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Alcohol And Over The Counter Drugs Do Not Always Mix

Alcohol and over the counter drugs may seem harmless when used together, since you do not need a prescription for over the counter medications, but sometimes this is not the case.

As the National Institutes of Health warns, when alcohol and over the counter drugs are mixed, there can be dangerous side effects.

In some cases, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of over the counter medications, so they no longer work as intended.

Knowing the unsafe combinations of alcohol and over the counter drugs can prevent you from experiencing serious consequences.

Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Over The Counter Drugs That Treat Pain

Brand-name medications like Tylenol, Aleve, and Motrin, which contain the generic drugs acetaminophen, naproxen, and ibuprofen, respectively, should not be combined with alcohol. According to the National Institutes of Health, when alcohol and over the counter drugs containing these substances are mixed, a person is at risk of serious side effects.

These can include upset stomach, elevated heart rate, stomach ulcers and bleeding, and even liver damage. Acetaminophen may be dangerous for people who chronically abuse alcohol. For example, a 2020 study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology found that acetaminophen is more likely to cause liver damage in chronic alcoholics if they take acetaminophen shortly after alcohol is cleared from the body. This means that if you are a heavy or daily alcohol user, you may be at risk of liver injury if you take acetaminophen.

Risks Of Alcohol And Over The Counter Drugs For Allergies, Cold, And Flu

Over the counter medications like diphenhydramine, more commonly known by the brand name Benadryl, and Sudafed Sinus & Allergy, which contains the drug chlorpheniramine, can also be dangerous when mixed with alcohol. When alcohol and these over the counter drugs are taken together, a person is at risk of drowsiness, dizziness, and alcohol overdose. These medications are typically taken to treat allergies, cold, and flu, and they are not the only medications in this category that can cause problems when mixed with alcohol. If you are taking over the counter drugs to treat allergies or cold and flu symptoms, it is important to refrain from drinking alcohol unless you confirm with a doctor that it is safe to do so.

Alcohol And Other Over The Counter Drugs That Can Cause Problems

Pain relievers and cold and flu medications are not the only over the counter drugs that can cause problems when mixed with alcohol. One problematic combination of alcohol and over the counter drugs occurs when alcohol is mixed with cough medications like the brand name over the counter drug Robitussin, since the interaction of the two can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, and overdose. Heartburn medications like Tagamet can also be dangerous when combined with alcohol, because this combination can cause elevated heartrate and increase the effects of alcohol. The anti-nausea medication Dramamine can also lead to complications, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and higher risk of overdose, when alcohol and over the counter drugs of this type are mixed.

Finally, the over the counter medication doxylamine, which is found in sleep medications like Unisom, can cause a severe interaction with alcohol, leading to sleepiness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of motor coordination, difficulty breathing, and strange behavior. This list is not exhaustive, meaning that there are additional combinations of alcohol and over the counter drugs that can cause dangerous side effects. It is important to consult with a doctor or pharmacist and to follow any warnings provided by drug manufacturers if you are thinking about consuming alcohol while taking over the counter medications.

Protecting Yourself From The Risks of Alcohol And Over The Counter Drugs

As previously stated, there are serious risks associated with some combinations of alcohol and over the counter drugs, so it is important to consult a medical professional or manufacturer guidelines to ensure you are not placing yourself at risk. If you find that alcohol and over the counter drugs you are taking can be dangerous when combined, it is necessary to refrain from consuming alcohol while you are taking these medications. In some cases, giving up drinking may be temporary, but in other instances, you may have to take an over the counter medication for an extended period of time, meaning you will have to remain abstinent from alcohol. If you find that you are unable to give up alcohol, despite the threat of serious side effects, you may have developed a problem with alcohol, and rehab may be necessary to help you stop drinking.

Signs Of An Alcohol Addiction

Being unable to give up alcohol, even when it causes health problems, such as serious side effects from mixing alcohol and over the counter drugs, is a sign of an alcohol addiction. If you are living with an alcohol addiction, a medical professional will refer to your condition as an alcohol use disorder.

Other signs of an alcohol use disorder including strong alcohol cravings, being unsuccessful at giving up drinking, consuming larger quantities of alcohol than intended, giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use, and continuing to abuse alcohol even when it causes relationship problems or difficulty fulfilling responsibilities at work or home. If you are experiencing these symptoms, an alcohol rehab program can help you to develop the coping skills to recover from your addiction.

A rehab program will likely provide several types of treatment , including individual therapy, group counseling, and medications. A specific type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to overcome triggers for drinking and learn healthier ways to cope with stress.

California Alcohol Rehab

If you are looking for treatment for alcohol addiction, Resurgence California is a leading alcohol rehab located in Orange County. We offer alcohol detox in addition to outpatient and inpatient alcohol rehab.

At Resurgence, we create a customized treatment plan for each patient who walks through our door, and we offer a variety of services, including individual and group counseling, therapeutic outings, and relaxation activities like yoga and meditation. If you select us as your inpatient alcohol rehab provider, you will receive your treatment in a home-like setting, with access to area beaches, piers, and outdoor shopping.

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Addiction Treatment that
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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Paying For Alcohol Rehab At Resurgence California

Once you determine that it is time to seek California alcohol rehab, you must determine how you will pay for treatment.

At Resurgence, we take some of the guesswork out of the process with our free, confidential insurance verification program.

Simply give us a call or fill out a brief form on our website, and a member of our team will contact you to inform you what services your insurance provider covers and how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for Resurgence California alcohol rehab.

Once you begin your treatment with us, you can focus on getting better, because we will communicate with your insurance company on your behalf to ensure that your services are covered.

If you do not have insurance, we are happy to work with you to create a private payment plan, because we believe everyone should be able to access affordable alcohol rehab.

Reach out to us today to discuss your options.

Sources:

1) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines
2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33333080/
3) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help

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