Xanax and cocaine are both psychoactive substances that have completely different effects. While they may not resemble each other in terms of what they do to the people, they are similar in one important respect: both Xanax and cocaine are popular drugs of abuse.
Cocaine is an illegal recreational drug that has no recognized medical use. It is popular among drug addicts because of the way it boosts energy, attention, and confidence. Xanax, on the other hand, is a legal prescription drug that is generally prescribed to treat the symptoms of panic disorder and anxiety disorder. However, both prescription-holders and illicit users turn to Xanax for its sedating “high.”
Xanax and cocaine may have opposite effects, but many recreational drug users combine the two substances. When they are taken together, Xanax and cocaine can lead to powerful feelings of intoxication and subjective pleasure. However, combining cocaine and Xanax also dramatically increases the risks of addiction and overdose. For individuals who are working to recover from substance use disorders, it is critical to understand the way these two drugs interact.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name for a drug known as alprazolam. It is sold under a variety of other brand names as well, though generic alprazolam (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “generic Xanax”) is also available. Alprazolam is a type of benzodiazepine, a class of drugs with sedating and tranquilizing effects. Physicians and psychiatrists prescribe Xanax to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and even chemotherapy-induced nausea. Some surgeons give it to patients before a major operation to help with pre-operation jitters. Xanax is the 37th most prescribed drug in the country, with over 20 million prescriptions filled out each year.
When a person takes Xanax, it works by reducing the levels of excitement and activity in the brain. Alprazolam is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It achieves its depressing effects by making GABA more effective. GABA, a chemical that the brain naturally produces, also increases when people drink alcohol. The result is a strong feeling of calm, often accompanied by notable inhibition.
Xanax is highly addictive. Even people who take Xanax with a prescription are vulnerable to physical dependence. When people take it without a prescription, however, addiction is almost inevitable. Xanax abuse leads to a powerful high, and chronic Xanax abuse can lead to a variety of effects, most notably addiction, depression, and psychotic episodes. Xanax is a substance with a wide variety of risks. Not only can Xanax overdose be fatal, but even Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening. When individuals combine Xanax with other central nervous system depressants, like opioids and alcohol, these risks are magnified.
The short term effects of taking Xanax include:
- Slurred speech
- Impulsive or uninhibited behavior
- Lack of motor coordination
- Short term memory problems (blackouts)
- Problems breathing
It is important to note that these effects change when people engage in polysubstance abuse. Xanax is often combined with other drugs, including cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is made from the leaves of the South American plant coca. Often known a coke, blow, rock, crack, or snow, cocaine most frequently comes in the form of white powder. Users can snort this powder for a powerful but short-lived high. Crack cocaine, however, comes in the form of rock crystals that users can smoke and inhale into their lungs. Some people choose to mix cocaine with liquid, which allows them to directly inject it into their veins.
As a central nervous stimulant, cocaine causes a dramatic increase in energy, confidence, alertness, and euphoria. Most people experience the cocaine high as pleasurable, but it can also lead to terrifying episodes of agitation, paranoia, aggression, or even hallucinations.
Since cocaine has such a rapid and short-lived high, it is very addictive. Abusing cocaine can also be life-threatening. The most dangerous consequences of chronic cocaine abuse come in the form of cardiovascular damage. Even young and healthy individuals can experience heart attacks when they abuse cocaine.
Combining Xanax and Cocaine
People combine Xanax and cocaine for many reasons. One of the most common reasons to mix cocaine and Xanax is to amplify the high. When individuals take cocaine along with Xanax, both drugs counteract the negative side effects of the other. Many people also combine the drugs while dealing with withdrawal effects. Taking Xanax during cocaine withdrawal, for instance, can help people overcome the agitation and anxiety that often occur when a person stops taking cocaine.
Cocaine and Xanax are both highly addictive on their own. When combined, however, they are even more addictive. Polysubstance addiction (being addicted to more than one substance) is far more difficult to overcome than other kinds of addiction. Individuals who abuse cocaine and Xanax can quickly lose control over their habit and develop a full-blown addiction.
