Author: John Carter

Can You Drink On Antidepressants? What Experts Say About Safety The New York Times

antidepressants and alcohol

Some are more serious than others, and individuals may be affected differently by the type of antidepressant they are taking. When drinking moderately, many people forget to consider how alcohol might affect their current medications. Too often, individuals engaging in moderate drinking disregard the fact that their prescription could be negatively affected by alcohol. MAOIs are typically a second-line prescription for depression when other classes of antidepressants aren’t working, as they interact with other medications and food, causing adverse side effects. During and within two weeks after treatment with MAOIs, you must NOT consume any foods or beverages that are high in tyramine content.

antidepressants and alcohol

Most antidepressants work by increasing the low levels of these important neurotransmitters. You may not want to skip having a drink just because you take an antidepressant. But if you want to raise a glass once in a while, you need to do it safely. If your depression gets worse or you have thoughts of harming yourself, talk to your doctor immediately. Drinking alcohol can also lead to more and different side effects — and risks — when combined with the drug.

Counteracting the effects of antidepressants

You can always ask your pharmacist if you can take any medicine with alcohol. And never abruptly stop taking an antidepressant unless directed to do so by your doctor. If you’re at low risk of addiction to alcohol, it may be OK to have an occasional drink, depending on your particular situation, but talk with your doctor.

Alcohol is tricky that way—because of its nature, it sucks you in by releasing dopamine into your brain, making you think it’s making you happy—a state of mind that is fleeting. In addition, it changes your chemistry in other ways, altering the levels of critical neurotransmitters in your brain. It suppresses the excitatory neurotransmitters that are responsible for keeping your brain active and energetic, and instead increases the amounts of inhibitory neurotransmitters that create a sedative effect. After drinking consistently over a long period of time, it no longer has the same effect. The “good feelings” instead become replaced with negative ones, and alcohol increasingly begins to reveal its true nature, as it works nearly solely as a depressant.

antidepressants and alcohol

You can receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience. There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time. When someone who is already struggling with depression turns to alcohol, they are putting themselves at an even greater risk, and further deepening the impact of this debilitating mental disorder.

Table 1. Common Antidepressants

When MAOIs are combined with alcoholic beverages high in tyramine, serious heart-related effects, such as dangerous high blood pressure (called a hypertensive crisis), may occur. Many foods may be high in tyramine as well, like such as aged cheeses and cured meats. Once the patient has successfully detoxed, they and their family are able to select the type of addiction treatment program in which to enroll. If someone already has an alcohol addiction, it is not generally recommended to begin taking antidepressants, as this combination can magnify your symptoms and can even place you in danger.

  1. Medical detox entails a set of interventions designed to help you wean off alcohol gradually and safely to minimize the risk of harm and unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.
  2. But before you drink any alcohol, you should take Lexapro long enough to know how it affects you and which side effects you have with it.
  3. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?
  4. An estimated 3.8% of the worldwide population is affected by depression.

That’s because alcohol can change the balance of chemicals in your brain that affect mood. If you have questions about antidepressants and alcohol, or seeking treatment for alcohol dependence and addiction, contact one of our specialists today. Each of these treatment types should offer thoughtful and effective dual diagnosis care and medication-assisted treatment, in order to provide those suffering from co-occurring disorders with the quality treatment they deserve. If you are on a prescription antidepressant and have questions about alcohol use, make sure to discuss these with your physician.

If you drink a lot of alcohol and then suddenly stop drinking while taking Wellbutrin, this may also increase risk of seizures. Research shows adolescents and young adults in the United States experience depression symptoms at a higher rate than other age groups, people at any age can get depression. These chemicals work in different ways to help with your mental and physical well-being.

When mixed with alcohol, antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can create a dangerous reaction, causing a person’s blood pressure to rise to hazardous levels. If you’re concerned about your alcohol use, you may benefit from substance abuse counseling and treatment programs that can help you overcome your misuse of alcohol. Joining a support group or a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous may help. If you’re at low risk of addiction to alcohol, it may be OK to have an occasional drink, depending on your particular situation, but talk with your health care provider.

Drugs & Supplements

But there are lots of reasons to stay away from alcohol when you take antidepressants like Lexapro, which is the brand name of a drug called escitalopram. You should avoid activities that requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the antidepressant affects you. When it comes to mixing alcohol with antidepressants, several risky side effects can occur.

When individuals regularly mix alcohol with antidepressants, it can not only have an adverse effect on the treatment of their depression, but can be a sign of alcohol use and addiction. Alcohol is a powerful drug, and any time it’s combined with another substance, the depressant effects are amplified. Combining alcohol with antidepressants can not only lead to short-term complications, such as an increase in the side effects of the antidepressant, but can also contribute to long-term consequences. Drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants may exacerbate their side effects, especially if you are also taking other medications that can have negative interactions with alcohol, like sleep medications and prescription pain medications. You may not want to risk feeling even more depressed or anxious than you were before you took an antidepressant. But if you drink, it could also make it harder to treat your depression or anxiety.

Many people who drink while taking antidepressants may be unaware of the possible side effects and the increased risk of developing an alcohol dependency. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K Health to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a provider in minutes. One study found that for people with co-occurring depression and alcohol dependence, the risk of developing adverse effects from antidepressants is minimal, especially with SSRIs. So although it’s not recommended to take antidepressants with alcohol, it’s important to weigh the benefits and risks of antidepressants as treatment. If you take the SSRI antidepressant Lexapro for depression or anxiety, you may wonder if it’s OK to have a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine once in a while.

Generic for Lexapro®

It’s important to remember that certain dietary supplements like St. John’s wort, an over-the-counter herbal supplement often used for symptoms of depression, may have drug interactions as well. Side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating can occur when mixed with alcohol. Avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with St. John’s Wort. Always check with your pharmacist for herbal supplement and other dietary supplement drug interactions. More than 20 million Americans struggle with substance use, and 7.9 million people have both substance use issues and mental health diagnoses. There is help available, in the form of detox services, medication-assisted treatment, and dual diagnosis care.

Whether you want to discuss side effects of antidepressants or treatment for depression, K Health can help. Although side effects for antidepressants are typically mangable and short term, combining alcohol and antidepressants can lead to serious side effects. For instance, you may feel extremely drowsy and less mentally alert when consuming alcohol and antidepressants. It is common for people with alcohol dependence to also have depression. These common side effects are typically mild and go away after a few weeks.