Lexapro and Alcohol: Everything That You Need to Know
Due to how common major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are, it’s not at all surprising how widely used Lexapro is. Given this, people have a slew of different questions about Lexapro. One of the most common questions we get surrounding this drug is whether or not you can drink alcohol while taking Lexapro. And while this may seem like a straightforward question, there is a multitude of different things that you need to take into consideration. To help simplify things, we thought it would be helpful to put together a brief discussion on this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in learning more about, read on as we break down everything that you need to know about Lexapro and alcohol.
What Is Lexapro?
Before anything else, we first have to discuss what Lexapro is. Lexapro is a type of antidepressant drug, a subclass of antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs were first introduced in the late 1980s, and it is one of the more popular types of antidepressants today. It is one of the more recent antidepressants to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is used to treat many types of mental health conditions, from depression to anxiety. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how Lexapro works, although they know that this medication has an effect on serotonin levels in the brain. The chemical serotonin is important for maintaining a balanced mood, so Lexapro is thought to block the reuptake of serotonin, which helps to regulate emotions, relieve depression and anxiety, and even improve sleep. In addition, there is some evidence that people with higher serotonin levels are less likely to develop depression in the future.
What Are the Side Effects of Lexapro?
While there are side effects associated with Lexapro, they are generally manageable. Lexapro is generally well-tolerated and effective, especially if you gradually adjust to taking it. As your body adjusts, the side effects should gradually go away. If side effects do become worse or interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor and report any negative effects.
Here are some common side effects associated with Lexapro:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Blurred vision
- Lightheaded and faintness
- Irritability and nervousness
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Flu-like symptoms
When you begin taking this medication, your doctor will inform you of the side effects that it is known to cause. Many people taking this medication experience no side effects. If you experience any of the following side effects, please contact your doctor immediately decreased interest in sex, changes in sexual ability, increased bruising, and bleeding. If you experience any
of the following very serious side effects, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.
How Does Alcohol Affect Depression?
You may think of alcohol as something that makes you feel good, but mixing it and Lexapro can make you feel worse: Alcohol is known to worsen depression. You may not want to take the risk that it will make you feel more depressed or anxious than you were before you took an antidepressant. But if you drink, it could also make it harder for your medication to work. This is because alcohol changes the ratio of chemicals in your brain that affect mood.
Keep in mind that alcohol is also known as a depressant and may end up causing depression on its own. To make matters worse, depression can make individuals more vulnerable to alcohol abuse.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Lexapro?
You may not want to drink alcohol if you are taking an antidepressant. However, if you choose to drink alcohol, be sure to do so safely. Do not stop taking your medication in order to drink. Some doctors think it’s OK to drink moderately if you are taking an SSRI like Lexapro. To be more specific, moderate drinking means 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of hard liquor. Be sure to talk to your doctor about when it is safe and appropriate for you to drink alcohol. Drink slowly over several hours and eat while you drink to tamp down alcohol’s possible effects. If you are at low risk for alcohol abuse, it might be safe for you to have a drink once in a while. To stay safe, talk to your doctor first.
What Happens When You Mix Lexapro and Alcohol?
Doctors do not usually recommend drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro or any other antidepressant. This is because alcohol can intensify the symptoms of depression, and the side effects of Lexapro and alcohol combined can be worse than the symptoms when they are not combined. For example, a person who drinks while taking Lexapro may feel more anxious, as well as more drowsy, than he would if he was not taking Lexapro. Alcohol can also lead to a worsening of depressive symptoms. This is dangerous because it can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts in some people. Drinking alcohol can also worsen the side effects of Lexapro or other antidepressants, including dizziness and drowsiness. This is because alcohol causes these side effects as well.
What Are the Signs of Overdose for Lexapro?
While overdosing on antidepressants like Lexapro is rare, it does happen. Lexapro overdose can lead to a condition called serotonin syndrome, also known as serotonin toxicity (ST), which is a potentially life-threatening condition. The severity of your symptoms depends on how much of the drug you take, your body’s reaction when you ingest it, and if you’re also using other drugs at the same time.
Be sure to be wary of these symptoms as they may indicate a Lexapro overdose:
- Sinus tachycardia
- ECG changes
- QT prolongation
- Serotonin toxicity
A Lexapro overdose may be fatal and need medical attention, so seek out a doctor or poison control center. In case of a suicide attempt, it is essential that you go to the hospital. For help from any of these resources, call or get someone to take you to the nearest hospital. Include information about the dose of Lexapro that was taken, along with any other drugs the patient has taken.
We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you gain a better understanding of how alcohol interacts with Lexapro. While you don’t necessarily have to cut out alcohol when you’re taking Lexapro, you will want to exercise caution as it can cause some pretty serious complications. You can have a drink once in a while, but for the most part, it would be wise to avoid alcohol when you’re taking Lexapro or any other antidepressant. Be sure to keep everything you’ve learned here in mind so that you can make the best possible decisions for your health and overall well-being.