Mixing Alcohol With Other Drugs

Mixing Alcohol and Other Substances

As the most commonly used intoxicant in the United States (and much of the world), alcohol is very likely to be mixed with any number of legal and illicit drugs. Because alcohol is a highly reactive substance that impacts many different body systems, it is also very likely to encounter any other substances in the body and react with them.

In some cases (such as with many opioids), alcohol magnifies and amplifies the effects of the other medication, often to a dangerous level. In other cases (including a number of prescription medications), alcohol will partially or fully negate the impact of the other drug, which can have equally drastic consequences. Sometimes, alcohol will react with another drug (a well-known example being cocaine) and create impacts that are entirely different from either of the original substances.

Because so many of the interactions between drugs and alcohol are dangerous, it is very important that you never mix alcohol with any drugs without first consulting a physician. If you are on a prescription but find that you are unable to stop drinking in order to take it, you may need help. Find a rehab facility now that can help you deal with an alcohol use disorder.

Substances Commonly Mixed with Alcohol

Adderall

Adderall causes individuals to feel less drunk than they actually are, potentially leading to dangerous levels of consumption. Mixing the depressant alcohol with the stimulant Adderall can cause cardiac arrhythmia, psychosis, paranoia, vomiting, muscle twitching, and headaches.

Antibiotics

There are many different types of antibiotics, each of which will interact with alcohol differently. It is very important to consult with a physician and carefully read all labels. The biggest risk to mixing alcohol and antibiotics is liver damage, as both are metabolized in the liver. Other common reactions including nausea, dizziness, vomiting, tiredness, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants and alcohol magnify the impacts of each other, making an individual feel more intoxicated than they would otherwise. Alcohol can also negate the effect of the antidepressant, eliminating the desired impacts and possibly limiting the success of treatment. This combination can also cause unexpected and extreme emotions.

Antihistamines

Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of antihistamines if the body chooses to metabolize the alcohol before the antihistamine. Alcohol may cause more severe side effects when mixed with certain antihistamines.

Cocaine

There is a widespread myth that cocaine and alcohol cancel each other out, but that is far from the truth. Alcohol and cocaine combine in the body to form a third substance, cocaethylene. Cocaethylene causes the highest level of cardiovascular activity of any drug, which puts extreme pressure and stress on the heart and often leads to cardiac arrest and death.

Energy Drinks/Caffeine

These drinks trick your body into thinking it is less tired and intoxicated than it truly is, leading to greater, and potentially dangerous, levels of alcohol consumption. These drinks also dehydrate the body, increasing the risk of alcohol poisoning and the severity of hangovers. Those who drink alcohol with caffeine are more than twice as likely to be injured, require medical attention, or accept a ride from an intoxicated driver than those who drank alcohol without caffeine.