Warning: Mixing alcohol with anti-anxiety drugs – a deadly cocktail!

The danger is found in drugs’ effect on GABA receptors.

Drugs like alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines all seems to affect the same target – the major inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Neurons containing GABA KSM crack series still lifes 2receptors are very common in the nervous system and their function is to inhibit other neurons. One such receptor that is affected by GABA is the GABAa receptor that contains chloride channels. When the receptor is excited, an influx of Cl ions takes place, increasing the negative charge on the inside – hyperpolarization – making initiation, or propagation of an action potential much more difficult. However, this GABAa receptor has not only a binding site for GABA, but two other binding sites as well. One is the sedative-hypnotic site, the other is the anxiety site. That’s why it is possible that both sedative-hypnotic drugs (alcohol and barbiturates) and antianxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) can bind to the same receptor, amplifying their effects. Sedative-hypnotic drugs (alcohol or barbiturates) have precisely this effect -making it hard for action potential to take place and, therefore, sedating the body and affecting bodily functions. Antianxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) enhance binding effects of GABA and so alcohol, or barbiturates will have an even stronger sedative effect, possibly leading to coma, or even death.

The threat of mixing drugs and alcohol is not just a myth, it is a deadly cocktail that you don’t want to be experimenting with.

8 comments for “Warning: Mixing alcohol with anti-anxiety drugs – a deadly cocktail!

  1. June 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Does Cl- stand for Cl electrons? And if yes, are these electrons unstable?

  2. Dima
    June 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Cl- stands for chlorine ions (how silly of me to put it this way indeed).

    I wouldn’t say they are unstable. This is merely the flow of ions in response to a stimulus.

    Each and every neuron is covered by a membrane. This membrane maintains an electrical gradient – a slight difference in electrical charge between the inside and outside of the cell. However this membrane is flexible and has gates/channels that allow the flow of certain chemicals inside/outside, so that the electrical gradient is maintained.

    In the absence of any outside disturbance, the inside of the neuron is slightly polarized (difference in electrical charge). More specifically, the inside of the neuron has a negative electrical potential, compared to the outside. This undisturbed state is called resting potential. This resting potential is much needed, because it allows the neuron to respond rapidly to a stimulus. Any sort of excitation causes the neuron to open its channels.

    GABAa receptors, in particular, contain Chloride channels, that allow the passage of Chloride ions in and out of the cell. When excited, the cell opens these Cl channels and allows the inflow of Chloride ions, increasing the negative charge inside the cell – hyperpolarization.

    When a neuron initiates reaction to a stimulus it is through a propagation of an action potential. An action potential occurs when the neuron is depolarized (the slight negative charge inside the neuron is depolarized towards zero, until a threshold of excitation is reached, at which point the neuron fires rapidly to a positive charge). Again, we need depolarization in order to have action potential. If the cell is hyperpolarized (which is cause by antianxiety drugs like Valium, for example) the cell will not react. That is why overdose can lead to coma, or death.

    I hope that was helpful, instead of confusing.

  3. June 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    That was really helpful. Thank you! :)

  4. Martha
    March 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    If this is possible, given that alcohol is available to anyone pretty much, then it seems that the drugs that cause death when mixed with it should be illegal.

  5. Dima
    April 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

    There are many people who have legitimate medical reasons to use those anti-anxiety drugs. I’m afraid making those drugs illegal will cause more harm than good. People need to be aware of the potential risks and make good decisions.

  6. Trish
    August 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    My daughter of 20 years passed away 3 1/2 weeks ago because of this combination. She was only 4’11″ and took her prescribed dosage of anti-anxiety medication but had some drinks that night. Her small body couldn’t take it. She went to bed and never woke up. Take the above information seriously please. It’s not just fear mongering talk, it’s real.

  7. Dima
    August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Trish, I am very sorry for your loss.
    It is admirable that you are trying to educate people and help them take this message seriously. Stay strong!

  8. Stephanie Pearce
    April 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    My husband passed away at the age of 57. The autopsy could not determine an immediate cause of death, though it did reveal stenosing coronary arteriosclerosis and an old myocardial infarct. It was only two months later when I got the toxicology report that I found out what I believe caused his death. There was alcohol and benzodiazepine in my husband’s system at the time of death. For years my husband had been using Xanax. He was also a functioning alcoholic. I tried for years to get him to stop drinking but his one attempt at AA was not successful. Though he was responsible for the choices he made, my husband was badly served by a doctor who routinely prescribed Xanax without requiring an office visit, and without asking any questions about my husband’s drinking habits and/or family history of addiction (my husband’s family is filled with alcoholics and drug addicts).

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