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Depression Medication and Alcohol

Depression Medication and Alcohol

Most people wonder as to what is the effect of having depression medication and alcohol together. If you are one of those people, then read this article to find out about this.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Depression and alcohol are the two classic elements that ensure a downward spiral, for the physical and mental health of a person. This deadly combination traps a person in a vicious cycle, wherein he keeps vacillating between depression medication and alcohol addiction. However, every doctor vehemently advises patients to avoid the two of them together, come what may. This article gives you some reasons as to why these two do not make such a lovely pair after all.

Reason for Taking Them Together

A poll was done to find out why people take alcohol with antidepressants. Most people responded that it made them feel relaxed. Some said that it made them feel happy. Some also said that it helped them by making them less anxious. However, when asked, most of these people responded that they were told by their physician to strictly avoid mixing antidepressants and alcohol. Also, most of them admitted that they were not really addressing the root cause of their condition.

Why Not to Take them Together

Anti-depressant tablets are not always over the counter drugs, and thus, come with a prescription from the doctor. And one thing that the doctor will tell you without fail is to not take them together. So, rather than getting all experimental by trying out these two together, let us see what happens if they are indeed, consumed together.

It has been noted that almost 25% of the non-ambulatory emergency room patients that are brought in, have had some or the other kind of a drug interaction. Also, maximum cases among this 25% are patients that have taken this deadly combination. Also, patients who are on antibiotics (mostly oral), often tend to aggravate their illness if drinks are assumed while a person is on any kind of medicine.

Most antidepressants and anti-psychotic tablets add to the effect of alcohol. In fact, not just these medicines, but even other strong sedatives and central nervous system depressants, such as antihistamines, barbiturates, strong analgesics and narcotics, all often add to the effect. Most antidepressants work by increasing the serotonin activity in the brain. Since this drink also directly acts on the brain, it is believed that these medicines may increase the effect of the drink. Also, most antidepressants are metabolized in the liver, as is alcohol. Hence, it is believed that this may be a causative factor for the increased effect of complications seen in this deadly combination.

However, all antidepressants do not have the same mechanism of action. They all act in different ways, depending on the chemicals present in them, and the effect produced by them on the brain. There are certain antidepressants that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors. When these are mixed with alcohol, they can cause a sudden and unprecedented rise in the blood pressure, and this hypertension can lead to a brain stem stroke which could be quite fatal. Thus, especially for patients that are on monoamine oxidase inhibitors, consuming alcohol in tandem with this medicine is forbidden.

Also, while a person is on benzodiazepines, it is advisable not to consume alcohol with this medicine, as it can lead to life-threatening complications.

Of all the depression medication side effects, the most common one is nausea. Some patients often complain of nausea after taking an antidepressant. This, coupled with alcohol, can lead to very aggressive vomiting later, which could cause damage to the esophagus due to the regurgitation of concentrated acid from the stomach, mimicking what is seen in acid reflux disease.

Hence, these were the reasons for not consuming the deadly combination of these medicines and alcohol. These should specifically be avoided during pregnancy, as it could cause harm to the fetus in certain cases. So, all said and done, depression medication and alcohol should not be consumed together under any circumstance. So stay away from these two vices, and stay healthy and happy!

Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.