Mixing Prozac and Alcohol: Interactions & Health Risks
In This Article
What Is Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
Prozac, generically known as fluoxetine, is an antidepressant. Prozac is an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
These types of drugs affect the serotonin neurotransmitter in the brain. They also improve mood and prevent feelings of depression and anxiety.
Prozac is available as a liquid, tablet, capsule, or delayed-release capsule. It is suitable for adults and children over the age of 8 years.
For children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Prozac is prescribed for various mental health disorders, including:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Throughout 2015-2018, 13.2% of adults aged 18 and over have used antidepressant medications in the past 30 days.
What Happens When You Drink Alcohol with Prozac?
Mixing Prozac and alcohol can lead to short- and long-term effects (Drug Interactions).
Short-Term Effects of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol
Mixing Prozac and alcohol can be dangerous, leading to various symptoms of discomfort or damage. Common side effects include:
- Impaired motor skills
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Increased risk of Prozac overdose
- Memory lapses
- Impaired cognition
Long-Term Effects of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol
No long-term effects are confirmed through research or studies. However, some likely consequences are suggested from the continuous mixing of Prozac and alcohol. Common side effects include:
- Heart damage
- Liver or kidney issues
- Blood sugar irregularities
Risks of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that disturbs the brain’s chemistry and slows bodily functions. Separately, Prozac also changes brain chemistry and body functions. Drinking alcohol with Prozac can amplify both drugs' side effects.
Mixing alcohol with Prozac can result in heightened feelings of depression and anxiety. These are the same symptoms that Prozac treats. Combining alcohol use and Prozac can sometimes lead to suicidal feelings and tendencies.
Effects of Alcohol on Depression
Alcohol is a depressant. Consuming alcohol when you have depression can worsen your condition's symptoms. It can cause signs of depression in individuals who do not have clinical depression.
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Frequent feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Unusual or consistent tiredness
If you are tempted to drink when you feel depressed, do not. Drinking will only worsen your health. Instead, speak with your doctor. There are many safe and effective ways to treat depression.
What Are The Side Effects of Prozac?
Prozac has many side effects, including the risk of suicidal thoughts. The FDA requires Prozac to be packaged with a black box warning.
This warning states that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in people younger than 25. Suicidal thoughts resulting from Prozac are more common in children, adolescents, and young adults.
The complete list of side effects include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased libido and sexual dysfunction
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Unusual dreams
- Skin rashes
- Dry mouth
- Increased risk for addiction
Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Heavy drinking over an extended period can lead to chronic physical and mental health conditions. Conditions caused by excessive alcohol use include:
- Heart problems (heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke)
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Cancer (breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and rectal)
- Weakening of the immune system
- Learning and memory problems
- Poor performance
- Low energy
- Mental health problems
- Social problems
- Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
Detoxification & Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are addicted to alcohol, you may experience both psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop or reduce how much you drink. This is called alcohol withdrawal.
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. If you only drink occasionally, it is unlikely that you will experience alcohol withdrawal. If you have experienced alcohol withdrawal, you will likely go through it again the next time you try to quit.
Alcohol withdrawal will likely begin between 6 to 48 hours after your last alcoholic drink.
Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Heart palpitations
- Increased blood pressure, body temperature, and sweating
- Irregular heart rate
- Mental confusion
- Irritability and agitation
Treatment Options for Addiction
There are various methods of treatment for alcohol addiction. These range from inpatient rehab to therapy and support groups.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment, and everyone is different in what works for them. What may be a good fit for one person may not work for another. Understanding and discussing the various options with a medical professional is an essential first step to recovery.
Those with more severe cases of alcohol addiction may opt for inpatient treatment. This is where patients stay within a facility.
Patients are often offered a range of behavioral treatments at inpatient treatment facilities. These treatments involve working with a trained medical professional to identify and help change patterns of behaviors that result in heavy drinking.
These behavioral treatments often include the following features:
- Developing the skills and mindset to stop or reduce drinking
- Building a strong social support system
- Setting attainable goals
- Coping with or avoiding triggers that may lead to a relapse
Depending on the individual, inpatient treatment may involve medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Alcoholism and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together.
The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.
During dual diagnosis treatment, doctors may administer medications to assist with withdrawal symptoms. Therapy sessions can also help the patient deal with negative feelings caused by their mental health disorder(s).
Therapy and Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other support programs offer peer help and care for those addicted to alcohol. Therapy and support groups often combine with treatment led by medical professionals to add an extra support layer.
Doctors may prescribe medications to treat alcohol addiction, also called alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD). These treatments work by offsetting adjustments in the brain caused by alcoholism. All prescribed medications are non-addictive and can be used alone or combined with other types of treatment. These can include behavioral practices and therapies.
Common Questions and Answers
How long does Prozac stay in your system?
Prozac is 50% out of your body in four to six days. The drug is 99% out of your body in about 25 days.
Is Prozac used for alcoholism?
Prozac is sometimes used to help regulate serotonin levels during alcoholism treatment. However, drinking alcohol while taking Prozac can be dangerous and is usually not recommended, even in a clinical setting.
Can you drink on Prozac 10mg?
Drinking alcohol while taking Prozac is not advised because it can lead to extreme sedation.
Can Prozac and alcohol kill you?
Yes, mixing Prozac and alcohol can lead to overdose and potentially death.
Call to find out how much your insurance will cover
- "Alcohol’s Effects on the Body." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2016.
- University of North Carolina Health Care. "How do antidepressants trigger fear and anxiety? Researchers map the anxiety circuit in the brain and use a compound to limit fearful behavior -- an acute side effect of commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2016.
- "Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.
- "Mental Health Conditions: Depression and Anxiety." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.
- "Fluoxetine." MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014.
- "Mental and Substance Use Disorders." Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016.
- "Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome." aafp.org, 2013.
- "Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help." National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.