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Can I Drink Alcohol During Benzodiazepine Withdrawal?

Written by Shannon Weir, RN | Updated on Nov 15, 2022

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Patrick J. Gallus, DO

Benzodiazepine abuse is on the rise. In fact, the number of people taking Benzos is more than twice the number just a decade ago. Making the decision to get help is a good one, but what if you have other substance use? You may be wondering: can I drink alcohol during Benzodiazepine withdrawal?

How Benzodiazepines Affect the Brain

Ativan, Xanax, Rohypnol, Librium, Klonopin, Lunesta, Restoril, and Valium are just a few of the drugs that are in the class of Benzodiazepines which are prescribed for a number of different disorders including depression, insomnia, panic, anxiety and seizures. Benzodiazepines affect the brain’s chemistry at the Gamma Amino Butryic Acid (GABA) receptors by decreasing the amount of GABA produced. The result is that it slows brain activity down. Benzodiazepines were not meant to be taken long-term. Chronic and excessive abuse can lead to dependence and addictive behavior. In case of dependency, inpatient medical detox is the most recommended method for quitting Benzo use. Although it is possible to quit taking Benzodiazepines by tapering off the medication, stopping the drug abruptly can result in intense side effects including nightmares, delusions and seizures.

Benzos and Alcohol

Alcohol consumption during Benzo withdrawal is ill advised because alcohol works on GABA receptors in the same way that Benzodiazepines do. While some people are able to a drink very small amount (which is discouraged) of alcohol during Benzodiazepine withdrawal, most people have found that drinking alcohol resulted in an increase in withdrawal symptoms. Research shows that drinking alcohol during Benzodiazepine withdrawal can actually create a toxicity that can hinder the recovery process. Thus most doctors recommend that patients do not consume alcohol while they are in recovery. Although it is possible to have an occasional drink after Benzo recovery; another thought is that you do not replace one addiction with another. Something to consider is that if you enter an inpatient medical Benzodiazepine detox, you will not be able to consume alcohol while you are going to the withdrawal process.

Medical Detox from Benzodiazepine Abuse

Seeking assistance from a professional medical detox center is the best method for Benzodiazepine detox. Inpatient medical detox offers the best chance at overcoming benzo addiction with IV therapy being the method most preferred by doctors. IV therapy medical detox will offer the best chance for relief from withdrawal symptoms because unlike oral medications which take time for the body to process; intravenous medications are immediate. Gallus Detox Center can answer your questions regarding medical detox and drinking alcohol during benzodiazepine withdrawal. Call us today at (888) 306-3122 to learn more about our facility and let us help you overcome addiction.

Shannon Weir, RN

Shannon Weir, RN is the Chief Nursing Officer at Gallus Medical Detox Centers. She has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years, Shannon’s experience ranges from critical care to flight nursing, medical detox, sexual assault exams, and SWAT nursing. Shannon has been with Gallus Medical Detox Centers since 2010 and is a vital part of our organization.

Last medically reviewed on April 12, 2016

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If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, call Gallus at
(888) 306-3122.