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Beckla7: Off Citalapram for 3 months - SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome?


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Here is my prescription history, or what I remember of it and where I'm at now. 

I don't remember most of the meds I've been put on, but I do remember being put on Paxil by my PCP when I was 19 after going through unbearable depression, or what I thought was unbearable at that time.  I was not given any other recommendations, such as seeing a psychologist or LCSW.  At 19 years old, I thought my Doctor knows best and I should do what my Doctor tells me. 

Once I met my husband about 4 years later, I decided to try something else due to a lack of libido, which I had been struggling with before my husband.  My PCP prescribed me Zoloft and I had a terrible reaction to that.  I was manic; crying and laughing at the same time.  My emotions were in overdrive.  I can't remember the two or three other scripts I tried, but they weren't good either.  Finally, Lexapro worked better. 

Then, when money was tight I went back to my PCP to see about being put on a generic for Lexapro.  There was no generic for Lexapro but she told me the generic for Celexa, Citalopram would be comparable to the Lexapro.  I went on that and it worked, but I still had no libido.  But, after going through so many pills and the bad episode with Zoloft, I didn't want to experiment anymore. 

About 5 years later, when life has been good and my husband and I are looking to have a baby, I do not want to be on meds if I get pregnant.  I have been wanting to get off meds well before thinking about having a baby, but wanting a child has kicked this in gear.  Other than antidepressants, I live a fairly holistic life.  I avoid Tylenol, advil or any over the counter drugs.  I eat mostly a plant based diet, with the occasional treat if we are somewhere that does not offer plant based choices. 

I have been off Citalopram for about 3 months now, but am convinced I am still going through withdrawal despite seeing my psychiatrist who has weaned me off slowly.  I took even slower than the Dr advised because I was scared to go through what I went through on Zoloft.  I was taking 20mg and I followed a cycle of 20/15 each day for one month, 15 for a whole month, 15/10 for one month, 10 for one month, 10/5 for another month, 5 the next month, 5/nothing for the next and eventually nothing. 

Throughout the weaning off, I had tingly fingers, these jolts in my head, that I later found out through research were brain zaps.  Up until last week, which had been 3 months off of Citalopram, I was getting dizzy spells.  When driving a few times, I had to pull over because my vision was like looking into a fun house mirror and my head would spin.  I am also experiencing extreme anxiety like I have never had before in my life. 

I was vomiting and feeling like the world was caving in around me and having issues breathing before going to work everyday or when I had a presentation at work.  I work in sales and having this debilitating anxiety is not acceptable in my line of work.  I am scared I won't keep up and lose my job in the state I am right now. 

I needed to get back on track fast before things spun out of control.  I saw my Psychiatrist on Thursday and I told him about the extensive research my husband and I have done on SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome and my Dr was quick to shut me down and tell me that wasn't it because I've been off my meds for 3 months now. 

My Psychiatrist gave me a prescription for 0.5 mg of Clonazepam with instructions to take ¼ to 1 tablet twice a day as needed for anxiety.  I took a ¼ once each day on Thursday and Friday.  I immediately stopped after that because I hated the way I felt.  I felt drowsy, sleepy, lethargic and unambitious.  This cannot happen with my job in sales where I have to create my own work and leads. 

I also had issues driving; I felt like the road was curving or weaving where it does not.  Luckily, this was happening on my way home where I knew the roads so well that I was able to remember how the roads actually go.  After this drive home on Friday, I knew I could not continue taking the Clonazepam. 

It is Sunday now and I have no idea what to do.  Do I go back to the Doctor to try a different benzodiazepine or have it on hand just in case my anxiety gets bad or do I try to continue being off any meds?  I really don’t want to be on anything, but I also know it has been very difficult to function and I don’t want to lose my job because I can’t function. 

My plan of attack for the week is to try to get through the week with no meds and try using breathing techniques, relaxation method and worry beads when I feel an anxiety attack coming on.  I am going to look up meditation techniques on You Tube to see if I can find some meditations to calm my mind before bed and in the morning before work.  I want to get through this without meds. 

I am worried the period of time I have been on meds might have done permanent damage.  I have an appointment to see an integrative health specialist on Valentine's Day and I hope he has some insight and orders tests that can tell me more about what's going on in my head and with my body. 

As a side note - ethically, should I officially break up with my Psychiatrist if I don't want to see him anymore?  Like write him a letter or tell him when I go to my follow up visit in 3 weeks?

Edited by Petu
added paragraph breaks for readability
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Beckla, I'm sorry that you are suffering withdrawal after tapering so carefully for so long. 

Unfortunately alternating doses confuses the nervous system and is not recommended here.

Most doctors recommend it and very few actually know anything about SSRI discontinuation.

They should know, but they don't, what they know is what they are told by the drug companies

and that aint much!  You did your best, as we all did before finding this site and learning the

truth about anti depressant withdrawal.  


I would avoid starting a benzo, or any other med. Benzo's are highly addictive and then you would

have to taper off that too. As it's 3 months since you stopped, you could reinstate a very small dose,

stabilise and then taper off that slowly.  It isn't failure to reinstate, it's taking care of yourself and

minimising withdrawal symptoms.  There are no guarantees it would work, but there is a chance it

could help. Many of us have reinstated and been thankful we did.  Maybe a half of the last dose you

took would be enough, it would take a few days for you to feel the benefit. If that doesn't help, then 

increase to the 5mg. If it makes things worse then you have become sensitised and should stop

right away. 

Here is a link to the topic on reinstating. 



One for tapering citalopram 



It would help us if you could list the recent meds, (doses, when started and stopped), in your signature .

This will appear at the bottom of all your posts so people can see your history at a glance. Here's how. 




Welcome to our little haven, you will find friendly help and support here.  :)

**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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Hi Beckla. Just wanted you to know I'm pulling for you. Yes, as you had no anxiety before AD's and now do, it does sound like a WD symptom. Please don't think you're stuck this way permanently; you're not. Again, I've found that the easiest way to stop seeing a doctor I don't trust is to make no big deal about it. Just call the receptionist to cancel your next appt, and don't reschedule. Your PCP can Rx any psychiatric drugs. The psychiatrist I saw didn't even notice me missing this way. Oh, and I can relate to being sick AND not being able to lose you job. Tricky situation, but you'll get through it. Best wishes to you with your plans of starting a new family. How exciting!

insomnia, anxiety, depression- since childhood

lyme disease, dysautonomia, chiari malformation- dx 4/1997

nortriptyline- 75mg since childhood

clonazepam- 3mg since 4/1997

trazodone-100mg since 4/2013, now tapering

rotating antibiotics and antimalarials for lyme disease

midodrine- 10mg for dysautonomia

repeated skull surgeries for chiari malformation


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After 3 months totally free from ssri i got all kind of weird symtoms and extremly panicattacks and aniexy not from this world, and many many other symtoms.. it took a while for my body to get this i have no idea why, weeks after my last dose i had some withdraws but now its crazy! and im in the same situation like you, what shall i do, with job and everything, feeling so lost in everything atm :(

2007 - 2013: was on citalopram (tried to quit a few times, never worked, always went back on. max dose 40mg)

2012-2013: was tapering my citalopram all down to 2,5 mg then quit.
2013/aug: Took  my last pill 

W/D hit me bad after a few weeks off my medicine.

2014/August: 12 months off (much improved)

2015/April: 20months off. ( much improved, still some symtoms comes in waves, but not so intense.)

2015/june: 22months off. FELT different than before, all shakings suddenly stopped, feel much better. a fantastic feeling!

2016/Feb : 2 years and 6 months off, END of my suffering. I feel perfectly fine and back to normal. 
2018/Oct: Iam still feeling great. It is hard to believe my own story when I read back, what I went through!




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  • 3 weeks later...

I hope you are feeling a bit better, now that a few weeks have passed.  I went from a 4 year benzo addiction, through an intense withdrawal, and recovery using SNRI's for 11 months, only to taper wildly from these in 2013.  What you are describing here are classic withdrawal symptoms.  It took many months for mine to disappear, and now entering month 9 they are almost non-existent.  Everyone responds differently, but those will clear up.


Give yourself permission to feel this way.  The withdrawal symptoms are, although unpleasant, normal.  Continue with your clean eating and it sounds like you are already sensitive to the fact that the sales lifestyle has high requirements.  Jot down a few areas of your life where you can make tradeoffs.  Let the house 'go' a bit and budget your mental and emotional energy.  Not in a Type-A way, though, just a mild awareness.  Under the right circumstances you will begin to see those moments of healing, and rebound during moments of stress.  Healing happens in a non-linear way.  But it will happen. 

2008 Feb- 1MG Ativan As Needed

2010 Tolerance Withdrawal to Ativan begins. Source unrecognized.

2011 Fall Began Attempting to Come off Ativan 1 week taper as advised by doctor. Increase to 1mg Daily.

2012 January nervous breakdown symptoms. Source unrecognized. Withdrawal symptoms.

2012 May stopped Ativan cold turkey. Severe wd symptoms occurred by end of month.

2012 July 21st 50MG of Pristiq

2013 February 5 week increase to 100MG

2013 March tapered down from 100MG to 50MG in 2 weeks.

2013 March 27th first day of alternate day taper of 50mg to 0mg.

2013 March 13th first 2

2013 April 26th first 3

2013 May 1 first 4-day

2013 May 18th Last 50MG of Pristiq. Ever. Entirely drug free.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Beckla.


I agree, reinstatement of a very small amount of Celexa, maybe even 2mg, might help your withdrawal symptoms.


As Ellen said, any doctor can prescribe the drug. It comes in a liquid form, which makes taking small amounts much easier.


Or, if you have any tablets left, you can make your own liquid, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2023-tips-for-tapering-off-celexa-citalopram/


Also, I suggest when you have your citalopram prescription in hand, you cancel your appointments with the psychiatrist and make sure he or she understands it's because of ignorance about withdrawal syndrome. In writing is even better, with a copy to your state medical board. This may alert the doctor to do some reading.

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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