Mixing Cocaine & Ambien, A Dangerous Mix
What are the effects?
Doing Cocaine while one is abusing Ambien simultaneously could be very dangerous and is not advised. Individuals who use drugs and Alcohol often mix different substances with each other, taking them simultaneously.
This may be to intensify the effects of the substances, which is a common goal of individuals who have developed high tolerances, have limited supply or when either substance has low potency.
It may also be an attempt to counteract the effects of a substance, which may be appealing when a surprisingly potent drug has been taken or to help ease a comedown.
While a lot is unknown about the interactions between Cocaine and Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, it is important to examine what is known about these drugs together.
Cocaine in high amounts can create anxiety, hyperactivity and paranoia, while the come down can bring on insomnia, agitation and discomfort. Ambien in high amounts can make you fall asleep or depress the Central Nervous System to dangerous lows.
It would be easy to think that mixing these drugs might offer a solution if either of these extremes is peaking too severely or when the miserable come down from Cocaine hits, but drugs do not always interact the way we expect them to.
While it is a common practice to mix uppers and downers in attempt to balance out certain effects, this is a dangerous practice that often has life-threatening consequences. If you or someone you know is experimenting with combining drugs, especially if it is to manage an existing tolerance or addiction to a substance, treatment for substance abuse should be considered.
In 2014, 21.5 million adults in the US battled an addiction.
There are two primary concerns to address when it comes to mixing uppers and downers: the chemical activities of drugs versus the way the drugs make you feel and the risk of simultaneous addiction.
Intuitively, a person might think that if one drug heightens his or her energy levels, alertness and wakefulness, that it may help with staying awake after taking Ambien, which makes a person very relaxed and sleepy. The issue is that while two substances may seem to have opposite effects, the cause behind the effects is how those substances affect the brain and body chemically.
Even if it seems logical that the opposing feelings the substances produce would counteract each other, the reality of how those chemicals might interact in the brain and body is not so simple. When you mix uppers with downers, the body is given contradictory orders simultaneously. This can confuse the body’s systems and induce unpredictable reactions, such as organs shutting down and malfunctioning.
Simultaneous addiction is another risk that comes along with combining uppers and downers. If someone is addicted to Heroin, he or she may be using multiple times a day. At a certain point in active addiction, many Heroin users no longer feel the rush of euphoria from the drug and use solely in order feel normal and avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin makes people very tired, though, and this person may not want to sleep away every day, and so might start using Methamphetamine sometimes to stay awake.
Meth, being highly addictive itself, comes with its own withdrawal symptoms though. If this person becomes addicted to Meth as well as Heroin, then he or she must constantly battle to avoid withdrawal from either drug while attempting to balance the effects. This leads to even more negative effects of substance abuse, as the person faces the physical and emotional consequences associated with Heroin abuse as well as those associated with Meth abuse. It also can easily result in overdose as the countering of the feelings may make it difficult to truly gauge how much of either drug that the body can tolerate.
Almost 8 million adults in the US battled co-occurring disorders (substance use disorder and a mental health disorder) in 2014.
As stated above, there is not a lot known about the interactions of these two drugs. That is because there has been very little study or research conducted on this front.
Limited studies of rats suggest that Ambien may moderately counteract the effects of Cocaine, though not very effectively. Since there is not much literature on this topic, the best way to approach it is by considering what is known about Cocaine and Ambien separately.
Cocaine is known to be a stimulant because it stimulates or heightens the activity in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Its effects are elevated energy levels, increased awareness, hyperactivity, wakefulness, heightened senses and euphoria, increased blood pressure, faster heart rate, agitation and anxiety.
These effects are caused by the way that Cocaine interferes chemically with the brain’s normal procedures. Cocaine is a Dopamine reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it stops nerve cells from reabsorbing the neurotransmitter Dopamine that has been produced and entered the synapse. This causes there to be more Dopamine in the synapse than usual and sends an intensified signal to the neuron receptors. In short, Cocaine increases the amount of Dopamine that is in circulation.
The reason that Cocaine makes the heart rate and blood pressure go up is that it causes blood vessels, particularly in the brain, to be constricted so that the heart has to work harder to push blood through the body.
A Cocaine overdose can cause certain systems in the body to malfunction, the heart often being the first to cause problems. The heart beat can become too rapid or irregular, causing heart failure or heart attack.
Ambien, on the other hand, is a non-Benzodiazepine sedative, medically used primarily as a sleep aid. It suppresses the activity of the Central Nervous System (CNS), causing a sense of calm and sleepiness. Ambien’s effects consist of slowed or shallow breathing, relaxation, extreme fatigue, euphoria and a sense of well-being. If the individual stays awake while on this drug, he or she may experience hallucinations. This drug accomplishes these things by affecting the GABA receptors in the brain. The purpose of the GABA system is to moderate the communication in the brain and frequency of the messages passed between neurons.
GABA is related to an individual’s mood and response to stimulation and stress. Ambien acts as a gamma-Aminobutyric acid agonist, meaning that it inhibits the GABA receptors’ activity and this slows down that communication throughout the Central Nervous System, accomplishing its calming effects of sleepiness, relaxation and reduced stress.
As with all CNS Depressants, Ambien overdose can cause the breathing or heart rate to become dangerously slow or weak, often resulting in stroke, coma, heart failure, brain damage and death.
The primary risks of mixing Cocaine and Ambien are unpredictable reactions in the body, possibility of simultaneous addiction and a higher likelihood of overdose. Considering the facts about each drug, it is easy to see why the body may become confused while on both substances. If Cocaine restricts the blood vessels so that the heart must work harder than normal to push blood through to the main organs and then Ambien slows the breathing and heart rate, the main organs of the body could have an even more difficult time receiving the blood and oxygen required to sustain function.
Perhaps, the Ambien will help to stop the excessive levels of Dopamine, caused by the Cocaine, from taking full effect, but the little study that has been done suggests that this is not a viable assumption to make.
As stated before, it isn’t firmly established how any one person will react to this combination as the body can become confused and repercussions are unpredictable.
The emotional consequences could also be detrimental, possibly causing mood disorders, hyper paranoia, periods of psychosis and other conditions.
Additionally, when any two drugs are used simultaneously to balance effects, there is a chance of becoming addicted physically or psychologically to both drugs.
This increases the difficulty of maintaining a drug habit and the odds of overdose; if you are in this position, help available.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with simultaneous addiction or any kind of substance abuse, rehab and other treatment for substance abuse should be considered. Many people believe they can manage their drug or alcohol use on their own and often end up declining in mental and physical health as their lives fall apart at the seams. Addiction is a tragic disorder that is no one’s fault and once it takes hold, there is no option of overcoming with will power.
Help is needed to achieve recovery and there is no shame in seeking out that help. Mixing different drugs to maintain an addiction is not the way. When you do this, you are endangering your own life as you increase your risk of overdose as well as physical and mental health complications. Many people who abuse substances feel alone in the world and think there is no hope for them, but this is not true. You are not alone. There are many people who have been where you are and have recovered. There are many people who want to help. Give us a call if you want to end the terrible cycle of addiction and find a fresh start.