The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Methamphetamine (Meth)

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 11, 2020

Individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse are at a greater risk of polydrug abuse, which involves abusing multiple substances.

Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Meth

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that about 1.6 million people in the U.S. used methamphetamine (meth) within the past year. Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive stimulant with effects similar to amphetamines.

The prescription version of methamphetamine can be prescribed to assist those who suffer from ADHD. Those who take prescription methamphetamines are also prone to misuse it in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol.

While alcohol is a depressant, meth is a stimulant, which means the effects of these two substances can counteract each other.

For example, alcohol can cause drowsiness and sleepiness, but meth can increase alertness and even cause insomnia.

Either of these substances can cause serious side effects if abused on its own, but the effects can be even more pronounced when they are used in combination.

The combined use of these substances can magnify each substance’s individual effect and improve some of the common initial sensations associated with each substance.

Learn more about the dangers of mixing alcohol and meth and the importance of seeking out addiction treatment options for substance abuse issues.

Side Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Meth

The side effects of mixing alcohol and meth are quite dangerous for any individual. However, some users might experience worsened side effects based on their specific tolerance level, personality, mood, and other environmental and genetic factors.

As such, there is no safe level of polydrug abuse involving alcohol and meth. The co-use of alcohol and meth can exacerbate the negative side effects of each substance.

Common side effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • dehydration
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • inflammation
  • pancreatic damage
  • weakened immune system
  • increased risk of cancer

Those who use meth regularly can become addicted to the pleasurable sensation it produces and may seek higher dosages to reproduce the effect. This sensation comes from the increased release of dopamine in the brain.

However, those who abuse meth may suffer from dangerous side effects, such as:

  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • cognitive problems
  • mood disturbances

Binge drinking is most commonly associated with abuse of meth for individuals who regularly consume alcohol.

Some of the most serious dangers of mixing alcohol and meth include:

  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • paranoia
  • cognitive impairment
  • anxiety
  • manic euphoria

Vomiting can be an immediate sign of alcohol poisoning, which requires urgent medical attention.

Can You Overdose When Mixing Alcohol And Meth?

Unfortunately, it is easier than many people might think to overdose on a combination of alcohol and meth.

Those who use alcohol and meth at the same time can overdose easily because meth can counteract some of the sluggish feelings of intoxication caused by alcohol.

Thus, people who mix alcohol and meth are less likely to experience the depressant effects of alcohol while taking meth, like drowsiness.

This can result in individuals drinking even more alcohol in a single setting than they might otherwise consume, which is a precursor to alcohol poisoning.

Further, since the drugs counteract each other, it can be harder to tell if a person has had too much of either substance. Too much of a substance in the body at one time or over time is what leads to overdose.

Even if a person does not experience overdose when mixing alcohol and meth, combining the substances can quickly lead to addiction.

Treatment For Alcohol And Meth Abuse And Addiction

The addictive properties of alcohol and meth when used in combination can make dealing with addiction all the more difficult.

Seeking professional treatment for substance abuse issues is the most effective way to ensure that the addicted individual is prepared to deal with the challenges of recovery.

The process of going through the initial withdrawal when stopping use of each substance can be overwhelming.

Recovery requires a long-term commitment to managing the compulsion to use either substance, which is why getting professional help is so important.

Some of the symptoms of withdrawal after long-term meth abuse include:

  • mood swings
  • disorientation
  • loss of self-control
  • intense cravings for meth
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • night terrors
  • rage

Likewise, experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of stopping alcohol use after long-term abuse issues can be quite difficult.

The common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal after long-term alcohol abuse include:

  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • confusion
  • shaky hands
  • nausea

Overall, the psychological side effects of withdrawal after long-term meth and alcohol abuse can be seriously magnified. Successfully navigating these effects requires the assistance of an experienced healthcare provider.

Finding A Rehab Center For Alcohol And Meth Abuse And Addiction

Connect with a substance abuse treatment specialist today to learn more about addiction treatment options for individuals struggling with mixing alcohol and methamphetamine.

Our treatment specialists can work with you to determine which rehab centers are available for your specific recovery needs. This includes finding rehab centers that are within network for your health insurance coverage.

The sooner you connect with an addiction treatment specialist, the closer you will be to developing a plan for recovery at the appropriate rehab center for you or your loved one.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 11, 2020
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