Opioids and Alcohol: Killer Combos
There are many drug options, legal and illegal. While some drugs can be helpful, like when prescribed by a doctor, some can become a problem very quickly. Two common drug areas are opioids and alcohol. Both of these can lead to strong addiction, but when combined, they can be deadly. We will first define what opioids and alcohol are and then discuss the dangers of combining the two.
Opioids and Alcohol
Alcohol is something that can be used socially for some, but for others a single drink turns into a whole bottle very quickly. Alcohol alone can be a problem addiction, but when paired with other drugs or medications it becomes quite dangerous.
Opioids are often prescribed by a doctor for acute pain. These are medications like Vicodin, codeine, and morphine, among others, that bind to opioid receptors in the body. While many are prescribed for use, they are still highly addictive and dependence is a real problem. Opioids are the most abused prescription drugs worldwide.
The issue with both opioids and alcohol are how quickly tolerance is built up. Your first time drinking alcohol it may only take a single drink to get you buzzed, while the fourth time it takes a bottle to feel anything. The same is true of opioids in that a small dosage may work at first, but the same dosage will not offer relief over time. This is when people most consider abusing opioids or combining them with something else to create an improved feeling.
When people take opioids in a way other than how prescribed, such as mixing it with alcohol, it can enhance the euphoric feelings and lower inhibitions, but can also be dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. When combined with alcohol, opioids can cause long term brain damage as it plays on the central nervous system as a depressant. This can lead to depressed respiration and limit the amount of oxygen to the brain, known as hypoxia, and can lead to a coma and brain damage. Additionally, since both substances depress the system in a sedative like way, the risk of overdose, unconsciousness, and overdose is expounded.
Short term effects are also notable with this combination as they may cause drowsiness, mental confusion, dizziness, numbness, apathy, nausea, memory problems, unusual behavior, and slowed pulse, among many others. Long term effects of mixing the two are chronic constipation, irritability, impaired vision, mood swings, liver disease, and complicated withdrawal syndrome. Any one of these can be highly damaging to the body.
If you or a loved one has been abusing opioids or alcohol or combining them then seek help immediately. The combination, even for just a short time, can be highly dangerous. The withdrawal period can also be rough as the effects wear off and detox begins. This should only be done under the supervision of a trained professional so any emergencies can be dealt with right away. The River Rehab is an in-patient facility with numerous locations around the world and can help. The affordable rehab programs are in former luxury resorts that have been converted to help people on their pathway to recovery. Your help is just a phone call away. Why wait?