Driven To Drink: Antidepressants and Cravings for Alcohol

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October 15, 2012 | 113 Comments

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  1. My story is so similar to yours! Only, I live in the U.S. My story began the same.. Paroxetine, then citalopram much later. I have an appointment with my Pdoc on Friday, and I am worried what he will say when I tell him what has been going on. The citalopram completely eliminates my aggression, but causes drinking problems that have landed me in treatment programs for fear of losing my job or my child (which will happen if something doesnt change). I hope he will listen.

  2. Hello my name is donna I been on effexor for about 3 months and followed by serequel and klonopin I been noticing I been drinking like 2 beers Now end up to now 4 a day I’m so scared right now don’t want to drink I don’t no what the hell is going on please help I don’t want to kill my self…..

    • Hello,

      Just read your comments, are you still on here? Im on venlaflaxine and have been drinking lots since starting. What happened to you? Did you come off? Any help would be appreciated!

      KR

      Sammi

      • Hi Sammi.

        I seem to only have increased cravings when I am on Effexor and seroquel. I don’t seem to be able to stop drinking when I’m on seroquel and also crave nicotine.

        • Agree with everyone’s comments. If you find yourself guessing if the drugs are the problem, i can assure you 100% the drugs are the problem. Please wean off the drugs and your life will drastically improve. It may be a struggle to get off the drugs but with the proper support system you will succeed! Exercise and proper nutrition is the key to coming off the drugs. You may have problems sleeping because you will feel more anxious and alert but with time this will all go away. These doctors need to be locked up in a mental institution and fed these drugs to see how it feels. Next time you see you Doctor ask him/her if they would take the drugs themselves and if they would give their children the drugs. If they say YES, they are lying and not revealing all the harmful side effects. Your doctor will continue to use excuses and feed you bull shit to keep you in the drugs saying its a risk benefit ratio, etc. Dont believe any of it! People who take these drugs only get worse. Everyone I know who’s been on these drugs is worse off than they were. Again, doctors will tell you that the drugs cannot it solve all your problem and that your mental disorder is a disease that can only be improved. They will switch their advise constantly throughout your therapy and sometimes you will walk out of the session thinking that what they told you is the opposite of what they said weeks or months before. These drugs cause so much confusion for a person, he/she will sometime not know what right or wrong. If you read this please trust me and wean yourself off the drugs. You may need talk therapy but find another provider or better yet friends and family to talk to for talk therapy. Nothing bad will happen to you if you wean yourself off these drugs. You will not lose your job, relationship, or family. I thought the same thing but I can assure you that all will work out and your life will improve. You will start to enjoy life and have goals and aspirations. If you continue on the drugs you will continue to have problems and your life will spiral out of control. Psychiatrists are paid by the number of patients they see and you are worth tens of thousands of dollars to that doctor. They will continue to keep you on the drug to bring in money into their practice or hospital system. These doctors will claim that you drank before you were on the drug or that you were suicidal before going on the drugs when in fact the drugs only make that worse. I was a driven person before I went on these toxins and started to not care about my goals and relationships as soon as I went on these drugs. I was being treated for anxiety and OCD both of with do not exist. Anxiety abd OCD can be overcome by positive right thinking. When you come off these drugs you will see that your anxiety is because you care about life and its okay to worry because if you don’t worry then you are concerned with your well being. Your OCD is your obsession to improve your life and want an enjoyable fulfilled life.

          • Hello, Are your comments for “real”? I am not very savvy about this internet stuff so I am a bit skeptical if this is for real or not…but here goes.
            I have been on Paxil since 2000. I was experiencing anxiety. It worked my anxiety was gone, I couldn’t believe how good I felt. My husband and I retired and moved to AZ in 2004….my drinking took off, but I figured it was because we were “living the dream”. I started having thoughts like, “why am I pouring these drinks down?” why do I feel like I can’t slow down”? why am I spending money like there is no tomorrow?” My friend described me as running around like a “raped ape”. So I went on the internet and looked up Paxil & increased alcohol use….I found sites where people had posted similar stories. Not having much confidence in myself and dismissed it and thought it couldn’t be true. We moved back to our home state in 2007….continued to drink and checked into rehab in 2008. I have remained sober since rehab but continue to question the Paxil involvement. I find myself not craving alcohol but I still like to drink socially. I want to get off the Paxil. I have tried several times and just give up and tell myself….just live with it! My friends, my Primary Physician, laugh at me and say it’s my imagination and just resign yourself to the fact to be on the med for the rest of your life. I am contemplating weaning myself off without telling anyone. Thanks for your comments.

      • I hope I can help!
        I was on Effexor 150mg for 8 months. In 6 months I gained 30 pounds and KNEW it was the Effexor.
        In the same amount of time I began drinking heavily. I have always had a glass or 2 of wine or liquor after dinner.
        But…I would go through half or even a whole bottle of liquor in a day. My therapist AND my psychiatrist told me, you have an alcohol problem.
        Well, YES..I do. But I never did before. Why?
        I would crave it the moment I woke up and would drink until I passed out almost daily.
        I am currently weening off this Effexor. Not because of the alcohol, but because I continued to gain weight.
        I went from 150mg to 75mg. I have been on 75mg for 2 weeks now.
        And AMAZINGLY, I am not longer addicted to alcohol. I am back to a few glasses after dinner.
        I have a slip up here and there because I’m still on this drug, but I am now CONVINCED it was the drug!
        Unbelievable!

  3. I am sooo in the same situation! Do not know what is wrong with me UNTIL I read this!!! Always been a “social drinker”My Doctor put me on Fluoxetin ( Sarafem) for PMSPD. But after marriage issues & the loss of my sister I began to drink to “UNWIND”. Only now it seems I CAN NOT STOP! PLEASE offer some ADVISE! STRUGGLING!

    • If I had it to do over again I would probably go to an in house rehab, if I could find one that would allow me to just get over the paroxetine addiction without prescribing other medications. Instead I was forced to go cold turkey, my Dr. insisted there were no withdrawals. He lied my withdrawals were on par with what’s known as alcohol delerium tremens, with seizures and psychotic symptoms that continue today, 3 years later, it’s possible that this is from the many head traumas I suffered during paroxetine withdrawal seizures. As of yet the only medication I have found that helps, is cbd’s with no thc from marijuana and that is not legal in my state I’ve only found it in very short supply and it’s very expensive. With it I’m nearly 100%, and I’ve tried many many psychiatric medications including anti convulsants, anti psychotics and every combination I was willing to tolerate. All of this for something that is just suppose to take the edge off, with no risk of side effects, and no risk of withdrawal’s. Turns out that’s a lie to, drug manufactures originally Glaxo Smith Klein changed the definition of addiction to make SSRI’s appear safer and more marketable.

    • My advice? GET OFF OF YOUR SSRI OR SNRI MEDICATION!!! Taper, if possible. I did this with Effexor, by removing 2-5 of the little granules in the capsule daily, till I was off. After this, my alcohol cravings disappeared. To reiterate: you will NOT resolve your alcohol cravings until you completely quit any and all antidepressants.

        • Has Sertraline been an issue for anyone or could this med be a cause of heavy drinking as well? I’m on only 50 mg but have suffered with several of the same issues. Blackouts frequently when drinking. I honestly would take the depression over this alcohol issue any day.

    • Same thing here! I used to drink socially. The most I would drink at a time was a 6-pack of beer on the weekends. I was going through a nasty divorce, and told my Dr. I was coping well with the stress by having a few beers. He got angry, and said alcohol was bad. He prescribed 150 Mg./day of Zoloft. Wow! After 2 weeks, I developed severe cravings for alcohol…not beer anymore, but the hard stuff. I could swig a 40 ounce bottle of Rye down straight in 1 1/2 hours. If I didn’t drink, I was fine, but even 1 beer, and I was on a 2 week bender. I couldn’t get enough booze. The other thing I noticed with the Zoloft, was I could drink a 40 oz bottle of whiskey in less than 2 hours, go to sleep, and wake up with no hangover whatsoever, which just made alcohol cravings worse. After quitting Zoloft for 10 years, I can finally drink “normally” again. I thought I was the only person to have this effect from SSRI’s. Never again will I take that poison!

      • That is literally my story. That is scary. I was also depressed and stressed after a divorce and was told Zoloft was the last push I needed to get on top again. I was on Zoloft for approximately 6 months and the last 3 months was horrible with anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, blood pressure through the roof and alcohol cravings in the end from the moment I got up in the morning. Alcohol was the only thing keeping me from crawling on the walls. Despite the warnings from my doctor I went cold turkey on the SSRI and dragged my sorry ass to rehab which cost me my job. I know it sounds dramatic but I think I would have died had I not done what I did. My BP was 230/130 when I checked in to rehab. I am now 6 months out of both SSRI and alcohol and feeling much better. I am however labeled an alcoholic and told I can never have a beer with my friends again. And still looking for a job. But I am alive and still kicking….

        I hope to God these posts can help at least some people to avoid going down that road. For those of you in it stay strong and get of the poison.

        • Oh my goodness! This is where I am today.
          I’ve been taking Sertraline for 10 months.
          I suffered with depression and anxiety after a trauma.
          Wine has been my coping mechanism it’s fair to say. But now. It’s horrendous. I’ve joined AA because it’s destroying my life.
          I never thought the SSRIs were a cause.
          I am shocked.
          x

        • Wow, thank you. I pray this will prove to be the case for me too. Scared about coming off the Sertraline, scared about continuing to drink in a manner that I can’t seem to control. Was arrested last night for driving over the limit. Feel so stupid, angry at myself etc etc?

      • I began taking Celexa for anxiety 15 years ago in my 50’s. I was a social drinker all my adult life. After starting Celexa I began drinking more and attributed it to some really tough times I was going through. As time went on, I drank more & more, eventually blacking out and not remembering anything. My husband believed from early on that there was a connection between my drinking and Celexa, but I couldn’t find any information to back that up, and several doctors said there was absolutely no evidence that antidepressants lead people to alcoholism. I joined AA in January and no longer drink. I am slowly weaning off Celexa now. I’m really angry to think this could have been avoided. Has anyone successfully resumed social drinking after complete withdrawal from their SSRI?

        • ” Has anyone successfully resumed social drinking after complete withdrawal from their SSRI?”

