Many people mistakenly operate with the fact that alcohol is also a mild antidepressant as it can elevate one's mood, cheer us up, relax us, and boost a person's activity.
For a short time, yes. But what happens after longer term use?
Though some types of antidepressants are considered relatively safe when mixed with small amounts of alcohol, most come with risks - alcohol and psychotropic medications are usually not a great mix .
There are plenty of reasons for this, let’s get into them.
Antidepressants can exacerbate the effects of alcohol, while alcohol can exacerbate the side effects of antidepressants.
Under certain circumstances, alcohol consumption may trigger or worsen symptoms of depression in people at risk, leading them to need a higher level of care such as attending an alcohol rehab program to address the problem completely.
Let's find out whether or not it's always detrimental to mix antidepressants and alcohol and why it's best to avoid drinking alcohol while on antidepressants.
Alcohol and Antidepressants: What Happens If You Mix Them?
When mixed with antidepressant medications, alcohol may increase side effects on the central nervous system (CNS), such as:
To understand the effects of mixing alcohol and antidepressants, we need to analyze each type.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
This is a very dangerous mixture.
This relatively old class of antidepressants is notorious for their potential adverse effects and interaction risks.
Therefore, these antidepressants are commonly prescribed if newer medications aren't fully effective at treating the symptoms of depression.
MAOIs, which interact with chemicals called tyramines, can mix especially dangerously with alcohol such as beer, red wine, vermouth, and sherry.
When combined with antidepressants, tyramine can trigger a severe spike in blood pressure, affecting your overall health and it might cause a cerebral hemorrhage, or even a stroke.
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
TCAs are generally considered safe to take while drinking small amounts of alcohol, and some physicians allow moderate drinking for their patients, but not soon after starting on TCA medications.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs don’t usually cause severe adverse interactions if someone consumes alcohol while taking them. However, this type of antidepressants can make patients drowsy, and alcohol can intensify this effect.
What About Other Antidepressants?
Still, the mixture will likely make a person feel drowsy, dizzy, and less alert.
Moreover, consuming more than the current US dietary guidelines for alcohol recommend, which is one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less per day for men may prevent you from reducing your depression or anxiety symptoms.
What are the Risks of Mixing Antidepressants and Alcohol?
You May Experience Worse Side Effects
Some of the adverse effects may be dangerous and harmful to your health.
Another risk is that as side effects worsen, you may be tempted to quit taking antidepressants, which can result in a relapse of symptoms.
May Cause Symptoms of Depression
For those suffering with alcohol use disorder frequently counteracts the benefits of antidepressant medication, making depression worse and the symptoms harder to treat. Also, it may lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions.
Worsens Thinking Abilities, Coordination, and Alertness
When combining alcohol with antidepressants, you risk increasing these effects to a greater extent than when you consume alcohol alone.
It becomes more difficult to perform tasks that require attention, concentration, and precision.
Also, the chances of having an accident or putting the people around you at risk increase.
You May Develop a Substance Use Disorder
According to Dr. Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the psychopharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, the risk of alcohol abuse is double compared to people without depression.
It will be more challenging to manage depressive symptoms, lower the frequency of episodes, and stop or minimize drinking when getting addicted to it.
If you suffer from both depression and an alcohol use disorder, you would usually require more frequent and extensive treatment.
May be Fatal
If you combine antidepressants (the effect of which is producing more serotonin in the brain) with alcohol, the result is too much serotonin. This can cause the already mentioned serotonin syndrome.
The most serious symptoms of this syndrome are:
Is Drinking Alcohol While on Antidepressants a Sign of Alcoholism?
The problem is even more serious when the condition isn’t treated. In this case, some people stick to mixing various medications to get “high” or escape emotional despair.
If someone receives medical treatment while drinking despite the possible dangers, they need professional help for alcohol abuse disorder. Those people are also at high risk of self-harm or even committing suicide.
Here is where the best rehab center in Thailand, Miracles Asia, can help. If you or one of your loved ones suffer from alcohol abuse while on antidepressants, starting treatment as soon as possible is vital.
Our team of exceptional professionals, top-drawer rehab services, and a luxurious five-star hotel type experience in a secluded area on the stunning island of Phuket will change your life forever.
What are the Risks of Skipping a Dose of Antidepressants to Drink Alcohol?
Though skipping a single dose may not bring serious effects, it could temporarily make your symptoms of depression return and result in a longer-term relapse.
Sudden withdrawal from antidepressant medications can induce severe physical side effects, and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause seizures.
The common withdrawal or antidepressant discontinuation syndrome symptoms include headache, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, vertigo, anxiety, dizziness, sweating, lethargy, aggression, agitation, and sensory disturbances.
The withdrawal consequences may be even more severe if combined with the effects of alcohol.
You Can Break Free from Dependance on Drugs
Our rehab center in Thailand is a real Eden that offers guests a personalized alcohol addiction treatment program that includes:
With our holistic approach to your treatment, you will get rid of all triggers and start living a new, happy-than-ever life.
Contact us today, book your stay, and prepare for the life-changing journey leading you to your new, happy era.