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  • As a benzodiazepine, Serax should never be mixed with alcohol. The side effects of this combination can be serious and life-threatening, increasing the risk of dangerous health problems like overdose, addiction, and liver damage.

    How Serax Works

    Serax is the brand name for oxazepam and is classified by the FDA as a benzodiazepine. Serax was first created in 1965 and today is normally found in its generic form rather than under its brand name.

    This prescription drug is used to treat anxiety disorders and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and cocaine withdrawal. Those who are prescribed Serax take it orally 3-4 times a day.

    Central Nervous System Depressant

    Serax works as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It increases the amount of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain and creates a calming effect that can reduce anxiety.

    As with most benzodiazepines, if taken too frequently or for too long, Serax can become addictive especially when mixed with alcohol or opioids. 

    Side Effects

    The side effects of oxazepam include:

    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • restlessness
    • tiredness
    • weakness
    • shaking
    • dry mouth
    • fever
    • blurred vision
    • high blood pressure
    • slow breathing
    • tremors

    Despite these side effects, its toxicity level when broken down in the body is much safer than other benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

    Effects Of Mixing Serax & Alcohol

    Numerous adverse effects can occur when drinking alcohol on Serax. The most common side effects may include:

    • drowsiness
    • difficulty concentrating
    • impaired thinking
    • impaired judgment
    • sedation
    • difficulty breathing
    • nausea
    • coma
    • slurred speech
    • decreased inhibitions
    • decreased coordination
    • lightheadedness
    • diarrhea

    If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

    Dangers Of Mixing Serax & Alcohol

    Mixing alcohol and Serax together can lead to a number of serious health problems, including:


    When mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, there is an increased risk of tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction. After taking this combination of substances for a while, you may need to take more and more to feel the same effects. 

    While both Serax and alcohol are habit-forming on their own, that addictive quality only increases when combined.


    Mixing Serax and alcohol can also increase the risk of an overdose. Both substances can cause impaired judgment and that can lead to taking more of each substance than recommended. This can cause an accidental overdose.

    Additionally, because each substance intensifies the effects of the other, the body can become overloaded with sedative-like effects and potentially cause a fatal overdose.

    Symptoms of an overdose may include:

    • confusion
    • double vision
    • fainting
    • drowsiness
    • nausea
    • slowed breathing
    • uncoordinated movement
    • coma

    Liver Damage

    Alcohol is well-known for leading to liver problems. When mixed with Serax, the damage can be even more intense. It can eventually lead to cirrhosis and liver disease if left untreated.

    Risky Behaviors

    With the way Serax and alcohol can impair judgment, decrease inhibitions, and decrease coordination, the likelihood of accidents, risky behavior, and injury is significant. 

    If you were to drive under the influence of these two substances, you could do serious damage to yourself and others.

    Treatment For Serax & Alcohol Abuse

    There are a variety of different treatment programs for those struggling with substance abuse including detox programs, inpatient treatment, and outpatient care.

    Detox programs give people a safe place to go where they can experience withdrawal symptoms in a supportive environment under medical supervision.

    After detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment is likely the next step. 

    To learn about our alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - Serax
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxazepam
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Oxazepam

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on May 21, 2022
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