          Yes, my longer story and follow up is posted here. It has been over four months off Lexapro. I have been able to resume social drinking, but I will say I was very nervous the first time I cracked a beer at a concert…ended up having five light beers during a three band show and called it a night. Was a fun “normal” night.

          I think the biggest issue for me was fear. Fear of the excess and those blackout moments I experienced. But I can definitely take it or leave it now (alchohol), no drinking every day…not even close.

          If you got as bad as I did, it has to scare the crap out of you and those memories (or lack there of) will stay with you for some time.

          Don’t rush back to social drinking, give yourself some time to really get your head straight and really think long and hard about what you’ve been through. Then get your ass out and live from time to time 🙂

          Withdrawal issues have been more emotional than physical and I would say they peaked around the three month mark. At this point I am about as close to what I remember being like before the medication. Some anxiety…yes…but I will take that any day over the two year nightmare the medication put me through.

          Best wishes

  4. I didn’t notice there was any problem until it was just about too late, my doctor assured me my sudden alcohol addiction and psychotic issues could not be caused by paroxetine. Well I gave him 2 years and rehab to fix the problem, and his answer was always to increase the dose of paroxetine which always made things immediately worse. So I quit paroxetine on my own he assured me there were no real withdrawals from it, and there were, like seizures. But after getting off of it my alcohol addiction vanished into thin air, I wish my psychotic issues, bad reputation and police record I accrued on it would do the same. His healthcare network has told me that they will not give me a diagnosis until the statute of limitations is up for medical liability, and every lawyer in town has told me no one wins in my situation with SSRI’s and that’s why hospitals do not mind flaunting their mistakes with them. Seeking help elsewhere my psychotic issues are dissociative another condition caused by SSRI’s. How’s that for a pill that has no risk of side effects and no withdrawal or addictive potential, it was just suppose to take the edge off. I haven’t been able to return to work for nearly 3 years now, due to the dissociative symptoms. The strangest thing to me, is that I’m told I did not discriminate during the times I don’t remember I sexually harassed both men and women, that is why I do not ever leave the house now. I can completely relate to the author of this page in getting into trouble through repeatedly calling people and the police department I broke a record with just over 300 calls in one night to the same #, that makes no sense to me either but it’s comforting to know it happened to someone else. I tried seroquel and then seroquel and klonopin for my psychotic issues, and said no more to psychiatric medicine, all it did was allow that someone else to take over and I never want to hear about that happening again. All of these symptoms are commonly reported and Dr’s know better they just really don’t give a shit becuase they also know they will never be held accountable for ignoring the instructions for the safe and responsible dispensing of SSRI’s even though it is plainly listed on every drug manufacturer’s website. So little is truly known about how SSRI’s work on humans, that claiming one triggered a pre-existing condition is 100% foolproof in court, unless there is an injury to an infant.

  5. I am so sorry to hear that you went through all that you went through, but I am somewhat glad to find this article. I am in somewhat of the same situation and I have so many questions, but feel like I have no one to turn to for answers! I was put on SSRIs (first Lexapro and then Citalopram) and I began showing signs of alcoholism. I live in the U.S. so I knew the risks of drinking while on SSRIs but I am wondering if the risks were actually greater than was ever told to me. I put myself in AA and have no been sober for a little over 6 years. I stopped taking my meds almost a year ago. I have begun wondering if I really am an alcoholic or if it was perhaps a side effects of my meds. I don’t think I have the courage to try a drink again and see how it goes, but I want to understand so many things, and feel like I just don’t have access to people who know. I want to understand alcoholism more in depth. I am curious as to if it is something that is always there or if a “switch” is turned on after a certain amount of drinking. I used to be able to drink like a normal person and in fact, I never even liked it much before I went on my meds. I wish there were some sort of test that could be performed to tell me if I truley am one or not. I also hate bringing this subject up to people for fear of being told the usual, “Get over it. You’re an alcoholic and can’t drink.” That may be the case but I just hate all the wondering. Anyway, I am rambling on. Sorry again to hear what you went through, but thank you for sharing your story. If anyone has any info that might be something that could help me, please send it my way! Thanks.

  6. Dear Lindsey – just want to reply, as someone with personal experience of anti-depressant withdrawal and alcoholism. There is more and more evidence accumulating that SSRI’s cause alcohol cravings in some people who never had them before, and were occasional social drinkers for years. It sounds VERY much like this could be the case with you.

    That being said, if being a Former Drinker is working for you, and you don’t find yourself avoiding perfectly nice social situations to preserve your sobriety, it might be a good idea to just stay on the wagon. Don’t feel like you need to perform the experiment on yourself “just to know for sure”!

    There’s an old AA cliche: “once you’ve been pickled, you can’t go back to being a cucumber.” (In other words, once you’ve gotten into a bad relationship with alcohol, for whatever reason, you’re not likely to return to a good one.) Who knows, it may be true. Anyway … if you find yourself thinking that without booze you are missing out on a great part of what life has to offer, THAT’s a good sign you may be an alcoholic. Because it just ain’t true. Most non-alcoholics who quit drinking for a medical reason like diabetes don’t feel any big void in their lives. Many feel better once they kick the habit.

    I truly hope we can force the medical community to take this seriously. I’ve been alarmed in recent years to see how many people coming into AA from “medical” addiction treatment programs have been put on multi-drug cocktails that include both benzos and SSRI’s! (It used to be common knowledge that benzos were like alcohol in pill form, and very dangerous for recovering alcoholics. But no more.) If these drugs can make non-alcoholics crave alcohol, they could be doing terrible harm to recovering alcoholics struggling to stay sober.

    • I have a question for everyone. I have been on antidepressants since I was 14 years old and am now 31. I had my first drink at age 18 and have struggled with a bit of a drinking problem since then. I have no idea if this was caused by the antidepressants because I started on them years before I ever had my first drink. Alcoholism runs in my family so I’m not sure if that is it or what. I guess it doesn’t even matter thought because without antidepressants I would certainly commit suicide. I have tried to go off them multiple times over the years or decrease my dose and it always ends in disaster. Is there no solution for this? There is no way I can stop taking my medication so that isn’t an option but I also don’t want to be an alcoholic.

  7. I lost 10 years of my life because of the same things. I had been on so many different pills to the point that every dr. Visit I was handed another script. I was a train wreck waiting to derail. I was only on the pills for a few years but once I put two and two together I tossed them all in the trash and my life slowly started coming back to me immediately. Although it still took several years to return to what I last remembered as normal , I will say today I’m really close but still think the pills and alcohol did it’s damage. I have no doubt had I continued taking the pills and the un controlled desire to drink would have killed me and maybe others from driving so drunk! I still have daily issues just like the happiest people on earth but I’m able to deal with it much better than some fixer pill. We as a person have a responsibility to ourselves to pay attention to what makes us tick and if we study ourselves and work on our defects we can work through the hard times without mind altering medications designed to make people rich. I am a better person without the medication. That’s me , maybe not you.

  8. Same thing happened to me! Great write up! SSRI’s, especially paroxetine, DO make for incredibly intense alcohol cravings, at least in some people.

  9. This is all sorts of terrifying. I take an SSRI (Sertraline) for anxiety and I cant seem to stop the alcohol cravings. I have 2 paternal aunts who are alcoholics (clinically diagnosed). Its 6pm and I’m drunk………..

  10. This is unreal. I have been on Sertraline for almost 2 years, and for the last year I have labelled myself an alcoholic, compulsive eater, compulsive smoker, and hated myself and my genes for it.

    Until a month ago, when I had a dental implant, and stopped taking Sertaline for a week.

    I knew I had to stop smoking and drinking for a while, so I thought I’d stop everything, including the meds. And wow. I found myself being able to effortlessly refuse drink, not obsess about cigarettes, maintain a low sugar diet, and stick to my exercise plan!

    Unfortunately, I did not taper, and the WD’s got quite bad a few weeks in, so I started up again, and LO and BEHOLD, I am craving sugar, booze, cigarettes.

    I will taper off the meds from now, but I really think some awareness needs to be raised about SSRI’s. I am convinced that they do serve a purpose, but the side effects are more than what is listed at the side of the packet. Even knowing the origin of my cravings for alcohol and such like would have reduced my anxiety. I am annoyed, because for over a year I have toyed with the prospect of ‘all or nothing’ alcoholism – Do I join the AA and abstain forever, or do I continue by weekend binging? Well, I think both are irrelevant until I am off the meds. We shall see. It may be the case that I shouldn’t drink at all, and I am prepared for that, however, I am not prepared for SSRI induced cravings for the rest of my life. It just isnt productive.

    • Hi Jack – I saw your comments about taking Sertraline and having cravings for grog and smokes etc. Wondering how you went after going off sertraline for the second time- did the drinking end again?
      DEaN

    • So glad I found this story. Always worked, then needed knee surgery for long term problem. Suddenly was ‘thrown on the scrap heap’ as no one wanted to know me, help me or anything, and lost job as physically couldn’t do it anymore. Slipped into depression and givens ssri’s. Initially they were fantastic and I felt so much better, but I went from an occasional drinker to three plus bottles of vino a week, and increasing. Haven’t yet got to the stage where the police are involved but that’s cos I’ve been drinking in my room, on my own, in the dark. Found this piece as I was getting concerned as I felt I was losing control of the drinking. Thank you so much everyone who has commented on here. You help people like me so much, and hopefully my comments will help others. Bless you all 🙂

  11. I don’t like the taste of any alcohol, I do sometimes though like to binge in one night but i suffer the worst hangovers literally a whole day of vomiting and discomfort. This is something that didn’t even matter when I was put on lexapro and then citalopram. I did a whole 360 my life turned upside down not long after I was put on thus medication. I was drinking 2 bottles of wine everyday at work, going out a night being so reckless even sexually. Eventually when I stopped them my self control came back . I settled down, when u got the urge to drink I stopped myself because the consequences and dud to me not liking the taste. After a few years I found myself again trying anti depressant prozac….that day and for two weeks I immediately lost my appetite. My cravings were back with a vengeance, I needed to drink and didn’t down care that it was going to ruin my relationship I even started snorting no doze then my partner broke up with me. I came of the proactive and again it all went away. I realize that I turn into a person I can believe is me. My cravings are so string to get high or drunk on these tablets I just can’t control at all…I’m on this never ending path of doctors thinking I’m bi polar 2 due to thus experience and mood but no bi polar medication helps me at all…I’m so confused what’s wrong with me and I have had so many diagnoses thrown at me but not one fits fully.

