14 Minutes

August 20, 2021 by THE BALANCE
Fact checked

Marketed under the brand name, Prozac is a prescribed antidepressant used to treat depression, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It affects certain neurotransmitters that communicate between the brain that help relieve symptoms of depression, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition to these problems, Prozac also helps relieve symptoms of the premenstrual dysphoric disorder like irritability, breast tenderness, and bloating.

Colorful bottles of alcohol displayed on shelves.

Although the likelihood of Prozac abuse is unlikely, people with a history of drug abuse are at significant risk of misusing Prozac. Many people can tolerate Prozac without having any side effects, but that does not mean the drug does not have any repercussions when combined with other harmful substances.

Over the years, depression has reached new heights in the pressures that people, especially the younger generation, have to face. This pressure takes many forms varying from excessive time spent on social media to personal problems. To alleviate this pressure, teenagers, young adults are inclined to take antidepressants.

Note: In 2010, doctors issued 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants alone, which has increased every year since then.

With an increase in the number of problems and the inability to tackle these problems, adolescents and young adults are prone to using Prozac to the extent of drug abuse. One of the frequent methods of abusing Prozac is the combined intake of Alcohol and Prozac.

Since both Prozac and Alcohol have the same impact of blocking signals to the brain that elevates mood, people consume Alcohol with Prozac to suppress the central nervous system to relieve symptoms of depression and panic attacks.

The ingredients of Prozac have the ability to help you calm down, and alcohol has similar effects when consumed. However, people with depression or anxiety tend to seek long-term relief by mixing Alcohol and Prozac.

It is crucial to understand that for the sake of relief from stress, you must not avoid the dangers Prozac and Alcohol pose to your health and those around you.

Before exploring how mixing Prozac and Alcohol affects your life, it is important to understand what Prozac is?

Fluoxetine, sold under the brand name Prozac, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor used to treat a major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and in some cases, eating disorder, specifically bulimia nervosa. 

Prozac works to balance Serotonin by increasing the amount in the brain. Although Fluoxetine is 30 years old, one of the most prescribed antidepressants, doctors recommend Prozac for short-term use.  

Fluoxetine is also used alongside olanzapine to treat episodes of depression in people with bipolar disorder. Doctors recommend the dosage of Prozac depending on the age of the patient and the purpose of treatment.

The Dangers of Mixing Clonidine and Alcohol

Even with a low risk of addiction, people with a history of drug abuse can easily indulge in Prozac misuse by mixing Fluoxetine and alcohol.

Patients seeking relief from symptoms of depression are always concerned about the risks associated with antidepressant use. Therefore, doctors always list the side effects of combining Prozac and Alcohol, sedatives, or other medications.

Prozac Dosage

The recommended dose of Prozac varies from 20mg per day to 60mg or a maximum of 80mg a day, depending on improvement in symptoms. Although you may be on the lookout for immediate effects after taking Prozac, it is important to know that it usually takes 4 to 5 weeks to experience the full benefit of Fluoxetine.

This does not mean you should stop taking Prozac. Mixing Prozac with brain-altering substances such as alcohol is prohibited because alcohol increases side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and lack of concentration.

Fluoxetine is taken with or without food. Prozac tablets, capsules are taken either once a day in the morning or twice a day at noon. Doctors list down the directions for your prescription to avoid any misuse of the drug.

Different Forms of Prozac

Prozac is available in the form of tablets, capsules, delayed-release capsules, and oral liquid solutions. Depending on the recommended dose and treatment regimen, Fluoxetine is used in various forms, as indicated above.

When a patient is keen on recovering from any serious condition, he is always aware of his medications. Questions like Is Prozac addictive? Can Prozac cause sudden death? are commonly asked to prevent any health risks.

So unlike opioids and narcotics, Prozac is not considered addictive. Due to different chemical compositions, Fluoxetine does not cause intense cravings or compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, when Fluoxetine is used for the long -term, the likelihood for chemical dependence is common, which can escalate to dangerous levels if left unchecked.

When we talk about mixing Prozac & Alcohol and the side effects it causes, we are talking about why people choose to drink while on Prozac 20 mg, which is the recommended dose. 

Some people enjoy drinking alcohol solely to alleviate stress. Alcohol has the same effect on your mind and body as any other depressant. Drinking alcohol slows down the transmission of messages within your brain. This effect increases up to tenfold when Fluoxetine and alcohol are mixed.

Once your body has developed a tolerance for this deadly combination, people will continue to indulge, thus ignoring the dangers of Prozac and Alcohol.

What is important to understand is that having even one drink while you are on Prozac can lead to extreme drowsiness. This results in impaired driving. Poor decision-making skills increase the risk of falls and injuries. 

