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Mixer-Nixers: Top 10 Drinking Dangers

Before your next drink, learn more about what doesn't mix well with alcohol.

Pay Attention to Your Alcohol

Another bad combination with alcohol isn't something a person does to herself, but something someone else does to her. It's rohypnol -- the date rape drug. It's a central nervous system depressant, like Valium, but 10 times more potent, according to the White House Drug Policy web site. It's tasteless and odorless, and dissolves in liquid, so it can easily be put in a beer without you knowing -- slowing a person's psychomotor performance and causing muscle relaxation, decreased blood pressure, sleepiness, and/or amnesia, according to the web site.

"Make sure you watch your own drink," says Berman. "Don't let someone bring you a drink. Watch the bartender when he makes your drink, and don't let it out of your sight."

The problem is the more you drink, the harder it is to be aware of your surroundings, including the beer right in front of your face.

"The difficult thing is when you've had a drink, you're more likely to be less careful and not pay attention and talk to your friends," says Berman. "It's hard to watch your drink and be drunk at the same time."

High-Tech Trouble

A few drinks combined with a computer can lead a person to some high-tech trouble with online temptations like Internet shopping and gambling.

"Alcohol makes a person's inhibitions disappear, so they make choices that aren't in their best interest," says Berman. "And, there's something with online gambling and shopping where money doesn't feel real. So when you've had alcohol and your inhibitions are down, it's easier to make impulsive decisions and click a button rather than think about the consequences."

Drinking and Over-the-Counter Drugs

"There are definite interactions with alcohol and OTC medications," says Stephen Ross, MD, a family medicine physician at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

For instance, medications like Nyquil contain alcohol, so consuming it means you're adding more alcohol on top of your drink of choice.

"Also, many sleeping aids such as Tylenol PM or Sominex contain sedating antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)," Ross tells WebMD. "If someone has alcohol in their system close to the time that they would take one of these sleeping medications they run the risk of becoming more sedated."

Mixing alcohol with other cold or allergy medications, explains Ross, like Contac or Benadryl, can make driving or operating heavy machinery dangerous.

"Nonsedating allergy medications like Claritin or Sudafed are safer to mix with alcohol," says Ross. "A rule of thumb would be to never mix alcohol with an OTC medication that says 'may cause drowsiness.'"

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