Dangers of Mixing Substances

Struggling with an addiction can impair your judgment and increase your risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors. Intoxication also lowers inhibitions, which can lead to bad decisions. For example, you may be more likely to experiment with other substances when you are intoxicated. The dangers of mixing substances can include fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

Psychoactive substances have either depressant or stimulant effects. Depressants lower your heart rate and decrease your breathing, while stimulants do the opposite. Mixing two depressants can cause your breathing to stop while combining two different stimulants can overwork your heart. To learn more about our adolescent addiction treatment program, contact Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275.

The Dangers of Mixing Substances

Drugs and alcohol carry the risk of addiction. While addiction may seem uncommon, the truth is more than 15 million Americans struggle with alcoholism while another 19.7 million battle a drug addiction each year. 

Psychoactive substances cause your brain to release a rush of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Drugs and alcohol cause different intoxicating effects. When you mix multiple substances, it can increase your risk of overdosing. The dangers of mixing substances also include the risk of developing an addiction to multiple substances, as you can be addicted to more than one substance at a time.

When thinking about the dangers of mixing substances, it’s important to remember that your liver is responsible for filtering impurities. Drugs and alcohol are both filtered by your liver. When you abuse drugs and alcohol or develop an addiction, it can overwork your liver and cause medical problems. Other dangers of mixing substances involve how substances interact with your brain chemistry. If you combine substances that release serotonin, it can lead to serotonin syndrome.

Other dangers of mixing substances involve your memory. Using multiple substances at the same time can cause blackouts and memory loss.


Since one of the many symptoms of addiction is making dangerous decisions, using more than one substance at a time can indicate that you have a substance abuse problem. During addiction, your tolerance to your substance of choice increases. That means you have to increase your use to continue to experience the positive effects of intoxication. When your tolerance increases and you can’t acquire your substance of choice, you may resort to using other substances to increase the effects of intoxication.

For example, if you are addicted to prescription opiates, you may drink alcohol to intensify the effects to compensate for a diminishing supply of opiates or a growing tolerance. As addiction progresses, you can continue to place your substance use as the main priority in your daily life. This prioritization can negatively impact your family life, relationships, career, and finances. Because addiction impairs your judgment and disrupts your logical reasoning process, you can struggle to accept that you have a substance abuse problem.

Because addiction is a progressive disease, symptoms will continue to become more severe until you achieve recovery. Addiction can cause:

  • Medical problems, such as liver damage
  • Mental health problems, such as depression
  • Increased interpersonal conflict
  • Employment and housing instability
  • Financial debt
  • Diminished quality of life

During addiction, your brain relies on your substance of choice to release neurotransmitters. During recovery, your brain has to heal, which requires maintaining sobriety as your brain adjusts to releasing neurotransmitters naturally. If you have a physical dependency, you can combat withdrawal symptoms that are painful and uncomfortable. Withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to recover without completing substance abuse treatment.

Substance Abuse Treatment

If you develop an addiction or regularly abuse multiple substances, you can feel frustrated, isolated, and defeated. Because of the dangers of mixing substances and addiction are severe, it’s important to receive help from a substance abuse treatment program. Rehab helps support your recovery while providing you with a safe and sober environment to focus on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Our treatment programs include:

If you are ready to discuss your treatment options, contact us today at 866.300.5275.

foothill s at red oak recovery adolescent treatment programFoothills at Red Oak Recovery serves 14-17 year old male adolescents and their families.Our program is located on a 94-acre working horse farm in Ellenboro, NC to help promote growth, reflection, and healing for those experiencing the results of trauma. Our licensed clinical team and extensive range of therapies provides the support and education young teens need to put themselves back on the right path Learn more.