Cocaine and Xanax (alprazolam) are two common drugs of abuse and are thought to be even more dangerous when used together. Despite the potential risks involved, the practice of mixing stimulants like cocaine (“uppers”) with depressant drugs like Xanax (“downers”) is not uncommon among people who have substance use disorders.
The purpose of this article is to describe some of the most significant health risks associated with using cocaine and Xanax together in an attempt to counteract each other’s unwanted side effects.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a potent, highly addictive stimulant available in both powdered or rock-like (crack) forms. Dealers often combine cocaine with inexpensive, easily accessible, non-psychoactive ingredients, such as flour and talcum powder, to expand the product and maximize profits.
Cocaine products may also consist of other unpredictable and potent drugs, such as opioids (e.g., heroin or fentanyl) or amphetamines. This practice compounds a user’s potential for addiction and significantly increases the risk of overdose, especially if the person is unaware these substances have been included in their drug supply.
Side Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine causes abnormally elevated dopamine levels in the brain and results in an intense but brief high characterized by euphoria and increased energy. Due to these effects, over time, repeated cocaine use alters regions of the brain associated with feelings of reward and pleasure, and can lead to increased tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Side effects of cocaine abuse may include the following:
- Increased body temperature
- Accelerated heart rate
- Drug cravings
- Lowered inhibitions
- Constricted blood vessels
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound
- Excessive energy or mania
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is a rapid-acting benzodiazepine (benzo). It is frequently used to treat symptoms related to anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and insomnia. This drug is a highly-addictive sedative and CNS (central nervous system) depressant and is associated with several adverse mental and physical effects.
For this reason, Xanax is generally intended for short-term use only and should not be used for more than a few weeks in most cases. Xanax is a popular drug-diversion product and an ideal substance of abuse for persons who suffer from severe anxiety or insomnia and are attempting to self-medicate.
Side Effects of Xanax Use
Although Xanax can initially be very effective at relieving anxiety and similar issues, excessive or extended Xanax use alters brain chemistry. Xanax artificially boosts GABA production, a brain neurochemical that reduces the activity of nerves that can cause emotionally-charged conditions.
Side effects of Xanax may also include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disturbances
- Impaired memory
- Impaired coordination
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Increased sweating
- Impaired concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
Benzos use can also reduce a person’s inhibitions, not unlike alcohol, and this effect can contribute to poor decision-making, such as engaging in reckless driving or risky sexual activities.
Cumulative Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax
Using a sedative with a powerful stimulant is never recommended unless a doctor prescribes this combination. Prescription amphetamines, such as Adderall, may sometimes be used in conjunction with Xanax, but cocaine is usually obtained illegally and is unregulated. In addition to perpetuating a higher potential for polysubstance abuse and addiction, mixing cocaine and Xanax can also induce compounded effects, increasing the risk for dangerous complications, including overdose.
Once brain chemistry has been altered by frequent or long-term drug abuse, significant medical, social, and professional consequences will likely follow. Chronic users may begin increasing the use of one or both substances, and, eventually, it will become too late to return to a healthy state of functioning. This condition is needed to stabilize and maintain the balance of chemical messengers in the CNS. Unavoidably, long-term use of Cocaine and Xanax will upset this balance and interfere with the entire neurotransmitter system.
Brain structure may also be adversely affected, and damage to the prefrontal cortex is especially devastating because it is responsible for executive functions such as rational thinking and impulse control. People who experience this problem face a diminished quality of life as a result of their impaired ability to enact informed decisions or behave responsibly. Unfortunately, many former cocaine-dependent users will never fully regain their prior level of functioning.
Finally, abusing a stimulant with a potent depressant increases the risk of overdose. Unfortunately, this combination of drugs has a lengthy and notorious history, and many people have overdosed and died as a result. Abusing these substances together can be confusing to the body, and irregular heart rate or overdose are severe risks that users face.
Seeking Help for Drug Abuse and Addiction
The effects of cocaine and Xanax use can be profound and long-lasting. Those who abuse these substances, either alone or in combination, should seek professional treatment as soon as possible.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer comprehensive programs that include evidence-based services and activities beneficial for the recovery process, such as behavioral therapy. Our medical and addiction professionals aim to equip who we treat with all the tools they need to achieve abstinence and sustain sobriety.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse or an addiction to Xanax or cocaine, please call us to discuss treatment options and discover out how we can help you get on the road to recovery!