December 8, 2023

Can You Drink Alcohol With Prednisone?

Someone watching the sunset thinking about the side effects of alcohol and prednisone

While there is no direct interaction between prednisone (a corticosteroid) and alcohol (the most abused substance in the United States), it is not advisable to combine them due to similarities in the effects of alcohol and the side effects of prednisone. Concurrent use of alcohol with prednisone increases the risk of experiencing these side effects. This guide to the side effects of alcohol and prednisone addresses these key issues:

  • Is it ok to drink alcohol while taking prednisone?
  • What happens if you drink alcohol while taking prednisone?
  • Is mixing prednisone with alcohol dangerous?
  • How to connect with alcohol addiction treatment.

Side Effects of Drinking on Prednisone

Combining prednisone with alcohol introduces a range of potential side effects that warrant careful consideration. Understanding the potential complications of drinking while on prednisone can help people make more informed and healthful decisions. Prednisone and alcohol side effects may include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress: Both prednisone and alcohol can individually irritate the gastrointestinal tract. When combined, they may heighten the risk of stomach upset, nausea, and digestive discomfort.
  • Compromised immune system: Prednisone’s immunosuppressive effects, coupled with the impact of alcohol, can collectively weaken the immune system. This leaves the body more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
  • Elevated blood pressure: Alcohol consumption can lead to increased blood pressure, a concern that may be worsened when combined with prednisone. Individuals with hypertension should exercise caution due to the potential impact on cardiovascular health.
  • Risk of gastrointestinal bleeding: Both prednisone and alcohol independently contribute to a heightened risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. The combination intensifies this risk, posing potential complications.
  • Aggravation of mental health symptoms: Prednisone and alcohol can each impact mental health. When used simultaneously, they may inflame symptoms of anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
  • Interference with medication efficacy: Alcohol’s interference with medication absorption and effectiveness is well-documented. Combining it with prednisone may compromise the intended therapeutic benefits of the steroid.
  • Exacerbation of central nervous system effects: Both substances can affect the central nervous system. Combining them may intensify side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, or impaired coordination.
  • Fluid retention and swelling: Prednisone’s propensity for fluid retention, combined with alcohol-induced dehydration, increases the risk of swelling and fluid imbalance.
  • Impact on liver function: Both alcohol and prednisone exert an impact on the liver. The combined use may place additional stress on the liver, potentially worsening liver function.
A woman stands on the sidewalk wondering if it is ok to drink alcohol while taking prednisone

Can Mixing Alcohol with Prednisone Cause Permanent Damage?

While the effects can vary from person to person, there are potential long-term consequences associated with consistently mixing these substances.

Liver damage

The liver is particularly susceptible to the combined effects of alcohol and prednisone. Prolonged and frequent mixing of these substances can contribute to chronic liver damage. This may manifest as conditions such as fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, or cirrhosis, which can lead to irreversible harm.

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Both alcohol and prednisone have been linked to cardiovascular issues. Combining them may elevate the risk of long-term heart problems, including hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and an increased likelihood of heart attacks.

Compromised immune system function

Chronic use of prednisone, exacerbated by alcohol consumption, can weaken the immune system over time. This weakened immune response may lead to a higher susceptibility to infections and long-term health complications.

Gastrointestinal complications

The combined impact of alcohol and prednisone on the gastrointestinal system may contribute to chronic issues such as ulcers, bleeding, and inflammation. Prolonged exposure to these conditions can result in permanent damage to the digestive tract.

Neurological implications

Long-term use of both substances may have neurological implications. This can include cognitive decline, memory loss, and an increased risk of neurological disorders over time.

Bone health complications

Chronic use of prednisone, coupled with the bone-depleting effects of alcohol, can lead to long-term bone health issues such as osteoporosis. This condition increases the risk of fractures and poses lasting challenges to skeletal integrity.

Psychological impact

The combination of alcohol and prednisone may exacerbate mental health issues, potentially leading to long-term psychological consequences. This can include increased susceptibility to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.

Risk of substance dependence

Regularly mixing alcohol and prednisone may contribute to the development of substance dependence or addiction (substance use disorder), leading to persistent health and lifestyle challenges.

While the immediate risks of combining alcohol with prednisone are concerning, the potential for permanent damage highlights the importance of avoiding this combination. Chronic and repetitive use may result in irreversible harm to vital organs and systems, impacting overall health and well-being. Individuals prescribed prednisone should consult with healthcare professionals to understand the specific risks based on their health status and make informed decisions regarding alcohol consumption during treatment. Seeking timely medical advice can help mitigate potential long-term consequences associated with the combination of alcohol and prednisone.

Treatment for Alcohol & Prescription Drug Addiction

Combating the complexities of alcohol and prescription drug addiction requires a comprehensive and individualized treatment approach. Recognizing the unique challenges posed by dual addiction, integrating both medical and behavioral interventions is essential for a successful recovery. Here’s a guide to the treatment process:

  • Medical assessment: Before treatment, a thorough medical assessment can evaluate the extent of addiction and potential health complications. This includes assessing the impact of both alcohol and prescription drugs on physical and mental well-being.
  • Detoxification: In cases of severe addiction, a medically supervised detoxification process may be necessary. This involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms and ensuring the individual’s physical stability. Medications may be prescribed to ease the detoxification process.
  • Dual diagnosis evaluation: Given the prevalence of co-occurring mental health disorders, a dual diagnosis evaluation is essential. Identifying and addressing any underlying psychiatric conditions that may contribute to substance abuse will streamline recovery.
  • Inpatient or outpatient treatment: Based on the severity of addiction, individuals may opt for inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient programs provide a structured and immersive environment, while outpatient programs offer more flexibility for those who can maintain some level of daily functioning.
  • Behavioral therapies: Engaging with various behavioral therapies addresses the psychological aspects of addiction. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), motivational enhancement therapy, and contingency management are effective in modifying behaviors and sustaining recovery.
  • Individual and group counseling: Individual counseling sessions help people explore personal triggers and coping mechanisms. Group counseling provides a supportive environment, fostering shared experiences and encouragement among peers.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): For certain prescription drug addictions, medication-assisted treatment may be recommended. Medications help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, promoting a smoother recovery process.
  • Family involvement: Involving family members in the treatment process can address dysfunctional dynamics, educate loved ones about addiction, and provide a supportive environment for recovery.
  • Relapse prevention planning: Developing a comprehensive relapse prevention plan that includes identifying triggers, coping strategies, and ongoing support networks will minimize the likelihood of relapse disrupting recovery. Regularly reviewing and updating this plan to adapt to evolving needs is imperative.
  • Holistic approaches: Holistic approaches such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation can contribute to overall well-being, addressing the mind, body, and spirit aspects of recovery.
  • Aftercare programs: Aftercare programs may include continued counseling, support group participation, and periodic check-ins with healthcare professionals.
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Get Treatment for Alcohol & Prescription Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

The most effective starting point for treating alcohol and prescription drug addiction involves supervised medical detoxification. Access medications and continuous care as you address dependence on alcohol and prednisone. After about one week, you will be ready for ongoing treatment at our Newport Beach or Long Beach, CA treatment centers.

All Gratitude Lodge programs involve individualized treatment that may include:

To access all these services and more, call Gratitude Lodge drug and alcohol rehab at 800-994-2184.

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Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse 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.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
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Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.
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.

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