Zoloft and alcohol

The generic name of Zoloft is sertraline. It is a prescription medicine. Drinking alcohol while on this medication is not recommended by the manufacturer of this drug. Alcohol and Zoloft affect similar chemicals in the brain. This means that Zoloft can enhance the effects of alcohol when combined. If you feel that you cannot abstain from alcohol, you should drink only light to moderate amounts of alcohol while you are taking Zoloft. Also, when you are drinking do not add alcoholic beverages at the same time you are taking Zoloft. The 'official' word says that combining alcohol and sertraline is not recommended. Zoloft slows down the brain's ability to reabsorb serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for sending nerve impulses between nerve cells. Serotonin influences the mood too. Alcohol also affects the levels of serotonin in the brain. Therefore, using these two can result in unwanted and unexpected emotions.

There is a concern that Zoloft can increase the effects of alcohol. It can increase the depression symptoms or affect motor skills too. Because of this reason, healthcare providers do not recommend drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft, and they only suggest that if a person chooses drinking while taking Zoloft, he or she should limit the drinking. Only light to moderate amounts of alcohol should be taken. That also is allowable when the person on Zoloft has thoroughly understood the effects that Zoloft can have on his or her body and mind. The person combining alcohol and Zoloft also should understand the effects of the other medicines that he or she may be taking. When alcohol is combined with Zoloft, severity of the side effects such as slow reflexes, drowsiness, and clouded judgment may increase suddenly.


Moderate alcohol means a discreet amount of alcohol and counts too. When healthcare providers say that you should take only moderate alcohol, they mean that for men it is two drinks a day and for women it is one drink a day. Now let us see what a moderate amount of alcohol is. The alcohol content varies with drinks. Further, what counts as one drink also varies. The person who is supposed to drink moderately should know what 'one alcoholic drink' refers to. The healthcare providers say that one alcoholic drink is 12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof whiskey or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Researches suggest that drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft does not appear to enhance the impairment of mental and motor skills which alcohol causes in a normal person. The effects caused by alcohol and Zoloft combination on people having depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and other disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), PMDD, and Post-traumatic Disorder (PTSD) have not been studied and analyzed. Therefore, one should be cautious while drinking alcohol together with Zoloft. Even if you decide to drink alcohol in moderation while you are taking Zoloft, you should be cautious. Do not drink alcohol at the same time you are taking Zoloft. Before you start drinking alcohol, get to know the effects that Zoloft can cause in you. In some people, Zoloft can affect the ability to do certain functions, as for example, driving a car or operating machinery.

Situation differs with persons. Your healthcare provider only can understand your conditions clearly. Therefore you should talk to your doctor about alcohol and Zoloft. You can make a shared decision with your doctor on combining Zoloft and alcohol based on your expectations, needs and your current health condition. In the absence of clinical studies on this subject, doctors might have learnt from their patients who combine alcohol and Zoloft.

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