Why is it bad to drink alcohol while on SSRIs?


Why is it bad to drink alcohol while on SSRIs?

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I am not sure of the exact chemistry going on, but essentially both SSRIs and alcohol are altering your brain chemistry a bit.

And for some reason, alcohol can heighten side effects from SSRIs.

Speaking anecdotally, I know someone who was taking SSRIs and then drank, woke up in the middle of the night crying with an absolutely piercing headache. Which had never happened before.

Alcohol also effects your serotonin balance, essentially messing with the serotonin levels that the SSRI is actively trying to maintain.

SSRI means “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor” – it keeps the serotonin within your synapses (where nerves meet) for longer. Alcohol can exacerbate this effect. It’s not an exact science, but you’re basically going to be more at-risk for the side effects of both drugs.

When they say its bad to drink, it means blackout or binge drinking. A drink or two here or there likely isnt to cause any issues.

It alters your brain chemistry just like the SSRI does.

When mixed, SSRIs can exacerbate the drowsiness associated with alcohol. It causes other negative effects in people and may make depressive symptoms worse.
I am on Fluoxetine 30mg and drink in moderation. I can have the occasional glass of wine and I feel great. That said, I pay very close attention to how I feel when drinking. If I feel myself getting dizzy I stop. The key is to know your limits and control yourself.

The thing is we don’t know and tbh USUALLY combining SSRIs and alcohol doesn’t really produce any effects. USUALLY.

But what we are worried about is what we call ‘pathological intoxication’ in which patients who are on an SSRI, experience getting batshit crazy drunk including violent and sexual behaviour with loss of memory of the said events in like half the patients.

SSRIs as you know are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Serotonin – stimulates you and makes you happy
Alcohol – depresses your brain, now when I say depressed, I mean all areas of your brain. So your brain has an area that makes you think rationally. That part is the reason you don’t randomly start dancing to Taylor Swift at your grandpa’s funeral because that part of the brain stops you. But alcohol ALSO depresses that area so it causes inhibition of inhibitions, geddit? So that’s why you do drunk shit when you drink.

So the theory is SOMETIMES this effect of alcohol causing less inhibitions combined with stimulatory effects of serotonin due to SSRI may cause this imbalance and hence that should be avoided.