Mixing Antidepressants And Alcohol

Understand The Risks


Mixing antidepressants and alcohol is not advised. The reason is that they both interact with similar neurochemicals in the brain and there is some concern that antidepressants may increase the effects of alcohol.

More importantly, since alcohol is a depressant it is never recommended that those suffering from depression consume alcohol.

A depressant substance will merely exacerbate the symptoms of depression. This may place one at increased risk of depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Similarly, the operation of heavy machinery while taking either substance is not advised because each substance inhibits response times and one's ability to operate such machinery.

When taken simultaneously, alcohol and antidepressants can increase the potency of each drug. Therefore, it not recommended to drive while taking either substance.

Important Tip: As a result, when my clients and patients ask me if they can drink while taking antidepressants, my answer is always the same; don't do it.


Antidepressants And Alcohol: Safety Guidelines 

If you must drink, and I do not recommend it, there are some important general safety tips and guidelines. Keep your alcohol consumption limited to the following: 1 beer (12 ounces) OR 1 glass of wine (5 ounces) OR 1 shot of hard liquor (1.5 ounces of 80 or 100-proof alcohol) per day.

Yes, that's just one drink. And you are better off not imbibing at all. 

antidepressants and alcohol

In addition, do not drink during your scheduled medication times. It is instructive to get to know how your antidepressant medication affects your body before consuming other substances.

As always, it is important to engage in open two-way communication with your doctor in order to receive optimum care. Direct these questions to them. Ask questions to become an informed consumer.

Remember to attend your medication monitoring appointments so that your doctor can track your progress.

Only take your medications as prescribed; do not exceed dosage recommendations. Report any severe or unusual side effects to your doctor, especially when mixing alcohol and antidepressants.

If you experience any severe or unusual reactions or side effects while mixing alcohol and antidepressants, report to your nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Symptoms of drug toxicity may include difficulty breathing or swallowing, extreme dizziness, drowsiness, unusual heart rate (too slow or too fast), hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, homicide, swelling of the tongue or throat, swelling in the extremities (hands, legs, arms, etc). 

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