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  1. I have had the good fortune to confer with some of the top brain researchers in the world this past 4 years. Michael M. Merzenich who has had several PBS brain specials, Robert Sapolsky at Stanford, Daniel Amen (also many PBS brain specials) Malcom Lader in the UK and many others. Off the subject of exercise but Dr. Merzenich is considered the father of neuroplasticity research and he told me to study primates brain ability to heal they give them SSRI's then stop them. OK Exercise - none of these experts had a clue on how to heal a drug damaged brain. The one common theme was aerobic exercise. There is a great book out on this called SPARK on this. There is also the work of the Cooper Center on the benefits of aerobic exercise for anxiety and depression being better than medications. For the first 3 years I could not do any more than walk - any strenuous activity made me critically ill. I still walk a lot and more if I am in a wave (which seems to be continual) but now I have been able to do some 10 mile bike rides. Has anyone else found benefit/determent to exercise??
  2. Hello. Here's my story: I have general anxiety disorder (GAD--self diagnosed), though I may also be bi-polar. I had a tough time in my teen years--panic attacks, confusion, fear of people, etc., never happy. My father was an alcoholic; my youngest brother died of alcoholism a year ago. I've had my own battles with alcohol, too, but I never became the two six-packs, plus a bottle of whiskey that my father consumed every day. I quit drinking four years ago. For the past year and a half I have used medical cannabis (in a legal state with a doc's evaluation), which helps with anxiety and worry, and is the best sleep aid I know. In my late thirties (I'm now 57) I started taking Prozac--in 1997 (I think)--using a bottle I got from a friend (his mother had a scrip but she didn't take it). I liked it. It took a lot of my anxiety away, and I ceased having panic attacks. I only had a month's supply so I went to my doc, talked to him about my use and he was happy to write a scrip for me--20 mg. of Paxil (my insurance did not cover Prozac). He said to me then that anti-depressants/SSRI's are to sad/anxious people what insulin is to diabetics. I know now that that line came straight from a drug rep's play book. I know now that it was wrong and, at least from the drug company's perspective, a lie. Paxil agreed with me and I continued taking it daily (20 mg.) until about two years ago. I had tried to quit it several times over the years--both cold turkey and by tapering—mostly because I had gained up to thirty pounds on it and could not, no matter how hard I tried, lose that weight (I have been a frequent aerobic exerciser since long before I started Paxil—I continue to exercise, but not as much as before). Trying to stop Paxil altogether was hell. While doing so I felt a profound depression; I cried a lot, spent time in bed during the day on weekends, was twitchy, anxious, fearful, panicky—just not myself; I even began thinking vague thoughts about suicide. I had never felt these symptoms to such an extreme before beginning anti-depressants. Long ago, before beginning Paxil, I had been sad/depressed, I'd had panic attacks and problems with social anxiety, etc., but none of these symptoms were as debilitating as what I was feeling off Paxil. Shortly after getting down to about 10 mg. of Paxil (I had been using an emory board to taper down--for about six months) I couldn't stand it any more and spoke to my psych doc. She put me on Wellbutrin (which made me too hyper, despite taking it in the morning) along with Prozac (which gave me akathisia [pacing constantly]). I gave up both after about a month or so and went on Celexa, which my wife and daughter had been on successfully. I've been taking 20 mg. of Celexa for the last two and half years. About six months ago (or so--could be less) I started to taper off Celexa, this time using sandpaper. I'd read a book called Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker and it scared me into trying to quit again. About a month and half ago I jumped from about 13 to 14 milligrams of sandpapered Celexa to ten by simply breaking the Celexa tab in half. It was easier than using the sandpaper, etc. I'd been feeling a bit odd before then, though nothing too bad, but then I began feeling the old, horrible symptoms mentioned above. They weren't that intense, really, but I'd been worrying a lot about my son going back to college (smart kid, good school, but he has emotional issues—I'm afraid of him failing), and anticipating my return to work—my job is beyond stressful (I'm a teacher). These and other stressorrs convinced me that I needed to be back on the medication. So, as of last Monday, a week ago, I've been taking my full dose again of Celexa, 20 mg., and I have felt better the last few days. BUT today I've felt horrible--two or three panic attacks, crying, a "buzzing" anxiety, a hollow feeling in my gut. I feel worse today on 20 mg of Celexa than I felt a week ago on 10 mg. of Celexa. I've imagined that I somehow forgot to fill my pill pack with Celexa for Sunday morning (today), but I don't think that was the case. Just an hour ago I took an additional ten mg of Celexa (my wife encouraged me) to get me back up to a therapeutic dose. But it scares me what I've been feeling today. As far as I know I should be feeling my old self, the self I've known for years on Paxil/Celexa. I'm scared that my long-term use of SSRI's have damaged my brain to the point that I can't return to even the me on an SSRI, much less the me pre-SSRI. I hope that this forum can help. I know that many of you are struggling with these issues, too, and I emphathise and wish you well. Perhaps I can help, too. Thank you for reading this. I hope I've been clear; if you have any questions or suggestions, please post.
