Alcohol and Valium can be a dangerous combination, even when consumed in low doses, according to WebMD. Alcohol and Valium interact by allowing more of the Valium to reach the brain. This leads to increased effects, including a decrease in mental and motor function; drowsiness, depressing, slowed or labored breathing; confusion and loss of coordination. More serious consequences include overdose and death, according to Axis Residential Treatment.
Axis Residential Treatment explains that alcohol and Valium are depressants, meaning that they both slow the central nervous system. When taken together, they can slow the nervous system down too much, causing the heart and breathing to stop, preventing oxygen from getting to the brain and ultimately stopping brain function.
Because of these interactions and potential side effects, doctors strongly discourage mixing alcohol with Valium. WebMD notes that it is important for people taking Valium to understand that alcohol consumption is not limited to beer, wine and spirits; many medicines, such as cough syrup, also contain alcohol and should not be used along with Valium. A doctor can consult about the amount of alcohol in medications and may monitor patients taking Valium for alcohol use.
Due to impaired ability to function, it is recommended that patients do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery or care for a child when under the influence of either alcohol or Valium, says Axis Residential Treatment.