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Antipsychotics, Alcohol & Driving

Psychoses is a mental disorder that is characterized by delusions or hallucinations, which indicate that a person is out of touch with reality. However, any severe mental disorder such as schizophrenia or paranoia fit 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 that delusions and voices are less severe and preoccupying, however, medication not always get rid of them completely.

The patient may still hear voices or experience delusions, but they can recognize that they aren’t real so they can focus on their family, friends, and career.

Second generation drugs. Are you taking them?

Most antipsychotic medications prescribed today are second generation (atypical) drugs; second generation drugs block dopamine like the first generation, but they also affect serotonin levels.

Commonly prescribed second generation antipsychotic drugs:

  • Risperdal
  • Seroquel
  • Zyprexa
  • Zeldox
  • Invega
  • Abilify
  • Clozaril

Side effects of the second generation drugs, include: weight gain, diabetes, tremors, sedation (e.g. sleepiness, low energy), 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.

Can you drink alcohol while taking antipsychotics? It is NOT recommended, here’s why.

According to the Centre 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 for you 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 (6) 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.

Were you arrested for DUI while taking antipsychotic medication, or another prescribed drug? If so, call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to work with one of Orange County’s premier DUI defense firms!