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Thread: Sertraline, alcohol, stress and blips

  1. #1

    Question Sertraline, alcohol, stress and blips

    Hello All!

    Decided to post here after a long time of reading. I had been on 50mg of sertraline for about 2 years, and it really did the trick with my long standing anxiety.


    About 7 weeks ago I had a rough day at work and stupidly decided to drink that night. A lot. (always have been a bit of a drinker by the way).


    The next day was my birthday, and I had a pretty nice day, although with a bit of a hangover. That evening at about 6 it was time for me and my girlfriend to head off to a party with her coworkers, people I have never met. And the anxiety hit my like a runaway train.


    We were about 10 yards from the party when I started being sick, sweating, hard to breath. In the end we didn't go in. But this sparked a massive downward spiral. My GP put me up to 100mg which caused about 3 weeks of awful side effects but I got through it and started to feel better!


    3 Days ago I went out with friends and drank again. And I really don't need to be told how stupid that was. Since then its been back to square one. Sickness, shaking and anxiety all day for the last three days.


    I don't know if it was purely the booze or the fact that the sequel to that original party is coming up in a week. I've decided to limit myself to 2 pints of beer once a week, something I know I can do.


    My question is though, is this all in my head or do I have some sort of chemical imbalance? Was it cause just by the booze or also the party? Just looking for people with similar experiences to tell me that there is hope and I will actually get through this party. I can't let my gf down again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Sertraline, alcohol, stress and blips

    Quote Originally Posted by Beard_Face View Post
    My question is though, is this all in my head or do I have some sort of chemical imbalance?
    Welcome to NoMorePanic,

    Yes, it is all in your head, but it isn't a chemical imbalance. There is no such thing.

    What anxious and depressed brains lack is cells in parts of their hippocampal regions caused by high brain stress hormone levels, especially of cortisol, which inhibits the growth of new cells leading to atrophy (see also). Antidepressants (ADs) work by stimulating neurogenesis, the production of new hippocampal brain cells. It is the new cells that produce the therapeutic response, not the meds directly.

    About 7 weeks ago I had a rough day at work and stupidly decided to drink that night. A lot. (always have been a bit of a drinker by the way).
    Unfortunately, if you have an anxiety disorder, or depression then alcohol won't do you any favours as it has the same affect on hippocampal neurogenesis as cortisol. Even moderate drinking can reduce hippocampus neurogenesis by nearly half (see also: Morris SA, 2010; Crews FT, 2003). You'll probably get away with an occasional drink, maybe two, every now and again, but getting hammered often is not a good idea. Plus, alcohol and ADs are not a good combination. The results can be unpredictable.

    But this sparked a massive downward spiral. My GP put me up to 100mg which caused about 3 weeks of awful side effects but I got through it and started to feel better!
    You were fortunate in doing well on only 50mg for so long. This is usually the minimum effective dose with most needing to take 100-150mg for optimum results.

    3 Days ago I went out with friends and drank again. And I really don't need to be told how stupid that was. Since then its been back to square one. Sickness, shaking and anxiety all day for the last three days.

    ...I've decided to limit myself to 2 pints of beer once a week, something I know I can do.

    ...I can't let my gf down again.
    Cutting back the amount you drink in both in volume and frequency would be a very good idea. Even 2 pints may be marginal.

    Was it cause just by the booze or also the party?
    The extra stress of meeting people you've never met in a setting you may not have been able to easily leave may have played a part, but I assume these weren't factors in the recent drinks with friends.

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