Interaction between antidepressants and alcohol: signal amplification by multiple case reports

At worst, it can cause serious health risks that require emergency medical attention to remedy. When someone engages in risky behavior despite the consequences, it is a sign of an addiction problem. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors don’t usually cause problems if someone drinks while taking them. But, these medications can make patients drowsy, and alcohol can intensify this effect. This means 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. “One Drink” is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1 ounce of 80-proof whiskey, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Serotonin is very important for maintaining mood balance, and low serotonin levels are linked to depression. Alteration of the levels of serotonin in the brain has also been linked to addiction. NASSAs can be prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders and personality disorders as well as depression.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shares that, in 2015, more than 86 percent of people reported having used alcohol at some point during their life. Nearly 27 percent of this group reported binge drinking or heavy alcohol use in the past month, with more than 6 percent of people meeting the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. NIAAA’s findings reflect the widespread pattern of alcohol use across the U.S. Recovering Champions offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Anyone who takes antidepressants and drinks could experience this.

Drinking is, for better or worse, a standard part of American culture. Unwinding with a glass of wine or beer after work or weekend drinks are normalized activities. But mixing Prozac and alcohol could lead to more serious issues than you’d expect. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.

ssri and alcohol

This can lead to a variety of side effects, not the least of which is worsening your depression symptoms. Over a prolonged period of time, you may find that taking Prozac and alcohol together undoes any of the benefits that Prozac used to offer. Antidepressants function as tools that can manipulate the chemical balance in the brain. Significant imbalances between these chemicals can cause or contribute to mood disorders like depression.

Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance. Alcohol and antidepressants prove to be a dangerous and regressive mixture in many cases. How COVID-19 Has Impacted Alcohol AbuseAs the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the eco sober house ma numbers of alcohol abuse have continued to rise, causing concern across America. Depression and anxiety that may ultimately result in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. You can receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience.

Good treatment will also give you better, more effective and productive ways to manage depression symptoms. Antidepressants can be useful, but they are not a fix for depression. You still need therapy, healthy coping strategies, a healthy lifestyle, and social support in order to live well with this chronic mental illness.

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The medications can worsen the effects of alcohol, while alcohol can worsen antidepressant side effects. In some cases, alcohol use can trigger or worsen symptoms of depression in at-risk individuals. But is it always dangerous to mix alcohol and antidepressants, and is completely abstaining from alcohol the only option for people on antidepressants? The following article will explore how alcohol and antidepressants affect people when the two are mixed. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most common type of medication used in the treatment of depression.

ssri and alcohol

In comparison to the other types of antidepressants, SSRIs don’t typically cause as many negative side effects when taken with alcohol. Consuming alcohol while also on SSRIs is still not advised, however, since alcohol can cause excessive drowsiness for someone on this type of antidepressant. The flip side of this is you may need to give up drinking altogether if you are taking SSRI medication. This can be frustrating if you like to have the occasional social drink and you don’t consider yourself alcohol dependent. There’s no denying that alcohol abuse and depression are strongly linked.

Alcohol acts as a depressant, so it can make the symptoms of underlying depression even worse. When someone has an underlying mood disorder like depression, it can also make them more susceptible to alcohol abuse, as a means of self-medicating. These risks aren’t necessarily specific to alcohol and SSRIs, but they are something to consider. Gill discusses the impact alcohol has on serotonin and our mental health. She explains what serotonin is, how it impacts the body, and what antidepressants do.


Many medications can cause problems when taken with alcohol — including anti-anxiety medications, sleep medications and prescription pain medications. Side effects may worsen if you drink alcohol and take one of these drugs along with an antidepressant. Drinking can counteract the benefits of your antidepressant medication, making your symptoms more difficult to treat. Alcohol may seem to improve your mood in the short term, but its overall effect increases symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your healthcare provider can help you safely stop drinking alcohol before starting treatment with antidepressant medication. If you have an alcohol-use disorder, stopping alcohol suddenly may cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms, according to MedlinePlus.

  • Learn how long alcohol can be detected in your system, and how long the effects from alcohol may last.
  • People with untreated depression are at an increased risk of drug abuse or alcohol abuse and addiction.
  • NIAAA’s findings reflect the widespread pattern of alcohol use across the U.S.

