Prozac and Alcohol: A lethal combination

People regularly have alcohol as a way to relax and unwind. To a limit, it works that way. But beyond a point alcohol is a depressant. It depresses the central nervous system and reduces reaction time, decreases inhibitions and induces drowsiness. Had in excess, alcohol produces many of the problems that Prozac is said to control. All organs of the body are large consumers of blood. The brain requires most blood to function at optimum levels. The blood that reaches the brain is saturated with alcohol and it gives rise to sleep disorders, depressed emotions, mood swings and headaches. If the patient is on Prozac because she or he is already suffering from anxiety and depression, alcohol will only contributes to those problems.

Effect of alcohol and Prozac on Neurotransmitters

Prozac acts on serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that controls emotions and a sense of wellbeing. Alcohol depresses neurotransmitters and does not allow Prozac to do its job. Another major organ that is affected by consumption of alcohol in large quantities is the liver. The liver is the organ that cleanses the body of toxins. Alcohol abuse over a period of time can compromise the capacity of the liver to mop up toxins. Drugs are also metabolised by the liver. When its efficiency is compromised, the liver cannot metabolise Prozac and its benefits are lost.

Prozac Increases the Effect of Alcohol

Patients who are on Prozac are sometimes told that they can have about 3 drinks. What they need to be told is that antidepressants potentiate the effect of alcohol and 3 drinks is actually like 6 drinks. The liver breaks down all substances in order to make it non-toxic for the body. Those who consume a large quantity of Prozac and alcohol over a short time on an empty stomach are making a huge mistake. The liver starts metabolising the alcohol immediately since it moves into the blood stream fast. If there was food in the system in sufficient quantity, the blood would not get so saturated with alcohol and the metabolism would also be delayed.

The Role of the Liver

Until the alcohol is metabolised, the brain does not register that there is excess alcohol in the blood stream. When the liver is metabolising the Prozac, the alcohol remains in the blood stream and the individual does not feel drunk. But as soon as the liver is done with the Prozac, it starts with the alcohol and “Wham!” in a short while the patient id dead drunk. There are instances where an individual who has been talking sense goes into alcohol induced coma within a few minutes. The liver has the capacity to metabolise in a few minutes the alcohol that was drunk over a few hours. The black-outs that patients who mix Prozac and alcohol talk about are the brain going into a self-preservation mode to prevent the patient from drinking any more.

Brain Seizures
Just before a black-out there could be seizures when the individual trembles violently and their eyes roll up. Most individuals who survive such an attack have no recollection of what happened. This is because the brain had completely shut down. Most people who drink in excess vomit for the same reason. These are the fail safe mechanisms working in the body. Most fatalities following drinking in excess while on Prozac occur because following the coma, the breathing becomes shallow and the heart stops functioning.
A single episode of binge drinking can impair the functioning of the brain for about thirty days. Most anti- depressants come with the instructions not to mix them with alcohol and Prozac is no exception to this. The manufacturers of Prozac have specified in the instructions to users not to consume Prozac and alcohol. Prozac is an anti-depressant and alcohol is categorised as a depressant. There seems to be no logic in taking anti-depressants and depressants at the same time. Operating machinery, driving and taking important decisions are impossible when mixing Prozac and alcohol. Since alcohol and other mind altering substances interfere with the uptake of medication, it will be very difficult to arrive at a drug protocol.  Those who do drink regularly and not in moderation would do well not to drink and take their Prozac at the same time but to leave an interval of a few hours.