The Dangers of Mixing Antidepressants and Other Drugs

Drug addiction has many risks. One of these risks is that drug addiction negatively affects your health. Probably the biggest health risk that drug addicts face is the risk of overdose. It’s impossible to figure out what percentage of addicts overdose, but you can be sure the number is large. The reason why this happens so often is because many addicts often mix drugs together, says Johnny K – owner of True Life Recovery, a detox center in Orange County, California.

The Dangers of Mixing Antidepressants and Other Drugs

This doesn’t only refer to street drugs. In many cases, mixing various types of medications with drugs can lead to serious issues. These medications can also include medications such as antidepressants. Mixing antidepressants with other drugs is extremely dangerous and should never be done. And this doesn’t only apply to street drugs. Antidepressants should never be taken together with any type of drug. Many people abuse prescription medication such as Xanax, and this can have fatal consequences. According to experts mixing drugs may have the following consequences. 

  • Mixing antidepressants with other antidepressants like heroin or alcohol will increase the depressant effect. Your heart rate and breathing will slow down dramatically, and this can have fatal consequences. 
  • Combining antidepressants with stimulants like cocaine and ecstasy is also a bad idea. Your heart will speed up and this may also be fatal. 
  • Certain medications like lithium should never be mixed with anything. It’s very difficult to ascertain what will happen to you. In some cases the effects of the drug are blocked or reduced, in others they are magnified. The lithium may also become toxic or you could become dehydrated
  • When SSRI antidepressants are mixed with stimulants like cocaine you may experience a brain haemorrhage or high blood pressure. What you also have to understand about cocaine and SSRIs is that both of these drugs boost the levels of serotonin in your brain. High levels of this chemical may cause something called serotonin syndrome. This is a condition which causes confusion, anxiety, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting seizures, and even comas. Another drug which should be avoided when on SSRIs is MDMA. This drug also boosts the levels of serotonin in your brain and can send you into shock or even cause an overdose. 
  • Also avoid abusing cough syrup when taking antidepressants, especially MAOIs. Mixing these two drugs may lead to feelings of drowsiness, which can be dangerous if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery. Mixing these drugs may also lead to liver damage and internal bleeding. 

Ultimately, mixing antidepressants and other drugs is a really bad idea. This may create a toxic mix which harms organs like your kidneys. The only time you should consider mixing drugs is if your doctor has prescribed the drugs, and knows that you’re on antidepressants. Even in this case there may be complications. 

And while mixing antidepressants and other drugs is dangerous, something far worse is mixing these drugs with alcohol. In fact, it can be  lethal. If you’re taking antidepressants, it’s best to give up drinking altogether. Remember, alcohol is a depressant. This means that taking it will probably make you feel even worse than you do now. Many people who have problems with antidepressants experience these issues because they are mixing alcohol with their medication. Doing this can lead to many problems. Some of these include the following:

  • Your feeling of anxiety and depression may dramatically increase. Everyone has had the experience of suddenly feeling depressed when drinking. Combining alcohol with antidepressants may increase these feelings exponentially. 
  • If you’re taking multiple medications (such as anti-anxiety, pain medications, or sleeping pills) then these side effects may grow worse. 
  • Combining alcohol with MAOIs can be deadly. MAOIs are a specific type of antidepressant known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Taking these along with alcohol can cause sudden and extreme spikes in blood pressure. 
  • You may become cognitively impaired. Alcohol and antidepressants will affect your reaction time, motor skills, judgement, and coordination. This combination may also put you to sleep. You may feel drowsy, become sedated, or pass out. Your ability to drive or do other tasks will also be impaired. 

The bottom line is that if you’re taking antidepressants, it’s probably a good idea to give up alcohol. If you’re unable to do this then at least drink moderately. While people who drink alcohol are at risk there is also another group of people who have these issues. These are people who have been to rehab or who are in treatment. The reason why is because these people are often put onto some kind of medication. This medication may include things like tranquilisers or antidepressants. The problem is when these people relapse. They may still be taking their medication and then mix this with street drugs. This can create a deadly cocktail. 

Happy sad meds

Many people in this situation may skip their doses of antidepressants because they want to take drugs. But is this safe and can you do this?

Unfortunately the answer is no. You see, antidepressants don’t work like a light switch. These medications are not something which you can turn on and off. The reason is because antidepressants only work once they have built up in your system. It’s not simply a case of taking the pills and feeling better. They only really start to work after you’ve been taking them for several weeks or even months. 

What this means is that the chemicals which they contain – and which make them work – can stay in your body for months after you’ve quit taking them. These medications are not like street drugs which last for short periods of time. They have a far longer lifespan. This means that you cannot simply skip your medication for the day because you want to take drugs. Doing this is still extremely dangerous and should never be done. Ultimately you should realize that antidepressants are extremely powerful medications and you shouldn’t take chances with them. Also realize that these medications are for people who are serious about getting clean. You should only start taking them once you’ve been sober for a period of time, and if you can trust yourself to stay clean.

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