Verify Insurance

Paxil and Alcohol: Risks and Side Effects

Combining alcohol with Paxil is harmful since they act on the same part of the brain. Together they slow brain function to dangerous levels.

Major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, can lead to long-term irritability and sadness. This mental illness may occur when a person loses someone they loved or face life challenges. To treat various mental health disorders like anxiety, doctors may prescribe an antidepressant known as Paxil.

This drug balances the chemical in the brain and stabilizes the mood. People often use alcohol to overcome mental health issues. If they combine this prescription drug with alcohol to amplify the soothing effects, then it can have harmful side effects. 

The use of Paxil with alcohol develops a risk of substance addiction. The Haven Detox-South Florida offers a supportive environment during the residential rehab program. It helps you to overcome addiction and learn new ways to live a healthy life.

Key Takeaways

Paxil helps treat various mental health conditions. Mixing it with alcohol to enhance its calming effect is not a healthy way to overcome depression or other mental health disorders.

This article will help you learn about Paxil, its interaction with alcohol, and ways to overcome substance abuse. Some of the highlighted key points are:           

  • Paxil belongs to the SSRI class of drugs and treats anxiety, PTSD, OCD, etc.
  • Learn about its interaction and inform the doctor about your health before using it. Avoid using this medicine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Combining alcohol with Paxil is harmful since they act on the same part of the brain.
  • Alcohol with Paxil can cause serotonin syndrome, worsens depression, and can cause damage to the organs.
  • Detox, residential, and outpatient programs are professional help that can take you to recovery.

Let us become part of your recovery journey. Contact us to learn more about our services at (561) 328-8627

Paxil Uses and Precautionary Measures

Paxil is the brand name for Paroxetine and belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class of drugs. This medication balances the chemicals in the brain that majorly cause mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. 

Paxil is used to treat various mental health conditions, such as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Panic disorder

Discussing your medical history with your physician before using any medication is mandatory. Avoid using this drug if you are allergic to any of the active ingredients in Paxil.

People with mental illness will likely misuse drugs like Paxil or abuse alcohol. The Haven Detox-South Florida offers medical detox to help you safely get rid of toxins, undergo this procedure, and lower the risk of relapse.

Avoid taking this medicine if you used an MAO inhibitor within 14 days before or after taking Paxil. Inform your doctor if you have suffered from the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Seizures
  • Drug addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Bipolar disorder

Side Effects of Paxil You Should Know

Paroxetine, sold under the brand name Paxil, boosts the serotonin production in your brain, which regulates mood. This drug has the most side effects as compared to other SSRI medicines. One of the common side effects is nausea, which you can avoid by eating small portions of food.

Paxil makes you feel drowsy, but you will start to feel normal again after a few days. Until then, avoid activities that require your attention, like operating heavy machinery.

Misusing this drug can damage the brain’s parts that manage your sleep cycle. You may have difficulty falling asleep or will stay asleep for longer hours. Common side effects of Paxil include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Higher risk of bleeding if the patient uses blood thinners
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Suicidal thoughts   

You must follow the instructions of a healthcare provider and avoid taking more than the recommended dose. If you start to feel better, do not stop using it unless a medical professional allows you to because you may experience withdrawal symptoms.      

Combining Paxil With Alcohol

People who suffer from alcohol use disorder are likely to experience clinical depression or vice versa. If advised to take SSRIs, such individuals will likely combine them with alcohol to intensify both drugs’ euphoric effects. If you are taking Paxil, you should be careful about using alcoholic beverages.

Depression is a serious mental illness, and alcohol intake may seem a good way to alleviate symptoms. However, alcohol may make you feel comfortable for a while because it acts as a depressant and worsens the symptoms.

A person with a mood disorder is at high risk of developing alcohol use disorder since they use it as a self-medication. Moreover, alcohol with SSRIs like Paxil will amplify its side effects, and you will experience poor motor skills, lack of concentration, drowsiness, and sedation.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 25.8 percent of people around 18 misused alcohol in 2019. Young adults exposed to drinking may develop tolerance and combine it with SSRI to enhance its effects.

Both substances act on your central nervous system and affect GABA and serotonin. They increase the level of GABA that makes you feel good for a short time. Moreover, too much serotonin in your brain leads to diarrhea, high blood pressure, and irritability.

Paxil and Alcohol: Health Complications

Alcohol consumption alone can cause physical and mental problems. Combining it with antidepressant medication can be life-threatening. This combination can cause severe side effects and may lead to overdose. Such individuals may require immediate medical attention.

Alcohol can disrupt the effectiveness of this drug on patients, and you may experience hangover anxiety. It is a condition that leads you to stress after consuming too much alcohol with SSRI medication. Serious side effects of drinking alcohol while on Paxil include:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Manic episodes
  • Vomiting

Amplified Depression Symptoms

Alcohol abuse and depression are two conditions that may coexist. Alcohol use, as explained, can worsen the symptoms of mood disorders.