So, after all the discussion, the answer to the question ’Is Prozac addictive?’ varies from person to person using Fluoxetine and how they decide to use it.

Drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants is generally discouraged for several reasons. Depressive symptoms worsen when patients ignore warning signs of Fluoxetine alcohol interactions. Alcohol impacts the effectiveness of Prozac, which leads to users experiencing stress rather than relief.

People forget to consider that alcohol can certainly improve your mood in the short term, but it prevents Fluoxetine from working to its full effect. Since Prozac is a long-term medication so consuming alcohol after few hours of taking Fluoxetine does not reduce the side effects of mixing alcohol and Prozac.

Because of its alcohol-like effect, Prozac is often mistaken for a drug that can get you high. Let’s address the confusion that exists in every Fluoxetine user’s mind.

Does Prozac get you high?

The answer to this question is No due to its chemical composition that is different from that of opioids, narcotics, and other antidepressants. However, patients with a history of drug abuse experience symptoms like drowsiness, fatigue, and changes in mood that are depicted as ‘high’. 

Symptoms are exacerbated to the point of suicide when users ignore the risks of Fluoxetine interaction with different substances.

This presumed ‘high’ alters the thinking pattern, resulting in delayed response time and the inability to perform tasks requiring focus and attention.

Note: 1-1% of Prozac users reported feelings of extreme well-being.

As you know, Serotonin is naturally found in the body, which elevates mood, improves sleep and appetite. Fluoxetine works by inhibiting the neural uptake of Serotonin in the central nervous system causing Serotonin to be present in large amounts, thus improving mood. 

Although getting high on Prozac is rare, the risk is great if someone decides to consume Fluoxetine with Alcohol. Furthermore, if people decide to stop taking an antidepressant and start drinking alcohol for symptom management, they can worsen their symptoms.

Mixing Prozac and Alcohol is never a good idea. People on antidepressants tend to overlook the side effects this dangerous combination can have on their overall health. As a depressant, alcohol can worsen depression, which can be treated with Fluoxetine.

Whether for recreational purposes or as a coping mechanism, Fluoxetine alcohol interaction can be harmful. Habitual drinkers often indulge in excessive drinking that is particularly dangerous. Alcoholism has a huge impact on people than usual, which is exaggerated by mixing Alcohol and Prozac.

Side effects from combining Prozac and Alcohol can lead to severe depressive symptoms or can cause a decrease in the inhibitions associated with suicidal thoughts. 

Although Prozac can rarely cause feelings of tiredness on its own, combining Fluoxetine and Alcohol can make it difficult to perform a simple task. This is due to side effects from mixing Prozac and Alcohol, some of which are listed below:

  • Feelings of worthlessness

Since both Prozac and Alcohol act by altering the chemical activity in the brain, mixing Prozac & Alcohol can further add up to symptoms of depression. Once you develop a tolerance for both alcohol and Fluoxetine, you are often hit by feelings of loneliness and worthlessness when you stop taking either Prozac or drinking alcohol.

Note: A 2011 study found that alcohol disorders significantly increase the risk of depression

  • Lack of concentration

Lack of concentration, memory problems are often experienced upon mixing Prozac and Alcohol. Excessive consumption of antidepressants with alcohol results in blackouts. People who experience blackouts tend to struggle with paying attention and memorizing anything.

  • Weakness

As discussed before, Prozac rarely causes symptoms of fatigue and weakness. However, these symptoms are more likely to occur when Fluoxetine is consumed with alcohol, making symptoms of weakness more pronounced.

  • Impaired motor control 

Due to the low risk of drug abuse, patients often assume that it is safe to mix Prozac and Alcohol. However, to answer this query, ‘can you drink on Prozac 20mg?’ for once and for all is No. Reason? As alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, mixing both Fluoxetine and Alcohol can render the effect of Prozac in treating depression. 

This eventually leads to impaired motor control, one of the most common side effects experienced when Prozac and Alcohol are consumed together.

  • Muscle spasms

Drinking alcohol causes an increase in serotonin levels. Mixing fluoxetine and alcohol results in the continued release of extra Serotonin in the brain of users on the pathway to this combination. Due to chemical imbalance, muscles are unable to function properly. This results in muscle spasms that persist for a prolonged period.

In addition to these side effects, people who seek comfort by mixing Prozac & Alcohol experience high fever, irregular heartbeat, seizure, and unconsciousness in severe cases

As mentioned above, mixing Alcohol and Fluoxetine can have some serious repercussions if not paid attention to.

