Plenty of people drink alcohol to relax after a long day or to help them feel more social during a party. In moderation, alcohol may be relatively harmless for some people, but when combined with drugs like cocaine, alcohol can present many dangers. Engaging in this type of polysubstance abuse puts you at risk of drug interactions that can endanger your health in the short and long term.
At Northpoint Washington, we understand the dangers of mixing alcohol and cocaine and how challenging it can be to quit once you are addicted. Our inpatient addiction treatment programs can help you recover from polysubstance abuse and reclaim your health and emotional balance. Reach out to us at 425.437.3298 to learn more about our polysubstance addiction treatment.
What Is Polysubstance Abuse?
Polysubstance abuse refers to using more than one drug simultaneously or combining drugs and alcohol. This practice is also known as polydrug abuse. People may engage in polysubstance abuse by drinking alcohol with their prescription drugs, consuming a cocktail of multiple prescription drugs, or using illicit drugs while drinking. Any one of these substances can produce the desired effects of euphoria, relaxation, or stimulation. So why would someone want to use more than one substance simultaneously?
The main reasons for polysubstance abuse are:
- Lack of awareness – A person taking prescription opioids for pain may not know that they are not supposed to have that glass of wine with dinner.
- Desiring a more intense high – When someone develops a tolerance to their substance of choice, they may experiment with mixing drugs or alcohol for a stronger effect.
- Dependence or addiction – If someone is already dependent on or addicted to alcohol before being prescribed medication, they may be unable to quit using alcohol while taking their prescription drug.
- The party scene – Some people mix alcohol with stimulants to amplify the euphoric effects and help them stay awake and energized late into the night.
Awareness is power, so it is essential to understand the dangers regardless of why a person participates in polysubstance abuse.
What Are the Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine?
The effects of polysubstance abuse vary depending on the substances that are combined. Substances usually have either a depressant or stimulant quality, which significantly impacts the resulting high and dangers when they mix. For example, mixing alcohol and cocaine combines a depressant with a stimulant. Contrary to popular belief, this does not result in leveling out.
The dangers of mixing alcohol and cocaine include:
- Increased health risks
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart problems like palpitations, arrhythmia, heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Impaired cognitive function
Alcohol and cocaine both put a hefty burden on the liver, causing it to produce high levels of cocaethylene. When this substance builds up, it stresses the heart and liver and can even lead to sudden death.
Other Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine
There are also some behavioral side effects to mixing alcohol and cocaine. When combining these depressants and stimulant drugs, your inhibitions will lower your motor function and coordination. Mixing alcohol and cocaine can lead to behaviors that increase the risk of:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Sexual assault
- Hepatitis or bacterial infections
When you are under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, you may be unable to protect yourself from assault. Your decision-making capabilities are impaired, and you may engage in behaviors that you otherwise would not.
Overcome Polysubstance Abuse at Northpoint Washington
Polysubstance abuse can prevent additional challenges over addiction to a single substance, but Northpoint Washington has the resources you need to tackle both. Our inpatient treatment programs provide the support, medication, and therapy you need to overcome your struggle with polysubstance abuse. Call us today at 425.437.3298 to schedule an evaluation and start your path to recovery.