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Xanax and Beer - Questions
  1. #1
    Paws917 is offline New Member
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    Default Xanax and Beer - Questions

    My husband has been taking three .5 mg Xanax pills every night for insomnia for two years now. I am just now starting to find out how awful they are through what I've read. He's always been argumentative, moody and short-tempered, but he seems to be getting worse and that's what led me to start investigating the pills he takes.

    I have a question ...

    What effect does beer have on Xanax? I know you aren't supposed to take any meds with alcohol, but I read somewhere that beer and Xanax have the same effect on the brain so it's almost like taking a double dose of Xanax. If that's the case, then what happens when someone quits drinking, but is still taking the Xanax? Do they go through some of the withdrawl symptoms I've been reading about?

    Sorry if these are stupid questions. I'm just starting to learn about this stuff.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paws917 View Post
    My husband has been taking three .5 mg Xanax pills every night for insomnia for two years now. I am just now starting to find out how awful they are through what I've read. He's always been argumentative, moody and short-tempered, but he seems to be getting worse and that's what led me to start investigating the pills he takes.

    I have a question ...

    What effect does beer have on Xanax? I know you aren't supposed to take any meds with alcohol, but I read somewhere that beer and Xanax have the same effect on the brain so it's almost like taking a double dose of Xanax. If that's the case, then what happens when someone quits drinking, but is still taking the Xanax? Do they go through some of the withdrawl symptoms I've been reading about?

    Sorry if these are stupid questions. I'm just starting to learn about this stuff.

    Hello Paws...

    No question is a stupid question (although my answer might be a stupid one LOL)

    I can't tell you any specific chemical or structural changes that happen because of Xanax, but I DO know that the withdrawals are dangerous (which you know too)

    In my experience...taking xanax while drinking most definitely does intensify the effects of the xanax...I've known people to do some really scary stuff of that combination, and have absolutely no recollection of doing such things.

    When reading your question about the withdrawals, my first instinct is "no". They won't withdraw from the xanax if they are still taking it. But then you have to keep in mind that they might be an alcoholic. My guess is he could experience withdrawal from that possibly, but if it were me...no, I wouldn't, only if I stopped taking the xanax.

    It's hard to give a clear-cut definitive answer to something like that, seeing as I am not a doctor, but I base it off of my experiences...so there's just one little insight. I hope others jump on here, and they are able to offer you other viewpoints as well.

    If there's anything any of us can do to help, just give a shout

    Big Hugs
    Katie

  3. #3
    Paws917 is offline New Member
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    Thanks, Katie! A lot of people (him included) think that beer is different from other alcohol like say whiskey or vodka and that it's somehow safer. He doesn't get drunk when he drinks, just more relaxed. I don't know if that's because his tolerance is up there or what. Thanks for the info though. I really appreciate it!

  4. #4
    Robert_325 is offline Retired
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paws917 View Post
    Thanks, Katie! A lot of people (him included) think that beer is different from other alcohol like say whiskey or vodka and that it's somehow safer. He doesn't get drunk when he drinks, just more relaxed. I don't know if that's because his tolerance is up there or what. Thanks for the info though. I really appreciate it!



    Alcohol and benzos are potentially dangerous, can be fatal in some cases. And for what it's worth alcohol is alcohol, doesn't matter if it's whiskey, scotch, beer, tequila or whatever. It's all just a little different in the volume of alcohol in the same size drink. You haven't said if he drinks one beer or drinks through the evening. It will say right on his prescription bottle to avoid alcohol while taking the xanax.
    Last edited by Robert_325; 01-03-2012 at 03:00 PM.
    caughtagain likes this.
    I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.

  5. #5
    SomeDay is offline Member
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    As mentioned, the combination of alcohol and Xanax can be brutal. I have completely blacked out on the combination before, while still being conscious and burning through a full tank of gas in my truck, driving through fences, trees, and other unlucky inanimate objects. I'm lucky nothing major ever happened, aside from tearing up my truck pretty good. Needless to say I don't do that anymore. So tell him to be extremely careful if he continues that combination. When I drank while taking opiates, it did not have the same effect.

