Mixing alcohol and hallucinogens can cause a variety of unpredictable physical and psychological responses.
There are no known chemical reactions that occur to create an unsafe combination, but there are multiple indirect consequences of mixing these substances that can be very dangerous.
The most notable concerns come from the masking effects of mixing alcohol and hallucinogens. This can increase the risks of overdose and harmful psychological effects.
How Alcohol And Hallucinogens Interact
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which means it works by slowing parts of the brain and body functions.
But hallucinogens activate the CNS and the prefrontal cortex. By combining these substances, the body receives opposing messages and can create a number of serious effects.
The unpredictable nature of hallucinogenic drugs makes the interactions and body responses of the mixture with alcohol unpredictable as well.
Because they’re telling the body different messages, mixing these substances can actually decrease the effects of both of the substances.
But while alcohol may dull some of the undesired effects of hallucinogens, it tends to intensify other harmful effects, worsening a “bad trip.”
Mixing a hallucinogen and depressant can result in:
- decreased coordination
- increased risk of harmful behavior
- decreased effectiveness of the hallucinogen
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Risks Of Mixing Alcohol And Hallucinogens
There is no safe level of alcohol and hallucinogens to be taken together. Both of these substances have a great potential for abuse, and should not be combined.
People can combine alcohol and hallucinogens intentionally or unintentionally. A person may have already had a few drinks and then decide to try a hallucinogen for the first time.
But doing this can cause a few undesired and potentially life-threatening issues.
Increased Risk Of Fatal Overdose
Because mixing alcohol and hallucinogens can mitigate the effects of both substances, this means that the effects won’t feel as strong.
A person increases their risk of overdosing this way, because they may not be feeling the effects as they would be if they used just one of the substances, giving them a false sense of safety.
The body is still processing the same amount of the substances whether or not a person feels extremely intoxicated. This can lead to dangerously high doses of either substance.
While there have been no known fatal hallucinogen overdoses, an overdose can lead to dangerous behavior that can result in death.
Alcohol poisoning is very real, and a person can fatally overdose by consuming too much alcohol while under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug.
Harmful Psychological Effects
Combining alcohol and hallucinogens can produce a number of uncomfortable physical responses and traumatic experiences.
A few of these include:
- hostility and violent behavior
Alcohol increases aggressive behavior because it reduces a person’s ability to control their own actions and behaviors.
Hallucinogens can have a similar effect, and combining these increases the chances of engaging in harmful and dangerous behavior that a person would not otherwise engage in.
Addiction Treatment For Alcohol And Hallucinogens
Both alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs are powerful, mind-altering substances with the potential for abuse.
Especially when these drugs are combined, it can be difficult to overcome drug addiction to one or both drugs.
Help is available for those struggling with addiction to alcohol, hallucinogens, or both. If you’d like to learn about your options in addiction recovery, just call our helpline.
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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- BCCampus—6.2 Altering Consciousness with Psychoactive Drugs
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—How Do Hallucinogens Work?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—What Are the Effects of Common Dissociative Drugs on the Brain and Body?