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KawaiiKitty88: Fluoxetine taper and Introducing myself


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Hello. I am a 28 year old woman and I was basically bullied into taking Citalopram when I was 17 as I was told if I didn't I wouldn't get the psychotherapy for the depression/anxiety that I so badly needed. I never did get the therapy and instead ended up becoming dependent on the Citalopram.


I kept begging to come off it or come down, but every time I had a mental health crisis, instead of offering talking therapy or other support, the first thing to change was my Citalopram. I ended up on the full 60mg at the worst point.


I hated how the Citalopram made me feel, I used to be a very creative person, able to write and draw, plus my feelings have all 'died'. I am autistic too, so feelings aren't something I can understand too well, so losing them has made things much harder for me.


A very nice psychiatrist at the private facility where I lived helped me to withdraw from the Citalopram, however I felt that it was too rushed considering I had been on it for about 5 years at this point. By the time I had tapered off to the smallest dose, I was already feeling incredibly irritable, shaky, nauseous and getting horrific 'brain zaps' and convulsive movements.


I was put on Fluoxetine liquid to calm the effect off, but again got forgotten in the system and stayed on it. I have now been on the Fluoxetine for 6 years and I hate it. I feel literally nothing except for extreme sadness or extreme happiness. Everything in between just feels really 'meh'. Basically it's got to a point where the side-effects are outweighing the benefits. I am still feeling incredibly depressed, suffering from severe anxiety (which I believe is worsened by the Fluoxetine) and generally feel like I have been run over by a truck most days in pain and tired. 
Today I read an article about SSRIs and how professionals are finally admitting they can cause severe side effects. I can no longer live my life feeling so lifeless and dead inside. I am not planning to do anything rash, as I know what trying to come off an SSRI too fast can do.


What I am most concerned about is discussing this withdrawal with a psychiatrist. I feel like they (the one's I have seen) are reluctant to help you come off medication. They seem determined to not only keep you on it, but to then increase the dose (Oh currently on 40mg). I am also concerned that if we do go ahead with this, my psychiatrist will attempt to rush me through it again. From what I am reading on various mental health support sites, this is not recommended!
So hi everyone, I hope I can learn interesting stuff and help you guys while you help me. I will update when I know more.

Edited by scallywag
highlight medications; add white space; add tags
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  • Moderator Emeritus

KawaiiKitty88 -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)


You've added a tag for clonazepam but don't mention that in your post ^.  Please let us know about that -- dose, frequency, how long you've been taking it.

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please include any drugs you are taking for any reason -- prescription, over-the-counter, and recreational/street.
  • You don't need to include symptoms or diagnoses other than the initial condition that led to prescribing the first drug.
  • We ask for this information in your signature so that we can see it at a glance. A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature

Good for you for thinking about the conversation with your doctor in advance. These two topics have some suggestions about that:
How do you talk to your doctor about tapering and withdrawal
What to expect from your doctor about withdrawal symptoms
If you think your doctor will be open to your input, you might want to take a copy of a research paper about the relationship between dose and sertonin transporter cell (SERT, 5HTT) occupancy . The paper is linked in the first post. The first SERT occupancy curves are on page 4 of the paper. The research looked at 4 SSRI drugs: Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram) and Paxil (paroxetine). The researchers also studied the effect of Effexor (venlafaxine).
Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves


The paper shows a similar pattern for each medication -- below a certain dose, the serum concentration decreases rapidly with dose.  This might explain why some people find discontinuation extremely difficult once they attempt to go off the lowest available dose.

You're right that your doctor is not likely to know how to slowly taper your medication doses. No one can predict who will have withdrawal symptoms, when they'll occur or last, or how intense the symptoms will be.  Therefore, we suggest reducing dose no more than 10% of previous dose once every month. Please read the discussion topics at these links:
Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
It's good that you're already taking fluoxetine as a liquid. That will make tapering much easier for you. Here's our topic on ...
Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)
Just so you can prepare yourself, here are two topics that discuss common (but not all) symptoms of withdrawal:
What is withdrawal syndrome
Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list
I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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It's great news to hear that you've not done anything rash yet about your dose (like many of us here have done before finding SA!) I'm going to start my taper next spring, so I'll be watching this thread with great interest! There's a lot of information to take in at first but tapering is quite simple in principle. I hope you find the support you need to get going on this journey.



To anyone with OCD symptoms: Thanks to CBT with ERP learned from this book (Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT by Dr. Fiona Challacombe, Dr. Victoria Bream Oldfield and Professor Paul M Salkovskis), and the valuable help from the life-saving charity OCD-UK (http://www.ocdforums.org/), I am almost recovered from OCD. See this thread for example (although Broken was on the right track there):http://survivinganti...ehaviors/page-3. If anyone here feels they may have OCD, please seek proper support from an OCD specialist. Treating OCD requires a very specific approach and misinforming people can be very harmful. OCD sufferers need CBT with ERP.


Why I’m leaving: The most important information I got from a couple of threads by Altostrata. nz11 helped a lot too, as did JanCarol.


Best of luck to all struggling with SSRI discontinuation syndrome and I hope you keep your wits about you and only heed advice that is supported by scientific research.

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Hi, thanks for your replies. 


I realised after I posted that I didn't actually mention the clonazepam in this post! Then I forgot that I had posted here and have only just come back... whoops... Also I did write my medication history out in my signature but it has disappeared! I will do another one as soon as possible



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