  12. Effexor, and previously Paxil, both caused or influenced my increased consumption of of alcohol and alcohol tolerance. I can outdrink most, and I am a small woman. I told a GP this back in the late 90’s. Going off Effexor now after 10 years of use. Was not working anymore, maybe because I was drinking too much. I really believe that my body for some odd reason can tolerate more alcohol on antidepressants, and very little while not taking any. Luckily, I have not messed up anything in my life.. I am closet/ evening only drinker, except my relationship with God, myself, and my physical body / organs.

  13. Someone has to stop this some how I lost fourteen years to these drugs until I weened myself from them I never even knew it was the drugs on till they started to come out of my system and my whole life changed, not really, but everything cleared up I could think! I cared! I still drank alcohol but like I should no more urges like in the first store mine is so the same….. I lost my store, My kids in a way, My freedom, I have a record could have killed someone drinking and driving and went through hell. I’m still bipolar nothing has changed. I just don’t go out anymore I’m afraid of taking any other meds. To lose anymore time from my life knowing what I know now man they are so bad!

  14. evening all

    im so glad I found this site right in time. I was busy searching online for AA meetings around my neighbourhood when I came across this site. as I write this message Im drinking a glass of wine and I know it will lead to few more glasses. I was on citalopram for 6 months and I have noticed an increase in my alcohol consumption. im starting to worry that I might turn into an alcoholic

    • More than a year after your original comment but so true. As I write this comment I’ve just opened my second bottle of wine tonight, and it’s still early, and I was an occasional drinker to someone who’s thinking what can I afford this week. Thank you all, I’m coming off my medication.

  15. I wish I or one of my doctors had known this information fifteen years ago. I was prescribed SSRI’s by the age of 13. For years I complained of a compulsion to drink. I felt compelled to do it, it was horrible. I will never forget what it felt like, it almost killed me several times, there was nothing in the world that would take it away. Rehab, AA, self help, nothing in the world could relief this compulsion. The compulsion to drink over took the reason I was prescribed the SSRI’s in the first place. I almost died of “alcoholism”.
    I discontinued my SSRI at the age of 28, and did not immediately make the connection that my compulsion to drink went with it. It wasn’t until I was again prescribed the SSRI for anxiety the alcohol cravings came back with a vengeance. I white knuckled through the compulsion to drink until I could report it to my dr. He, thank God, was a good doctor who listened, and actually found some evidence supporting what I was telling him. I have a huge family history of alcoholism, and apparently SSRI’s can cause compulsive drinking in “type B” alcoholics. I have remained sober for years. I do not attend AA meetings, I do not even drink socially. Alcohol disgusts me and I just associate it with pain. The anxiety remains an issue, however I will take my chances with the anxiety and panic disorder over compulsions to drink myself to death. Unfortunately, I now will carry the label as “substance abuser” likely for life. I had my baby several towns away afraid that I would be accused of drug seeking if I asked for an epidural. People have a right to know about this side effect. I wish somebody had told me.

  16. I am still in the process of withdrawal from escitalopram which I took for over 5 years. Before that I took efexor, but weaned myself off of it when it caused too many side effects. I was just telling my husband that its weird how I don’t feel like drinking all the time now like I used to. Prior to taking SSRI’s I wasn’t much of a drinker, so I went looking to see if this had happened to other people and found this article.

    Following my Mothers death and a number of other traumatic life events, I was prescribed SSRI’s, and then again while experiencing hormonal symptom the SSRI was changed and increased.

    Years later, after reporting numerous lifestyle changes that should have made me feel better and lose weight, my Dr started testing for health problems. He concluded that I had issues with very low thyroid and low levels of vitamin D. After getting the thyroid issue in check and supplementing with the D he suggested that I may not need SSRI’s as my condition may have been misdiagnosed, so I started tapering off of the escitalopram. Thats when the hell of withdrawal began!

    Getting off of the SSRI after so many years has been an uphill struggle for me. I am still having side effects, mainly the brain zaps and ringing in my ears. I found out that my Tramadol has a mild SSRI, so I started taking a half of one twice a day to help alleviate the symptoms. This doesn’t make it go away, but helps me get through the day. My other recourse was to go back on SSRI’s, which I am not willing to do.

    Thanks for writing this article which sheds some light on why I may have had an alcohol problem. I am glad to off of the SSRI’s and will never take them again!

  17. I have been on Effexor for 1 1/2 years. This is my second time trying. I have depression and anxiety due to many difficult situations the past 9 years.
    The first time I tried it I noticed a major difference in not carrying about the important things in my life and then I noticed how much I would crave my wine.
    I am 115 lbs and 5 4″. In all of my adult life would I never consume more than 2 glasses of wine. Occasionally maybe 2 1/2. Sometimes never finish 1 though. Not to mention not even drink more than 1 to 2 days a week. I am a complete health freak. My main addictions besides taking care of my family were running, juicing, spinning, and bikram yoga. Unfortunately it did not completely help with my depression. I have 3 beautiful children a very loving husband, and I’ve owned my own hair salon for 13 years.
    This past weekend was my rock bottom and wake up call.

    Here is my story for the last year and 1/2.
    After 4 months of being on it the second time this time I went back to talk to my Dr. About my alcohol intake and cravings. He had told me he never heard of such a thing. I then got embarrassed and lied about the amount I was consuming. Even though I had researched it already and found that it could be a problem.
    As time went on I tried to monitor it better, but it just wasn’t working. I started to go next door to my salon if I had a break and have a glass of wine. Then go home and drink a bottle. No one at first saw it as a problem bc many people I associate with do very much enjoy drinking wine. I still would get up and go running, do my yoga and take care of my family. My children one day asked me why I don’t order wine at the drive through of Dunkin Donuts since I drink so much all the time.
    How embarrassing and sad is that?
    A couple of months ago I drank so much I blacked out and my children had to call my mother to come help them.
    Fast forward…. the past month I decided to start pursuing someone else. Someone that respected me and would never imagine it. We started talking at a bar and I had about 3 glasses of wine by the time we started talking. I guess I had said some things that are definitely not me and acted very inappropriately by the end of the night. I don’t remember much, but the next day I could remember that what I did do was wrong. Very upset I did go and apologize. He accepted it and reminded me about my husband and children. Another very embarrassing moment.
    Didn’t stop me though bc the start of one drink and that pain will go away.
    in the meantime my husband, mother and kids are telling I’m drinking too much and I am telling my mom and husband for the past few months i need to go off this medication i am on. They of course don’t think I should and don’t believe me. They tell me that maybe I just need a different one and to give up the alcohol.
    Well, this weekend after having a bottle of wine 2 dirty martinis and a couple of shots out at a bar with friends I decided to leave without telling anyone bc I was going to go and see if I can meet up with that other man at his restaurant.
    I had an ANGEL watching over me!!!! I remember nothing from the time I left until the time I woke up the next day.
    This is what I was told. A car saw me driving and called the cops from my home town bc my kids sports stickers are on my car. In the meantime I hit a guardrail on the way a parked car in the center of town and kept going. I was arrested for DWI and 2 other counts. On top of it my husband found my text messages to the other guy asking him to please meet me.
    I have created my own nightmare. I truly know this medication is not healthy. When your running across the street to a package store that has been there for as long as I owned my salon to buy a bottle of wine during work the past 9 months and drink at the restaurant next door during the day and never ever, ever did that up until the last year just doesn’t suddenly start happening. After the first time I went off this medication I went back to normal. That was 8 years ago. I tried it again bc maybe I was wrong.
    I am taking myself off and I am going to find my old self again. I am going gain the respect from my children, family, friends who now think I am an alcoholic and most importantly my husband..
    I know who I am. I many times pouring my first glass of wine would say what the hell is wrong with you. You know this isn’t you, just call your Dr. Just go off of this stuff, you know this is what’s causing this. I would go out for a 10 mile run and tell myself I wasn’t going to drink when I got home after showering and cooking dinner. As much as I would think about not doing it and tell myself it was wrong it didn’t matter. It was like a demon pulling me to the package store to buy that bottle.
    Not anymore! The old me, the real me is a hell of a lot easier to deal with then who I’ve turned out to be. I am just so thankful that I have had the people around me to point it out and not stop pointing it out, along with My thoughts during my running, hot yoga have also helped keep it right in my face. This weekend happened for a reason. I am going to go to my Dr. I am showing him this sight and tell him to do his research. These medications are ruining lives. I thank GOD mine was only 1 year 1/2.

  18. Thanks for all your posts.
    I was prescribed Seroxat and more and more SSRIs which induced hypomamina, depression, extreme agitation and suicide ideation in me. I had no mental health issues at all (excluding a panic attack once during a bad menstrual period) before being prescribed an SSRI.
    When the doctors seemed confused as to why I said I felt the all SSRI medication was making me worse they prescribed Effexor, an SNRI. Within 3 months of taking Effexor I had developed a serious drinking problem despite no former problems with alcohol, and I became anorexic… In a highly agitated spiralling down I ended up making a impulsive no cry for help suicide attempt on drink and Effexor. I was told by staff in intensive care I was lucky to alive. The doctors actually kept me on Effexor and the drinking didn’t stop until I knew I had to get off the drug – even I, at the time, made no possible link between what happened and Effexor. These drugs have almost cost me life three times. Because mention stress at work to a doctor in a five minute appointment fifteen years ago! Hopefully any studies proving a link between SSRIs will and cravings for alcohol will become known or better known.

  19. I m’sorry to dont speak english, i’m French. I have a problem with alcohol since i have a medication with one type of antidepressant. When i stop these antidepressants : no alcohol or easy to stop drinking but i am bad… With these antidepressants : a lot of alcohol and very very difficult for me to stop.

  20. I have been on luvox for about 10 years with heavy drinking and many blackouts. I thought the obsessing about drinking or not drinking were due to ocd (the reason for the luvox) or just plain alcoholism. I binge drank before I got on the mediation, though, unlike many of the people here.

