Alcohol & Antidepressants
A touchy topic but I feel this is a very important to discuss as there is not much evidence on the side-effects of combining the two. I am here to tell you about my personal experience with this. It is not a pretty one. It’s disconcerting for sure and at times I am still baffled that I managed to get through it without killing myself or someone else quite frankly. I will tell you that this time while I was heavily consuming alcohol and still taking Zoloft I was not myself. I don’t know or will ever know who that person was. It is harrowing to think about. I did things that I would never in a million years think of doing before this time or even now. My parents could even tell you I wasn’t all there. Something just wasn’t right.
Let’s rewind ….
2005 I was prescribed an antidepressant to treat anxiety and depression. I was fine. I didn’t drink much and at some point weaned myself off. It was prescribed to me again in 2009 after the birth of my 3rd child. I was fine. I didn’t drink much. Life was pretty much normal-whatever “normal” means….it just wasn’t crazy, or I wasn’t crazy rather…. at least I didn’t feel like I was. This would eventually change.
Around 2012…. life got a little more complicated. I fell upon hard times financially and my marriage began to fall apart. Wine became my best friend. Little did I know, that my increased drinking habit combined with antidepressants was about to lead me down a path of self destruction and utter humiliation that wrecked not only my world as I knew it, but those closest to me as well.
A lethal combination?
While there is very little that is known about the effects this combination can have on someone, research conducted by Andrew Herxheimer & David B Menkes & published in The Pharmaceutical Journal, have evidenced that people can experience a change in alcohol tolerance during treatment. The usual amount of alcohol one could have can induce an exaggerated or different intoxication resulting in uncharacteristic tendencies…..ugh!!!! Yeah I had quite A LOT of these and I am not ready to delve into that just yet, or maybe not ever …but I will admit there were nights that I had to be collected at the bar….at 38 fucking years old. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.
It has also been considered that this combination may lead to pathological intoxication where this exaggerated drunkenness can lead those under this type of influence (alcohol + Zoloft in my case) to do extreme harm to others or themselves because their inhibitions are severely compromised more so than it would be with just alcohol alone. YIKES!!!!! I did not have any violent episodes where I physically hurt anyone, but I definitely experienced moments of extreme anger and even hatred, more so then I ever did with alcohol alone.
To put in simply, if I had one glass of wine it could be equivalent to 2 or 3 and the effects were not immediate. I would drink more because I could not feel it right away and then it would hit me like a ton of bricks. The 3 glasses that I consumed in half the time that I was used to was now equivalent to 6. Any rationale I had prior to was far far gone with the rest of me. No idea where she went. FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Three sheets to the wind
Some experience loss of memory with this combination. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Nope. I remember it all. Every fucking detail. It was like I was watching myself outside of my body. Who the hell is this person? It sure the hell wasn’t me. I could see what was happening but I just couldn’t get a grip on it. I was lost and confused and completely out of control. My ability to make sound decisions was no longer there. I made bad decision after bad decision. I was sinking deeper and deeper and knew it but couldn’t find my way to the top. The storm was getting stronger and I was destined to crash.
Soon I would find myself divorced, living alone in an apartment and rarely seeing my kids. They didn’t know who their mother was anymore. They didn’t want any parts of this person who had occupied their mother’s body….
What was happening to me???? Who the fuck was I?????
Feeling like me again...
Consequently, my doctor increased my dosage of Zoloft…. ” must be going through tough times with divorce, lets up your dosage.” While this could have very well been detrimental, I believe that this is what actually helped me. Once I began increasing my dosage I started to feel worse than I had before and would have crippling episodes of vertigo. I knew it was the medication and felt like it was my body’s way of telling me it was time to get off this shit….and so began the weaning process……
Best decision Ever!!!!!!!!
I have been medication free since 2016. While I continued to have bouts with depression and anxiety after, I learned how to manage it with a more holistic approach. I no longer felt crazy. I was back.
Please, Please, Please, do not take this post the wrong way…..I am not recommending anyone who is currently under treatment with antidepressants to stop. Everybody is different and some may need it more than others. It was my time to be done with it, I no longer needed it – and my body was telling me this….it was also telling me that if I was not going to stop drinking (at that time I was just not ready to stop, although I had tried) I needed to stop the medication because the combination was a recipe for disaster.
BUT, I do want to caution those that are currently under treatment to moderate your alcohol intake very tightly, because when we think we might have things under control we just really never know what effects drugs can have on us especially when combining them. I don’t want anyone to have to experience the pain and humiliation that I endured because of this…its heartbreaking to think about it… what it did to me, how I acted, what it did to my loved ones. At times I feel like I want to vomit when I think back to the shit I did. Don’t be me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!