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Benzos and Alcohol?


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Ok, please don't judge me for asking this, but I need some advice on drinking with benzos.

Benzos are currently the only crazy med that I take, but I'm also on GERD medication (pariet) and birth control pills.  Anyways, I currently take 0.5mg of Klonopin in the late afternoon and 1.25mg before bed to try and help with my anxiety and other issues.

It isn't helping.

I don't know if it's pooped out, if the dose isn't high enough or what, I just know it isn't helping. 

Here's where things get tricky.  I don't drink and I never have.  I don't even like alcohol.  So I know very little about liquor.  I've tried many different types of alcohol in the form of "sips" from other people and the only thing I've been able to come close to tolerating was Bailey's.  So I was wondering if it would be horrible to have tiny glass of Bailey's with my nightly Klonopin? It says on the Klonopin bottle not to consume alcohol, but I would assume that's more for concern that people will drive or binge drink or something like that.  I can't even stand the taste so I won't be drinking a lot.  I see my pdoc next week and I just need something that will maybe help me for a few days, because I haven't slept in forever and its making me worse.

Thanks

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It's dangerous to drink on benzos and can result in coma.  This being said I have done it.  That doesn't mean I wasn't lucky.  If you don't even like booze, don't do it.  Can't you just call doc and ask if you can take a little more k at bedtime?  At least until you get your appt?

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Yeah, benzos and alcohol depress your central nervous system. Not a good idea to take them at the same time. People become tolerant of benzos which might be why you aren't getting any relief. Basically, your body adapts to the dose over time and then it takes more drug to get relief. Call your pdoc and get some pro advice.

--Weasel

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Hi,

Benzos and alcohol are not a good mix, can be dangerous, per the PI sheets.  They depress the central nervous system and the two together are synergistic, that is stronger effect than either alone.

Don't start drinking alcohol just to to get to sleep.  You wouldn't start smoking in order to stay alert would you?  Alcohol can have a fairly high tolerance rate too, variable depending on your genes. Additionally us MI folks should avoid alcohol because it negatively effects mood for several days after drinking. Why throw a destabilizing factor in the mix?

Alcohol is NOT a good sleep aid.  It is a sleep THIEF.  Even though you may feel relaxed and sleep the night through, you are less likely to get restful sleep because alcohol disturbs the brain waves that make sleep restful.

One alternative that is over the counter is Benadryl, Diphenhydramine, used for allergies but is also the active ingredient in several sleep aids like Sominex.  It is quite safe. I've been using it to replace my Ambien.  It is available in solid tablets that you can split to adjust your dosage.

You need to call your doctor tomorrow tell them you are are having major sleep problems and ask what to do (or if you can up your benzo). Your doc should be attentive to this concern.

Again, don't turn to liquor for sleep, it will bite you in the derierre.

Best,

A.M.

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It's not the best idea. 

A lot of people confuse benzos with barbiturates though.  Benzos + booze isn't a suicide method for sure.  The odds are highly against it killing you.  The odds of you blacking out and doing something really stupid and not remembering it the next morning are quite a bit larger though.  I've known quite a few people who took Valium recreationaly when they drink just to get fucked up more quickly. It's not a pretty sight.

That's a moderately high dose that you're on so you've probably just developed a tolerance.  You'll definitely want to taper when you come off that.

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It's not the best idea. 

A lot of people confuse benzos with barbiturates though.  Benzos + booze isn't a suicide method for sure.  The odds are highly against it killing you.  The odds of you blacking out and doing something really stupid and not remembering it the next morning are quite a bit larger though.  I've known quite a few people who took Valium recreationaly when they drink just to get fucked up more quickly. It's not a pretty sight.

