Because of this risk, doctors usually avoid prescribing Zoloft with an SNRI. Besides raising your risk of certain side effects, this combination hasn’t been shown to be more effective for depression than using Zoloft or an SNRI on its own. If you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome while taking Zoloft, seek emergency medical attention right away. Due to this risk, doctors typically avoid prescribing more than one SSRI at a time. Taking multiple SSRIs together can raise your risk of side effects.

When combined with counseling, this approach is proven highly effective. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Both substances affect the neurotransmitters in your brain and, if an unwanted interaction occurs, you may experience a blackout. Additionally, the likelihood of experiencing side effects from Zoloft when drinking alcohol increases. According to an article published in The Ochsner Journal, serotonin syndrome occurs when the serotonin receptors are overactivated due to high levels of serotonin. It often develops when antidepressants are combined with other drugs that increase serotonin levels, such as triptans, anxiety medications or other antidepressants. The FDA recommends avoiding alcohol consumption while using sertraline. But drinking alcohol can also temporarily boost levels of serotonin in your brain — and when the serotonin levels in your body get too high, you may develop serotonin syndrome.

zoloft and alchol

The drug is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor , assisting in regulating mood swings, behavioral issues, and improving the lack of motivation in depressed individuals. Not much is known about the real effects of alcohol on pharmaceuticals, but many have reported adverse effects when drinking while medicated. Companies like Pfizer, which makes plenty of drugs, have mentioned that those who suffer from depression, panic disorders, or even OCD are not supposed to take Zoloft while drinking.

How Does Alcohol Affect Depression?

Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Alcohol can exaggerate depressive symptoms because it depresses the central nervous system. It is not advised that you skip a dose unless under the instructions of your healthcare provider. Typically, mild side effects of Zoloft will taper off after the first week as your body gets used to the medication. The combination can intensify side effects and make Zoloft less effective in treating your depression.

In the same article, mild symptoms are listed as hypertension, racing heartbeat, dilated pupils, excessive sweating, shivers, tremors, muscle jerking and over or under responsive reflexes. Moderate cases include all of the previous symptoms, plus, fever, hyperactive bowel sounds, abnormal eye movement, irritability, and slurred speech. It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Zoloft while breastfeeding.

zoloft and alchol

Other medications you take, as well as any vitamins, supplements, and herbs. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you fill out a medication list. If you’ve had an allergic eco sober house complaints reaction to Zoloft or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Zoloft. This is because taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction.

But when you take medications that also affect how the brain works, such as Zoloft, drinking can complicate the effects. Moreover, alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depression, which may make any antidepressant less effective and increase the risk of suicidal behavior. Zoloft belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . They work by blocking the brain’s serotonin receptors, causing more serotonin molecules to circulate. What’s more — drinking alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of Zoloft, so combining the two could worsen your depression symptoms. These effects can impair your ability to drive, make decisions, and perform other tasks that require judgment and concentration.

Zoloft Withdrawal

Learn which signs to look out for, and how to care for your well-being. “Numerous classification schemes have been proposed to differentiate types of alcoholics. Our study supports the usefulness of the Babor Type A and Type B classification system.” According to Babor’s research, Type B alcoholism tends to have a greater adverse impact than Type A alcoholism. Generally speaking, Type B alcoholism is more severe and higher risk than Type A alcoholism. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

  • But a 2014 study showed that it increased memory impairment, impulsivity, and violence in some people.
  • Do not take sertraline with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], tranylcypromine [Parnate®]).
  • Your doctor will likely suggest using a treatment other than Zoloft if you need to take pimozide.
  • Mixing Zoloft and alcohol may also cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome.

The “buzz” felt from alcohol, is actually the leading edge of sedation. Alcohol slows electrical activity in the brain, and it makes you breathe slower too. There are many different types of assessments to screen for depression. The stress and sadness of moving can sometimes lead to relocation depression. Cannabinoid medication affecting the metabolism of another medication.