  3. Moderator note - link to benzo thread - Flowers: Xanax - spacing of doses Hi Everyone! it's been great to find this site and know their are others in the same boat as me. I am British but live in Spain but it looks like a lot of you are from USA. Well, regardless of our geography the drugs and effects are still the same I guess. My story goes like this........ I have been on antidepressants since my thirties and nothing ever seems to trigger off the depression. I am however quite an anxious, nervy person! The last 15 years I have taken Citalopram after my Dr told me I would probably need it for the rest of my life. All was fine - Citalopram helped me immensely initially and has kept me on an even keel since. I think it just made me feel normal - no highs or lows. Then in March this year I got a severe allergy to pollen that gave me sinusitis and an asthma flare up. My Dr gave me some antibiotics and oral steroids to help. I had a very bad reaction to the meds and ended up with increased anxiety, shaking etc. He suggested that I might like to increase the Citalopram from 30mgs to 40mgs. All was well until early September when I started to get extreme nightmares and heart palpitations. The nightmares were so bad I was screaming out loud. My mood was good but I was very tired. So the Dr suggested that either 40mgs was too high or the drug wasn't agreeing with me at all. His advice was to try to reduce or come off the drugs so he could see if I was OK without them or he would need to give me something else. He also advised taking 20mg for 4 weeks then 10mg for 4 weeks etc until I was off them. So, I started end of September and reduced to 20mgs straight away for 4 weeks. I didn't feel that bad over those weeks just maybe a little extra anxiety that could be managed. The trouble started when I went down to 10mgs just over 4 weeks ago. I got all the withdrawal symptoms full on. This wasn't helped by getting a lung infection which set off asthma again. I was getting even more anxious not being able to breath and was given antibiotics again and a nebulizer. Both meds can effect anxiety and I think they did because I ended up really ill. One of the worst withdrawal symptoms was not being able to control my legs and the weakness in them. I collapsed and ended up in the Emergencies with my Blood Pressure 207/117.They eventually stabilised me and sent me home where I am now watching my BP at home. The depression has set in and I can barely get out of bed each day and can't stop crying. I have seen a different Dr. who has given me Lexatin to take 3mg up to 3 times a day to ease the anxiety. I have only taken one today and it has calmed me down, but am conscious of the dependency issues. He has also suggested increasing the dose of Citalopram back up to 30mgs. I think the first Dr maybe have recommended a far too quick withdrawal for me as I haven't been able to cope with the severe effects. I am going to increase to 20mgs to see what happens but I am so scared of what is going to happen. I can't even contemplate coming off these drugs now. I just want to get back to normal and live again. When will I get any benefit from the increase and should I go on up to 30mgs? Any help or advice anyone can give would be so welcome - you all seem to have a wealth of experience out there.
  4. Mole25

    Mole25

    Hi All, I am new here and have been reading your experiences with the tapering of Celexa/Citralopram. I seem to be in a bad phase again at 1,5mg. Six hours of neck pain with muscular spasms. One of you guys wrote you took Epilim - or has anybody a tip on supplements which make you calmer and reduce neuro/muscular spasms. Its driving me nuts. All the best Mole
  5. Hi everyone, first post on here so will try not to jabber too much. I'm a 40 year old guy and have been on ADs twice in my life. I first took SSRIs when I was prescribed 20mg Fluoxetine for work-related depression around 15 years back. For about a year they seemed to work (in some way I relied on them after I got through the depressive phase) but gradually I felt more and more 'robotic', agitated and detached. And my sex drive went down the pan...lost all interest. In fact, lost all interest in everything. All felt grey. So, after two years on them, stupid me went cold turkey, expecting to return to normality fairly quickly. But it was not so. The disinterest got much worse. I stayed with the CT and it took a good 2yrs for 'me' to come back...though the libido never really did but in 2010 seemed to be showing signs of life again... ...UNTIL I had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and was put on 10mg Citalopram back in October 2011. I was told I'd need to stay on the meds as I'd been on them before. I wasn't depressed at the time but blindly went along with the doc as the allergic reaction had shaken me up pretty bad. Initially, I felt mildly euphoric and life felt easy, I felt coolly un-anxious. But I couldn't ejaculate during sex, no matter what. And it got worse, to the point where I felt totally sexless, my desire just vanished in the worst way possible. And I started having crazy moodswings. So the doc switched me to Fluoxetine 20mg, after about a year on the Cit. No change. Dead libido, moodswings got even worse, pacing and inexplicable bursts of anger...so guess what? Cold turkeyed them again. Late 2013, about 4 weeks of big WDs, constant brain zaps and 'delayed vision', followed by huge bouts of anhedonia/apathy that still persist. And THE worst PSSD. No arousal, thrill, just this deadness in the pleasure centres of the brain. I can still love and see attractiveness but that 'engine' is...gone? It's horrendous, feel like half a man, like I'm out in the cold looking in all the time. Had tests, all showed fine but in a really good relationship right now that I fear is gonna suffer down the line. It'd kill me because we're so close and loving but I'm...inconsequential. 8 months and we just don't do it. Don't wanna lose her, we're truly soulmates. Want that connection back. That 'spark' in the brain...not there. For anyone or anything. Hurts so bad. I...just feel unsexual and I can't get my head around it. Nightmare. Am I totally messed up now, any hope, anything I can do? Tried ED drugs, various herbs, "He's dead, Jim". What a pickle.
  6. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - LaughingKat: Switch from Ativan to Klonopin Hello, everyone, and thank you for being here. Here's my story: In July 2017 I started a severe bout of anxiety, mostly health-related, that I never entirely got over, although I'm not having daily panic attacks anymore. I worked on it with talk therapy, which I continue, but in January 2018, I decided I needed pharmaceutical help and saw a psychiatrist who prescribed 10 mg of Celexa daily as well as Ativan as needed. Something similar had happened to me 20 years before, so I knew to be cautious about how much Ativan I took. The Celexa did help take the edge off my anxiety but the sexual side effects depressed me. In November 2018, having made some progress in therapy, I decided they were unacceptable and decreased the dose to 5 mg. I didn't consult the psychiatrist but I figured that since Celexa wasn't addictive like Ativan, it wouldn't matter. (Haha.) Actually I didn't feel any withdrawal effects until March 2019, which puzzles me. I started having ferocious headaches and intense neck and jaw tension, along with little painful "sparks" in my eyes every once in a while. I have never been a headachey person and I'd never felt anything like this before. They feel like electric knives going into my scalp. I thought it was just tension (my daughter had been in an auto accident and I was taking care of her while she recovered from injuries) but in early April 2019 I called the psychiatrist and told him about the headaches. He said the headaches were "likely" from the Celexa and since I was on "a baby dose" at that point I should stop taking them. It's been a month and I still have the headaches, neck and jaw tension, eye pain. Not every day but most days. At this point the psychiatrist says just don't worry about the headaches, they're not important or major. But they feel major to me! Sometimes I take ibuprofen and that helps. But I resist taking it. I've had up to 5 days without headaches and then when they come back I'm heartbroken and scared. But I'm grateful to have learned here on this site that SSRI withdrawal isn't always a straight line. Can anyone reassure me further, especially about the weird timeline of the headaches? Why did they start three months after I decreased the Celexa dose? And why do they continue a month after I stopped entirely? Has someone had a similar experience, similar symptoms with Celexa? I know several things in my story go against the good advice on this site. But I do not want to go back to taking Celexa, even a small dose. I vowed to myself I would never take a ssri again unless I was prepared to take it for the rest of my life. Thanks for listening.
