Author: Charles Frank

Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

cocaine and alcohol

Cocaine is a sympathomimetic that affects a variety of receptors in the body, releasing specific catecholamine and blocking their reuptake at certain sites. In the short term, cocaine acts as a vasoconstrictor and subjects who use cocaine present with dilated pupils, elevated body temperatures, rapid heart rates, and high blood pressure. At higher doses, cocaine may induce behavioral changes including paranoia, aggression, and violence; cocaine has potentially life-threatening cardiotoxic effects [1]. When cocaine and ethanol are used together, a psychoactive metabolite is produced with similar pharmacological and psychoactive properties as cocaine [2].

  1. This reaction alters the way both substances affect the body and increases their potency.
  2. Some studies even suggest that cocaine users will drink alcohol concurrently to reduce the anxieties and discomfort that comes with cocaine addiction and withdrawal.
  3. Although it was long believed that cocaine was metabolized into benzoylecgonine via hCE1 and into ecgonine methyl ester via hCE2, this has come under question [17].
  4. Importantly, for someone who has developed a severe alcohol dependence, quitting “cold turkey” can be dangerous.

Dopamine is a reinforcing substance that plays a key role in the effects of many drugs of abuse, including cocaine and alcohol [21]. Independent of the route of administration, the initial effect of cocaine on the body is a rapid build-up of dopamine [22]. Dopamine originates in the dopaminergic cells of the brain and circulates throughout the body [22]. Circulating dopamine molecules can attach to receptor cells and, in that way, stimulate specific responses.

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A lot of the signs of coke (street name for cocaine) and alcohol abuse are similar to other types of addiction. The rise of cocaethylene and cocaine increases heart and liver toxicity. The biggest danger of using both are sudden heart-related problems, such as a heart attack or change in heart rhythms. Cocaethylene also stays around for a much longer time in the body than cocaine, and its toxic effects last longer.

Do not disregard or avoid professional medical advice due to content published within Cureus. The adult brain contains a small population of neural stem cells that help to repair and maintain cerebral tissue [38]. Adult mammals experience neurogenesis to a limited extent over the course of their lifetime [39]. In a study of mice, the long-term exposure of animals to ethanol and cocaine induced pathological changes in the brain and neurodegeneration [38]. Cocaethylene seems to be far more selective to dopaminergic sites than cocaine [11], since the latter appears to block serotonin reuptake as well as dopamine reuptake [2]. Both cocaine and cocaethylene increase the post-synaptic neuronal activity in an equipotent fashion although the effects of cocaethylene are more enduring [3].

Both substances can increase urination, and this side effect is more severe when taking them together. In addition, the psychological effects of the cocaine crash and physical effects of an alcohol hangover are happening at the same time. These symptoms are very uncomfortable, often driving a person to get intoxicated in an attempt to relieve them.

cocaine and alcohol

One reason people use alcohol and cocaine together might be because they believe alcohol can curb the withdrawal and anxiety when cocaine’s effects start to wear off. If you think you or a loved one might have a problem with cocaine, alcohol, or another substance, reach out to a healthcare provider. The level of risk may increase if a person already has heart-related health issues. Cocaine and alcohol amplify the effects of one another, and combining them can lead to life-threatening consequences.

Combining cocaine and alcohol leads to the formation of a toxic substance called cocaethylene in the liver. This interaction intensifies the effects of both substances and puts significant stress on the cardiovascular system. It can result in rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, impaired judgment, and an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. Yes, combining cocaine with alcohol is extremely dangerous and can have life-threatening consequences. The mixture places excessive strain on the heart, increases the risk of cardiovascular events, impairs cognitive function, and can lead to overdose or sudden death.

Mixing Cocaine & Alcohol: What To Expect

Some people use alcohol and cocaine simultaneously in order to increase the effects of both substances. However, this combination can easily lead to life-threatening consequences such as overdose or alcohol poisoning. Alcohol is a depressant while cocaine is a stimulant, and when these opposing substances are used at the same time, their side effects can quickly amplify to dangerous levels. Alcohol and cocaine should never be used together, as the risks greatly outweigh any potential reward. While mixing these substances is incredibly dangerous and can lead to severe health consequences, there is hope for recovery. Addiction treatment centers like Renaissance Recovery’s rehab in California offer specialized programs to help individuals overcome dependence on both cocaine and alcohol.

cocaine and alcohol

Polysubstance use disorder is prevalent among recreational drug users, including cocaine users, and ethanol is frequently combined with cocaine [4]. Some people using cocaine may take alcohol for no other reason than it is available at the time. Because cocaine can make someone feel less cognitively impaired, using it with alcohol can reduce how intoxicated they feel. However, even though a person taking these substances together may “feel” less impaired, they are still very intoxicated. Cocaine and alcohol have two significant drug interactions that make a person more impaired.

This co-use increases the harmful effects of cocaine as well as the risk of drug dependence and addiction. Cocaine and alcohol use disorders are challenging to overcome, and when they are combined, recovery can be even more difficult. For most people, professional rehab is the safest and most effective strategy to achieve sobriety. Importantly, for someone who has developed a severe alcohol dependence, quitting “cold turkey” can be dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cocaine is involved in approximately one in five drug overdose deaths in the United States. Often, these cocaine-related deaths occur due to cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops beating.

What Happens When Mixing Cocaine & Alcohol

Cocaethylene is a psychoactive substance that is produced in the body when cocaine and alcohol are used concurrently. Cocaethylene is an incredibly dangerous substance in the body and can lead to a number of life-threatening problems including seizures, liver damage, and problems with immune functioning. This cocaethylene effect is why mixing alcohol and cocaine is considered dangerous. Research shows that the concurrent use of cocaine and alcohol increases the risk of sudden death from heart attack or stroke by 18 times compared to using cocaine alone.

Farooq, Muhammad U.; et al. “Neurotoxic and cardiotoxic effects of cocaine and ethanol.” Journal of Medical Toxicology, September 2009. If you or a loved one are struggling with a cocaine or alcohol addiction, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and recovery programs that can work well for your needs. If you are worried that a loved one may be struggling with a cocaine or alcohol addiction, there are many different signs that you can look for.

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