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Antidepressants and Alcohol - Interaction and Dangers E-mail

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The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I have a background in neuroscience and I am currently doing brain research in university in my home country. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

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Alcohol and antidepressants - Interaction

Even though alcohol usage is not strictly forbidden while on antidepressants, it is never a good idea to combine alcohol and drugs that have an effect on central nervous system. From the point of view of the brain, alcohol is a depressant that decreases the normal neuronal activity level. In case of a depressed person, the goal of taking the drugs is to help the brain to increase the neuronal activity level of certain critical areas, and hence using alcohol while taking antidepressants can reduce the positive effect of the drug and it might render depression even worse.

Alcohol is known to have a significantly stronger effect on the central nervous system when a person is simultaneously taking antidepressants. This is why is is not recommended to consume alcohol while on antidepressants. If one is able to drink a certain amount of alcohol under normal circumstances (without the antidepressants), the amount is considerably less while one is on antidepressants; only one bottle of beer can be enough to make one feel drunk.

The dangers of combining alcohol and antidepressants

Many people who have been combining alcohol and antidepressants are reporting a significantly impaired judgment while they are under the influence of alcohol. Impaired judgment can lead to unwise decisions while being drunk and those decisions can lead to serious problems in one's life. It is not uncommon to have an impaired judgment under the influence of alcohol even when one is not simultaneously taking antidepressants. However, when one is taking antidepressants a significantly smaller amount of alcohol is required to make one feel drunk, and hence one is in danger of making poor decisions almost immediately after starting to drink. This may appear strange to people around one, especially if they are not aware than one is on antidepressants.

Increased sexual interest towards unexpected people while under the influence of alcohol and antidepressants

Many people have reported that when they have been drinking while on antidepressants, they have experienced an increased sexual interest towards people who they would not normally find interesting, and that these unexpected feelings may even lead to transient sexual involvement with the most unexpected people. In this kind of a situation, when the influence of alcohol wears out, in addition to feeling depressed due to physical effect of the hangover one often feels embarrassed and guilty due to one's unusual behavior while under the influence of alcohol. These negative feelings and self-accusations might further aggravate the symptoms of depression and make it harder for one to recover, not to mention that transient sexual encounters with other people may cause serious damage to one's life if one is married or in a serious relationship.

For these reasons it is safer not to use alcohol while one is on antidepressants. One is simply not oneself when one drinks, and that might lead to serious problems. If one knows based on one's prior experience that one can safely have a few drinks without doing anything foolish as a consequence, it is difficult to keep in mind that while on antidepressant medication, even one glass of alcohol can have a very strong effect on one's emotional state and behavior. This is why it is not recommended to combine alcohol and antidepressants. It is better to let the brain heal with the help of the drugs without further burdening it with the depressing effect of alcohol.

You find more relevant articles related to depression from here: Depression - General Discussion and Information. If you would like to read more about the biological basis of depression, you can visit this page: Depression - Science.

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Comments (2)
  • MK  - Alcohol and antidepressants
    I noticed a clear change in my behavior when I took alcohol while on antidepressants. My inhibitions disappeared much faster than when I had alcohol but was not on antidepressants. I actually felt I became drunk after having only one drink or so. I did some things that I believe I never would have done under normal circumstances.

    I started to wonder why my behavior had changed so much and so I started to google about the topic, and I discovered several stories of people who were on antidepressants and who had similar experience of alcohol usage. So there is something there, and one should definitely be careful when combining alcohol and antidepressants. In my opinion they should mention about this matter in the description of these drugs, and also doctors who are describing antidepressants should warn their patients about this matter.
  • jim
    Please take this article to heart.
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