How Alcohol Interacts with Hydrocodone

How Alcohol Interacts with Hydrocodone

Drug users sometimes think that using a single substance does not provide a strong enough high, which may compel them to drugs together. Opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone, are frequently used in combination with alcohol, as they both produce similar effects and can potentiate one another. While this combination can certainly produce a strong high, it can also be incredibly dangerous.

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone and Alcohol

Both hydrocodone and alcohol are central nervous system depressants, meaning that they slow the brain from transmitting information. They do this by altering the amount of neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that govern behavior. In other words, alcohol and hydrocodone individually slow down the brain, but when combined the effects intensify. Some short- and long-term effects of mixing hydrocodone with alcohol include the following issues:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Impaired judgment and coordination
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Blackouts and memory loss
  • Constipation

With a large enough dose of hydrocodone and alcohol, these effects can be life-threatening. Respiratory depression can progress to respiratory arrest, a condition where breathing ceases altogether. In a matter of minutes, permanent brain damage, coma or death can occur due to stopped breathing. Combining blackouts with impaired judgment and coordination can also be dangerous, especially if intoxicated individuals drive or operate machinery. Accidents and injuries often occur when people abuse drugs.

Treating Multiple Drug Addictions

Addiction is another serious concern of mixing alcohol with hydrocodone. Addiction can be as dangerous in the long run as well as the short run, as people that abuse alcohol and hydrocodone regularly may become dependent on these substances, meaning they cannot function without using drugs. Polydrug addicts will also experience serious withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop using these substances. These symptoms include insomnia, tremors, anxiety, sweating and headaches. Severe addictions may also cause delirium or seizures.

Treating multiple drug addictions is a difficult process that requires careful attention. Medically supervised detox is usually necessary to minimize discomfort and to prevent dangerous effects. During detox, a team of healthcare professionals utilize medications and other therapies as needed. Depending on the severity of the addiction, detox can last from a few days to over a week. After detox, recovering addicts need inpatient or outpatient treatment. Formalized treatment is especially important for those addicted both to alcohol and hydrocodone. During treatment, addicts can expect a wide variety of therapies, including individual psychotherapy, group therapy and support groups. A solid treatment program is essential to a lifelong recovery.

Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Drug abuse and addiction can damage brain chemistry, but treatment can reverse those concerning effects. Therefore, if you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, then call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about treating drug or alcohol addiction.