What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a prescription medication used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorders.

While these are two of the most common uses for Lexapro, it does have other purposes, too.

Some doctors prescribe Lexapro for patients with:  

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorders (PMDD)

However, these treatments are not FDA-approved. Lexapro is only approved to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. 

Different Types of Antidepressant Medications

Different Types of Antidepressant MedicationsNot all antidepressant medications work the same way. There are five different types of antidepressant medications, including: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclics and tricyclic-related drugs
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Others that don’t fit any of the categories listed above are usually called atypical antidepressants

While they all work slightly differently, antidepressants generally boost or prolong the effects of certain positive brain chemicals.

Primarily, they boost noradrenaline and serotonin, two chemicals responsible for mood regulation. 

Why Are Noradrenaline and Serotonin Important?

These chemicals are neurotransmitters that pass messages between your brain and nerve cells, then between your nerve cells and other organs.

Altering these messages may boost your mood or decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Now that you have a better idea of the different types of antidepressant medications and how they work, your next question might be: can you drink on antidepressants?

The short answer is no. But there is much more about it that you should know. 

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Lexapro?

Whether it is Lexapro and wine, Lexapro and beer, or another combination of Drink on Lexapro, Lexapro and alcohol simply don’t mix.

This applies to escitalopram and alcohol, as well, as Lexapro is simply the brand name for this potent SSRI. 

Paxil and alcohol and Pristiq and alcohol are two other unsafe antidepressant and alcohol combinations.

No matter the type of brand name, antidepressants and alcohol do not mix. SSRIs, in particular, block the reuptake of serotonin. 

By doing so, the serotonin remains active for longer in your body and brain. Serotonin helps regulate your mood.

This regulation includes playing a part in feelings of happiness, your brain’s reward system, and your ability to sleep. 

Since serotonin is an antidepressant and alcohol is a depressant, it is counterproductive to take them together.

While it may feel as if alcohol is temporarily boosting the effects of your medication or your medication is boosting your alcohol buzz, the opposite is often true. 

The Problem with SSRIs and Alcohol Consumption

There are no alcohol-safe antidepressants. Taking an SSRI and drinking alcohol can decrease its benefits and increase adverse effects.

This means that it can both worsen your mental health condition and increase any harmful side effects associated with the medication.  

Common Side Effects of Lexapro and Alcohol

Common Side Effects of Lexapro and AlcoholSSRIs, including Lexapro, are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressant.

Most doctors prefer them over other types because there are generally fewer side effects.

However, this is not true for everyone, and mixing your pills with other substances can render this untrue. 

Both alcohol and Lexapro alter your brain chemistry.

Depending on the amounts of each in your system and other individual factors, there are many potential side effects that you may experience.

Some of the most common side effects of Lexapro and alcohol include: 

  • Decreased efficacy of your medication 
  • More frequent or intense feelings of anxiety 
  • Worsened depression 
  • Drowsiness
  • Liver problems 
  • Alcoholism 

Lexapro and alcohol blackouts can also lead to memory loss over time.

And in some cases, Lexapro and alcohol have been linked to increased feelings of anger or uncharacteristic bursts of violence.  

Which Lexapro Side Effects Are Made Worse by Alcohol?

The symptoms listed above are some of the most commonly experienced among those who take Lexapro and drink alcohol at the same time.

But Lexapro itself can produce some other troubling side effects. And these may be worsened by your alcohol intake. 

Some common side effects of Lexapro include: 

  • Nausea 
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of suicide 

Because there is no way to predict, with accuracy, how your body or brain will react to the two substances together, it is best to follow the recommendations outlined in your prescription.

When you mix Lexapro and alcohol, you may put yourself at risk for many potentially serious or long-term side effects. 

Can I Skip a Dose of Lexapro to Drink?

Lexapro is generally used as a long-term medication. Antidepressants in the SSRI category require steady daily doses to remain effective and safe.

Stopping abruptly or altering your dose can not only make your medication less effective but can also lead to withdrawal symptoms. 

Even in moderation, alcohol can impair your health while you are taking antidepressants.

Skipping doses will not change this but will likely present new problems to contend with.

Speak to your doctor to determine if it is safe for you to drink while taking Lexapro. 

In low doses and low-risk cases, they may deem it safe to have the occasional drink.

But because your dosage and medical history should be factored in, it is always best to seek the guidance of a professional than to make the decision ourselves. 

Dual Diagnosis: Depression and Alcohol Abuse

A dual diagnosis is the term we use when someone is battling both an addiction and a mental health disorder.

Depression and alcoholism are one of the most common dual diagnosis combinations. 

Alcohol abuse, antidepressant abuse, and co-occurring anxiety or depression would also fall into this category.

It can seem daunting when you are battling more than one overwhelming problem at once. 

Lexapro is meant to minimize feelings of depression and anxiety, but taking it with alcohol can increase these feelings instead.

If you’re wondering when Lexapro and alcohol become a problem, chances are good that they already have. 

But do not be discouraged. It is common for those with a substance use disorder to also have a mental illness.

Whether the addiction or the mental health disorder came first, proper and effective treatments are available for these co-occurring conditions. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

Dual Diagnosis Treatment OptionsOur dual diagnosis program offers attentive, specialized care from our outstanding addiction specialists.

Every dual diagnosis is unique. This means that your treatment plan and experience with us will also be unique. 

They will monitor your progress to make sure that they find what works best for you.

In our dual diagnosis program, you will participate in different types of treatments to improve both disorders.

Because co-occurring disorders feed off each other, only treating one is ineffective. 

If you treat either the addiction or the mental illness rather than both, neither disorder will truly improve.

We integrate treatments for both conditions simultaneously to ensure that you receive the care you need when you need it. 

Dual diagnosis treatments typically start with detoxification.

After the detox, we will help you determine whether inpatient or outpatient care will be better for you.

In both settings, we use techniques like behavioral therapies, support groups, and medications to help you regain control. 

Seeking Further Help for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

A dual diagnosis is not the end of the road. Hope is not lost.

Knowing and acknowledging that you have a problem is just the first step.

Recovery is a challenge, but our programs make that challenge more manageable.

Call our team of addiction specialists at Pathfinders at (866) 263-1820 to get started on your path to successful, lasting sobriety.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

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