Mixing Lexapro and alcohol: Side effects and risks

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  • 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.
  • Most antidepressants function irregularly when exposed to alcohol.
  • Individuals with alcohol use disorder often develop a physical dependency on alcohol.
  • SSRIs work by blocking the absorption of serotonin in the brain, which allows messages to be more freely sent and received throughout the brain.
  • Combining alcohol with antidepressants could potentially be fatal.
  • Moreover, the increased management demand placed on a single team or clinician could potentially decrease the total number of patients that that clinician or team could manage at any one time.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of naltrexone in combination with an SSRI to reduce alcohol consumption in alcoholic patients with comorbid PTSD and depression. 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. MOAIs aren’t the only antidepressant drugs that can come with dangerous side effects when mixed with alcohol. Most types of antidepressants are not likely to cause life-threatening side effects, so doctors may tell patients they can limit themselves to very moderate drinking, if necessary. When used in combination with alcohol, TCAs become relatively ineffective at reducing symptoms of depression.

General effects of alcohol on mental health issues

Alcohol use disorder and depression are two conditions that often occur together. What’s more, one can make the other worse in a cycle that’s pervasive and problematic if not addressed and treated.

  • APA releases new practice guideline on treatment of alcohol use disorder.
  • If you miss a dose of SSRIs, you may experience withdrawal or serious side effects, and stopping and starting antidepressants can make your underlying condition worse.
  • Significant imbalances between these chemicals can cause or contribute to mood disorders like depression.
  • Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, complicated grief, and other mental health issues.
  • When someone abuses prescription medications like antidepressants, they must be referred to an addiction counselor for further screening and addiction treatment.
  • Recent reports have suggested that an increase of alcohol consumption is found in those who are not classified as dependent.

When combined with certain types of alcoholic beverages and foods, antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure. If you take an MAOI, be sure you know what’s safe to eat and drink, and which alcoholic beverages are likely to cause a reaction.


Swanson AJ, Pantalon MV, Cohen KR. Motivational interviewing and treatment adherence among psychiatric and dually diagnosed patients. Well-done recent look at the literature on antidepressant use in patients with co-occurring depressive illness and AUD. Epidemiology and management of alcohol dependence in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. Greenfield BL, Venner KL, Kelly JF, Slaymaker V, Bryan AD. The impact of depression on abstinence self-efficacy and substance use outcomes among emerging adults in residential treatment. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance.

alcohol and depression medication

While there is evidence for antidepressants consistently alleviate depressive symptoms in patients with co-morbidity alcohol dependence and depression, some groups of patients may show an increase in alcohol consumption. SSRIs are not known to have very serious side effects but there have been recent reports of SSRIs inducing alcohol cravings. Certain other drugs interact badly with SSRIs, worsening side effects. Adding alcohol to this mix may increase the number of side effects you experience and also make them more severe.

What causes depression and alcohol use disorder?

“The message of, ‘Don’t drink while taking an antidepressant,’ is based on the odds of an increase in sedation, but this was based on older medicines like tricyclic antidepressants,” Dr. Glance said. The internet is full of warnings about antidepressants and drinking. Our online psychiatry service allows you to talk to a licensed psychiatry provider from your home and, if appropriate, receive ongoing care and a prescription for antidepressant drugs such as SSRIs or SNRIs. If you like to consume alcohol in moderation and want to continue enjoying the occasional drink while using antidepressants, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider first. Common symptoms of depression include persistent sad or empty moods, a pessimistic attitude toward life, irritability, decreased energy and sleep difficulties. Depression can also affect your mental function and cause issues such as difficulty concentrating or recalling information. In addition to interfering with your medication, alcohol can also potentially worsen the symptoms of depression.

alcohol and depression medication

People who have grandiose narcissistic traits are more likely to be ‘mentally tough,’ feel less stressed and are less vulnerable to depression, research has … Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Alcohol can negatively impact the treatment of depression even when someone consumes it in moderation. However, for the best results, your doctor will likely treat them together.

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In English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness https://ecosoberhouse.com/ of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives. Alcohol is classified as a Depressant because it depresses nervous systems in our bodies, like heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

alcohol and depression medication