The Dangers of Mixing Zoloft with Alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Zoloft with Alcohol

It’s considered common knowledge among drinkers as well as patients with mental disorders that it’s dangerous to mix Zoloft with alcohol. However, do you know why this is so? Zoloft is a prescription antidepressant used by people with mental health issues such as depression. It serves as a welcome relief for most anyone suffering from depression since it’s a condition that goes beyond just being a little sad or gloomy. In fact, it has driven many people, addicts and non-addicts alike, into suicide or other detrimental courses of action.

Zoloft is such a commonplace prescription drug that many people who use it assume that it’s inherently safe to take in all circumstances or situations, including when they’re drinking. Unfortunately, this is incorrect and quite risky. Zoloft is not something you could take willy-nilly like aspirin (although it is still not recommended to mix any medication with alcohol). The antidepressant might do more harm than good to your depression when taken with alcohol. These two substances are not supposed to be mixed. It can cause you harm if you take prescription drugs together with other mind-altering substances like alcohol.

The Specifics of Zoloft and Alcohol

sleeping lady waking up

The generic name for the Zoloft brand is sertraline. This antidepressant was specifically developed for symptom treatment of various major depressive disorders. Zoloft is a prescription drug that belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI class of antidepressants. It’s less of an upper and more of an anti-downer or a method of lowering your depressive thoughts and dealing with your depression-based condition. Like other SSRI medications, it works by altering how the cells in your brain reabsorb serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter.

In certain individuals, an SSRI is just what they need to keep depression from pushing them to the brink. This is because it’s supposed to inhibit your brain’s reuptake of serotonin by controlling the levels of the neurotransmitter, which affects your depression condition in a positive manner if you’re one of several people who get benefits from SSRI doses. Serotonin, in turn, is the brain chemical that’s also known as the happy chemical due to its role in contributing to your happiness and wellbeing, especially when you’re suffering from depression. Its scientific name is 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT.

As for alcohol, it’s a depressant or downer of sorts that hampers your decision-making and impulse control. It is a depressant, which means it inhibits the exchanges of chemicals in your brain. It’s the opposite of a stimulant like coffee or methamphetamine in that it makes you less alert and aware of your surroundings, which is perfect when you’re trying to forget about painful memories and cringe-inducing behavior. It’s the reason why people imbibe on many an alcoholic drink at a bar in order to relax and unwind after a hard day’s workload.

Can You Take Zoloft Together with Alcohol?

If you’re prescribed Zoloft by your doctor, you might take into consideration whether it’s safe to drink with alcohol or not, particularly when it’s during treatment. It’s actually a bad idea to do this or to mix any other prescription drug with recreational drugs or other prescription drugs because it might result in a dangerous overdose or side effects. Some drugs can even reduce the effectiveness of the other, like the case when you drink coffee along with alcohol. It’s like they cancel each other out or something.

  • Too Little Data and Too Few Studies: In the case of alcohol, it’s a substance that has an impact on depression as well with or without your SSRI treatment. According to what little studies have been done on combining Zoloft and alcohol, there’s little shown data to reach a conclusion on how the drugs affect each other when mixed together. However, this shouldn’t be taken as encouragement for you to mix the two substances together or proof they’re harmless.
  • The FDA Weighs In: According to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America, you should definitely not take Zoloft with alcohol or vice-versa. It’s because despite the lack of conclusive and decade-spanning studies, both of these drugs affect your brain in different ways, usually resulting in a tug-of-war of sorts or at least unknown yet potentially dangerous side effects that could potentially damage your mental health, especially if you’re taking Zoloft to treat your depression.
  • Their Known Similarities and Differences: In broad terms, both alcohol and Zoloft affect your mind, with Zoloft specifically changing the behavior or natural actions of your neurotransmitters. The message exchange system of your brain is boosted with the assistance of the prescription SSRI, which helps alleviate depression symptoms and issues. In contrast, alcohol is a depressant. In medicinal terms, it means it’s the type of drug that inhibits the exchanges of the brain, which defeats the purpose of taking Zoloft in the first place.
  • Alcohol Kills Some Brain Cells: While SSRIs like Zoloft assist in helping you get out of your depressive funk by boosting your brain power and serotonin uptake so that you have a clearer, sharper mind that can lift the shroud of depression while the drug remains active, alcohol intake results in an opposite depressant action that can lead to brain cell death. Alcohol’s depressant capabilities is the reason why people who take alcohol (and not necessarily alcoholics) have trouble doing other tasks or thinking at all when they drink to the point of becoming drunk.
  • The Deal with Alcohol and Zoloft Interactions: Drinking alcohol won’t only do a number on your liver that’s supposed to filter out the poisonous substance from your body time and time again. It also affects your mind and hampers its processes when you’re intoxicated by it, regardless if you take Zoloft or not. However, when you take two substances that both affect how your brain works, as in the case of Zoloft, drinking can complicate things for the worse. Such complications are known by the technical term of drug interactions.

