Does Celexa antidepressant stop alcohol cravings?

Karen Madej by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

I’m no doctor. Just a normal human being with the usual wants and needs. And health problems that afflict so many of us these days. The curse of growing older.

I took Celexa (also known as Citalopram) for three months. The first two weeks I went from 20mg which zombified me, down to 10mg which aided my return to a healthy way of thinking that didn’t involve buckets of tears at the slightest sad thought or act of kindness.

At the end of the first month, my poor old brain felt robust and ready to return to cold calling social housing residents all over the country on behalf of their landlords.

I managed for two weeks until one particularly nasty tenant decided I couldn’t pronounce the letter h correctly. He said that he was an English professor; he said “it’s spelt aitch that’s how you should say it”. 

I responded politely that that’s how I was saying it. To which he laughed and called me a liar. 

Lizard or monkey?

My old lizard brain, best known for fight or flight, wanted to click the disconnect button. Yet my part-healed, new monkey brain, famous for reasoning, understanding, empathy, and reflection, tried valiantly to understand where this odd-fellow was coming from.

Unfortunately, the landlord’s company name acronym littered every question, and there was a H for housing in it. We were not even halfway through the survey. 

I tried my hardest to deliver the pronunciation he was insisting on, while simultaneously thinking I’d have hated being in his class. Hadn’t he heard of regional dialect differences, and who the hell did he think he was to dictate to me how I spoke?

When he picked me up on my pronunciation again and again, I finally told him I was on antidepressants and he was upsetting me. He laughed. Told me that was a good one, pull the other leg. 


My lizard brain took charge. It was time for flight. I advised him through floods of tears and a snotty nose that I was going to hang up. No yelling, no rudeness on my part. Just uncontrollable crying. 

My lizard brain executed an amygdala hijack of my monkey brain. I positioned my mouse over the disconnect button. I could hear him laughing and saying “you are hilarious”. I clicked the disconnect call button.

I upped the dosage from 10mg to 20mg. I lasted a further eight weeks in the crappy job. I don’t even remember the final straw. My goal was to last until the end of February. I’d have enough saved to write my heart out until June, paid or not.

No desire for alcohol while taking 20mg of Celexa daily

From January 1 until March 20, 2021, I had no desire or need for red or white wine or gin. There were so many lovely, lovely tenants who were an absolute joy to interview. I’m making a guess here based on experience rather than education, on March 20, the antidepressants were out of my system. 

That old pal of mine, the monkey on my back, took control of my pleasure centre. Otherwise known as the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex. This area of my brain is hijacked by my addiction

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Understanding addiction.


You know how wine or beer cheers you up after a stressful day? Your pleasure centre latches onto to the remembered pleasure you experience every time you drink wine or beer or whatever your addictive choice is. 

This cluster of nerves will tantalise you until you surrender. You open that bottle or can; you take that first delicious sip or gulp and you sigh with relief. And dopamine floods your nucleus accumbens. It does not stop there. It will remind you at every opportunity to do what gives you pleasure. Healthy or unhealthy.

We can increase dopamine levels by:

  • doing many healthy activities 
  • eating more protein, velvet beans, and probiotics
  • eating less saturated fat
  • getting enough sleep
  • meditating
  • listening to music
  • getting enough sunlight
  • turning to supplements if you are deficient in specific nutrients

Dopamine is the chemical messenger that learns what triggers a rush and encourages you to repeat the thought, action, or addiction. It doesn’t distinguish between the highs that we as humans experience from the list above and the dangerously addictive pleasures we give in to for instant gratification.

Could Celexa Curb Alcohol Cravings?

According to Arlington Cemetary Celexa antidepressant is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). Instead of allowing the brain to reabsorb serotonin, SSRIs block the uptake, thus leaving serotonin to continue flowing around the brain, maintaining a positive mood. 

Unfortunately, Celexa can cause weight gain. Taking more than the recommended dose does not improve the high. Long-term use of antidepressants can result in addiction.

Celexa rewired my brain to not need the rush of pleasure from dopamine and wine. An ambient flow of serotonin enabled me to get on with my life because Celexa dealt with my anxiety and depression. 

The freedom of not thinking about nor wanting alcohol for nearly three months enabled me to live my life to the full. Now, I’m off the antidepressants, but back on the booze. 

Self-medicating to keep depression at bay? Or depressed because I learnt and remembered, from the age of sixteen, that a stiff drink solved so many issues?

Four decades of depending on alcohol to feed a self-induced addiction. The brain is indeed a clever organ. It’s up to each of us to decide to change our negative habits for positive ones.

As with any prescribed drug, we should only take it as instructed by a doctor.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.


More from Karen Madej

Comments / 0