ll be more likely to think about or commit suicide, especially if you previously struggled with depression or other mental health issues.

According to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, studies indicate that long-term use of Xanax and other benzodiazepines are linked with a heightened risk of dementia, and alcohol may increase that risk. 

Symptoms of a Xanax and Alcohol Blackout

If you’re mixing Xanax and alcohol, blackout is always possible. If you blackout, you won’t lose consciousness, but your brain can’t form memories, and you’ll be in a state of temporary amnesia. In other words, you’ll be awake, but you won’t remember what happens during the time you are blacked out, or you may remember only fragments.  

During a blackout, you may act normal, and your friends may not realize you are in the middle of a blackout. You may carry on conversations, dance, or drive a car. Also, you may commit crimes, drive recklessly, or be date-raped. A blackout can be short, lasting only a few minutes, or for several hours. 

How Many Xanax Does it Take to Black Out?

It’s impossible to predict how many Xanax it takes to experience a blackout. However, Xanax alone usually doesn’t cause this effect if you’re a healthy adult, although it’s possible if you take very large doses. You can have a blackout from drinking alcohol on its own, without taking Xanax.

You’re much more likely to blackout if you use Xanax and alcohol together, even if you use relatively small amounts. You don’t have to be addicted to either one to experience a blackout. 

Xanax Overdose: Can You Die from Taking Xanax and Alcohol?

Don’t kid yourself; mixing Xanax and alcohol is a risky practice. You may only feel a little dizzy and sick, or you may stop breathing, choke on your own vomit, or have a heart attack. The effects depend on many factors, including your age, size, and general health.

It’s also possible to die from alcohol poisoning if you forget how much you’ve had to drink. You may have seizures, a heart attack, or you may fall into a coma. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been using Xanax and alcohol. You may kill yourself or somebody else.

If you suspect someone you know has overdosed on Xanax or alcohol, or if they have symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Never assume they will “sleep it off.”

The Dangers of Fake Xanax

Fake Xanax looks identical to the real thing and will be labeled “Xanax.” However, it may be cut with substances that weaken the drug, such as talc or baking powder. Illegal sellers do this to make more money. 

On the other hand, fake Xanax may be much stronger than pharmaceutical-grade Xanax, or it may be laced with Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is about fifty times stronger than heroin.  When you buy Xanax on the street, it’s impossible to be sure what you’re getting. 

Xanax and Alcohol Detox

Xanax withdrawal symptoms are challenging, but they usually aren’t fatal unless you’ve used very large amounts. However, Xanax and alcohol detox can be life-threatening. You may experience heart palpitations, high blood pressure, headaches, fever, and sweating, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, dizziness, insomnia, confusion, exhaustion, numbness in your arms and legs, electric shock sensations, delirium, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. 

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will ease in a few days, but Xanax detox takes longer. You’ll feel better after a couple of weeks, but you may experience symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety for weeks, or even months. You may also experience rebound anxiety, which can be more severe than the original anxiety that prompted you to use Xanax in the first place. 

Typically, Xanax is tapered slowly, and a doctor can help you stop taking the drug gradually without major withdrawal symptoms. The safest way to stop using Xanax and alcohol is to enter a treatment center or medical detox facility, where you’ll be safe and as comfortable as possible. 

With medically-monitored detox, somebody will always be present to help, and your vital signs will be checked regularly. Medications can be prescribed to help with difficult symptoms. You may receive a safer short-term medication to help with severe anxiety.  

Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Addiction at 1st Step

Seek treatment as soon as possible if you’re dependent on Xanax and alcohol; the longer you wait, the higher the risk that something bad will happen. Look for a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis, which means they have the experience and knowledge to deal with both addictions at the same time. A good treatment center will also help with anxiety and will provide support and direction throughout the entire process. 

Don’t go through withdrawal and treatment for Xanax and alcohol addiction alone. Give 1st Step a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll answer your questions and help you explore various options for withdrawing from Xanax and alcohol safely. 

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.