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Dangers of Mixing Soma and Alcohol

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Soma may be prescribed after an injury results in pain and discomfort in the muscles. In 2007, the FDA approved Soma for the treatment of muscle pain. The agency recommended a 250 mg dose for relief from this discomfort. It is preferable to the 350 mg tablet because it doesn’t cause the user to be as sleepy.

Soma falls under Schedule IV of the Schedules for Controlled Substances Act. This means that the drug is considered to have a low potential to be abused and also a low risk that people will become dependent upon it. Even so, people are abusing Soma, and one way they do this is by taking it with alcohol.

Alcohol

Even though alcohol is only legally available to those over 21, many people under the age of 21 are struggling with alcohol use disorder. In 2019, 14.5 million people ages 12 and above had an alcohol use disorder. During that year, 414,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 reported that they had an alcohol use disorder. Of this number, 163,000 were males and 251,000 were females.

The problem does not just lie with teens; in 2019, 25.8% of people 25 years and up stated that they had taken part in binge drinking in the past month. One emerging trend is for people to engage in high-intensity drinking, which means consuming 10 or more alcoholic drinks for males and 8 or more alcoholic drinks for females in a short period of time.

The Consumption of Drugs and Alcohol

Researchers have discovered that if people drink alcohol, they are more likely to also take drugs. In one example, researchers performed a study in which 64% of their study’s sample population could be diagnosed with a substance use disorder at one point or another in their lives.

The reason that people choose to add another substance when they are already taking one substance is that they want to increase the feelings they experience. One example is when people combine alcohol and heroin. When people combine these two substances, the alcohol will enhance heroin’s effects. If it is paired with cocaine, the alcohol can reduce the anxiety that cocaine causes.

When Soma and Alcohol Are Mixed

Some people like to mix Soma with hydrocodone and Xanax. Others will take Soma with alcohol because they enjoy the effects of both substances. The warnings accompanying Soma suggest that people need to limit their use of alcohol while they are taking Soma. According to the warning that appears on labeling, a person’s motor functioning will be impaired, cognitive ability will decrease, and drowsiness will be even more pronounced.

People like to mix Soma with alcohol because the combination induces a relaxing high. However, it’s also possible that these two drugs will cause someone to lose consciousness. That’s because combining alcohol with Soma causes the brain’s activity to slow down and promotes sleepiness. This combination makes some people feel euphoric.

Alcohol’s Side Effects

The side effects of alcohol vary in intensity and can be different from one person to the next. They may include:

  • Memory issues
  • Hypothermia or a dangerously low body temperature
  • Slowed breathing
  • Upset stomach, vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Feeling relaxed and euphoric
  • Feelings of calmness
  • Coma or seizures

Soma’s Side Effects

The side effects of Soma are similar to those of alcohol. They include:

  • Hiccups
  • Upset stomach, vomiting or nausea
  • Depression
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Irritability, nervousness or agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Relief from muscle pain and spasms

The high that combining these two substances creates is very relaxing. Because these drugs are both central nervous system depressants, however, there is a high likelihood that an overdose will occur.

The Reason People Mix Soma and Alcohol

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is an amino acid. It is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. This amino acid’s job is to inhibit nerve transmissions so that neuronal excitability will be reduced. Alcohol and Soma react with GABA receptors and reduce the brain’s reactions to stimuli, but they do this in an indirect manner. This means that they do not bind to the GABA receptors, so the nerves cannot take back the neurotransmitters that cause people to become relaxed. However, it does mean that they stimulate the system indirectly.

Soma was created to relax the muscles and treat people with injuries. It does this by preventing nerve cells from communicating with each other. By interrupting communications between nerve cells and acting as a partial GABA agonist, there is a strong possibility that the person taking the drug will feel high and fully relaxed. This occurs even when people take Soma exactly as their physicians prescribe it. If people mix Soma and alcohol, these effects will be even more pronounced.

Soma acts on the brain in a similar manner as alcohol, so each one will increase the effects produced by the other. This causes the mixture to induce a pleasurable relaxation, euphoria and sleepiness. Unfortunately, this combination also increases the possibility that people will overdose on the medication. It can also damage a person’s organs and lead to memory loss.

How Do People Abuse Soma and Alcohol?

