ARS Alcohol Antidepressants

85.6% of people aged 18 and up have had at least one alcoholic beverage in their lifetime. 13.2% of adults reported taking antidepressants within the last 30 days. With these numbers as high as they are, the chance of overlap isn’t improbable. But is mixing alcohol and antidepressants safe to do?

Some medications can have interactions with alcohol and other substances. Some of these can be more harmful than others, so it’s always important to read the directions on your prescription or ask a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns. Here at Addiction Recovery Services in New Hampshire, we understand that many people who are using medications to treat things such as depression might want a drink from time to time. We believe in making sure our members have the information they need on hand to make the best decisions for themselves.

Why Is It Not a Good Idea to Mix Antidepressants and Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant, which can make depression worse for some individuals. In addition, it can interact with your current antidepressants and make them less effective.

Antidepressants don’t all react the same way to alcohol. In some instances, it can cause drowsiness or lower your thinking capabilities. In more extreme cases, it can raise blood pressure to unsafe levels or even cause a stroke. 

The Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Antidepressants

The mixture of alcohol and antidepressants can affect individuals differently depending on a number of things, such as what kind of antidepressants they’re on and how much alcohol they consume.

If you’re taking other substances or other prescription medications in addition to antidepressants, talk with your doctor about them to make sure you’re not only safe but that your medications will still continue to work properly. 

Physical Effects of the Combination

Antidepressants already have their own list of side effects that can come along with solo use. These can include drowsiness, dizziness, or an overall lack of alertness. When combined with alcohol, it can make tasks like operating machinery, including cars, difficult and unsafe. 

Some antidepressants, like MAOIs, can lead to higher blood pressure when combined with alcohol. This can potentially cause a stroke. In some cases, the combination of antidepressants and alcohol can overwhelm the liver, increasing the chances of fatal toxicity. 

It’s important to know what levels of alcohol consumption, if any, are recommended or safe for your particular antidepressants. 

Mixing Alcohol and Antidepressants Affects Your Mental State

Alcohol is a type of depressant, which means it reduces stimulation in the body, slowing down how quickly your brain reacts to signals sent to it. For those already struggling with depression, alcohol can sometimes make side effects of depression worse. In some cases, they can negate the effects of the antidepressant you’re currently taking, which can also make symptoms of depression worse.

If you or a loved one is on antidepressants and wants to learn more about alcohol consumption options while going through treatment, give us a call today at (978) 228-5853.

FAQs About Mixing Alcohol And Antidepressants

Which antidepressants should not be taken with alcohol?

Any alcohol consumption while on antidepressants should be in moderation at a minimum, but some antidepressants have worse reactions than others. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, and high blood pressure (which in some cases can cause strokes). Those taking SSRIs or SNRIs (serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors) are at less risk of having a negative reaction to drinking alcohol. 

What should you do if you accidentally mix alcohol with antidepressants?

If you start noticing any excess drowsiness, dizziness, or worsened thoughts of depression, reach out to a doctor to make sure you’re safe. Contacting a loved one to take you home and monitor you to make sure you’re alright is another good option.