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Mixing Zoloft and Alcohol: What are the Dangers?

a man holds pills and a glass of alcohol as he consider the dangers of mixing zoloft and alcohol

Mixing Zoloft and alcohol may seem like a safe or even a good idea to some people, but it can actually be quite dangerous. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, while Zoloft is a central nervous system stimulant. When the two are combined, they can have unpredictable and potentially dangerous effects. Unfortunately, if someone is suffering from an addiction to alcohol, they may feel like they can’t stop drinking simply because they are on a new prescription. If you need advice about how to stop drinking while taking Zoloft, please reach out to the polysubstance addiction treatment program at Vertava Health today by calling 888.601.8693.

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 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, they will go over the possible side effects of the drug. For instance, mixing Zoloft and alcohol can have deadly consequences.

Before beginning any medication, you must 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 they 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 essential to be informed of any interactions that may arise when mixing a prescription with other drugs or alcohol.

Can You Mix Zoloft and Alcohol?

Zoloft is a popular drug that doctors prescribe 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 an increase in the side effects and interactions that each drug can cause. For example, Zoloft can cause a potential upset stomach. By mixing Zoloft with alcohol, severe stomach upset can occur.

Additionally, drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft can make your symptoms worse. 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.

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 not to work as well as it would on its own. Alcohol may allow you to feel better in the short term. However, 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 worsen your condition and render your prescription medication useless.

Medically Supervised Detox Programs for Alcohol Use

If you believe you have a problem with alcohol, it’s essential to seek help, especially when it comes to detoxing from alcohol. Going through alcohol withdrawal alone can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening, depending on the individual’s level of physical dependence. Medically supervised detox programs provide a safe and secure place to withdraw from alcohol and 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
  • 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 essential 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 Use and Addiction

Once you have completed the alcohol 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. Our behavioral therapies address unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, such as abusing drugs and alcohol.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment — Co-occurring disorders 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, including 12-step meetings in daily lives. Support groups are a great way to form friendships and interact with others dealing with an alcohol use disorder.

Additionally, outpatient addiction treatment is an option for 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 ideal for individuals with a more mild form of alcohol use disorder.

Seek Support at Vertava Health Today

Alcohol use disorder is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. If you or somebody you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. At our treatment center, we offer a range of therapeutic options, including:

  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Adventure therapy

To learn more about mixing Zoloft and alcohol and the interactions and side effects that can arise, contact us today at 888.601.8693.