How Cocaine and Alcohol Use are Intertwined
In the past year, roughly 4.8 million people have admitted to cocaine use and the number is even higher for those who drank alcohol. Many people start mixing cocaine and alcohol together to increase the effects of their high. However, this is a dangerous practice that can lead to serious repercussions for your health.
Icarus Behavioral Health recognizes and understands how these substances interact with one another. We have a range of treatment options that can help you to get your drug or alcohol addiction under control before you suffer from the negative effects of mixing alcohol with cocaine.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects of this dangerous mixture, and how Icarus can help you find ways of overcoming both binge drinking and cocaine.
Why Do People Mix Cocaine and Alcohol?
Before we can dive into the toxic effects of mixing both cocaine and alcohol together, it is crucial to understand why many people do this. Oftentimes, it is an attempt to minimize some of the more negative effects of their drug use. The use of alcohol can temper some of the negative side effects of repeated cocaine use and vice versa.
Alcohol to Temper Cocaine Use
Cocaine can cause serious mental health issues to rise to the surface in the form of anxiety, paranoia, restlessness, agitation, and aggression. These can be uncomfortable at best and extremely crippling at worst. It might jeopardize your relationships with loved ones or cause you to act out in ways that you did not realize or mean.
To this end, many people turn to alcohol to minimize these symptoms. Because alcohol is a depressant, it balances out the stimulant effects of cocaine but with increasingly toxic consequences to your body.
Whether you use a gram of cocaine occasionally while drinking, or an eight ball along with heavy daily alcohol consumption, the effects and damage can quickly build up when combining these two substances.
Cocaine to Temper Alcohol Use
On the other hand, some people turn to cocaine to combat the effects of alcohol. Alcohol can make you feel tired and sluggish, dulling your motor function and speech. Some people simply do not find this comfortable and may resort to cocaine to give them an energy boost.
Oftentimes, people report that using cocaine cancels out the feeling of being drunk off of alcohol alone. It makes them feel less sluggish, less tired, and keeps slurred speech and slow movements to a minimum. This can be a dangerous combination as you might have more alcohol consumption than you realize which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol and cocaine can cancel each other out which is what makes them so popular to use in combination. However, it can be a dangerous move to combine drug use with alcohol consumption.
Negative Side Effects of Alcohol Mixing Cocaine Use
While many people start mixing alcohol with cocaine to cancel out the negative side effects of each substance on its own, it is important to explore the consequences of doing so. Some of the effects of this risky behavior could be deadly.
Cocaethylene Toxicity Could Kill
Perhaps the most serious risk of mixing cocaine and alcohol together stems from the way that these two substances are processed in the body. As they make their way through the liver, they start to form a substance known as cocaethylene. Cocaethylene develops and can enhance the high that many people experience from combining alcohol and cocaine in the short term.
Additional Side Effects of Both Cocaine and Alcohol
That being said, it can also enhance some of the negative effects of drug and alcohol use:
- High blood pressure
- Violent tendencies
- Lapses in judgment
Eventually, cocaethylene remaining in the liver can build up to a toxic level. This allows it to segue into stress on other body systems such as the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. You could have a heart attack, a stroke, a brain aneurysm, heart disease, or heart arrhythmia. All of these could have serious consequences for your overall health and lead to sudden death.
Even alcohol consumption on its own can lead to liver damage. When you combine cocaine and alcohol, it becomes far more likely that you will damage your liver long-term.
As the liver attempts to process the alcohol abuse or cocaine abuse, the cocaethylene buildup makes liver damage happen even sooner than individual use of these substances.
Physical Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol
Even without cocaethylene buildup in the body, there are some short-term physical effects of using both cocaine and alcohol.
As mentioned, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure, but that is not the only risk that you will take. The combination of drugs and alcohol also often leads to other heart-related health issues such as palpitations or increased heart rate. In general, the combination of these two substances is very bad for heart health.
Breathing problems may also take place such as slowed breathing.
Of course, most people are also familiar with the fact that they will lose their coordination. This is a symptom of excess alcohol intake and is magnified when combined with cocaine use.
Other symptoms of cocaine and alcohol use together can include dehydration and a higher body temperature. Both of these symptoms can be uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst, so they should not be underrated when thinking about mixing cocaine and alcohol.
Mental Health Concerns with Combined Use
Cocaine and alcohol can also lead to cognitive impairment. Most people who are under the influence of these substances, whether individually or in combination, experience a lapse in judgment. They might have lowered inhibition that can damage their relationships, and lead to sexual encounters, along with more risky behaviors. Impulsive and risky behavior is the norm.
Using alcohol, cocaine, and other substances together also increases your risk of experiencing negative emotions. If you have any underlying mental or chronic health issues or concerns, they can be exaggerated when cocaine and alcohol are mixed together. To this end, it is relatively common for people to express greater degrees of suicidal ideation.
Researchers suggest that those who combine alcohol addiction with cocaine addiction are at an increased risk of suicide attempts. They found that within the year following hospital admission for mixing cocaine and alcohol, roughly 22 percent would have a suicide attempt in the year following their discharge.
The Struggle for Sobriety with Cocaine and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Many people will need to undergo inpatient rehab to combat their substance abuse. While many people may seek out help for both alcohol abuse or cocaine abuse, it is important to view them in relationship to one another. You will not be able to continue your use of either substance if you want to maintain long-term sobriety.
Why can you not still partake in alcohol if you enter into addiction treatment for cocaine or vice versa?
If you frequently used these two substances together, your body will remember what it felt like to experience the effects of both. When you consume alcohol without cocaine, it will trigger cravings for cocaine in your brain and body.
The reverse is also true if you seek help for an alcohol use disorder. You will not be able to use cocaine without experiencing the physical craving for alcohol.
Instead, full sobriety from all substances should be the ultimate goal. While this can be extremely challenging, increased alcohol consumption or drug abuse can lead to issues with your cravings for the other substance. With routine use of toxic substances, you may experience sudden death or other complications like high blood pressure.
Entering into Addiction Treatment for Cocaine and Alcohol Together
If you find that you are using both cocaine and alcohol, you need a robust treatment program that will address both issues. Icarus Behavioral Health can give you the support you need to conquer your addiction once and for all. We have several different levels of treatment options that may suit your needs best.
In the early days of your treatment, you might need a medically supervised detox. Your body will go through withdrawal symptoms from both cocaine and alcohol, and this can be uncomfortable at best.
At Icarus, our expert clinical team can ease your physical symptoms and monitor you for more serious adverse reactions. This also makes it more likely that you will stick with your treatment plan and will not turn to substances to cope.
From here, you should consider enrolling in our residential treatment program. This gives you the structure and security you need to start on the path to sobriety. You will remain with us for an extended period while undergoing individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and more. Relearn coping skills that will make it less likely that you will turn to drugs and alcohol.
After graduating from residential, you might transition to outpatient care where you can continue to work on your cocaine and alcohol use. This allows you more freedom to spend time with your loved ones and to practice putting your skills to good use. You can do this through partial hospitalization or an intensive outpatient offering such as our IOP.
Get Help and Put Cocaine and Alcohol in Your Past Now
No matter what, Icarus Behavioral Health has a program that will meet your needs and help you to transition to living a sober lifestyle. Mixing cocaine and alcohol is a dangerous idea, so allow us to help you to live without both.
Reach out to us today to learn more about our programs and what might be the best fit for your treatment. All calls are completely confidential, so please reach out in confidence and get options today!