Health & Fitness

Why Citalopram and Alcohol Should Not Be Taken Together

Citalopram is a drug which is prescribed by doctors to patients of depression. It is available in the form of tablets as well as drops. The active ingredient in this medicine – selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, also known SSRI – is a type of anti-depressant.

It is often said that alcohol and citalopram should not be taken together; in order to understand why it should be avoided, let’s look at how citalopram works. Because it is an anti-depressant, citalopram acts on the brain’s nerve cells.

In the brain there is a chemical compound known as Serotonin, which is one of the many neurotransmitters present there. It is these neurotransmitters that carry messages to and fro the different nerve cells. Serotonin is the one compound which is responsible for making us happy. A person becomes happy when the chemical is released and he stays happy until the time the chemical is reabsorbed by the nerve cell to which it is travelling to.

The depressive state is most commonly caused by a decreased release of Serotonin in the brain; therefore the task of this medicine, Citalopram, is to delay or prevent the re-absorption of serotonin by the nerve cells. The resulting effect is that the person stays happy for a longer period or finds it easier to get out of the depressive state.

Now that you have understood how medicines such as Citalopram act upon the brain, it will become easier to understand why use of alcohol should either be minimized or avoided when taking this medicine.

Have you ever wondered why people consume alcohol? And have you noticed how it affects their behavior? People are attracted towards alcohol because it makes them feel good about themselves and their life even if it is for a little while. This is because alcohol has a lot to do with affecting the different neurotransmitters. And one of the chemical compounds that it affects the most is serotonin.

Momentarily, alcohol is able to raise the levels of serotonin so that the person feels elated but in fact if the alcohol is taken in excess and over a prolonged period, then it leads to stress and depression because alcohol actually decreases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Since Citalopram and alcohol, both affect the levels of Serotonin, it is feared that the medicine can enhance the effects of alcohol on the brain which can either be a depressive state or affecting the motor skills.

Health care providers recommend that alcohol should best be avoided or taken in very less to moderate quantities if at all it should be taken. The alcohol content of every drink varies which is why moderate amounts for different alcoholic drinks, like beer, whisky and wine, vary.

The effects of Citalopram start to appear a couple of weeks after the use of this medicine has started. Once the individual has established how it is affecting the body, only then he/she can start to use alcohol with it to monitor how both are affecting the body together.


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