  21. First and foremost thank you for this post. Citalopram was a nightmare for me. I had terrible manic episodes. I drank non stop… To the point where I locked myself in the house and drank for 4 days straight. I woke up one morning after two weeks of this nonsense and thought I was dying. If you think panic attacks are bad for 10 minutes, try having one for 3 hours. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breath. I finally was able to scrape myself off the bed and into the ER. My resting heart rate was 168. I discontinued using Citalopram and now a year later I’m on and off setraline. The side effects are mild in comparison. It’s been an uphill battle, but there’s hope on the horizon. The same thing happened to my best friends husband on Citalopram. Not all medications have equal and similar reactions in people. But that is one medication I don’t ever want to encounter. Thanks again for the post. I was weirded out that I craved alcohol and wanted to drink that badly! Good luck to everyone on here.

    • By the way, with the heart rate… I am a long distance runner and have seen it as low as 65 which alarmed some medical providers until I told them this. The extreme rise was scary for me.

  22. have been on duloxetine (cymbalta) since 2008 and i want a drink so f*cking badly right now. can’t go out without someone getting suspicious, so i’m sitting here just craving it. keep me in your thoughts.

  23. My wife died just over a month ago because of this. She first got on lexapro in may, then switched to zoloft. I have never seen anyone drink like her before. It was like leaving las vegas. She got on anti depressants to deal with anxiety, and depression caused by other events in her life. The drugs that were supposed to help her, killed her. A friend of hers described her as literally insane. She would hide and sneak alcohol. I didn’t realize that it was the drugs that was causing the cravings. She had drunk before as a way to deal with some very bad things that happened to her, but when she got on the drugs, she was like a freight train going through a china shop. She was irrational, angry, aggressive, and doing bat shit crazy stuff all the time. I was trying to tell her that she can’t stay here when she drinks. She tried to kill herself on this before, by sitting on a 6th story ledge wanting to jump, but she didn’t do it cause she didn’t want to die. The final time, she left and stayed at a nearby hotel. I didn’t know where she was. I filed a missing person’s report on her, and 2 days later the coroner called cause she drank a huge bottle of vodka, and a fist full of aspirin. Still waiting for toxicology report. In just 6 months, she spiraled out of control, and now she’s dead. Doctor’s didn’t tell her of the risk of her wanting to drink more alcohol. She trusted the doctor’s and now she’s dead. My life is ruined. I have nothing without her. I am nothing without her.

  24. Thank you so much for this article and all the responses I can’t believe I’ve found it. I Googled the link between alcohol cravings and my fluoxetine after reading on the sober recovery website about someone that had made the link.
    I’ve always been a drinker, alcoholism runs in my family. However the last year or so things have progressed quickly. I have gone from drinking a bottle of wine 3 or 4 nights a week which was bad enough to drinking 1 and a half to 2 bottles 5 or 6 nights a week.
    Alcoholism is progressive so I figured that that was why I’m drinking more and have serious problems resisting the urge….
    Thinking about it now though I’ve been taking the anti depressants for the time that my drinking has escalated. I had made no connection and was actually feeling grateful for being on them as they have helped the depression but now …. I’m not so sure they’re good at all!!! I’ve decided to start weaning off them, do it sensibly then assess if there is any difference to my compulsions to drink. Thank you again x

  25. Well I appealed 2 times with an expert and lost my case I then reapplied with a different expert to the CCRC and not only had to wait 4 years almost but I then came across a comment on my original story “out of my mind driven to drink” on David Healys blog by a dr who said this “Blaming SSRI’s for addiction is like blaming bullets for shootings. Alcoholism/addiction is a disease. The genetic dysfunction is based in the nucleus accumbens and has a documented genetic component. Will altering the serotonin/dopamine level have an effect on cravings for a mood altering chemical? Of course. But relating it as the “cause” shows a lack of knowledge in peer reviewed pharmaceutical addiction” . I decided then to give up my appeal as I do not have faith in the system and believe they still will regardless of what ever proof I have take the side of this Dr’s comment. I would have risked quite a lot to have gone on with the appeal even though I know it was the drug. I have already been to prison five times because of the combination and don’t feel strong enough to risk landing up there again. My advice as a patient/defendant to anyone considering legal action is I wouldnt bother unless more of the medical community are alongside but of course the risks are up to you but as things stand at the moment I don’t think our cases are strong enough.

    • I’m sorry if I only skimmed through most of these and when I saw your’s I kind of related. The reason I found this article was just by chance because I’m still going through the ramifications from being misdiagnosed with bipolar and initially put on Prozac by the quack. By the time it was all over after in total going through four psychiatrists each of who had their own misdiagnoses for the PTSD that it turned out to be,

      I’d been put on Paxil, Lithium, Effexor and I can’t remember how many others. The whole time claiming that it was those things making me drink in the beginning so I could sleep and all I had to do was when I got up take more and I didn’t suffer any noticeable hangover. Unfortunately I went from a fairly good career ending up on disability at which point it was impossible to get anyone to listen to me with “an indeterminable mental disorder”.

      Eventually it turned out through a Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim as the result of a serious assault that occurred while I was still working for the Government, before they released me from the Queen’s Park Institution (Ontario Government offices) they were counselling me to avoid problems with PTSD in the future.

      Even after that it was virtually impossible to find a psychiatrist that would believe it wasn’t really a drinking problem (that I was telling them about, but in denial?) and that I wanted help getting off the SSRI’s so I wouldn’t experience a problem like I had before when I tried to stop taking them myself.

      If it’s of any value, I finally smartened up and of all things went to an addiction clinic. Not claiming that I needed help with the drinking on the intake form, but help getting off the SSRI’s that were making me drink.

      I’m as amazed finding this site as I was with my addiction counselor who wasn’t really all that surprised to hear the problems I was going through. Until now I wasn’t really sure if it was just to prove my point that I haven’t had a drink since then in about 2002. I wish it had helped as much with the PTSD but at least I can deal with it better without the rose colored glasses, drunk half the time and having to listen to Narcissists that do nothing but make it worse.

  26. I have long drank too much. I spent 15 years on the wagon. Had a rough patch and started drinking.

    I went on Pristiq and it did wonders but I noticed that I drank much more thany normal heavy. I went off and continued to struggle with booze.

    I began to take NALTREXONE. It is an antiopioid and prescribed to reduce alcohol intake and consumption. Wow! Over the next six weeks my alcohol consumption was in safe limits.

    A family member has been pushing me for months to get back on Pristiq and really pushed as I was more irritable as my alcohol consumption decreased. I was convinced this was related more to the slow withdrawal and adjustment from drinking 12 to 20 drinks a day down to 4 over six weeks.

    Finally I relented and took Pristiq again, while taking Naltrexone. Within two weeks my drinking had again skyrocketed. While not as high as pre-naltrexone, almost as high.

    I knew it was probably the Pristiq, but have continued to take both then I came across a government website regarding how to reduce drinking through medicine (how i learned about naltrexone) that I refer to often. I saw the section about using antidepressants to curb drinking but had not read it.

    Read that section today. Wow…. It even states that people who develop alcohol use disorders (AUDs) later in life are usually helped with SSRIs…..BUT and this is huge, people like me with strong genetic factors and who developed and AUD younger in life often end up drinking more and are hindered when put on antidepressants!

    The site is:
    http://www.uptodate.com/contents/pharmacotherapy-for-alcohol-use-disorder

    If you have an alcohol disorder, this site is a blessing. naltrexone has been a lifesaver to me. I wish I had read the SSRI section earlier and had my doctor put me on gabopentin for the irritability. I am making that call today.

    • Naltrexone works best when taken 1 hour before drinking only on days that you drink. Cravings can vanish over a 2-6 month period. This is called The Sinclair Method, which is used widely and successfully in Finland and now is catching on in the US. Google this method TSM for short.
      Check out the Facebook page and the non-profit site
      http://www.cthreefoundation.org

      New Documentary: One Little Pill is great !
      New Book Amazon – by Dr. Eskapa – The Cure is also great.

      My loved one is doing so well using TSM and naltrexone !

      It’s self-administered with only occasional Dr. visits.

      Best to all,

      May

  27. I am soooo thankful for this article. I spent many years of my adult life craving or wanting to drink without thinking of the repercussions that happen in the morning. I have broken bones, driven drunk and got myself into risky situations. I quit taking paroxetine approximately three months ago and I have no craving to drink alcohol to the extent I use to drink which was basically to drink until I was good, drunk and falling down. I couldn’t stop once I started and before I started, all I could think about was when I was off work so I could drink. I still drink, one to two times a week, up to 3 drinks at home and I’m done. I no longer need to drink until 3-4 in the morning. I just had two beers an hour ago and have been in bed ever since relaxing. I don’t even miss alcohol! Getting off paroxetine can be challenging. It was tough and while I was weaning myself over several months, I had many second thoughts and wanted to start up again and wanted a stronger dose! I am happy that I didn’t revert back and give up. I won’t lie, it wasn’t pleasant because also with the brain zaps come emotions. Real, raw emotions I hadn’t felt or had to deal with in many many years. It’s not always fun crying at the drop of a hat, but now at least I know I am ALIVE and I feel!!! Good luck to those who get off of these dangerous meds, but again, it’s not my life or my position to decide for you. But honestly, I knew I wasn’t an alcoholic even though I acted like one. Thank God someone wrote this article!!! It’s not just me alone in this!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  28. Mark is my name. I was a fire-fighter for 19 years: I ended up suffering PTSD which eventually led to my early retirement. I was initially diagnosed with depression, and the treating brigade health-worker recommended escitalopram. Before this, I was a casual drinker that could easily go without beer for several days; nowadays, I can drink all night without so much as a slight hangover. My wife is concerned, as am I, with my intense cravings for alcohol. I do suffer extreme depression on a regular basis, so on the odd occasion I have doubled my dose of escitalpram to 40 mg. In combination with alcohol, I become obnoxious to people around me, and I recently abused my father-in-law over something rather minor. It’s like I observe this character that is not me, carrying on in an anti-social manor…..and I don’t like this character. Thank God I came across this article and the associated comments; I now feel some sense of solidarity and hope-at least-a new sense of direction. Thank you to all you brave people for your help.

