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Unread 06-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

I found out something recently that I'd never considered and that is a possible connection between antidepressants and cravings for alcohol and/or sugar.

I've been taking antidepressants for several years, starting with Cymbalta and shortly thereafter moving to Celexa as the Cymbalta gave me pretty bad insomnia.

About the time I started on the Celexa I also began to drink more. I'd lost my job at the time and thought that was the reason but the drinking continued although I did get another, although crappy, job.

I experienced cravings for alcohol that I'd never experienced before although being a social drinker for most of my life. Went to meetings which never helped as the 12 step programs always seemed like an unlikely answer to the problem.

Recently my wife suggested that I look into changing to a different antidepressant so I began researching Celexa only to find that it, and it's little brother Lexapro are considered to be the most effective of all the meds.

However, in doing the research, I came across more than a few forum posts from people who said that they went from light or moderate drinkers to heavy drinkers after starting on the medication.

I then Googled ssri+alcohol cravings and was astonished at the number of posts, articles, etc. which seemed to support the idea. The working hypothesis is that, over time, the medication can cause a drop in blood sugar levels. For those of us who drink, this can cause an overwhelming compulsion to drink and for those with a sweet tooth, an overwhelming compulsion for sugar. This could go a long ways towards explaining the weight gains that many people experience while on these medications.

I decided to go cold turkey off my Celexa and, although I haven't stopped drinking completely, the overwhelming urge and compulsion that I felt to do so have disappeared.

Not suggesting this is the answer for everyone but it might be worth looking into further.

TM

Last edited by TexasMan; 06-08-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Unread 06-09-2012, 10:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

wow! thanks for the info! I gained a lot of weight and went through a heavy drinking phase while on Celexa/Lexapro. that makes a lot of sense now. oh, and funny, my pnurse won't give me Xanax now, even though I quit drinking. she said it could cause me to want to drink which I've never heard. I'm going to look that up now. thanks for the heads up!
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Unread 06-13-2012, 12:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

Antidepressants can cause mania or hypomania which will make you want to drink to "come down" especially if you are undiagnosed bipolar.

When they started me on SSRI's 6 years ago my addiction went from manageable to the moon. 2 years ago I was diagnosed bipolar, never taken off the SSRI's/SNRI's until 2 months ago. After being taken off them my desire to use drugs has been cut drastically.
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Unread 06-14-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

Quote:
I decided to go cold turkey off my Celexa and, although I haven't stopped drinking completely, the overwhelming urge and compulsion that I felt to do so have disappeared.
i'm thinking this info should be discussed with your doc. if he is assuming you're still on celexa and u're not you could spiral down into depression. there are many effective antidepressants that may work for you. obviously the pdoc felt an anti-d was needed to stabilize you, texas man.
i noticed a craving for sweets upon taking some of my meds. i complained to my doc. he answered, would you rather be happy and chubbier or thin and depressed? well that was all i needed to hear to stay on the meds he prescribed.
alcohol is mostly sugar. when we don't drink the body thinks it is supposed to have the same level of sugar. what i did was not drink and resort to fruits especially when i was early sober and still find fruits work and i can eliminate the weight gain. as for celexa per se a common side effect is weight loss. in clinical trials only 1% of the population on celexa report weight gain. you may be in that catagory.
as for the increase of drinking perhaps you have crossed the line and are becoming more reliant on the alcohol.
i've researched celexa at medical/pharma sites and do not find the craving for sugar/weight gain as a common side effect, justme. http://www.drugs.com/sfx/celexa-side-effects.html
http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-8603...l&pagenumber=6
http://depression.emedtv.com/celexa/...e-effects.html
just my experience.
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Last edited by madisgram; 06-14-2012 at 07:52 AM.
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Unread 06-14-2012, 01:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

I had intense cravings for alcohol on SSRIS which got me into all sort of problems, I lost my job, my home and ended up in prison, I had never been in trouble in my life. I told my story on Dr David Healys website "david healy out of my mind driven to drink"
Be very very careful with drinking on any SSRIS, if you do feel your getting alcohol cravings then you should take this as a serious side effect and let your doctor know and think about an alternative medication. Its a real side effect with disastrous and sometimes very dagerous consequences.
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Unread 06-14-2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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I think that everyone is different and reacts differently. Many drugs have known side effects not listed in the manufacturer's literature.

What surprised me were the number of individual experiences I found very similar to mine just by Googling "ssri+alcohol craving".

Try it for yourself.
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Unread 06-14-2012, 05:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

overall your not drinking as much is certainly positive. glad you found the source of your cravings to overcome them.
i referenced a post you made on may 4th. excerpt
Quote:
I'm going to continue with the naltrexone
do you find that has been helpful with your drinking habits? i know many ppl have had good results taking it.
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Unread 06-14-2012, 07:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

OMG. I wonder if it's the same with zoloft. I always had to have sugar or beer. I quit drinking 70 some days ago and the sugar has been ridiculous. I even get up to eat sweets in the night. I've gained 20 lbs in that time which depresses me somewhat. Well now that I know it may be caused by this, hopefully I can adjust my diet accordingly. We'll see. At least I don't have to think of myself as a completly weak soul. Thank You
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Unread 06-15-2012, 08:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: SSRIs and Alcohol Cravings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Out_of_denial View Post
OMG. I wonder if it's the same with zoloft. I always had to have sugar or beer. I quit drinking 70 some days ago and the sugar has been ridiculous. I even get up to eat sweets in the night. I've gained 20 lbs in that time which depresses me somewhat. Well now that I know it may be caused by this, hopefully I can adjust my diet accordingly. We'll see. At least I don't have to think of myself as a completly weak soul. Thank You
from one of my posts. in early sobriety craving sweets is very common.
Quote:
alcohol is mostly sugar. when we don't drink the body/brain thinks it is supposed to have the same level of sugar. what i did was not drink and resort to fruits especially when i was early sober and still find fruits work and i can eliminate the weight gain.
also
Quote:
Blood sugar levels can have many effects on a person’s energy level, their mood, and even their desire for sugary substances. Since alcohol, being made from grains and fermented fruits, is high in sugar, its effects on blood sugar levels could play a role in why it is as addictive as it is and why alcoholics form a dependency.
When a person’s blood sugars are too low, it can cause them to crave sugar (or in the alcoholic’s case, alcohol). When the levels are high from eating sweet foods and beverages, our bodies produce insulin which will often cause it to drop rapidly and begin the cycle of cravings all over again. Many recovering alcoholics who before were not fans of sweetened foods find themselves after giving up alcohol that they desire these things more often than before.
http://talkrehab.org/sugar-craving-r...ng-alcoholics/
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Unread 06-15-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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Honestly, I didn't feel much different on the naltrexone but the protocol for that is that it takes around six months to notice a difference.
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