Substance Use

Mixing Zoloft and Alcohol: Can You Drink on Zoloft?

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What Are The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Zoloft?

Drinking alcohol while on an antidepressant like Zoloft can impair your coordination and cause severe drowsiness, confusion, and impaired judgment. It can also lead to a higher potential for substance use disorders, suicidal thoughts, and overdose.

Are you or a loved one dealing with drug or alcohol use? If you are worried about the misuse of Zoloft or other prescription medication, call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 for more information on addition and addiction treatment.

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Can You Drink on Zoloft?

It’s recommended that anyone taking an SSRI like Zoloft avoids alcohol consumption. Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline hydrochloride, a prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depressive disorders, stress disorders, social anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

While effective if taken as prescribed, combining Zoloft with alcohol — which is a central nervous system depressant — can lead to intense sedation, impaired brain function, irregular heart rate, and other risks. If you’re taking Zoloft or any other prescription drug, you should ask your doctor before drinking to avoid serious side effects.

How Long After Taking Zoloft Can You Drink Alcohol?

You should avoid drinking for at least 24 hours after your last dose of Zoloft, unless you’ve been given clearance to drink alcohol by your healthcare provider.

Since certain co-occurring disorders, including depression, may put you at an increased risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, you should talk to your doctor if you find it difficult to abstain from drinking while on Zoloft.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol With Zoloft?

According to a study shared by the NIH, men with clinical depression drank more when they were not on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) than men without depression who were taking antidepressants. 

Zoloft provides a similar serotonin boost as alcohol, which should mean that someone who has begun taking Zoloft after previously self-medicating with alcohol would no longer feel the need for alcohol. However, drug alcohol addiction is complicated.

People may mix alcohol with Zoloft to avoid “coming down” from Zoloft and re-experiencing the symptoms of depression. This is especially true if a person does not feel their depression is well-managed on Zoloft or they aren’t taking it regularly.

In other cases, people may take Zoloft without a prescription and mix it with alcohol to prolong the mood-lifting effects. However, the combination can be dangerous.

If you’re mixing alcohol with Zoloft to cope with health issues or to elicit enjoyable short-term effects, Zinnia Health can help you recover. Quitting can help you get a handle on life and get on the path to a more fulfilling future. Call us 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.  

Why Is It Dangerous to Mix Zoloft with Alcohol?

As a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Zoloft increases depleted serotonin stores. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a chemical neurotransmitter that behaves as a hormone. It works to regulate sleep, digestion, wound healing, blood clotting, and sexual desire. It is also a major contributing factor to mood stabilization. 

Since Zoloft works by controlling serotonin levels, mixing it with alcohol can lead to severe and unwanted side effects as alcohol has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a chemical that your body naturally produces to control nerve cell and brain function.

If your body ends up with too much serotonin, you may suffer from serotonin syndrome, which can range from mild symptoms to severe health complications, including death. Additionally, since taking Zoloft with alcohol impairs your ability to reason, you may drink more than you intended, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

What Can Happen if You Drink on Zoloft?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns those who take Zoloft should avoid drinking alcohol. Taking Zoloft can cause drowsiness, slow your reaction time, and put you at an increased risk of accidents. It can also lead to an increase in risky behavior, such as unprotected sex, that can lead to other health complications.

Someone drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft may experience:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia 
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weight change
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Trembling
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Sweating

What Are the Symptoms From Drinking Alcohol with Zoloft?

Family members and healthcare providers should make themselves aware of the common side effects and signs of Zoloft misuse.

Drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft may worsen symptoms of depression since it can counteract antidepressants. When combining them, you may feel that your prescribed Zoloft isn’t working, resulting in untreated depression.

People with untreated depression run a higher risk of developing alcohol abuse and Zoloft use disorders. These conditions can lead to:

  • Social isolation
  • Deterioration of your physical appearance
  • Financial problems
  • Lack of motivation
  • Changes in your speech 
  • Changes in your personality

If you believe someone is developing a substance use disorder or trying to self-medicate for other health problems, reach out to a treatment center to get them help before it’s too late.

How to Get Help For a Zoloft Addiction

Combining Zoloft and alcohol can lead to an addiction to one or both substances. Once addiction forms, abruptly discontinuing either substance can cause adverse reactions known as withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

Not only can withdrawal symptoms be uncomfortable, they can also be dangerous. Many people trying to quit a substance end up relapsing as an attempt to escape the withdrawal symptoms, but this puts you at an increased risk of overdose. Instead of quitting alone, treatment facilities can support you through the process.

Some of the treatment programs available for Zoloft addiction include:

  • Medication-assisted detox where providers will ease you off Zoloft and alcohol using certain medications that have been shown to reduce the risks and discomfort associated with withdrawal
  • Inpatient detox where providers will monitor you for complications and provide counseling and support to help you through the toughest part of the recovery process as your body adapts to life without drugs
  • Residential treatment, which can run from weeks to months depending on your preferences, where you will live in a home-like environment for the duration of treatment, surrounded by supportive staff and peers
  • Outpatient programs, where you can continue to live at home and carry on with your responsibilities while getting the help you need to recover from addiction

Mixing Zoloft and alcohol doesn’t have to be part of your future. Call Zinnia Health today at (855) 430-9439 and begin your path to sobriety.

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