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What Happens When You Mix Vicodin and Alcohol?

 In Addiction, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Drug Information

Many people mix Vicodin and alcohol to enhance their buzz. Even if you have a legitimate Vicodin prescription, drinking while you’re taking the medication can be dangerous. If you have trouble abstaining from alcohol even though you know that consuming it with Vicodin can have fatal effects, you might be suffering from addiction.

Vicodin Contains Chemicals that Don’t Mix Well With Alcohol

Vicodin is a prescription painkiller that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The hydrocodone alters the way that pain signals interact with your brain. Acetaminophen is a pain and fever reducer.

Even though you might think that acetaminophen is harmless because it’s sold over the counter, it shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. Taking the recommended dosage of acetaminophen with moderate amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of kidney disease. Acetaminophen and alcohol have also been linked to kidney disease.

Vicodin and Alcohol Slow Down Your Nervous System

Because Vicodin is an opioid, it depresses the central nervous system. The medication can suppress your respiration rate, making you breathe slower than you normally would. This can diminish the amount of oxygen that you get.

If you have taken painkillers for a significant period of time, you may notice that you’ve started snoring when you sleep. You may feel drowsy and sluggish during the day. These are signs that you’re not getting enough oxygen.

When you add alcohol into the mix, your respiration rate can fall to dangerous levels. Alcohol makes your neurotransmitters fire more slowly and affects almost every organ, including the lungs. Sometimes, people experience shortness of breath, chest pain or a stuffy nose when they drink alcohol. Drinking regularly can even increase your risk of developing life-threatening respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia and COPD.

Signs of Overdose

Some people consume Vicodin and alcohol together because both substances can temporarily relieve pain. If you’ve been taking painkillers for some time, you might develop a tolerance. Adding another chemical to the mix can make you feel better, but it may have disastrous results.

Others simply drink because it’s part of their lifestyle. You might not have an alcohol addiction or a drinking problem. Still, combining these substances can increase your chances of overdosing.

Common side effects from taking Vicodin and alcohol include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Stupor
  • Liver problems
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke

Even if you haven’t exceeded your regular Vicodin dosage, you can overdose if you combine the drug with alcohol. Overdose symptoms can come on at different rates depending on your history with substances and the amount that you consumed. If you experience slow breathing, reduced heart rate, cold, clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, confusion, muscle spasms or loss of consciousness while taking these drugs, contact a medical professional.

If you have combined Vicodin and alcohol more than once, you may want to seek help. It can be hard to stop drinking or using medication that helps control your pain. At Grace Recovery Community, we offer an alcohol detox program as part of our holistic approach to treatment.

Some other therapies that we provide include:

  • Support groups
  • Psychoeducation
  • Relapse prevention
  • Trauma-informed yoga
  • Acupuncture

You can live a healthy, fulfilling life without being controlled by drugs. Find out how we can help you build a solid foundation for recovery by calling *DM_DirectNumber format=period*.

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