Substance Use

Citalopram and Alcohol Substance Abuse

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

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Mixing Alcohol With Citalopram: What Are the Dangers?

It is essential to know the risks of citalopram and alcohol consumption because the combination can have serious consequences. 

Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed medications, but they also come with a risk of abuse. This can lead to serious side effects and health issues, including addiction and overdose. If you or someone you know is abusing antidepressants or alcohol, it’s essential to seek help from a medical professional. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the addiction, but there are many resources available to help people recover from substance abuse. 

For support, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439.

Citalopram: What Is It?

Citalopram is a prescription drug and type of antidepressant 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. 

Citalopram 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. 

The Risks of Taking Alcohol and Citalopram Together

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.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against consuming alcohol while on citalopram.

Drinking alcohol while on antidepressants can also 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.

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 agitation, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, sweating, shaking, and 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.

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.

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

For support, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439.

Does Alcohol Hit Harder on Antidepressants?

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.

However, 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 Is the Most Common Side Effect of Drinking Alcohol While on Antidepressants?

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.

Long-Term Effects of Mixing Citalopram and Alcohol

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

Therefore, the long-term combination of citalopram and alcohol could worsen these potentially serious side effects.

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 do it inadvertently because they are unaware of the dangers of mixing these two substances.

Zinnia Healing Can Help

Overcoming addiction is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when multiple substances are involved. For instance, many people with an alcohol use disorder also take antidepressants. This combination can be dangerous as it can increase the risk of serious side effects like drowsiness and dizziness.

Zinnia Healing can help. Contact us today or 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.