Cocaine and Alcohol | The Dangers and Effects When Mixed Together

Cocaine and Alcohol: A Potent Mix

Cocaine and Alcohol: A Potent Mix

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In this article, we explain the dangers associated with using cocaine and alcohol together. We also provide fact-based information advising of the associated risks and harms that mixing the two drugs can cause.

Using either cocaine or alcohol alone and to excess in itself presents many health complications. When you combine the two together, a very toxic chemical reaction occurs in the body.

This potent mix of cocaine and alcohol carries several potentially fatal and life-changing risks.

If you or a loved one have a problem with cocaine and alcohol, this is certainly not an issue that you want to ignore. Mixing cocaine and alcohol could potentially be life-threatening every time you take the two together, and there are many implications to consider.

For immediate help and advice on effective treatment near you, call us today for a free of charge assessment and support in accessing the best professional addiction treatment available.

Alcohol is a depressant drug and cocaine a powerful stimulant. When cocaine and alcohol coexist in the bloodstream, the effects of cocaine are heightened and extended, and the effects of alcohol are dampened. This allows a person to drink more and take more cocaine than if they were taking either substance alone.

The effects of cocaine and alcohol on the body

The physical effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Reduced appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Shrinkage of blood vessels putting additional stress on the heart and oxygen supply to the brain
  • increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Increased risk of developing blood clots
  • Bleeds on the brain
  • Increased risk of developing an addiction to both drugs
  • Increased risk of damage to the liver
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Coma and death
  • Intense physical drug cravings 
Injecting Cocaine and Drinking Alcohol
Carries further risks associated with intravenous drug use including collapsed veins, abscesses, blood clots, infections, immediate overdose, contracting blood-borne viruses and so forth.

Studies have also shown that cocaine increases your tolerance to alcohol, making it more likely for you to drink more than you would if you were drinking alcohol on its own. This can easily lead to binge drinking and dependence. It can also cause users to continue drinking and taking cocaine to keep the effects of cocaine withdrawal at bay.

Alcohol can also increase the desire for cocaine in a frequent user. Making it far harder to stop using both drugs together.

It Is Not Uncommon
For people to mix cocaine with other substances in order to cope with a cocaine comedown. Most frequently, cocaine is associated with alcohol use. A diagnosis of alcohol dependence may be made in up to 50%-90% of cocaine-dependent people.

The psychological risks 

As well as mixing cocaine and alcohol carrying significant risks of damage to bodily organs, let’s not forget the most important organ of all, the one responsible for every function, thought and breath we take – The brain.

Not only can cocaine and alcohol (when mixed together or used independently) carry a very real risk of causing brain injury, but many adverse psychological effects can result from taking the two together.

Psychological effects of use include:

  • Aggression
  • Impulsive and risk-taking behaviour
  • Increased desire for sexual activity
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Promiscuity – Leading to unhealthy sexual behaviours, contracting STIs, STDs and unwanted pregnancies
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Violent behaviour
  • Significant impairment to healthy judgement and decision making – Leading to increased risk of injury, drink/drug driving and accidents 
  • Suicidal ideation, and due to increased impulsiveness and reduced inhibitions, users are more likely to put action into these thoughts and make an attempt on taking their life.
  • Increased risk to others through risk-taking behaviours

Frequent users will find that their mental well-being can quickly deteriorate due to the toxic effects on the brain.

Because alcohol, cocaine are all considered highly addictive substances, there is also a very high risk of regular users developing dependence and addiction to both drugs.

Addiction is a life-threatening condition that only those who receive treatment have a chance of surviving.

Whilst most psychological and physical harms can be managed and treated once use has ceased, there is still the risk of irreparable damage and long-term life-changing injury to internal organs and the brain.

What happens when you mix cocaine and alcohol?

When you say yes to taking cocaine and alcohol together, you are ultimately saying yes to a third extremely volatile substance – Cocaethylene, even if you have no knowledge of the drug.

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When cocaine and alcohol are taken simultaneously, Cocaethylene is a third independent, extremely toxic drug that is produced by the human liver. It has a chemical structure similar to that of cocaine, except the alcohol causes it to be more potent.

Cocaethylene is extremely addictive due to the extreme euphoria and cravings that it produces.

The euphoric effects of cocaethylene can make this drug very appealing to the user. More often than not, combining cocaine and alcohol leads to a binge that can last hours, if not days. This increases the risk of harms being caused by excessive use of either substance and has the added implication of risks associated with cocaethylene.

It is considered a drug in its own right and is not a drug taken by choice unless you intend to combine purely to instigate its natural and automatic production.

By Combining Cocaine and Alcohol
You are in fact increasing your chances of immediate death by cocaethylene by an alarming 18 to 25% than if you were taking cocaine alone.

Cocaethylene is far stronger than either alcohol or cocaine. It also has a longer duration of action on the body and brain.

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Signs and symptoms of dependence

When a person becomes dependent, it basically means that they need a  substance to avoid withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, life-threatening even. Whilst cocaine withdrawal rarely results in a fatality, and it can cause psychosis and extreme depression, which can lead an individual to take their own life.

Being dependent on both alcohol and cocaine is a double-edged sword and makes withdrawal and detoxification even more challenging and risky.

A person who suffers from a dependence should ideally undergo intensive medical detox treatment conducted within a CQC registered residential setting.

If you think you may have a problem and need help, please do not hesitate to call and speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment experts.

