Alcohol And Zoloft
– A Dangerous Combination?

Alcohol And Zoloft – A Dangerous Combination?

Do alcohol and Zoloft go together? Let’s try to answer this question. In a day when anti-depressants are the norm, it is only natural that we should be concerned about the possible effect of combining alcohol with Zoloft.

Zoloft is a trade name for Sertraline hydrochloride, it is classified as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant used to treat depression, and in some cases anxiety. The manufacturers of Zoloft do not recommend drinking alcohol while on the medication.

Some possible side effects of the medication are:

  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • lack of libido
  • and in some cases weight gain.

The purpose of Zoloft is to inhibit your brain’s ability to reabsorb serotonin. This is what sends nerve impulses and influences your mood. However, alcohol also affects your serotonin levels.

Zoloft can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Some patients report that taking Zoloft can actually cause them to crave more alcohol. This could be extremely dangerous when you combine the effects of both of these substances.

Consuming alcohol and Zoloft can be risky combo. Studies show that taking Zoloft can increase the risk of suicide, especially in adolescents. And as with all antidepressants, there are strong withdrawal symptoms involved. You should always be in regular consultation with a licensed psychiatrist when taking this medication.

It’s always important to find out how you are going to react to a certain medication before adding anything else to the mix. Some individuals react negatively to Zoloft almost immediately, while with others it may take several weeks.

If you are consuming alcohol and the medication, should a violent episode occur, it may be difficult to determine whether it is the alcohol or the medicine to which you are reacting. Any adverse reactions should be reported to your doctor immediately before any potential danger occurs.

possible effects of mixing zoloft and alcohol

  • Mixing alcohol with Zoloft could leave you feeling drowsy and even more depressed than usual.
  • You will find your judgment clouding and your reflexes slowing.
  • Other symptoms such as headaches and sexual dysfunction may also occur.
  • It is considered that Zoloft could possibly activate the insular cortex, which is a part of the brain that controls addictive behavior.
  • Another theory suggests that these drugs affect the pancreas and lower your blood sugar causing you to crave alcohol as a way of raising your blood sugar. Increasing your serotonin to these levels can produce intense and sudden anger and/or anxiety.

It doesn’t take doctor to see that two mood-altering substances, whether prescribed or un-prescribed, when taken together could be a dangerous combination. A better choice might be to see what is causing you to need alcohol and Zoloft in the first place.

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The Benefits of Becoming a Member of Alcoholic Anonymous

This program does not force unrealistic expectations upon the members. As a matter of fact, it encourages members to take things “one day at a time”. There are twelve steps that each member is encouraged to participate in. It is believed that if the alcoholic follows these steps, they will successfully recover from the illness that has burdened them, and the life that they live.

The Down Side to Being an Alcoholic Anonymous Member

  • My opinion (and experience) of AA is that it serves a useful purpose for the first 90 days. After this time I always suggest that the newly recovering alcoholic uses the meetings sparingly. I do this because alcoholics anonymous does not promote growth and personal development. They take the view that all goal setting and ambition is a bad thing due to their belief that the recovering alcoholic must be sheltered from experiencing the disappointment of not achieving a goal or ambition. Well I’m sorry but life is full of disappointments and letting people stand still for fear of them not being able to cope with life's future knocks is just not realistic.

People in recovery need to be given coping strategies not a bucket of sand to bury their head in!

Another of the distinct disadvantages to the program is the concept behind “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”. Many find this disheartening because they work so hard to achieve recovery, and then, even when they have not had a drink in years, they are still referred to as an “alcoholic”.

Many individuals also have a hard time with the “religious” aspect of the fellowship program offered by this program.

Many members have an issue with the concept of a “relapse” being an important part of the recovery process. To some, it almost seems like “permission” to drink again, and to come back over and over again.

Last but not least, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous is difficult to assess for the reason that membership is of course anonymous. Many professionals believe however that the failure rate is very high when measured over a three year period. Without a full program of recovery in place outside of AA, a long term success rate of less than 5% is widely accepted as realistic (unless you ask AA members of course who will claim they are the only system that works!)

Conclusion

AA is an effective program in the very early stages. We have heard success stories for years about individuals who were beaten down by alcoholism but then recovered and have gone on for years and years without a drink. The numbers for this sort of recovery using AA alone are small but they do exist.

As we can see there are a few “negative” aspects to the program. However if you are an alcoholic, or know an alcoholic, Alcoholics Anonymous may be a consideration in order to cope and overcome the obstacles that you, or your loved ones, face but keep your mind open to other solutions.

If you’re not ready to visit an AA meeting then there are some alcoholic anonymous chat rooms available on the net.