Individuals who mix central nervous system depressants risk significant harm to their thinking abilities and physical health. They are also at an increased risk of fatal overdose.
Tranxene (clorazepate) is a benzodiazepine primarily used to treat dysfunctional anxiety and alcohol withdrawal. It may also be used to treat seizures.
While benzodiazepines like Tranxene have significant medical uses, they can also be significant drugs of abuse.
When benzodiazepines are abused, they are typically not abused in isolation but in combination with other substances. One of the most common combinations is alcohol and a benzodiazepine like Tranxene.
Central Nervous System Depressants
The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord.
Drugs that are classified as CNS depressants reduce or depress the activity of the neurons in the CNS. Many of these drugs do this by increasing the availability or facilitating the actions of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
The actions of CNS depressants are utilized for many medicinal reasons, including anxiety reduction and seizure reduction. They can also be utilized as sedatives.
CNS depressants produce feelings of euphoria, a lack of inhibitions, stress reduction, and other effects that make them attractive recreational substances and potential substances of abuse.
Both alcohol and benzodiazepines are powerful CNS depressants.
Mixing CNS Depressants
According to numerous sources, abuse of benzodiazepines typically includes concurrent abuse of other drugs.
Those who abuse benzodiazepines notoriously also abuse other substances. One of the most common drugs used by these individuals is alcohol.
The combination of Tranxene and alcohol can be particularly dangerous. When these CNS depressants are combined, there is an enhancement of their effects.
This effect is so powerful that the instructions on the prescription bottles of Tranxene indicate that it should not be taken with alcohol.
The first major concern when alcohol and Tranxene are combined is an increased risk for overdose.
CNS depressants affect areas of the brain that control vital functions like breathing and heartbeat. If these areas of the brain are sufficiently affected by the CNS depressant, they can completely shut down, and the person can die.
When alcohol and Tranxene are combined, this effect is enhanced.
Increased Burden on Organs
The liver is the primary organ in the body that metabolizes ingested substances and eliminates toxins from the bloodstream.
The liver metabolizes alcohol before breaking down any other substances in the system. When alcohol is combined with a complex substance like a benzodiazepine, the benzodiazepine may remain in the system longer while the liver works on breaking down the alcohol.
This places a significant burden on the liver. Over time, it increases the chances of substantial liver damage.
CNS depressants also slow other bodily functions, like breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Combinations of CNS depressants can lead to a continued slowdown in these vital functions, which can make an individual more susceptible to diseases and disorders that affect the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs.
Enhanced Potential For Side Effects
All drugs, including alcohol, carry the risk for side effects. Combining CNS depressants increases the chance that an individual will experience adverse side effects from either substance.
In some cases, the side effects can be quite distressing, including nausea, vomiting, headache, and even more serious side effects like psychosis.
Effects on Cognition
CNS depressants affect the functioning of the brain.
The immediate effects of combining Tranxene and alcohol include issues with judgment, controlling emotions, impulse control, and attention and memory.
Chronic use of these drugs can lead to changes in the pathways of the brain. This can make some of these issues more permanent, such as problems with judgment, learning new information, paying attention, and inhibiting impulses.
Increased Susceptibility to Infections
When CNS depressants are combined, they affect the efficiency of the immune system.
This combination results in increased susceptibility to infections and diseases. The effects of these drugs on judgment can make people more vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors that can also increase the potential to contract an infectious disease.
When CNS depressants are combined repeatedly over the long term, an individual becomes susceptible to chronic diseases and disorders, such as numerous types of cancer, stroke, dementia, heart disease, respiratory problems, and other chronic disorders.
Increased Risk of Substance Abuse
Chronic polysubstance abuse leads to an increased risk to develop a formal substance use disorder.
This includes the increased probability that an individual will develop significant tolerance to at least one of the substances they abuse. Eventually, they can develop a physical dependence on alcohol, Tranxene, or both.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with benzodiazepines like Tranxene and alcohol can be serious. They may include the development of potentially fatal seizures, delirium tremens (a syndrome that includes disorientation), severe confusion, hallucinations, and other serious conditions, such as depression with suicidality.
Increased Risk of Psychological Disorders
Individuals with polysubstance use disorders are at an increased risk to be diagnosed with some other mental health disorder.
This can include a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, a trauma- and stressor-related disorder, an anxiety disorder, or other types of mental illness.
According To The American Psychiatric Association, Individuals With A Co-Occurring Diagnosis Of A Substance Use Disorder And Some Other Form Of Mental Illness Experience:
- Higher rates of unemployment
- Higher rates of divorce
- Higher rates of early mortality
- Poorer overall life satisfaction
Combining alcohol and Tranxene can lead to potentially acute severe issues. If this combination is used chronically, it can lead to severe damage to physical, mental, and emotional health.
Moreover, individuals with polysubstance use disorders are often diagnosed with some other form of mental illness, which complicates the situation.
Anyone who is regularly combining Tranxene with alcohol should seek a consultation with a licensed mental health professional to learn how they can handle the situation and avoid these potential issues.