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Risks Associated with Using Benzos and Alcohol

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 17, 2023

Table of Contents

Another word for benzodiazepines is benzos. They are a class of prescription medication that treats anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, panic disorder, seizures, and many other medical conditions. After first emerging in the medical world in the 1960s, their primary purpose was replacing barbiturates due to their addictive nature.

However, after further study, we now know that benzos also carry the same risk. It is also possible for users to overdose when using benzos and alcohol. Many individuals have found themselves attending benzo and alcohol addiction treatment programs to regain control.

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The Risk of Overdosing on Benzos and Alcohol

Just like alcohol, benzos work as depressants for a user’s central nervous system (CNS). Your CNS controls many essential functions, including the gastrointestinal system, heart, and respiratory system. All of these systems slow down when introducing a depressant. Anytime users mix two depressants, like benzos and alcohol, that amplifies the effect and creates a health risk.

Common Types of Benzos Used with Alcohol

Benzos are commonly prescribed for those who are suffering from anxiety or having difficulty sleeping. Examples of common types that encapsulate the risks associated with benzos and alcohol include the following:

  • Ativan
  • Klonopin
  • Librium
  • Valium
  • Xanax

Signs of Benzo and Alcohol Overdosing

In addition to the user experiencing drowsiness, there are many signs of benzo and alcohol overdosing. They include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Coordination issues
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech

Don’t wait until an overdose occurs to seek help. Reach out to the benzo addiction treatment center in California to stop polysubstance abuse.

The Potential for Long-Term Damage

Mixing benzos and alcohol could also lead to long-term damage in addition to the risk of overdosing. When someone mixes benzos and alcohol, it could lead to more substantial use as time passes. The constant use of depressants could result in an individual’s gastrointestinal and respiratory systems slowing, which leaves them vulnerable to chronic constipation and infections.

When users consume alcohol, that causes the reduction of white brain matter and the loss of specific motor functioning. The adverse effects of long-term use of benzos are not the only thing that’s concerning. Brain damage or shrinking occurs in some areas when an individual frequently consumes alcohol.

Another notable concern is the development of dependence on benzos and alcohol. For example, when people frequently mix these two substances, they develop a tolerance quicker. That results in the need to take more of one or both of the substances. Over time, that could lead to the development of dependence.

Short-Term Effects of Benzos and Alcohol

It isn’t uncommon for some to believe that they don’t have anything to worry about when using benzos and alcohol. Even if you don’t feel anything immediately, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dangerous short-term effects.

When you use benzos and alcohol, it creates symptoms that are similar to when someone experiences alcohol poisoning. They might also feel symptoms similar to if they are overdosing on benzos.

When you mix the two substances, that tends to bring on the symptoms more rapidly than if you use each substance alone. For example, someone who is drinking might have to do so for several hours before blacking out. However, when they mix benzos and alcohol, that could result in memory loss much quicker. Additional short-term effects include:

  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty with vision
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech

Find Help at Renaissance Recovery

If you or a loved one is concerned about benzo and alcohol abuse, reach out to Renaissance Recovery. Our addiction recovery programs that promote sobriety include:

Contact us at us to receive answers to your questions and learn more about our support services.866.330.9449



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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