Zoloft Side Effects And Warnings

Learn Facts About Zoloft, its Side Effects, and Associated Risks

Zoloft and Alcohol

Zoloft and Alcohol

Zoloft is the commercial name for sertraline hydrochloride, an antidepressant prescribed to cure depression and anxiety related conditions. It helps your brain to absorb serotonin, which is a chemical associated with pleasure. It affects your mood by cheering you up and avoiding a depressive state[1]. Alcohol also affects your serotonin levels by lowering your brain's secretion of the chemical. That is why drinking while on antidepressant treatment should generally be avoided to prevent even worse symptoms than before the therapy. Drinking can lead to feeling more depressed or anxious. Alcohol seems to make these feelings disappear on short term, but its overall effect is devastating when mixed with Zoloft. Your mood will improve only for a couple of hours and then you will feel much worse soon thereafter.

Zoloft is a drug with sedative effects, just like alcohol, which is a major depressant of the nervous system. Mixing them can lead to serious symptoms such as lowered heart beat and blood pressure oscillations. Also, you may experience headaches and sexual dysfunction. Many drugs prescribed to treat neurological symptoms can worsen their side effects when taken with alcohol. Most of the common side effects of Zoloft include dizziness, drowsiness, mild stomach pain, dry mouth, insomnia and weight changes. There are also serious side effects that can occur once you take this drug, such as rigid muscles, confusion, diarrhea, memory problems or hallucinations. If you experience vomit like coffee grounds or seeing rainbows around lights[2] , call your doctor immediately!

Your driving skills may be affected when you are under antidepressant therapy, so mixing alcohol with Zoloft will inhibit your reaction time and coordination even more. Some people feel sleepier, while other can become fully sedated while driving[3]. Alcohol and Zoloft is not a happy mix for your motor skills, because driving requires a lot of attention and alertness. Remember not to stop taking antidepressants just so that you can drink alcohol. Your daily dose must remain the same unless your doctor prescribes you other treatment. Some people under Zoloft therapy report that this drug actually made them crave more alcohol than usual because this drug affects the pancreas, causing lower blood sugar[4]. If you have concerns about your alcohol use, consider joining a support group or discuss it with your doctor. Many herbal treatments or supplements could reduce your alcohol cravings.

Another concern regarding consuming alcohol and taking sertraline is the risk of suicide, which is already potentially increased by Zoloft, especially in adolescents. This happens because alcohol can increase feelings of loneliness and accentuate depression. Combined with Zoloft which has depression as one of its long-term side effects, these feelings aggravate, often leading to suicidal thoughts and self harm-habits. Moreover, Zoloft withdrawal often leads to accentuated depression so make sure you speak to your doctor if you experience dark thoughts and avoid alcohol during withdrawal.

References:

  1. Kung S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, April 16th 2014
  2. Cunha J., Zoloft side effects drug center, March 11th 2016
  3. Hetland A., Annals of Pharmacology, Medications and impaired driving, 2014
  4. Owens M.J., Morgan W., Plott S., Nemeroff C., J. Pharmacol. Exp., Neurotrasmitter receptor and transporter binding profile of antidepressants and their metabolites, 1997

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