  7. After successfully being on 20mg citaloprom having become depressed after the sudden death of my mother for about 8 years it pooped out sending me into dizziness,panic attacks etc for a couple of weeks then I felt fine. That was about 2 years ago. Three months later developed rash on face and diarrhoea, sleep disturbances, cramps and bruising on arms. Put on different drugs by gp none of which got rid of these symptoms then gp decided it was probably anxiety so prescribed ssri's again. Each one he tried me on I had dreadful reactions to. Sent to a psychiatrist who prescribed cipralex in drop form to build up slowly and then my hell for the past two and a half years started. From the onset of taking the drug increasing by one drop every third day I would have 24 hour panic/anxiety no appetite nausea fatigue. This went on for about three months and then what I now know as a window appeared for about a week only to plunge straight down again. That is how my life has been until last summer my gp told me I needed to see a psychologist as still suffering badly. Rang my psychiatrist to ask him and he said he felt my problems were not in the head but probably systemic so to see an endocrinologist. After various tests for adrenal thyroid etc he said all fine but felt steroid inhaler I had been on for about 4 years could be causing problems. Looked up side effects of inhaler and yes skin rash anxiety etc all matched. September last year came off the rash, cramps etc all disappeared and even put on a few of the 10 pounds weight I had lost since this started. Felt fine for a couple of weeks then crash back into another wave and that is how it has been ever since with severe waves of anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea, extreme fatigue. Then paid privately to see a gp in the hope he would help. His decision was the cipralex was aggravating me and to stop the eight drops a day immediately. I dropped a drop every two days and felt brilliant for five weeks apart from the brain zaps, nightmares,insomnia, dizziness then back came the raging anxiety, extreme fatigue, panic, nausea, loss of appetite. I have given in this morning and taken two drops of cipralex I don't know if I have done a stupid thing or not, whether it is too little or I should have just suffered for longer. Since this first started I seem incapable of taking any drugs or antibiotics without severe reaction Can anyone help?
  8. Hi, I do appreciate this supportive website. My story: I had been on Celexa for anxiety for at least 10 years at doses of between 10 and 20 mg. At 15 to 20 mg at times it really seemed to help the anxiety and lift my mood. Last Dec. I went on Zoloft because the anxiety seemed to be breaking through with the Celexa. (However, I now wonder if lowering the dose on my own was actually giving me symptoms of anxiety). I went one month on 25mg Zoloft, then 50mg Zoloft for 3 months. It never seemed to really help with anxiety or low mood, and also gave me GI upset with diarrhea. I decided to stop on my own, tapering over 6 weeks. While tapering and since stopping I have been taking Fish oil and probiotic, hoping both of those supplements would help with anxiety/depression. During the taper and since stopping, I have been having additional GI problems, plus very bad histamine intolerance. Foods that I had not problem eating while on SSRI, now give me headache, dizziness (to the point where I haven't driven on the freeway for 3 months!), fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. By the way, I would occasionally have these symptoms when lowering the Celexa dose, but then it would go away soon, so I attributed it to anxiety. So weird and awful. I've done lots of reading and discovered that in some people this can happen after SSRI discontinuation. One theory is that the SSRI has acted as an anti-histamine therefore the cells in the GI tract don't need to make the DAO enzyme that breaks down histamine. So when going off the SSRI, there is nothing to break down the histamine. I am currently on a low histamine diet. Trying Quercetin and Vit. C to help with the high histamine. The glutamine/aloe vera supplement made me feel extremely fatigued so had to stop. It's been 2 months since stopping Zoloft. Of course I'm praying my body will return to normal sometime soon, and fearful this may last a long time. My primary care doctor said the body doesn't even start to feel normal until 3 months post-stopping. I would appreciate any input from folks who have had similar issues, and would love to hear some positive stories of healing from this. Needless to say, will never take SSRI again! Thank you
  9. Hi Have just joined and looking for practical advice on supporting myself as have started a gradual reduction of citalopram today. I've been on it for 12 months having been fortunate to never have had mental illness before. Any practical advice much appreciated. Thank you
  10. was prescribed citalopram and lorazapam after a nervous breakdown last july from watching my father pass from aspiration pneumonia caused by advanced dementia. i needed something. i've been off the lorazapam for probably 4 months. i tried to go from 20 mg of the citalopram to 10 to 0 in a couple weeks. was not good. so i went from 10 to 5 to 2.5 over the course of 4 months and then something less than 2.5 if i got dizzy. i haven't had any at all for 5 weeks now. glad i found this place. oh man the crying out of nowhere, the anxiety this morning, almost had a panic attack. my withdrawal is no where near as bad as some of the folks here i'm reading about, but the neuro emotions i'm reading about and the windows and waves really hit home. sometimes i can feel really good and want to cry from some perceived lack in my life at the same time. mostly i feel good now, but when it comes, like others have said, i feel like its always been awful and always will be. i have to stop attaching words to the feeling because i'll find some pitiful story to tell myself because its like something is pulling me to feel sorry for myself. i asked my psychiatrist about brain changes from the citalopram and he said it would happen. he also said untreated anxiety and depression will also cause negative brain changes over time. so, what to do. i've also been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder level 1 in probably 2016. yeah, had no idea i didn't recognize facial expressions very well. i'm really bad at it. anyway it comes with a good bit of anxiety. so i do suspension training 6 days a week to help me get rid of anxiety, and i also need adrenalin to really be happy. i'm at my best when i'm involved with whitewater paddleboarding or onewheeling on a regular basis - something exciting and a bit dangerous. i also ferment pickles, red cabbage kraut and kimchi for my gut health. i'm really fighting to keep my brain health and hoping that one day things get back to normal. in the meantime thank you all. its great reading about everybody here and i'm really thankful to find this place and realize i'm not alone in these withdrawals.
  11. Ok My name's Adam. I'm 48. I suffer with A&D. I was on 40mg Citalopram for about 8 years. My psychiatrist moved me on to Effexor about 10 weeks ago. The drug hasn't agreed with me, and I'm n the process of tapering off. I was initially on 75mg immediate release (sold tablet), and was taking one a day (people have said this should have been a split dose. Anyway, that's in the past. My tapering history is that I've been taking 3/4 of a tablet - about 58 mg for the last 4 weeks. I think my depression has worsened over last 2 weeks, BUT that may be attributable to life's circumstances.(divorce). My questions are: 1. Am I withdrawing from Effexor, or perhaps SSRI's in general? i.e. Is this really a Citalopram withdrawal considering I've only been on Effexor for a very short time. 2. How slowly should I taper off Effexor, and in what increments? 3. Do I need to split my dose and take twice a day? At present I'm taking the 58mg in one dose Answers to the above and any other advice appreciated. Thanks Adam
  12. I have been on citalopram since 2009 then it stopped working. The Dr put me on citalopram and mirtazapine combination which worked for a while then that stopped working. The Dr then put me on mirtazapine and Venlafaxine 150mg XL combination which workes for a while again ans then stopped working. The Dr put me on amitriptyline 50mg saying thay would be the best drug for me while i took 8 months to slowly remove each bead from Venlafaxine capsule to come off it. As soon as I took my last beed i went into crazy angry depression. The dr increased my dosage of amitriptyline from 50mg to 150mg but the side effects were horrible and at this point i got sick of these meds and decided to quit CT. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms and i started acting like a child and not being able to walk, had balance problems. I reinstated back to 50mg amitriptyline since april 2018 and i have been getting worse. I cannot sleep. My vision is so badly affected that i have grainy vision and floaters have increased dramatically . I see after images and it's as if the lights have been turned off. When i begin to fall asleep, i start to have dreams before i actually fall asleep and my brain keep. Waking up just before i am about to sleep. I cannot follow conversations, I mishear things all the time. I am totally dependant on others and i feel people think i have gone crazy. I don't know what to do i am getting worse and worse. I often trip, lose my balance. I hardly have any short term memory and cannot do simplest of things. I cannot even watch anything on TV as i cannot follow.it I'm having major concentration problems. I don't know how. I'm writing this. I cannot work or drive. Please you have no idea how i am putting these sentences together. I need urgent help. Please advice. I have no energy, no appetite. If I'm posting this in the wrong place, please accept my appology as I can hardly read and understand things. P
  13. Hey there everyone, my name is Emilia. I found this forum after I was first hit by pretty bad withdrawal symptoms after trying to quit citalopram 10 mg in early 2019. After first starting Citalopram the effects were already pretty bad, but everyone around me kept telling me it will get better once my body had gotten used to the changes, which it kind of did. All was okay for about 2 months before things took a turn for the worse again. My doctor wanted to increase my dose to 20 mg, but I refused as I already suspected the medication to be responsible for my worsening depression, increased anxiety and suicidal thoughts (which I haven't had before starting). So I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to quit and she promptly recommended another antidepressant, which I refused as well. She also told me I could just easily stop taking it. After I raised the question of possible withdrawal symptoms she just looked at me as though I was crazy and dismissed my concerns by telling me not to worry. Uneducated as I was I tried exactly that. In February I tried quitting CT... which ended with me starting to self-harm again. I felt as though there was no hope left in the world, abysmal never ending hopelessness. In my despair I finally started researching and found this forum (thank goodness). I quickly learned contrary to what I've been told that quitting this drug can indeed cause these kind of symptoms. At this point I've only been off of Citalopram for about a week and decided to start again, albeit at a slightly lower dosage. I decided that 8 mg would be fine. After a couple of weeks my symptoms gradually got better and I wanted to follow the 10% per month taper. Except I didn't. I went too fast. I was getting increasingly impatient with this drug and just wanted to be done with it. So instead of taking 10% per month off my dose, I took 10% per week off. That in turn increased my symptoms again, but I told myself to just tough it out. I managed to get to 5 mg that way relatively quickly. Now I've been taking 5 mg for the last couple months and have kind of stabilized. Right now as I am typing this I have admitted myself to a metal health clinic for unrelatedand reasons, I have been here for 3 weeks already, with 4 or so more to come. Unfortunately the doctor responsible for medication here is not much more understanding of the adverse effects these drugs can have. She recommended however that I start by taking it only every second day. I tried that, didn't notice anything bad and then I forgot to take it on the third day. Didn't feel anything bad then either and thought I'd just try to jump off now. Currently I haven't taken it for 4 days. And the symptoms are back full force, except now I also get these weird kind of electrical brain shocks that don't really hurt but are just really uncomfortable. I really don't know what to do now. Should I reinstate at a lower dose of like 2,5 mg, or should I keep going? If I do keep going then can anyone please tell me how long it'll take for things to calm down again? Any kind if help is appreciated, thank you
  14. My name is Riina, im 35years. Im sorry my english isnt that good, hope it dont matter, i really need help! I have been on citalopram for 17 years. First started it because of social anxiety and it helped. Tried to come of few times too fast because i didnt know any better. Panic attacs ect. This time i thought i took it slow enough, maby a year from 10mg to 0. First i was doing ok, but at 2.5months off started depersonalization and massive anxiety. I started citalopram again on 2.5mg and went up to 10mg, got myself hospitalized for beeing in acathisia and terror and in fear of killing myself. Got polydrugged (10 different drugs!), needless to say it made me only worse. Its been living hell now for 4months. I have akathisia and very bad anxiety and nobody knows what to do. I am now on triptyl 3mg (started in hospital first 25mg, slowly coming down) and citalopram 2.5mg (came down fast because it was so bad) First things seemed to get little better when i dropped down dosages but then it got bad again. I dont know what to do, I cant take this. I know i have been kindled. Should i just CT again or just keep weaning of. If the drug is only hurting me why go slow? Any opinions? I really appreciate all answers. Please help!
  15. Hello and my sincere thanks to all who have made this source of information and support. I have joined to seek advice (and hopefully to give it where I can) about my current situation. I will timeline my story to begin with to establish some context; 2006-2008 Citalopram (30mg) for PTSD 2009-2017 Perfectly fine!! "Maintenance dose" of Citalopram (20mg) - doc's orders 2017 Jun - Got worried about long term use - doc tapers me off Citalopram in 2 weeks... YES... 2 weeks Aug - Relapse and back onto 30mg Citalopram 2018 Aug - Cross-taper (3 weeks) to Cymbalta 60mg - bad side effects (was told Citalopram wasn't working - but I now know I needed therapy) Sep - Cross-taper (8 weeks) back to 30mg Citalopram Nov - Cross-taper (2 weeks) to 15mg Lexapro (was told citalopram was "out-dated") Dec - Pregabalin (50mg) for 8 days - very bad reaction 2019 Feb - Bad reaction to Lexapro - dropped to 10mg (self-medicated) So you can see I have been pushed and pulled by doctors over the last 6 months and have continually had bad reactions to meds apart from Citalopram. Soon after I started Lexapro, I got the shakes to the point I could barely walk, and this was all day, and lasted from week 3 to week 8. Four days after I lowered dose to 10mg (at week 😎 they stopped, but then it hit the fan a few days later. Zaps, dizziness, brain fog, horrible anxiety. I have been managing these with Omega 3 as best I can, but now I have an overwhelming sense of dread and hopelessness all day. This started last Sunday, and whilst there have been moments of glimmer, these are few and far between. I recognise these exact feelings from when I was first taken off Citalopram. So advice I am looking for is whether the drop of 5mg Lexapro has really done all this, of maybe that I have uncovered the Citalopram withdrawal underneath? Now 24 days since I dropped to 10mg, should I brave it out and hope I will stabalise? Should I reinstate the Citalopram? Go back up to 15mg Lexapro and try again with liquid?? My doctor no longer knows what to do and has left me to my own devices, and the mental health team who "care" for me cannot let me see a doctor for around 4 months. I am on my own here guys and feeling very low, hopeless and struggling to see the end of the tunnel. Any help will be gratefully received. God bless.
  16. Hi all I’m from Australia and am tapering off 10mg citalopram. I was prescribed 20mg 15 months ago and have slowly worked my way down to my current dose of 10mg. Earlier this week I tried to go to 5mg but had horrible withdrawal effects, such as high anxiety and was very teary and irritable and lost my appetite. Then I stumbled across the surviving antidepressants website and couldn’t believe my eyes.. there is so many other people in my situation. I had no idea how hard antidepressants were to get off! Can anyone advise how I can get from 10mg to 0 whilst trying to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms? Also does anyone know how long it takes for the brain to get back to normal serotonin levels after being on the drug for 15 months? Thank you so much to anyone who can help me!
  17. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  18. Female. Anxious disposition even as child. Did well making friends and enjoying life as a child. Struggled with getting to sleep though, due to worries. Displayed some ocd behaviour in teens ( maybe even before). Took and E aged 16 - big mistake. This exacerbated my anxiety and induced subsequent panic attacks. Age 19 ish ( 2001) was put on seroxat (not sure on dosage -it a strange time; experienced a lot of weird goings on with feeling weird, insomnia, - cant remember if this was before or on starting seroxat). started to feel better while on Seroxat. After a year or two, ( age 21) the doc, due to reports of suicidal behaviour on seroxat, decided to swap me to Citalopram ( 20mg i think). On starting Citalopram, I became very suicidal! Not sure why I wasn't swapped back but I perservered and must have evened out. Took Citalopram for 2 years and I felt good. Met my, now, husbandat 23 and thought life was brill and I did not need Citalopram anymore. Didn't follow any kind of tapering ( didnt know I needed to) and must have stopped cold turkey. Felt very suicidal so went back on Citalopram and evened out again. Must have cut fown to 10 mg and stayed on this for 4 years, functioning well. I did my degree. Am a bit of a perfectionist so worked very hard ( too hard), as well as working 16 hours. End of 4th year at Uni, I was burnt out. Overloaded, overwhelmed, run diwn physically and mentally. A 'nervous breakdown' ensued. I tried to go back to uni to finish the last couple of months but couldn't. I finished my dissertation abd transferred my degree so I still gained a 1st class degree but was very ill. I, nearly straight after became pregnant. I, however, suffered a horrid missed miscarriage at 13 weeks. I had told the docs that I thought something was wrong, 5 weeks earlier, but was dismissed. I took 2 months off work and was a mess. The doctor gave me diazepam and zopiclone which helped me ride the worst. Somehow I survived and became pregnant again not long after. Pregnancy was hard ( pains and bleeding) but I lasted. When my baby was born, it was tricky ( so much new to learn; I developed some ocd habits to help me feel in control but it was ok. Things leveled out. I was still on 10 mg Citalopram ( docs aware of this). I was doing well. I had snother baby a couple of years later, aged 29. Pregnancy was s bit better than the previous one but I still had bleeding, so was nervous but it was ok. I continued on 10 mg of Citalopram and was doing ok. When my son was 1 though, I took on too much. ( Lots of voluntary work with high expectations and serious responsibilities. I juggled trying to be a good mum, with several voluntary roles, housekeeping, got a small part time job too. over this time, for some reason i was slowly tapering Citalopram down ( no guidance really other than from the doc that you can take them every other day (? Is this where things started to go wrong?). I thought I was doing ok, although on reflection I was burning the candle at both ends. At the age of 32 I began to experience sciatica and fatigue. Doc suggested I try coming off the pill. This didn't help. This got worse until I developed severe abdominal pain/ heavy periods/ Nausea/ severe IBS - doc queried cfs but i was not yet referred. I was probably taking 5 mg of citalopram a couple of times a week ( not great I now realise as not steady) but as much as I was feeling physically crap, I was still functioning I stopped the Citalopram and took nothing for 10 months. The voluntary work took on another level; I imploded and had a 'nervous breakdown' ( I had a ridiculous amount of stress which was causing me to struggle with sleep and I was beginning to get suicidal ideation and brain fog before this, on top of the other physical issues, then a stressful voluntary work event sent me into a breakdown ( crying/ anxious/ ocd/ sleeplessness/ some kind of sleep apnea where id wake up gasping for breath.. I was put back onto Citalopram. I quit all voluntary work. I requested to start what i thought was low - 5mg. They pushed me to go to 10, saying 5 was ridiculous. At the same time, it was thought I may have endometriosis, so in 2017, aged 35 I had a laparoscopy operation to check; it was not. I think the operation and anaesthetic helped finish me off. The Citalopram made me increading suicidal to the point where I had suicidal ideation 24/7. i was somehow still getting sleep at this point but obe day was so suidsl, I went to A&E. Saw a psychiatrist for the first time in my life ( aged 35). Was tild to stip Citalopram strainght away. Discussed alternatives ( antipsychotics/ Mirtazipine, other ssris etc). I took nothing fir a week then another team of psychiatrists advised on possible meds. It was decided I would try Sertraline ( another Ssri??? why did i do that) I started it on 12.5 mg ( much to dismay of psychiatrists) but I was not given time to level out; They kept bumping up dose so i would get to the 'theraputic' dose of 50mg. Another level of Hell ensured which I hadn't yet visited. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, jitters, suicidsl ideation in the extreme, depression, muscle twitching, increased brain fog, intrusive thoughts, rapid weight loss, hellish insomnia. This on top of the fatigue and pain and ibs i was already experiencing. Despite my reaction, I was told to persist; I think they thought it wss my normal behaviour ( never felt this bad even when I wss 18 before starting Seroxat). Things levelled a bit after about 3 1/2 months. I was able to function a bit and go to my part time work and look after the home but it was tough. I developped tinnitus on Sertraline and had increasing brain fog. I also now suffered from depersonalisation and still had IBS and fatigue and body pain. In November last yesr, Another doc suggested i try the fodmap diet. i tried this and after 2 months it was very apparent that I had a gluten intolerance. Stopping gluten cleared up my IBS and most of the body pain. I still however battled with increasing brain fog and fatigue and severe depersonalisation to the point i couldnt go out at times and battled with it on the way to/ at work. Sertraline was not for me. I decided to cut down. the only advice id had about tapering was every other day from my doc but I thought Id do it slower. i cut miniscule amounts off from April 17, no real structure. I did this slowly but without checking i was stabilising, from April to August when i got to about 25mg. July and August, my brain fog became unbearable; unable to do shopping, unable to have a proper conversation, overwhelmed by simple questions, I became hypersensitive to light and sound. I often wore shades even on cloudy days ( looking back, noide and light sensitivity started with sertraline). I wore earplugs to limit noise at home with loud children. I became snappy due to loud noises. July August this got worse and worse but I was still functioning. I began doing sertraline every other day at 25 mg in August I think, maybe before then BAM one night in early September I had severe anxiety and total insomnia. This was relentless. I was desperate. I needed advice. Do i go back? Stop? go down? even dose to take each day. I was severely suicidal and devepped what seemed to be fit type episodes where i would be breathless, painful stomach, weird tingly head, palpitations, neck pain and lower back pain, loss of appetite, feeling flu like, becoming extremely dehydrated to the point i would guzzle water down cup after cup, My body contorted in painand tension, I eould then becime cold snd shiver. these episodes could last a couple of minutes but up to 16 hours at times. i was desperate for advise. over September/ early october, I visited A&E 4 times, desperately suicidal; I spoke to my doctor, I spoke to the nhs 111 line, I paid to dpeak to a psychiatrist but NO ONE would advise me, passing me round like a hot potato, telling me to do CBT and wait fir an appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist in december! I wouldn't live until then! I stayed with my mum as I felt so out of control with these fit type things ( including one where paramedics came and I was growling/ disorientated/ confused/ dehydrated so my eyeballs snd skin were dry- I was agressive ( never been like this in my life). I didnt want to be near my family due to my behaviour so I stayed with my mum for a few days. she lives in another county. I went to A&E there and they listened to me and made me feel worthwhile. they referred me to their home treatment team, who visited me but once again were unwilling to discuss specifics of medication. i was given zopiclone and diazepam. my husband and i didnt know what to do. we saw this website but I was still confused. I 'evened' out the 25 mg every other day dose to 12.5 in September. This may have made things worse, not sure which is why i wanted advice. The home treatment team managed to get my appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist movef to early october. I saw her and she laughed at my idea that it was withdrawal. she suggested I try an snri or mirtazapine. After reading this site, I wad reluctant. I am still referred with that team of psychiatrists but another appointment is in 2 months and they just want to throw more meds at me without showing any understanding of withdrawal. 5 weeks ago at an extreme point, before seeing the psychiatrist, I stopped Sertraline. I have been off it for 5 weeks. The fits seem to have all but stopped. but my anxiety is through the roof. I have severe stomach pain, reactions to shsmpoo, brain buzzy feeling whch zaps at times, particularly with high pitched loud noises. my sensitivity to sound is horrendous, as are my emotions and sensitivity to stress. I am overwhelmed by anxiety and ocd type ruminating thoughts about the situation and about my children's health. I am in sick leave from work since 2 months ago, as is my husband ( to look after me and the children). I have managed to taper off zopiclone and my sleep varies depending on my anxiety at night ( minutes up to 6 hours, broken sleep). I took dome diazepam but the ladt dose in September affected my breathing and I became severely breathless for 4 hours andmy gums bled so i haven't taken it since. I have applied for pip disability living allowance. we are shortly going to have no miney coming in and do t know if and my husband will be able to go back to work or if he will be fired ( I assume i will). I read this site but felt I couldnt reinstate as I never felt good on Sertraline. what now? do I try to ride it out? So suicidal and hopeless at times. Do I reinstate to citalopram instead? Do i try something else? Low dose mood stabiliser/ antipsychotic? Ps, I was referred a month ago to the ME/ Cfs people for diagnosis. Still waiting to hear.
  19. Hi everyone and Alto! A few months back (nov. 2013) I was prescribed 150mg Effexor because my depression wasn't "responding" to citalopram 40mg after a 'nervous breakdown'. Come to find out it was actually a horrible reaction that I was having to Ambien . . . horrible anxiety, fear and depression - suicidal thoughts. Anyway, I am beyond all that now, praise God. However, I noted that I did not respond particularly well to the Effexor . . . dry eyes, dry mouth, ear pain and flu-like symptoms were just some of the fun I experienced while trying to acclimate to the medicine. I did some research and decided that I wanted off of this stuff, and knew the best way to do it quickly was to cross-taper back to citalopram, which I had been on many times in my past. I did it over a period of four weeks (150 down to 112.5 then to 75 then to 37.5 of effexor while dosing up from 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 of citalopram). I avoided the horrible effects of withdrawal for the most part, except for headaches, but now I'm three weeks out from completing the cross taper and I'm just now having extreme fatigue (even though I'm sleeping again 6 hrs or so / night) and droopy, painful, strained / fatigued eyes. I don't feel like I wake up until the afternoon some days! It comes and goes too, not consistently every day - varies in intensity. My question is, is this normal to have a delay of symptoms even after a (seemingly) successful cross taper of medicines? My long term goal is to get completely off of citalopram (been on it off and on since 1998) . . . and I will be doing that VERY, VERY slowly, beginning six months from now. Just want to make sure that it is withdrawal from Effexor and not some other health issue. I should also note that I never had any vision problems before Effexor, and have been checked by an eye doctor - no issues, 20/20 vision. I am 33 yrs old. Thanks for all your help and responses!!
  20. Hello everyone, I first got started on Celexa in May 09 after my mind slipped into an inescapable panic state induced by an accidental overdose of the anti-histamine diphenhydramine. I should of know way back then, after a few weeks, then I should of stayed away from all drugs and given my brain a chance to calm down and repair itself on it’s own, but I was truly, truely frightened that I had down some serious damage or I was on my way to the depths of psychosis. So I went to my GP got diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I switched to Cymabalta in November 09 after a personal event triggered an intensification of agitated depression which had never really left despite treatment with Celexa. Sticking with Cymbalta was, again, an irrevocably stupid decision - but I had faith in the psychiatrist who was prescribing me these things. Suicidal ideation was commonplace both in an experiential context and in circumstantial context – my anxiety was so severe I just wanted out and I was astounded to what life had been reduced to. On cymbalta I felt tired but wired with a generalised irritability and massive cravings for sugar, which when I gave in and ate only triggered an intensification of irritability. I look back during this period and I’m struck with just how bizarre and Kafkaesque the whole experience was. Why the hell didn’t I get of the ******* thing earlier? I weaned off Cymbalta in in June 2010. However, the suicidal panic now morphed into a suicidal malaise and all-consumng tiredness, severe anhedonia, and an inability to concentrate - which has stuck with me since. I got put on Zoloft in Oct’10, 4 months after my last drug, and after a visit to a GP where I told me him I was suicidal and planning to go through with it. He sort of shrugged and just told me to go back on a med. The Zoloft induced both akathisa and a “despair beyond despair” at my situation. I flew out to Thailand with the intention of having a last hurrah and then taking myself down to one of the gun ranges and putting a .357 round into my frontal lobe. (Guns aren't readily available in the UK) I flew home when my parents found out where I was, despite my (I thought) well-constructed plan to deceive and explained to them the extent of which I was struggling. We sought the services of a psychiatrist whom I thought was progressive and looking at the bigger picture. By now, I was mostly concerned with the brain fog and chronic fatigue - which prevented me from most activities which might have led to an improvement with my lot in life - which led me to conclude my problem was neuro-endocrine based. I agreed to a low-dose of Lexapro, some compounded thyroid hormone and about 20 different supplements to treat any bodily pathologies. Despite this ambitious protocol, there was very little change in mood. I tried to stay working but got overwhelmed again and my suicidal ideation reached a zenith. I flew back out to Asia with my father, this time to Cambodia but to join a volunteer project building houses. I figured a dose of 3rd poverty might take my mind….off my mind. This time I also agreed to start lithium. It was a humbling experience for sure but I was still weak, foggy, anxious and depressed. I also felt intensely guilty at being in my depressed state amongst so much poverty and in a country with the worst auto-genocide in history. I also picked up a stomach infection which led to post-infectious gastroparesis which I have been struggling with since. Early in 2011 I discontinued the lithium, at the time we hadn’t worked out the stomach problem and where concerned the lithium could be causing the GI stuff. I continued with Lexapro in the AM and 25mg amitrypltine to get me off to sleep in the PM. Life was just a haze punctuated by bouts of panic and despair. My ability to work and socialise properly had all but disappeared by now, so I got used to life being what it was. At the beginning of 2012 I decided to take a break from AD’s, they didn’t seem to have improved my lot in life much, maybe coming off them would do some good. This was when my concern, finally, about TD started - I continued to feel like absolute ****. What if the drugs were the problem all along?. It wasn’t until a few months ago that the epiphany really took hold and I realised the full horror of what I subjected myself to. I realised the whole thing was being exacerbated by the very treatment that authority deemed to be of help. Back when I came off Cymbalta in 2010 I just assumed this was my depression anxiety ramping up and the exhaustion was a natural extension, but now I was still horrendously depressed and the other **** kicked in. I curse myself that I didn’t see the connection the first time round and have spent another 2.5 years on psych drugs….. Note, I tried a few drugs of now more than about two weeks duration in 2012. Again this was before the idea of drug-induced harm became cemented in my mind. My last drug ingestion was Tianeptine in November. My question to anyone who has any suggestions and or experiences is in my title – what the hell do I do now? I’m a complete invalid. Living at home with a parent at 25, unable to enjoy much of anything at all, I can’t lose myself in a movie like I did years ago, my mind is just inexplicably turned inward and focused on it’s own arid desolation and fogginess. Reading is a significantly challenging endeavour and writing is difficult (it’s taken me about a week to knock this up into something coherent and semi-legible). I’m just having such trouble formulating a strategy which might give me a chance of getting well again. Just reading this site has given me a bit of hope in that people can get their lives back on track. There’s people here that appear to have got off far harsher drugs and had been on them for longer periods, so I need to keep a perspective of sorts, I’m just terrified at this stage that I’m past the point of no return and that putting what was a fragile brain/mind to begin with in drugs might just have been…… Any help or words of wisdom are appreciated. Thanks for reading. Jack
  21. Hi, I have been taking Celexa for about 8 years now and am currently tapering at 10% every 3 - 4 weeks. I have usually slept well but recently found myself taking hours to fall asleep. I have always taken my dose before bed and have recently found out that Celexa can disrupt sleep, especially in those that are suffering from protractive benzo withdrawal (something I am also dealing with after a successful taper 10 months ago and has actually gotten a lot better). On the other hand, I am on my 3rd week of my first 10% reduction of Celexa. Could it be the reduction in Celexa that is impacting my sleep or could it be that I should start trying to take my dose in the morning? I don't know much about the implications of SSRIs so any help would be much appreciated. warm regards, James
  22. I'm new here... Celexa reaction one year ago this week, and I've pretty much never recovered.. I don't know where else to start, so I figure I'd just post the cliff note. I was blown away when I came upon this forum, I had no idea this was such a thing.. I finally don't feel as painfully alone..
  23. Hi! Not sure if I can post here, but I found this site after searching for withdrawal effects after having multiple symptoms when the meds were supposed to be out of my system. I now realise my neurotransmitters are still rebalancing, and I've definitely experienced the windows and waves. I was on 20 mg Cilift (Citalopram) since Feb 2016, and sought out the help of my GP to wean off (because of weight gain and mostly having severe heart palpitations). She weaned me off over a 2-week period (1 every 2nd day for a week, and 1 every 3rd day for a week). I stopped the meds entirely around mid May. I am however having multiple symptoms now still: very moody (fluctuating between unjustified rage and extreme depression), extreme anxiety, paranoia, lethargic yet I have insomnia, headaches, toothache and weird sensations of my eyes being sponges, itchiness, PMS is 100 times worse. I find I get stuck in unproductive thought loops, and feel that I shouldn't be alive (although I wouldn't act on suicidal impulses, as I have a strong sense of them not being "me:). I'm now in the awkward position of not knowing what to do. I live in a 3rd world country, and I doubt I can find a doctor who would be able to offer any support. We have a good medical system but in some ways our info is outdated. Without seeking specific medical advice, is there a general protocol for what one should do in my situation? I can't gauge what's better between going back onto the meds and weaning slower (I'll take any info back to my doctor), or just sitting it out? I am reading through different topics here, but is there a list of self-care items I can use? Thank you so much!
  24. hey! I just joined this site. I am a 23 year old female and took citalopram from age 16-19. I experienced genital anaesthesia, no libido and complete loss of sexuality and hoped that this would stop at discontinuation of the medicine. However I have been off the medication for 4 years now and nothing has returned back to normal and I still experience the same symptoms. I am so unhappy and frustrated about this. Has anything been found to restore sexual function, sensation? Are there any cases where PSSD actually went away after some time? Any information would be so helpful
  25. Hello. My name is A and up until 2007, I was a happy well adjusted individual (loving, caring and with a huge amount of empathy for others) with a young family, who was very content with life. Due to an situation at work, I became anxious, and this anxiety did not subside. I visited my doctor, who immediately prescribed Citalopram (Citalex) - will hereafter refer to as C). My doctor did not suggest getting off these as soon as possible, instead recommending I stay on them in case I had a relapse (do they recommend cancer drugs to patients in remission). The possible consequences of this course of action were never explained to me. I have been on them pretty much ever since (and when they were working they worked fine), but I have had several attempts to get off them, with no success. I instead became depressed and was put back onto C. My most recent attempt was in mid-December 2016, and initially things appeared to be going OK, in that is I was functioning as would be expected, but without the medication. Unfortunately, my mood deteriorated. I was again signed off sick from work, and despite a further prescription of C (which I have discovered I can now not tolerate - instead it gave me severe headaches and made me confused) I am now totally anhedonic. The question I would like replies to address is whether this state is likely to be permanent, and if so, how do those in a similar sad situation cope with never feeling any pleasure whatsoever. I know I love my family, but there is no "warm fuzzy" feeling inside, just this deadness, whereas before there was love and empathy. What do other forum members feel has been the cause of their depression - life in general (with its ups and downs) or the fact that they have been on an antidepressant for a long time without which, ultimately, their body could not function, i.e. it was the drug itself that led to a depressive state?
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