September 19, 2023

Are There Risks to Mixing Alcohol and Lexapro?

image of woman representing alcohol and lexapro

Combining alcohol with Lexapro may trigger adverse side effects. Mixing alcohol and Lexapro may also reduce the medication’s effectiveness.

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Lexapro, a brand-name version of escitalopram oxalate, is an antidepressant classified as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). It is commonly prescribed to address conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and various other mental health issues. Lexapro, like other SSRIs, influences the brain by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. SSRIs are often a preferred choice among doctors for treating depression due to their safety profile.

Like any medication, though, Lexapro carries inherent risks. Combining Lexapro with alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms of your condition and lead to other adverse side effects. This guide will help illuminate why drinking on Lexapro is inadvisable. Find out more about these issues:

  • Can you drink while taking Lexapro?
  • Can you drink with Lexapro on special occasions?
  • Lexapro and alcohol side effects: what to expect.
  • Lexapro and alcohol death: is this possible?
  • How to connect with dual diagnosis treatment in California.

Lexapro and Alcohol Interaction

Not everyone who takes Lexapro will necessarily experience side effects when consuming alcohol. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to understand how these substances can interact and potentially affect each other. Combining Lexapro alcohol may lead to the following consequences:

  • Increased anxiety: Alcohol can worsen feelings of anxiety, making it more challenging to manage anxiety symptoms effectively.
  • Worsened depression: Drinking alcohol on Lexapro can intensify depressive symptoms, potentially deepening feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Drowsiness: The combination of Lexapro and alcohol can result in heightened drowsiness, impairing alertness and coordination.
  • Liver problems: Both Lexapro and alcohol can individually impact the liver. Combining them may increase the risk of liver problems.
  • Alcoholism risk: There is a potential risk of developing alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) when drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro.

Beyond this, alcohol may amplify the side effects caused directly by Lexapro, potentially making them more severe. Side effects of Lexapro and alcohol may include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Sleepiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea

Lexapro can heighten the risk of suicidal thoughts, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults. This risk is more prominent during the initial months of treatment or when there are changes in medication dosage. Since alcohol can exacerbate depression, it may also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.

The potential risks associated with Lexapro and drinking may be influenced by the dosage of the SSRI that you are taking. If you are on the maximum dosage for depression – typically 20mg of Lexapro – the interaction between Lexapro and alcohol may carry an even higher risk.

man looks out at scenery representing the question can you drink on lexapro

Can I Drink While on Lexapro?

Combining alcohol with Lexapro is generally not recommended due to the potential for adverse interactions. Alcohol can amplify the side effects of Lexapro and may hinder the effectiveness of the medication. Some of the potential consequences of drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro include increased anxiety, exacerbated depression, drowsiness, liver problems, and a higher risk of developing alcoholism.

Additionally, alcohol can heighten the risk of Lexapro-related side effects, such as nausea, insomnia, sleepiness, dry mouth, and diarrhea. Considering these risks, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before consuming alcohol while on Lexapro. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific condition and medication dosage. Prioritize your mental health and make informed choices if you are still wondering, “Can I drink on Lexapro?

Alternatives to Alcohol

If you are taking Lexapro or any other medication that interacts with alcohol, explore alternative ways to unwind or socialize without the use of alcohol. Here are some healthy alternatives:

  • Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress. Consider taking up activities like jogging, yoga, or dancing.
  • Meditation and relaxation: Relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help you manage stress and anxiety effectively.
  • Hobbies: Engage in enjoyable or relaxing hobbies and interests, – painting, reading, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, for instance.
  • Socializing: Social connections are vital for mental well-being. Plan outings or gatherings with friends and family where alcohol is not the primary focus.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups or community organizations can provide a sense of belonging and purpose.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks: Enjoy a variety of non-alcoholic beverages when socializing, such as sparkling water with a twist of lime, herbal teas, or alcohol-free mocktails.
  • Professional help: If you find it challenging to abstain from alcohol, consider seeking guidance from a therapist who specializes in treating substance use disorder.

Remember that choosing alternatives to alcohol not only helps you avoid potential interactions with medication but also contributes to improved overall well-being. Prioritize your mental health and seek healthier ways to cope with stress or social situations.

an image of Gratitude Lodge's drinking alcohol on lexapro treatment center

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Depression at Gratitude Lodge

At Gratitude Lodge in Southern California, reclaim your life from addictions and co-occurring depression. Our pet-friendly treatment facilities are located in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA.

Most people grappling with depression and alcohol use disorder will benefit from supervised medical detoxification. We can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge, providing access to medications to streamline withdrawal alongside continuous clinical and emotional care. After a week or so, you can move into ongoing inpatient treatment.

Our dual diagnosis treatment program enables you to address alcoholism and depression simultaneously, proven the most effective method of treating co-occurring disorders like depression and alcohol use disorder. Therapies include:

Call 888-861-1658 if you or a loved one needs help tackling alcohol addiction and depression.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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