Psychotropic drugs and alcohol - are they compatible?


The simultaneous use of alcohol and so-called psychotropic drugs can lead to undesirable side effects.

The drug group of psychotropic drugs describes preparations that influence certain processes in the brain and can thus act on certain diseases. The term psychotropic drug describes a whole group of different drugs that can be used for different diseases.

This includes, for example Antidepressants, Neuroleptics, Tranquilizers, Hypnotics, as well as remedies for diseases such as dementia or Parkinson's can be used. It follows that drugs that are classified as psychotropic drugs can differ considerably from one another.

For this reason, the consequences of taking psychotropic drugs and alcohol cannot be described in principle, since the interactions that occur when alcohol and the respective drug are consumed at the same time can also be different. Depending on the psychotropic drug taken however it can too significant side effects come, which can even be life-threatening. For this reason, alcohol and a psychotropic drug should not be taken at the same time without a doctor confirming the harmlessness of taking both substances.

Symptoms when taking psychotropic drugs and alcohol at the same time

When taking certain psychotropic drugs and alcohol at the same time you can characteristic symptoms occur. For one thing, it can be through the slowed down breakdown of alcohol even with small amounts Intoxication effects come. The Effect of the drugs increased or weakened become.Particularly if the substances have a mutually reinforcing effect, some protective reflexes and the respiratory drive may fail.

With an incipient unconsciousness serious consequences threaten. When the respiratory drive decreases it can lead to one Lack of oxygen and possibly to one Apnea come. More symptoms can be a headache, an elevated Intoxication, dizziness, very strong fatigue and if the effect of the drug is weakened, symptoms of the underlying disease occur.

Interactions between psychotropic drugs and alcohol

Interactions between two substances can occur in the body if the effect one or both substances strengthened or weakened becomes.

Interactions are often used by the joint dismantling of the substances caused in the liver. Alcohol is to a large extent about specific Enzymes reduced. If there is a large amount of alcohol, however, it is also broken down by enzymes which are responsible for breaking down certain medicinal substances. In these cases it can lead to a delayed breakdown of the drug or alcohol and thus to a longer-lasting effect of the substances.

In addition to the interactions that can arise when taking some psychotropic drugs and alcohol at the same time unwanted side effects also frequently.

Side effects of psychiatric drugs and alcohol

When taking psychotropic drugs and alcohol at the same time, it can lead to unwanted side effects come. While many side effects only cause mild symptoms, some combinations can lead to severe side effects that can even be life-threatening.

In many cases the effects of drugs or alcohol are increased. It can be too strong, especially in cases where the effects are very similar Effect enhancements come. So can Sedatives and Sleeping pills which are taken together with alcohol lead to dangerous side effects, which with a Loss of protective reflexes as well as the Respiratory drive accompanied.

Also one effect-enhancing effect could when taking Antidepressants and Neuroleptics as well as so-called mood-stabilizing drugs and alcohol can be detected.

The consumption of alcohol and the ingestion of the Weaning drug Disufiram can cause serious side effects with Drop in blood pressure and Racing heart accompanied.

Drinking alcohol is considered because of the dangerous side effects absolute contraindication for taking many psychotropic drugs classified. A look at the instruction leaflet or a consultation with the attending physician provides information on the tolerance of the individual medication and alcohol consumed at the same time.

What to do when taking alcohol and psychotropic drugs

If alcohol and a psychotropic drug have been taken at the same time, alcohol consumption should first be stopped. Depending on the amount of the alcohol consumed as well as the individually taken drug should be a doctor be visited and inquired about the harmlessness of taking both substances.

In many cases that is enough immediate cessation of alcohol consumption and no additional therapy is necessary.

Especially when unexpected symptoms occur, should nevertheless always occur doctor are sought out to prevent serious complications caused by the simultaneous use of both substances. This is especially true with a loss of consciousness and decreased respiratory drive. In these cases, there is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Effects of psychotropic drugs and alcohol

Alcohol acts on different parts of the human body. After the alcohol from the stomach and Intestines and from there to the blood circulation the substance is distributed throughout the body. In the liver, alcohol is mainly broken down by two specific enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase.

The symptoms that are felt after consuming alcohol can be related to the Effect of the substance in the brain lead back. There it can have both exciting effects and increased alcohol levels fatigue, Difficulty concentrating, Drowsiness, a headache and dizziness come.

The effects of psychotropic drugs vary greatly depending on the drug group. However, they all have in common that certain processes in the brain are interfered with. Of the Dismantling of many psychotropic drugs, as with alcohol, is often found in the liver instead of.

Since psychotropic drugs and alcohol have an effect in the central nervous system unfold and are often broken down in the liver, it is obvious that interactions can be caused both by the action in the brain and by the breakdown.


The simultaneous use of a psychotropic drug and alcohol can different consequences entail. If large amounts of alcohol are not consumed, the prognosis can be assessed as favorable.

However, some psychotropic drugs can be used in combination with alcohol life threatening side effects lead, which is why a less favorable prognosis can be assumed in these situations.

In general, if you experience unexpected symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately to prevent serious consequences of simultaneous use.