When one is feeling the weight of worry and melancholy on their shoulders, it’s common to reach for a drink to release some of the tension and stress that’s building up inside. However, most people rarely consider that alcohol is a depressant and could have the opposite effect. This is especially crucial to remember if you are taking an antidepressant like Lexapro for depression. It is not recommended to mix Lexapro and alcohol.
Some people using the SSRI Lexapro for anxiety or depression may wonder if it’s okay to have a drink now and then. To go direct to the point, when taking antidepressants like Lexapro, there are several reasons why one should consider abstaining from alcohol.
Furthermore, Lexapro might cause unpleasant side effects in certain users. Nonetheless, the drawbacks you feel may vary from those experienced by another person. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication might significantly raise the risk of severe side effects, including death.
What Is Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Escitalopram, sold under the brand name Lexapro, is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It primarily treats conditions like major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It has similar efficacy to other SSRIs and SNRIs. However, it should not be used by people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Escitalopram is the S-stereoisomer of citalopram, which is a racemic mixture. This is essentially the property that gives the drug antianxiety and antidepressant effects. The drug was developed by Lundbeck and Forest Laboratories and approved for medical use in the United States in 2002 and Europe in 2003.
Dangers of Drinking While on Lexapro
It is not advisable to drink alcohol while taking Lexapro. Drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro can increase the risk of developing depression or anxiety. It can also make the side effects of Lexapro worse.
These side effects can include:
- liver problems
The individual side effects of escitalopram include:
- Increased sweating
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dry mouth
Serotonin syndrome may occur if it is used with other serotonergic drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, MAOIs, linezolid, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John’s Wort. It should not be used in people with a history of mania or bipolar disorder.
Escitalopram should also be used with caution by the elderly or people with cardiovascular disease, seizure disorder, and kidney disease. The drug can interact with other medications such as warfarin, omeprazole, and aspirin. Its main contraindications include pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you are taking Lexapro and wish to drink alcohol, it is best to talk to your doctor first.
Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health Disorders
It’s no secret that alcohol consumption can lead to health problems. But what about its effects on mental health disorders?
While moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered safe, it can worsen certain mental health conditions. For example, alcohol is a depressant, so it can make symptoms of depression worse. It can also interfere with medications used to treat mental health disorders. The symptoms can include:
- Frequent sadness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of worthlessness
- A decline in enthusiasm for past recreation
Alcohol can also cause or worsen anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal. And then there’s the link between alcohol and psychosis. People with psychosis are more likely to abuse alcohol, and alcohol abuse can trigger psychotic episodes.
So, if you have a mental health disorder, it’s essential to be aware of the risks of alcohol consumption. If you do drink, do so in moderation and always consult with a mental health professional first.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
The term “dual diagnosis” describes the condition when a person has a mental health condition and a substance use disorder. They can be two different disorders, or they can be related. For example, someone with depression may turn to alcohol to try to self-medicate. In another instance, someone with an anxiety disorder may use drugs to try to calm themselves down.
Most people with a dual diagnosis will need treatment for both conditions. The good news is that there are treatment options available that can help.
The first step in treatment is often to detox from drugs and alcohol. This can be done in a hospital or outpatient setting. During detox, people are closely monitored so that any withdrawal symptoms can be managed.
After detox, people will usually enter a treatment program. This can be an inpatient or outpatient program. Inpatient programs provide 24-hour care in a hospital or rehabilitation center. Outpatient programs offer less intense treatment, as the individuals under treatment live at home.
Both inpatient and outpatient programs typically include therapy. This can be either individual, group, or family therapy. Therapists will work with people to address the underlying causes of their substance use and mental health disorders.
They can also help people develop coping and relapse-prevention skills. Treatment for dual diagnosis is often long-term. But with treatment, people can learn to manage their conditions and live fulfilling lives.
Move Past Addiction and Mental Health Disorders at Everlast Recovery Centers
Many people, like you or someone you care about, struggle with depression and alcohol abuse. Many people use alcohol to self-treat depression, as it is a normal human feeling. However, alcohol can make depressive symptoms worse, making it more challenging to reduce drinking.
At Everlast Recovery, we treat the whole person, which means attending to co-occurring mental health concerns like depression. Treatment of both at once may be the best option if you are experiencing difficulty obtaining relief, maintaining treatment, or avoiding recurrence.
If you’re struggling with both alcohol addiction and depression, you’re not alone. Everlast Recovery has a highly beneficial dual-diagnosis treatment program that could be great for you. Our experienced and compassionate staff will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that includes both Lexapro (escitalopram) and alcohol addiction treatment. We understand how difficult it can be to overcome both disorders, but we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Contact us today to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program and how we can help you overcome your addiction and depression.