Mixing Benzos and Antidepressants: What You Need to Know

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Benzos and antidepressants are two of the most commonly prescribed medications, but mixing them can be risky. Benzodiazepines, like Xanax and Valium, work by slowing activity in the brain to reduce anxiety and induce calmness.

Antidepressants, such as Prozac and Zoloft, work by balancing chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and stress. While benzos and antidepressants can be safe and effective when used alone and as prescribed, combining them may lead to dangerous side effects.

The sedative effects of benzos can be amplified by antidepressants, causing an overdose even when taken in normal amounts. Memory problems, confusion, and impaired coordination are also possible.

Benzos and antidepressants can be used safely in combination for some people, but you need to do it carefully and cautiously. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options or lifestyle changes that could help before mixing these powerful medications. Your mental health and safety should be the top priority.

Why Benzos and Antidepressants Are Sometimes Prescribed Together

Sometimes, doctors prescribe benzos (like Xanax or Valium) and antidepressants together. This combo can be helpful but also risky. Here’s why:

Improved Symptom Relief

Benzos target anxiety and insomnia, while antidepressants treat depression and anxiety. Used together, they can effectively relieve multiple symptoms. Many people find this combination works when other treatments haven’t.

Increased Side Effects

However, taking these drugs together often increases side effects like:

  • Drowsiness, fatigue and impaired coordination. This can make activities like driving dangerous.
  • Memory and cognition problems. You may experience confusion, disorientation and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Dependence and withdrawal. The likelihood of becoming addicted to or reliant on these medications rises when taken long-term or at high doses. Withdrawal can also be more severe.
  • Respiratory depression. In rare cases, the central nervous system is suppressed so much that breathing slows or stops, which can be fatal without emergency help.

The Dangers of Combining Benzos and Antidepressants

Mixing benzodiazepines (benzos) and antidepressants can be dangerous. These two medications work in different ways, and combining them may lead to harmful side effects.

Sedation and Slowed Breathing

Benzos are sedatives that can slow your breathing and heart rate, especially when taken in high doses. Antidepressants also often cause drowsiness and dizziness. Taking these medications together amplifies these side effects, which could lead to an overdose. You may experience extreme sedation, dangerously slow breathing, confusion, and even loss of consciousness.

Impaired Memory and Judgment

Both benzos and antidepressants can negatively impact your memory, concentration and decision-making on their own. Combining them exacerbates these cognitive difficulties and can make it unsafe to drive or operate machinery. Your memory and judgment may be significantly impaired.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you stop taking either benzos or antidepressants abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Quitting both medications at the same time or quickly tapering the dosage of one while stopping the other medication can lead to severe withdrawal effects like nausea, tremors, panic attacks and seizures in some cases.

Safer Alternatives to Mixing Benzos and Antidepressants

Rather than mixing benzos and antidepressants, there are safer alternatives for treating anxiety and depression.


Speaking with a therapist or counselor can be very helpful for gaining insights into the root causes of your symptoms and learning coping strategies. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is particularly effective for anxiety and depression. CBT helps challenge negative thought patterns and adopt healthier ways of thinking.


Exercise is a natural mood booster that can help ease symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Even just 30 minutes of walking or light activity a day a few times a week can help. Yoga and meditation are also great options for relaxation and stress relief.

Improved sleep

Getting adequate sleep is essential for your mental health and mood. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Try sticking to a regular sleep schedule, limiting screen time before bed, and making your bedroom as dark as possible.

Dietary changes

What you eat can significantly impact your mood and stress levels. Focus on a balanced diet with lots of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit excess sugar, caffeine, and alcohol intake, which can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water also helps support a healthy mood and mindset.

Herbal supplements

Some herbal supplements may help ease anxiety and naturally boost your mood. Options to consider include ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric or curcumin. However, always talk to your doctor first before taking any supplements to make sure they do not interact with any medications you’re on.

For More Information on Benzos and Antidepressants, Reach Out to Experienced Doctors

Mixing benzodiazepines (“benzos”) and antidepressants can be risky. These medications work in different ways, and combining them may cause side effects. Always talk to your doctor before mixing these drugs. The specific effects depend on the particular drugs and dosages involved. Close monitoring by your doctor is needed, especially when first starting or changing medications.

For more information on safely mixing medications, call us today at (877) 895-3231. Talk to one of our qualified staff members. They will talk you through possible risks based on your medical history and prescribe the lowest effective dosages. At Launch Centers, we prioritize your mental health and well-being.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

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    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

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    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

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    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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