People who abuse Soma might take advantage of prescriptions written by physicians. They may also procure it by traveling to Mexico; you don’t need a prescription to purchase Soma over the counter in Mexico. If people want to abuse Soma, they can do it. The danger increases when they also take other substances along with it.

What Happens If You Mix Soma and Alcohol?

Since both Soma and alcohol suppress the central nervous system, mixing the two can cause the following dangerous symptoms:

  • An increased risk of overdose
  • An increased risk of seizures
  • An increase in drowsiness
  • An increase in loss of muscle strength
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of coordination or motor control
  • Slower breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion, incoherence and agitation
  • The inability to wake up after falling asleep

If people are mixing Soma with alcohol over long periods of time, they have a greater chance of developing an addiction to both substances.

There is a danger in taking Soma before getting behind the wheel and driving because this is just as perilous as drinking before driving. According to the NHTSA, when people take Soma, their driving will be just as impaired as if they drank alcohol. Although this is the case, a Breathalyzer test cannot detect Soma.

Drinking alcohol and taking Soma can also cause the following:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Facial flushing
  • A head rush as blood pressure drops
  • Tachycardia or a heart rate over 100 beats per minute

Long-Term Abuse of Soma

Abusing Soma for the long term results in several side effects as well. These include the following:

  • Diplopia or a loss of vision
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Damage to the spine caused by neck hypertension
  • Damage to the gastrointestinal system
  • Damage to the cardiovascular system

Cirrhosis of the Liver

If you mix any drugs, it increases the amount of damage that is done to your liver. This commonly occurs when people abuse alcohol for several years; it can lead to jaundice, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, difficulties processing toxins and a loss of energy. While the liver is failing, the kidneys try to take over the liver’s job of filtering out the toxins. This is not normally the kidneys’ job, so they could fail and become damaged. Both of these conditions may be lead to a person’s death.

Throughout the course of this disease, the liver’s healthy tissue is being replaced by scar tissue that prevents the liver from performing its duties as well as it used to do. The scar tissue keeps blood from flowing through the liver and slows down its ability to process the drugs. When cirrhosis is in the late stages, it can lead to death.

Cirrhosis and Cancer

Cirrhosis does not cause cancer, but the majority of people diagnosed with cancer of the liver also have cirrhosis. In fact, people with cirrhosis have an increased risk of contracting liver cancer. Also, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are two diseases that often lead to cirrhosis. Anything that causes liver disease can lead to cirrhosis.

When people are diagnosed with late-stage cirrhosis, the damage that has been done is permanent. As time goes on, the liver may continue to become scarred, and the liver’s functioning may continue to decline. If you are in an early stage of cirrhosis, your doctor may be able to manage it so that the disease does not continue to progress.

In addition to the medical complications described above, mixing Soma and alcohol can result in memory loss.

Treatment for Soma and Alcohol Use

If you or a loved one is trapped in a cycle of abusing Soma and alcohol, this situation must not continue. As we have explored, addiction to just one of these drugs results in several unpleasant side effects, and mixing these two substances exacerbates the symptoms. You increase your risk of dying because of this habit.

On top of the fact that these drugs have side effects, you or your loved one is at risk of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and kidney damage. This doesn’t necessarily lead to death on its own, but if you do not stop drinking alcohol and mixing it with Soma, it could cause a life-threatening condition.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we can offer you an inpatient treatment program that will begin with the detoxification process. During the detox program, our medical staff will administer medications that will make it possible for you to get through the entire withdrawal process as comfortably as possible. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Sometimes, people begin to drink and take drugs because of the symptoms they are experiencing from a mental health disorder. At Granite Recovery Centers, our staff has the expertise and knowledge to treat you for a possible mental health disorder and your substance use disorder at the same time. Many people are confronting mental health disorders and substance use disorders simultaneously, so you are not the only one.

In an inpatient treatment center, we can offer you several types of therapy that will treat you for your substance use disorder. These include the 12-step program, individual counseling and group counseling. If you don’t feel comfortable going home after your inpatient treatment is over, we can offer you extended care that continues your treatment.

If you or your loved one wants to pursue treatment at Granite Recovery Centers, give us a call today. We’ll explain your options and help you choose the addiction treatment program that meets your needs.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.