May 11, 2022

The effects of drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro

  • Mixing lexapro and alcohol will not cause any life-threatening reactions, but it can harm your health.
  • You may have increased drowsiness and decreased alertness and coordination.
  • The combination of lexapro and alcohol can also make your long-term depression or anxiety worse.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more tips.

Lexapro, also known as escitalopram in its generic form, is a type of antidepressant in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is commonly prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder and


depression

.

“When consuming alcohol in moderation, concurrent use of Lexapro poses no imminent life-threatening interactions,” states Paul Poulakos, DOpsychiatrist in private practice.

That being said, mixing alcohol and Lexapro isn’t ideal and generally discouraged, says Poulakos. Here’s what you need to know about the interaction between alcohol and Lexapro.

Effects of mixing alcohol and Lexapro

Figueroa says mixing alcohol and Lexapro results in a chemical interaction that can exaggerate the negative side effects of alcohol. For example, Carlos Figueroa, MDgraduate psychiatrist with USC’s Keck Medicine says you may experience:

  • Increased drowsiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Restlessness
  • Violence in rare cases

This can cause difficulty in performing certain tasks and can be extremely risky. “Given the additive effects that alcohol and Lexapro can have on coordination, consuming both can potentially lead to hazards while operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery,” says Poulakos.

One individual’s response to drinking while taking Lexapro may be very different from another. Figueroa says that while some people can get away with having a drink or two, escaping potential negative side effects and risks, it’s not something that’s medically recommended,

How Alcohol Affects Mental Health Disorders

“While alcohol is often thought of as a recreational substance that alleviates and gets rid of one’s anxiety in the short term, it can actually make one’s anxiety or depression worse in the long term,” says Poulakos.

It’s important to think about the long term and why you’re on Lexapro in the first place. Drinking while taking Lexapro can be harmful to your mental health because alcohol can decrease the effectiveness of the drug, leading to worsening depression, says Figueroa.

Alcohol also has the potential to impact our reward system and create a physiological dependence that can lead to addiction or even addiction, Poulakos says.

Additionally, if you’re addicted to or abuse alcohol, Figueroa says you can cause:

One thing to be extremely aware of is that if you are depressed you may be more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder. In addition, increased alcohol consumption is associated with increased likelihood of depressionso the risks go both ways.

Insider’s Takeaways

When taking Lexapro, drinking alcohol can contribute to worsening mental health, which can be very counterintuitive when you’re taking a drug intended to improve your mental health.

It’s in your best interest to abstain from or minimize alcohol consumption when taking Lexapro, Figueroa says. If you think you have difficulty with this, talk to your doctor.


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