Can You Drink Alcohol Free Cider On Antidepressants?

There are lots of occasions when you know alcohol might be a bad idea. This could be when you are sick, if you are pregnant or even when you are taking medication. But the huge new growth market in the cider world is in the non alcoholic/alcohol free subsection. Supermarket shelves are filling up with alcohol free cider but new converts have many questions, one i see a lot is… “Can you drink alcohol free cider on antidepressants?”

Can you drink alcohol free cider on antidepressants?

Yes, you can drink alcohol free cider on antidepressants, in moderation. You would have to drink a lot of alcohol free cider to have an interaction with antidepressants such as increased drowsiness, increased depressive risk or blood pressure changes with MAOIs.

100 alcohol free ciders is the equivalent of 1 alcoholic cider so drinking one or two alcohol free beers is very low risk of any interaction. However, it is important to understand why alcohol is not recommended with antidepressants so as to make an informed decision.

Can you drink alcoholic cider on antidepressants?

A good first step in understanding if you can drink non alcoholic cider when on antidepressants, is to consider why alcohol is not recommended.

What is it about alcoholic cider that can interact with antidepressants and then does non alcoholic carry the same risk?

There is going to be no prizes for guessing, the key variable is alcohol, or the lack of it.

Increased side effects

The side effects you might experience from antidepressants is magnified if you drink alcohol along with them.

Some of these include

  • headaches.
  • nausea.
  • insomnia.
  • drowsiness.
  • dry mouth.
  • dizziness.
  • loss of appetite.
  • constipation

Not only will the antidepressant side effects increase, so will the side effects of any other medications your are taking such as sleeping or pain medication.

Increased drowsiness

Some of the antidepressants can directly cause drowsiness, as will alcohol. When taken together this can be magnified and become more intense.

Depression risk

You are prescribed antidepressant medication in order to boost your mood and lift depression. Alcohol is a known depressant so will counteract any of the benefits of the medication you are prescribed. 

Blood pressure spike on MAOIs

One of the most dangerous interactions between alcohol and antidepressants is with a particular set of medications called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).

Alcohol can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure with these medications so it is best avoided.

Decreased alertness or sharpness

Needless to say, alcohol dulls your senses and mental sharpness. This is magnified when taken with antidepressants and you may feel like you are in a fog or can’t concentration or make decisions.

How much alcohol is in alcohol free cider?

So what about alcohol free cider. This concept confuses many people. No other foods or drinks has an alcohol percentage printed on it so any alcohol percentage must be significant, right? 

Alcohol free cider looks like beer and is called “cider”. It has 0.0% or <0.05% alcohol by volume on the bottle, so just how much alcohol is in alcohol free cider.

There are lots of different labelling and names in the alcohol free cider world. Ive written a full article on what all the names mean and how to navigate your way around it, you can read it here.

A non alcoholic cider has an ABV of 0.5% or less.

An alcohol free cider will have an ABV of less than 0.05%.

To get a clearer idea of just how low <0.05% ABV actually is, you can look at some common foods and drinks that contain similar amounts of alcohol. Fruit juices have way more alcohol by volume than alcohol free beer and even breads do!

For a full article on the hidden alcohol in common foods, you can read here

How many alcohol free beers equals one cider?

The USDA describe a standard beer as having 5% alcohol by volume and i have used that as a proxy for cider as they are very similar. If we compare this to a standard alcohol free cider of 0.05% alcohol by volume, you would need 100 alcohol free ciders to equal one alcoholic beer. 

An alcohol free cider will have less than 1% of the alcohol of an alcoholic cider.

Will alcohol free cider cause the complications alcoholic beer does?

The biggest difference between alcoholic and alcohol free cider is the amount of alcohol in each. As we have seen above, alcohol free beer has about 1% the amount of alcohol or less than alcoholic ciders. 

It is therefore a good assumption that would would be able to drink up to x100 as many alcohol free ciders as you would alcoholic beers before you get into any interactions or issues with antidepressants. 

If you are drinking a few alcohol free ciders in moderation, 2-3 times a week, that is not enough alcohol to have any significant interaction with antidepressants. 

However, if you feel you are having some side effects then it would be a good plan to abstain and discuss it with your doctor.

Can alcohol free cider get you drunk?

To get drunk, you need to drink x400 12fl oz cans of non alcoholic beer in less than 2 hrs.

This equals 4800fl oz of alcohol free cider, 35 gallons of alcohol free cider or 142 litres of alcohol free cider in 2hours. 

Anther way to look at it is you will have to drink a 12fl oz can of non alcoholic cider, every 18 seconds, for 2 hours, to get drunk.

It is not possible to drink 4800fl oz of alcohol free cider in 2 hours, so it is not possible to get drunk on alcohol free cider.

Can you drink alcohol free cider on antabuse?

I have calculated can drink up to 25 12fl oz cans of non alcoholic cider before you would reach the minimum blood alcohol concentration where a reaction with Antabuse might occur. Initial symptoms would be very mild so more severe symptoms would not occur until after many more.

Therefore if you want to have a few cans, there should be zero risk of any issues.

My full article on non alcoholic cider and antabuse can be read here

Can you drink non alcoholic cider on metronidazole?

Metronidazole (Flagyl) is probably the main antibiotic you will be prescribed which has a strong interaction with alcohol so i it worth just reiterating it. It actually causes the reaction that antabuse does. The issue is, i cant find any evidence as to what blood alcohol concentration you start to get symptoms at.

However, i would expect the blood alcohol threshold for a reaction to be similar to antabuse so drinking alcohol free beer in moderation shoaled have no to very low risk.

For a full overview of if you can drink non alcoholic cider with antibiotics, you can read my article here

Can you drink alcohol free cider on antidepressants?

In general, you can safely drink alcohol free cider in moderation, when taking antidepressants. If you feel you are having unwanted side effects, increased drowsiness or the medications are not as effective as they should be, then it would be wise to abstain from alcohol free cider.

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