Mixing Doral and Alcohol

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Doral is a brand-name drug prescribed to treat insomnia. The generic name is quazepam, which is classified as a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They’re also among the most abused. This class of drugs has a calming, hypnotic effect on users. As a result, benzos are prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia; they are also used as anti-convulsant medications. When someone uses a benzo, it binds to GABA receptor sites in the brain. GABA is a natural brain neurotransmitter responsible for having a calming effect on neuron activity. By binding to these sites, benzos can replicate the effects of GABA and slow central nervous system activity.

While there are benefits of using benzodiazepines, they’re primarily meant as a short-term treatment option. Benzodiazepines shouldn’t be used for the long-term treatment of anxiety or insomnia because they carry the risk of addiction and dependence. Anything that triggers a psychoactive brain response (such as feelings of euphoria, pleasure or relaxation) has the potential to be addictive. Also, since benzos affect brain neurotransmitters, dependence can occur. Along with addiction and dependence, side effects of benzodiazepine can include

  • Coordination impairment
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss

The symptoms of benzodiazepines are quite similar to those associated with alcohol, primarily because both benzos and alcohol affect GABA and slow the central nervous system. Combining any benzodiazepine with alcohol can cause significant impairment. The level of impairment a person is likely to experience when combining any benzo with alcohol is higher than if just one substance were used on its own.

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While Doral is a benzo, it has some differences from other drugs in this class. First, Doral binds only to specific GABA receptors that are involved with sleep. This selectivity helps lower the risk of side effects in the short and long term. Doral also seems to cause a lower level of respiratory depression than other benzodiazepines. That said, it’s still unwise to mix Doral and alcohol. Doing so increases the risk of serious motor and cognitive impairment. Since Doral is a long-acting benzo, it also tends to accumulate in the body, which can make these risks more profound. There is also still a risk of respiratory depression and overdose when mixing Doral and alcohol.

Along with the short-term effects of mixing Doral and alcohol, using multiple substances can increase the risk of developing a polysubstance abuse problem. A polysubstance abuse problem is more complex to treat in rehab and can be more difficult to recover from. A history of combining benzos and alcohol can contribute to memory problems, mood swings and changes in behavior. Both alcohol and benzos are depressants, and this can cause or worsen mental health issues.

In addition to knowing the risks of mixing Doral and alcohol, people should avoid combining Doral and opioids. Opioid pain medications are at the heart of a national drug epidemic in the U.S. Many opioid overdoses and deaths also involve a benzodiazepine such as Doral. Opioids depress the CNS and breathing significantly, and when one combines opioids with a benzo, it’s not uncommon for a fatal overdose to occur.

For people struggling with drug dependence or addiction, there are options. The Recovery Village works with patients from around the country to help them recover successfully, even when they struggle with severe addictions. Please contact us to learn more about what happens during our individualized treatment programs.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.