Sometimes healthy individuals who drink alcohol for a long time also develop symptoms of depression. It is not clear which condition comes first, alcohol or depression.

However, using wine, beer, or other drinks containing alcohol can lead to hopelessness, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Such conditions are treated with Paxil, but alcohol makes medications less effective and can interfere with treatment.

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin is a severe drug reaction when a medicine builds up high serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that your body produces naturally. This chemical is essential for your nerve cells and brain to function correctly. An imbalance of this chemical leads to depressive thoughts and anxiousness.

SSRIs are known to increase the production of serotonin and balance it. However, when you drink alcohol that also acts on the same chemical, then it leads to excessive serotonin production.

The symptoms of this illness range from mild to severe. You may experience fever, diarrhea, shivering, and seizures.

Liver Damage

The liver is responsible for filtering substances in our body, like alcohol and drugs. Excessive alcohol consumption puts a strain on your liver.

The condition gets worse when you drink while taking medication. That can lead to liver damage. Paxil alone does not cause liver damage, but with alcohol, combining them can impair liver function.

Methods to Break Free From Drug and Alcohol Abuse

You can overcome addiction and mental illness by seeking medical advice and help at rehab centers. You may feel lost, but you can find a suitable rehab facility by getting information from a healthcare provider. You can start a treatment to recover from the effects of addiction.

If you try to quit drinking to use the drug safely, you will likely experience alcohol cravings and may use it to feel better. The treatment center offers detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment to help you manage cravings.


Medical detox helps patients safely overcome withdrawal symptoms, and healthcare providers offer medication to help them feel better. The length of detoxification depends on the condition and how long an individual has misused Paxil with alcohol.

Their detox process consists of three steps:

  • The first step is an evaluation, where the medical team assesses patients for physical and mental issues
  • The second step is stabilization, where doctors prescribe medication to prevent complications
  • The third step is preparation for a treatment program

A person often feels stuck and requires treatment to overcome substance addiction. The Haven Detox-South Florida helps you to undergo safe detox to get rid of toxins in your body and move forward with recovery.

Inpatient Rehab Program

Inpatient or residential rehab is suitable for people suffering from co-occurring mental illnesses. This program follows a schedule that includes therapies, counseling, special meals, and other activities to improve the patient’s quality of life. The patient has to stay at the facility for 24/7 medical care.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab allows clients to continue working at the office or attending classes at school. After inpatient rehab, you can continue receiving treatment at an outpatient program. They offer behavioral therapies and teach ways to manage triggers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you drink alcohol while taking Paxil?

Drinking alcohol while taking an antidepressant like Paxil (paroxetine) works against your desire to experience relief from anxiety and sadness. 
Alcohol and paroxetine affect the same brain chemicals. When Paxil and alcohol are taken together, the effects of the alcohol are amplified.
It could increase depressive symptoms, disrupt motor abilities, or impair thinking and judgment. That is why Paxil users are recommended to withdraw from drinking alcohol. You can inform a doctor about your drinking problem since they can help you to receive quality treatment. 

What can you not mix with Paxil?

It is essential to visit the doctor when you are taking Paxil to make sure that the medicine is working correctly. Avoid paroxetine with monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO) because it may cause agitation, confusion, stomach ache, restlessness, and high blood pressure.           
Do not take pimozide with this drug because it can cause serious heart disease. Teenagers should be cautious since it may result in agitation and abnormal behavior. Use this medication according to the healthcare professional’s advice and ask them before using any medication when you are taking Paxil. 

Is it OK to drink alcohol while on antidepressants?         

It is best to avoid combining antidepressants with alcohol because it can worsen your symptoms and can put your life in danger. You may start to feel more depressed and experience suicidal thoughts. This combination can affect your judgment, motor skills, and slow reaction time. 
Some combinations might put you to sleep. This combination can affect your ability to drive or perform other tasks that demand concentration and focus. Moreover, it causes extreme drowsiness and can damage your vital organs, such as the liver.

Combat Addiction With The Haven Detox-South Florida 

If you are abusing alcohol or drugs right now, you might think it is impossible to start living without them. Sobriety is not just a dream. It can become a reality once you are determined to seek professional help. Get in touch with The Haven Detox-South Florida, where we are prepared to help you.

Our medical professionals aim to provide you with quality care and support during residential treatment programs. You can undergo addiction treatment in a non-judgmental environment where you can learn new ways to live a healthy life.    

During medical detox, individuals may experience unpleasant effects such as dehydration. To help you with that, we offer IV therapy to rehydrate you. This also alleviates withdrawal symptoms.

We aim to provide comfort to each patient. Contact us at (561) 328-8627 to learn more about our services.

We're Here 24/7

Our admissions department is available 24/7 and happy to answer any questions you may have about our facility or treatment options.