Excessive Drinking

The Alcohol And Drugs Pinball – It Will Knock You From Relaxed To Rehab

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Taking part in the alcohol and drugs pinball ‘game’ is something not to be advised, yet countless people play on a regular basis.

We will consider 2 of the most popular alcohol and illegal drug combinations that will do those who dabble a lot more harm than good.

But first let’s explain:

What happens to your body when mixing alcohol and illegal drugs?

There are 2 reactions that need to be considered. These are mixing a depressant with a stimulant and mixing a depressant with a depressant.

Combining a depressant with a stimulant:

Many people mistakenly think that alcohol is a stimulant when in fact it is a depressant. When it is combined with a stimulant such as MDMA (Ecstasy) or cocaine this causes competition.

A depressant drug works by trying to slow down your brain and central nervous system, the stimulant reacts oppositely by trying to speed it up. These competing signals put immediate and strong pressure on your brain and the central nervous system.

Combining a depressant with a depressant:

An example here is combining alcohol with heroin which is a depressant drug. Both will work to slow down your central nervous system.

Dual consumption means you are increasing this slow down. The ultimate result of such a reaction is that the body will shut down completely.

Adding mix and uncertainty to a dangerous mix:

The manufacturing process of illegal drugs bears no consideration whatsoever to quality control. Users of ANY illegal drug should not fool themselves that the desired high they are buying into is anywhere near pure.

The whole raft of readily available street drugs are cut with a wide variety of other ingredients. Examples of this are cheaper drugs such as over the counter tranquilisers and toxic chemicals.

Mix such an unknown set of ingredients with alcohol and you are turning your body into a ‘cocktail shaker’ that can produce unknown reactions and a potentially harmful end result.

Reckless decisions:

Those who are under the individual influence of either alcohol or their drug of choice are inclined to make quick, reckless decisions.

This makes them far more susceptible when it comes to accepting and taking the other element of a dangerous duo.

Examples of this are those under the influence of alcohol will have far less concern about readily accepting a gram of coke to pick them up, while those high on ecstasy and dancing with gay abandon will not think too long or too hard about downing whatever alcohol is put in front of them.

The excessive use of either alcohol or illegal drugs is opening the door to huge potential dependency issues, a combination of both really is asking for trouble in many ways.

Cocaine and alcohol:

This is an extremely popular, but very dangerous combination. The two create a partnership that increase the chances of a heart attack, it can lead to fits, and in extreme cases sudden death.

The interaction of the two drugs can produce cocaethylene. This is a highly toxic substance that forms in your liver.

Cocaethylene is known to increase the depressive effects of alcohol which in turn makes your reaction to cocaine that much stronger. Aggression is also increased by the presence of this substance in your system.

Another very important fact is that cocaethylene stays in your system longer than alcohol and cocaine. The lingering presence of this toxic substance means you are subjecting your heart and liver to even longer and further unnecessary periods of stress.

Alcohol and MDMA (Ecstasy):

Rather than increase the high given from ecstasy there is a possibility that alcohol will actually deaden the buzz when both are present in your system. This body and brain reaction to another very popular combo really does defeat the object.

What it does not defeat, and indeed intensifies is ‘the morning after effect. Those using such a combination will find they have a mother of all hangovers when they come down.

While this may seem an ‘unjust reward’ for your efforts it could very well turn out to be a favourable one because of the possible alternative outcomes.

Both elements of this combination can dangerously dehydrate you. Ecstasy can cause heatstroke while alcohol is a diuretic; this means fluids are lost through increased urination.

Combine the two and the amount of bodily fluids lost and not replaced can be deadly. Indeed alcohol is involved in the majority of ecstasy related deaths.

Another danger is that this draining combination increases unnecessary strain on your liver and kidneys. Feelings of nausea and resulting vomiting are a common side effect.

Don’t play the alcohol and drugs pinball:

The bottom line is that those who regularly dabble with either alcohol or drugs on an individual basis are taking risks.

To ‘play’ with both at the same time is greatly increasing your risk of serious health problems and makes it one game you should definitely avoid.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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