Can citalopram and alcohol together cause blackouts?

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about the blackouts caused by the concomitant use of citalopram and alcohol. Citalopram is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. 

Citalpram and other antidepressants don’t work well with the excessive use of alcohol and this blog will cover all the consequences that you might suffer from if you continue to use these two together. 

Can citalopram and alcohol together cause blackouts?

Yes, citalopram and alcohol together can cause blackouts, especially when they are used excessively. Not just this, the combination of citalopram and alcohol can cause other serious life threatening complications. 

Both citalopram and alcohol have tiredness, fatigue, dizziness and drowsiness as common symptoms. When these two are taken excessively together, they cause extreme sedation, which could result in blackouts or unconsciousness. 

The blackout could last for hours and it dangerously slows your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and every other metabolic function in your body. 

What are the other serious complications associated with the concomitant use of citalopram and alcohol?

As stated earlier, alcohol and citalopram together not only possess the risk of blackouts, but can cause several other serious complications. These include:

The risk of serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is a big risk when it comes to the use of citalopram and alcohol together. Both of these chemicals have an effect on your brain and the neurotransmitters it releases. 

Serotonin syndrome is a troublesome condition, which usually comes with excessive amounts of citalopram. It causes following sign and symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating 
  • Restlessness and fatigue
  • Headache, which often feels like your head is pounding
  • Changes in blood pressure and/or temperature
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bradycardia
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching and muscle pain

Serious side effects include:

  • High fever with chills
  • Seizures
  • Arrhythmia 
  • Unconsciousness

Now, the intensity of these side effects totally depend on the amount you have taken. People who get drunk usually get carried away and end up consuming dangerously high amounts. This could result in life threatening symptoms and may require hospitalisation. 

The risk of sensory and motor coordination impairment

Alcohol and citalopram work in opposite ways. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system suppressant and dulls down your brain. It clouds your thinking, judgement, decision making ability, speech and a couple of other functions. 

Citalopram, on the other hand, stimulates brain activity by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, an excitatory neurotransmitter, back into the presynaptic neuron. 

This increases the amount of active serotonin which binds to its receptors present throughout the body. When these two are used together, your brain is subjected to a number of effects. 

One slows it down while the other enhances its functions. This creates a number of sensory and motor disturbances, including impaired senses, impaired ability to identify threats, abnormal jerks, tremors, and inability to maintain balance. 

The risk of suicidal behaviour

The combination of citalopram and alcohol is dangerous in more ways than you can imagine. Citalopram is usually given for depression, which is a heart-sinking condition. 

Alcohol, on the other hand, tends to accelerate depression induced heart-sinking feelings, along with hopelessness, worthlessness, and a will to give up on everything. 

When these two chemicals are consumed together, they completely mess up your system. It’s like a fight within your brain. It clouds your judgement and messes up your decision making ability. 

Various studies suggest that citalopram and alcohol overdose have resulted in a number of people trying to take their life. This effect is much more pronounced in people younger than 24 years of age, as citalopram itself can cause suicidal behavior in younger individuals. 

The risk of toxicity

The overdose of citalopram and alcohol can have a drastic effect on your liver, an organ chiefly responsible for performing metabolic activities. It converts harmful active substances into their harmless inactive metabolites. 

Liver damage results in accumulation of these chemicals in your body which causes toxicity. Make sure you cut back on alcohol as much as you can in order to secure your liver’s health.

The risk of excessive gut-wrenching vomiting

Throwing up uncontrollably is one of the most common hangover effects of alcohol, but it is also a side effect of citalopram. By combining these two together, you’re subjected to excessive gut-wrenching vomiting. 

This condition can take a serious turn as this kind of hangover makes your mind dull and causes sedation. If you throw up under such circumstances, you’re at higher risk of aspiration.

In this condition, your gastric content along with acid, food and bacteria enter into your lungs by accident. This is most common in people who throw up while being unconscious.

What are the common side effects associated with the use of citalopram and alcohol?

Common side effects of celexa include:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Acid reflux or heartburn 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Excessive sweating or night sweating (nocturnal/night hyperhidrosis) 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst
  • Tremors 
  • Muscle twitching and pain
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Insomnia or inability to fall asleep 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Dysmenorrhea or heavy periods
  • Flu like symptoms including irritation in eyes and runny nose
  • Loss of libido in both male and females. Males may suffer from inability to ejaculate, while females may suffer from inability to have an orgasm. 

