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Alcohol Cravings Induced via Increased Serotonin


Lindsay

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Hi everyone,

I have only just joined up to the depression forum and this is my first post.

I am so relieved to read that other users have experienced increased desire for alcohol. I have only been on Pristiq for a few weeks now but I have significantly increased my alcohol use.

If I am having a good day, I wake up in the morning and the only thing I want to do for the day is drink; I crave it.

I explain it to people like this: "When I feel happy all I want to do is drink. It relaxes me and it makes me feel free. I can not think of anything else I would rather do".

This is completely out of character for me as usually I spend my time exercising, studying or working. These things have also been significantly affected from the use of my medication as now I have gained this I don't care attitude- which is completely out of character for me.

I am aware that I require Pristiq at this stage of my life and I will continue to use it, but I am hoping to come off the medication in a few months and use alternative options, otherwise my I don't care attitude and my craving to drink has the potential to have adverse effects on my life anyway.

I just thought I would share how comforting it is to know that other people are experiencing side effects similar to mine and I hope that we can share our experiences together while on this journey through depression.

Thank you and have a great day.

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I have never been able to take SSRI's successfully, my behaviour changed and I drank more. It was as if, if you are into Freud, my ' Id' had taken over and was doing what the hell it liked . I must add, I am a gentle and very quiet person by nature.

Same here. It is as if I suddenly became Mr Hyde and all hell would break loose. I would drink till I pass out...Insult people....become overly agressive. I remember one night in a bar where I kept trying to trip a waiter as he was passing with drinks. So.. unlike me.! I was shocked I could do that when I was told the next day. Me always ever so polite and good mannered. How could I fall that low?

I remember the compulsion to drink strong alcohol any time I was on SSRIs. From being a social drinker -I would never drink alone- I turned into a serious alcoholic. I always had strong liquor at home and would drink all day long. From lunch time till I passed out. Was found passed out on the sidewalk twice. I lost a good friend and my girlfriend because of the behavior I displayed.

It got to the point where I thought I either stop these meds or they will k ill me and take others with me. So I stopped cold turkey and it got better after I went through the horrible brain zap phase.

I still drink more than I used to before I took SSRIs but the compulsion to drink has disappeared and I dont display the agressive behaviour and the "not a care in the world attitude" I used to when I was on meds. It is very much possible that SSRIs only have that effect on people predisposed to alcoholism. I am one of them then.. but I can say that I will never EVER take SSRIs again.

Thank you for your post. Your side effects are very similar to mine: The I don't care attitude, the aggresion when drinking (which is completely out of character for me as well), the drinking during the day etc. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your honesty as before I read these posts I thought I was alone with these side effects. You and many other users have brightened my day :-)

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  • 4 weeks later...
I have never been able to take SSRI's successfully, my behaviour changed and I drank more. It was as if, if you are into Freud, my ' Id' had taken over and was doing what the hell it liked . I must add, I am a gentle and very quiet person by nature.

Same here. It is as if I suddenly became Mr Hyde and all hell would break loose. I would drink till I pass out...Insult people....become overly agressive. I remember one night in a bar where I kept trying to trip a waiter as he was passing with drinks. So.. unlike me.! I was shocked I could do that when I was told the next day. Me always ever so polite and good mannered. How could I fall that low?

I remember the compulsion to drink strong alcohol any time I was on SSRIs. From being a social drinker -I would never drink alone- I turned into a serious alcoholic. I always had strong liquor at home and would drink all day long. From lunch time till I passed out. Was found passed out on the sidewalk twice. I lost a good friend and my girlfriend because of the behavior I displayed.

It got to the point where I thought I either stop these meds or they will k ill me and take others with me. So I stopped cold turkey and it got better after I went through the horrible brain zap phase.

I still drink more than I used to before I took SSRIs but the compulsion to drink has disappeared and I dont display the agressive behaviour and the "not a care in the world attitude" I used to when I was on meds. It is very much possible that SSRIs only have that effect on people predisposed to alcoholism. I am one of them then.. but I can say that I will never EVER take SSRIs again.

Thank you for your post. Your side effects are very similar to mine: The I don't care attitude, the aggresion when drinking (which is completely out of character for me as well), the drinking during the day etc. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your honesty as before I read these posts I thought I was alone with these side effects. You and many other users have brightened my day :-)

I can really relate to what everyone is saying here when I was drinking on the ssri's I was so horrible and would say the most awful things, it was as if I had tourettes syndrome and would say anything that was offensive, but the next day when people told me I would be horrified and sooo disgusted with myself but it would soon be forgotten and I would do it again. Since coming off the ssri's I have suffered terrible terrible guilt and feel so ashamed of myself that I would sometimes cry myself to sleep as I know it wasn't me, but people that didn't know me would think that it was me. I also read in the paper about the famous designer galliano (I think that's his name) in France he was drinking on ssri's and was so offensive and racist he is now in court, I felt so sorry for him as I know exactly what he was going through, he said he is so ashamed at what he has said and that he doesn't know who this person is that he became, I also saw the video of him in the restaurant and he was so not right, anyone with an once of sanity would have realised something was not right with him, I really hope he sorts it out with those meds poor man and that people will realise that it wasn't him or all of us for that matter and I really can not understand why no one has done any research into why so many of us have had these problems, it really is a serious problem that the experts should be looking into.

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  • 6 months later...

I went through periods of drinking rum while on effexor. Mostly I would get the cravings late at night when I was up alone and couldn't sleep. After starting Wellbutrin, I read that one shouldn't drink while on effexor so I stopped. I don't know why one isn't supposed to drink while on effexor, but the idea of liver damage is unpleasant. Sure, I would like to die, but not in a slow and painful manner.

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  • 2 months later...

I've definitely noticed an increase in my drinking and wanting to drink since starting Effexor. Before I would drink maybe once or twice a month, and a drink while out with friends. Since being on Effexor, I've been having two drinks a night. I also crave stronger alcohol, which, yeah, I would occasionally have a little before, but it was not a regular thing.

I don't usually drink to get drunk, however, one night I drank a lot and didn't feel much effect. I'm don't think I'm an alcoholic, and I'm limiting myself to at least every other night, but yeah...the cravings are there. I take 225 mg, recently went to 150 mg for two weeks, and noticed a decrease in craving. Unfortunately, my father is dying, so I'm going back up to 225 mg.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ive had the same problems with increased alcohol cravings which got me into all sorts of problems with binge drinking, loseing my job and even ending up in prison. I have found research papers that show that alcohol cravings can be induced by SSRIS, Ive told my story on a different website which helps to explain why some people get the cravings/alcohol abuse whilst taking SSRIS.

Edited by Waffles
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Me too! I've been on venlafaxine 150 mg going on 7 weeks now and I've definitely noticed me craving alcohol, and not just small amounts as before. It is terrible and feel like I can hardly control the urge to drink, and then after I drink one bottle of alcohol, it's not enough! Where as before venlafaxine 4 glasses was plenty but just don't want to stop at one now. I don't know what to do anymore! I am now able to go one or two nights, fighting the urge not to drink, but then all of a sudden I can't think straight anymore and the only thing I can think of doing is drinking, like I have a one-track mind! I'm really scared because I'm afraid I'm going to get into serious trouble. And venlafaxine is the only AD that's worked for me since I came off of a MAOI of 20 years several years ago. I am thinking of coming off of this (somehow) before something serious happens. Don't know what to do??

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Boy oh boy! so many people have said about more cravings with venlafaxine and sadly I totally agree as well, since dropping from 300mg to 225mg the cravings are SOOO much more manageable! I was having the same effects as you Skitzo, whatever I drank was never enough, I've even stayed up all night - drinkin - eek!

I think you are doing well having a couple of nights off if you can, dont beat urself up though, it is hard when you've found an AD that works but has effects like this, have you been on a lower dose? how was it? I know for me lowering it helped, it hasnt cured the craving but its much less.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been batteling with this problem for a while now. I feel so much better that i know now im not just crazy, and if i am at least i found some friends :)

Alcahol has been an issue for me for a while now but i just wont say im an alcaholic. All of the things described are what i have been saying and all anyone is willing to say back is " you have a problem" or " your an alcoholic, go to a meeting".

Just recently i have admited that i do have a problem with alcohol. Been going to psych to help figure it out. In the past drinking has not been an issue, have a few no big deal. In the present i have been on prozac for a few years for depression and after reading all of this it is finaly starting to make sense. I recently started taking vyvance for ADD and after reading, im telling my doc that i want off the prozac!!!!!!! I think i have been on the drug train to self destruction!!!!! Im so excited, and maybe I am an alcoholic now but I'm still excited that im not crazy and there is some hope!!!! Thank you all soooooo much!!!!!

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Millymolly,

No, I haven't lowered the dose of venlafaxine. I asked my pdoc to lower it some but before I even received the new dose in the mail it seemed to stop working. So I was afraid to lower the dose. I'm still drinking some but not like it was when I first started venlafaxine. I just don't have much energy any more and feel extremely weak sometimes. It comes and goes. I see my pdoc in a couple of weeks so will tell him what I did. I get spurts of energy and do lots of things during that brief period, but then all of a sudden I'm totally out of energy. Even though I sometimes continue doing physical things because I can't feel the pain I used to feel since starting venlafaxine. Well, I still don't know what to do. I shouldn't drink at all, but I will do whatever it takes to not feel stressed and tense and all depressed!

So how is it now working for you?

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I have never craved alcohol since I have been on Effexor. And I have been on it for over 10 years. I do not believe Effexor is the problem.

I have my own little theory. And that is from experience. Not me personnally but my dad was an acoholic. I finally discovered why.

When you drink it is because there is something behind the drinking. So, maybe Effexor is not the right medication or the dosage is not right.

Of course, this is my opinion.

Joyce

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

I am new to this forum. I am a long time member of AA, and I was searching for details about a physiological cause of craving for alcohol to help me in my work with other alcoholics, and this forum showed up in the search results. Just in case it is of interest, I am including the information that I found on a different site.

I know this site is not intended for alcoholics. I will just briefly state that my life after working the twelve steps is easier, happier, and more peaceful than I could ever have known to hope for.

Thanks.

Tom

Problem 1: Obsession and Insanity

Alcoholics who have yet to accept their alcoholism suffer from the obsession that they can drink like normal people.

The insanity referred to in step 2 is the alcoholic's belief that he/she can drink normally, when almost every previous attempt has proven otherwise. Sometimes heard at AA meetings, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. "

Problem 2: The Phenomenon of Craving (Addiction)

The decline into alcoholism may result from the steady deterioration of the alcoholic's liver and pancreas, likely as a result of the toxic effect of accumulated acetone.

Peculiar to alcoholics, drinking alcohol triggers a craving for more alcohol. So the alcoholic becomes addicted to alcohol. Some believe this to be caused by a physiological issue. It may be caused by the liver/pancreas of the alcoholic not producing sufficient quantities of the enzyme needed to metabolise the acetone produced as alcohol is metabolised. Acetone generates an irresistable craving for more alcohol. And more acetone accumulates in the alcoholic's body as more alcohol is consumed. So the cycle of drinking causing craving and craving causing drinking becomes catastrophic. No amount of personal willpower can prevent it.

Prior to coming to AA, my doctor indicated that my liver function tests were poor. A bonus of my recovery from alcoholism is that my liver function tests have returned to normal. Overall I feel 25 years younger! Nevertheless, I have no reason to believe that my body's ability to produce the acetone-eating enzyme has changed. I feel that becoming alcoholic is a one-way trip, much the same as becoming diabetic. No amount of healthy living can reverse the disease of alcoholism. My recovery, through practising the 12 steps, has brought me to a state better than any I have ever before been in my entire life. I'm what is know as a grateful, recovering alcoholic.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been somewhat of a drug addict for the better part of a decade now. The problem is not constant, but usually at night. I have never felt addicted to any drug in particular, but rather an addiction to not being sober. The only drugs I've found that I can use habitually and still remain functional are an illegal substance and alcohol. But I never took it to extremes. I would come home from work at night, immediately use the illegal substance or drink a couple alcoholic beverages, and go to bed a couple hours later.

Two months ago I began taking a small dose of Zoloft. I've been on a 50 mg dose for about 6 weeks now. I wasn't suffering greatly from depression or anything, but just felt that I would benefit from a little help in overcoming social anxiety. For that, the Zoloft has worked great. I feel more able to express myself around people without worrying what others think. In general, I feel like Zoloft has granted me the ability to not care, which may sound like a bad thing, but that's not always the case. You see, I think I'm a good person for the most part. I like to see people happy, I am considerate, respectful, and like to help people. So this ability to not care has helped to bring me out of hiding in a dark corner and into the group, where I can express my ideas and help everyone work towards a happier, more productive day.

The downside to not caring has been alcohol. Unlike most everyone else posting here, I don't really feel cravings for alcohol, but instead I've just lost my inhibition to control a habit. When I get off work, I don't feel like I need a drink, but it just sounds nice, and even though I know I have a problem, I don't seem to care about the consequences. So I drink an alcoholic beverage. I haven't gone a single night in 6 weeks without a drink. And the problem really isn't that I need more, but that I want more and just don't care to stop. I know that if I don't curb this behavior quick, I am going to end up with a serious addiction, one that may have already begun and I just don't know it yet.

But I don't want to stop taking the Zoloft, as I have felt happier overall. I like myself, so I'm glad that I can now be myself around other people.

Another curious effect to note is that I no longer get hangovers. And it's not just that I've built up a tolerance, it's something else.

Edited by AquaViolet
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  • 1 month later...

... I started out on citalopram several years ago and nearly immediately experienced a strong craving for and compulsion of overuse of alcohol. ...

Someone very aptly described it as follows:

One drink feels like four drinks.

Four drinks feel like four drinks.

A complete bottle feels like four drinks.

Also there would be no hangover.

...

Yes, exactly!

I'm dealing with this as I come up on Zoloft. I have been a regular evening drinker for years, (I guess "functional alcoholic" is the term.) Good news: the Zoloft is working. My moods are level and positive and the demons are at bay. I am feeling better than I have in a long time.

But lo, I thirst. This happened when I first got on Celexa years ago, too. My doctor recently switched me to Zoloft.

I drink. I like it. But it feels like I can't get enough. I don't get the "buzz" or the "high" that I am accustomed to after 3 beers so I drink 6 and then I reach for more and am surprised that it's all gone. I know there is alcohol in my system and that it is having an effect on me but it seems that the pleasure, if that makes sense, just doesn't happen. It's like I don't "feel" it. Last night, for example, I drank a sixer of tea-flavored malt beverage and I really wanted more. I was staring at my empties and thinking, "s***, there's a chemistry issue here. My alcohol isn't working." I bump a wall, I suck at my video game: Oh, it's working alright. I know I have enough in me to affect my coordination. But I feel impervious to the effects that I crave.

I can easily see this turning into a huge problem and so I'm faced with the decision of quitting alcohol forever. It's probably best if I do. Wish me luck - it's easier said than done.

I just wanted to throw my experience out there as I read and try to learn what's going on with me. I am beginning to realize the "avoid alcohol" label on my scripts is there for a good reason.

$0.02,

Mick

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  • 1 month later...

I am so glad I found this page. I have PTSD...depression, anxiety, pseudo seizures...and I am on 100mg of Pristiq. First med to really assist with my "issues"...well, my dreams are like I am on acid...and my drinking is now far out of control...a bottle of alcohol puts me in a state of...ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS. It puts me on another planet...I am thinking I am totally fine...however, the next morning I am told of what I had done. One bottle of alcohol is like drinking 10 whilst on this medicine. As one person said, they don't wake-up with a hangover...and neither do I...4 glasses of alcohol and I am toast. My memory...there is none! I am beside myself! The alcohol is alcohol...4 glasses of alcohol...and it's over...I'm falling down, abusive...coma like state...after 2 drinks I remember nothing...but during it I think I am ok. I've always had alcohol at dinner...so now I don't understand why Pristiq has made this so bad for me. It's shocking...

Edited by Posum
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  • 9 months later...

I am new to this site but I just want to thank you all soooo much for the insight and experiences you share. I am reading through this one in particular but also others noticing I am not alone and that others have had similar thoughts/feelings/experiences/side effects as me on effexor. I think alcohol is the worse with this medication. It intensifies everything! From the sweating, aggitaion, nervousness, nerve issues, insomnia, depressive swings, etc. I now know that I have to stop drinking! And thank goodness I finally read through all these posts to see its the culprit for alot of what I am currently going through. I have always drank on effexor and noticied since I started that it has increased dramatically and the person I become on alcohol is not pretty. Thanks again for all your support you all have no idea how these forums can help or even save someone.

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  • 3 months later...

Not having been aware of any prior alcohol problems, I started out on citalopram several years ago and nearly immediately experienced a strong craving for and compulsion of overuse of alcohol. Not so much the wines or beers, but more so the stronger beverages like alcohol, rum etc. Where before I used to enjoy the taste and social setting when having a drink or two and actually preferred alcohol, I suddenly needed the instant alcohol-high of distilled liqour. Nasty side-effect was that when on citalopram or lexapro, the perception of being intoxicated essentially did not occur and gave me the (utterly false) impression that I was still entirely lucid. Of course I was not and that in turn created a whole slew of other problems, not to mention the adverse effects on my liver and kidneys and God knows how many braincells.

Someone very aptly described it as follows:

One drink feels like four drinks.

Four drinks feel like four drinks.

A complete bottle feels like four drinks.

Also there would be no hangover.

After I found myself having consumed 2 liters of straight Rum in 3 days, I realised that I had a problem.

I detoxed and entered into a sobriety contract with my therapist and my therapy group, but staying 'on the wagon' was a constant struggle.

Interesting tidbit is that when I took myself off meds for a while, the cravings immediately disappeared and staying sober was absolutely no problem. (Even when around other people who would drink.)

Unfortunately my depression and resultion anxiety and anger issues returned as well and so I find myself in the uncomfortable position of trying to avoid both the frying pan as well as the fire. It seems to me that the closer to titration-level I get, the stronger the urge to imbibe to excess becomes.

Just my $0.02

Your post, and others, resonate with me. Thank you!

I am finally recognizing patterns in my increased alcohol consumption over the past years as I have been on SSRI's. I did not used to drink too much! I only would drink occasionally and in normal amounts: 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol, 3 at the most at dinners or get-togethers with friends, which was normally a couple times a month.

First was prozac> this led me to binge drinking (alcohol) but only on occasion. When I changed to Effexor, Pristiq over the past two years, it has only become worse: I've turned to gin, will drink and continue drinking in the hopes of feeling some sort of high. As Luperucs said> the more you drink, it feels as if you aren't there yet: totally sober or a little tipsy. So, you keep going. I wake up feeling terrible, can't write (what I do) and need to sleep and then feel like a total failure because I've wasted a day. In another 2 days, I'm back again.

My anxiety while drinking is also terrible. I used to have beautiful nails, and now I bite them down to almost nothing. I worry about everything.

I also used to smoke but had quit, and now I am back and CANNOT stop! It tires me. I've joined a gym hoping that this would help me avoid the evening urge to drink and smoke: it doesn't work. It is helping me lose the weight I have gained with the increased alcohol consumption, though.

I have made an appointment with my doctor in one week to discuss my meds. While I know that everyone is different, does anyone have experience with Celexa? Does it lead to an increased urge, unresistable push to drink like Effexor and Pristiq?

