Antidepressants and alcohol: What’s the concern?

To avoid dangerous side effects such as drowsiness and liver problems, it’s best not to use alcohol while you take Lexapro. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain to boost mood and minimize feelings of anxiety. However, the manufacturer of Lexapro still recommends against mixing the two.

  • While the short-term effects of alcohol are concerning, the long-term effects can be even more detrimental.
  • In the absence of supplemental data from the study authors, we obtained missing data according to procedures suggested in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Higgins 2011).
  • If you are trying to change or stop your medication to be able to drink, this may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder.
  • There was no significant difference in reporting adverse events between the medication groups.
  • On one hand, combining Lexapro and alcohol can intensify the sedative effects of both substances.

How we reviewed this article:

The effects of alcohol on neurotransmitters in the brain can disrupt the delicate balance of chemicals responsible for regulating mood and emotions. While the short-term effects of alcohol are concerning, the long-term effects can be even more detrimental. Long-term alcohol abuse can have serious consequences on both physical and mental health. For example, chronic alcohol use can lead to cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and an increased risk of stroke. The first three reviews were not specifically designed for evaluating the efficacy and safety of antidepressants for alcohol‐dependent people. The fourth review adopted very selective inclusion criteria (studies reporting data over at least eight weeks; studies reporting a change in depression scales).

Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Lexapro

According to our results, in people with co‐occurring depression and alcohol dependence, antidepressants may be useful for the treatment of depression, alcohol dependence, or both disorders, although the clinical relevance may be modest. Results are also limited by the large number of studies showing high or unclear risk of bias and by the low number of studies comparing one antidepressant to another or antidepressants to other medications. In people with co‐occurring depression and alcohol dependence, the risk of developing adverse effects appears to be minimal, especially for the newer classes of antidepressants (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Indeed, antidepressants improve only some outcomes (i.e. the number of abstinent participants and the number of drinks per drinking days) and not others (e.g. the rate of abstinent days). Regarding alcohol consumption, we found moderate‐quality evidence that antidepressants increased with respect to placebo, the number of participants abstaining during the trial and reduced the number of drinks per drinking day.

lexapro and alcohol craving

How to Seek Help for Substance Misuse

And finally I want to tell doctors that your patients can often see that the information you are getting is wrong — we don’t blame you for this, we just want you to listen to us. I knew I was drinking too much but I also had terrible overwhelming uncontrollable cravings for alcohol. I printed some of the information from the internet out and gave Sober House this to my doctor and tried to explain that I thought the medication was giving me intense cravings for alcohol. Abrupt cessation of or significant decrease in alcohol intake in dependent drinkers can precipitate the emergence of an acute withdrawal syndrome within 4 – 12 hours of the last drink that may persist for up to 5 days (DSM-5).

  • One study reported data obtained using the MMPI and ZUNG and we included only data obtained with ZUNG (Krupitsky 1993 arm A; 41 participants).
  • Both approaches avoided the double counting of participants in the control groups.
  • Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases.
  • Alcohol can negatively impact the treatment of depression even when someone consumes it in moderation.
  • According to our results, in people with co‐occurring depression and alcohol dependence, antidepressants may be useful for the treatment of depression, alcohol dependence, or both disorders, although the clinical relevance may be modest.
  • It also appears that active participation in a 12-step or similar program, treatment of co-morbidities, and personalized pharmacotherapy considers sex and naltrexone response-related genes.
  • Antidepressants had positive effects on certain relevant outcomes related to depression and alcohol use but not on other relevant outcomes.

The analysis found no significant difference between antidepressants and placebo (2 studies; 29 participants; MD 1.00 cravings for alcohol, 95% CI ‐3.27 to 5.27; Analysis 1.20) (Cornelius 2016; Krupitsky 2012). The analysis found no difference between antidepressants and placebo, with no evidence of heterogeneity (4 studies; 121 participants; https://wyomingdigest.com/top-5-advantages-of-staying-in-a-sober-living-house/ SMD 0.20, 95% CI ‐0.16 to 0.56; Analysis 1.4) (Cornelius 1997; Cornelius 2016; McLean 1986; Pettinati 2001a). We examined the effect of including people with uncertain diagnoses in the sensitivity analyses. Trials including people with additional diagnoses of dependence by other substances of abuse were also considered eligible.

  • Stress and carbohydrate consumption go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
  • We found low‐quality evidence supporting the clinical use of antidepressants in the treatment of people with co‐occurring depression and alcohol dependence.
  • Except in the case of temporary alcohol‐induced depressive symptoms, people with co‐occurrence of alcohol dependence and depression often receive a combination therapy consisting of medication for the treatment of depression and another for the treatment of alcohol dependence (Pettinati 2013).

Study participants

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