    So your question about withdrawaling from alcohol while still on Xanax. I would assume that he would still feel alcohol withdrawals even if he were still taking Xanax, since they are completely different. He might not feel it as bad, since his body is on something (Xanax) else, but he may still feel it. Now if he drinks in moderation, even if it is consistent, he might not feel much withdrawal when quitting. If he is pounding large amounts of beer or hard liquor daily, and then quits, then he is going to feel it. Not sure if any of these are answering your questions.

  6. #6
    Paws917 is offline New Member
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    Since the New Year, he hasn't had anything to drink and I've noticed that even though he's still taking the Xanax before bedtime, he is having a terrible time sleeping. Tosses and turns and gets up all throughout the night. Keeps me awake too.

    I guess I figured that because he takes them before bedtime and drinks throughout the evening, that everything is out of his system by morning, but from what you all are saying, it doesn't sound like that is the case, is it? I mean is he still at risk for auto accidents and blackouts during the day?

    Thank you!

  7. #7
    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paws917 View Post
    Since the New Year, he hasn't had anything to drink and I've noticed that even though he's still taking the Xanax before bedtime, he is having a terrible time sleeping. Tosses and turns and gets up all throughout the night. Keeps me awake too.

    I guess I figured that because he takes them before bedtime and drinks throughout the evening, that everything is out of his system by morning, but from what you all are saying, it doesn't sound like that is the case, is it? I mean is he still at risk for auto accidents and blackouts during the day?

    Thank you!
    Xanax has a half-life of 9-20 hours. The "half-life" is a measure of how long it takes the body to eliminate half of the drug. In other words, the xanax is not out of his system by morning. In fact, since he is taking it routinely, he always has some level of xanax in his system.

    Xanax is not a drug to mess with - nor to use with alcohol. It belongs in the benzodiazepene family of drugs, which is a highly addictive and powerful group of drugs. These meds were intended for short term use only - not for the 2 years your husband has been taking it. Also - these drugs are NOT meant to be used as sleep aids routinely. Xanax is intended for short-term (under 4 months) and only for ACUTE anxiety. Think of a crisis - a death in the family, for example - that's when xanax is prescribed for a few weeks or months.

    Xanax is a very poor choice for a routine sleep aid. It's a bit like shooting a mouse with a rifle! It's a powerful anti-anxiety medication. It quickly lends itself to dependency, which is certainly the case for your husband. In other words, dependency occurs when the body suffers withdrawal symptoms when it is stopped. It also lends itself easly to addiction, when we mentally or emotionally crave the drug.

    Mixing alcohol with xanax, as Robert said, can be fatal. Both of these substances suppress the respiratory system; together, that suppression can lead to a coma, or simply stopping breathing while asleep. Also, Robert mentioned, one can of beer is equivalent to one shot of whiskey -- same level of alcohol, so your husband is quite off-base with his thinking.

    Another aspect of xanax (and other benzo meds) is that it can actually backfire and increase anxiety, the longer a person is taking it. it sounds like that is happening to your husband, given the mood swings you've mentioned. It certainly is backfiring in helping him to sleep.

    If he doesn't see this situation as serious as it is, you may want to talk to his doctor - and be sure to mention his alcohol consumption. Although the doctor may not be able to divulge any confidential information, he can listen to your concerns. This is a dangerous situation, and may require some extreme measures.

    Xanax should NOT be stopped abruptly; he will need to be weaned down off the medication, to reduce the withdrawal symptoms. If he were to stop abruptly, he runs the risk of a seizure.

    Yes, he is at risk for accidents. In fact, should he have an accident, he may be in a more vulnerable position to defend himself if a blood test reveals he is under the influence of xanax while driving.

    God bless,
    Ruth

    You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.

  8. #8
    Paws917 is offline New Member
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    Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information! I remember he used to take something else to help him sleep at night and he began losing short-term memory. By morning, he would often forget things we'd discussed for as long as an hour the night before. He complained to his doc about it and the doc put him on Xanax and told him there were no side effects with it and he's been taking it ever since.

    I wondered if it was beginning to cause the very symptoms it's supposed to alleviate. Thanks for confirming that that could be the case!

    I'm going to have a talk with him. He is scheduled to see his doctor very soon for a check up so it's good timing.

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