Can I Drink Alcohol Whereas Taking Schizophrenia Medicines?


You probably have schizophrenia, chances are you’ll marvel if it’s OK to drink alcohol when taking medicines to handle your situation. Docs say that for most individuals, that’s not a good suggestion.

“Whereas many individuals can have a glass of wine at dinner with no difficulty, it’s extra problematic for these with schizophrenia, as they’ve a a lot increased price of alcohol addiction,” says Srinivas Muvvala, MD, MPH, an affiliate professor of psychiatry on the Yale College of Drugs in Connecticut. Consequently, that one drink usually results in a number of. When mixed with schizophrenia medicines, they might make signs worse and trigger doubtlessly lethal well being issues.

Why Consuming Is an Subject

You probably have schizophrenia, your physician might deal with it with a kind of medication referred to as antipsychotic medication. These medicines change the stability of chemical substances in your brain, serving to ease signs comparable to paranoia and seeing or listening to issues that aren’t there (hallucinations).

The medication work nicely, however they depress your central nervous system and sluggish mind exercise. This will result in unwanted effects comparable to dizziness, sleepiness, or bother pondering or concentrating, says Frank Chen, MD, a psychiatrist and chief medical director at Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. Alcohol can also be a central nervous system depressant, so the mixture of the 2 could make these unwanted effects worse.

Consuming alcohol when you’re on antipsychotics may also trigger much more severe reactions, together with:

All these results might make it tougher so that you can have logic, Chen notes. “Most of us are in a position to make good choices even after a pair drinks, however individuals with schizophrenia are already in danger for poor decision-making and impulse management,” he says. For instance, they might determine to drive, although they’re impaired. Then, they might find yourself arrested for drunken driving and even have an vehicle accident. “Sadly, many individuals with schizophrenia are incarcerated on account of precisely these kinds of conditions,” he says.


Alcohol might also make it tougher so that you can keep in mind to take your antipsychotic medicine. A few third of individuals with schizophrenia have alcohol use dysfunction, which suggests they will’t cease or management their consuming. “We all know that when individuals with schizophrenia drink alcohol, they’re much less more likely to observe their medicine routine,” Muvvala says. “Consequently, their signs worsen. They might have extra hallucinations and delusions, and see their cognitive and social abilities deteriorate. This may increasingly cause them to drink much more. This, in flip, might result in a vicious cycle that raises the danger of hospitalization, poorer bodily well being, depression, and even homelessness.”

As well as, alcohol might make it tougher to your physique to soak up the medicine, Chen says. It’s a diuretic, so it might probably make you pee extra. This implies the medication might cross via your system extra rapidly than they need to.

To high it off, the combination of antipsychotic medicine and alcohol might injury your liver. “Heavy drinking causes liver disease, and antipsychotic medicines can improve the danger of liver issues when mixed with alcohol,” Muvvala says. Analysis reveals that a couple of third of people that take antipsychotic medication additionally get liver issues.

What to Do if You Can’t Cease Consuming

It’s finest to not drink alcohol in any respect in the event you’re on antipsychotic medicines. Should you discover that you could’t cease, it’s vital to hunt therapy, Muvvala says. “Many sufferers with schizophrenia who’ve alcohol use dysfunction go undiagnosed, as a result of physicians and different medical suppliers don’t display screen for alcohol use adequately,” he says. “It’s vital to deal with each on the identical time, however that’s achieved in lower than 10% of all circumstances.”

Should you suppose you could have an issue with alcohol, don’t all of a sudden cease consuming by yourself. This will trigger alcohol withdrawal signs comparable to agitation, hallucination, or seizures. Your physician may help you discover a substance abuse or habit heart to oversee you throughout your detox. They might advocate FDA-approved medicines like naltrexone, which helps scale back the urge and want to drink, Muvvala says.

“It’s vital to work with psychiatrists with an understanding of each problems, so you may get the very best therapy potential,” he says. This implies you’ll be extra more likely to follow your therapy plan for schizophrenia.



Srinivas Muvvala, MD, MPH, affiliate professor of psychiatry on the Yale College of Drugs.

Frank Chen, MD, psychiatrist and chief medical director at Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital.

Alcohol Analysis and Well being: “Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Dysfunction and Schizophrenia.”

Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry: “Antipsychotic Medication and Liver Damage.”

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