Signs of  dependence include:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Suffering from regular withdrawal symptoms that diminish or disappear by taking more cocaine or  alcohol 
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent intoxication – symptoms of intoxication including intense euphoria, dilated pupils, feelings of invincibility, increased desire for sexual activity, unusually chatty and confident, risk-taking, increased energy levels and stamina, jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Runny or stuffy nose and nose bleeds
  • Drugs or paraphernalia frequently in their possession
  • Frequently smelling of alcohol
  • Showing acute signs of anxiety and depression
  • Severe mood swings

A physical dependence differs from addiction, although addiction often involves a substance based dependence.

A person suffering from just a physical dependence on cocaine or alcohol will have no difficulty in remaining clean and sober once they have managed to stop even though they may need medical intervention to achieve this.

Addiction, on the other hand, is completely different. It is a disease that exists in both the mind and body.

A person suffering from addiction will be compelled to continue using substances despite negative consequences to their physical, mental, social and occupational health.

Even once a person has managed to stop, their brain driven behaviours will remain the same. Unless they undergo comprehensive rehabilitation to address this, their chances of staying clean are slim to none.

Signs of  addiction

Drug addiction is medically recognised as a chronic, relapsing brain disease, characterised by progression, compulsion and continuation despite negative consequences. Addiction cannot be cured. However, it can be arrested and successfully treated.

Over time, without medical and professional treatment, it will only ever gets worse. The risk-taking gets bigger, the consequences more serious, and the condition becomes more complex to treat.

It is important to understand what addiction actually is. If you or a loved one suffer from it, you will need more than just a physical detox in order to recover. Untreated it can potentially be life-threatening or at the very least, the loss of everything meaningful to that person.

Addiction is typically diagnosed by a set of behaviours that are characteristic of the disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Relapse – Even if someone manages to get clean and sober, their chances of staying that way are very small
  • Continuation despite negative consequences – The more it progresses, the more damage is caused to the sufferer’s life. This includes negative consequences to their mental, physical, spiritual, social and occupational health.
  • The compulsion to use alcohol and cocaine
  • Prone to isolation and distancing themselves from loved ones
  • Defensiveness or denial when challenged over their alcohol and drug use
  • Inability to see just how bad their problem is and how it affects others
  • Will go to great lengths to get cocaine and alcohol, even if it means stealing from friends and family or breaking the law
  • Display a distinct lack of control around their  consumption

Untreated addiction eventually affects all areas of a sufferers life, damaging personal relationships with family, loved ones and friends. It can also lead to lawbreaking, admissions to mental health institutions and can be life-threatening.

Who suffers from alcohol and cocaine addiction, and why?

There are many reasons why an individual may go down the path of substance use and abuse, but only a minority will go on to develop an addiction.

A person may start using to feel part of the crowd because they like the effect or it numbs their reality. Most will find that when they want to stop, they can.

Why an individual develops an addiction can be attributed to a number of medically recognised factors.

Factors that contribute include:

  • Excessive exposure to drugs or alcohol during childhood or teenage years whilst the brain is vulnerable and still developing.
  • Environmental factors such as a dysfunctional or abusive relationship with main caregivers or a partner. Living in a stressful environment can lead a person to seek escape in substances
  • Trauma – Unresolved trauma changes a person’s brain chemistry and causes damage, leaving them more susceptible to substance abuse 
  • Self-medication – Those that suffer from a pre-existing mental health disorder are more prone to using alcohol and drugs to self medicate symptoms and escape themselves
  • Stress at work or school. All too often, alcohol and drugs can become a way of coping with stressful life. It becomes a problem when the person does not address the underlying issues and continues to seek chemical escape.
  • Genetics – Addiction often runs in families. It may even skip a generation, but genetics can leave a person more predisposed to developing it.
  • Deprivation and poverty – Instances of addiction are higher in poverty-stricken areas and deprived families.

 

Source: ONS – Office for National Statistics – The number of fatalities relating to drug misuse is far higher in poorer areas of England and Wales

Often, people won’t realise they are addicted until they try to stop or moderate their use and find that they cannot.

Where To Find Help

Here at Rehab Guide, we specialise in providing first class detoxification and rehabilitation services for all manner of drugs. We also frequently provide treatment for those that are dependent on more than one substance and those who suffer from a dual diagnosis illness.

All of our treatment facilities are CQC registered and run by medical, mental health, social health and addiction treatment professions.

If you or a loved one have an addiction or dependence, you must seek the correct professional treatment to recover.

Call us now at Rehab Guide for fast and effective treatment. Let our registered and highly skilled professionals help you break free from the misery and destruction of alcohol and cocaine and show you a brand new way of living.

 

 

 

 

 

References

1. Laizure SC, Mandrell T, Gades NM, Parker RB (January 2003). “Cocaethylene metabolism and interaction with cocaine and ethanol: role of carboxylesterases”. Drug Metabolism and Disposition. 31
2. Andrews P (1997). “Cocaethylene toxicity”. Journal of Addictive Diseases. 16 (3): 75–84.
3. Forensic Drug Profile – Cocaethylene – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30796807/
4. Acute and chronic effects of cocaine on cardiovascular health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6387265/
5. Epidemic of illicit drug use, mechanisms of action/addiction and stroke as a health hazard – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217673/
6. Cocaine and alcohol : A risky association – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19631491/
7. Prevalence of cocaine and derivatives in blood and urine samples of trauma patients and correlation with injury severity: a prospective observational study – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29116350/
8. Cocaethylene- effects on brains system and behaviour- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13556219971632
9. Addiction – What is addiction Volkow ND, Koob GF, McLellan AT (January 2016). “Neurobiologic Advances from the Brain Disease Model of Addiction”. New England Journal of Medicine. 374 (4): 363–371. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480. PMC 6135257. PMID 26816013. Substance-use disorder: A diagnostic term in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and

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