Mixing Zoloft (Sertraline) And Alcohol – Interactions And Side Effects
Millions of people are prescribed Zoloft for a mental health disorder every year. However, despite the popularity of the drug, it should not be taken with alcohol. Mixing Zoloft and alcohol can have many adverse side effects and interactions, including dizziness and depression.
What Is Zoloft?
Sertraline, brand name Zoloft, is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. It’s a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means that it primarily works on the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
SSRIs are among one of the most common medications prescribed and are believed to have far fewer side effects than other forms of antidepressants. When a doctor prescribes any medication, he or she will go over the possible side effects of the drug.
Before beginning any medication, it’s important that you tell your doctor your complete medical history as well as any allergies or interactions you’ve had with medications. This helps your doctor know whether he or she should prescribe a particular medication and ensures that you do not have any adverse reactions.
In addition to your medical history, you should also inform your doctor of any regular activities you partake in, such as drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs. While this may feel uncomfortable or even unnecessary, it’s important to be informed of any interactions that may arise when mixing a prescription with other drugs or alcohol.
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Can You Mix Zoloft And Alcohol?
Zoloft is a popular drug that is prescribed for depression and anxiety. Many people believe that it is safe to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft. While there isn’t comprehensive research on this combination, the FDA advises against mixing the two.
Zoloft and alcohol are two substances that interact with the brain. Combining them can lead to the increase of the side effects and interactions that each drug can cause. For example, Zoloft can cause a potential upset stomach. By mixing Zoloft with alcohol, serious stomach upset can occur.
Additionally, drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft can make your symptoms worse. This means that, for example, if you are taking Zoloft to treat depression, drinking alcohol can make your depression symptoms worse and limit the effects that Zoloft has in treating these symptoms. This is because alcohol is a depressant and can reverse the effects that Zoloft has on the serotonin levels in the brain.
Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Zoloft
While it’s known that alcohol can interfere with your ability to make decisions and overall alertness, mixing alcohol with Zoloft can add to this effect. Your ability to drive a car, motor skills, and judgment will be impaired far more when combining alcohol with Zoloft than if you were to drink alcohol alone.
What’s more, combining alcohol and Zoloft can cause the antidepressant 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 anxiety and depression in the long term.
Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Zoloft
The most prominent long-term side effect of mixing alcohol and Zoloft is depression. Alcohol can make you more depressed over time despite taking an antidepressant. As a result, drinking can make your condition worse and essentially render your prescription medication useless.
Medically Supervised Detox Programs For Alcohol Abuse
If you believe you have a problem with alcohol, it’s important to seek help. This is especially true when it comes to detoxing from alcohol. Going through alcohol withdrawal alone can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening depending on the level of physical dependence an individual has. Medically supervised detox programs provide a safe and secure place to withdraw from alcohol as well as a medical team to provide any support as needed.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can occur as soon as two hours after the last drink and can last up to four days or longer depending on the physical dependence level. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, with mild symptoms being nausea, anxiety, shaky hands, sweating, insomnia, and vomiting.
More severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include hallucinations, seizures, or delirium tremens (often referred to as DTs). DTs typically start within 48 to 72 hours after your last drink and are extremely severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol.
If you experience any of these symptoms or others, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.
Medications For Alcohol Withdrawal
Sometimes, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) will be used during the detoxification process from alcohol. One of the most commonly used medications when detoxing from alcohol is naltrexone (Vivitrol). This drug is given as an intramuscular shot once every month and prevents the euphoric effects that alcohol has on the mind and body. As a result, Vivitrol can help to reduce alcohol cravings and prevent relapse.
Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Once you have completed the detoxification process, the next step would be to enter a treatment program for alcohol addiction. One of the most common approaches to an alcohol use disorder is an inpatient alcohol rehab program. This is an intensive type of treatment that requires individuals to live at the treatment facility for a set amount of time, usually 30 days. During their stay, patients will undergo daily treatment.
Some of the most common types of therapy offered at inpatient treatment facilities include:
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) — MAT involves supplementing a treatment program with medication that will help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. As mentioned above, the most often-used medication for alcohol addiction is Vivitrol.
- Behavioral Therapy — There are many different types of behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and dialectical behavior therapy. All behavioral therapies are aimed at changing unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, such as abusing drugs and alcohol.
- Co-occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis) — Co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis, occur when a mental health disorder and substance use disorder are present at the same time. For example, an individual may suffer from both depression and an alcohol use disorder. A dual diagnosis can make treatment tricky and requires therapy that focuses on healing all aspects of an individual’s mind, body, and spirit.
- Support Groups — Many treatment facilities follow the 12-step method, which includes incorporating 12-step meetings into daily lives. Support groups are a great way to form friendships and interact with others who are dealing with an alcohol use disorder.
Additionally, outpatient addiction treatment is an option when it comes to seeking help for alcohol addiction. There are many forms of outpatient treatment, including partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs. This form of treatment is recommended for individuals with a more mild form of alcohol use disorder.
To learn more about mixing Zoloft and alcohol and the interactions and side effects that can arise, contact us today.