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I stumbled on this webste by shear accident, or by the hand of God should I say. thought I was going crazy and these post explain exactly what is going on and I never would have made the connection that it was The Cymbalta, now I know exactly what is going on with me. I too was a social drinker, but over the last two years of being on Cymbalta I have increased my drinking to the point I wouldn't go home without picking up beer and was simply craving it. Then I started wanting it in the morning verses the coffee I always enoyed.

I have been in a fog for quite sometime and was operating mechanically at my job and in my home and knew I was going down hill. thats why I was searching sites trying to find out self help for the drinking and it landed me here. Thank God!

It all makes sense and I am sorry that this is happening to us, but feel soooo much better not to be in this alone as I see me to the T in these post. After reading these post and understanding that it's not me, but the Cymbalta, I immediately called my doctor to see him this week. I will get off these things even though I do dread the withdrawls these post speak of. I already feel better having the appointment and knowing that I will soon be back to my old self and interested in life again. Obviously the Cymbalta doesn't help.

Its sad that we are prescribed medication that can make you think that you are just an alcoholic and a looser with no self control, its been a long terrible ride looking back, and once again I am so thankful that I was led to this site. Here's to all of us who have had this experience as you would have to gone through it to remotely understand it.
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I have been on Cymbalta for several months now and have always been a moderate drinker with the very occasional binge drinking epsiode. I am surprised by the number of people choosing to opt for alcohol over Cymbalta. I was unaware of the short term risks associated with the drinking of alcohol whilst on the drug and decided to do more research after my most recent fall from grace, that's what led me to this forum.

So now for my experience...I have been a moderate drinker for almost 20 years, always enjoyed a few quiet drinks. During my severe bouts of depression my drinking increased as I attempted to "self medicate" and numb the pain. When not suffering from a severe bout and not on AD's I was a happy drunk, nothing bothered me and I was the life of the party. Since I started on Efexor initially and now Cymbalta the drinking frequency has not really increased but the likelihood of me blacking out has. In the first episode on Efexor I self harmed, using broken glass to cut my arms. During subsequent episodes whilst on Cymbalta I have driven drunk and been assaulted by security staff at a bar. On the ocassion when I drove under the influence, I don't even remember getting in the car to drive, I regained conscious thought after I hit a tree in a single vehicle incident, I am just so glad I didn't harm anyone else. In the second incident I did something to upset somebody but I don't know what because I had blacked out. Each of these incidents has resulted in substantial physical, financial and emotional costs for me.

After reading the previous posts I am going to quit drinking, Cymbalta is what I need to keep me on track, not the alcohol. Please do not abandon something that definitely can help you for something that we all know exacerbates depression. Depression is insidious enough without alcohol. In answer to an earlier post...I would rather be happy and sober.
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I also have been on Cymbalta since Aug. of 2007. In Oct. of 2007, I got my first DWI (had never been in trouble with the law, EVER). Still drink more than I should....I NEVER was much of a drinker before 2007....after I started Cymbalta, alcohol was much more desirable...and I drank way more than I used to...but never had bad hangovers--was just sleepy the next day...just now realizing that Cymbalta may make me crave alcohol....who knows.
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I started using Cymbalta about 18 months ago. I went from zero to two beers a week to a six pack a night. The six pack turned into 8, 10, 12 a day. I started drinking at lunch. The hangovers were bad, but no alcohol was worse. There was a fellow going through detox where I work and I found myself comparing against him. It was bad. I had a blackout episode last April that almost cost me my marriage. I even went so far to begin brewing my own beer to keep me from going out.
I had several more blackouts that I hope led to nothing serious. Cymbalta and alcohol are SERIOUS BUSINESS. I figure it cost me thousands of dollars spent to dump alcohol down my throat. Amazing really.
Quit Cymbalta about six weeks ago. Now I 'm back to where I was before. One beer gives me a headache and I have no real interest in it anymore. I have a whole basement full of homebrew too!
The blackouts are the scary thing. I went through a period where I drank a half bottle of Smirnoff a day and still remembered everything. On Cymbalta, hard liquor or too much beer led to a COMPLETE LACK of coherency. I would say and do some stupid things. I'm lucky to still be married.
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I started taking Cymbalta in March 2010 for fibromyalgia. Since then, I have experienced the same issues others have written about here, with the increased alcohol intake.

