Zoloft and Alcohol, Is it Safe to Mix?

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is the brand name of the prescription drug Sertraline. It is an antidepressant that belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This prescription drug is used to treat major depressive disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder[1].

SSRIs such as Zoloft have long been linked with withdrawal symptoms when the use of the drugs is reduced abruptly or stopped. Addiction recovery professionals recommend facing Zoloft addiction with a long-term treatment plan that promotes positive decision-making, improvements to overall health that includes learning coping skills. This will all start by undergoing medically assisted Zoloft detox.

According to the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) [3], using this drug may cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Additionally, this drug may increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk. Zoloft comes as a tablet and a concentrate (liquid) to take by mouth.

Side Effects of Mixing Zoloft and Alcohol
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [2] recommends avoiding alcohol while you take Zoloft.

Zoloft and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in individuals 24 years of age and younger, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. Ultimately, this drug may cause sexual problems. Signs may include decreased sex drive, inability to have an orgasm or delayed orgasm, problems keeping or getting an erection, and ejaculation problems.

Can You Take Zoloft and Alcohol Simultaneously?

Can You Take Zoloft and Alcohol Simultaneously?

The short answer is no, it’s not safe to mix Zoloft with alcohol. Zoloft and alcohol are both drugs that interact with your brain, and medical professionals recommend not to take Zoloft and alcohol simultaneously. This is because alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of Zoloft, including drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking Zoloft, especially if you are planning to operate machinery or drive.

Drinking alcohol causes the Zoloft side effects to happen more intensely and quickly. Zoloft and alcohol can both cause sedation, and drinking can intensify the sedative effects of Zoloft.
This can make you feel drowsiness much faster than if you were drinking alcohol alone. Some individuals also experience an upset stomach when using this drug. Combining Zoloft and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of an upset stomach that may result in vomiting.

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that by itself can cause depression. The misuse of alcohol can also worsen the symptoms of depression and make Zoloft less effective in treating these symptoms. This can increase suicidal thoughts and actions in individuals who drink alcohol when taking Zoloft. If you have depression, your doctor will likely tell you not to drink alcohol, regardless of whether or not you are taking Zoloft.

Common Side Effects of Zoloft

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual problems
  • Tremor or shaking
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Increased sweating
  • Tiredness and fatigue

More Serious Side Effects of Zoloft

  • Suicide attempts
  • Eye pain
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • New or worse depression
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • New or worse anxiety or panic attacks
  • Agitation, restlessness, anger, or irritability
  • Manic episodes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • An increase in activity or talking more than normal

Effects of Alcohol on Depression

Drinking alcohol isn’t recommended for people who are struggling with depression. This is because alcohol overpowers the neurological signals that can alter your ability to reason and think, so drinking alcohol can make your condition more dangerous.

Heavy drinking can even send you in a downward spiral in terms of your mental well-being. But, remember, depression is more than just sadness.

Alcohol can make all of the following symptoms of depression worse:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Even if you take Zoloft for a condition other than depression, it is still not safe to drink alcohol. First, this is because you may still have the risk of increased depression from alcohol. Second, this is because depression is a common symptom of other related health problems, such as PTSD and OCD, that Zoloft treats. You should not combine Zoloft and alcohol. Mixing the two can make you feel very drowsy, which can be disastrous The combination can also raise the risk of other dangerous or unpleasant side effects from Zoloft.

How Long Does Zoloft Stay in Your System?

The time it takes medication to leave your system can vary from person to person, depending on how fast your body breaks it down. And when it comes to antidepressants, there can be some variations across medications within the same class.

For instance, Prozac (another SSRI) stays around in your body the longest, taking at least 25 days for most of it to be eliminated.

This is compared to Zoloft, which is almost completely eliminated from the body between 5 to 6 days after the last dose you take. However, it may take longer if you have liver problems or are older.

Zoloft and Alcohol
Different substances, legal and illegal, can be dangerous, especially when taken in combination. One such combination is Zoloft and Alcohol

Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Zoloft

While it’s recognized that alcohol can interfere with your overall alertness and your ability to make decisions, mixing Zoloft and alcohol can add to this effect. Your ability to drive a vehicle, motor skills, and judgment will be impaired far more when combining Zoloft and alcohol than if you were to drink alcohol alone.

What’s more, combining Zoloft and alcohol can cause the antidepressant property of Zoloft to not work as well as it would on its own. Alcohol may allow you to feel better in the short term. It may actually increase levels of depression and anxiety in the long term.

Another potential risk of mixing Zoloft and alcohol is that it can potentially worsen alcohol cravings. People with certain types of serotonin receptors are more sensitive to stimulation. SSRIs result in greater serotonin activity, which can then trigger dopamine release and activate the brain’s reward pathway. Suppose alcohol is consumed while an SSRI induces this reaction. In that case, it can strengthen the association between alcohol and pleasure or in some cases, result in the formation of the association that was otherwise absent before.

Long-Term Effects Of Combining Zoloft and Alcohol

The most noticeable long-term side effect of mixing Zoloft and alcohol is depression. Alcohol can make you more depressed over time despite taking an antidepressant. As a result, drinking can make your condition worse and actually render your prescription medication useless and ineffective.

Can You Overdose on Zoloft And Alcohol?

Yes, you can overdose on Zoloft and alcohol. Zoloft and alcohol death can happen when they’re taken in high doses, as when an individual uses an intoxicating amount of any drugs or substance, to the point where their body reacts or shuts down, would be regarded as a drug or substance overdose. Typical drug overdose symptoms include decreased or increased body temperature, unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness, abnormal breathing, changes in skin color (bluish tint to the skin or pale), and abnormal heart rate.

Alcohol can also cause depressive symptoms, which can make Zoloft less effective in individuals who are taking it for depression or other mental conditions. Alcohol is also known to cause liver damage, and heavy drinking mixed with drug use can worsen these problems. Individuals who are taking prescription drugs are often told to avoid alcohol to avoid consequences like the ones discussed above [4].

What To Do In Case Of Alcoholism And Antidepressant Abuse?

Mixing alcohol and antidepressants like Zoloft is a big NO. Remember that both Zoloft and alcohol are addictive, and mixing them can worsen Different substances, legal and illegal, can be dangerous, especially when taken in combination. One such combination is Zoloft and Alcohol disorders and symptoms. Professional medical help should be tried out at once if one has seen addiction to Zoloft or alcohol, or both [5].

People who struggle with Zoloft and alcohol abuse should contact a rehab center to begin their journey towards recovery in a professional, safe, and conducive environment. A professional substance abuse treatment center can help them to detoxify their bodies safely and with minimum withdrawal symptoms. All the associated adverse conditions can be monitored by a qualified specialist and treated to help the client towards a safe recovery. The aftercare services offered to the clients help them in preventing relapse.

Find the Help You Need at We Level Up NJ

Zoloft and alcohol
We Level Up NJ Recovery Center

If you or someone you know is suffering from the side effects of mixing Zoloft and alcohol or any other form of substance abuse, our substance abuse treatment center can help. Call We Level Up NJ now for more information about our drug rehab programs.

Sources

[1] SAMHSA – https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma12-4688.pdf

[2] [3] FDA -https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/019839S74S86S87_20990S35S44S45lbl.pdf

[4] NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html#side-effects

[5] We Level UpZoloft Withdrawal Treatment