Risks of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax
Cocaine and Xanax are considered relative opposites, with one being an upper and the other a downer. But despite being opposites, mixing cocaine and Xanax is pretty common. This is because people may take one or the other to counteract some of the adverse effects of one of the drugs. For instance, cocaine abuse can make it difficult to sleep and cause a powerful crash that Xanax may seem to help ease out. Cocaine may also increase energy and focus in someone taking Xanax.
Both cocaine and Xanax are addictive drugs, and chronic abuse of either drug can lead to physical drug dependence and the psychological inability to control drug use. With physical dependence on cocaine and Xanax come withdrawal symptoms when the drug stops being active in the body. People may resort to other drugs to try and manage these uncomfortable withdrawal side effects. Xanax may seem to ease cocaine withdrawal, for instance. However, because of the differences in the effects of cocaine and Xanax abuse, individuals often wonder, what happens when you combine both drugs?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) , in 2019, among adults aged 26 or older, 1.7 percent (or 3.6 million people) used cocaine in the past year. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose control over cocaine use and become addicted. Additionally, the misuse of prescription drugs – such as sedatives like Xanax – is also a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) , in2017, an estimated 18 million individuals misused their prescription medications at least once in that year alone.
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What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a severely addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. It increases the natural chemical messenger (dopamine) levels in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal.
No matter how much cocaine is taken, it is dangerous. Some of the most common serious problems include heart attack and stroke. Addiction recovery professionals recommend facing cocaine addiction with a long-term treatment plan that promotes positive decision-making and overall health improvements that include learning coping skills.
The high a single dose of cocaine produces lasts only a few minutes to an hour, encouraging repeated use. Stopping cocaine can cause withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, sleep disturbances, and agitation. Cocaine addiction is difficult to recover from, but it can be treated.
Side Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine abuse results in abnormally elevated dopamine levels and a brief but intense high. This surge of dopamine induces and alters the brain’s reward center and is often found to be highly desirable to those who frequently use cocaine. This effect, however, can permanently change brain chemistry and lead to the development of tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Side effects of cocaine use may include the following:
- Increased body temperature
- Drug cravings
- Lowered inhibitions
- Constricted blood vessels
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound
- Excessive energy or mania
What is Xanax?
Xanax, a brand name for alprazolam, is a potent benzodiazepine (benzos) that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks. However, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) , Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine. It is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Xanax is also prescribed to treat panic disorders with or without a fear of places and situations that might cause helplessness, panic, or embarrassment (agoraphobia).
However, Xanax users are at high risk for addiction when taking the drug:
- Using high doses
- Taking the drug for or a long period of time
- Mixing it with other drugs
Taking Xanax can lead to physical dependence and addiction. In addition, withdrawal is one of the most common Xanax side effects. It is experienced when someone reduces or stops using this prescription drug, which can lead to complications such as panic attacks, insomnia, and seizures. Withdrawing from Xanax under a rehab facility specializing in Xanax detox reduces the risk for complications and helps the client experience a safer, more comfortable recovery.
Side Effects of Xanax Abuse
Although Xanax may be initially effective at relieving anxiety and other issues, excessive or extended Xanax use manipulates brain chemistry. Xanax artificially boosts the production of the neurotransmitter called GABA, a brain neurochemical that decreases the activity of nerves that lead to emotionally charged conditions.
Side effects of Xanax abuse use may also include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleep problems
- Impaired memory
- Impaired coordination
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Increased sweating
- Impaired concentration
- Suicidal ideations
Benzos can also lower inhibitions, not unlike alcohol, and this effect can lead to reckless driving or unsafe sexual activities.
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The Opposing Effects of Cocaine and Xanax
Taking medications like Xanax without medical supervision and without a prescription is dangerous on its own. The same can be said for using cocaine, another dangerous and illicit drug. Combining Cocaine and Xanax, however, is particularly worrying because the drugs have opposing and opposite effects.
Xanax is formulated to depress the system. It is intended to reduce feelings of anxiety, and it can make some people feel tired or lethargic. Cocaine is the exact opposite because it is a stimulant. It increases energy and alertness in users.
When you mix Cocaine and Xanax, you’re sending mixed signals to the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). The brain and the body may not be able to process a depressant and a stimulant at the exact same time.
Risk of Overdose from Cocaine and Xanax Abuse
One of the most important risks of combining Cocaine and Xanax is the risk of overdose. Anytime someone abuses cocaine or takes Xanax recreationally, there is a great risk that it could lead to an overdose. The more of a drug that you use, the higher that risk.
