Mixing Escitalopram (Lexapro) And Alcohol

When introducing a new drug into your body, it is imperative that you educate yourself on all that there is to know about this drug. This applies to both prescription and over the counter drugs. There is a lot you might not know about the side effects or how this new drug might interact with ones you may already be taking. A common factor that can have a negative interaction with certain drugs is alcohol. Because of this, informing your doctor of your alcohol consumption is important, so in turn, they can educate you on the side effects that come with drinking while on a specific drug. One drug, in particular, is Lexapro or escitalopram (its generic name). Lexapro is a commonly prescribed antidepressant. Many who are prescribed the drug aren’t immediately aware of how the drug interacts with the regular consumption of alcohol. So, here is some helpful information to ensure successful treatment.
First, we’ll start with “What is Lexapro or escitalopram?” This drug is prescribed as a method for treating depression and anxiety. Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs work to regulate a potential chemical imbalance in the brain. Serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter, acts as a chemical messenger that communicates with the brain, playing a part in regulating emotions.

If you are diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression, it is possible that the areas of your brain that regulate mood are not operating the way they should. This is where Lexapro comes in to regulate that. It has the potential to improve your overall quality of life by increasing energy levels and decreasing nervousness.

Some common side effects that come with using escitalopram are nausea, dry mouth, trouble sleeping, constipation, tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, and increased sweating. If you experience any of these systems at a persistent rate, do contact your doctor. Some more serious side effects of this drug are black stools, fainting, irregular heartbeat, loss of interest in sexual activity, and easy bruising. Do contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.

Now, let’s talk about the impact of alcohol on the body. Alcohol, while not necessarily risky in small amounts, can have adverse effects on the brain and an individual’s overall well-being. Some common side effects are blurred vision, slowed reaction times, and memory impairment.
If an individual drinks heavily, they will experience more long-term impairments. It only takes a few drinks for impairments to become evident. Large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time and on an empty stomach can produce blackouts. Blackouts are periods where events might occur that the individual under the influence might not remember.

So, what happens when you mix the positive influences of Lexapro with the negative ones of alcohol? While negative interactions are not common, those who drink alcohol while taking Lexapro may experience some side effects: decreased efficiency of the medication, increased anxiety, worse depression, or liver problems.

Alcohol also has the potential to increase drug-related side effects. Because alcohol has been proven to make symptoms of depression worse, it is possible that an individual might experience increased thoughts of suicide. Alternatively, alcohol depresses the central nervous system, making you emotionally numb.

Overall, drinking alcohol while struggling with a mental health condition is not recommended because it is a depressant. However, it is well known that we drink in order to alter our mental state. Presumably, for the better. This is an unfortunate misconception as alcohol will worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Alcohol can intensify underlying emotions tied to past traumas or repressed feelings. When this happens, an individual can experience a strong reaction, such as sudden overwhelming anxiety or depression. This can go back to the increase in suicidal thoughts.

Ultimately, the consumption of alcohol while on an antidepressant such as Lexapro can have obvious adverse effects on the already fragile mental health of an individual on an antidepressant. With the potential of worsened side effects, intensified emotions, and the potential for blackouts, it is not recommended that the two be mixed. Both Lexapro and alcohol alter the way your brain works and caution should be exercised when mixing the two.

Do speak with your doctor and inform them of your drinking habits if you feel that it might be impacting your symptoms or side effects. If you are prescribed Lexapro, do remember that your doctor selected this medication for your benefit, and it should be taken as prescribed. If you have any more questions on the impacts of alcohol on the efficacy of Lexapro, please consult your doctor.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.