It’s important to discuss these risks with a doctor when beginning the use of Zoloft or any other prescription medication. Consuming alcohol and Zoloft in combination can intensify the effects on the nervous system, leading to severe dizziness, drowsiness, and alertness. Although alcohol and Zoloft are different drugs—one is a sedative while the other acts as an antidepressant—both are designed to alter a person’s brain chemistry. Because of this any prescribing doctor, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, strongly recommends against Zoloft and alcohol interactions.

This is because alcohol suppresses neurological signals that can alter your ability to think and reason, so drinking can make your condition worse. Alcohol can also cause sedation and may enhance these effects from Zoloft. That means if you mix alcohol and Zoloft, you may experience drowsiness more quickly than someone who drinks the same amount of alcohol but doesn’t take Zoloft. Also, alcohol and antidepressants can each cause drowsiness, reduced alertness, and uncoordinated movements. When a person has both in their system, these effects increase, which may lead to accidents and injuries. If a person does decide to drink while taking Zoloft, they should do so with caution, and stop consuming alcohol if any adverse effects develop.

If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Zoloft or any of its ingredients, your doctor likely won’t prescribe Zoloft. You can ask your doctor about other treatments that may be better options for you. Due to this risk, doctors typically won’t prescribe Zoloft with an MAOI.

Talk with your doctor to learn whether Zoloft is safe to take with your heart condition. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may block your body from breaking down Zoloft after you take a dose. But it’s not known if this interaction is strong enough to raise your risk of side effects. If you have questions about interactions that may affect you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. This can give the impression that the issue is minimal, or that the effects are unknown.

Zoloft and Alcohol: What are the risks and dangers?

A person should let their doctor know about any drugs or supplements that they take before starting Zoloft treatment. Both Zoloft and alcohol are central nervous system depressants, meaning that they slow or suppress brain activity. This can be dangerous, and in severe cases, it can cause slowed breathing, coma, and death. The interaction can cause depression, which may hinder the effectiveness of an antidepressant. The combined effects can make a suicide attempt more likely. Here are some of the key risks to know about, along with some tips on how to get help if you’re having trouble limiting alcohol use while taking Zoloft.

At this time, Zoloft is only available through prescription by a certified medical provider. It is a small tablet that is taken once daily, typically before or after a meal. While taking sertraline, you may notice some improvement in mood or physical symptoms in just one to two weeks. However, it can take up to two months to see the full effects of your prescribed dose. Because Zoloft is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the world, mixing alcohol with it has been somewhat normalized.

zoloft and alchol

Certain medical conditions or other health factors may raise the risk of interactions with Zoloft. Before taking Zoloft, talk with your doctor about your health history. Don’t stop taking an antidepressant or other medication just so that you can drink. Most antidepressants require taking a consistent, daily dose to maintain a constant level in your system and work as intended. Stopping and starting your medications can make your depression worse.

Zoloft is a famous pharmaceutical for those suffering from depression. Even those who struggle with addiction can benefit from sertraline because of the chemical imbalances in their brains. However, it is essential not to mix other drugs and substances in the mix because things like mash certified sober homes alcohol can damage a user’s liver and lead to severe health complications. If a patient is hooked on Zoloft and has been consistently using it, a good detox program must be done if it needs replacement. Mental health wellness today is more important to many than it ever was.

Side Effects, Interactions & Risks

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of sertraline such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns. You might get angry about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, for example, but you don’t actively plot to kill that person. So Zoloft and alcohol interactions can make some impossible things seem possible.

Not only could it cause your depressive symptoms to become worse, but it could also result in a substance use disorder. Using sertraline while drinking alcohol may worsen these issues and contribute to a higher risk of harm to yourself, even with moderate alcohol consumption. You should also never skip doses of your medication to drink alcohol. Doing this can make your condition worse, and the drug will also likely still be in your body.

This state of extreme “disinhibition” may not be common, but there are enough reported cases of it to warrant serious concerns about drinking on SSRIs. What is especially alarming is that this can occur with only “modest or usual” amounts of alcohol. While more research is still needed on this problem, a 2014 New Zealand study analyzed hundreds of alleged cases, and found evidence of this extreme intoxication in 100 of them. SSRIs and alcohol were involved in each, and the results included assault, unintended sexual encounters, suicides, and even eight homicides.