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How many beers can you take while you´re on psychotropic meds?


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When I could drink, I was told one, maybe two but never more than two.  And it wasn't two in quick succession. It was no more than one per hour.  So, I'd get one drink and nurse it along for a really long time.

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I don't think drinking while on psych meds is particularly smart, and I'm not willing to do it because I don't want to fuck up the effects of the best meds combo I've been on in years.  I know that there are people who continue to drink though, so if you insist on trying it, do it incredibly carefully and slowly until you know what you can tolerate.

 

Honestly, I'm surprised your pdoc didn't just tell you not to drink at all on zyprexa.

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Guest Vapourware

It depends on the meds, really. Taking psych meds doesn't necessarily require avoiding alcohol, period. Best to ask your doctor about recommendations. I was advised to limit to 1-2 drinks, once a week. I don't drink anymore but that is due to alcohol dependence, not because of meds.

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I've been on psych meds since before I started drinking.

I still read PI sheets and such. Most say "Cause extra drowsiness". If I'm out with friends and NOT driving, I may have a pint or two. At home I like a glass of wine. It's just at parties and such I can get a bit out of control and have blacked out twice.. fortunately I was with good friends and nothing happened except one helluva hangover.

If I'm driving, NO DRINKS. I do have a fairly high tolerance for alcohol but I am not getting behind the wheel. I'd rather pay for a cab and parking ticket.

Some meds, though, can be very dangerous to drink on, like MAOI's.

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I want to add that drinking alcohol while on psych meds doesn't mean you're "fucking stupid". It's a blanket and ignorant statement to make.

 

I'm not advocating that everyone should drink. It depends on how you are affected by your meds and on what your doctor says. However, making the immediate conclusion that psych meds = no alcohol whatsoever is false. 

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A major problem for me with psych meds and drinking is that it completely changes the way I feel when drinking.  When I'm not on psych meds I can drink two drinks and that's about my max.  Three, and I'm done.  When I'm on psych meds (specifically mood stabilizers like Lamictal, Depakote, etc.) I feel none of the effects of alcohol.  I can drink, and drink, and drink and never feel drunk.  This is dangerous as I could consume enough alcohol to get alcohol poisoning and never feel drunk.  So, just because you may feel fine drinking alcohol, that doesn't mean it's a particularly good idea.       

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That's totally something that should be discussed with your doctor. I asked mine and his answers differed GREATLY from visit to visit (I was on all the meds that are in my sig right now the whole time) once I told him I'd had a pitcher of beer and a couple of glasses of wine. He said that was okay. next time he said one to three drinks is fine. Next time he said DON'T. So I don't know. New p-docs haven't even brought it up, so I don't know.

 

From personal experience? I'm probably lucky I'm not dead yet. A couple of years ago, on my birthday, I drank until I blacked out. I woke up with a totally busted face and neither I nor anyone else knew how it happened.

 

The most I've drunk recently was nine or ten beers (3.2 ABV, so yeah, shitty beer, ha ha) and that was a few months ago.

 

On average, once a week I probably have six in one night. But if I'm out with friends, I lose count of how much I drink, I haven't been out with friends for a year though, so this doesn't happen anymore.

 

I'll note that I don't take any valium at all on days that I'm sure I'll consume a lot of alcohol. If I just have three drinks, I'll have one or two valiums. But if I've had more than that, I won't take any. 

 

I don't think any doctor would approve of the way I drink. Even if it is just once a week. I know I shouldn't be doing this. I keep waking up in the morning though, so whatever.

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A major problem for me with psych meds and drinking is that it completely changes the way I feel when drinking.  When I'm not on psych meds I can drink two drinks and that's about my max.  Three, and I'm done.  When I'm on psych meds (specifically mood stabilizers like Lamictal, Depakote, etc.) I feel none of the effects of alcohol.  I can drink, and drink, and drink and never feel drunk.  This is dangerous as I could consume enough alcohol to get alcohol poisoning and never feel drunk.  So, just because you may feel fine drinking alcohol, that doesn't mean it's a particularly good idea.       

 

This is what happens to me.  So I rarely ever drink.  It's too scary to drink and never feel anything.  I also come from a long line of alcoholics, so I've always tried to keep a lid on drinking, it's a slippery slope I don't need to slide down. 

 

Definitely ask your pdoc their opinion.

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I've found that I can go from not feeling it to completely drunk unexpectedly, so I stick with a few drinks spread over a few hours. It does mean that if I'm at a party or gathering, I'm drinking really slowly and/or alternating with water. But I'm fine with that. If someone asks, I just say that I've found that too much too quickly can lead to not so good things.

 

Different types of alcohol effect me differently. I can handle rum and diet coke much better than wine for some reason, and white wine better than red wine.

 

But in the long run, I agree with the consult w/ your pdoc (which it sounds like you have been doing?). My family does a big wine-tasting trip each year where it's mostly drinking from sun-up to sun-down and I was given the okay to it so long as it was once per year. But I know that other meds would make it a no go.

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Thank you all for your responses, they are very helpful. I didn´t touch alcohol for 10 years, but due to social & work reasons, I will have to try it. Do you know exactly why you shouldn´t drink alcohol while on psychotropic meds? Is it because alcohol maximizes effects of meds?. Last night I drank half drink and it made me really sleepy.

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Thank you all for your responses, they are very helpful. I didn´t touch alcohol for 10 years, but due to social & work reasons, I will have to try it. Do you know exactly why you shouldn´t drink alcohol while on psychotropic meds? Is it because alcohol maximizes effects of meds?. Last night I drank half drink and it made me really sleepy.

 

Really, it depends on what you're on. On the dose that I'm taking of Valium everyday, large amounts of alcohol could potentially kill me. Most meds it seems that the negative side effect is "may increase drowsiness" which doesn't seem like a big deal at least to me because I LIKE to sleep well, but whatever. So right, it seriously just depends on what you're on.

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I haven't ever heard that alcohol necessarily increases the efficacy of AAPs but it certainly has the potential to screw around with their mechanism of action. Both alcohol and AAPs alter the amount of neurotransmitters in chemical pathways of the brain. Specifically they increase the efficiency of GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-2/144.pdf). Longer term use alters the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. Because there are no clinical trials for mixing alcohol with AAPs it is considered risky to experiment with the affects on yourself.

Alcohol also exacerbates the symptoms of mental illness, eg) depression, anxiety, moodiness which can negate the affects of the drug.

As for the amount it depends on the person, their weight and how much alcohol they can tolerate. I generally don't drink more than 1 per day and 5 standard drinks a week because that it all I feel comfortable with. Recently I have been letting my alcohol intake increase and I feel the worse for it. It's just not worth if for me anyway.

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