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Alcohol and Methadone: A Dangerous Combination

A couple sitting with coffee cups

Methadone and alcohol shouldn’t be taken together. The side effects of combining these two substances can be severe and impair cognitive function. However, research has shown that 16% to 25% of patients who are using opioids for chronic pain also have a history of heavy drinking or previous alcohol dependence. This means that many patients who need help with opioid misuse will also need treatment for alcohol addiction.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol and Methadone?

Mixing Methadone and alcohol may happen deliberately, or it may happen by chance. In some cases, patients combine alcohol and Methadone to experience a strong sedative effect. They’re often seeking a sensation of well-being or want rapid relief from pain or depression.

On the other hand, it’s common for people to misuse both substances individually. They may start drinking alcohol and begin to develop a dependence. Subsequently, they could begin using Methadone as a prescription drug to get relief from pain or as a treatment for a co-occurring heroin addiction. 

Then, later, that same person may end up taking both substances to satisfy their addictions. If a patient is treated for opioid addiction without treating alcohol addiction, the person could end up using Methadone and continue consuming alcohol during treatment.

What Are the Dangers of Taking Methadone With Alcohol?

Methadone has the potential to amplify the side effects of alcohol in certain individuals. This means that taking both substances at the same time can lead to intoxication while affecting performance and motor skills. Studies have shown that mixing Methadone and alcohol negatively affects cognitive performance.

Research on the effects of alcohol on the body has indicated that its consumption can cause depression of the nervous system, contract brain tissues and destroy brain cells. Furthermore, taking Methadone while drunk can cause various complications like difficulty breathing, weak heart rate, low blood pressure and coma. 

Taking the two substances together may also increase cravings for excess Methadone. Since mixing them doesn’t cancel the side effects of each, combining them may cause drowsiness, weakness, insomnia, sweating and vomiting.

How to Get Quick Help If You Take Methadone With Alcohol

When you’re taking Methadone to treat chronic pain or withdrawal symptoms, you should abstain from consuming alcohol. But if you’ve already been drinking heavily, it may be difficult to stop with your willpower alone. You’ll need treatment that can take care of your opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder at the same time. 

Trying to stop both Methadone and alcohol suddenly will lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s advisable to pursue a supervised withdrawal process that gradually reduces the amount of both substances.

Learn More About Methadone and How to Recover from Opioid Use Disorder

To learn more about recovery and find a BAART program near you, please contact us at 844-341-4040 or send us an email

For more resources on recovery from opioid addiction, browse our blogs

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