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Antidepressant Medication and Alcohol

antidepressant medication and alcohol

Those who use antidepressant medication and alcohol should be aware of the risks of mixing these medications together because the combination reduces their effectiveness, has numerous side effects, and can be fatal. Therefore, when taking antidepressants, you should avoid drinking alcohol, as mixing these substances can make you feel tired, less alert, and uncoordinated, to name a few effects.

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications used to treat mild, moderate, or severe depression. There are several antidepressant types, but SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for depression because they have fewer side effects than many other similar medications. 

SSRIs treat depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which means that it acts as a chemical messenger between brain cells. When someone takes an SSRI, the medication prevents serotonin absorption, allowing more of it in the brain. 

There are a few antidepressants types, such as the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin andn reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

What are the Side Effects of Mixing Antidepressant Medication and Alcohol?

When you combine alcohol with antidepressants, several dangerous side effects can occur. Some are more severe than others, and people may react differently depending on the type of antidepressant they are taking.  In addition, alcohol use alone can aggravate the naturally occurring depression symptoms and cause unintended harm – all the more to avoid taking it with antidepressants.

When you mix antidepressant medication and alcohol: 

  • You could become more depressed or anxious. Drinking can negate the benefits of your antidepressants, making it more difficult to treat your symptoms. While alcohol may appear to boost your mood in the short term, it worsens symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
  • If you also take another medication, it may exacerbate its side effects. Many drugs, including anti-anxiety medications, sleep pills, and prescription pain relievers, can cause problems when combined with alcohol. If you use antidepressants and take one of these medications with alcohol, it may exacerbate the side effects tremendously.
  • If you take MAOIs, you may experience a dangerous reaction. They can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure when combined with certain alcoholic beverages and foods.
  • It may impair your ability to think and stay alert. Antidepressants and alcohol taken together significantly impact your judgment, coordination, motor skills, and reaction time.
  • You may fall asleep, feel drowsy and sedated. These adverse reactions can weaken your ability to drive or perform other tasks that necessitate concentration and attention.
  • You are at risk of death. This is the most drastic consequence of combining antidepressant medication and alcohol, caused by a severe case of serotonin syndrome. 

Another note worth making is that you should not discontinue an antidepressant or other medication just to drink. Most antidepressant drugs require a stable, daily dose to retain a constant level in your body and work as designed. Besides, stopping and restarting your medication can exacerbate your depression.

Who is More Prone to Mix Antidepressant Medication and Alcohol?

If you have depression:

  • You may be prone to alcoholism. People suffering from depression are more likely to engage in substance abuse and addiction. If you have issues controlling your alcohol consumption, you may require alcohol addiction treatment before your depression gets better.
  • You might have difficulty sleeping. While drinking alcohol to help you sleep may allow you to fall asleep quickly, you tend to wake up more frequently in the middle of the night.

If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption, you may benefit from the treatment programs offered by MD Home Detox that can assist you in overcoming your addiction. In the meantime, inform your doctor about any other medical conditions you may have, as well as any drugs you are taking, including over-the-counter medications or supplements.

As you can see, combining antidepressants and alcohol can have serious consequences. Thus, you must discuss your alcohol consumption with your doctor before beginning treatment with any antidepressant type. Otherwise, the consequences could be disastrous.

Alcohol Detox in California

People suffering from depression who also have an alcohol use disorder can receive integrated care during and after treatment at MD Home Detox. Our rehabilitation centers provide you with access to trained, qualified therapists, as well as a support network. If you are suffering from depression and alcoholism, please get in touch with us right away. Our specialists are here to assist you on your way to a healthier life with tailored plans, right in the comfort of your own home.

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