Many people who take prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines also drink alcohol. In and of itself, it may seem like there’s nothing wrong with consuming both alcohol and prescription medications at the same time. However, benzodiazepines such as those prescribed for anxiety and even seizures can become quite dangerous when consumed in conjunction with alcohol. In fact, it can cause the level of benzodiazepines to remain in your system for several days and can even increase the level of prescription medication in your system to dangerous or even deadly levels. More will be explained about how this occurs in the following paragraphs. For now, you should know that taking any type of prescription medication that suppresses the nervous system in conjunction with alcohol can be exceptionally dangerous, especially with medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Restoril or Ativan.
Why Are These Medications Dangerous When Taken With Alcohol?
The reason that the aforementioned medications can be potentially dangerous when consumed with alcohol is that both the alcohol and the prescription medications work in almost exactly the same fashion. The end result is that the nervous system is in some way suppressed. You may have been prescribed such medications to help you feel less anxious or to control a seizure disorder but when the two are taken together, you may be setting yourself on an extremely dangerous path that you’re not fully aware of. The sad truth is that many individuals have ended up in the hospital because they took one of these medications and alcohol at the same time without fully realizing how dangerous it could potentially be. Unfortunately, a number of them have died from doing so.
What Happens When the Two Are Combined?
Taking these types of medications with alcohol causes something of a domino effect inside the human body. First and foremost, breathing is suppressed, as both the prescription medication and the alcohol work to suppress breathing individually. Unfortunately, a number of people that take these types of medications with alcohol become extremely tired and fall asleep, only for their breathing to completely stop at some point. In addition, the body is not able to effectively metabolize both the medication and the alcohol, meaning that it will metabolize the alcohol first. This causes the medication to build up inside of the body as it remains largely unmetabolized. When it’s all said and done, it can cause extremely dangerous and even fatal amounts of medication in your bloodstream. That problem is only compounded if you continue to drink alcohol, especially if you’re taking medication on a daily basis.
Can It Really Be Dangerous for a Number of Days?
Since the body always metabolizes the alcohol first, the level of benzodiazepine in your bloodstream can become extremely dangerous if you’re drinking a great deal over the course of several days. That’s largely because this leaves virtually no time for your body to metabolize the prescription medication that you’ve taken . As a result, the benzodiazepine has a tendency to build up inside the body with a cumulative effect. It’s almost as if you took several days worth of prescription medications all at once and then drank alcohol on top of it.
As you can see, this can be exceptionally dangerous and it can put you into a tailspin very quickly. This is precisely why so many people get into trouble when drinking alcohol and taking benzodiazepines, as they don’t always realize that they’re setting themselves up for a potential medical emergency until it’s already happened. Just as in the case with the suppression of breathing, the combination of these two substances can set you on a path that you may not be able to come back from. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to undo the damage that’s been done after the fact. That’s why it’s so important to realize the potential dangers associated with consuming both alcohol and benzodiazepines at the same time.
The thing that you should remember about all of this is that you need to be extremely careful when drinking alcohol if you’re also taking any of these prescribed medications. In fact, it’s almost always recommended that you don’t take these medications and drink alcohol in any capacity. If you are going to drink, it’s imperative that you limit the amount of alcohol you consume and put as much time as possible between the medication and the alcohol. If you find yourself in a situation where you start to wonder if you’re abusing either the medication or the alcohol, it’s imperative to contact an effective treatment center right away. You don’t want to play with your health. Instead, contact one of our counselors at 772-266-5320 and let them walk you through a few different things so you can get the answers you’re looking for. Your health and your life could depend on it.