I did some research and found more that one article on how serotonin can cause brain dysfunctions that lead to alcohol abuse....
Here is one:
***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed (sorry, you will have to cut and paste)

From the introduction: "Drugs that act on these [serotonin] receptors alter alcohol consumption in both humans and animals."

I am getting off the cymbalta.
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I am so relieved to find this, I was over 50 years old and had never been more than a social drinker. When I started Cymbalta I had not drank anything in over 10 years. Then I started craving first wine, then one day I found myself going though the cabinets looking for anything I could find. Suddenly it hit me I had become an alcoholic. That is something I had been careful about all my life as I have had many alcoholics in my family, violence and all the things that go along with too much alcohol. I started trying to stop, and kept going back, stop and go.... Then sometime in the spring of 2008 I quit. However I also weened off of Cymbalta, and was put on Lamictal for bipolar depression, one of the off label uses is to stop the craving of alcohol. Now I am better in more ways than one. Lamictal isn't for everyone but is is for me. God works in strange and misterous ways, but in the meantime I lost my ability to do complex task which is how I made my living. On Cymbalta I didn't feel any pain, once it started gettting out of my system I started having symptoms that my doctors couldn't Identify, turns out my gallbladder was septic and turning gangrene, had I stayed on Cymbalta I would have died. I think and the reason for my wanting off of it was the electrical shock zaps it was causing... Thank all of you for confirming my gut feeling.
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I too had a horrible experience with Cymbalta. I am a recovering alcoholic and had over 2yrs sobriety, when my doctor put me on Cymbalta for my anxiety. I started out with the 30mg and had the upset stomach, headaches and sleeplessness. I should have stopped it then. But wanting to feel better I rode it out that got better then I started taking th 60mg, before I knew it into the second week of the 60mg I was having memory lapses and on Oct. 21 I don't remember the day at all I was in a car accident luckly I was the only one hurt however I'm told I was totaly drunk. I do not remember drinking at all now I've lost the trust of my family all over again and needless to say am not taking Cymbalta ever again.
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This is really interesting. I've been taking Cymbalta for probably 5 years now. Over that time, my alcohol consumption has increased dramatically, up to the point that I was drinking about a pint of whiskey most days and occasionally binging on a fifth, drinking in the morning and at work, etc. I've been in AA for 9 months now and haven't been able to quit entirely.

I'm not sure that I wholly buy this connection, though. Simple correlation isn't the same thing as proving cause and effect. Many people with depression become alcoholics as a progression of both drinking and depression. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I think there isn't a cause-effect, just that I'm not wholly convinced. This does, however, raise some questions for me? Am I an alcoholic or am I suffering from side effects of a medication. Or, did I become an alcoholic as a result of 5 years of living with this side effect (okay, not to blame it totally on the med-I do have some genetics on my side and, hey, nobody made me drink.

I am calling my psychiatrist to discuss this with her. I'll repost if I get any good info from her. Meantime, it's off to an AA meeting I go...
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This is very fascinating! I've been on Cymbalta for about 3 months now and it has completely changed my life for the better. I am taking it for intense anxiety issues.

The first month I was on it I didn't drink at all. The next month I started slowly. One drink a couple nights a week. The third month I decided to go back to my normal pre-Cymbalta behavior: twice three times a month or so I would go out with friends and drink 3-5 drinks over the course of 5 hours. All was well and alcohol had the same effect as it always had. I got a buzzed somewhere around the third drink and then just drank slowly to maintain it. Never really drunk. No blackouts. Never a hangover. I'm 6'3" 230 pounds...