  29. Like everyone who is reading these responses… Mine rings so true.. I have tried many AD’s over the years… When they work, I am a happy non drinker.. Sometimes for years. But when I change meds, I become an alcoholic… I wake up thinking of alcohol instead of coffee.. I can and have drunk 3 bottles of wine per day… No hangover!!! I feel alienated from my family, my life and myself. EVERYTHING that was precious to me has gone… My husband of 26years has had enough… I was on Effexor 75 mgs. I do not talk anymore…. It’s like the cats got my tongue… I hate shopping which I used to call my no.1 pass time. Family feel estranged… I feel like I am inside a fishbowl… Void of emotions… I am going off the medication now. I’ve had enough.. Whatever happens,happens. I no longer want to have my life sliced up into feeling good or feeling s*^t. I used to be called so kind and considerate and loving. Can anyone else relate??? BTW, I’m 52 and female…

    • Lyn, I was 51 and a social drinker when I started taking Celexa. I began drinking more right away. My alcohol abuse continued to increase until I had black outs every time I drank. Started AA this year. Now I don’t drink at all. I just found this site tonight. I’m definitely getting off this medication. I also gained 60 lbs. on it. Looking forward to finally being able to lose weight and maybe be a social drinker again.

  30. I started drinking the moment I was prescribed antidepressant medication – Citroplim & lexapro. I was at my worst on lexapro. I spoke to my doctor and he said it’s not possible!! I now know it’s the truth

  31. Firstly, Anne-Marie and the rest of you, thank you for taking the time and courage to share your experiences.
    This has been an interesting read and really quite enlightening. I have been taking SSRIs for many, many years for GAD as well as Benzos for peak anxiety. Though I have always enjoyed alcohol and happy to have a beer or wine with friends (keep clear of hard stuff) part of the culture here in Europe, I have noticed that when on SSRIs there is an element where, once that first drink has been taken, there is an accelerated thirst for more drinks and this until I reach a pretty drunk stage, whilst still being fairly “normal”…Having gone through some challenging moments these last 2 years, I have had to up my SSRIs and take Benzos on a daily basis; following this regime, I have noticed that my end of day beer, quickly became, beers followed by a few glasses of wine if not a bottle. Also, if I would go for a lunch with a friend where we had wine, we would down some pretty frightening amounts, not that I felt that it affected me all that much, but I clearly had a high percentage of the alcohol in my blood. More recently I have also noticed myself sneaking in a couple of beers before heading out to an event so I am already a couple of drinks ahead before getting there, not to be drunk but just to be a bit steady (probably related to anxiety management of sorts), and would then keep downing quite a few at the party or dinner (also noticing that I am filling up my glass a lot more regularly than others – something my wife has recently spotted as well making me feel somewhat shameful, blaming it on stress). Unfortunately, the spiral is not healthy, as it does affect recovery sleep, makes me wake up more anxious, and also quite foggy so tend to throw down some caffeine (which for an anxious person like me is like downing liquid anxiety – another really strong and needless habit to break) which further amplifyies anxiety, and thus more benzos are required, etc. After reaching a more comfortable benzo-induced cruising altitude, and I then attend a dinner party I can down a serious amount of beer and wine. Being surrounded by “good” drinkers, it goes rather unnoticed, but my wife has commented that I have said certain odd things, but also I sense more aggression in that state, and, more concerning have noticed I can’t remember certain conversations the following day.
    I was sort of suspecting that there was some sort of link to the medication and do know that benzo’s (with or without alcohol do have an impact and may lead to dementia down the road, not that reassuring), but the SSRI link was less clear as there is not much out there. Most side effects that come up are more about people having physical side-effects or sense of disconnection, fatigue, stomach pains and the overall-winner-and-most-common-reason-to-quit weight gain which will happen with some rare exceptions.
    I have a checkup next week and will indeed discuss this element with my GP – I am currently working on reducing my SSRIs anyhow as want to shed the weight (probably in good part brought on by the alcohol calories and stress) but also taken up mindfulness and will start yoga in the spring.
    Good luck to all. Sharing is always useful!
    E

  32. My 1st wife was a alcoholic. Our doctor put her on citilpram (maybe misspelled). For anxiety. He knew she was an alcoholic has he was her doctor for many years.
    In August of 2011, while I was home with her (I was on the couch taking a nap) my wife went into the bathroom, put a 9 mm handgun to her head and pulled the trigger. She is no longer with us.
    After reading the above story it was like reliving what was happening to her before she chose that answer.

    I hope you all find the answers you need, and stay away from. These nasty life taking drugs…….

  33. Add Brintellix/Trintellix/vortioxetine to the list. An excerpt from a post on crazyboards dot org. It is the member’s only post, so take it with a grain of salt.

    –YOU CANNOT DRINK ALCOHOL while taking Brintellix. Why? At least in my case, it literally turned me into an alcoholic. While taking it, I found that the desire for alcohol extended to all hours of the day. I wound up being let go from my job; I lost my housing; and for a month I was homeless. I had been a high-earning tech professional.

    Fortunately, the city of San Francisco came to my rescue. I had become physically addicted to alcohol after 2 months of continuous drinking. The Brintellix went away, as I lost my health coverage, but not until after I found myself in the psych ward at the hospital. After 3 months in alcohol rehab, and now 4 months in a sober living house, I have finally come to the conclusion that I’m not an alcoholic. I still have no craving for alcohol — I have no problem being around drinking people (though I’ve been sober now 8 months) and I must come to the conclusion that the combination of Brintellix and alcohol was, well, responsible.—

  34. Thanks so much for this! I have always had a tendency toward drinking and depression and when I started taking lexapro a few months ago the problem became much worse–I both wanted to drink more and alcohol affected me much more negatively. Before making the connection to lexapro I went and told my doctor about the drinking problem getting worse. I felt like my depression was better but also that I was more impulsive and wanted to drink more. I asked him about another drug I had read about called naltrexone which reduces alcohol cravings. It helped some but not enough. I finally realized that I had to stop lexapro. The naltrexone is still there if I need it and it sounds like mirtazapine and ondansetron might help too! Thanks!

  35. My question is: Why are any of you on medication in the first place? What makes a person decide they need to take these very harmful and unnatural drugs? Thank you!

    • I took these medications bc I thought I had anxiety and OCD both of which do not exist. I thought I was being helped. Once you get on these drugs its very difficult to get off. You become a zombie and doctors will control you. You become spellbound into thinking the drug is okay but it’s actually creating more problems. The commercials and media makes people think they have mental disorders. Dont be luered into thinking this bullshit.

  36. I can’t describe how incredible thankful and relieved I am to have found this site – and especially all the comments posted by people around the world.

    My story with psychatric medicine started in Dece,ber 2009, I was 20 years old. I’ve always suffered periods with severe depression ever since I was a child. Following a week with panic attacks caused by smoking weed (nothing I was doing regularly) the doctor at the psychatric clinic I was enrolled in finally “won” (having tried for 2,5 years to convince me to take antidepressants). I started taking cipralex and finally this year I felt strong enough to taper down from 20mg of escitalopram. I was giving citalopram instead in a wrong dosis, and I’ve been dealing with the most fucked side effects particularly electric chocks, fatigue, bizarre thoughts, I sleep no more than 2-3 hours at night and during the day I am a zombie. BUT, these physical side effects I can live with, but the alcohol, the alcohol is ruining my life in the age of 27.

    I experience exactly the same as many of you. I’ve been thinking for years that these cravings and excessive consumption is caused by genetic factors (my father has affininity towards alcohol as well) and simply the fact that I am a weak character. I go binge drinking 2-3 times a week. Once I have tasted the first zip of wine, gin, beer whatever, I can’t stop. I have no filter left, I haven’t blacked out yet, but the last 4 months I’ve had such horrible suicidal hangovers after a night of drinking. I don’t know why I can’t stop! Every time I ask myself “how can you continue doing something that is this bad for you?” I try to look at people around me, friends, family and colleagues and I am the only one with this kind of behavior.
    So I feel completely alone untill stumbling upon this site!

    My problem now is that I am afraid of going of the meds after so many years. How long does it take before things get back to normal? I’ve heard of people going for 12 months with these serious side effects and I can’t afford that job wise (since fatigue brings lack of concentration and I need to focus)

    How does your everyday life work? I mean, are you able to have jobs etc. with these alcohol/SRRI related problems?

  37. Hi -sending experience during 1 year , several years ago.
    Regarding drinking while on psych. meds (which medical advice always advises against )
    -For six months , I had similar experiences i.e taking antidepressants , the meds. seemed to increase my tolerance for higher and higher doses of alcohol. I ended up being able to drink 2 bottles of wine + for instance a night , and only felt mildly to moderately stimulated and energetic . Also no hangovers the next day, which initially I thought was great, ( I’d always had rotten hangovers with only a few glasses for most of my life) I was drink driving , then drinking on the way home from work in the end.
    Prior to going on antidepressants (Lexapro) If I drank more than 3 glasses of wine I would be becoming unsteady on my feet , slurry in speech etc, sleepy .

    Why was I drinking anyway? -if the meds were doing the thing they promise-i.e reduce/ get rid of anxiety and depression? Well I still had an anxious stressy edge to my life that I could not seem to shake off.
    For the whole year I was going to pychotherapy 1x aweek , trawling through my 45yr life history , unloading and unravelling some things that I had always been too ashamed or conflicted , to speak about with friends and family . But the therapy finally got to a plateau point where I felt like I had said all I could say and needed 5o go in a different direction, or needed inspiration to shift my thinking further ) -my therapist did a lot non judgemental nodding to encourage me to share and was good at ‘ listening’ but I wanted more in the end for the $150 per hour) I was still feeling isolated, lonely and my welfare job stressful, my long term defacto relationship was bringing up trust and insecurity issues . I left therapy and my job.
    I weened my self slowly off meds over three weeks , and my alcohol use dropped to normal use and 6months later I stopped drinking and smoking altogether.
    I like everyone , wish there was a magic bullet /easy way to create equanimity and a sense of balance, self confidence , and heathy happy relationships in my life.
    The best I have found to help me is one on one or group learning mindulness meditation lessons (2×6weeks courses avail. for free if you are low income etc from some universties or Buddhist meditaton centres. Exercise daily, what ever you enjoy most , my choices are to swim, calming yoga practse , walk , bike , ride – then to help control negative thinking, for half hour , at least meditate 30mins minimum daily. Eat well , fresh health, fruit , vegies , drinks lots of water . Find the sort of self help books /tapes that apeal to you . Laugh , its good for mind body and soul, strive to engage postitively with everyone you cross paths with , work at getting rid of anger , fear, worry , envy, excessive critical judgment of others. Remember /remind yourself several times a day that our lives are so short , aim to be in the moment enjoying who you are , who your friends are , and recall what is wonderful in the world . At the same time be proative when you can to help others in need , and stand up for injustices that you see , but remember stay calm!!! Look after number 1 -thats you !
    Ps Pych meds are meant to be used short term 6 months in many cases , and ideally should be administered by a experienced pychiatrist who knows you well , your history and surrounding heath and social situation,- too many times pills are given out without enough in depth knowledge of the persons circumstances .Try to get counselling , therapy etc to get to the bottom ofwhat is the causes of your problems , be 100% honest with yourself .

