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Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

a woman realizes the danger she is in after mixing cocaine and alcohol

If you or someone you care about is mixing cocaine and alcohol, you may not know whether they need a cocaine rehab center or an alcohol rehab program. Fortunately, you can find both at Woodland Recovery Center. The dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol could be fatal. Call Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989 for effective treatment.

What Are the Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol?

Mixing drugs with alcohol is risky behavior, but it’s nothing new for many people with substance use disorders. Combining substances is sometimes done to enhance the effects of one or both drugs or to experience a new kind of sensation.

Cocaine is a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant. Some people believe that drinking alcohol while under the influence of cocaine will temper the dangers associated with abusing stimulants. This false sense of safety may even lead them to indulge in more cocaine than they might normally be willing to use.

Unfortunately, this theory is dangerous and far from reality. Mixing cocaine and alcohol can be lethal.

No matter how it is ingested, some of the possible side effects of cocaine include:

  • Heart rhythm problems, elevated or irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking, tremors
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Drug dependence
  • Nosebleeds
  • Asthma

Alcohol can also cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rhythm problems. In addition, the risks of excessive alcohol use include the following:

  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage, including liver cirrhosis and inflammation
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Cancer
  • Stroke

Individually, both of these substances risk a person’s mental and physical health. Both are highly addictive, and dependence can develop quickly. When used together, the risks increase.

The Risks of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol: The Cocaethylene Affect

The most dangerous risks of mixing cocaine and alcohol are in the byproduct the two substances produce. When used together, alcohol and cocaine create a new metabolite called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is produced in the liver approximately two hours after a person mixes alcohol and cocaine. Research on this metabolite shows it can increase health risks in several ways.

Increased Risk of Heart Problems

Cocaethylene increases a person’s blood pressure and heart rate even more than cocaine does. It also affects the heart’s ability to contract, leading to serious cardiovascular issues, including heart attack and heart failure.

Increased Risk for Stroke

Studies have found that the presence of cocaethylene in the system poses a greater risk for stroke than the presence of either cocaine or alcohol alone.

Increased Alcohol Consumption

The presence of cocaethylene can also increase a person’s alcohol consumption, putting them at higher risk for alcohol poisoning.

Increased Risk for Impulsivity

Cocaethylene increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which can cause individuals to engage in potentially dangerous impulsive behaviors.

Long Method of Action

Cocaethylene has a longer half-life than cocaine, meaning even once the effects of cocaine have worn off, cocaethylene is still a health threat.

Cocaethylene Is Dangerous

The presence of cocaethylene makes both alcohol and cocaine more dangerous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that cocaine and alcohol may be the two-drug combination that results in the most fatalities.

How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

Being addicted to two different substances, such as cocaine and alcohol, is referred to as having co-occurring disorders. Treatment begins with a medically supervised detox and may include a combination of therapies, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Medication
  • Experiential therapies
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Aftercare programs
  • Relapse prevention education

Every person’s recovery journey is different. Individualized treatment programs that address each person’s specific needs are considered to be the most effective.

Learn More About Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment at Woodland Recovery Center

At Woodland Recovery Center, we provide compassionate, comprehensive treatment to every patient in our care. Call Woodland Recovery Center today at 662.222.2989 to learn more about our treatment programs. You can also reach us by filling out our online contact form.