Author: James Anderson

Antidepressants and Alcohol Interactions

alcohol and antidepressants

In residential treatment, “an individual stays in a treatment setting, receives intensive therapy, and is physically separated from alcohol in order to recover,” says Kennedy. Because of this shared connection, treatment for both should include a diet to improve gut function and reduce endotoxin load that contributes to neuroinflammation. Following a Mediterranean diet rich in omega-3s, for example, might be one recommendation. Depression can also be directly caused by alcohol in the case of a substance-induced disorder. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

  1. With a higher level of each in the system, potential side effects of both may be exacerbated.
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be used to treat co-occurring AUD and MDD, by improving your emotional regulation, changing your cognitive behaviors, and helping you develop personal coping strategies.
  3. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 17 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 10 Mar 2024) and others.
  4. Neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants include serotonin, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or norepinephrine.

It may temporarily suppress feelings of isolation, anxiety, or sadness, but that won’t last. Recognizing the symptoms of depression and alcohol use disorder can help ensure that you get the right diagnosis and treatment. Many studies have found that alcohol dependence is closely linked to depression. When it comes to diagnosing an alcohol use disorder and a major depressive disorder, it’s important to address them simultaneously, as they can significantly impact your recovery. “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.

You are unable to access

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. Some liquid medications, such as cough syrups or NyQuil, may also contain alcohol. Free standard shipping is valid on orders of $45 or more (after promotions and discounts are applied, regular shipping rates do not qualify as part of the $45 or more) shipped to US addresses only. Not valid on previous purchases or when combined with any other promotional offers. Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and disulfiram are also FDA-approved medications that can help curb alcohol cravings.

In such cases, the impact of alcohol on depression becomes even more significant and may warrant its own specific treatment focus. It’s important to remember that certain dietary supplements like St. John’s wort, an over-the-counter herbal supplement often used for symptoms of depression, may have drug interactions as well. Side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating can occur when mixed with alcohol. Avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with St. John’s Wort. Always check with your pharmacist for herbal supplement and other dietary supplement drug interactions. A dual diagnosis can be complicated to treat, no matter the circumstances.

alcohol and antidepressants

Medical detox entails a set of interventions designed to help you wean off alcohol gradually and safely to minimize the risk of harm and unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. You should avoid activities that requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the antidepressant affects you. Antidepressants work by altering levels of neurotransmitters in the brain to cause an enhanced effect on depressed mood and symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia (sleep problems), and suicidal thoughts. Neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants include serotonin, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or norepinephrine.

Because of this competition, the body’s levels of both the antidepressant and alcohol can be higher than with either alone. With a higher level of each in the system, potential side effects of both may be exacerbated. These can range from sedation and dizziness to falls and even fatal overdose.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

In many cases, one of the more tangible ways to support your mental health and reduce the likelihood of increased mental and physical health issues is to address the alcohol abuse problem and stop drinking all together. However, this should also be discussed in detail with your doctor or other treatment professional, as abruptly quitting drinking can result in a dangerous withdrawal syndrome in some individuals. People with depression are at increased risk of substance abuse and addiction. If you’re finding it hard to stop drinking and are concerned about your alcohol use, there are many forms of help out there. In addition to substance abuse counseling and treatment programs, there are many support groups including Alcoholics Anonymous and newer, online communities. It can be tempting to drink if you’re feeling unhappy, but there’s a better solution out there.

The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. Always check the warnings and interactions in the labeling for your antidepressant. You can always ask your pharmacist if you can take any medicine with alcohol.

alcohol and antidepressants

Although the immediate effects of alcohol tend to be pleasurable and relaxing, the eventual pharmacological action of alcohol is to depress neural activity in the brain. This may seem surprising given the association between alcohol and its initial effects of disinhibition, “buzz,” and fun. The depressant effect is not readily apparent at first, which can make it difficult to see the full impact alcohol has on mood. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Concurrent use with alcohol can also cause some antidepressants to be metabolized more extensively and become less clinically effective than usual.

An increase in depression and anxiety.

They work by increasing the levels of the brain chemical serotonin — which is thought to influence your mood and emotions, among other things — by blocking its removal after it carries messages in the brain. For many health care providers who treat anxiety and depression, the concern about whether it’s safe — or even advised — to drink alcohol while taking an antidepressant is a common one. “Patients tell me all the time, ‘I’m going to be drinking with friends tonight, so I skipped a dose,’” said Dr. Sarah Ramsay Andrews, a psychiatrist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Alcohol’s sedating properties can also increase disruptions to sleep, which in turn exacerbate mood disorders. Additionally, the presence of major depression doubles the risk of alcohol use disorders, while a National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions found that the presence of alcohol abuse increases the risk of major depression by 3.7 times. If you’re battling depression, alcohol isn’t going to make you feel better.

However, since many patients are not willing to give up alcohol completely, it is important to combine alcohol and antidepressants in the safest way possible. If you’re at low risk of addiction to alcohol, it may be OK to have an occasional drink, depending on your particular situation, but talk with your health care provider. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of antidepressants typically reserved to treat depression that is not responding to other medications, but they can cause serious interactions. MAOIs are not frequently prescribed, but can be important treatments for patients who fail other treatments for depression. Alcohol use disorders may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the combination of symptoms you’re experiencing, but drinking problems can exist regardless of a clinical diagnosis. Given this array of risk factors, psychiatrists are likely to encourage their patients to minimize or completely abstain from alcohol use.

Reach out to a mental health professional to talk about treatment and strategies for dealing with depression. Alcohol and depression are connected in several ways, and the two often feed off of one another. People may turn to alcohol as a way to cope with mood problems, but drinking alcohol can also contribute to symptoms of depression.

And never abruptly stop taking an antidepressant unless directed to do so by your doctor. “Cells are living beings, and if you want to fix the issue of depression at the level of the cells, they cannot be inebriated,” says Taylor. “Alcohol makes us feel drunk and confused because alcohol makes the cells drunk and nonfunctional.”

When treating depression and substance abuse, consult with a mental health professional and/or an addiction specialist who can provide resources and recommendations for possible treatment options. If you’re ready to seek treatment for alcoholism, American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help. is a subsidiary of AAC which is a nationwide provider of rehab centers. “An experienced psychiatrist [or another mental health professional] familiar with mood disorders and the effects of alcohol abuse can be instrumental in recommending appropriate medications and monitoring medication efficacy,” says Kennedy. However, alleviating depression does not resolve the alcohol use disorder.