Do ‘SSRI’ drugs cause some people to drink more alcohol? #ssrialcohol

According to an article posted yesterday by the very respected Dr David Healy it seems that people are drinking more when taking drugs known as ‘SSRI antidepressants’, such as paroxetine, citalopram and seroxat. Apologies to readers who are using these, just that it seems better to know about the risks.

Warning: Suddenly stopping any psychiatric drug typically results in very unpleasant  feelings, changes in energy levels and the potential for distorted thinking. There is a lot of pre-work to be done to successfully come off drugs.

My belief: Most of the damage done by drugs is through taking too much for too long, rather because any one chemical is especially more dangerous than another. Taking a small amount of an appropriate drug every day may in fact be the best way to get through life. If the drug is making you ill, then you need to get help so you can take less of it.

Suggestion: If your doctor will not discuss your prescription with you, think about ways to find a doctor who knows about emotions, medication, risks and the need to help you get the dose right.

Here is the article. The main reason I am publishing this is that I have noticed friends seeming to drink more when they are on antidepressants and then getting worse. It seems to be yet another driver for increasing bipolar diagnosis due to drug plus drink creating greater extremes of mood.

Here is David Healy’s article:

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

4 Responses to Do ‘SSRI’ drugs cause some people to drink more alcohol? #ssrialcohol

  1. Pingback: ‘Do #SSRI drugs cause some people to drink more alcohol?’ #mhuk #ukmh « Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy

    • Roger Smith says:

      Thanks Dawn. I have already had a few emails about this. I am starting to think this is a far bigger issue than it seems at first glance. It seems to give a different view point on the well known statistic about 50% (or more?) people with BipolarII diagnosis also having significant alcohol problems. For how many did the alcohol contribute to the depression that led to the psychiatric drug, and for how many did the psychiatric drug lead to alcohol problem. Yes, it becomes a vicious circle. Sometimes getting out of these circles or preventing young people getting trapped depends on a closer inspection of causes.


  2. Allan Begg says:

    I don’t find I drink more; however concerned that medication will shorten my life due to increased cardiovascular issues.


    • Hi Allan,
      I’ll respond in two parts:
      1) Since writing this article I have heard from many people who dispute the idea of extra drinking due to SSRI’s. I am thinking it is not such a big issue at all, while the more important questions to be asked are about how long anyone has to be on a particular dose. Coming off can be very risky, and so, I continue to say that it is good to keep on asking doctors about the possibility of taking less.
      2) Yes, quite a few drugs adversely affect the cardiovascular system. Almost all adverse effects from medications and psychiatric drugs lessen when we are able to get-by with taking less. However, to be able to take less it is often necessary to tackle causes. We all have many things that affect our moods. Having worked with a huge number of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar, I can say that simple nutrient deficiencies are a far bigger factor than most doctors/psychiatrists realise. A good starting place could be to consider whether you might benefit from more vitamin D or perhaps more foods that are naturally high in magnesium and zinc.
      Are these comments of any use or perhaps too basic?


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