Zoloft and Alcohol

by on May 24, 2012

Taking Zoloft (Sertraline) may require patients to change their lives, especially when it comes to alcohol.  Combining zoloft and alcohol may cause in increase in the effects commonly experienced by those who take large amounts of alcohol.

Patients may experience limited mobility, blackouts, dizziness, slowed reaction times and slowed thought. The effects of alcohol on each Zoloft patient will vary but these are common reactions. Patients should also be aware of their lowered ability to handle alcohol. Zoloft may increase a person’s craving for alcohol, so patients should be thoroughly aware that they may be more vulnerable to alcohol than before.

Alcohol May Decrease Zoloft’s Effectiveness

Some studies also show that alcohol may affect Zoloft’s effectiveness. Zoloft is used to help monitor the serotonin levels in the brain. Alcohol also increases the serotonin levels for a time. It also causes a severe drop in the serotonin level over time. This may cause Zoloft to be less effective in some patients and it can cause increased emotions or increased depression.

Zoloft users should be aware of this possible effect on their mental health and discuss their alcohol use with a doctor.

So Can I Drink While Taking Zoloft?

When a patient begins taking Zoloft, most doctors will have a lengthy discussion with them about what medications or substances to avoid. Most doctors will tell Zoloft users to not drink, but if they do drink to only drink in moderation. Each case is different and a patient’s healthcare provider will be able to give them the best advice on Zoloft and alcohol. In general, Zoloft users should avoid alcohol or only drink in moderation. Zoloft users should also be aware of the side effects and never drink alone.

What is Moderation?

For every person drinking in moderation varies. For most men, two drinks a day is considered moderation. For women it is commonly advised that one drink a day is moderation. A single drink is considered ten ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one and a half ounces of eighty proof whiskey. If the spirits are one hundred proof, a single ounce is considered a single drink. It is important for Zoloft patients to monitor their reaction to alcohol if they plan to drink while taking Zoloft.

Zoloft patients should be more careful, while drinking alcohol, than the average person. Because of the increased effects of alcohol, patients should never drink alone or perform any difficult tasks after drinking. Zoloft patients should advise those who accompany them while drinking of the possible side effects. Zoloft patients should also slow down while drinking alcohol. The increased effect of alcohol can cause Zoloft patients to overestimate the amount of alcohol they can handle.