Valium and Alcohol: Can You Mix Them?

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Mixing alcohol and valium poses a significant health risk due to the synergistic effect they exert on each other.

Both Valium and alcohol act as CNS depressants, diminishing functional activity in the brain and central nervous system. When used together, these substances overload the body, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Impaired motor control
  • Slow heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety

In more severe cases, the combination of alcohol and Valium can result in an overdose, amplifying the potential for adverse health consequences.

A woman deep in thought about the adverse effects of Mixing alcohol and valium

Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Valium

The combination of alcohol and Valium can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects due to their synergistic impact on the CNS (central nervous system). Valium and alcohol effects may include:

Increased sedation

Both alcohol and Valium have sedative effects, and their combination can intensify drowsiness, leading to excessive sleepiness and lethargy.

Impaired coordination

Combining alcohol and Valium heightens the impairment of motor skills, coordination, and reflexes. This increases the risk of accidents and injuries.

Heightened anxiety and mental health effects

Contrary to the intended effects of Valium, the combination with alcohol can exacerbate anxiety and mental health issues. It may lead to increased agitation and emotional instability.

Memory and cognitive impairment

Alcohol and Valium can individually impair memory and cognitive function. When combined, these effects are magnified, leading to confusion, memory lapses, and difficulty concentrating.

Potential for addiction

Combining alcohol and Valium increases the risk of developing tolerance and dependence on both substances, fostering the potential for addiction.

Cardiovascular complications

The combination may result in a slow heart rate (bradycardia) and low blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Respiratory depression

Both substances can suppress respiratory function. Together, they may lead to slowed breathing or difficulty breathing, posing a serious risk, especially in individuals with respiratory conditions.

Increased risk of overdose

The simultaneous use of alcohol and Valium substantially raises the risk of overdose. Both substances potentiate each other’s effects, potentially leading to a dangerous suppression of vital functions.

The effects of mixing alcohol and Valium can vary based on factors such as dosage, individual tolerance, and overall health. However, the combination poses serious risks and should be avoided. Individuals prescribed Valium should consult their healthcare providers regarding its use and potential interactions with alcohol.

Health Risks of Valium and Alcohol

The simultaneous use of Valium and alcohol presents various health risks beyond the immediate effects of their combination. Some of these risks include:

  • Liver damage: Both Valium and alcohol are metabolized in the liver. Concurrent use can strain the liver, potentially leading to liver damage or exacerbating existing liver conditions.
  • Compromised judgment: The combined sedative effects of Valium and alcohol impair judgment, leading to poor decision-making and an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Increased risk of accidents: Impaired coordination and cognitive function elevate the risk of accidents, injuries, and falls, especially when engaging in activities that require alertness.
  • Intensified depressive effects: Valium and alcohol, as CNS depressants, collectively contribute to depressive effects on respiratory function and cardiovascular activity, increasing the risk of complications.
  • Risk of aspiration: Excessive sedation and impaired reflexes may elevate the risk of aspiration, where individuals inhale vomited material into their lungs, leading to respiratory issues.
  • Worsening mental health conditions: Individuals with co-occurring mental health conditions may experience worsening depression and anxiety when combining Valium and alcohol.
  • Interference with medications: Valium may interact with other medications, and adding alcohol to the mix can further complicate drug interactions, potentially diminishing the effectiveness of prescribed medications.
  • Potential for substance abuse: Combining Valium and alcohol increases the risk of developing a pattern of substance abuse, potentially triggering dependence and addiction over time.

Anyone who is considering the simultaneous use of Valium and alcohol should be aware of these risks. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals is essential for those prescribed Valium or dealing with alcohol-related concerns to ensure informed and safe choices.

How Long After Taking Valium Can I Drink?

The interaction between Valium and alcohol is complex, and the timing of alcohol consumption after taking Valium is a crucial consideration. It is generally advised to avoid alcohol entirely while taking Valium due to the heightened risk of adverse effects. 

Valium has a relatively long half-life, meaning that it stays in the body for up to 48 hours, depending on individual factors. Even after the acute effects have worn off, the drug may still be present in the system, due to the lengthy elimination times of the metabolites of diazepam.

People may metabolize medications differently based on factors such as age, liver function, and overall health. Consequently, the time required for Valium to clear from the system can vary.

Beyond this, Valium may interact with other medications or health conditions, impacting how quickly it is eliminated from the body. Alcohol can further complicate these interactions.

The best course of action is to follow the guidance provided by a healthcare provider. If alcohol consumption is deemed acceptable, specific timeframes and limitations may be recommended based on individual health circumstances.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn