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Adam: Citalopram withdrawal


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i was hoping to gain some insight on withdrawl affects (physical/mental) after having an extremely adverse reaction to Citalopram. I was prescribed 10mg dose, and first night I took it I woke up within 2 hours feeling like I had the flu. My whole body was sweating, but I eventually fell back asleep. I thought this was just a side effect, and knew this drug would take some time to work in my system before feeling the "benefits". I took it again the next night, woke up again a few hours later, sweating and this time with a headache. It wasn't until the 3rd night that things really hit the fan. I woke up about 3 hours after taking it and my ears were ringing (static, like someone turned TV but loud) my heart was jumping out of my chest, and I took my BP and my readings were 150/110 and I have NEVER in all my history with anxiety felt that way or woke up in a panic. I ended up going to the hospital because after I took my first BP reading, I took it again about 3 min later in full panic mode and it read 210/130 HR 130. I literally thought that was it for me, I said my goodbyes to the 911 operator. I was dischaged from the ER within 2-3 hours after getting there because my Vitals were stable.


I immediately stopped taking the drug after 3 days. That was about 12 days ago. The following days have been an absolute nightmare. The first 4-5 days after I was experiencing headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, very minor tremors, hot/cold flashes and rapid heart rate. My HR has NEVER been rapid in the mornings, but ever since I took this pill, my HR has been in the 90s when I wake up, and I'm just now getting in a better sleep pattern. Before I took this drug, I was taking 25mg of Metaprolol and 1mg of Lorazepam twice a day. I would have occasional panic attacks, and anxiety, but was it was never debilitating. To be honest, I experienced the most anxiety when I would smoke pot and go out in public. My doctor prescribed the BP med and anxiety med about a year and a half ago cause my HR was a little higher than normal (resting 75-85) and BP was around 140/90. This was mainly due to not exercising enough and being about 30-40lbs overweight. 


Regardless of how bad my anxiety ever was, I have always been able to exercise (biking, surfing, skateboarding) and never had a problem. But ever since taking this pill, it seems as though my nervous system is shot. My heart rate jumps when I try and briskly walk and my anxiety levels have been through the roof. I am still having episodes of lightheadedness, not extreme , but noticeable. Also, my ears are still ringing, like tv static, but that comes and goes. I went to one of the top ENTs in my area, who performed inner/middle/outer ear tests, and I passed with flying colors. I have had normal EKGs, blood tests (including thyroid tests, and chest X-rays within the last year.  I've read plenty about "waves and windows" and I'm here in this forum to see if anyone else has had this adverse of an effect and symptoms from taking this kind of pill. Never in my life have I felt this way, even at my worst. Will this ever get better? My doctor says my autonomic nervous system/serotonin levels got messed with and will need time to recover. Is this the case? Any help ornwords of advise if greatly appreciated.


thank you,




Daily Med- 25mg Metaprolol and 1mg Lorazepam (twice daily)

New Med - Citalopram - only took drug for 3 days due to severe adverse reaction 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Adam: Citalopram withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Adam, welcome to SA. I have to say that your doctor is right, your nervous system has crashed after the adverse reaction and the only thing that will cure it is time. We have many members who have had reactions to drugs. The symptoms will get better as your nervous system heals itself. The  topic on withdrawal covers it well. This is not withdrawal but the effect on the nervous system is the same.  Some people react badly and that can sometimes be predicted with a blood test BEFORE the drugs are prescribed but there are few doctors that do this screening.  I would take this as a signal never to take another psychiatric drug, they all have their side effects and you will feel them!  Your brain and nervous system now have to regain homeostasis and that takes time and patience. You WILL get better, and the more informed you are the easier it is to cope.


The hardest thing of all is not knowing what is wrong and going to doctor after doctor who will prescribe different drugs and eventually say it is the 'mental illness'. I am so glad that your doctor recognised it. We have some members who carried on taking the drugs because the doctors said it will get better when their body is used to the drug. Then they try to stop it and get withdrawal so it is a catch 22, suffer if you take it and suffer if you don't. I am so glad that you stopped when you did, you should recover faster because you didn't take it for more than a few days. It will still take time, but hopefully not very long, unfortunately there are no time frames, everyone is different and heal at their bodies own pace.  While you are healing it is important to take good care of yourself. Avoid anything stimulating, caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks etc as they could make you more agitated. Eat good fresh food if possible, and get plenty of sleep if you can, the body repairs itself while you sleep. 

It would be good if you fill in your signature for us. Include any drugs for the last 2 years and for the last 6 months we need drugs and doses, when started and stopped, which shouldn't take you too long! 

You will find instructions here...



You have read about windows and waves so I won't post that link, but there are others that will be interesting and help. 


What is withdrawal syndrome? You will find links to topics that explain what is happening in your brain. 



Many people here find fish oil and magnesium help a lot, but it is important to start very low and increase slowly to find the right level for you. Fish oil helps with brain zaps and fog etc, magnesium is calming. 





**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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  • 4 months later...

How are you doing these days Adam?

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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