Well, I recently went on a bit of a bender. I drank 6 cocktails and a half bottle of wine over the course of a 6 hour evening. After the third drink I got buzzed but then the buzz stopped after the fourth drink. I felt like I wasn't drunk, no buzz or euphoria, but I could tell I was drunk. Slightly slurred speech, lack of focus, couldn't walk straight, and I was talking about random stuff. Luckily I didn't blackout or do anything crazy and I stopped drinking when I did. It was really weird. It's like having all the bad EFX of alcohol with none of the buzz. Luckily I didn't have a hangover the next day.

I have to say, I am definitely going to watch my drinking very closely now. I think I'll stick to drinking twice or three times a month and limit it to 2 MAYBE 3 drinks if it's a long night. I'm also worried about my liver... Maybe I'll get that tested in a couple months, too.

Thanks for all the great insight everyone!
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I had posted on this site in October of 2010 about this exact issue, but didn't receive many comments.  I had, at that time, been taking Cymbalta for approx. 10 months and could not believe how much I was craving alcohol.  Before taking Cymbalta, I was a very light drinker.  Usually a beer or a glass of wine and that was plenty for me.  I started noticing that as soon as I took my pill, I would have these intense cravings for alcohol, wine mostly.  I was blacking out often, something that had never happened to me prior to taking the medication.  I also couldn't stop drinking once I started.  This scared me terribly, so I made an appt. with my MD and he had never heard of anyone having that issue.  I felt extremely alone and wasn't sure what to do about this issue that had developed.  I decided to wean myself off my medication, without consulting my dr. first.  As soon as the medication was out of my system, I lost that urge for alcohol, thank goodness!  I have not, since then, taken any anxiety meds for fear that I may end up there again.  It was one of the lowest moments of my life and I am embarrassed by what I became at that time.  My anxiety is okay at the moment, but I'm terrified at what will happen down the road.  It is a HUGE relief to know that I am not alone, that this has happened to others as well.  And I'm so thankful that I can, once again, enjoy an alcoholic beverage without having to overindulge!  I feel like "me" again!
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I have been taking Cymbalta for 3 years now. I too drink more than normal especially the last 4 months. It seems like I have a craving to drink, plus, I don't feel much of a buzz so I tend to drink more to get that relaxed feeling. I have gone from 60 mg to 20 mg in the last year which doesn't seem to help my impatience, agitation, irritability and anger. Drinking alcohol helps
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What is a good anti-depressant to take? I take seroquel, abilify, cogentin, lamictal and cymbalta. kenni

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THank goodness to see this. My husband has been on Cymbalta and has gone from not drinking to moderate drinking to uncontrolled drinking. 10am - 10 pm drinking. hiding in the shower - bathroom - car accidents etc..He doesn't remember conversations, anything people tell him.. He now " hides" his beer in his work truck in a cooler full of ice.. So I dont know.. I know.. I have spoken to his doctor months ago about his drinking, but apparently they think I am crazy.. I am so tired of it and him and at my wits end. I don't know how to convince him and the doctor that the depression is better than never knowing if he's killed someone- including our kid on the road.
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WOW- I thought I was alone. Yesterday was my anniversary. I got upset and started drinking. I figured I was ok. By the time my gf got home 4 hours later- I was OUT for the night. This has happened to me a few times already on Cymbalta and I have only been on it 2 months. I fear my gf is slipping away as I have had problems pre-cymbalta. The urge to drink has been greatly heightened and stopping seems more out of the question than ever. I was put on this for chronic pain but the heart pain I will feel if my gf leaves is greater than any severe pain I am already in... .
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Kind of a bittersweet moment when everyone here confirmed for me that it's the Cymbalta that makes me an addict.  Not just alcohol but I started smoking cigarettes also.  I almost lost my job.   I already talked to the doctor to remove myself from this drug.   It helped but I think I don't need it anymore.   Thank you all and good luck.    
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