Interactions between Alcohol and Zoloft

depression, drug abuse and addiction people concept - unhappy drunk man with bottle of alcohol and pills committing suicide by overdosing on medication at night

Both Zoloft and any type of alcoholic drink are drugs or substances that affect your physical and mental constitution when taken. Your risk of negative interactions can increase when you take more than one drug at a time, so limiting your drug intake should also limit any adverse side effects and prevent any unpleasant interactions between the two substances.

Both substances affect the brain and when you pair the two together by taking them both at the same time or drinking alcohol while there’s still Zoloft in your system, you’re only asking for trouble. Alcohol can make the symptoms of the underlying health condition that Zoloft is treating worse while in turn Zoloft can make you more easily intoxicated. Both the worst side effects of the two will end up boosted with their interaction for good measure.

The side effects of Zoloft can actually become much worse and much likelier than before when you take it with a swig of wine, beer, or some other alcoholic beverage. These increased or boosted interactions can include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Blackouts
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems
  • Bruising easily
  • Bleeding easily
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Loss in ability or interest in sex

According to a Journal of Analytical Toxicology study, people taking Zoloft experienced sedation and drowsiness from it the bigger its dosages. To be more specific, if you were to take 100-milligram doses (or more) of Zoloft, you’re likelier to become drowsy. However, Zoloft has the ability to make people drowsy regardless of dose as well.

In turn, alcohol can also make you sleepy. Therefore, it can serve as a booster to Zoloft’s sedation side effects. When alcohol and Zoloft is mixed, you could end up becoming drowsy far quicker than others who drink the same amount of alcohol without Zoloft included or vice-versa.

Dealing with Mixing Alcohol and Zoloft

Drunk woman holding an alcoholic drink and sleeping with her head on the table (Focused on the drink, her face is out of focus)

When you’re taking prescription drugs or even if you’re taking an OTC medication that doesn’t need a prescription to get bought, it’s crucial that you learn everything you can about the medicine before taking it. Discuss to your doctor your full medical history, including if you have alcohol addiction or not as well as if you have allergies to certain drugs, before getting something prescribed for your depression issues.

The following entries contain some info regarding Zoloft in general and its possible side effects, interactions, and so forth. It naturally also contains data regarding mixing alcohol and Zoloft.

