Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol, and Why it’s Bad for you

Benzodiazepines and Alcohol … a bad mix

There is a very specific reason why you will see alarmingly bright warning signs on the sides of prescription bottles.

Like a poisonous fish,  the colours are a warning to be careful before you consume and to be careful about what you consume when taking the medication.  One of those warnings relates to mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol and it’s something you should take extra heed of.

Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol, and Why it's Bad for youThe warning, which often reads as plainly as ‘Do not drink alcohol while you take this medication.’ You don’t need to have a white coat and the word Doctor before your name on a business card to realise that mixing any form of prescription drug with alcohol is a silly idea, but what you should realise that mixing benzodiazepines and your favourite tipple is INCREDIBLY dangerous. If right now you or someone you know and love is abusing themselves by mixing these two items possibly only a really good a drug and rehabilitation treatment centre can help and most likely could be the all-important life vest to rescue from very choppy waters of substance abuse.

Benzodia… what?

Alright so we have been throwing this vowel saturated, super consonant endowed word called “Benzodiazepines” around, but what is it and where are they found?

Benzodiazepines are medications that slow responses in the central nervous system, thus producing a feeling of calm and relaxation. They have many nicknames and street names, often called “Benzos.”  Discovered by accident in the 1950s, they were welcomed with open arms by the medical world as a safer, more controlled substance than barbiturates.

Fast forward a few years later into the 1960s and these trusty medicines were being used to treat a school bus of human problems including anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, muscle spasms and seizures. Here’s the all-important bit of medicinal guidance about them, they are only to be used short term because, yep you guessed it they are extremely addictive.

Um, so which prescribed medicines are benzodiazepines ?

Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Klonopin (clonazepam), Serax (oxazepam) and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)

Why is it dangerous to mix benzodiazepines and alcohol?

So don’t get us wrong, used correctly, Benzodiazepines are actually a relatively effective medicine to use, as directed. The moment you bring uncle alcohol to the party though, that’s when things go south. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines are central nervous depressants and they both have a sedative effect on the user. Now, you use both together and guess what, yep, the effects intensify. Are you starting to see why you are moving into the realms of substance abuse and alcohol abuse and this is a very BAD idea?

What will happen to me if I mix the two?

Unfortunately unless you are handy with a crystal ball, it is almost impossible to predict exactly how mixing benzodiazepines and combining alcohol will affect you. Why? Because there are a number of factors that affect the situation such as food consumption, how you absorb alcohol and how much of both alcohol and benzodiazepines you have taken and their potency (alcohol content etc). Your age, your weight and health situation including the state of your kidneys and liver are also key factors.

Let’s be very honest for a second

When you mix benzodiazepines and alcohol the side effects can result in some serious physical and mental issues. Here are few of the big ones that can and most likely will happen if you don’t listen to that big warning label:

  • Delusions
  • Issues with co ordination
  • Confusion
  • Impaired gag reflexes
  • Psychosis
  • Mania
  • Agitation
  • Amnesia
  • Dizziness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory depression
  • Mania
  • Aggression

If you feel you need addiction treatment and you or a loved one find you’re unable to stay away from benzo’s and or alcohol, please call Houghton House and arrange an assessment with one of our professional staff members. Alternatively, you can click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form and we will get back to you via email or give you a call – respecting your anonymity at all times.

011 787 9142 (office hours)

079 770 7532 (24 hr emergency)


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