Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant drug, and one of the most commonly prescribed medications in its class used today. Zoloft is most often used to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and sometimes premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
For those who experience at least one of the aforementioned conditions, Zoloft can improve mood and reduce feelings of fear or anxiety. Zoloft can also be beneficial for treating OCD by minimizing urges to engage in unhealthy rituals and repetitive behaviors.
Sertraline is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that works by regulating the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurochemical that helps with mood regulation, feelings of well-being, social behavior, appetite and digestion, and sleep, among other functions. For those suffering from depression or another mood disorder, balancing serotonin levels can be an effective remedy.
Zoloft and it’s generic counterparts are available by prescription only. Zoloft is a small tablet that is ingested orally once daily, ideally around mealtime. While using sertraline, persons may notice some improvement in mood and physical symptoms in just a few days. However, it can take up to eight weeks to experience the full therapeutic effects of a prescribed dose.
Side Effects Of Zoloft
The most common side effects of Zoloft are nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and decreased appetite. Less common side effects include increased sweating, sleep disturbances, headaches, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
More severe side effects may include reduced libido or performance, bloody stools, weight loss, and vision problems.
Combining Zoloft and Alcohol
Alcohol is a CNS (central nervous system) depressant that can interfere with mood and undermine mood stabilizers’ effectiveness. For this reason and others, consuming alcohol with any antidepressant drug is generally not recommended by health providers.
Unfortunately, because sertraline is one of the most commonly used antidepressants, combining it with alcohol may be considered by many to be somewhat routine. However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) warns against mixing Zoloft and alcohol because both substances affect vital neurochemicals in the brain. If an unexpected interaction occurs, the person may experience a blackout.
As noted, sertraline works by regulating the activity of serotonin, and that is why this particular class of drugs (SSRIs) are referred to as mood stabilizers. Conversely, alcohol interferes with the function of a number of receptors in the brain, including GABA and dopamine. For this reason, it has a high potential to alter behavior and mood, but not necessarily in a positive way.
Therefore, alcohol’s action can compromise Zoloft’s primary medical purpose. And many people suffering from a mood disorder may be more likely to mix their medication with intoxicating substances such as alcohol in an attempt to enhance feelings of pleasure.
People who take Zoloft and consume alcohol may experience suicidal ideations, dizziness, nausea, intense anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, and impaired coordination. Also, the effects of drinking alcohol, such as impaired judgment and motor skills or slurred speech, can become more pronounced when using sertraline.
Because interactions that may occur between Zoloft and alcohol can be severe, unpredictable, and hazardous in some instances, it is recommended that those who use Zoloft limit alcohol use or abstain entirely.
Why You Should Not Mix Zoloft and Alcohol
If you have been prescribed Zoloft to address a mood disorder, you must avoid using other substances that could compromise the medication’s effectiveness. Zoloft works to regulate serotonin levels in the brain, and alcohol, in turn, adversely affects brain function and mood, often making depression and anxiety worse.
Therefore, reducing or abstaining from alcohol consumption may be instrumental in allowing the sertraline in your system to do its job safely and effectively, as it is intended. Of note, some people who take Zoloft and also drink alcohol can experience blackouts or periods of whole or partial memory lapses, which can put them and those around them at risk of injury.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
If you are taking a mood stabilizer such as Zoloft for depression or another mental health condition, consuming alcohol can undermine this medication’s effectiveness and result in unwanted complications. As such, those struggling to limit their alcohol intake due to addiction should seek professional treatment as soon as possible.
Just Believe Recovery programs feature a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment and co-existing conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Our treatments have been clinically proven to be effective and include beneficial therapeutic modalities including psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, peer group support, substance abuse education, aftercare planning, and more.
We employ caring, trained addiction specialists and health providers who are dedicated to providing those we treat with the care, resources, and support they need to recover from alcohol addiction, cope with relapse triggers, and learn to foster healthier and more satisfying lives for themselves.
If you or someone you love is abusing substances such as prescription drugs or alcohol, please contact us today to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help those who need it most free themselves from the shackles of addiction once and for all!