Are you currently taking antipsychotic medication? If so, it’s important to understand the side effects and how they interact with alcohol, especially if you’ll be driving while on your medication. While not all medications interact with alcohol, antipsychotics do. In light of this, we encourage you to read on to learn more!
Psychoses is a mental disorder characterized by delusions or hallucinations, which indicate a person is out of touch with reality. However, any severe mental disorder such as schizophrenia or paranoia fits the definition of “psychosis.” The medical community believes that overactivity of the brain chemical dopamine is the cause, or at least partially the cause of psychosis.
Antipsychotics are prescribed to block the brain’s dopamine effect. This block is supposed to help reduce the symptoms of psychosis and make it so delusions and voices are less severe and preoccupying. The patient may still hear voices or experience delusions, but they can recognize they aren’t real so they can focus on their family, friends, and career.
Commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs include:
Common side effects associated with the above drugs include weight gain, diabetes, tremors, drowsiness, and decreased sex drive, and function.
Do Antipsychotics Interact with Alcohol?
Antipsychotics interact with many other drugs prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter; they may also interact with street drugs and herbal remedies. So, the question is can you drink alcohol while taking antipsychotics? It is NOT recommended.
According to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, antipsychotic drugs tend to increase the effects of alcohol; therefore, making one more dizzy, lightheaded, and sleepy. While having a beer or a glass of wine before you head to bed may not be such a big deal – it’s important to understand how these medications interact with alcohol, and your ability to operate heavy machinery, such as your vehicle.
Even when you have one drink, if you’re on antipsychotic medication, it can have the effect of having as many as two or three drinks. So, if you’re out having dinner with friends and you have two drinks, especially if they’re stiff drinks, when you get behind the wheel it could be like having as many as six drinks!
While your friends may be perfectly fine driving home after a couple of drinks, it can be a very different story for you if you have antipsychotic medication in your bloodstream.