People taking SSRIs undergo continual release of extra serotonin in the their brain to maintain mood improvement. Combing alcohol and Prozac or other antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition resulting from too much serotonin in the brain. When you drink alcohol and take Zoloft or another SSRI, you will likely feel more depressed, anxious, and impaired than if you were drinking alcohol by itself. Two beers or one mixed drink is enough to alter brain levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters involved in mood, motivation, and inhibition.

Can You Drink While on Antidepressants?

These can include worsening of anxiety, nervousness, mood swings and feelings of depression. Some healthcare providers allow their patients to drink a small amount of alcohol while taking antidepressants if they have a low risk of alcohol abuse. This typically means one serving of alcohol per day (for example, one glass of wine or 12-ounce serving of beer). If you have severe depression, drinking alcohol — especially in excess — may have a significant impact on your symptoms, mental health and general wellbeing. Many of these side effects are similar to the effects of alcohol.

Combining antidepressants like Prozac and alcohol have been known to cause people to become pathologically intoxicated, even though they may have had only one or two drinks. Some SSRIs also increase norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and cognition. People are prescribed serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors when SSRIs do not provide enough relief from depression and anxiety. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain by blocking the reuptake of serotonin by brain cell receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls mood, motivation sleep, appetite, and libido.

SNRIs are one of the most commonly prescribed types of antidepressants. SNRIs work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which help to stabilize mood. If you’re at risk for alcohol use disorder , an SSRI could push you over the line from controlled drinking to alcohol abuse.

While benzodiazepines are not typically grouped with antidepressants, they are used to treat mental health and can be deadly when mixed with benzodiazepines. Most people should not drink alcohol during treatment with the medication. However, if the drug works to manage your condition well, your doctor may say that it’s safe to have a drink from time to time. Your doctor may tell you to avoid drinking altogether while you’re on Lexapro.

Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. Depression has grown into a modern-day health crisis, with 17.3 million American adults in 2017 reporting at least one major depressive episode. At least 23 percent have experienced depression in the past two weeks. Excessive drinking has numerous impacts on your body and mind, ranging from mild to severe. Learn which signs to look out for, and how to care for your well-being.

If you drink and develop an addiction, it will become more difficult to control symptoms of depression, reduce the frequency of episodes, and stop or moderate drinking. You may need more frequent and long-term treatment if you have both an alcohol use disorder and depression. Alcohol is a hypnotic-sedative, and as such, it depresses crucial bodily functions when taken in excess. Mixing alcohol and antidepressants is generally not recommended for several reasons.

Here’s why the relationship between alcohol, depression, and antidepressants is complex, and why it’s best not to take an SSRI and alcohol at the same time. If you take an MAOI medication for depression or panic disorder, then you could even be at risk for sudden heart failure and death when you drink alcohol. When side effects are so serious, it’s important to be fully aware of the side effects of mixing alcohol and antidepressants. Antidepressants are prescription drugs given to individuals who may be suffering from a condition like depression. These are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.


Each class of antidepressants works slightly differently in your system and thus will pose slightly different risks when mixed with alcohol. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful. Like other SSRIs, Lexapro affects your brain by blocking the reuptake of serotonin.

Alcohol contains tyramine, a substance that can trigger a severe spike in blood pressure when combined with MAOIs. This spike in blood pressure can potentially cause life-threatening medical issues such as cerebral hemorrhage. It’s especially important to avoid consuming alcohol if you’re prescribed a monoamine oxidase inhibitor . Your doctor can also help you determine what safe alcohol moderation looks like for you. Since alcohol affects people differently based on age, sex, and weight, it can be helpful to speak to your doctor when deciding how much is safe to drink. Likewise, antidepressants are one of the three most commonly used therapeutic medications in the United States, reports the U.S.

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. Social anxiety can have a huge impact on your work as well as your social life. As an SSRI, Zoloft blocks the normal uptake of serotonin, which increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Our free, confidential telephone consultation will help you find the best treatment program for you. 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. Try to drink slowly and eat while you drink to tamp down alcohol’s possible effects.

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