Before I was diagnosed with bipolar II and anxiety, I did a lot of partying. I may have been hypomanic — I don’t know for sure. I felt more confident as soon as I had my first shot and a beer, and I bellied up to the bar as soon as I walked in. Jägermeister and Miller Lite were my go-to’s. When Mind Erasers became popular, I’d down several in one night. For maximum effect, you drink these particular shots quickly through a straw. I also smoked pot and did coke. This was in my early 20s. Once I was diagnosed at age 25, I quit hitting the bars. I quit partying altogether.
Presently, I seldom drink, but I do drink. On the few occasions we go out to dinner, I may have a glass of wine — 2 at the most, which is rare. Sometimes, I’ll have a mixture of Malibu Rum and orange juice. Malibu contains half the alcohol as other spirits, such as vodka. I’ve also realized that I don’t even like beer, and yet I drank it for years!
The psychiatrists I’ve seen regularly (#s 3 and 6) have never told me not to drink, nor have they suggested it. But I’ve often considered quitting drinking because of my meds.
According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, you may become drowsy if you mix antidepressants with alcohol, or feel “more depressed and anxious,” among other things. Mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines, according to this article on the American Addiction Centers website includes “a reduction in cognition,” which in turn, “can result in . . . a loss of inhibitions [and] impaired judgment,” as well as other other undesirable effects. And yet, a PDF factsheet from Rethink.org states that taking mood stabilizers doesn’t mean that you “have to stop drinking alcohol completely. But you should try not to have more than one or two drinks a day.” Finally, according to this article on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website, if you’re on an atypical antipsychotic, “Having one or two drinks on occasion should be okay — but remember that one drink may have the effect of two or even three drinks.”
I take all of these types of medications. Yet the articles leave me bewildered because some strongly suggest not to drink, while others say that it’s okay, as long as you only have a couple. I’ve never experienced drowsiness or loss of inhibition when I drink these days, but the articles concern me. There’s no reason I need to drink at all, so I’m thinking I should stop. On the other hand, a part of me thinks it’s okay, as long as I only have a drink or two while socializing. So confusing.
Do you think it’s okay for someone taking these types of meds to have a drink once in a while? Why or why not?