  38. I can also relate big time. I’ve had General Anxiety and mild Social Anxiety my entire 49 years of life. Was always a social drinker and very light social smoker. Worked out regularly including martial arts. Spent years just dealing with the anxiety the best way I could, using meditation and low doses of benzo’s as needed. Finally, about two years ago I was going through a real stressful period at my already stressful tech job. Decided to take the plunge after years of doctors telling me I would do better on SSRI’s long term. Total BS…While I had absolutely no major side effects when I started Lexapro 10mg and eventually 20mg, I had no idea how my relationship with Alcohol, Smoking and Gambling would change. I went from 0 to 100 in a matter of months. I became the binge drinker’s binge drinker. Over a short period of time I noticed my need to stay up for 10 or more hours sitting at my PC watching youtube videos and downing beer after beer, when normally I would just have two or three and go to bed. I like others have mentioned would also not get drunk until way late in the game, maybe 15 beers. I smoke outside my house, so I would go out on the front walk to smoke and smoke and smoke. Last year I took a header, while rolling out my ashes, the only thing that saved me was my muscle memory from martial arts which enabled me to roll out of it enough to just hit my face and not my head. Funny thing is, I got up thinking it was so funny and had a few more beers. I go to rock concerts…started binge drinking at those also, now nobody wants to attend with me. I play poker once a week and used to have maybe 5 beers in 4 hours time. Now I am ordering 2-3 per hour and running up to the bar just before last call to get my last two…hitting on female players and dealers and being uncharacteristically aggressive with other males. Then only to return home and drink more while sitting at the PC, drunk dialing old girlfriends and even more embarrassing and costly endeavors, like live chat. I don’t even want to mention my behavior in Vegas, not that I can remember the late night action. Before Lexapro, most would have considered me a square healthy guy…now I am at the point of decision, stay on the medication and lose everything or get off as soon as possible. I am choosing the latter and will wean myself off the best I can. So far even moving back to 10mg has really helped, now I only go out on the weekends and have been able to stop drinking during the week. Also working out a bit more after going through the laziest 18 months of my life. Cant wait to get this out of my system for good.

    Good Luck to all!

  39. I’m shocked to see all of these responses. I actually researched to see if alcohol would help withdrawal symptoms because I lost my medication. However, I have noticed increased addiction to drinking. My doctor prescribed citalopram and buspirone because I was starting to drink too much. My drinking is getting to the point where I pass out while putting my 5 yr old daughter to bed and affecting my relationship with my bf of 7yrs who is now second guessing proposing because of drinking. I have PTSD and recently reacted to a situation by fighting, hitting, and screaming, all because my bf tried to take my drink. This is not me!! I’m starting to not remember what happens when I drink as well as remembering anything throughout the day, drinking or not. Im having trouble taking care of myself, daughter, or keeping track of anything in life!

  40. Writing this to encourage all of you…weaned myself off Effexor/Venlafaxine XR after 10 years. The drug helped me immensely over that time with major depression and severe social anxiety. The only reason I came off was due to the “breakthrough” side effects because my RX plan insisted I use generic drugs of various manufacturers. I noticed in January, I was incredibly irritable and had other strange brain zaps, dizziness, dry mouth, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
    I realized that over the course of a year, these various generic drugs were probably not releasing the drug evenly and this was effectively causing withdrawal. I stopped cold turkey in Feb from 75 mgs/day because I knew I had probably been weaning off anyway…it wasn’t ideal, I had 4 days in which I could not leave my apartment – tired, sweating, no apetite, terrible stomach pain, hot flashes, anxiety, dizziness, and terrible impulse control…wild mood swings. But now, after 5 months, things are improving, I’ve lost about 15 pounds – without trying, finally sleeping well, and energy is so much more even. There are some changes in mood, some dips but nothing I can’t handle when I tell myself it will pass. And it does indeed pass.
    Regarding the alcohol, I noticed over time my tolerance increased to the point that a bottle was easy to consume in one night. I am a small woman and had developed a tremendous craving for alcohol. These cravings were most intense during periods of excitement and happiness, and also during time of dissapointment and depression. I also noticed the cravings came on if I was very hungry or tired. As if my body was craving immediate sugar. This resulted in nights with lots of alcohol, and some with none. Yet it was always a downward spiral once the first drink hit the brain – compulsive eating, sugar/carb cravings and also hyperactivity and excitement and then crash. One particular evening I argued with a friend on the phone and we are no longer friends. I don’t remember half the conversation, but what I do remember was so harsh and so unlike me.
    I realized then that it was there was something wrong with my impulse control – and admitted to myself that the drug had gradually altered my mind and my emotions in a subtle progression over years. It then took me a few more years to face the fact, once I had weaned off the drug I can see how changed I was.
    I don’t regret taking the drug because it truly helped me survive several difficult times in my life, yet, I now know that clean diet, meditation, exercise and the right supplements can even out depression and anxiety. Sadly, the drug covers over the intensity of the feelings but the moods are still there underneath. Now, in a healthier place, I am revisiting all my moods, and thoughts and I am able to see I am not damaged or defective but instead just a human being afraid of her own thoughts. The help of a good cognitive therapist, and friends is invaluable but so are these blogs, and comment boards. Any of you who are suffering, please know that things can get better, whether you decide to come off drugs or stay on, just stay focused on your behavior and the person you know yourself to be. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if one practitioner doesn’t understand, try others. I have also been greatly helped by quitting caffeine altogether – which also reduced my craving for alcohol -It was the other half of my mood swings – a kind of hyperactive clarity bordering on euphoria. The alcohol provided euphoria in a dull and tranquilizing way. And between the two poles I swung for many years. Now, happily, I’ve come to know myself, and I’m really not so bad, nor are the problems of life insurmountable if you begin by treating yourself with respect and kindness first. Then you can be effective and join the world without fear. And eventually you will sleep real sleep and wake up with natural energy. Best warmest wishes to everyone who is suffering with the choices and the fears. I can tell you it’s possible to get to the other shore…don’t give up on yourself.

  41. Hi to all fellow sufferers, I feel sad yet a little relieved to read about all your stories, only because at least now I don’t feel that I’ve been losing my mind for the last eight years. My early years as a child were not great to say the least which left me suffering from depression from an early age, not that I knew what depression was back then. Over the coming years after many failed relationships maybe caused by the depression, I met and married a wonderful person when we were 33 years old and we are still together at 50 ( she deserves a medal). Until 8 years ago we would spend our weekends out together socialising with friends or family which always involved in probably drinking too much ! Then on one such a weekend I had a fall out with my sister whom I was very close to, she had been on antidepressants for some years and had tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion as had I. Sadly after that we never contacted each other for a number of months. Which left me feeling much lower than I usually did. I went to my doctor and was prescribed Prozac. At the time I was running a small building business and never ever drank during weekdays. My sister and I had made up which was great. Then for reasons I could not understand before long I was drinking every night of the week. I went back to my doctor who then put me on duloxetine my drinking increased even more. Something had to be done ! A home detox, no drink for the next few months hurray! At the end of those months I was prescribed venlafaxine what a big mistake 300mg a day the alcohol cravings came back big time. I gave up my work and sat at home like a cabbage drinking all day long as I have for most of the last 5 years. Strange thing to me is I don’t feel any different after the first drink or the last 10 hours later just a little tired then I go to bed after taking my 30 mg of diazepam to help me sleep. I would like to add that 3 months ago I felt so unwell at the end of the day I really thought I was going to die, racing heart, terrible sweats, pains all over my body, weakness like I have never known, chest pains ,my head felt like it was in a compression chamber. I cut my 300mg dose to 150mg and within 36 hours these symptoms went away, hard to believe maybe but my friends it’s the truth. At this time over the past few weeks I have been taking out 5 more of the little granules in the venlafaxine capsules every other day, I have at moments noticed the odd flickers of normal human emotion. Hopefully over the coming months the alcohol cravings will ease and most of all I wish to be off of ” in my own opinion this evil drug called venlafaxine “. Good luck and good health to you all.

  42. I also had this horrid experience. I had a tragedy in my family that I could not cope with. My doctor put me on Paxil and I felt much better. However, when I drank alcohol the effect was horrible. The craving was like nothing I had ever experienced in my entire life!!!!! I blacked out, fell down and acted foolishly. I ran to my doctor and and told him that I was an alcoholic. He explained that it was a progressive disease and since I had known him all my life was completely baffled! Neither if us made the connection. Finally, after all most 2 years of trying everything, including prescription drugs, it dawned on us both and I got off that drug as fast as I could. Now THAT was an experience! But the worse part is that I am now unable to drink. I still have cravings and blackouts, and once I have one drink I want more and more. I was a normal, social drinker and cannot have alcohol any more. I actually go to AA but nobody believes my story because they say that people are born alcohols. But I was in my forties when this happened and never craved alcohol before. I am now 57 years old. I didn’t read everybody’s post, but the ones I have read are still able to drink after getting off the drug. I will go back and read all of them to see if anybody else has my story.

  43. All of your stories ring true for me as well. I have suffered from depression and anxiety my whole life, and finally listened to my gp two years ago and started taking escitalopram. Honestly, it really has worked for my anxiety. I sleep better, can perform daily social activities without freaking out beforehand, and even got certified to become a yoga instructor (something I never would have dreamed of doing before – standing up in front of a group of strangers!? Never!!). All of this is amazing, except the drinking.

    I drink so much more now than I ever did before. I am able to consume much more than I ever have and I don’t have hangovers. I drink more than anyone I know. I black out all the time and never, ever did before I started taking this medication.

