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Re: Zoloft and alcohol

Posted by Toby on September 10, 1998, at 17:30:03

In reply to Re: Zoloft and alcohol, posted by Paul on September 10, 1998, at 11:20:13

It is not recommended that a depressed person drink alcohol in any amount since alcohol is a neurological depressant. It is also prohibited with tricyclic antidepressants and MAOI's because there is a true interaction between these meds and alcohol leading to an increase in blood level of the medications and the alcohol which can be dangerous (toxic reaction) and some forms of alcohol can lead to a deadly hypertensive reaction with MAOI's. There is no specific interaction like that with the SSRI's, Wellbutrin or Effexor, but alcohol is still discouraged while on these medications because: Alcohol causes an increase in neurotransmitter turnover (synthesis and breakdown) and a depressed or bipolar person does not want to mess with the rate of neurotransmitter turnover since any added environmental stress could potentially catch them during a period of increased breakdown of serotonin or norepinephrine, and the depression would recur. Also, alcohol is initially a stimulant, then a depressant, then an anxiety provoking agent upon withdrawal and if a depressed person drinks in the evening to go to sleep for example, even a few drinks will disrupt early morning sleep and can cause a relapse to depression. Also, daily alcohol consumption has been noted to cause brain levels of endorphins to be depleted when the person is sober and that's becoming better understood to be linked to certain types of depression, although not completely clear yet. Also, alcohol has an affinity for certain receptors that are very near to the receptors for the SSRI's and other antidepressants. If enough alcohol is present, it can essentially "knock off" the antidepressant, preventing it from doing its job of keeping the brain levels of neurotransmitters at normal levels, and when the neurotransmitters drop below a certain level, the depression can recur.

So, it's not prohibited because of the medication itself, but more because of the condition that it can exacerbate. Now, one drink every now and again is not going to cause immediate relapse to depression, as many of you know who have been indulging on an intermittent basis. However, use more than once or twice a week or drinking alot at one sitting can be cumulative and really cause a problem. Moderation is the watchword, and maybe a little on the extreme side of moderation (if not total abstinence) for those with depression or bipolar disorder is best; I mean, you have to be your own judge of how severe your depression is and whether it's worth experiencing again just for a brewed or distilled plant extract.




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