What Happens When you Mix Tramadol and Alcohol?

Tramadol and alcohol. As words, they may sound like they go well together, but as substances, they should never be combined. There are dozens of prescription drugs, such as tramadol, that are taken for various reasons. Pain relief, anxiety, depression—the list goes on and on. Of course, alcohol is also consumed for various reasons, and despite the risks, many people dangerously consume it while taking tramadol.

Perhaps you’re a social drinker who drinks once or twice a week, or perhaps you regularly have “one too many” and often experience the negative side effects of intoxication. Whichever category you fall in, if you recently received a prescription for tramadol, it’s likely that your doctor has already informed you not to drink alcohol while taking this medication.

So what exactly ARE the risks of combining tramadol and alcohol? Is this a potentially deadly combination? What should you do if you’re struggling with tramadol and/or alcohol abuse? These are just a couple of the topics that will be addressed on this page. Just as is the case with consuming any substance, whether it’s a medicine or alcohol, it’s important to always do so responsibly and as prescribed. Otherwise, the result can be addiction, overdose or worse. The good news is, if needed, treatment and recovery are just a phone call away.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a synthetic prescription drug that’s taken to treat various levels of pain, due to its production of morphine-like effects in the body. An opioid, tramadol was introduced in the U.S. in the mid-’90s, and there are now thousands of prescriptions for it every year. Some people may be directed to take it on an as-needed basis for pain, as one would do with an ibuprofen. Others may be prescribed to take it on a constant basis for lasting pain, such as a chronic back ache or fibromyalgia.

As is the case with other opioids, tramadol can be very addictive. It can also result in various side effects, as other opioids can. Misuse of tramadol, or combining it with other substances, can cause a number of health problems as well. With that in mind, it’s important to take this medication only as directed by a licensed medical professional.

mixing tramadol and alcohol

What are the Side Effects of Tramadol and Alcohol?

Most medications come with the potential for certain side effects, especially if misused. Tramadol is no exception. With its potentially habit-forming qualities, this opioid is a controlled substance in the U.S. that can affect both the body and the brain. The effects of alcohol consumption are comparable to those of tramadol, but the way these substances affect one person may differ from the way they affect another. That’s why it’s best to simply be smart, be responsible and follow your doctor’s instructions. Otherwise, potentially serious—even fatal—side effects could result.

The following are some of the short-term and long-term effects of tramadol abuse and alcohol abuse:

Tramadol Abuse Symptoms 

  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed or irregular heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive decline

Alcohol Abuse Symptoms 

  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Blacking out
  • High blood pressure

Dangers of Mixing Tramadol and Alcohol

There are various reasons that someone would mix drugs and alcohol. In the case of someone with a severe mental disorder, such as depression, a drug might be prescribed as an antidepressant. That same person may also see alcohol as a comparable antidepressant, which can lead to the false notion that mixing the two will somehow enhance their antidepressant effects. But in reality, the opposite is true. Another reason may be that if someone can become addicted to one substance (tramadol), it’s easy to misuse and/or become addicted to another (alcohol), despite the known risks.  

The following are some of the dangers of mixing tramadol and alcohol:

  • Mixing tramadol and alcohol can increase the chances of overdosing on either substance.
  • Both substances are central nervous system depressants, which means they can slow down brain function when combined.
  • Combining tramadol and alcohol can increase depression, which may lead to suicidal thoughts.
  • With all things considered, the combination of tramadol and alcohol can cause various health problems, some of which can be fatal.

Treatment for Tramadol and Alcohol

Perhaps you’re reading this as someone who is already familiar with the dangers of mixing tramadol and alcohol, and you’re seeking help. Or, perhaps you just know someone who’s struggling with these substances, and you’re desperate for help. Regardless of what your involvement is, treatment is available, and taking the first step might be easier than you think.

Simply give us a call at the number below to speak with a specialist who can give you counseling and guidance on choosing the best treatment option. You can also send us a message online. The Recovery Village has helped thousands of people all over the country recover from their substance abuse issues, and we can help you (or your loved one), too.

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.

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