When someone takes two separate drugs simultaneously, they’re increasing their effects. They’re also asking the body to process two toxins at the same time. This can overload the system, and it can cause an overdose. An overdose may lead to unpleasant side effects like vomiting, but it can also lead to a coma, potential paralysis, or even death.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) , Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine rose from 3,822 in 1999 to 15,883 in 2019. Even though males are more likely to die from taking too much of the substance, it can happen to someone of any gender.
Overdose from cocaine can result in:
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory arrest
- Sudden death
The risk of overdose is increased when it is used with other dangerous substances like other drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and alcohol. The combination of heroin and cocaine called speedball is particularly deadly. This combination creates a serious risk of overdose.
An overdose on Xanax can be deadly, especially if the substance is taken with alcohol. Alcohol is particularly dangerous when mixed with Xanax because they are both Depressants; combining the two can lead to an overdose and respiratory failure.
Xanax should never be combined with other benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Valium, or Ativan. The effects of each drug can “stack” and increase the chance of overdose. Overdose can also occur if the pills are crushed or chewed, as the drug is designed to be time-released into the system.
Xanax overdose symptoms include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Extreme drowsiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
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The Combined Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax
Mixing a powerful stimulant like cocaine with a sedative like Xanax is not wise unless it is used as directed by a doctor. While a doctor may occasionally prescribe a stimulant, such as Adderall, for ADHD alongside Xanax, cocaine is most often found as an illegal substance that is not controlled. In addition to continuing a greater inclination for polydrug abuse, mixing Cocaine and Xanax can also induce compounded effects, intensifying and accelerating dangerous health complications.
Once the chemistry and the wiring in the brain have been altered as a result of frequent or long-term abuse, serious medical, social, and professional consequences are likely to follow. Chronic abusers may find themselves increasing the use of one or both drugs, and, eventually, it will become too late to return to a healthy level of functioning.
Furthermore, healthy brain function is required to achieve a balance between the neurotransmitters in the CNS. Unavoidably, long-term cocaine and Xanax use will upset this balance, as well as obstruct the entire neurochemical system.
The alteration of neurotransmitter levels is just one of the many effects caused by cocaine and Xanax abuse. Brain structures may also be injured as a result. Damage to the prefrontal cortex is especially devastating because it is responsible for executive functioning, which includes rational thinking and impulse control.
Someone who experiences this problem faces a diminished quality of life because of their lack of ability to make informed decisions or behave responsibly. Unfortunately, many previous cocaine users will never fully regain their previous level of functioning.
Finally, using a depressant with a stimulant in excessive amounts increases the risk of a drug overdose. This form of drug use has a long and notorious history, and, unfortunately, many people have died from it. Abusing these drugs together (known as a speedball) can be confusing to the body, and irregular heart rate or overdose are severe risks that users face.
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Treatment for Cocaine and Xanax Abuse & Addiction
Cocaine and Xanax dependency and addiction will take their toll and make you feel trapped. But you must understand that there is a way out, and help is available for you. You are not alone in this.
Admitting that cocaine and Xanax dependency and addiction have caused many problems in your life and hindered your ability to live life is the first step to successfully recovering. It is a major step, and it is the best thing you can do to start to reclaim your life. This is a difficult time in your life, but that does not mean that it is over. Instead, you can seek the help you need.
Every addiction treatment is personalized to your needs because we place people first in our treatment center. It is best to receive inpatient care so that our competent staff may facilitate safe medically assisted detox. Inpatient medically-assisted detox is the first thing we will focus on, so we can ensure your body is cleansed from substances and toxins.
Medically-assisted detox may not be a pleasant experience because of withdrawal symptoms, but our caring staff makes it a top priority that you are as safe and comfortable as possible.
Once the drug is removed from your system, our treatment will focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT), group and individual therapy, social integration skills, life-skills-building exercises, holistic therapy, support systems, and relapse prevention.
Finding the Right Treatment at We Level Up
We level Up NJ is offering exceptional evidence-based recovery treatment programs. The combinations of therapies applied for each client are tailored to their individualized needs in treating Cocaine and Xanax dependency and addiction. We provide cutting-edge full-service rehabilitation care, including residential inpatient, medically assisted detox to drugs, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring mental health therapy. Treatment services vary by facility. Call to learn more.
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 SAMHSA – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR090120.htm
 NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse
 NCBI – https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
 NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
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