Celexa Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment
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Celexa (Citalopram) Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 23, 2019

Celexa is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug used to treat depression in individuals. This drug, however, is also commonly abused by individuals looking to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Taking any drug other than prescribed can lead to addiction and other health consequences.

Celexa is the brand name for the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram, a drug used to treat depression. Originally developed in the 1970s in Denmark, Celexa first was approved for use in the American market to treat depression in 1998. In terms of cost and effectiveness within the class of SSRI medications, Celexa is considered middle of the road.

Celexa medication is sometimes used off-label to treat anxiety and panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, premenstrual syndrome, and a condition known as body dysmorphic disorder, in which someone suffers from an extreme and unrealistic expectation of how their body looks or performs; it has even been used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and fatigue.

Young adults and children may be at higher risk of suicide with use of Celexa. Celexa is taken orally either in liquid or tablet form.

How Celexa Works

Commonly, those affected by depression show lower levels of serotonin in their blood. Whether this is the result of depression or the cause of, is still largely unknown, but increasing availability of serotonin levels in the body does appear to positively relate to elevation in mood for the user.

Celexa is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by blocking the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin by surrounding nerve cells, improving its availability in the regulation of everything from mood, to sleep, and even appetite.

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Celexa And Addiction

Celexa is not considered addictive, but a strong psychological dependence can develop in people with certain risk factors. These risk factors for addiction include a history of depression or coming from a home life with exposure to illicit drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness, and a history of physical or sexual abuse. Someone with these risk factors may have limited coping strategies and can become dependent on a drug like Celexa during times of stress.

When taken as prescribed, Celexa should not become physically addictive, but people with higher risk factors for addiction may begin increasing their dose in a kind of if one is good; two is better mindset. An increase in dose of an SSRI may trigger a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which relates to the reward centers of the brain.

These reward centers are normally associated with survival and when triggered send a signal to the brain that the experience of using Celexa equates with necessity, leading to physical addiction to the drug.

Another more common factor in SSRI dependence are the withdrawals associated with use of the medication. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms are strong enough to perpetuate or increase use.

Celexa Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms may emerge rapidly if you suddenly stop using Celexa. Like all SSRIs, use of the drug must be tapered to decrease severity of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from Celexa are similar to a flu and include headache, nausea, sweating, as well as changes in mood, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, and nerve pain or tingling.

Approximately 20 percent to 50 percent of those who take SSRI medications suffer from a greater occurrence in both duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms often include similar symptoms to those being treated by the medication, like anxiety or depression, but include one or more of the co-occurring symptoms described earlier.

Adverse Health Effects from Celexa

Generally SSRIs are relatively safe, though they do cause some common and sometimes uncomfortable side effects. These include sexual dysfunction, one of the more common side effects described by users. Another complaint with long-term use of SSRI medications is weight gain. Celexa can also cause persistent headaches and itchiness.

Common side effects accompanying the use of Celexa include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal Upset
  • Increased urination
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Changes in weight
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Shakiness

More serious side effects may come from excess serotonin in the system, a condition known as serotonin syndrome. An increase in medication or using Celexa in conjunction with other medications may cause serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome will usually appear within hours of changes to your medication and include agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate and elevated blood pressure, muscle rigidity, heavy sweating, diarrhea, headache shivering, high fever, convulsions, and unconsciousness.

Celexa Overdose

Fatalities from Celexa overdose are rare, though symptoms can be severe and include cardiac distress, confusion, memory loss, convulsions, tremors, nausea and vomiting, and coma. If any of these symptoms occur with use of Celexa, seek medical attention immediately.

Help For Celexa Dependency

If you or someone you love is coping with an addiction to Celexa, RehabCenter.net can help connect you with the resources and treatment options available in your area. Due to the nature of SSRI medications, addressing the key factors that lead to the addiction will be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Contact RehabCenter.net and begin your road to recovery from Celexa dependency today.

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