Mixing Alcohol and Meth

In recent years, the drug methamphetamine has been causing an increasing percentage of fatal overdoses in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal overdoses on meth tripled from 2011 to 2016. After fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, meth is the fourth deadliest drug in America.

Many people who are addicted to meth also drink alcohol, and some people are even addicted to both substances. Anyone who is abusing alcohol and using meth together is endangering their health and safety. Alcohol magnifies the risks of meth and makes breaking free from meth addiction even more difficult, but there are treatment options to help people overcome co-occurring alcohol and meth disorders. 

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine is an illegal stimulant which is notorious for its disastrous health effects. Meth is also highly addictive. The drug is most commonly synthesized as “crystal,” or white fragments which users burn for smoking. Meth can also be manufactured as pills or powder. “Ice,” “speed,” and “crystal” are some other common names for the drug.

Regardless of the form that it takes, meth functions as a stimulant by forcing the brain and the central nervous system to supercharge the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which regulates sensations of pleasure and relaxation. The effects of meth are powerful. In fact, the drug results in the release of quantities of dopamine which are three times larger than those released by cocaine. Once someone smokes meth, they experience a “rush” of euphoria, high energy, and confidence. On the physical level, meth causes the heart to beat faster and raises the body’s temperature and blood pressure. A meth “rush” doesn’t last long, so users often “binge” on meth by taking several doses, sometimes over the course of several days.

Why Meth Is Dangerous

Since meth is cheaper than cocaine, it is one of the most prevalent stimulants in the country. Millions of Americans, including teenagers, have used meth at least once. Nevertheless, the drug is definitely not safe. Long-term meth use damages the brain and causes memory loss, impaired thinking, insomnia, and emotional instability (particularly paranoia and anxiety). Meth abusers sometimes behave aggressively and suffer from severe weight loss and tooth decay because they neglect self-care. Meth also corrupts the dopamine system in the brain and quickly causes addiction. Studies even suggest that meth abuse contributes to the development of Parkinson’s disease later in life. Aside from the health effects of meth, the drug is also illegal. Anyone in the United States may be arrested and sentenced to prison for using, possessing, or manufacturing meth.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Meth

Alcohol generally enhances the effects of meth. For this reason, many people who have a meth addiction often binge drink or become alcoholics. Scientists have shown that alcohol actually slows down the metabolism of meth so that the drug stays in the body longer. Scientific studies have also demonstrated that alcohol bolsters the rate at which the brain absorbs meth. The result is that drinking alcohol amplifies the sensations of euphoria which characterize a typical meth “rush.” This only strengthens meth addiction and increases the possibility that a person may one day suffer an overdose. It is also important to remember that combining alcohol with meth is even more likely to provoke an overdose than merely using meth by itself because the body has a worse reaction to both substances than it has to only one.

The stimulating effects of meth tend to override the effects of alcohol, which is a depressant. That’s why someone who drinks while using meth may not feel the effects of alcohol, so they might continue drinking and risk alcohol poisoning, a life-threatening condition. Additionally, when alcohol and meth are both present in someone’s bloodstream, their heart rate will increase to such an extent that they may suffer heart damage.

Alcohol and meth both impair a person’s judgment and may cause someone to engage in risky behaviors, especially driving under the influence. Just as alcohol amplifies a meth “rush,” it also worsens a meth “crash,” the aftermath of meth abuse. A meth “crash” combined with a hangover often involves suicidal depression and intense discomfort. Research studies even suggest that meth and alcohol, when taken together, impair spatial memory. The combination of the two substances is especially damaging to the brain development of unborn babies.

Get help for alcoholism

Take your life back by getting started in a treatment program today.

Learn more about treatment

Alt text

Treatment for Co-Occurring Alcoholism and Meth Addiction

Someone who is suffering from addiction to meth and alcoholism is suffering from co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are two or more mental health disorders which thrive on one another. Overcoming one addiction, such as alcoholism, is even more difficult when another addiction is at work. Since there is a correlation between meth abuse and binge drinking, anyone who is struggling with alcoholism will certainly struggle to achieve sobriety while also suffering from meth addiction.

Fortunately, there are many treatment centers which specialize in treating alcoholism as a co-occurring disorder with meth addiction. With the right support from family, friends and recovery professionals, anyone can start to live a life free from co-occurring addictions to meth and alcohol. Everyone will have a different recovery journey, but a typical treatment program for alcohol and drug addiction will involve detox, medication and therapy. If you or someone you know is using meth and drinking alcohol, please contact a dedicated treatment provider today for more information on your treatment options.

Get help for alcoholism today.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. We will find top-rated treatment programs that help you get and stay sober.

Treatment specialists are waiting for your call

(877) 624-1853 or

Get the help you need now.

We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Make or receive a judgement-free call today with one of our compassionate rehab specialists.

Let Us Call You

(855) 860-9633

or Give Us a Call


Get the help you need now.

We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Submit your number to receive a judgement-free call today with one of our compassionate rehab specialists.

(855) 860-9633

Where do calls go?

Callers will be routed to:

Where do calls go?

We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that Alcohol Rehab Guide is compensated by treatment providers for the work Alcohol Rehab Guide does in the development and operation of this site. These providers were carefully vetted and selected based on the quality of treatment they provide and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices.

If a provider is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.