Both drugs also have contradictory effects on the central nervous system. Xanax depresses the central nervous system, which means it slows down vital body functions. Cocaine, on the other hand, is a central nervous system stimulant that places extra demands on the central nervous system. When these drugs are combined, the central nervous system becomes highly stressed and can shut down entirely. The result is a drug overdose.
Long Term Dangers of Cocaine and Xanax Abuse
Taking cocaine and Xanax together on a regular basis dramatically increases the risk of polysubstance addiction. Over time, individuals may come to prioritize substance abuse over all other activities in their lives. While substance abuse may start off as a social party activity, it is common for people with addictions to isolate themselves from friends and loved ones and drop important passions and hobbies. People with substance use disorders are more likely to experience, divorce, lose their jobs, go into debt, become homeless, end up in prison, and suffer dangerous physical and mental health disorders. Over time, addiction can completely take over a person’s life.
Xanax and cocaine also lead to significant behavioral changes. Xanax, like alcohol, lowers inhibitions. Cocaine dramatically increases confidence and aggression. Together, these two drugs form a perfect storm that can cause users to engage in dangerous risk-taking behaviors, violent conflicts, and criminal acts. Perhaps even more horrifyingly, they may not even remember these events afterward, because of the way Xanax interferes with short-term memory formation.
Regular Xanax and cocaine abuse also cause a buildup of these substances in the body. When a person has too much Xanax or cocaine in their system, they may experience the following phenomena:
- Heart attack
- Physical dependence
Xanax and Cocaine Overdose
It is a common misconception that Xanax and cocaine balance each other out. While it is true that taking Xanax can reduce the subjective intensity of cocaine effects, and vice versa, the reality is that both drugs continue to affect the body. When a person combines Xanax and cocaine to take the edge off or balance the drugs out, they are likely to take far higher doses than they normally do. The CNS-depressant effects of Xanax and the CNS-stimulant effects of cocaine can put an enormous strain on the body when people combine them.
When a Xanax and cocaine overdose occurs, the most common experience is respiratory depression. Respiratory depression occurs when the central nervous system shuts down important vital functions like breathing. Individuals experiencing respiratory depression may suffer organ or brain damage because these areas of the body do not receive sufficient oxygen. In some cases, the result can be fatal.
Signs of a Xanax overdose include:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Impaired concentration
- Slowed heartbeat
- Problems talking or walking
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Unconsciousness or coma
Xanax and Cocaine Addiction Treatment at NuView Treatment Center
NuView Treatment Center, an outpatient rehab center, offers high-quality and evidence-based treatment to individuals who are suffering from all types of drug and alcohol use disorders, including polysubstance addiction. We understand that recovering from Xanax and cocaine addiction can be especially difficult since it is necessary to address two substance use disorders simultaneously. Our modern facility specializes in a diverse range of evidence-based treatment modalities and therapeutic approaches that are designed to assist individuals with a desire to recover from benzodiazepine addiction and rebuild their lives.
We believe that a compassionate and person-centered approach to addiction treatment is critical to long-term success. No matter which of our outpatient programs a person enrolls in, clients can get the benefits of our individualized treatment plans. Our masters-level clinicians develop these plans after detailed consultations and evaluations, ensuring that each plan will address clients’ unique needs. We understand that all clients are motivated to abuse substances for personal reasons and that everyone has a unique story. Clinicians engage in evidence-based therapies in group settings and one-on-one to help clients address underlying issues that may be driving their substance abuse. Meanwhile, clients develop their recovery foundations daily, building new llife skills, coping tools, and relapse prevention plans.
At NuView Treatment Center, we provide outpatient addiction treatment programs for all addiction severities. Many patients progress through these distinct programs as they become more autonomous and independent in their newfound sober lives. Our treatment center offers the following levels of care:
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
- Outpatient programs (OPs)
- Aftercare planning
If you or a loved one is currently suffering from Xanax addiction, we are here for you. There is no need to suffer alone. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Recovery is possible.