Mixing Zetran and Alcohol

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Zetran is a prescription medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety and seizures. It can also have other positive uses, such as being given before surgery to ease anxiety. Zetran is the brand name of a generic drug called diazepam. Diazepam is the same active ingredient in the commonly prescribed drug Valium. These drugs are classified as benzodiazepines. For the most part, when taken as prescribed and only for a short period, benzos like Zetran can be helpful. However, there are risks of benzos including misuse, developing a psychological need for the drug, physical dependence, and dangerous overindulgence. Most of the fatal overdoses involving benzos like Zetran involve other substances; in particular, alcohol. So, what is it about mixing Zetran and alcohol that can be so dangerous?
Benzodiazepines have a calming effect on the neural activity of the brain. Specifically, benzos interact with GABA receptors, and GABA is a calming brain neurotransmitter. What benzos do is send signals to inhibit neuron activity in the brain. This action can relieve symptoms of anxiety and can cause drowsiness or sedation. Many of the signs someone is on Zetran are similar to alcohol. Persons taking Zetran may appear confused, tired, or they may have impaired coordination or slurred speech.
Mixing Zetran and Alcohol
Sedatives, which include Zetran, are central nervous system depressants. This means they slow the activity of the central nervous system when someone uses them. This is why they can cause drowsiness. Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol affects GABA levels in the brain as well. Both benzos and alcohol are similar in their effects. When someone combines the two, the side effects of both can be amplified.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to combine benzodiazepines and alcohol. There are different reasons for this. First, people might inadvertently mix a prescription benzo with alcohol, without understanding the potential risks. Some people also recreationally mix benzos like Zetran with alcohol to amplify the effects and feel more high. On their own, benzodiazepines don’t often lead to overdose, but when they are paired with alcohol, there is a significant risk. According to the CDC, almost 30% of all drug-related deaths involved a benzodiazepine like Zetran. When someone mixes alcohol and benzodiazepines, their GABA receptors are more sensitive to both. Mixing Zetran and alcohol can cause high levels of respiratory depression, and that can ultimately lead to a fatal overdose.

There are other harmful side effects of mixing Zetran and alcohol. For example, someone who mixes the two substances is more likely to experience a black-out or short-term memory loss. There is also a higher risk of aggression or irritability when Zetran and alcohol are taken together. The risk of mental devotion to the drug and physical dependence are also greater when someone is mixing substances. This means a user could become addicted to or dependent on both Zetran and alcohol, rather than one substance on its own. This makes addiction treatment a more complex scenario since multiple addictions have to be addressed.

If someone is dependent on both Zetran and alcohol, it can make not only the actual addiction treatment more complex but also the cleansing phase. Zetran on its own may cause withdrawal side effects that are uncomfortable, but not often deadly. Alcohol can have some of the most severe withdrawal side effects, however. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause seizures, extreme confusion, suicidal thoughts, convulsions or psychosis. For someone to detox from Zetran and alcohol, they would ideally be in a medically-supervised setting.

When Zetran and alcohol are taken together, a person may appear very intoxicated, may have slurred speech and loss of coordination, or could experience severe respiratory depression. Zetran should never be combined with alcohol. Something else that should be noted about Zetran and alcohol is the fact that this medication can be used during alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be very severe or even deadly, and people may suffer from grand mal seizures. Zetran can be given as a way to prevent this severe side effect. While Zetran can have benefits as the body is being cleansed from alcohol, patients have to be monitored carefully. If someone is being treated with Zetran and then returns to alcohol, they may be at a greater risk of complications or death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with polydrug misuse or addiction, such as combining benzodiazepines with alcohol, please contact us. The Recovery Village works with patients who have complex addictions, often involving multiple substances, and we understand the unique and individualized approach that has to be taken for a successful treatment program.

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.