Xanax and Alcohol Interaction

Alcohol is an easily available legal substance, and Xanax is a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug. Because of this, alcohol and Xanax use is widespread. Individually, both drugs are highly addictive and can have long-term damaging effects on people’s lives. When taken together, the potential for abuse, addiction, and harm intensifies.

Combining Xanax with alcohol is extremely dangerous, as doing so comes with adverse consequences. As different drugs, both Xanax and alcohol have severe side effects. Once consumed in tandem, the effects can amplify, leading to harmful and sometimes fatal consequences.

Otherwise known as polydrug abuse, combining the use of multiple drugs is common, especially in party settings. While some people take Xanax and alcohol without experiencing any severe side effects, it is never recommended as it can result in fatalities and long-term health consequences.

If you are mixing Xanax with alcohol or other substances, you may have a substance use disorder. Fortunately, help is available for drug addiction. Addiction treatment will assist you in overcoming your dependency under the guidance of professional medical advice.

The journey towards a life free from substance abuse may feel daunting, but it is entirely achievable. With appropriate help, you can go on to live a healthy, drug-free future.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax, or Alprazolam as it is medically known, is often prescribed to people living with panic disorders, anxiety disorders, or insomnia. It is classified as a benzodiazepine, a class of sedative prescription medications that produce feelings of relaxation when consumed.

Other common prescription benzodiazepines include:

  • Valium (Diazepam)
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (Clonazepam)

Although Xanax is a legal prescription medication, it is illegal to take it without a prescription as it has a high potential for abuse due to its addictive nature. There is often a misconception that prescription drugs are not harmful; however, any drug taken outside of medical guidelines can have adverse consequences.

Benzodiazepine addiction is common; it typically arises when the drug is abused. This can happen if Xanax is taken in higher doses than intended, for longer than prescribed, or without a prescription. Xanax addiction can transpire quickly, with a physical dependence developing in a matter of weeks.

You may have developed an addiction to Xanax if you need more of the drug to gain the desired effects. Likewise, an addiction may be impairing your life if you spend a significant amount of time thinking about the drug, find it difficult to function without it, or experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it.

How Can Xanax Treat Anxiety?

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax is a sedative drug commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. When consumed, Xanax works by interacting with the central nervous system as a central nervous system depressant.

As Xanax interacts with the central nervous system, brain activity reduces, which has calming effects, countering feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, and panic.

Xanax also amplifies the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical that hinders signals in the brain that cause panic and anxiety.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax?

Xanax abuse can result in an array of unpleasant and dangerous side effects. Short-term effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Mood problems
  • Memory impairments
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Motor-coordination difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma

Some of the long-term effects of Xanax abuse include:

  • Permanent memory issues
  • A higher tendency for risk-taking behavior due to lowered inhibitions
  • Lowered intelligence quotient (IQ)
  • Difficulty learning new skills
  • Problem processing new information quickly
  • Slow response time
  • Lowered attention span

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse occurs when an individual uses alcohol in an unsafe way. Over time, abusing alcohol can lead to addiction. Though many people believe that addiction will not affect them, alcohol addiction can happen to anybody.

Addiction has no singular cause. Instead, it results from a complex mix of factors such as genetics, environmental characteristics, and social pressures. Both alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction fit under the umbrella term alcohol use disorder (AUD), which ranges from mild to severe.

What Are the Side Effects of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a legal drug; however, that does not mean that it is without risks. Alcohol is highly addictive, and drinking too much can have many harmful side effects. Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant that interacts with GABA receptors to increase feelings of sedation.

Like other substances, alcohol can have serious short-term effects, such as impaired coordination, risky behaviors, vomiting, unconsciousness, and alcohol poisoning. Long-term chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, stroke, memory issues, cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, and high blood pressure.

Mixing Alcohol and Xanax

As discussed above, alcohol and Xanax both have sedative effects on the body as they are central nervous system depressants, leaving users feeling fatigued and drowsy. This means that consuming both drugs at once amplifies this sedative effect, leading to oversedation.

Oversedation is extremely dangerous as it can lead to death. Other serious side effects resulting from the increased potency of mixing Xanax and alcohol include cardiac issues, respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, and the risk of a fatal overdose.

Muscle control is also negatively affected when Xanax and alcohol interact. It is also important to note that mixing these substances can lead to the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of balance control
  • Impaired coordination
  • Blackouts
  • Memory problems

Xanax and alcohol increase risk-taking behaviors and other behavioral effects, and the two substances together can heighten these effects.

Mixing Xanax and alcohol can additionally lead to a build-up of Xanax in the system, which can be very dangerous. This is because the liver metabolizes alcohol before Xanax, meaning Xanax leaves the body at a slower rate when taken while drinking alcohol. This can result in an increased risk of liver and kidney damage due to chronic abuse.

Getting Help for Xanax and Alcohol Abuse

Mixing Xanax and alcohol is highly dangerous and can seriously harm your health, both in the short and long term. If you are struggling with Xanax and alcohol use, you may have a substance use disorder and will need professional help in overcoming drug abuse. The good news is that with the right treatment, Xanax and alcohol addiction can be overcome.

As both Xanax and alcohol are incredibly dangerous to quit cold turkey, it is imperative that you undergo treatment with the guidance of a licensed medical professional. Failure to seek professional treatment could put you at risk of experiencing life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that could lead to relapse.

Contact Us Today

At NPAC, our team of highly skilled addiction recovery professionals, counselors, detox experts, and support staff are here to help you. If you have been mixing Xanax with alcohol, we can assist you at our treatment center.

In addition to providing addiction treatment, inpatient medical detox, and personalized treatment programs, we can also evaluate and treat mental health disorders that often cause many people to turn to substances.

If you are ready to learn more about how we can help you overcome Xanax and alcohol abuse, contact us today to find out more about our treatment process and discuss treatment.

Abusing Xanax and alcohol can have terrifying consequences, but it’s never too late to find recovery. Contact our team now to start the first steps in your recovery journey.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine