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70chevyguy: my story


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Hi all, I've been lurking quite a while and finally signed up and wanted to tell my story.  I began experiencing a lot of anxiety toward August of last year (2016).  I had no idea what the cause of it might be, but the mental aspects of it were frightening for me.  The anxiety began to latch onto all the bad things that I had done in my life.  Not a lot of fun.  The only thing that seemed to help the anxiety was drinking alcohol.  I was really more of less just binge drinking on the weekend to a certain extent.  Always drinking enough for the anxiety to go away, but not enough to black out or really have hangovers the next day.  But my consumption had increased because of tolerance and I was drinking a lot.  Probably about 15 8% abv beers a weekend.  


I drank a good many days around Thanksgiving and on two occasions, I woke up at night with sweats and a racing heart.  I only attributed it to the thoughts in my head that had attached itself to my anxiety.  I didn't think about the fact that it might be mild withdrawals.  On both occasions the withdrawals happened about two days after drinking.


So after the 2nd time, this happened, I went to the doctor and was very down and out and told him about my anxiety.  I stopped drinking because I wasn't enjoying it anymore and I haven't had anything since this spell after Thanksgiving.  I still didn't think about the fact that the alcohol use might be causing the anxiety/depression.  


He prescribed Citalopram and Klonipon, which I had taken one other time about 5 years ago for a few months and recovered quite nicely from.  So, I started taking 10 ml of Citalopram for the first 7 days and Klonipon as needed (only took the klonipon for a couple of weeks).  After 7 days, I moved up to 20ml of citalopram, and really started to struggle to sleep.  I remember about 10 days into these meds, I really had a bad episode where I feel asleep during the day on a Saturday and awoke to a panic attack.  I began really thinking what the heck has happened to my life?  I was healthy and happy. A lot of great things were going on for me.  And now I felt like dying.  I really didn't really think that maybe my drinking habits were in fact the cause of the anxiety until after I started the citalopram.  Looking back, I really wish I hadn't started it and just gave myself some time free off of the binge drinking to see if the anxiety and depression went away.  The depression really kicked in bad about the time I started the Citalopram or just before due to the anxiety.  The Citalopram gave me no relief at all for either of the depression and the anxiety.  It only made it worse I think because I couldn't sleep.  And when I was awake, I was still depressed and the medicine made me feel like a freaking zombie.  It was during this time that I put 2 and 2 together and thought you know, maybe the alcohol was the cause of all of this anxiety and I didn't even need the meds?


So after 2 months, I finally had my followup with the Doctor and told him this.  He wanted to switch me to Cymbalta.  I refused and started tapering down on the Citalopram.  I tapered over 3 weeks from 20 to 15 to 10 to 5 and finally none (I was on it for about 8 weeks before this taper).  I did have the dizziness and the headaches, heart palpations, tinnitus, and minor zaps.  After a couple weeks, I started having some crying spells.  At least 4 of those.  Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since I took my last 5 ml.  Finally, in the past 7 days, I've had some good days, but am still having some periods of anxiety and some depression and grogginess.  I've began jogging again at what was a more normal schedule for me and it has helped to lift my mood most days.  And I've begun to see a therapist who I saw 5 years ago, who helped me get out of the first funk.  I asked him about the AD's and he said don't take them, they are no more effective than a placebo.  However, due to my current state of mind, he is worried that I may have some "soft" bipolar tendencies. (my mother is bipolar).  I am wondering if it might be AD withdrawal causing me to feel this way.  I don't know.  I just hope that I can get through this stage in my life and get back to feeling the normal me again.  


Again, I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel now, which is a lot more than I saw a couple weeks ago, but when these waves hit, it's hard to think that I am going to recover.  I do remember feeling like this 5 years ago after getting off citalopram the first time.  I can also remember saying to my wife after 6 months after getting off it, that i really felt good.


Thanks you guys for reading this.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

Edited by scallywag
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Welcome to the group. It sounds like you are on the right path.