    I am going to try and wean myself off of this medication, and hope that my yoga practice and family can help me through it. Thank you all for sharing your stories!

  44. My grandmother was an alcoholic but it was never in my home so I didn’t think of it much. I’ve always known that when socially drinking I over indulge but very recently it is monopolizing my thoughts. I have always prided myself on NEVER drinking alone or much at all during the work week.
    I began taking Prozac 6 months ago and it helped the depression but seemed to stop working. My psychiatrist also put me on Wellbutrin 2 months ago. The last few weeks I scare myself. I have a job, children and s husband and find myself sneaking wine. It is the afternoon and I’m drinking wine while the kids are in school. I appreciate this article so much because this is a new problem and now know what the cause is.

  45. Hi,

    Worm with a follow up. Stopped taking Lexapro Aug 22nd. Very few side effects..just a little dizziness from time to time. I absolutely feel like a million dollars compared to being on Lexapro. All I required was low dose of Xanaz as needed for occasional anxiety. Damn benzophobe doctors push these meds on you.

    Anyway, back to the drinking part. I have absolutely lost my alcohol cravings, almost immediately. I feel like I did before the medicine. I am working out like a mad man, not procrastinating and not sleeping all the time. I thank God that I did not get arrested or killed while on this medication. What a hell ride. Two years of my life given up to major dysfunction.

    If you are having alcohol cravings on SSRI’s or any other similar medication, GET OFF OF IT NOW!!! Suck it up and deal with the withdrawal symptoms. You could die.

    Best regards,

    Worm

  46. Thank you for posting this. It has provided me the comfort in knowing that I am not insane, not a stone cold alcoholic, but instead experiencing intense side effects of this medication.
    Mental illness is no joke and should be treated when need be, but alcoholism is also no joke and because of SSRIs I have experienced exactly what you have. I’ve gotten in car accidents, lost jobs, friends and more because of my alcohol abuse on lexapro. I’ve only just now started researching the effects because I wanted to know there wasn’t something wrong with me that was causing this aggressive incoherent behavior. I told my doctor that I drink heavily and he said not to stop taking my lexapro, that the side effects are miniscule, and that infuriates me because this medication has taken a hold of my life and my sanity.
    I’m weening off of it, starting today.
    Thank you.

  47. These stories all sound so familiar. I, too, became a raging alcoholic while taking paroxetine and later, Wellbutrin. The first time was in the 90s and I was about 25 and living in NYC. I started taking paroxetine for depression. Unfortunately my apartment building was right next door to a liquor store and I found myself buying vodka during the daytime frequently. I would drink early and alone in my place and be drunk by 6 pm. I spent evenings alone listening to music and ruminating and was really in a bad place. This went on for months. When I did go and drink socially, I acted weird. At one point I threw a pint of beer down on the pavement at an outdoor bar because the guy I was seeing made me mad. This was totally unlike me, but on Paxil and booze, I had transformed. I behaved inappropriately and people stopped wanting to be around me. Eventually I got off the Paxil, went through horrible withdrawals and didn’t know that it was the Paxil. My doctor never said a word about quitting cold turkey, and I ended up in the ER several times for extreme vertigo and massive panic attacks. Again, no one there helped me figure out I was experiencing withdrawals. It was 1998, they know better now but should have then, too. My drinking eventually decreased but I was full of shame at how much I’d hated myself and how everyone in my life could tell that I did. It was just so clear.

    Fast forward to 2009. By then I was married with two small children living back in my home state of Idaho. I was feeling depressed again so was put on Wellbutrin. Shortly thereafter I was having an online affair with a man in another state. My husband found out and I tried to stop contact with him. He was married too. It dragged out for several months in secret with my husband eventually coming home from work at his lunch hour unexpectedly to catch me talking to him again. He flew to my city and we ended up sleeping together. I had separated from my husband right before that as if that would somehow make it less wrong. I sat in the parking lot of his hotel chugging from a bottle of vodka until I was completely drunk so I could sleep with him and not feel so ashamed. This whole thing was so unlike me and to this day I really believe it was the drug itself combined with the copious amounts of vodka I was craving and able to drink on it. We eventually ended the affair and I quit taking the drug and as time went on and I could understand how out of my mind I was, I tried to save my marriage. We went on for several more years but eventually divorced. During our separation I also slept with other men who were 15 years younger than me, I was 35 and partying with young people, so sad and pathetic. I’d have my bottle of vodka and just do straight shots like a hardcore alcoholic. I’d blackout and be terrified upon waking up in the morning, to check my phone to see what crazy things I’d done, or ask my friends, I couldn’t believe my behavior. I could just drink and drink on the Wellbutrin and the drug also made me have no conscience. It was awful.

    I arrived at this site today because I’ve been spending years trying to regain my health and eating well and exercising, I’ve been off antidepressants for years now, but I recently started supplementing with omega 3’s and I’ve noticed that while I feel less depressed, I am really really craving alcohol again. So maybe it isn’t the pills per se but the changing levels of serotonin, that cause us to crave alcohol. I don’t want to ruin a good thing I’m doing for myself by drinking a bunch again. Yesterday I drank five drinks but could have had many more. My tolerance is just so high, more so since taking the omega 3’s. And I have moments of real happiness and energy but the desire to drink is also there too which seems so paradoxical. I’m hoping that I can be strong and just stay away from all alcohol at least for a few months and let my poor brain heal. I know it takes a year really, and I would love to be strong enough to stay away from it for that long. Thanks for sharing all your stories.

  48. It’s fantastic to see such a useful post. Thanks for the sharing, I also found a useful service for forms filling. So here is my saving grace: PDFfiller helped me to fill out the CA MC 210 S-I and and esign them. Just try it https://goo.gl/YbC3d0, you’ll love it.

  49. Lexapro almost cost me my family. I was only on 10mg. It made me manic, drinking everyday, fighting with family. Its poison! Do not take Lexapro or any ssi

  50. I am so very glad I found this website and I am grateful to everyone who shared their story. I started on lexapro in June 2015 and moved on to generic after a few months. My history with alcohol is that it was generally under control, just a social drinker, typical single femal professional level. I might have a glass of wine during the week but I could abstain also. I quit drinking a few times in the past for long periods due to wanting to be healthier. When I started the anti depressant I was only having the odd drink as my doctor said it was best to limit drinking while on the meds. In the past year when I realised that odd drink had become a daily habit as well as alcohol cravings which start at 11am and do not quit until I have my first drink, I tried to cut down or quit. Without success despite trying methods that had worked before such as the control alcohol books by Allen Carr and Jason vale, and also other books on alcohol addiction, and finally hypnotherapy. No luck. I read brain over binge recently ( I recommend ) and the authors experience with binge eating was very similar to my experience. I had a dual obsession with quitting drinking AND engaging in drinking, which was taking all my free time. And then some. In the past six months the situation has escalated off the charts. I missed work recently due to a hangover which has literally never happened to me. My family has also become very concerned. I find that once I start drinking, I can’t stop until I have consumed 10 to 15 units. The craving is so intense it is hard to describe. I had been reading about the increased risk of alcohol cravings while on ssri but I couldn’t figure out if it was the depression or the medication causing the cravings. Then just a few days ago I read that alcohol can sharply increase the serotonin in your brain, and it you are on an ssri, this can cause a dangerous level which results in mania and risky behaviour. So I have decided that 1. I need to come off the ssri and 2. I need to stop drinking at least until I get off the medication.

    I have also had weight gain of 10 kg on my formerly steady 53 kg. Along with the increased wine consumption I also experience food cravings while I am drinking, for chocolate, ice cream, snacks, crisps. I never had this issue prior to taking the ssri. I feel completely out of control during these wine and junk food binges.

    I will start the taper tomorrow and I want to quit drinking today, I am reading Jason Vale book kick the drink easily and please god it will work for me. Best of luck to all.

    • Angelina. I empathise with your experience completely. It is a spiral but realisation is a turning point. It’s so easy to blame other factors but it’s a relief in a way to figure out that these meds are a cause of so many issues. Withdrawal is hard I am going through it at the moment and it has taken me by surprise after 1-2 months and I have got to the point where I don’t know or trust my behaviour anymore. I have done some reseach, I didn’t relate it to the meds initially I thought I was having a breakdown. Now I know and have researched and it’s so good to find millions of people out there are struggling also. GPs are an easy and badly informed option for support. Unless you have an amazing one!!😜 Good luck. There is an amazing article I found through survivingantidepressants.org which explains the chemical background of withdrawal which i have found extremely helpful. Let me know if you want the link or want to pm me . Good luck ! 😁

      • Thanks for your comment Rosie. It has ban a roller coaster ride since ! Still struggling with alcohol cravings and my indecision about quitting anti ds is because I don’t know if the alcohol is related to the medication or the depression. I have decided to try and quit alcohol and start a taper. My birthday is coming up in a few days and I really want to feel some progress by then! I hope you are getting on ok with your withdrawal. They say it can be hard to determine if the effects are due to discontinuation or return of original withdrawal. Thanks for your support and good luck 🙂

  51. I have been on citalopram/lexapro for years on and off. I have always enjoyed a drink. But for a few years now I have not known when to stop. I have young children and never start drinking until they are asleep. That can generally be 8 or 9pm. If I open a bottle of wine it will always be finished and normally a few beers afterwards. I recently started drinking vodka to avoid the calories of wine due to the amount of weight I have put on but it just goes down like juice and it is too easy to consume almost a whole bottle . If there is a good socially acceptable reason to begin drinking during the day such as a BBQ or birthday party then it always continues from there. Lately I have weaned myself off lexapro but it’s been weeks now and I’m finding my tendencies for alcohol consumption (only once I start) remains the same. So I can avoid but usually only for one night then I want to drink the next night and I have no off switch. I have found that my tolerance is not good now i am off the drugs but the inclination to drink is the same once I’ve started. I have done some really embarrassing things in the past few weeks and have injuries from them, physically and mentally because the things I’ve done have been completely out of character for me. I also feel that these drugs provided an unrealistic tolerance to alcohol that I just don’t have now that I am not on them. I am really happy that I have come off these drugs but I am scared that a pathway has been built in my brain that when u start drinking U can’t stop. Many blackouts and crazy behaviours have happened but I am still having brain zaps occasionally from this medication even weeks of coming off it. I am seeking some counselling help but although I have a history of alcoholism in my family I am not ready to commit myself to it quite yet, not until I’m sure these meds are truly out of my system. Thank god for this sharing of experiences it would be amazing if local groups could be established through this.

