Substance Use

Mixing Citalopram and Alcohol: Can You Drink on Citalopram?

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Citalopram and Alcohol Substance Abuse

Citalopram (Celexa) is sometimes used to treat other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, alcoholism, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and certain male sexual problems. Doctors may also prescribe it to help relieve tingling in the hands and feet caused by diabetes. 

No matter what health conditions a person has, someone using citalopram with alcohol is in danger of serious side effects.

Are you looking for a confidential treatment program that can help you overcome prescription drug addiction or get your alcohol consumption in check? Zinnia Health can help. Call our team today at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our treatment options.

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What Are The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Citalopram?

Misusing citalopram by taking too much or combining it with alcohol can lead to serious side effects and health issues, including addiction and overdose.

Some of the risks of combining citalopram and alcohol include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Overdose
  • Death

Can You Drink on Citalopram?

You should never drink alcohol when taking antidepressants like Citalopram. Citalopram is a prescription drug also known by the brand name Celexa. It is used to treat depression and anxiety and belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Combining SSRIs with alcohol is not recommended.

While antidepressants like Celexa and Lexapro (also known as escitalopram) can effectively treat depression, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and adverse effects associated with their use.

A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults who have taken citalopram during clinical studies have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors. As alcohol is a depressant, it can worsen these feelings.

How Long After Taking Citalopram Can You Drink Alcohol?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explicitly warns against consuming alcohol while on citalopram. Additionally, drinking alcohol while on antidepressants can make you more likely to feel dizzy or drowsy. Drowsiness and dizziness make it incredibly dangerous to drive or operate machinery while under the influence.

If you have taken citalopram and you are wondering about safe alcohol intake, it’s best to ask your healthcare provider for their recommendations. Generally, you’ll want to wait until your body has completely cleared the drug out of your system before drinking. This can take up to 24 hours.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol and Citalopram?

People might mix alcohol and citalopram because they think drinking alcohol will help them feel better. However, drinking alcohol while taking citalopram can actually make depression worse.

Additionally, people might mix alcohol and citalopram because they are trying to self-medicate their anxiety or insomnia. However, this is not an effective treatment for these conditions and can actually make them worse. 

Others may mix these substances inadvertently because they are unaware of the dangers of combining them.

If you need help with addiction, Zinnia Health is standing by. Call our team today at (855) 430-9439 to discuss the next steps in a confidential phone call.

Why Is It Dangerous to Mix Citalopram with Alcohol?

If you’re taking antidepressants, it’s essential to be aware that alcohol use can make the symptoms of depression worse. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can lower your mood and increase feelings of sadness and anxiety. So, if you’re struggling with depression, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.

One known risk of taking citalopram is serotonin syndrome, a condition characterized by high levels of serotonin in the body. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Nausea

Although fatal outcomes with citalopram overdoses are rare, serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening in severe cases. Taking alcohol and citalopram together can increase the risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Consuming alcohol with citalopram can also interfere with the way your medication works. If you choose to drink, it’s important to seek medical advice about how much alcohol is safe to consume.

What Can Happen if You Drink on Citalopram?

Drinking while taking antidepressants can intensify the effects of the alcohol and make it more difficult to process. It can also cause the medications to lose their effectiveness.

For these reasons, if you’re taking antidepressants, it’s best to avoid drinking altogether.

If you choose to drink, you must be aware of the risks and take steps to reduce them. Be sure to start with small amounts and see how your body responds. You may feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than usual. Or you may feel nauseous or dizzy. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop drinking immediately.

Also, avoid drinking on an empty stomach, and drink plenty of water. You should also limit yourself to one or two drinks and avoid using hard liquor or mixing different types of alcohol. Following these precautions can help minimize the risks of drinking while taking antidepressants.

People who take antidepressants may find that alcohol has a stronger effect on them than on people who don’t take the medication. That’s because alcohol can interfere with how the body metabolizes antidepressants. As a result, people who drink while taking antidepressants may experience more severe side effects, such as drowsiness and impaired motor skills.

Therefore, it’s important for people taking antidepressants to be aware of the potential risks of drinking and to consult with their doctor before consuming alcohol.

What Are the Symptoms From Drinking Alcohol with Citalopram?

The most common side effect of drinking alcohol while on antidepressants is drowsiness. This can make it difficult to concentrate and make safe decisions. Drinking alcohol while on antidepressants can also cause dizziness, blurred vision, and impaired coordination.

Common long-term side effects of citalopram include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea

Rarer side effects include:

  • Heart problems like tachycardia and heart attack
  • Psychiatric issues like suicidal ideation or mania

Taken long term, alcohol also increases the risk of:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart problems, including the risk of heart attack
  • Mental health problems, including the risk of suicide

The long-term combination of citalopram and alcohol could worsen these potentially serious side effects and lead to other unpredictable outcomes due to drug interactions.

How to Get Help For a Citalopram Addiction

Many people struggling with alcohol abuse also suffer from depression. While both substance use disorders can be challenging to overcome, the combination of alcohol use disorder and antidepressants can make it even more complicated. For many people, the only way to safely overcome addiction and depression is to seek professional help. 

If you are looking for more information about substance abuse treatment, your options include:

Are you or someone you love struggling with addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Call (855) 430-9439 to speak to a member of our team. We can provide the resources and support you or your loved one need to overcome substance use. Our inpatient and outpatient treatment programs make it possible to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings while also addressing any underlying mental health disorders.

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