Is it safe to drink while on Anxiolytics or Antidepressants?

In general it is known that some drugs should not be mixed with alcohol. Some of this knowledge are myths and some other are true.

As alcohol itself is a kind of anxiolytic it isn't clear if it really could cause a side effect while on anxiliytics medication.

On the other hand, it seems that alcohol tends to make depressions worse.

If there are undesired side effects, is there a limit? is it safe to drink just a little or it is better to avoid it completely?

  • This is not a medical site. It probably has a lot to do with which drugs and how much alcohol. – jalynn2 Nov 20 '14 at 17:25
  • Look on the medicine bottles. If it says, "Don't take with alcohol," you probably shouldn't take it with alcohol. – Alex A. Dec 3 '14 at 21:10

Both alcohol and prescription drugs (anxiolytics and antidepressants) can have a variable effect on one's alertness and reactions. Some people can drink 5 litres of beer and feel nothing. Many will feel dizzy and some will get near a coma. Men tolerate alcohol better than women and some guys are very quick metabolizers, so they get alcohol out of their blood very quickly. The same reasoning aplies to drugs that act on the central nervous system. They have a sedating effect similar to alcohol and one may not feel one hundred percent alert while others may feel extremely sedated and unable to perform tasks that require attention and precision. For all this, there is always a warning about mixing alcohol with those drugs. However, effects vary a lot and you may get away with drinking and taking an SSRI such as Fluoxetine, Paroxetine or Sertraline. With a Benzodiazepine (Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Diazepam) you have to be more careful. These drugs are more sedating than antidepressants and you may feel nothing, you may feel dizzy, or you may fall sound asleep. One never knows for sure, so you gotta be careful. And do not drink and drive, even if you haven't taken any of these drugs.

| improve this answer | |

Anxiolytics is too broad of a term to address. Alcohol is actually frequently considered an anxiolytic.

Antidepressants, on the other hand, certainly can have adverse effects when mixed with alcohol. As far as drug interactions go, it will largely vary on the drug--without more information it is really impossible to say for sure what the answer is in your case.

However, on a more broad note, the use of alcohol is generally perceived as counterproductive while on antidepressants. Alcohol can contribute to depression, so it is generally advised to be avoided while taking antidepressants. For more information, see this article: Can I drink alcohol if I'm taking antidepressants?

Hope this helps!

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.