Celexa (Citalopram) is also associated with some serious side effects, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations 
  • Nose bleeds
  • Severe headache
  • Arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeats
  • Impaired memory and concentration 
  • Convulsions 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.

The common side effects associated with the use of alcohol include:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Euphoria
  • Impaired judgement
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Inability to make decisions 
  • Inability to speak or walk properly 
  • Blackouts 
  • Motor impairment 
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Severe headache

Depression and alcohol itself is a dreadful combination. Depression is a condition associated with hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness. This condition impairs your normal brain function and slows it down. Alcohol produces the same kind of effects. 

It suppresses your brain and your thinking capability. In short, alcohol enhances the symptoms associated with depression and gives rise to a life threatening mental health condition. 

Is there any way to stop alcohol addiction?

Excessive use of alcohol is pretty common now-a days. No matter the age, people love to drink all kinds of alcoholic beverages while neglecting terrible side effects that come with it. Here, we are going to discuss a few methods that might help you cut back on alcohol. These include:


Detoxification is just a technique to completely remove the effects of alcohol from your system. It is not a treatment plan, just a way to detoxify your system. 

Make sure you drink plenty of water during this time and seek help from the hospital as you might suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back. 

Medications for alcohol cessation 

There are a few medications which are used to help cut back on alcohol, usually antagonists which help to counteract the effects of alcohol. These include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Topiramate
  • Disulfiram
  • Gabapentin
  • Acamprosate


Counselling helps to mentally prepare you to stop drinking. Psychologists lay down all the side effects and consequences associated with alcoholism.

This can help you understand how it can ruin your life and is capable of taking you to the point of no return. Many people have gained beneficial effects from counselling. 

Support groups

If you suffer from alcoholism, you can try to be a part of a support group. Such groups provide a platform for people to come out in the open. You can listen to other people’s stories and can realise how alcoholism has been ruining lives for decades now. It could become a turning point for you. 

Find a reason not to drink

Look for a reason to be mentally aware. Look where you are needed and what responsibilities you’re leaving behind. You’re needed by your parents, your partner, your friends, your children (if any) and most importantly you, yourself. 

You are a reason enough to stop drinking and opt for a better lifestyle. You need yourself the most. Is it worth wasting your life like that? It is something for you to think about. 

When to call your doctor 

Immediately contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have overdosed on alcohol and citalopram
  • You experience blurry vision and extreme headache
  • You suffer from sensory and motor impairment 
  • You’re throwing up uncontrollably 
  • Your head is spinning 
  • Your chest hurts
  • You can’t breathe

It is extremely important to go to an emergency room after such a hangover to get a proper checkup. It is not something to mess around with. 


In this blog, we discussed the blackouts caused by the concomitant use of citalopram and alcohol. We talked about how difficult this situation can become, causing a number of consequences. Alcohol can contribute to depression and suicidal behavior. 

This effect is more common in younger individuals.Citalopram and alcohol together can cause extreme sedation which can slow down your heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and your several other metabolic functions. 

Make sure you try to cut back on alcohol and avoid using it with your antidepressant. 

FAQs: citalopram and alcohol blackouts

Does citalopram reduce alcohol tolerance?

Citalopram and alcohol interact in harmful ways. The combination can cause blackouts, serotonin syndromes, suicidal behaviour, excessive vomiting and severe sensory and motor impairment. Make sure you try to cut back on alcohol and avoid using it with your antidepressant. 

Can antidepressants cause blackouts?

Antidepressant alone can not cause blackouts. They are usually caused when you take something along with your antidepressant that interacts in a negative way. However, you can be allergic to an antidepressant and may suffer from hyperventilation.

Can I skip a day of citalopram to drink?

Skipping citalopram to drink is not at all recommended. Alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depression and can cause heart-sinking feeling which is the most common cause of suicide attempts. On the other hand, if you’re on a high dose of citalopram, you’ll suffer from side effects because of missing a dose. This combined can make the situation pretty unfavourable for you. 

Should I take citalopram at night?

It depends on the kind of side effects you are going through. If your citalopram causes drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue then it’s best to take iit at night.

Does drinking on antidepressants make you more hungover? 

Drinking with antidepressants makes your hangover much, much worse. These two should not be used together. The side effects could be life-threatening.

How do I know if citalopram is not working?

You’ll know your citalopram is not working if it fails to provide symptomatic relief. If you keep experiencing the symptoms you had before starting this antidepressant, it indicates that your med is not working. This usually happens either when your dose is too low or the antidepressant doesn’t suit you.


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