  • Tell Your Doctor Everything: If you regularly drink, your doctor can tell you to either get into rehab or abstain from alcohol altogether while you’re taking Zoloft for your own safety against the side effects resulting from the interaction of those two substances. You can even suffer from blackouts or drowsiness so bad you can’t and shouldn’t drive at all. Don’t combine any drug with alcohol to be honest because that’s like dancing with the Devil himself.
  • Submit Your Medical History: Before taking Zoloft, let your doctor take a look of your complete medical history files. Don’t have him prescribe the drug to you under false pretenses, with you hiding something from him because it will only bite you back from behind when worse comes to worst. Let your doctor know if you have bipolar disorder, epilepsy or seizures, suicidal thoughts, or a history of drug use before getting a prescription. Maybe another antidepressant will better suit you.
  • One of the Most Prescribed Antidepressants: Did you know that Zoloft is one of the most widely prescribed antidepressant types there, specifically the SSRI type? It’s the preferred antidepressant among physicians because among the many options out there it has the fewest or at least fewer side effects. It’s the serotonin leveler you can depend on that doesn’t only treat major depression but also panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
  • Benefits versus Risk Assessment: A doctor typically goes over the risks and makes sure that there are fewer of them compared to benefits when prescribing Zoloft. If you have alcohol addiction tendencies, you might want to go to rehab instead and get a dual diagnosis for your depression and alcoholism instead of taking Zoloft with alcohol. Furthermore, in young people, there’s a risk of suicidal thought increase in them when taking Zoloft even though for adults over 24 years old, the risk is nonexistent.
  • Both Substances Affect the Brain: Both Zoloft and alcohol affects your brain. Their combined forces and interaction can lead to dire side effects that can include outright blackouts. When you drink alcohol, the depressant depresses the messaging between your central nervous system and your brain. Meanwhile, Zoloft affects your neurotransmitters in terms of how it reuptakes your serotonin or how high or low your serotonin levels are. You don’t want to mess with your head more than needed.
  • Common and Uncommon Side Effects: As discussed above, some of the most common side effects of the Zoloft antidepressant includes sweating, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, sleep problems, and upset stomach. Serious but uncommon side effects of Zoloft include bleeding or bruising easily, weakness, muscle cramps, loss of interest in or ability to have sex, shaking, and unusual weight loss. Alcohol can also cause nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, breathing issues, judgment impairment, and drowsiness.
  • Interaction Side Effects: Interactions between Zoloft and alcohol make it so that all instances of blackouts and side effects shared by the two substances end up increasing or boosted somehow. For instance, when mixing Zoloft and alcohol into one concoction, you might experience side effects like anxiety, extreme drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, depression, dizziness, and an increase in suicidal thoughts. Depression is the big one because Zoloft is supposed to treat it instead of making it worse.
  • Intoxication Is Increased: Alcohol doesn’t only increase the side effects of Zoloft. Zoloft can also increase the side effects of alcohol as well as its primary effect of intoxication once you’ve taken enough drinks. There are some people who reported that after taking both drugs together, they felt more intoxicated than normal. This means that they have even more impaired coordination and more difficulty in making judgments. Without warning, their drunkenness seemingly became worse with this particular combination of substances.
  • The Two Just Doesn’t Mix: Zoloft and alcohol just doesn’t mix. Actually, it’s the case with alcohol and any antidepressant. It’s because alcohol is a depressant and when you take it with an antidepressant, a tug-of-war of side effects will occur since they’re technically the opposite of each other. They don’t cancel each out either. The underlying symptoms that Zoloft is treating will become worse since alcohol impacts your brain, thus defeating the purpose of taking the prescription medication in the first place.
  • Makes You More Anxious or Depressed: Don’t take Zoloft with alcohol to treat depression or anxiety because alcohol can make you more depressed or anxious. Drinking amplifies the condition Zoloft is supposed to treat and because of their bad interaction with another, the antidepressant won’t neutralize the effects of the depressant. It makes your condition worse as though the medicine isn’t working then it amplifies the side effects of said medicine along with the alcohol itself.
  • Miss a Dose or Not Follow the Prescription: Another reason to avoid mixing alcohol and Zoloft is the fact that when you do drink while on Zoloft, you’re likelier to miss a dose or not take your prescription drug as prescribed because you’re too drunk to observe it. Free-for-all dosages can only result in bad things in terms of side effects after all. You’re prescribed to take Zoloft on a certain schedule and amount because doing otherwise will just make your condition worse.
  • Complete Alcohol Abstinence Is the Key: When taking Zoloft, you should avoid taking alcohol completely. Even one glass of wine or a can of beer can interact with your SSRI medicine in unwanted ways. To not suffer from various side effects, do not mix the two because combining them can make things like your depression worse. This actually defeats the purpose of using Zoloft in the first place. Actually, doctors tend to tell patients to not drink alcohol if you have depression, especially if they prescribed you to use SSRIs like Zoloft to combat it.

To Summarize

If you’re taking Zoloft, don’t drink alcohol. If you’re a regular alcohol drinker and you can’t help yourself because you’re an alcoholic, inform your physician about that along with the fact that you’re depressed or suffering from anxiety. Zoloft is a prescription medication antidepressant that doesn’t mix well with alcohol, which is in turn a nonprescription depressant. Mixing the two will make both of their side effects worse, with you becoming more drunk, drowsy, or likely to suffer a blackout.

Users have reported that they do get intoxicated more quickly with the Zoloft and alcohol combination. What’s more, avoid skipping doses of Zoloft in order to make it “safer” for you to drink alcohol. This will make your condition much worse than before. The drug should still remain in your body for good measure, so that means your alcoholic drink will still interact with Zoloft and give you all sorts of side effects. You can still end up with a dangerous reaction to the wine or beer you’ve drunk because of the Zoloft in your system, in other words.

Dealing with Addiction to Alcohol Mixed with Zoloft

Are you dealing with addiction to alcohol mixed with Zoloft? Have you made it a habit to mix different prescription and illicit substances together for a stronger high or stone? Then you should go to Lanna Rehab Center to help detoxify and treat this explosive concoction. The Lanna Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s fastest-growing establishments dedicated to rehabilitation.

Lanna Rehab is a renowned addiction treatment center that is known across the globe in terms of world-class holistic substance abuse rehabilitation, dual diagnosis services, and addiction aftercare offerings. Please contact them ASAP on their telephone hotline for more details on booking schedules and free consultation.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.

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