Drinking is, for better or worse, a standard part of American culture. Unwinding with a glass of wine or beer after work or weekend drinks are normalized activities. But mixing Prozac and alcohol could lead to more serious issues than you’d expect.
Prozac is an antidepressant that must be taken every day. But what many people don’t know is that mixing Prozac and alcohol can lead to unwanted results. Put simply, it can lower the effectiveness of your medication while also making its side effects more extreme. And in the longer term, mixing Prozac and alcohol could actually worsen symptoms of your depression.
How Does Prozac Work?
Prozac, or the generic fluoxetine, is one of the most well-known medications for treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. It’s in a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
Prozac works by changing the way your brain processes the mood hormone serotonin. Your brain uses serotonin for many functions, but in general it is associated with uplifted, stabilized moods. Prozac helps your brain get more access to serotonin, which can significantly lessen your mental illness symptoms, provided that you do not mix Prozac and alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 13% of adults in the US take SSRIs. Prozac and other SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression, but they’re also used to treat:
- Anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Prozac Side Effects
Prozac has been used and studied since 1988, and it’s widely regarded as safe and effective in treating depression and other disorders. However, that does not mean that it doesn’t have side effects. Everyone has a different reaction to Prozac, but common side effects include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Sexual dysfunction
Prozac and Alcohol Interactions
Drinking alcohol while you’re taking Prozac or other SSRIs is not recommended. While Prozac is a safe medication to use as directed by your doctor, Prozac and alcohol are still a dangerous combination.
In many ways, Prozac acts as a sedative—calming you down and making you tired or exhausted. When you mix antidepressants with alcohol, those sedative effects can become more intense. In turn, combining Prozac and alcohol can make any side effects even more severe.
If you’ve been taking Prozac, just having a single drink could make you feel exhausted. And that sudden wave of drowsiness can seriously impair your judgment and motor skills. This can lead to dangerous situations for yourself or those around you. It’s already known that taking SSRIs can make you more likely to get into a car accident. So adding alcohol—even if it’s just one drink—can make driving a car even more risky.
Moreover, Prozac and alcohol work to accomplish different tasks in your brain. Where Prozac is an antidepressant, alcohol is a depressant. This can lead to a variety of side effects, not the least of which is worsening your depression symptoms. Over a prolonged period of time, you may find that taking Prozac and alcohol together undoes any of the benefits that Prozac used to offer.
The Relationship Between Depression and Drinking
Almost everyone experiences periods of depression at some point in their life. But for some people, depression can be a recurring or persistent feeling. For these people living with depressive disorders, the only way to move forward is to seek treatment. But sadly, many others remain untreated or undiagnosed, both of which greatly hinder a mental health recovery.
People with untreated depression may look for ways to cope with their feelings. And sadly, alcohol can be an easy escape for people with depression. Just like Prozac, alcohol affects the way your brain processes serotonin. It also releases dopamine, the chemical your brain uses for pleasure and rewards—the result: short-term relief for a long-term disorder.
People with depression will find that over time, drinking makes their depressive episodes more intense and longer-lasting. As those feelings of depression worsen, the urge to self-medicate with alcohol goes up and up. For some people, this urge to drink continues even after they receive help for their depression, which can lead to issues with combining Prozac and alcohol.
People with depression are also more likely to become addicted to alcohol. Researchers estimate that over 60% of people with alcohol use disorder also suffer from significant depression. The connection goes the other way, too. If you have a long-time drinking habit, you’re at a higher risk of developing a major depressive disorder.
Since so many people suffer from depression and alcohol abuse together, recovery professionals have developed ways to treat both at the same time.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
If you’re currently struggling with drinking and depression, getting the proper treatment means addressing both. With dual diagnosis treatment, you can manage your depression while cutting alcohol out of your life for good.
At Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital, we offer specialized treatment for adults looking to overcome alcohol abuse while also managing their depression. Our dual diagnosis program gives you access to an entire staff of clinical and mental health professionals. It’s a program built on a foundation of trust, respect, and empathy, all designed to help you achieve lifelong results.
If you’re struggling with the temptation to combine Prozac and alcohol, it doesn’t have to be you against the world. Don’t try to do it alone. Getting help gives you the best chance at recovering and living the life you want. If you’re ready to get help or just want to learn more about our mental health and addiction recovery programs, please call us at 225-300-8470. Our friendly admissions specialists are waiting to take your call. If you’d prefer to reach out online, ask us your questions here