Benzodiazepines and alcohol are a harmful and potentially lethal combination. Keep yourself safe. Don’t miss out on this crucial information that details the dangers of this deadly mix.
Alcohol is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Adding prescription drugs like benzodiazepines (benzos) to the mix only makes things worse.
Many people take benzos to help them with their anxiety or insomnia. But when they combine their prescription drugs along with alcohol, they actually create much worse problems for themselves than just another sleepless night.
Combining benzos and alcohol can lead to a whole new host of health challenges. Yet most users have no idea of the danger they’ve put themselves in. To keep yourself happy and healthy, keep reading.
Before Discussing Benzos and Alcohol, Let’s Learn What Benzos Are
Back in the 1960’s benzos were nicknamed, “mother’s little helpers” and they began to grow in popularity. Today these tranquilizers are among the most prescribed and abused class of medications.
Doctors prescribe these drugs to help ease insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and muscle tension. They work by depressing the central nervous system which then acts to help calm and relax the person.
Depending on your needs, benzos can last anywhere from a short while to a long time. Drugs like Halcion, Xanax, and Valium are among the most popular and regularly prescribed benzos.
It also should be noted that even when used correctly, using benzos can lead to a dependency and the user may experience withdrawal symptoms when weaning themselves off of the drug.
The Short Term Effects of Benzos and Alcohol
The great thing about benzos is that most of them start working quickly after taking them. Which means if you’re suffering, you can find the relief you need quickly. These drugs also tend to last a long time so the patient can experience longer periods of relief.
Benzos work to calm you down and relax you. Alcohol does the same thing. Which is why many people believe that if they double down on benzos and alcohol, they might feel even more relaxed.
Also, the general feeling of sedation happens even more quickly when you combine the two together. However, what most people don’t realize is that mixing the two only amplifies everything. The amplification can actually cause a whole host of serious health issues. Here are just a few:
- Slow Breathing
It’s also possible for oversedation to occur which can lead to a shut down of vital organs or death. Combining booze with benzos can also lead to a coma.
Benzos as a Date Rape Drug
Due to the drug’s ability to act quickly within a person’s system, benzos have become popular to use as a date rape drug. Often, the victim unknowingly has the drug mixed in with their alcohol or soda.
Worst of all, these drugs are difficult to taste and easy to put into someone else’s drink without them knowing. They then impair or abolish the ability of a person to resist or even want to resist sexual aggression or assault.
Thankfully, more offenders are being caught and prosecuted. However, for those concerned about keeping themselves safe, there are some ways to protect yourself.
You can bring along your own date rape detection straw and even better, never, ever let your drink out of your eyesight. That includes when it’s being prepared by the bartender.
The Long Term Effects of Benzos and Alcohol
Most benzos are intended for short term use. However, there have been indications that long term use leads to memory sensory perceptions, processing speed, and may also be linked to Alzheimer’s.
So of course, it makes sense that the longer you take benzos, the more likely you’ll experience adverse effects. And those adverse effects are much worse in long term users, especially when you’re mixing them with alcohol.
Here are just a few health issues a long term benzo user may experience:
- Breast cancer
- Increased risk of suicide
- Anoxic brain injury from repeated episodes of respiratory arrest
Worse yet, the longer you take benzos, the harder it becomes to wean yourself off of them. Even if you aren’t combining them with alcohol. They can lead to both psychological and physical dependence for a user that often requires medical intervention or rehab to conquer.
Best Approaches to Treating Benzos and Alcohol Addiction
Both benzos and alcohol are psychologically and physically addicting. Which means it’s often extremely difficult to wean yourself off of them, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own.
It’s also sometimes difficult to spot on your own if you do have an addiction. Often, you can make excuses or simply haven’t noticed the changes that combining benzos and alcohol have had on your body, mind, and life. So it’s important to identify whether or not you may have an addiction.
It’s also never a wise idea to quit drugs or alcohol cold turkey without getting the facts on how to wean yourself off of one or both of them first. Most often, quitting quickly can lead to additional adverse health effects such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Anxiety and panic attacks
Quitting cold turkey can also lead you right back to using benzos and alcohol again. Which means you’re going to need some additional support.
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you should be ashamed. It means you’re ready to make positive changes in your life. Luckily, there are some choices in how you can obtain treatment.
A Detox Program
A detox program allows you to wean yourself off of your benzos and alcohol addictions at the same time. The detox program is used when the patient has used within 48 hours of admission.
An outpatient program allows the patient to receive the care they need without having to relocate during their recovery. Everything from health and wellness to anger management groups is available.
Inpatient programs are wonderful for those who require additional support. Therapy, relapse and prevention, and brain training are offered within our program.
Getting and staying sober is extremely difficult to do on your own. Especially when you’re surrounded by people who are still using and abusing themselves. Sometimes the easiest solution is to live with others who are committed to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Asking for help is the next. We’re here to help guide you through every step toward a sober lifestyle. Don’t wait: our addiction specialists can help you now.