Acetaminophen and Alcohol: A Potentially Dangerous Combination

Written by Will Long

While generally considered safe when taken as directed, the combination of acetaminophen and alcohol can lead to severe liver damage and other serious health complications. This is particularly concerning for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or engaging in excessive drinking habits.

What is Excessive Drinking?

Excessive drinking is defined as consuming more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week for men, and more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks per week for women. Binge drinking, a specific form of excessive drinking, occurs when a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08% or higher. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks within a span of about two hours.

Signs of Alcoholism

Several signs may indicate that an individual is struggling with alcoholism. These include drinking more or for longer than intended, unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop drinking, spending significant amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol, and experiencing cravings for alcohol. Other warning signs include neglecting responsibilities due to drinking, continuing to drink despite relationship problems caused by alcohol use, giving up important activities in favor of drinking, using alcohol in dangerous situations, developing a tolerance to alcohol, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.

Why is Combining Acetaminophen and Alcohol Dangerous?

The combination of acetaminophen and alcohol can be particularly dangerous because alcohol impairs the liver’s ability to process acetaminophen effectively. When the liver is unable to break down acetaminophen properly, toxic substances can build up, potentially leading to liver inflammation, scarring, and even liver failure. This risk is significantly higher for those with AUD, as their livers may already be damaged from excessive alcohol consumption over an extended period.

Alcoholism can also increase the likelihood of an individual accidentally overdosing on acetaminophen. Those struggling with AUD may forget how much acetaminophen they have already taken or take more than the recommended dose in an attempt to alleviate symptoms associated with hangovers. Moreover, chronic alcohol use can deplete the body’s stores of glutathione, an essential antioxidant that helps protect the liver from damage caused by acetaminophen.

It is important to note that the dangers of combining acetaminophen and alcohol are not limited to those with AUD. Even occasional drinkers who consume alcohol while taking acetaminophen put themselves at risk for liver damage. The FDA recommends that people who consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day should consult with their doctor before taking acetaminophen or other pain relievers.

The Risks of Excessive Alcohol Use

In addition to the risks associated with combining acetaminophen and alcohol, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a wide range of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive issues. Alcohol abuse can also contribute to mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and increase the risk of certain cancers, including those of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and breast.

How JourneyPure Can Help Those With an Alcohol Use Disorder

At JourneyPure At The River, we understand the challenges faced by those struggling with alcohol use disorder and the importance of addressing the underlying causes of addiction. Our compassionate team of professionals provides evidence-based treatments, including medical detox, individual and group therapy, and holistic approaches tailored to each client’s unique needs.

Our comprehensive treatment programs address not only the physical aspects of addiction but also the emotional, psychological, and spiritual components. One of the key components of our program is medical detox, which helps clients safely and comfortably withdraw from alcohol under the supervision of our experienced medical staff. During detox, clients receive around-the-clock care and support to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure their safety and well-being.

Following detox, clients participate in a range of evidence-based therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and trauma-informed care. These therapies help clients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, develop healthy coping skills, and address any underlying trauma or mental health concerns that may be contributing to their addiction.

In addition to traditional therapies, we also offer holistic treatments such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy. These approaches help clients find new ways to manage stress, express themselves, and connect with their inner selves. By incorporating holistic treatments into our program, we aim to provide clients with a well-rounded and comprehensive approach to recovery.

Alcoholism can also increase the likelihood of an individual accidentally overdosing on acetaminophen
Alcoholism can also increase the likelihood of an individual accidentally overdosing on acetaminophen

Family Support

At JourneyPure At The River, we also understand the importance of family involvement in the recovery process. Addiction affects not only the individual struggling with substance abuse but also their loved ones. That’s why we offer family therapy and support services to help families heal and rebuild relationships that may have been strained or broken due to addiction.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is battling alcoholism, it’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible to prevent the devastating consequences of long-term alcohol abuse and the potential dangers of combining alcohol with medications like acetaminophen. Don’t wait to take the first step towards recovery. Call JourneyPure At The River today at 615-410-9260 to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment programs and start your journey to a healthier, alcohol-free life.

Remember, recovery is possible, and you don’t have to face this challenge alone. With the right support, guidance, and treatment, you can overcome alcohol addiction and build a fulfilling, sober life. Take the first step today and reach out to JourneyPure At The River. Our compassionate and experienced team is here to help you every step of the way.