Dangers of Mixing Xanax & Alcohol


The dangers of mixing Xanax and alcohol are severe. The fatal overdose rate as of 2019 was 21.6 per 100,000 people, in the United States. 12,290 overdose deaths in 2020, in the United States, involved benzodiazepines. Which included the benzodiazepine, Xanax.

Benzodiazepine can be addictive, even though they require a prescription and they have legitimate uses. Xanax, and the amount needed to suffer a fatal overdose is pretty high. If combined with alcohol, however, it is much easier to overdose on. 

Alcohol and Xanax combined can create several side effects, which some can be fatal. Experts discourage those who take Xanax to avoid drinking alcohol all together, due to the risks involved. 

Alcohol and Xanax Interactions

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is obtained through a prescription. It is an anti-anxiety medication. Its generic name that it is sold under is alprazolam. Xanax has a strong sedative effect. It’s commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and sometimes alcohol withdrawal and/or seizures. Ultimately the goal is with the central nervous system is trying to slow it down and create a calming effect.

Alcohol has a sedative effect as well. Which is why it is highly discouraged, even by the makers of Xanax, to be mixed with alcohol.

Both Xanax and Alcohol affect the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It is responsible for the activity of the nervous system in slowing it down. When these two substances are mixed with each other, oversedation happens within the brain. As a result, death may occur. 

Both drugs intensify one another when taken together, versus when taken singularly. In result, you are more at risk for excessive sedation, respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, cardiac issues, and dangerous accidents overall.

Mixing Xanax and alcohol can cause side effects such as severe drowsiness, weakness, clumsiness, fatigue. It can also increase risks of unconsciousness, and breathing difficulties. These symptoms can result in unintentional death.

Side Effects of Missing Xanax and Alcohol

Both reduce the overall activity that occurs in the brain. It slows the signals in the central nervous system. If taken separately, they can have a sedating effect on the user. However, when used together they can quickly build up on one another and intensify. 

Physical Side Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

  • Drowsiness
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Dizziness
  • Impared motor control
  • Slowed or difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Unusual behavior
  • Memory problems
  • Death

Behavioral Side Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of control

Psychological Side Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

  • Increased sedation and intoxication
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased feelings of hostility

While some people may combine these two substances and never experience any side effects, others can experience many, and there are those who fatally overdose. There is no level of safety or guarantee when combining Xanax & Alcohol.

When Can I Drink After Taking Xanax?

In a healthy adult Xanax has a range of 6.3-26.9 hours, though it has a half-life of 11.2 hours as an average. Its half-life is how long the medication exits the body. It typically takes about 4-5 half-lives to clear about 94 to 97% of a drug from the body.

There is a variety of factors that affect the length of time Xanax remains in your system. Though on average it takes about 56 hours after the last dose to remove most of the drug from your system overall. The factors that increases the time for it to exit your body are:

  • Liver Function: Those with alcoholic liver disease. They have an average Xanax half-life of 19.7 hours.
  • Obesity: Overweight individuals have an average half-life of 21.8 hours.
  • Age: Older adults will have a longer secretion period. That averages to be a half-life of 16.3 hours.

Xanax XR extended-release tablets slowly release the medication over a period of time which can prolong how long the medication stays in the body. There are also certain drugs like ketoconazole, nefazodone, itraconazole, erythromycin, and fluvoxamine that boost Xanax levels in the body.

Prior to drinking, it is recommended to wait until Xanax has cleared your system as much as possible. It will help reduce your risk of experiencing severe side effects of combining alcohol with Xanax.

Mixing Xanax & Alcohol

How Long After I Quit Drinking Can I Take a Xanax?

For your body to clear half the amount of alcohol in a drink is a half-life of 4-5 hours. To clear 94 to 97% of alcohol from the body it takes 4-5 half-lives to clear. This ultimately means that the alcohol you drank should be cleared from your system in about 16 to 25 hours.

Factors that can determine how fast your body can clear alcohol are:

  • Biological Gender: Women have less enzymes to metabolize alcohol than men.
  • Genetics: Certain populations have less enzymes needed to eliminate alcohol from the body.
  • Weight: Body weight can affect how concentrated the alcohol is in the body.
  • Medications: Certain medications could affect how the body clears alcohol.

Xanax and Alcohol Overdose

To overdose on Xanax alone it would take a relatively high dosage. Although it is possible to overdose on Xanax if it is combined with alcohol or opiates. When mixing Xanax and alcohol, it can lead to respiratory depression and coma, which can be life-threatening.

Xanax overdose symptoms can include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Getting Treatment for Xanax & Alcohol Abuse

If you or a loved one is struggling with mixing Alcohol & Xanax, seek help immediately from an addiction treatment facility like us, here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center. We are located in West Palm Beach, Florida. We have several poly substance abuse treatment programs and therapies to help you achieve the best outcome for you and your life.

Someone who has been mixing Xanax and alcohol regularly typically requires a medically supervised detox to ensure your medical safety and help make detox a little easier on you as well. Detoxing is very stressful on the body and is not only physically taxing. Though, it’s also very psychologically and emotionally difficult for the individual as well. It can also potentially be life-threatening detoxing depending on certain circumstances. Medical professionals can also assist with specialized medication if detoxing on your own becomes too much, in order to provide relief.

Detoxing from habitual mixing Xanax and alcohol, you may experience several withdrawal symptoms that could range from mild discomfort up to dangerous medical conditions like seizures and coma. This is why with a medically supervised detox you are monitored 24/7 by medical personnel. Here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center, we provide medically supervised detox treatment options.

Recovery is obtainable, though the first step is reaching out and getting the help you need. It’s okay to admit that you are needing help. Taking the first step can be scary, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Though knowing it will be a step towards a better tomorrow which will lead to a happier and more satisfying life due to sobriety in recovery. That itself should be motivating enough! You hold the key to a better tomorrow, today! Contact us, Better Tomorrow Treatment Center, here in Palm Beach Florida, today and get started! (844) 989-1415