Celexa and Alcohol: Potential Problems
What are the potential problems with taking citalopram (also known as Cipralex) or any other SSRI antidepressant? What are some of these possible side effects? Is it safe to take them at all? How much do they affect your life?
These questions are very important because many people decide to try antidepressants after reading online warnings from doctors or from friends who have tried them. Many people also get their hands on prescription bottles of drugs like citalopram without knowing what they contain. The truth is, there isn’t enough research yet to answer these questions fully. But if you’re thinking about trying one of these medications, here’s what you need to know so that you don’t end up in a bad situation.
1) You Can Die From Taking Them
The first thing to understand is that the risk of dying while taking an antidepressant medication is real. There is no way around this fact. The only good news is that it doesn’t happen often. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “About 1 out of every 100 people who takes an antidepressant drug will die during treatment.” That means there’s a one in ten chance that you’ll die while taking an antidepressant.
So even though the risks are high, chances are you won’t actually die from taking them!
The best way to avoid being one of those unfortunate 1 out of every 100 people is to educate yourself. You should read the patient information that comes with your medication and know what you’re getting into. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have and don’t stop taking your medication until they say it’s okay. Most importantly, ask yourself if your problems are really bad enough to justify taking these risks.
2) Antidepressants Don’t Immediatley Cure You
If you’re like most people who take an antidepressant, you’re probably expecting the drugs to make you feel better right away. Most of us assume that depression is a condition where you just feel “bad” and that taking pills will immediately relieve that feeling. The truth is that depression is more complicated than that. It’s not just a simple case of feeling “bad” and then suddenly not feeling bad anymore. In fact, chances are the medication you’re taking will only reduce your symptoms by about 50%.
What does this mean?
It means that even if you take an antidepressant, there’s still a 50% chance that you’ll be left feeling depressed. It also means that even if you feel better, it might only be by 50%. Most people think that if they take an antidepressant they should be 100% cured in a snap. But that’s just not how depression works and you need to keep this in mind.
3) Antidepressants Take a While to Start Working
Most people don’t realize that taking an antidepressant doesn’t mean that it will automatically start working right away. One of the most common reasons why people stop taking their medication is because they think it isn’t helping them after a couple days. In actuality, most antidepressants take at least a month before your brain starts to get used to them.
If you decide to start taking an antidepressant, you need to set your expectations early and be patient with the medication. Don’t expect to feel better immediately because there’s a chance that you won’t notice any effects until later on. Most people who have success with an antidepressant will tell you that it started working for them around the two-month mark.
4) Staying On Your Medication Is Important
If you want to get the most out of your medication, you need to stay on it past the point where the pills are “working.” In other words, don’t stop taking them just because you feel good or think you’re cured. Even if the medication is reducing your symptoms by 70%, it might take as long as three months before you start feeling normal again. You also want to continue taking the medication even after you feel like you’re cured. Continuing to take the pills for at least a year can prevent your depression from coming back in the future.
For some people, depression can be a recurring problem. It comes and goes a few times in a person’s life, and this is especially true if you don’t practice good habits. If you discontinue your medication after one time of feeling better, you could end up with a depression that sticks around. This can lead to more serious issues with work, relationships, and your overall quality of life.
5) Antidepressants Aren’t Addictive (Usually)
Some people worry about getting addicted to their antidepressant. The truth is that antidepressant addiction is rare, but it is a possibility. Even though the chance of getting addicted is low, you should still be aware of the symptoms of antidepressant dependency so you can get treatment if needed. The most common symptom of dependency is if you notice a drastic change in your personality when you don’t take the medication. This could include things like feeling extremely anxious or even suicidal.
If you think you might have an addiction, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor. He or she will probably reduce your dosage and monitor you more carefully. This allows your body to get used to the medication at a slower pace. Stopping your antidepressant cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms that make you feel even worse than when you started.
Antidepressants don’t have to be scary, but you need to understand them before taking them. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new medication, even if you’ve been taking it for years.
If you’re currently taking an antidepressant and want to know more about it, here’s a list of the most common types of pills and what they do.
Sources & references used in this article:
Symptom relapse following switch from Celexa to generic citalopram: an anxiety disorders case series by M Van Ameringen, C Mancini… – Journal of …, 2007 – journals.sagepub.com
Common problems in patients recovering from chemical dependency by P Breggin – 2001 – Da Capo Lifelong Books
First Steps in Integrating Teaching about Alcohol into the Medical Curriculum by EM Jones, D Knutson, D Haines – American Family Physician, 2003 – aafp.org
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and suicidality in a healthcare setting by M Varga, L Buris – International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and …, 1995 – druglibrary.org
Role of serotonin and serotonin-selective pharmacotherapy in alcohol dependence by MR Baldwin – International journal of circumpolar health, 2007 – researchgate.net