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I am so glad I found this page. I have PTSD...depression, anxiety, pseudo seizures...and I am on 100mg of Pristiq. First med to really assist with my "issues"...well, my dreams are like I am on acid...and my drinking is now far out of control...a bottle of alcohol puts me in a state of...ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS. It puts me on another planet...I am thinking I am totally fine...however, the next morning I am told of what I had done. One bottle of alcohol is like drinking 10 whilst on this medicine. As one person said, they don't wake-up with a hangover...and neither do I...4 glasses of alcohol and I am toast. My memory...there is none! I am beside myself! The alcohol is alcohol...4 glasses of alcohol...and it's over...I'm falling down, abusive...coma like state...after 2 drinks I remember nothing...but during it I think I am ok. I've always had alcohol at dinner...so now I don't understand why Pristiq has made this so bad for me. It's shocking...

Posum, Pristiq is the same base as Effexor. I can't explain the science, but they are like right and left sides of the same molecule. Anyway, I feel with you. It shoots me to another place too, and seems to drive, drive, drive me to drink more and more. I think I am fine during the time. Have you thought about talking to your doctor to switch? I am seeing mine in one week to change.

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  • 3 months later...

About 4 years ago I was prescribed Sertraline 50mg for depression, it improved my moods and anxiety no end. After 4 months I was involved in a car accident and was prescribed Amitriptyline up to 50mg per day, I was on this dose for about 18 months and during this time I had no alcohol cravings at all, in fact the smell of red alcohol, which I liked before the meds, made me feel sick. I got off the meds after about 2 years, a bad move in retrospect and found that I liked to drink again, not a great deal just socially. However, I have recently gone back on sertraline (Zoloft) 100mg and find that I am constantly craving alcohol, I feel that I am out of control. I don't keep alcohol in the house as my house mate doesn't drink, but it doesn't help, I find myself going out to get it regardless of time, weather or any other deterrent. I "HAVE" to get it! It's so difficult, I have no control over it, I don't even like the taste half of the time but I find myself unable to stop, 1 glass of alcohol leads to 2, 2 then leads to 3 and more often than not another bottle! I have never been like this before and after reading these posts I now have a little understanding of why this is happening, thank you for sharing your experiences. And to those people who say just don't drink, I really wish it was that easy.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I lived this. Mr. Hyde has shown throughout my summer. There must be some more medical research on this topic. For me, I am now completely free from urges to drink. I was snowballing to a very bad place when my medicine was changed from Effexor to Pristiq. 20 days later, I have no cravings -not the right word, but all I can come up with. I read someone had the Jeckyl/Hyde phenomenon with Pristiq, but I thank my God (literally) that I am no longer on that path and the demon that drug me there was Effexor. I hope someone has some new info out there. God bless you all and whomever started this forum.

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  • 1 year later...

I know this is an old thread, but I was just revisiting the sites I saved over 2 yrs ago when I was trying to figure out why my husband had become the way he was.  The answer was Effexor.  It was the genesis of it all, his descent into an apathetic alcoholic zombie.  This thread might've saved his life, it certainly saved our marriage.  He'd wound up in the ER with acute alcohol intoxication (it's on the discharge papers), and I was at the end of my rope with him and his daily "buzzes" and inability to admit he was drunk.  In the ER, he couldn't understand how he'd gotten there.  I'd tell him it was too much to drink, and he'd shake his head "no"; he was quite adamant about it.  He was not drunk.  I just couldn't believe it--how could that be?  I started researching with just a hint in my mind that his lone med, Effexor, might be behind it.  When I found this thread in this forum, it answered a lot of questions.  I read it to him, and his eyes got wide.  It resonated with him.  He shouted "THAT'S IT!".  That's how he felt while drinking:  nothing.  So he kept drinking, trying to get that elusive feeling which never came because he couldn't feel it (and he never felt hangovers anymore either). This thread made him agree to come off the med (but it's taken 2+ yrs to get from 150 mg down to 17 mg).  I doubt without posts like these that he'd have agreed.  So, thank you all for sharing!

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  • 11 months later...

