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The Dangers of Combining Cocaine and Alcohol during the Holidays

As disparate as cocaine and alcohol may be in effect, cocaine and alcohol seemingly balance each other out, with one substance smoothing out the effects of the other. While the combined “high” produced by these two substances may feel pleasant, this combination can be deadly when ingested on a frequent basis.

The holidays offer a time when parties and celebrations abound, making it that much easier to engage in multiple forms of substance abuse. For people who struggle with cocaine and/or alcohol addiction, the dangers of using cocaine and alcohol during the holidays can quickly turn a joyous time of year into one of dire circumstances.

Under these conditions, anyone who finds themselves in this situation may want to seriously consider getting drug treatment help now, before holiday season festivities make the decision much more difficult to make.

Drug & Alcohol Abuse during the Holidays

With alcohol being an accepted part of American culture, it’s use is often combined with other forms of substance, one of which being cocaine. For people battling substance abuse issues in general, the holidays can quickly become a time when drug and alcohol-using behaviors increase.

The holiday season encompasses a two month time period (November to December), which offers ample time for an already troublesome drug abuse problem to turn into a full-blown addiction. With more than a few parties, work functions and family gatherings to attend, opportunities for substance abound. Add to this the pressures that come with the holiday season, such as making preparations, family obligations and the money spent on gifts and substance abuse practices will likely increase considerably during the course of the holidays.

Cocaine Effects vs Alcohol Effects

holiday alcohol and cocaine use

The added stress of the holidays can tempt people to abuse substances such as alcohol and cocaine.

Cocaine and alcohol attack the brain and central nervous system from two different directions, scrambling neurotransmitter chemical processes in drastic ways. Cocaine effects force the release of several types neurotransmitter chemicals, each of which work to speed up central nervous system functions in different ways.

Alcohol acts as a depressant, slowing down central nervous system functions. Within the brain, alcohol reduces the brain’s overall electrical activity while also producing an anti-anxiety effect through its effects on glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter production, according to Forbes. Alcohol also produces stimulant effects indirectly, which further complicates its interactions with cocaine.

Combined Effects of Cocaine and Alcohol

While most any form of poly-drug use poses certain risks, combining cocaine and alcohol can actually be deadly when done on a frequent basis. While users may experience a more intense “high,” the metabolism of these two substances combined produces a harmful enzyme known as cocaethylene, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

In effect, cocaethylene prolongs the amount of time cocaine circulates through the bloodstream, which can cause serious health complications, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Sudden death
  • Feelings of rage
  • Violent behavior displays

The presence of cocaethylene also increases alcohol cravings driving users to ingest large amounts of alcohol at a time.

Treatment Considerations

Considering the dangers involved with cocaine and alcohol use, anyone who regularly uses and combines these two substances may enter into dangerous territory over the holiday season. Ultimately, the adverse effects of cocaine and alcohol can develop at any time, so it’s never too soon to get needed treatment help for an alcohol and/or cocaine abuse problem.

If you or someone you know struggles with cocaine and alcohol abuse and have more questions about abuse and addiction in general, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320 for more information.

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