Many people do not consider alcohol to be a drug since they can simply go out and buy it from the store without any issues or symptoms, and it can be enjoyed in a recreational capacity without interacting too seriously with many things. However, the opposite is actually true and even though alcohol is so widely available, it has the ability to interact in potentially dangerous ways with many other common substances.

One of these potentially reactive substances is called naproxen, and while it may not sound familiar many people might be surprised to find that they might have some in their homes right now. Naproxen or naproxen sodium is also sold under several brand-name medications such as Aleve or Naprosyn and is used for many of the same ailments that you would use aspirin or ibuprofen for. 

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen is a type of over-the-counter painkiller that is called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or an NSAID. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are very similar to steroids, though they have a much lower chance of serious side effects. They generally work by reducing or stopping your body from making certain compounds that cause inflammation and as a result, pain.

Naproxen is able to treat swelling and stiffness that result from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the tenderness, sensitivity, and pain that occurs in people with those illnesses. It can also be prescribed for types of arthritis that occur in juveniles and those under 16. It can be taken by children as young as two, provided it has been prescribed by their doctor or medical professional. 

Naproxen is even considered a first-line treatment for many other conditions such as menstrual cramps, tendonitis, bursitis, and even gout which is a painful and occasionally severe pain that is often seen in men with poor diets. It has also been used in an unsanctioned manner to treat migraines and help prevent them in a chronic capacity.

It is available both by prescription and in over-the-counter potencies and can be found in either a tablet or a liquid suspension. Both methods are taken orally and should be used with food to help mitigate potential stomach upset. If the drug has been prescribed, the doctor should attempt to assign the lowest possible functional dose.

Risks of Mixing Naproxen and Alcohol

While it may not be a drug combination that catches manny headlines, mixing naproxen and alcohol can be incredibly dangerous and even potentially deadly when consumed in excessive amounts. Both naproxen and alcohol thin the blood and elevate the risk of complications due to bleeding, particularly internally. Both substances on their own can cause an increase in the user’s risk for gastritis, but combining them boosts this risk even more. Gastritis can be uncomfortable, painful, and can lead to potentially severe health problems.

One of the most potentially hazardous side effects of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is their tendency to increase the body’s risk of bleeding. Even though there have been many large studies that show this to be the case, the mechanism by which the bleeding becomes more likely is still unknown, making it even more dangerous. This risk is increased more when naproxen is combined with alcohol, and if the user has a history of alcohol abuse, this risk can have deadly results.

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Another potentially hazardous side effect that the alcohol component presents is that it lowers the body’s ability to manufacture platelets and other blood cells, which are vital for the process of clotting. This means if you cannot produce platelets and you get cut, your body will have a difficult time clotting and you may keep bleeding for some time. This can be potentially fatal if it happens with internal bleeding.

It is thought that the use of alcohol when combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen represents an even greater risk of uncontrollable bleeding than either of the two substances used by themselves. This means that while using alcohol, also using naproxen presents an additive risk, potentially making any bleeding be more severe and last far longer than otherwise.

How to Know if Addicted to Naproxen and Alcohol

When people begin taking a new substance like naproxen, or combine it with another substance they may already be taking like alcohol, one of the things they want to know is if it is possible to become addicted to naproxen. The good news is you cannot become addicted to naproxen, however, you can develop a tolerance to its effects. 

Developing a tolerance is something that happens to individuals that use a substance regularly for quite some time, and it begins to lose its original effectiveness. Once you have developed a tolerance, the amount of the substance that you need to consume to get the same effect increases significantly, making it harder to achieve the desired effects.

Side effects of taking naproxen may include chest pains, difficulty with speech or talking, weakness in various areas of the body, shortness of breath or other breathing issues, swelling in the head, face, or neck, pains in the stomach, forming ulcers in the stomach or intestines, elevated blood pressure, and blood in the vomit or stool. If you experience these symptoms you will need to seek medical attention immediately, especially if you find that you cannot stop taking it even while experiencing the symptoms.

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Best Treatment Options For Someone Addicted to Naproxen and Alcohol

When someone close to you is having difficulties with substance abuse issues, it can be challenging to help them get the help they need. If they are addicted to alcohol while using naproxen it can present a significant danger to their health, and they may benefit from a variety of professional treatment resources in their area. 

By working with recovery professionals, not only will the individual have the chance to detox in a safe and supervised environment, but they can learn ways to cope with potential triggers. This helps them maintain their recovery going forward.

Getting appropriate, medical help is one of the most important things a person can do if suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Reach out today if you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol so that you can start walking on the path to a healthier, more satisfying future immediately.