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Updated on January 26, 2022

Can You Drink Alcohol With Steroids?

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Steroids?

The main concern about mixing steroids and alcohol is that alcohol can worsen the side effects of steroids. For example, alcohol consumption with steroids may help weaken the bones and can promote weight gain.

If you want to drink alcohol while taking steroids, it’s best to speak to your healthcare provider for medical advice.

There is no clear answer to whether it is safe to drink alcohol while taking steroids. It depends on several factors, including:

  • How large the dose of steroids is
  • Whether the treatment course is short or long-term
  • How much alcohol the patient usually drinks
  • Other medical conditions a person has

Someone taking a short course of steroids should avoid alcohol entirely until they finish their treatment.

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What Are the Side Effects of Mixing Steroids With Alcohol?

There are several possible side effects of mixing steroids with alcohol. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Brittle bones
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Allergic reactions
  • Increased appetite
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Steroid-induced diabetes

Dangers of Mixing Steroids and Alcohol

Using steroids under medical supervision is usually safe. However, even legitimate steroid use may come with side effects and increased risks.

Likewise, moderate drinking doesn’t usually lead to problems for most people. Yet misuse of either steroids or alcohol consumption can lead to severe health problems. Combining steroid and alcohol use significantly increases the risks linked to either substance.

Long-term steroid use can adversely affect the liver and kidneys. These are two vital organs that also suffer damage when someone consumes too much alcohol. Mixing steroids and alcohol can overexert the liver. Prolonged misuse may lead to cirrhosis or liver failure. People with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) are at high risk for these side effects.

There are also mental health issues associated with combining steroids like prednisone with alcohol. Steroids can leave a lingering impact on the brain. Extended steroid use in high doses can result in mentally unstable states, including psychosis and mania. This can range from subtle mood changes to psychotic behaviors.

Even short-term anabolic steroid use can lead to aggressive mood changes or ‘roid rage.’ When these mood swings combine with drunkenness, dangerous situations are likely to occur. This can increase the potential for violence and physical harm.

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Types of Steroids

Steroids are synthetic versions of hormones that occur naturally in the human body. Doctors often prescribe them to decrease the body's inflammatory response in people with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic vasculitis, or systemic lupus erythematosus.

However, some athletes misuse steroids to boost performance or improve their appearance.

There are two main types of steroids:

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are medications that reduce inflammation in the body. These steroids mimic the hormone cortisol, which is produced from the adrenal glands. Cortisol prevents your immune system from producing substances that lead to inflammation.

Prednisone is one commonly used corticosteroid. It works similarly to cortisol, slowing, or stopping the immune system from triggering inflammation. Prednisone treats various medical conditions. It can help balance hormones in people whose adrenal glands do not make enough corticosteroids.

Prednisone treats diseases that cause inflammation, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are human-made versions of testosterone. This is a male sex hormone that helps build larger muscles. A doctor can legally prescribe anabolic steroids if your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. For example, boys with delayed puberty may take anabolic steroids.

These steroids are also prescribed to men with low testosterone.

Steroids Statistics

100%

Higher

People who abuse anabolic steroids take doses 10 to 100 times higher than those prescribed for medicinal reasons.

25

Percent

Of men treated for opioid use disorders reported prior use of anabolic steroids.

32

Percent

Of people who misuse anabolic steroids become physically dependent on them.

Steroids and Alcohol: Questions and Answers

What are the side effects of drinking alcohol while taking prednisone?

There are several possible side effects of drinking alcohol with prednisone. Firstly, alcohol and prednisone may irritate the digestive tract, resulting in peptic ulcers. If you’re prone to indigestion or an upset stomach, mixing the two substances may cause digestive issues.

A combination of steroids and alcohol may also increase the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2. This is due to imbalances in sugar control as side effects of both substances.

Prednisone may also lead to brittle bones and can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

What should you not eat when taking prednisone?

Steroids like prednisone produce side effects, including weight gain, increased appetite, high blood pressure, and steroid-induced diabetes. 

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet while taking prednisone is essential. Try to eat foods that are low in salt, sugar, and calories. Opt for fresh foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. You should also try to be physically active.

Can you drink alcohol while taking antibiotics and steroids?

It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol when taking antibiotics or when you’re feeling unwell. However, it’s also unlikely that consuming alcohol in moderation will cause issues when taking the most common antibiotics.

To reduce any health issues and increased risks associated with consuming alcohol, it is recommended not to drink more than 14 drinks a week (men) or 7 drinks a week (women).

Seek medical advice from your healthcare provider when you’re given a prescription for antibiotics if you’re unsure whether you can drink with it or not.

Do steroids make you fat?

Steroids change how your body deposits fat and slows down your metabolism, therefore causing weight gain, especially in the abdomen.

Can you have a beer on steroids?

Drinking one beer while taking steroids is OK. However, you should not drink heavily because side effects can develop. These side effects include gastrointestinal problems, stomach ulcers, a weakened immune system, weight gain, chest pain, dehydration, and mental health issues, among others. In severe cases, it can cause liver damage.

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Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

Here are some of the best treatment options for alcohol use disorder (AUD):

Inpatient programs 

Inpatient treatment is an option for alcohol addiction treatment. These intensive programs are usually 30, 60, or 90 days. However, they can be longer in some instances.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs are also called intensive outpatient programs or IOPs. They're like inpatient programs, but you return home after each session.

Outpatient programs

Outpatient programs are less intensive and offer a more flexible treatment schedule. They're best for people who have responsibilities at work, home, or school and are highly motivated to achieve sobriety.

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT)

Certain people qualify for medication-assisted therapy. Medications can help you detox, reduce cravings, and normalize bodily functions.

MAT is most effective when combined with other treatment therapies.

Support groups

Support groups are peer-led groups that help people stay sober. They can be a first step in overcoming alcoholism or a component of an aftercare plan.

Many of them follow the 12-step approach. However, there are also secular options that don't follow the 12-step approach.

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Resources

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  1. Anabolic Steroids DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2018
  2. Alcohol's Effects on the Body, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  3. Prednisone, MedlinePlus, 2020
  4. Traversy, Gregory, and Jean-Philippe Chaput, Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update. Current obesity reports vol. 4,1 : 122-30
  5. Can I drink alcohol while taking antibiotics?, United Kingdom National Health Service, 2018
  6. NIDA. 2020, June 9. Are anabolic steroids addictive?

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