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Lexapro and Alcohol

This entry was posted in Alcohol on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Michael Loes MD

lexapro and alcoholLexapro and alcohol taken together may make for an unwise choice for a few different reasons which we’ll attempt to sketch out here. One should always do careful research when it comes to combining drugs and alcohol. Knowing the risks can help anyone safeguard their precious personal health and well-being.

Doctors prescribe Lexapro for two main reasons, which are depression and anxiety. Prescribing Lexapro is considered a long-term treatment plan, rather than an occasional or “as needed” treatment. A patient takes their Lexapro dosage regularly, on a set daily schedule, and is advised not to skip days or skip dosages.

Drinking alcohol while taking an SSRI-type drug such as Lexapro can “dilute” or weaken the effects of the drug. That means the person drinking alcohol may be putting her/himself at risk for the following:
  • Worsened depression
  • Worsened anxiety
  • Worsened insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Increased suicide risk especially in young patients

Does this list of side effects relating to Lexapro look quite similar to side effects you would expect to see relating to alcohol? Studies suggest that taking alcohol and Lexapro together have a similar effect to side effects that occur when a Lexapro dosage is skipped or when the strength of the dosage is altered abruptly. The side effects of these alcohol and Lexapro interactions, and the side effects of lowered or increased Lexapro dosages reportedly closely mimic each other. Both sets of side effects to Lexapro or Lexapro and alcohol taken together generate much concern for patients who are undergoing depression treatment with prescription medication. Lexapro, and combining Lexapro and alcohol put younger people especially at risk, as reports show that younger people can become suicidal suddenly, and without warning.

Taking Lexapro and alcohol together poses another set of risks for those suffering from depression. Even when a person is not taking Lexapro for depression, alcohol itself can increase how frequently one feels irritable, or how severe and how long one’s depression lasts, how disrupted one’s sleep habits can become, and can increase a person’s general feelings of malaise. One’s depression might greatly worsen with combined alcohol and Lexapro side effects.

A great many people have not achieved the results they were seeking by medicating their symptoms or by drinking alcohol, or by combining both “strategies.” It may be time to consider another approach altogether for combating depression and anxiety; using holistic means to achieve mental health and wellness. But in the interim, patients who are taking a drug such as Lexapro should always consult with their medical practitioner before introducing something that may significantly impact their ongoing treatment plan, such as combining alcohol and Lexapro.

Originally Published Sep 18, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Michael Loes, M.D.


Dr. Michael Loes is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr. Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he is a well-published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response, and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.

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Lexapro and Alcohol
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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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