200 Zoloft; 10 mg Zyprexa; 4 mg valium as of May 2021;  Valium taper: July 16: 3.5 valium; July 30: 3 mg (paused valium taper); Aug. 23: 2.5 mg
Zyprexa: July 26: 8.75 mg; Aug. 9: 7.5 mg; Aug. 30: 7.1 mg

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

70chevyguy -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

The symptoms you describe sound like they could be withdrawal symptoms rather than a new condition or a relapse of the previous one. Please have a look at the content at these links they explain how you can be having symptoms weeks after your last dose:
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

Also, Withdrawal or relapse?

Someone came up with a name for withdrawal-induced emotional states and we borrowed/stole it and discuss these symptoms in this topic: Neuro-emotions.

If you ever take a psychiatric medication -- and some of them are branded with multiple names and marketed for different "conditions" -- please approach discontinuation cautiously. Even if you've successfully "rapid tapered" twice off citalopram, there's no guarantee that the next time will be as easy. We suggest that people decrease only one drug at a time, and that the new dose be 90% or more of the previous dose (max 10% decrease) and that decreases be made no more often than once a month to start. The links above provide some of the rationale for that as does this discussion topic:
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.
A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago). Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 9 and Post 10

I hope that you ARE one of the lucky ones who can quickly taper and put this behind you. Please let us know how things go for you.

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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For me alcohol has caused depression and every time I went up on my AD I got wicked anxiety, I thought it was my symptoms getting worse.  But when I saw my psy doc she said that's what happens when you increase your AD.  I wish I knew that before I increased it.  My doctors thought I was Bi polar because of the reaction to the AD, I was actually reacting to the AD.  It was all very messy.  Now that I look back on it and after reading everything here I realise that my body was just responding to the medication I was digesting and my nervous system went haywire.  I couldn't really do that much about it at the time because I had children on my own and so I had to get stable fast hence more drugs.  I was ok when I leveled out. but its a freaky ride.  Good luck h.ang in there

2006 May 40 mg paroxitine for post natal depression until

2010 weaned off on very slow taper 1.5 yrs.

2012 back on paxil 40mgs

2012 august  Lamictal at 200mgs

Valium prn at most 2 times a week, normally 1 a month

clonazpam 1 time every two months

2017 February starting slow taper 1/8 cut down of the Paroxitene 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, 70chevy.


What is your symptom pattern now? How are you sleeping?


It's good you seem to be slowly improving. Recovery from withdrawal syndrome can be very gradual and frustrating.


Many people find these helpful


King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Alto,

The sleeping started to resolve itself as I got back under 10 ml of Citalopram. So I am sleeping pretty good. After the physical symptoms began to resolve, I was still left with some crying spells/anxiety/depression after the taper was complete. I feel like they are getting less and less frequent (hopefully!). Over this weekend, I feel like I am beginning to enjoy some of my old hobbies and look forward to things again, but this is not complete yet. I can still tell that I'm not back to where I'd like to be. The ringing in the ears is still there, but I am not sure if it's worse than it was before my 2 months on citalopram. I can definitely tell it bothers me more though.

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  • Administrator

Yes, sounds like you have the emotional symptoms from withdrawal, and they are resolving in a typical way. See The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Make sure to get some gentle exercise, such as walking, every day. I would also try the fish oil and magnesium, start with a little bit, one at a time, and see how they affect you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to update this.  It has been about 25 days or so since I had my last crying spell.  I have a string of good days and then a day or two of anxiety/grogginess/depression mixed in.  I feel I'm making progress, but it is definitely in stages.  The most nagging ever present symptom is the tinnitus.  I would love to see some progress with that.  it does seem to be louder at times than others, and also seems to involve one ear or both ears.  Just really frustrating and an ever present reminder of negativity for me.

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Also- I meant to add something about napping.  While I was on citalopram and also just after getting off, I was still having anxiety and panic while trying to take a nap.  This has since resolved.

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