What are the dangers of Sertraline and alcohol hangovers?

In this article, we will discuss the dangers associated with mixing Sertraline and alcohol. Some side effects may appear immediately, and some are associated with repeated use of Sertraline and alcohol excessively. 

What are the dangers of Sertraline and alcohol hangovers?

Taking Sertraline and alcohol together is associated with some dangers or potential health risks. These include: 

Side effects

Excessive alcohol intake while on Sertraline can intensify common side effects of the medication. These may include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. 

You might also experience increased anxiety, restlessness, and even heart palpitations. The combination can make you feel extremely uncomfortable and unwell (1,2).

Worsening of depression

Alcohol is known to be a depressant, and if you’re taking Sertraline to manage depression, consuming alcohol can undermine the medication’s effectiveness. 

It can lead to a rapid decline in mood, potentially intensifying feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness. This is precisely the opposite of what Sertraline is intended to achieve (3).

Risk of suicidal behaviour

Alcohol can impair your judgment and decision-making ability, making you more susceptible to impulsive behaviour, including suicidal thoughts or actions. If you have a history of depression or suicidal tendencies, mixing alcohol with Sertraline can significantly increase this risk (3).

Impaired motor coordination

Combining alcohol and Sertraline can affect your motor skills and coordination. You may become unsteady on your feet, which increases the likelihood of accidents, falls, and injuries. 

This impairment can persist even after the immediate effects of alcohol wear off, potentially leading to dangerous situations.

Liver damage

While not an acute side effect, the long-term combination of alcohol and Sertraline can be detrimental to your liver. 

Both substances are metabolised in the liver, and excessive alcohol consumption, even in the presence of Sertraline, can contribute to liver damage over time (4). This damage can be irreversible and may lead to serious health complications.

Should you completely avoid alcohol while taking Sertraline? 

You should completely avoid alcohol while taking Sertraline, especially if you are a new user. Although most doctors suggest that you can drink a glass or two occasionally. 

However, the FDA label for Sertraline hydrochloride (Brand name: ZOLOFT) clearly states that you should altogether avoid the use of alcohol while being treated with Sertraline (5). It is crucial for new users who don’t know how the medication will make them feel. 

It is also important to not combine these two and engage in any activity that requires your full mental alertness, like driving or operating heavy machinery.

Alcohol should generally be avoided when being treated with antidepressants, including Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Duloxetine, etc.

What to do if you have taken alcohol and Sertraline together and you feel unwell?

If you suspect you’ve ingested a high dose of Sertraline along with alcohol or are experiencing severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Even if your symptoms are mild, it’s essential not to ignore them. 

Some early signs of an adverse reaction to this combination can include nausea, dizziness, confusion, or extreme drowsiness. These symptoms should not be taken lightly, as they could worsen rapidly. 

When you seek medical assistance, be honest about the substances you’ve consumed, the doses, and the timing. This information is crucial for healthcare providers to determine the best treatment strategy for you. 

If you find that you’re repeatedly mixing alcohol with Sertraline or struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s essential to seek help beyond this immediate situation. 

Consider discussing your alcohol consumption with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance, therapy options, or necessary treatments for alcohol cessation.


In this article, we have discussed the dangers associated with mixing Sertraline and alcohol. We have discussed some short-term and long-term dangers, and what one should do if they occur.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547689


Menkes DB, Herxheimer A. Interaction between antidepressants and alcohol: signal amplification by multiple case reports. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2014;26(3):163-70. doi: 10.3233/JRS-140632. PMID: 25214162. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25214162/


Boden JM, Fergusson DM. Alcohol and depression. Addiction. 2011 May;106(5):906-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03351.x. Epub 2011 Mar 7. PMID: 21382111. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21382111/


Patel R, Mueller M. Alcoholic Liver Disease. 2023 Jul 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31536239. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546632


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/019839s74s86s87_20990s35s44s45lbl.pdf

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site