Person struggling with abusing painkillers and alcohol

Dangers of Mixing Painkillers and Alcohol

Mixing medications that are considered safe on their own can lead to trouble. That is why your physician tracks your medications and understands what medications other specialists might have prescribed. This is true when you are meticulously following instructions about dosages and timing. If you are not following prescription guidelines when you take a painkiller and then mix it with alcohol, you have no idea what the interactions might be. Painkillers and alcohol are a potentially dangerous combination and, when used indiscriminately, often qualify as polysubstance abuse. An alcohol and painkiller rehab program can effectively treat polysubstance abuse and addiction.   

If you are using painkillers and alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk. Different physiological systems are affected by this particular combination of drugs. Please consider reaching out to The Right Step Houston at 1.844.768.0169 for support as you consider a rehab program for polysubstance abuse. Let us help you make your way back to wellness. 

Combining Painkillers and Alcohol 

Combining alcohol and Tylenol is contraindicated because of potential liver damage. Consider how much more concerning a combination of prescription pain medications and alcohol is. Whether you were prescribed a medication for chronic or acute pain—something like Percocet, OxyContin, or Vicodin—or began using these medications in some other way, mixing them with alcohol is problematic. What are the risks of mixing painkillers and alcohol? Some are explained below: 

  • Alcohol and prescription painkillers are both central nervous system depressants that slow autonomic functions such as breathing and heart rate. When the two substances are combined, the effects are doubled, which can lead your heart or breathing to stop. 
  • Many prescription pain medications are time-released, meaning their effects are spread throughout the day. Alcohol speeds up the process, which leads to dose dumping—the unintentionally rapid release of a full dose at once, putting you at risk of overdose. 
  • The two substances, alcohol and prescription painkillers, challenge the brain’s ability to lay down new memories. When they are chronically combined in a polysubstance addiction, dementia-like memory loss is a risk. 

The risk of abusing prescription medications is almost twice as great among people who drink heavily. Just using alcohol, in other words, significantly increases the chances of misusing painkillers.  

Needing Polysubstance Abuse Treatment 

Polysubstance abuse can make recovery more complex, but it is absolutely within reach, especially with the help of professional rehab, evidence-based treatments, and wrap-around care and support. Seeking professional treatment makes the process safer and increases positive long-term outcomes.  

In polysubstance abuse treatment, your treatment team, made up of physicians, therapists, and other addiction specialists, creates a coordinated plan that is completely individualized to your specific needs, medical history, mental and physical health history, and goals.  

If you also have a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, that will be addressed simultaneously. All your care providers will be included in the plan and their work with you will be aligned and mutually supportive. Peer support is integral to polysubstance abuse treatment. You’ll have others who have experienced the same or similar struggles who can provide you with understanding, accountability, and friendship.  

You will be included in the discussions and sign off on all treatment plans. At The Right Step Houston, we provide trauma-informed, evidence-based treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  

Contact The Right Step Houston Today to Ask About Polysubstance Abuse Treatment 

We want to help as many people as possible begin their recovery and reclaim themselves. You deserve to live a full life of meaning, satisfaction, balance, and fulfillment. If painkillers and alcohol have tripped you up, we can offer you a safe place to begin healing.  

Reach out today by calling 1.844.768.0169 or filling out this form. We can answer questions and provide you with treatment options, one of which will be the right step for you. 

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