Anxiety Home > Xanax and Alcohol

It is generally recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol during treatment with Xanax. Alcohol can not only increase your risk of certain Xanax side effects, but it may also worsen mental illness in people with anxiety or panic disorder. Since Xanax and alcohol are both CNS depressants, they can both slow the activity of the brain, which increases your risk of serious reactions.

Can I Combine Xanax and Alcohol?

Both Xanax® (alprazolam) and alcohol are central nervous system depressants (also known as CNS depressants), which means they can both slow the activity of the brain. Drinking alcohol while you are taking Xanax may increase your risk of serious reactions. It is not recommended that you drink alcohol while on Xanax. Additionally, many people with mental illness are recommended to avoid alcohol.
You may also be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol if you are taking Xanax. You may not be able to safely drink as much alcohol as you are used to drinking in the past.

Xanax and Alcohol Side Effects

Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax may increase your risk of certain Xanax side effects, such as:
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Unusual behavior
  • Memory problems.
It may also slow both the heart rate and breathing, which can cause you to pass out or have difficulty breathing -- and may even lead to death.
Xanax is approved to treat anxiety and panic disorder. Generally, it is best for people with mental illnesses (such as anxiety) to avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol may worsen mental illness and is often a form of "self-medication." Additionally, people with an alcohol abuse problem may be more likely to abuse Xanax.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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