Zoloft & Alcohol: Is it Safe to Mix?
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Zoloft?
Though there might not be an abundance of published evidence describing this specific combination, as with many prescription medications, there may be some contraindications to mixing the two. Zoloft interacts with the brain in a way that can alter certain cognitive processes—potentially impacting decision making, thinking clearly, and reaction times. As such, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not drinking alcohol while you take Zoloft.1
Alcohol can intensify Zoloft’s side effects, including sedation, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.2
In addition, health care providers recommend individuals with depression avoid alcohol anyway since alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and drinking—especially heavily—can make symptoms worse.3
If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with an addiction to alcohol and are seeking help, call us today at . If you are interested in alcohol rehab and are unsure about costs, insurance may be able to cover a portion of your treatment. Fill in our online insurance verification tool below.
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft (sertraline) is a commonly prescribed antidepressant drug. It belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of drugs. It works by increasing serotonin brain signaling, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood, behavior, and motivation.4
It is often used to help treat mood and behavior disorders such as:1
- Major depression.
- Panic disorder.
- Social anxiety disorder.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Zoloft Side Effects
The most common side effects associated with the use of Zoloft include:1
- Upset stomach.
- Excessive sweating.
Is Zoloft Addictive?
No, Zoloft is a long-term medication that can safely be taken for months or years.
Dangers of Zoloft Overdose
If an individual takes more than the prescribed amount of Zoloft, they may be asymptomatic, or they may experience symptoms including:5
- A burning or prickling sensation in the hands, arms, legs, and feet, known as paresthesia.
More serious side effects may include:1
- Changes in blood pressure.
- Heart problems.
- Serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome, known as serotonin toxicity, is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by a buildup of serotonin in the brain. In most cases, the individual experiencing serotonin toxicity combined Zoloft with another serotonin-increasing medication. Symptoms of serotonin toxicity include:6
- Increased reflexes.
- Muscle spasms.
- Dilated pupils.
- Increased heart rate.
- Rapid breathing.
Zoloft and Alcohol Contraindications
Please remember that mixing Zoloft and alcohol could put you at risk for potentially harmful interactions between these two drugs. Protect yourself by avoiding the consumption of alcohol if you are taking Zoloft. To learn more about how Zoloft may interact with alcohol, talk to your pharmacist or other health care provider.
Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder
If you feel that you cannot control your drinking, please ask your doctor for help or contact an addiction specialist today to discuss available treatment options. You may benefit from substance abuse counseling and personalized treatment programs designed to help you recover from your alcohol use disorder (AUD), a medical condition defined by the uncontrollable use of alcohol despite negative consequences.
If you have a mental health condition, such as depression, in addition to an AUD, many modern treatment programs provide treatment for such dual diagnoses.7 These specialized programs take an integrated approach to provide ongoing evaluation and effective treatment for these co-occurring disorders.
- U.S. Food and Drink Administration. (2016). Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride).
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014). Harmful interactions: Mixing alcohol with medicines.
- McHugh, R. Kathryn and Weiss, Roger D. (October 21, 2019). Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Disorders. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Alcohol Research Current Reviews, 40(1).
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). Depression: FDA_Approved Medications May Help.
- Lau. G. T., M.D., and Horowitz, B. Zane. (1996). Sertraline Overdose. Academic Emergency Medicine, 3(2), 132-136.
- Foong, Ai-Leng, Pharm.D., Grindrod, Kelly A., Pharm.D., M.Sc., and Patel, Tejal, Pharm.D. (2018). Demystifying serotonin syndrome (or serotonin toxicity). Canadian Family Physician, 64(10), 720-727.
- DeVido, J.J., & Weiss, R.D. (2012). Treatment of the depressed alcoholic patient. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(6), 610-618.