First of all, you may be at risk of alcohol abuse if you already suffer from depression. Research shows that people with depression are at a greater risk of abusing substances and developing addiction. If you find that you have trouble controlling your alcohol intake, you may want to consider treatment for alcohol dependence before your depression worsens.
The Danger of Alcohol and Antidepressants Together
When two drugs are combined, this creates what is known as the synergistic effect or additive effect. This means that a person who can usually drink three glasses of wine before really feel the effects of alcohol is likely to feel drunk after just one of glass. Many people who use alcohol and antidepressants also say that they become dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented when they drink. The bottom line: people on antidepressants need less alcohol than usual in order to get drunk.
Anyone with a mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder not drink alcohol, anyway, whether they are on antidepressants or not. If you want to successfully manage your symptoms of depression, then do not drink alcohol if you are taking an antidepressant.
You may feel more depressed. Alcohol can worsen depression symptoms. Drinking alcohol can render your antidepressant medication ineffective, making your symptoms more difficult to treat. Alcohol may seem to improve your mood in the short term but overall alcohol’s effect increases your depression symptoms.
Your thinking and alertness may be impaired. The combination of alcohol and antidepressants will affect your coordination, judgment, and reaction time more than just alcohol alone. Some combinations may make you sleepy. This can impair your ability drive or do other things that require concentration and attention.
You will more than likely feel sleepy and drowsy. Some antidepressants cause sedation and drowsiness, and these are also side effects of alcohol. Again, when taken together, the additive effect causes things to be intensified.
If you take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), a class of antidepressants, you may be at risk of a dangerous reaction. If you combine alcohol and antidepressants such as MAOIs, this can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure. Soon after you start drinking, your blood pressure suddenly spikes. There is risk of suffering a stroke and even death.
Danger of Self-Medication: Alcohol and Antidepressants
Because alcohol gives the illusion that you are content and all is right with the world, it can be very tempting to self-medicate your depression symptoms with alcohol. Once the alcohol buzz wears off, however, you find out that you often feel worse mentally than before drinking. You may be one of those sloppy or overly-sentimental, emotional drunks in which case, the embarrassment you feel the next day will only make you feel worse about yourself.
Self-medicating with alcohol can dangerously alter your perception of reality. Depression alone can alter your reality and makes dealing with daily life difficult enough as it is. You don’t need to make things more difficult for yourself.
My Personal Experience with Alcohol and Antidepressants
I honestly wasn’t aware at how risky it is to mix alcohol and antidepressants. I recall, somewhat hazily, one night in particular where I had had only a couple of drinks but started to feel really intoxicated. I was uncomfortably drunk and found it difficult to walk, I remember thinking I just wanted that feeling to end and couldn’t wait to get home.
If you or your loved one is in need of alcohol addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.