That's a moderately high dose that you're on so you've probably just developed a tolerance.  You'll definitely want to taper when you come off that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Velvet is right.  For me, Xanax + alcohol = blackout city (fucking scary).  You could really hurt yourselves combining these two not to mention all the embarassment you'll feel when your friends tell you how out of control you got the night before... ;)

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green gal,

i'm going to second what AM said about alcohol not being good for sleep.  in the end, all it does is fuck up your sleep stages and rob you of REM sleep so you wake up less rested in the morning.

i agree with you that no sleep makes anxiety and other mood problems much worse.  but there are better ways to make sure that you're getting sleep.

while alcohol + benzo strengthens the effect of both substances, it's not a good way to get more out of your klonopin. 

if 1.5 mg is no longer enough (and it has a long half-life, so the .5 is probably still in your system when you take the 1.5) it is likely that you have built up a tolerance to that dosage, and this is something you definitely need to address with your doctor. 

possible ideas that are safer than adding baileys to the mix that you may want to discuss with your doctor are:

  • upping your dosage (though remember that you may become habituated to the higher dose eventually)
  • tapering down off of klonopin and then going back on it (this way you will have a lower tolerance)
  • after tapering, working with your doctor on setting up a "medication holiday" routine so that you can avoid future tolerance issues (i say after tapering, because at 2mg a day, as VE said, you wouldn't want to just stop taking it cold turkey tomorrow, but after you are tapered off, you can work on not taking it every day so that in the future you do not redevelop a dependence/tolerance issue.  i worked out something like this with my doctor when i was on klonpin, but it is not practical for all.  it's just an idea.)
  • using a different type of medication for sleep instead of or in addition to klonopin.  some options are a hypnotic (such as ambien or lunesta.  lunesta is FDA approved for long-term use so many find it perferable) or a sedating antidepressant (such as remeron or trazadone.) there are also other medications used to aid with sleep, of course.
  • working on anxiety controlling skills such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, meditation, exercise, etc.
  • working on your "sleep hygiene"
  • i am particurally fond of this "Sleep Protocol" because it adresses some of the ways that anxiety interferes with sleep like ruminating thoughts. (sorry it's a link to a pdf)

again, these are just suggestions of things you maywant to talk to your doctor about.  i'm just a girl with lots of anxiety and sleep issues who's been through the mill.  you may also want to look through posts on the sleep disorder forum and the anxiety forum for more ideas of how other members deal with anxiety and sleep issues.

good luck

penny

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Ok, im going to give you a balanced approach on this issue.

1) The PI Sheets for almost every psychaitric drug recommend you do not drink whilst on it, even drugs that have no direct interaction with alcohol. eg paxil.

2) Benzodiazepines tend to be metabolised by the same liver enzymes as alcohol.  This means, to a non drinker especially, the effect of both is mildly increased when mixed in low doses.

3) Many, many people enjoy regular daily drinking in combination with prescribed medication such as benzos, and have few or no problems with it. 

4) You build up tolerance quite quickly to both alcohol and benzos.  That is, if you take either or both regularly, your tolerance will be raised quite fast and you will be able to consume higher doses with minimal additional effect (we are still talking moderation here).

5) In my opinion, and I am not a dr or trying to be one, 1 little drink each night would not be harmful on top of your klonopin.  In moderation alcohol has the benefits of improving circulation and lowering blood pressure, which often result in less anxiety.

6) Drinking in large amounts and taking large amounts of benzos can be dangerous, and you need to consider your tolerance, body weight and so on. 

7) To give an alternate example I am a big guy, and I am prescribed valium (which is very similar to klonopin) 4 times per week, and I can happily drink (probably most people under the table LOL) on a regular basis with no issues. 

8) Serious hangovers are really bad for anxiety as the rebound anxiety sux big time.  Even from my perspective, its best, if you can avoid, to never drink "too much" (whatever that line is for you). 

9) Baileys is very yummy.

10) Its recommended you take 1-2 alcohol free days per week.  Most charts suggest that up to 12 standard drinks for a woman and 24 standard drinks for a man is considered safe drinking.  12-24 for a woman and 24-48 for a man as increased risk and 24+ for a woman and 48+ for a man as heavy drinking.  Depression and medication can halve this amount, but that still allows 1 standard drink per day with 1 day off per week as a very safe amount (or 2 per day for a man with 1 day off).

11) This information does not include alcoholics.  Alcoholism is typically characterised by a range of activities that are not directly related to the amount consumed, including; hiding your habit; having friends or family complain about your habit; distinct personality change when drinking even small amounts; inabilty to stop and going on benders (periods of abuse); memory loss.

In otherwords you can be a heavy drinker and not be an alcoholic (but still be drinking at a level which is dangerous to your body and mind), and you can be a light or irregular drinker and be an alcoholic. 

Hope this info helps. I thought id go into more detail for anyone else who is interested.

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