Opioids and alcohol use, what to know.
As we all know, the opioid epidemic is still causing damage to communities and putting people’s lives in danger. Opioids include prescription medication like hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as street drugs like heroin, have been running rampant across the world, and record numbers of people are abusing these drugs. What is being seen, also, at hospitals and inpatient rehab units, are people abusing multiple substances, putting themselves at further risk. Some drugs, like alcohol, only make opioid use more deadly, and that means a person abusing them needs help and treatment as soon as possible.
Opioids are narcotics, which are used for moderate to major pain relief. Narcotics have many of the same qualities as a depressant. Depressants work by slowing and interfering with the activity of the brain and central nervous system. Opioids do much the same thing, but also add in some relaxation, relief, and euphoria. Opioids and alcohol use are frequently abused and here are some of the side effects they have, which include:
- Mild euphoria
- Pain relief
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
- Trouble remembering or thinking
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and bowel blockage
While they are not all pleasant, they all can come with the use and abuse of opioids. These effects only grow worse the longer a person abuses these drugs. They will eventually get to the point where seizures, brain damage, coma and death are a real possibility. What needs to happen for people struggling with an opioid addiction is inpatient treatment as soon as they can. Making that call to a rehab facility can save a life.
Alcohol is also a drug, although many people don’t think of it as one. It is one of the depressants and works to interrupt how the nervous system functions. This makes a person struggle to think, seem disoriented and dizzy, as well as be drowsy and difficult to wake up. Some of the effects of alcohol are:
- Reduced inhibitions
- Muscle relaxation
- Slurred speech
- Motor impairment
- Memory problem/Concentration problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing problems
This is not an exhaustive list, and alcohol can cause more problems the longer a person abuses it. The damage done here is often easier to ignore, because drinking is so common around the world. In some places alcohol is as common as soft drinks. The damage will only become known when it is obvious and far too late. People can experience brain damage, liver failure, cirrhosis, and death as a result of alcohol addiction. This needs to be treated seriously if you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol.
One of the things that should be obvious looking at the effects of opioids and alcohol is that the lists are very similar. These two drugs have many of the same effects. The slow down breathing, make a person drowsy, make them difficult to wake up, and make it hard for them to think or do basic things like just walk. This is the major problem with a person abusing opioids and alcohol.
What happens here when a person abuses two similar drugs is that the effects get doubled or even tripled. So, for example, a person who take some pills and then drinks, will feel even more relaxed, will struggle to even stand up, may not be able to wake up, and will not be able to think clearly. This is just because of the effects of the drugs doubling and tripling in their system. Taking these drugs together is just like playing a deadly game; it’s only a matter of time before there is something horrific that happens.
A person abusing opioids and alcohol can expect the same effects as with other depressants, but more intensified. With this, there comes more risk. They can also experience:
- Cardiac arrest or other breathing and heart emergencies
- Hallucinations and other mental health problems
This is a very serious list of problems, and a person abusing two or more substances should be treated like they have a life-threatening condition. That life-threatening condition is addiction, and it needs to be treated quickly. Inpatient treatment centers are there to help with this. They have addiction counselors and support staff available to help people struggling with multiple addictions. Calling as soon as possible will only increase the chances of you or your loved one living a happy and healthy life.
Opioids and alcohol are two drugs that offer many of the same effects, benefits, and risks. When people use and abuse them together, the effects are multiplied and become deadly. Do not treat this subject lightly, because it’s “just” alcohol, or it’s “just” a few pills. All of this adds up and can quickly spiral into a medical emergency. Addiction treatment works, and an inpatient unit will give you or your loved one the best chance at sobriety. We are here for you, and we understand addiction.