Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

xanax and alcohol

Mixing Two Depressants Like Xanax and Alcohol is Dangerous.

Even though Xanax acts swiftly to calm the nerves, some people will also use alcohol with the drug. Either of these, Xanax or alcohol, can be a dangerous substance. But mixing benzos like Xanax with alcohol is very risky. The fact that both of these substances affect the central nervous system in similar ways, an overdose can occur.

Having advanced warning about the dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol is so needed. Many are simply not aware of the fact these both sedate the central nervous system and can then cause breathing distress. In the worst cases, it can cause death.

Learn about the effects of alcohol on the body while taking Xanax, and why you should never combine these two.

Xanax Facts

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a sedative in the benzo family of drugs. Of all the benzos, Xanax is the most prescribed brand. Xanax is a fast-acting drug prescribed mostly for people dealing with anxiety or insomnia. Xanax works by how it increases the brain’s GABA levels. GABA helps to calm us when we are afraid or stressed, so Xanax can help create a calming effect. It also can have a euphoric effect at higher doses.

As are all benzos, Xanax is highly addictive. Some may begin to think they can’t manage any stressful event at all unless they take Xanax. Because of the tolerance that builds quickly, the person may begin to take higher or more frequent doses. Over time, the brain stops producing GABA and relies on Xanax to provide it.

Xanax is often misused by pairing it with alcohol. This is done in order to feel an enhanced sedating effect since alcohol also sedates. But this combo can be harmful, even lethal, and should be avoided. In fact, in 2019 nearly 11,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. involved Xanax or other benzos.

Why Mixing Xanax and Alcohol is Dangerous

Alcohol abuse presents its own dangers. When coupled with Xanax, the effects that result can be quite harmful. The two work on slowing the body’s systems, resulting in:

  • Can slow the heartbeat too much.
  • Can slow the breathing rate too much.
  • Can impede brain functions.
  • Can cause brain damage.
  • Can lead to coma.
  • Can cause death if the heart stops beating or the person stops breathing.

Not every person who chooses to combine alcohol and Xanax does so with the intent to get high. Sometimes the person takes the Xanax at bedtime so they can get a good night’s sleep. They might then decide to enjoy some wine. They may not realize that they are putting themselves in danger by having both these depressants in their system. But it is a fact that each of them increases the effects of the other. This causes these symptoms:

  • Makes you feel drowsy.
  • Makes you clumsy and loss of balance.
  • Makes you feel fatigued.
  • Makes you feel weak.

There is no safe level of alcohol for people who take Xanax. If too much of either substance is taken, the combined effect could cause an overdose death.

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alcohol and xanax

Xanax Addiction

With or without the alcohol, Xanax is a drug to be very careful with. The benzo group of drugs has highly addictive properties, which is why they are not intended for long-term use. Once you get addicted to Xanax it is very hard to break free from its grip. In fact, if you or a loved one has a Xanax use disorder it is very important to get them the expert help they will need.

Signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Obsessed about having Xanax on hand.
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Taking more frequent or higher doses.
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Increased salivation
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Decreased libido
  • Lying about how much Xanax you take.
  • Irritable
  • Manic moods
  • Forgetful
  • Apathy
  • Try to stop taking Xanax but can’t.
  • Experience withdrawal signs when not taking the drug.

Getting Help for a Xanax Addiction

Once you have made your mind up to get help for the Xanax problem, you will need to address the detox process. Xanax detox is tricky. You can never just stop taking these drugs without a doctor guiding the process. This is because the body will become very unstable and a seizure could result.


When you are ready to begin treatment the first step will be to complete a detox. This must be done under a doctor’s care. The doctor will create a detox plan that involves stepping the Xanax dosing downward slowly over a period of days. This allows the body to adjust as the drug is weaned out of the system. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Increased anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Raised heart rate.
  • Raised breathing rate.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Confused thinking.
  • Hand tremors.
  • Sweating.
  • Jerky movements.
  • Insomnia.
  • Seizures.


When you have finished the detox part of treatment it is time to begin the work of recovery. You can get help at either an outpatient or residential program. Check out both types of rehabs as each will have pros and cons to think about.

Treatment consists of many types of therapy. The goal is to help you to learn to manage stress or fear triggers without needing to reach for a pill. To achieve this goal you will be joining small process groups to learn how to make better choices. One-on-one therapy will allow you to delve more deeply into any personal emotional issues. The therapist guides you to examine what feelings or issues are driving the Xanax and alcohol problem.

You will also need to learn techniques that help you relax your mind and body. Because stress was what triggered the need for the Xanax and alcohol, learning how to de-stress is key. You will learn how to use yoga, deep breathing, and meditation to relax yourself.

Rehabs Malibu Offers Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Addiction

Rehabs Malibu offers help for people who want to free themselves from a Xanax and/or alcohol addiction. Just reach out to begin down the pathway to recovery. Call us today at (888) 429-7279.