The Dangerous Interaction Between Alcohol and Opioids - CATCH Recovery (2023)

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The dangers of mixing alcohol and antidepressants

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Do you have problems with addiction to prescription pain relievers or opioids like heroin? Are you drinking a lot while using your opioid medications? We want him to know that he is not alone in this fight and we are here to help him through it. At the same time, it is vital to be aware of the risks associated with mixing alcohol and opioids, as this combination can be particularly dangerous and potentially fatal.

Unfortunately, an analysis by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN) found that38% of people seeking opioid treatment had an alcohol use disorder..

This is of particular concern because when opioids and alcohol are used together, they can have a synergistic effect on the brain and body, heightening pleasurable feelings of euphoria and relaxation, but also increasing the risk of respiratory depression, coma, and death. Additionally, abusing multiple substances can make it harder to get sober and stay sober, as they can reinforce addictive patterns in the brain and worsen mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

But you have already taken the first step and are looking for help. We believe that recovery is possible for everyone and we are committed to helping you overcome your addiction and achieve a healthier and more fulfilling life. We'll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs, including underlying mental health issues, and provide you with the support and resources you need to succeed.

The Dangerous Interaction Between Alcohol and Opioids - CATCH Recovery (2)

How alcohol affects the brain and body

Alcohol consumption has a significant impact on the brain and body, resulting in both short- and long-term health complications. Such complications include:

  • Alterations in the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which negatively affect cognitive function and decision-making ability. This, in turn, affects memory, attention, and learning abilities.
  • Liver damage, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. These conditions can be life-threatening.
  • Increased risk of various forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Increased chance of accidents and injuries due to reduced coordination and slower reaction time.

Alcohol use is also linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It can make existing conditions worse or contribute to the development of new ones. This is one of the biggest risks associated with multiple substance abuse.

Possibility of alcohol abuse.

If you are in treatment for drug addiction, it is important to know that combining alcohol with antidepressants can increase your risk of relapse and make it more difficult to achieve and maintain sobriety. This is because alcohol and antidepressants can interact in ways that worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase their sedative effects. If you find yourself in a cycle of alcohol use and mental health problems, it can be difficult to break free from the effects of drug abuse.

Additionally, prolonged recovery time and changes in brain chemistry caused by alcohol and drug use can further complicate your path to sobriety. That is why it is important to seek professional help.

At CATCH Recovery, we understand that each patient's journey to sobriety is unique, and we can work together to address both substance use disorder and underlying mental health issues to help you achieve a healthy, sober future.

Opioids and the brain

The use of opioids can have a profound effect on the function of the human brain. Opioids bind to specific opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects such as changes in pain perception and inducing euphoria. This commitment also leads to physical and psychological dependence, which means that if you become addicted to opioids, you will need to undergo treatment if you want to control your addiction and promote long-term recovery.

Studies show that opioid use can cause changes in cognition and emotional regulation, which could affect decision-making, reward systems, and impulse control. As a result of these changes, people suffering from addiction often compulsively seek drugs and experience social isolation and depression.

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Polysubstance Dependence Definition

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, is the American Psychiatric Association's gold text on mental health. In the UK it can be consulted, but the preferred manual on substance use disorders is theInternational Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization. Widely used by mental health professionals, this guide helps us define addictive behaviors and provide quality mental health care.

We use the diagnostic and statistical manual toestablish polysubstance dependencyand help you find the therapist you need to achieve long-term sobriety without affecting the treatment of ongoing chronic conditions that require opioid medications.

Negative consequences of mixing alcohol with illicit opioids

Illegal opioids like heroin, as well as prescription drugs like codeine (including co-codamol), tramadol, fentanyl, and morphine, should not be mixed with alcohol. Substance use disorders often involve the abuse of multiple drugs along with alcohol. When you use more than one medication, it affects response times and effectiveness and hinders effective treatment processes. Alcohol, as a single drug, can cause tolerance and prevent satisfactory measurement of vital signs. When combined with additional substances, even a single opioid substance can greatly affect your blood pressure, cause anxiety disorders, increase your addictive behaviors, and prevent treatment centers from helping you achieve alcohol withdrawal and treat substance abuse. multiple drugs.

Increased risk of substance use disorder

Mixing alcohol with opiates, such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, increases the risk of drug and alcohol addiction due to the reinforcing effects of both substances on the brain's reward system.

This is because both opiates and alcohol increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the brain's reward pathway, causing pleasurable feelings of euphoria and relaxation. When the two substances are used together, the effects are heightened, leading to a more intense high that can be more addictive. It also affects the speed at which our body develops tolerance, since it is exposed to more than one substance with a similar effect.

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Additionally, chronic use of alcohol in combination with opioids can cause changes in brain chemistry, making it more difficult to experience pleasure without the use of these substances. This can lead to addiction and substance use disorder, as the brain relies on drugs to produce feelings of pleasure and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The dangerous side effects of simultaneous abuse of these substances, such as respiratory depression, can be life-threatening. This can happen even when the substances are used in small amounts.

Decreased efficacy of opioids.

Both alcohol and opioid drugs, such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics, are CNS depressants that work by slowing down parts of the brain, resulting in impaired cognitive function. Therefore, mixing both types of substances is very dangerous because they can interact and enhance the effects of the other.

Examples of effects when you mix alcohol with opiates

With prescriptions, it's even more dangerous, since you don't know how alcohol consumption will affect the specific effects for which you are being prescribed this medication. Some examples of the effects of alcohol on how your medicine works are:

  • increased central nervous system depression

  • respiratory depression

  • decreased alertness

  • sedation

  • impaired coordination

  • increased risk of side effects

  • risk of opioid overdose

  • risk of accidental death

While some medications may be safe to mix with alcohol in small amounts under certain circumstances (such as taking acetaminophen), this is generally not recommended due to potential side effects or even overdose if proper care is not taken.

Withdrawal symptoms in multiple substance abuse

Physical withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction include:

  • muscle aches and pains;
  • inability to sleep or excessive fatigue
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • excessive sweating
  • rapid heart rate

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal from multiple substance use and opioid addiction include:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • paranoid ideation
  • acute anxiety
  • irritable

If you are taking opioid medications, you should discuss your condition with a doctor before consuming alcohol, as this may increase the risk of serious side effects. Also, it's important to know that even if you take opioid medications as directed, it doesn't necessarily mean you won't overdose if you drink alcohol. Therefore, it is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions on how to best manage your condition and any possible substance use.

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Seek professional help for substance abuse

If you are dealing with substance use disorders or believe you may be at risk of mixing multiple substances, it is important to seek professional help from a qualified and experienced substance use disorder specialist. CATCH Recovery's addiction program can connect you with a specialist psychiatrist or psychologist who can provide support for mental health disorders and treatment for substance use disorders, including multiple drug abuse.

Our certified drug counselors can provide guidance on the best way to break the cycle of addiction and help you develop an effective recovery plan. Additionally, following a 12-step program can provide social support, structure, and accountability in recovery.

Start your journey to recovery today

Starting your recovery journey today is the best way to ensure long-term success. At CATCH Recovery, we are committed to helping you get started on the path to a healthier, happier life. Through our substance use disorder treatment program, we will support you throughout your journey. Our team of experts understands the complexities of substance use disorders and can help you develop an effective recovery plan tailored to your individual needs.

So why wait? Contact us today and let's start your new life today!

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