Antidepressants and Alcoholism
Antidepressants are a type of drug that is used when treating those who suffer from depression or other related issues. There are a number of different types of antidepressants which are prescribed depending on an individual basis. People who have issues with alcohol often are suffering from depression or other issues and hide these problems by using alcohol as medication.
Being Prescribed an Antidepressant
Antidepressants can be prescribed to an individual for a number of reasons. A person may be suffering from depression, but they can also be prescribed to treat disorders that range from anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive disorder or other mood disorders. A doctor will review a persons physical and mental health and choose an antidepressant accordingly.
Self Medicating Issues with Alcohol
It is believed that a large number people self medicate depression or other mental health issue with alcohol or drugs. Self medication is the use of alcohol or other drugs to alleviate problems. Alcohol is the most common drug used for self medication as it is readily available, cheap and socially acceptable. It is used to silence fears, thoughts or problems that someone is suffering. It is also used by many who suffer from social anxieties to help them alleviate the stress of being in a social situation. However, alcohol is a depressant and does little to solve any problems and can make things worse. The underlying issues that a person is facing needs to be treated with appropriate treatment or medication.
Types of Antidepressants
Antidepressants are a large family of drug and there are many different types on the market that suit different people and different issues. The major groups of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-nonrepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and, tricyclic antidepressant. The two main antidepressants that are prescribed are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin nonrepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI’s are a popular and the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants. They work by blocking the reabsorbtion of serotonin in the brain. This effectively helps the brain cells to boost the mood which alleviates depression and other mood disorders. Commonly prescribed medication in this group of antidepressants include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro.
Serotonin Nonrepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
Serotonin Nonrepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SNRI’s differ from selective serotonin reuptake inhibtors as they work to block absorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin contributes to a persons feeling of happiness or well being. Norepinephrine is released when a person is experiencing a stressful event or situation. Effexor, Effexor XR, Cymbalta and Pristique are the medication that falls into this category.
Antidepressant Side Effects
Side effects are common when a person begins to take an antidepressant. They include dry mouth, headaches, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and upset stomach. Usually, these side effects cease after a few weeks of taking the medication, but if they persist, a medical professional can recommend a new medication or methods for dealing with the problems.
Some individuals have major side effects when taking antidepressants such as suicide. This is particularly the case for young adults who take antidepressants. Studies have found that there are some direct correlations between taking antidepressants and and suicidal behaviors. If a person is thinking of suicide, they should consult their doctor immediately.
Mixing Antidepressants and Other Medications
Care should be taken when being prescribed with an antidepressant as this medication can interact with other medication being taken. There can be some reduction in the effectiveness of oral contraception when taken with an antidepressants. They can also interact with therapeutic medications or herbal drugs such as St. Johns Wart. Individuals may feel sleepy, fatigued or nauseous when taken with over the counter or other prescribed medications. Discussing any concerns with a medical professional will ensure that this risk can be reduced.
Drinking Alcohol with Antidepressants
Alcohol should not be drunk when taking an antidepressant as it will alter the effectiveness of the medication. Alcohol is a depressant and a stimulant depending on the level of alcohol consumed and the time after drinking. As little as one drink can have an impact on a person taking an antidepressant. Reported side effects of drinking while taking an antidepressant range from feelings of sedation to mood swings and nausea.