    • Rosie I don’t know if this would work for you but either Allen Carr or Jason vales book on drinking worked like a charm for me. Granted I read them prior to starting ssri so I am not sure if they will work for me now ( I will know soon enough). Another book I highly recommend is Alcohol Explained by William porter. Imo this is the best book about alcohol, and I have read many. I am also trying Ailsa Frank hypnotherapy, control alcohol. It has great reviews, on her website she has a case study about a guy that gradually reduced his drinking to very little, lost a lot of weight and relieved his depression.

  52. I wrote my story here a month or so ago. I wanted to share with you all that I’ve found something that has helped me with depression. It’s called Enlyte and was prescribed to me by a naturopath. It’s basically methylated B vitamins, especially a high dose of folate. Most of us can’t process the usual form of B vitamins. You could also buy methylated B on Amazon, i think Thorne makes them. This one I am taking is just a really high dose. It took about a week to get used to it, as I felt a bit speedy, but now a month on, I am actually taking two a day, because I figure I am super depleted due to decades of drinking. Anyway, I’ve been sober for ten days now, and I credit the vitamins to helping me feel well enough to do this. I now have zero cravings for booze and no depression. It’s a vicious cycle of vitamin depletion, alcoholism and depression. I am also sleeping better than I have in over seven years. Please at least try this form of vitamins. I don’t recommend Deplin (a high dose prescription folate) unless you also take it with methylated B-12, since too much folate depletes B-12. Getting out of depression and alcoholism requires addressing our serious nutrient depletion. I am feeling better than ever. I also found I’m more assertive now and have gotten rid of toxic people in my life. This has been a godsend.

  53. This site is wonderful! my husband has been on antidepressants for around 15 years. He has a heavy drinker when I met him in 1989. He wanted to stop, it took 3 years of off and on drinking until he quit.He had depression which turned into anger and violence. He has COPD one night he was very angry and having a sever attack of not breathing. His brother took him to the hospital he was admitted. When he called me I told him he had to talk to the Dr. about getting help for his anger. His Dr. put him on Welbutrin. It helped his anger and drinking problem,he also quit smoking. A few years went buy with a few bouts with drinking and smoking,then he got the anger back. His Phyc Dr. added ativan, He seemed to be better for a year then the anger came back and drinking,but lying about it.The Dr. added Buspirone. It seemed to help a little the Dr. told him to take it three times a day. He started drinking more often and was more depressed. I looked up on the pc side affects on these meds. The Adivan was only to be used for 6 months! he had been on it for 3 years! He stopped taking it and stopped taking the third Buspirone. he felt better,but started drinking more in secret.I could tell be his eyes he was drinking ,but he denied it.He always has a lot of tic tac to cover it. He went to his GP for the drinking and she put him on topiramate 100 mg twice a day. It seemed to help for a couple of weeks,the anger was gone for a few months. The last two months he has gotten very angry and started drinking again. Not everyday. The last two months he is a different person more anger and when he drinks he is violent to me. Sunday was terrible,it was like he had different personalities. he was very violent. I told him he had to get help or leave. I wasn’t doing this another year.I started doing research on meds for drinking. Then I thought maybe its the meds. I put in search Meds that make you drink and this site came up. Thank God. I read the posts and it was like I was reading about him. I started weaning him off two meds tonight. I think this is whats needed. I read in another post about taking Enlyte which is methlatated B you can et it on Amazon. I’m getting him some to take I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you all for sharing.

    • I have a story very similar to your husband’s. I tried several things on the internet too. I just want to add an option for you because it worked so amazingly well for me. I went from not drinking at all, to drinking an entire bottle of whisky a night and not feeling it and it started when I started taking an ssri. I stopped taking the ssri and my doctor prescribed me acamprosate for the alcohol cravings and the cravings stopped almost immediately. Good luck to you guys and thank you for sharing your story!

      • Thanks for the heads up on the Acamprosate. He goes to the Drs. on Jan. 19th. I’ll have him ask her for a prescription By them he’ll be off the antidepressants. His mood is a lot better..

  54. I’ve been clean from marijuana for a year straight. I started taking Latuda at 20 mg 2 years ago & now I’m up to 60 mg. I’ve been experiencing the weirdest things with this drug lately, for example I’ve been craving to smoke weed again. I can’t seem to get my mind off of it.. which doesn’t make sense because prior to these meds, I could go weeks without smoking and not think twice about it. But now? I think about it all the time. It’s all I can talk about. I don’t smoke it, however, because I get anxiety attacks due to the mixture of the medication with the weed. And I know it’s the mixture because I’ve gone through points in these 2 years where I’d stop taking the medication just to smoke weed and after that, the panic attacks went away.

    The other strange side effects include gaining weird obsessions and a lot of nostalgia. Sometimes it’s so bad that I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. Has anyone else ever gone through anything like this with their medication?

  55. Thank you for writing this. I read it a while back and it was like you wrote my story. Alcoholism runs in my family so the gene is there, but I never had a problem drinking before. Then I couldn’t go a few hours without itching for a strong drink. I am average height and weight for a girl and I went from not drinking at all to quickly drinking a 750ml of Jack Daniels in a few hours and not feeling a thing. I woke up the next morning not remembering anything, but people would tell me I was aggressive and did things that were way out of character, never been in trouble before but was almost arrested. After I read this I stopped taking Zoloft. After 3 months without it and my doctor prescribing me Acamprosate for the alcohol cravings (my doc really listens and is willing to try things – she is awesome). The Acamprosate really cut the cravings – I would go days without even thinking about a drink and it started working pretty quickly. Thank you again so much – you saved my life. As much as I was drinking I was admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning twice so I was well on my way to drinking myself to death.

    I know my story is exactly what others have said, but I wanted to make sure any doctors or other people suffering out there – if the read it and thought “meh its just one person maybe they really did just have a drinking problem…” I did not have a drinking problem.

  56. I have been on SSRI’s like crazy, and JUST RECENTLY have become the worst I’ve been EVEr in terms of alcohol consumption. a 1.75 litre of rum or vodka lasts 3 days. I am 5 foot 2 inches in height, weight 170 pounds (my point being, I’M SMALL!) I was put on Cymbalta in the past few months, am noticing I get NO hangovers, I black out and don’t remember doing things, and am getting VERY worried about it along with all the other medications I take. My skin is also falling off in dime to quarter sized chunks due to dehydration from too much drinking. I took a shot in the dark and searched for “antidepressant induced alcohol use” and came up to this site. I think this site has saved my life. Thank you so much for being on here, my doctors are all telling me I’m an alcoholic and should go in for treatment, telling me that it’s MY fault, not the meds too. I will definitely PRINT THIS ARTICLE OUT and give it to my primary care physician, therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist who don’t believe me that this has gotten worse FROM the meds! I CRAVE drinks before bed, can’t sleep without them really, and NEVER was like this before I started SSRI’s. BLESS YOU!

    • It’s interesting that you mention not having any hangovers. I’ve experienced the exact same thing. I can drink a bottle or three of wine at night; pop an Effexor RX before I go to bed; and no hangover the morning. Only deep cravings for more alcohol the very next night. I was never like this and I am so thankful to have found this blog and comments section. I don’t feel like I am at fault. For a year now I’ve been trying to get to understand what is wrong with me. This makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing.

  57. I’m so grateful you’ve posted this information and for the comments. I started taking Effexor RX 9 years ago, and have not been able to stop craving alcohol. Prior to taking Effexor I would have the occasional drink, but never had cravings for alcohol.

    I too have started drinking more heavily and daily. Often with weird, totally out of character behaviour resulting from it – including making bizarre phone calls, even to the police, have been driven home by the police when they found me on the side of the road in the middle of the night. Which is completely strange. I even got into arguments with hotel staff and have had arguments with friends. Weird telephone conversations with friends late at night without even remembering any of it.

    For a year now I’ve been telling myself I my drinking is out of control, but unlike before I have no off switch. I can start with one drink, go to another and before I know it I am waking up without much recollection except for family and friends telling me about the awful, weird stuff I’ve done.

    I was never like this prior to Effexor RX… it happened slowly. I keep thinking it cannot be the drug, but I just don’t recognize myself any longer. It’s like I am watching all this happening to another person; except it is me.

    • My husband is drinking less and is in a better mood than he’s been in for years. (since he started taking antidepressants) Wean your-self off slowly and you’ll notice the difference. This blog has saved my marriage of 29 years.

  58. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been on sertraline for 20 years. I switched to escitalopram and am in wonderment as to why I no longer crave alcohol when I assumed I was to some degreean alcoholic. now out of habit, I pour a drink, and feel blessedly disinterested. I don’t get drunk. I wake feeling like normal person. I’m overjoyed, and I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before. Antidepressants definitely have upsides and downsides. I’m thankful that I had the bravery to switch to another medicine.

  59. Well I lost my appeal to clear my name but I then came across this Zoloft Prosecutors Manuel afterwards.

    https://healthwyze.org/archive/zoloft_defense_manual.pdf

    Unless there is proper Scientific research into SSRIS we do not stand any chance of fighting our cases. They have already prepared a manual to fight us back in court and most of us are/were unaware of it.

    Talk about had hook, line and sinker. I feel like such a fool for 1.Trusting Dr’s 2. Taking the tablets in the first place 3. Trusting our regulators and Drug Company’s 4. Having any trust in the courts. In fact the whole system is well and truly against us and there is almost nothing we can do about it.

    Advise: Do not take SSRIS (or any psychiatric drugs) full stop! because no one will help you if and when it goes wrong!

  60. Hi, I have a family member struggling with SSRI and increasing cravings. The doctor also doesn’t believe him but has changed him to Thaden a tricyclic antidepressant. Will that help or what other antidepressant is recommended. He struggles with anxiety.

  61. I left I reply yesterday but do not see it anywhere. I wanted to know if there is any group of antidepressants that people found “saver” if SSRI has this reaction. I have a family member suffering with the exact cravings everyone is talking about and he is now slowly weaning of the SSRI, I was just wondering if he could ask his doctor about an antidepressant that doesn’t have this effect.

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