Mixing Xanax and Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

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Mixing Xanax and alcohol is relatively commonplace. Either substances can be harmful when abused, but their combined use can have fatal consequences.

Today’s guide will help you if you have questions such as:

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  • Can I drink alcohol while taking Xanax?
  • What happens when you mix Xanax and alcohol?
  • Are Xanax and alcohol interactions dangerous?

Can You Drink on Xanax?

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that regulates the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters in the brain. GABA is released during moments of anxiety or nervousness. Xanax boosts GABA and dopamine levels, promoting pleasure and reducing negative emotions like panic and anxiety. While it can be helpful for those with anxiety disorders, some misuse Xanax for its pleasurable effects rather than its intended medical use.

Can you take alcohol with Xanax, then?

Drinking on Xanax is not recommended and can be dangerous. Both alcohol and Xanax are central nervous system depressants, which means that they slow down brain activity and can have additive effects when taken together. Mixing alcohol and Xanax can lead to increased drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, combining Xanax with alcohol increases the risk of accidents, falls, and overdose. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice and avoid the alcohol Xanax combination to ensure your safety and well-being.

Risks of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Combining Xanax and alcohol poses significant risks to your health and well-being. Since both substances are depressants that affect the central nervous system, their combined effects can amplify the sedative and respiratory-depressing effects. Some of the potential risks of mixing Xanax and alcohol include: 

  • Increased sedation: Xanax and alcohol can both cause drowsiness and sedation. When taken together, these effects can intensify, leading to excessive sleepiness and impaired motor skills.
  • Impaired coordination: Both substances can affect coordination and balance. Combining them can increase the risk of accidents, falls, and injuries.
  • Memory impairment: Xanax and alcohol can impair memory and cognitive function. Mixing them can lead to blackouts or difficulty recalling events.
  • Respiratory depression: Both Xanax and alcohol depress the respiratory system. When taken together, they can slow down breathing to dangerous levels, leading to respiratory distress or failure.
  • Overdose: Combining Xanax and alcohol significantly increases the risk of overdose. Overdosing on either substance can lead to coma or death. The depressant effects can suppress vital functions, making it difficult for the body to recover.
  • Increased intoxication: Mixing Xanax and alcohol can intensify the feeling of intoxication, leading to poor judgment and risky behaviors.
  • Cardiovascular effects: The combination of Xanax and alcohol can also impact heart rate and blood pressure, leading to irregularities and potential cardiovascular complications.
  • Mental health effects: Xanax is often prescribed to manage anxiety and panic disorders. Alcohol can inflame these conditions and interfere with the effectiveness of Xanax treatment.
  • Addiction and dependence: Combining Xanax and alcohol can increase the risk of developing addiction and dependence on either or both substances.

Given the serious risks associated with mixing Xanax and alcohol, avoid this combination. If you are taking Xanax or any other medication, consult your healthcare provider before consuming alcohol to ensure your safety and well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, seek professional help to address the issue and prevent potential harm.

an image of a man dealing with a Xanax and alcohol addiction

Xanax and Alcohol Interactions

Xanax and alcohol are both substances that affect the central nervous system. When used separately, they can have their own effects on the body and mind. However, when taken together, their interactions can lead to dangerous consequences. 

Enhanced sedation

Both Xanax and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. Combining them can intensify their sedative effects, leading to excessive drowsiness, difficulty staying awake, and impaired motor skills.

Respiratory depression

Both substances can slow down the respiratory system, reducing the rate of breathing. Taking Xanax and alcohol together can compound this effect, potentially causing difficulty breathing or even respiratory failure. 

Memory and cognitive impairment

Xanax and alcohol can impair memory, cognitive function, and concentration. When combined, they can lead to memory blackouts, confusion, and difficulty performing tasks that require focus.

Coordination and balance issues

Both substances can affect coordination and balance. Combining them can increase the risk of accidents, falls, and injuries. 

Mood changes

Xanax is often used to manage anxiety and panic disorders. Alcohol can have a destabilizing effect on mood. Combining them can lead to unpredictable emotional responses and exacerbate mental health issues.

Risk of overdose

The combination of alcohol and Xanax also significantly increases the risk of overdose. Overdosing on either substance can be life-threatening and may lead to coma or death. 

Cardiovascular effects

Both substances can impact heart rate and blood pressure. Combining them can lead to irregular heart rhythms and potential cardiovascular complications.

Addiction and dependence

Xanax and alcohol both carry a risk of addiction and dependence. Combining them may increase the risk of developing substance use disorders.

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Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at California Detox

If you have developed an addiction to alcohol, engage with detox and addiction treatment at California Detox in Laguna Beach, CA.

 For those who are dependent on alcohol, our supervised medical detox program offers the smoothest route to ongoing recovery. With medications to streamline the intensity of alcohol withdrawal and access to ongoing emotional care, you can move directly from detox into inpatient treatment at our beachside facility.

 All treatment programs at California Detox combine holistic and science-based therapies that include:

  • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Holistic therapies
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Aftercare planning and support

 Call our friendly admissions team at 949.694.8305 for immediate assistance.


No, it is not recommended to drink wine while on Xanax. Xanax and wine mix poorly because alcohol can enhance the sedative effects of Xanax. Additionally, mixing the substances increases the risk of dangerous Xanax side effects with alcohol.
If you have mixed Xanax and alcohol, seek medical help immediately. The combination can lead to serious health risks, including respiratory depression and loss of consciousness. Contact a healthcare professional or call emergency services if needed.


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