Drinking Alcohol with Depression or Anxiety Pills
This has been a massive topic this month, as we embark on an alcohol free festive season. It's a huge topic and I would like to share some useful facts, references and tips to help you or anyone you know that may have a little bit too much to drink.
Drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants is generally not advised because alcohol can make depression worse. It can also increase the side effects of some antidepressants, such as drowsiness, dizziness and co-ordination problems. Not to mention feeling tired, lack of energy and not having any motivation to do anything.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking a lot or regularly can harm your brain and lead to depression. When that happens, you're more likely to feel down, particularly if your genes are wired for depression.
When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it also affects the nervous system and brain cells, and cause brain functions to produce more neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. When a large amount of alcohol is consumed, high levels of serotonin can be produced, and normal behaviour is impaired.
When we become regular drinkers (let's say we catch up with a work colleague over lunch with a glass of wine, beers with mates after work at the pub or weekend drinks catch up with friends etc...) it lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – this is the chemical that helps to regulate your mood.
Here is how alcohol and drug addiction effects our serotonin and dopamine.
Researchers say people who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. For others, drinking came first, so it may be a root cause of their anxieties.
Alcohol depression = a vicious cycle
If you drink heavily and regularly you’re likely to develop some symptoms of depression. It’s that good old brain chemistry at work again. Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.
Drinking heavily can also affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It can impact on your performance at work. These issues can also contribute to depression.
If you use a drink to try and improve your mood or mask your depression, you may be starting a vicious cycle…
Warning signs that alcohol is affecting your mood include:
- Poor sleep after drinking
- Feeling tired because of a hangover
- Low mood
- Experiencing anxiety in situations where you would normally feel comfortable.
For more information visit Beyond Blue or your local health professional. We also have access to an awesome Addiction Expert Georgia Foster in our Dani & Co. Facebook group page and over on Instagram. Send over any questions you may have to help you throughout our challenge.
I am here to support you in way I can with loads of resources and tools, experts and professionals.
Will you join me sober for this festive season?