I was on Paxil in my late teens and became an alcoholic/addict, landing me into long term treatment at 21 years old. I went off Paxil, and didn't make any correlation between it and my substance abuse. I stayed sober for nearly 5 years, but was still incredibly depressed and anxious. I went back on Paxil, and a few weeks later, the first change I noticed was a craving for alcohol. A literal thirst. I drank a month later and continued to drink 3-5 beers a night for 7 months.

Fortunately, I had discovered threads like these so I weaned off Paxil as a last ditch effort before accepting my alcoholism. Lo and behold, the cravings diminished almost immediately. 

Here I am now 6 months off Paxil, drinking maybe 3-5 beers a week. Unfortunately, I don't know where to turn to for relief from my anxiety/depression since going back on an SSRI's is out of the question. My psychiatrist, while I was weaning off Paxil, had nothing to say about this and I'm certain he didn't believe me. Luckily my therapist is interested in this, and he thinks Paxil may have induced some type of mania, especially since I also had other impulsive behaviors like smoking, eating unhealthy sugar and carb-laden foods. coupled with intense agitation and anger. 

Anyway, I just wanted to add my experience to this thread. There needs to be much more awareness about this issue. I wish my psychiatrist knew of this link when I was younger, perhaps I could have saved myself treatment and derailing my life but I digress. Who knows. Thanks everyone for sharing your experience, I really hope we can find answers.

Edited by jacksonpaullock
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59 minutes ago, jacksonpaullock said:

I was on Paxil in my late teens and became an alcoholic/addict, landing me into long term treatment at 21 years old. I went off Paxil, and didn't make any correlation between it and my substance abuse. I stayed sober for nearly 5 years, but was still incredibly depressed and anxious. I went back on Paxil, and a few weeks later, the first change I noticed was a craving for alcohol. A literal thirst. I drank a month later and continued to drink 3-5 beers a night for 7 months.

Fortunately, I had discovered threads like these so I weaned off Paxil as a last ditch effort before accepting my alcoholism. Lo and behold, the cravings diminished almost immediately. 

Here I am now 6 months off Paxil, drinking maybe 3-5 beers a week. Unfortunately, I don't know where to turn to for relief from my anxiety/depression since going back on an SSRI's is out of the question. My psychiatrist, while I was weaning off Paxil, had nothing to say about this and I'm certain he didn't believe me. Luckily my therapist is interested in this, and he thinks Paxil may have induced some type of mania, especially since I also had other impulsive behaviors like smoking, eating unhealthy sugar and carb-laden foods. coupled with intense agitation and anger. 

Anyway, I just wanted to add my experience to this thread. There needs to be much more awareness about this issue. I wish my psychiatrist knew of this link when I was younger, perhaps I could have saved myself treatment and derailing my life but I digress. Who knows. Thanks everyone for sharing your experience, I really hope we can find answers.

I had the exact same thing happen to me with an ssri called cipralex. I was always a weekend binge drinker before the med but didnt drink during the week . After about a month in I noticed that I was  having a few beers after work. And then it just got worse. I litterally drank from friday night to monday morning all weekend every weekend.I was a mess. I luckily came across a  few threads on the internet and got off. Im now taking pristiq and remeron and dont have the alcohol cravings. BUT I dont chance it and I have gave up drinking all together. 

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  • 1 month later...

This is a very important thread and topic. I'm sorry for all of you who have experienced this... although I'm bumping this thread with a different perspective. My drinking was a reason for me to seek help for my depression. I have used it to self-medicate in the past, although sometimes it would just lead to me crying my eyes out even though everyone else was having a good time. Starting venlafaxine, it got better, I took better care of myself. Now after the holidays I'm drinking a lot again, and have realised I need to stop. Yesterday I sat drinking alone, and have now slept for 16 hours. And I was too tired to even try to participate in my friends' birthday dinner on Wednesday, because I had been drinking the night before. I guess I just need to realise I can't have "one glass of alcohol". It just becomes more. It's not the venflafaxine's fault though, it has just changed my experience of drinking.

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