Antidepressants like Prozac and Alcohol Use
It’s true that a few drinks will lift spirits and brighten moods, but that improvement is temporary. It’s understandable if you’re depressed and you like what drinking does to improve your mood and more, but don’t lose track of the fact that alcohol is categorized as a depressant itself and what unmoderated drinking will do is actually make your depression worse. What’s more, it’ll likely make you look worse too which will have a negative effect on your current depression symptoms. Prozac is one of the most common antidepressant medications, and the long and short of it is Prozac and alcohol do NOT mix.
It depends on the doctor, but most are going to tell you that it’s best to quit drinking entirely while you work to get your depression under control with medication. Keep in mind this isn’t something that you’re going to have to give up permanently, although for some people, it takes a really long time to treat depression effectively. If you feel that you want to have drinks occasionally then be sure to limit yourself to no more than 1 or 2 in any 24-hour period. If you’re unable to do that then you may want to look at the criteria indicating alcohol abuse and determine if this a secondary health issue you need to address.
We’ll leave that there, and stay on track with our discussion of why mixing Prozac and alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of antidepressant medication as well as create additional health risks. We will then wrap this blog entry up by sharing some good secondary therapy approaches for treating depression that can go along with a good antidepressant medication for better results and a quicker return to the ‘real’ you.
Banish the Booze
Here’s how alcohol affects antidepressant medication. Any alcohol will depress your body’s central nervous system, and that’s why people who are looking to ‘take an edge off’ like it. It slows their heart rate as well as changes sensory perception abilities. Many people like that it makes them feel like they have a different and more relaxed view on the world. If you’re struggling with depression though, you’re likely not going to experience the effects of alcohol simply as enjoyably.
For starters, alcohol makes depression worse. It may not feel like that temporarily – as we’ve already discussed – but in the bigger picture you’re going to feel worse and this is almost guaranteed if you’re engaging in binge drinking. This is the first thing that needs to be said when explaining why Prozac and alcohol is the furthest thing from a good idea. But there are more reasons why Prozac and alcohol don’t mix.
Side effects from antidepressants may worsen, and there is some research that indicates alcohol use increases the risk of people developing facial tics from antidepressant medication use. It is true that facial tics are not as common with Prozac use compared to other depression medications (Paxil and Fluoxetine most notably). But when it’s suggested that Prozac and alcohol don’t mix, we can expand that to say drinking alcohol is not a good idea if you’re taking ANY type of antidepressant medication.
Some people take Prozac for anxiety too, and it’s been well documented that individuals that suffer from anxiety actually get much worse within 2-3 days following alcohol consumption if more than moderate amounts of it have been consumed. If you have a glass of wine with dinner you’re not going to have worsening anxiety, but if you put back a 6-pack on Saturday night you can expect that Sunday and Monday are going to be tough for you.
Another reason to avoid Prozac and alcohol is that combining them may affect your judgment, coordination, motor skills and reaction time more than if you were drinking when not taking the medication. You may also become sleepier during the day than you would otherwise, and this may lessen your ability to drive or do other tasks safely.
Combining Prozac and alcohol can cause sedation and drowsiness too, and the combined effect can be intensified.
These days more and more people are using Deplin to supplement the effectiveness of antidepressant medication, and that can certainly be a good choice with Prozac too. Is this a better choice than getting temporary relief of depression through alcohol? You bet it is!
IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.