Addiction to Alcohol/Celexa alcohol

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Question
Peter
A few months ago I was very depressed and possibly suicidal, so my doctor started me on Celexa.
To my very pleasant surprise it took care of that issue, as well as my adult A.D.D., for which I had been taking Welbutrin which had stopped working, and also my I.B.S. went away.
All these are connected to low seratonin levels.
I still cant believe how this little white pill improved my life so much, and how for so many years I could have been taking it but wasnt. Better late than never I guess.
It also took away my desire to drink, especially binge drink. This was another pleasant surprise.
Now after only a couple drinks, I actually feel sick to my stomach and get a head ache and need to lie down.
This is not a big deal for me-I would rather abstain, but it would be nice to have a couple drinks in a 'normal' fashion, even just to se if I can do this. Have you heards of Celex doing this, especially the alcohol interaction? I dont see anything online about it being prescribed for alcohol withdrawel. Also, since it seemed to have just a profound effect raising my seratonin, do you think low seratonin might have been my problem, and I wonder how many other problem drinkers self medicate with booze to raise their seratonin levels?
Thanks and God Bless.

Answer
Hi Barry,

Always like getting messages from Canadians, and Canada, a country I love!

I'm glad to hear you've found a solution for your depression.  The effect it has on reducing your interest in alcohol is not surprising to me.  I think it underscores your point, that you were self-medicating.  Many drinkers consume alcohol in unhealthy quantities in attempts to resolve poor mental health, whatever the cause. As you may know, the brain chemistry argument is still subject to some degree of debate, but I think it's possible to have some inherent abnormalities in levels of these chemicals, and in turn mood is affected.  That might explain why depression seems to have a genetic component.

It is believed that alcoholics in recovery benefit from antidepressant therapy.  They also benefit from restructuring their beliefs about themselves, other people, and the world, to support a more rational thought process.  Recovering alcoholics have to reframe how they view the world, and accept that there's no longer a rapid fire solution to emotional upsets.

But in answer to your question, I think many, if not most, drinkers self-medicate.  Whether it is specifically to help raise seratonin levels is beyond my level of expertise, though it seems plausible.

I would regard the adverse effects you are experiencing from drinking now that you're taking the antidepressant is likely just part of the deal: the interaction with alcohol is likely problematic, though I've not heard specifically of that.  

In my view you are not out of risk for misuse of alcohol, if you continue to try to "control" drink.  There are many forces at play in attempts to become a "normal" drinker, when one has been a problem drinker.  There are potential pitfalls in your attempts to moderate your use.  I would consider your abstinence plan as similar to the vast majority of others: they cannot become light drinkers.  Alcohol sends too much of a message to the pleasure center for them to do that. More alcohol is perceived as better than less to the addicted brain.

I hope this gives you a few things to think about.  Best wishes, Peter  

Addiction to Alcohol

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Peter L.

Expertise

Any questions regarding addictive behavior, withdrawal symptoms, selecting treatment options, relapse prevention, defining abuse vs. dependence, self-help groups, denial and resistance, building motivation, physical health effects of alcohol, substitution of other addictive substances; holistic approaches to addiction recovery.

Experience

I have been a counselor, educator, and supervisor in the addiction field for 28 years. I hold alcohol and drug counselor certification and licenses in three states. I have experience with adolescents and adults, ranging from those who are experimental/casual users of alcohol to those with very progressed addictive disorders.

Education/Credentials
Masters Degree - Behavioral Science CADAC, LADC, LADC1

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