While drinking alcohol during pregnancy is always risky, using the antidepressant Prozac to relieve symptoms of depression does not have any known risk towards the unborn child. It gets transferred through breast milk in most cases. 

The situation is reversed when alcohol is added to the equation. This ultimately results in several conditions from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, poor brain function, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to abnormalities.

Mothers who develop tolerance to alcohol can accidentally combine Fluoxetine with Alcohol which can harm the unborn child.

Many people are undoubtedly aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol and Prozac, but fewer people understand the risks associated with combining Fluoxetine and alcohol. Using both Prozac & Alcohol works to influence the activity of neurotransmitters that worsens the symptoms of depression, leading to problems in performing day-to-day tasks. 

Some Prozac and alcohol dangers are listed below to help you better understand the gravity of this deadly combination:

  • Insomnia

Persistent lack of sleep negatively affects your body in a way that you are unable to think or function. Although consuming Prozac for depression with alcohol can help you fall asleep quickly, you tend to wake up more in the middle of the night, which ultimately results in insomnia. 

  • Suicidal Thoughts

The extent of mixing Fluoxetine and Alcohol reaches the point of suicide when people feel there is no solution to their problem. As mentioned earlier, alcohol does provide some short-term relief. However, in the long run, these feelings gradually shift back to loneliness and, in severe cases, suicide.

  • Risk of Overdose  

Overdose is always a possibility when patients are abusing the drug independently or mixing it with other substances. Similarly, people who fail to understand the gravity of mixing Prozac and Alcohol eventually end up overdosing, leading to their demise. 

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of overdose is still at large even if you combine Fluoxetine with even a small amount of alcohol.

  • Impaired Alertness

One of the biggest misconceptions a drug abuser has is that mixing Alcohol and Prozac will make them capable of performing any task. They don’t understand that although this combination does elevate your energy, it impairs the alertness that renders you incapable of performing even simple tasks.

  • Unconsciousness

While the exact mechanism between Fluoxetine and Alcohol is still unknown, doctors often warn individuals taking Prozac against consuming this medication with alcohol. Unfortunately, it is easy for people to ignore the warning signs due to the immediate relief they get.

Unconsciousness is one of the alarming signs in the list of Prozac and alcohol dangers. Since the function of both is to change the chemical activity in the brain that results in improved mood. Unconsciousness is the result of excessive intake of Alcohol and Fluoxetine.

Although the main cause of Prozac overdose is due to too much intake of Fluoxetine within a short period, other ways can lead up to overdose and ultimately death. One of the most common ways a person can experience fatal overdose is through Fluoxetine alcohol interactions.

A study from 2020 shows that if the person has been using alcohol to increase serotonin content in the body, an overdose of Prozac will be more dangerous, leading to serotonin syndrome that affects mental and neuromuscular health. 

This evidence suggests that even lower levels of Prozac can cause overdose, which can lead to death if they are consumed with alcohol.

Elders are at high risk for health conditions when consuming Fluoxetine and Alcohol. This is partly because older people sometimes have to take more medication at once. A higher dose means a risk of danger.

As we age, alcohol takes longer to be absorbed by the body and stays in the blood for a long time. This results in a rise in toxic chemical interactions and possible overdose. 

Habitual drinkers often find it difficult to quit drinking when they are taking Fluoxetine. So, the question arises, ‘how long after taking Prozac can I drink alcohol?’ Well, you may assume drinking alcohol hours after taking Fluoxetine is completely normal and causes little harm. 

This assumption is far from the truth because Prozac remains a metabolite for some time. The half-life of Fluoxetine is 2 to 7 days. This means that it takes 11 to 38.5 days for the body to get rid of Prozac. 

It is recommended that you wait at least one month after taking Fluoxetine for the last time before you can start drinking. However, if you still wish to drink alcohol while taking Prozac, you should safely do so in moderate amounts.

Certain medications can have side effects when taken with alcohol. One drug that is not recommended to be taken with alcohol is the antidepressant Prozac (Fluoxetine).

Before starting any new medication, you must fully understand what the medication is and how it works. It is important to be aware of Prozac and Alcohol side effects or Fluoxetine interactions that you may experience while mixing Prozac with other substances. 

Prozac is a popular drug prescribed for depression and anxiety that has helped countless people lead normal and fulfilling lives. However, mixing Fluoxetine and Alcohol can have serious side effects such as increased mood swings, anxiety, and drowsiness.

If someone experiencing these symptoms decides to quit drinking, different support groups are a great way to supplement the recovery process during and after the treatment.

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous allow people to meet others and form strong relationships in a sober society.

However, if you are still unsure about the type of treatment you want to go with, you can talk to your primary care physician.

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