Can You Get High on Citalopram?

People will attempt to get high off just about anything these days, including the prescription medication Citalopram.

Most commonly sold under the brand name Celexa, Citalopram is an antidepressant most commonly used to treat depression. According to MedlinePlus, additional “off-label” uses include treating panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and OCD.

So can you actually get high off Citalopram? Most people seem to say no. But being the skeptic that I am, I dug down and did the research for you.

Here’s what I found.

Recreational Use

A cursory search of the Internet yields few results when it comes to the recreational use of Citalopram.

Glancing through the top Google results it seems that few people believe that Citalopram, or antidepressants in general, yield an actual “high” when taken.

In fact, Drugs.com states that Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRI antidepressants like it are slow release. This means their effects are generally not noticeable for a handful of weeks after starting to take them.

Of course, this is when they’re taken by a patient with depression in the prescribed amount – not when a high is actually being chased.

Needless to say, there are a lot of people online that have tried citalopram recreationally. The drug is relatively easy to acquire from someone with a prescription or through a black-market website.

Sill interested in what the Citalopram high was all about, I decided to do more research.

What Does Citalopram High Feel Like?

My usual sources for drug related information, Erowid and Reddit, yielded few results for Citalopram experiences where the drug wasn’t combined with other drugs. That’s a behavior we definitely do not recommend as it could have some serious unforeseen consequences.

Fortunately, my trusty old standby Drugs-Forum came through with an informative thread. One user states:

“Antidepressants are not recreational and will not give you a “buzz” in any way, don’t try to use antidepressants to “get high.”

However, another user says that Citalopram can be used recreationally:

“It puts you to sleep like you wouldn’t believe it, reduces your anxiety significantly…to say it has no use beyond the therapeutic is incorrect. However, I wouldn’t call it recreational.”

From this information, it seems that Citalopram probably doesn’t result in a “high,” but possibly a slow, calming drug experience similar to taking anti-anxiety medication like Xanax.

The idea behind taking Citalopram, or any other SSRI recreationally is that since the drug effects serotonin receptors in the brain, taking the drug recreationally would result in the feelings of euphoria that serotonin is most known for.

While some users have documented feelings of extreme euphoria after taking the drug, that seems to be related directly to the amount of serotonin the user had in their brain. Since they were genuinely dealing with a disorder that limited the amount of serotonin in their brain, the drug provided a dramatic boost. This result is atypical in normal, well adjusted individuals.

My Experience

I’d read some serious horror stories about Citalopram on Erowid.

Namely, one Erowid user that took far more than the recommended dosage, about 280mg total (seven 40mg pills), and experienced a panic attack along with confusion, disorientation, and visual hallucinations.

Wanting to avoid a bad trip, I took it easy with one 20mg pill followed by another 20mg pill an hour later. Keep in mind I don’t take any form of antidepressants for a medical condition.

The only effect I really noticed was a very slight buzz. A subtle feeling of calm drowsiness also overtook me.

Over the next several hours, the only real difference I noticed was a continued feeling of drowsiness coupled with a bit of apathy. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything so I just sat around for the rest of the night.

I supposed the drowsy feeling was nice since I had nothing else going on, but the apathetic feelings aren’t for me. I’d be wary of trying a high dose as this feeling of indifference would likely intensify.

What is Citalopram Actually For?

What is the drug prescribed for?

Depression, mainly.

As one of many SSRI antidepressants, Citalopram is most often prescribed to treat depression, though it’s sometimes used to treat panic and anxiety disorders as well as OCD. It’s also shown to be very effective in treating postpartum depression, in particular.

The main benefit of the drug is mood elevation. Because Citalopram is slow release, this usually isn’t noticeable until after 4 to 6 weeks of consistent use for those taking the drug as prescribed.

Generally, those around you will notice the effects of Citalopram on your mood before you do. Because of the way the drug works, and the long grace period prior to seeing a noticeable change, it doesn’t seem to have much of an application recreationally.

I covered it briefly earlier, but, simply put, Citalopram is a prescription antidepressant used to treat depression.

As an SSRI, it increases the amount of serotonin in the brain to help maintain a more natural, healthy mental balance.

Those with depression or another mental disorder will likely experience the effects of Citalopram far more prominently than those using it recreationally.

It’s important to note that, according to WebMD, a small number of people that take Citalopram might experience suicidal ideation, including those it’s initially prescribed to.

General Consensus

The consensus seems to be that a Citalopram high isn’t really possible. That thinking is certainly backed up by my own experience with the drug.

However, that’s not to say that taking Citalopram doesn’t come with any effects. People taking it as prescribed will likely experience mood elevation and lowered anxiety, especially in the long-run.

Even those taking it recreationally might experience feelings of drowsiness, calmness, or very subtle mood elevation.

There are a very small group of adventurous users that take extremely high doses of Citalopram to unlock its more frightening side effects: panic, confusion, visual hallucinations, and vivid nightmares.

Not only are these effects frightening, taking the drug in such a high dose is extremely dangerous in a physical sense. It’s far from recommended.

One thing that most Citalopram users seem to agree on is that it affects everyone very differently. So, when it comes to this drug, your mileage may vary.

Side Effects

It’s essential to be careful when using any antidepressant, including Citalopram.

Antidepressants have been shown to cause suicidal thinking in many people. If taking the drug to treat depression, be sure to ask your doctor about these risks.

Consequences of using Citalopram recreationally also included apathetic thoughts, depression, and suicidal thinking. More likely though, you simply won’t achieve the high you’re looking for.

Other side effects of the drug, for both medical and recreational users, include vivid dreaming, cardiac arrhythmia, convulsions, memory problems, panic attacks, nausea, and hallucinations.

In addition to those side effects, most users note that there are sexual side effects as well. Including difficulty getting or staying aroused and difficulty reaching an orgasm. It’s also worth noting that Citalopram and pregnancy don’t get along. So, if you become pregnant while taking the drug, you’ll want to talk to your doctor immediately about switching to a more appropriate medication since Citalopram can lead to serious pregnancy complications.

Abuse and addiction aren’t common, according to Addiction Hope. The organization does state that Citalopram addiction is sometimes seen, although it’s of the psychological nature, not physical.

Final Thoughts

There’s little evidence that Citalopram produces a “high.” However, if it’s a drowsy or calming effect you’re looking for, Citalopram might be worth a try.

Either way, it’s important to be careful around this drug and other antidepressants. There’s a high potential for severe side effects, including suicidal thinking. So if it is a drowsy calm you’re looking for, you can definitely find it from other drugs that are far less dangerous from a side effect perspective.

If you’re going to attempt a Citalopram high, take a reasonable dose in a safe, secure environment. As a general rule though, it looks like you can forgo trying Citalopram in favor of a drug that has more of a high, recreationally.


Getting high
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