Feb. 9, 2021 – When Emily, 22, was first prescribed antidepressants at 16, she continued her weekend ritual of binge-drinking at parties. Over time, she realised it wasn’t good for her. “Alcohol used to lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts for me,” she says. “All my suicide attempts were usually after I’d been drinking, or while I was still drunk.”

Many people suffering from depression are also likely to drink, but “alcohol will stop a lot of antidepressants working”, says Winstock. He says this is because alcohol alters the ability of the antidepressant to change your chemical imbalance, and can exacerbate your mood. So, if you’re already depressed or anxious, you could feel worse. Different drugs and doses will react in different ways to varying types of antidepressants. And, of course, everyone has unique physical responses to drugs and drug mixtures. 

“We treat so many people who have ‘dual diagnosis’, where they have a drug and mental health problem,” says Nuno Albuquerque, treatment lead at UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT). “How a person reacts to drugs always differs depending on both their physical and psychological situation at the time of use.”



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