Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse: Alcoholism
Substance Abuse: Opiates

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone with Alcohol

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone with Alcohol

Doctors and pharmacists warn that alcohol should not be consumed when taking opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone, but is it really that dangerous? The answer is yes!

Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can have extremely dangerous, potentially deadly consequences. We will take a closer look at exactly why mixing hydrocodone with alcohol is so dangerous. It is our hope that by providing this information we can help you better understand why seeking treatment for substance use disorders and alcohol abuse disorders is so important.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that is commonly used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. It is commonly prescribed to help with post-surgery recovery, relieve chronic pain, or help with discomfort that may come with severe or chronic coughing.

Hydrocodone can be prescribed on its own. However, it is also a common ingredient in other medications such as Norco, Lorcet and Vicodin.

Why is Hydrocodone So Addictive?

The way that hydrocodone works is by connecting to the opioid receptors in the brain. This causes you to experience a “buzzed” or “high” feeling.

This buzzed or high feeling is why hydrocodone is so addictive. People will often take it because they like the euphoric feeling. Unfortunately, if you take hydrocodone too long, it can become difficult to create that euphoric feeling. In order to try and recreate that feeling, people will take higher doses of hydrocodone or consume more pills than they have prescribed.

The Danger of Mixing Hydrocodone with Alcohol

The reason why mixing hydrocodone with alcohol is so dangerous is because both substances have very similar qualities. By mixing these two substances, you experience intense side effects that are not only serious, but potentially life threatening.

Hydrocodone and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. This means that they have a calming, sedative effect when taken. When taken together, its side effects can cause lasting, irreversible damage to the body.

Why Would Someone Want to Mix Hydrocodone with Alcohol?

Understanding why someone would want to mix hydrocodone with alcohol is extremely complex. Sometimes the two substances are mixed on purpose to produce a “high”, while other times the substances are mixed because an individual is suffering from an addiction to one or both substances.

Regardless of why a person is mixing hydrocodone with alcohol, the problems are still the same. That is why it is so important to seek help from an addiction treatment program. If left untreated, the side effects of mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can be deadly.

What are the Side Effects of Mixing Hydrocodone with Alcohol?

When taken separately, hydrocodone and alcohol can cause cognitive impairment, extreme drowsiness, and an overall feeling of relaxation. When combined, the side effects are the same, but more intense.

Some of the most common side effects that you may experience when you mix hydrocodone with alcohol include:

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Dizziness or a feeling of floating
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired cognition
  • Loss of coordination – difficulty with balance or with walking
  • Extreme fluctuations in blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate – a person may have a rapid heart rate that is followed by an extremely slow heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Coma

One of the biggest concerns about mixing hydrocodone with alcohol is its effect on your breathing and heart rate. The two substances combined can cause your heart rate to slow down so much that it makes it difficult for you to breathe. When you have difficulty breathing, the brain is unable to get enough oxygen. Eventually without proper oxygen to the brain, you will lose consciousness.

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose from Mixing Hydrocodone with Alcohol

An overdose is the biggest danger that can happen as a result of mixing hydrocodone with alcohol. Immediate medical attention is needed for an individual who is experiencing an overdose that occurs as a result of taking hydrocodone with alcoho. If an overdose is left untreated, it could be fatal.

By learning the signs and symptoms of an overdose, you could help save a life by knowing when someone may be overdosing from hydrocodone and alcohol.

Symptoms of an overdose vary from person to person. The following are examples of the most common symptoms of an overdose from mixing hydrocodone with alcohol:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Extremely shallow breathing or exhibiting difficulty breathing
  • Unresponsive – a person may appear conscious but is unable to answer simple questions or acknowledge their name
  • Limp body
  • Clammy skin
  • Skin appears pale or flushed
  • Fingernails, lips or the skin develops a blue-ish tint
  • Pulse is extremely erratic – it will go from extremely slow to a rapid heart rate and then back again
  • Choking sounds
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect an individual is suffering from an overdose either from mixing hydrocodone with alcohol or from taking illegal drugs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Immediate medical treatment is needed for this life threatening situation.

Help is Available for Those Who Suffer an Addiction to Hydrocodone and Alcohol

If you, or a loved one, have been mixing hydrocodone with alcohol, it is extremely important that you don’t try to attempt to detox or stop taking the substances on your own. Detoxing on your own is not only extremely painful and uncomfortable, but it is dangerous and potentially life threatening.

The best way to detox is to seek help from an experienced addiction treatment team. By getting help from an experienced addiction treatment team, you will not only safely detox, but you will have access to valuable inpatient and outpatient resources that help you overcome your addiction.

We understand that reaching out for help with an addiction to hydrocodone and alcohol can be difficult. We are here to help you through every step of the process from help detoxifying to getting intense one-on-one help with inpatient addiction treatment. Once you have tackled the immediate issue, we can help you connect with resources, such as mental health services, support groups and outpatient programs, which will help as you continue on your journey to long-term recovery.

Take the First Step on the Path to Recovery and Contact Us

Take the first step on the path to recovery and contact us. We can help you explore your substance abuse treatment options and get you started on your journey to sobriety and drug-free living.


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