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Chasent: SSRI and recovery - my story


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Current symptoms (that occur several days a month) include:

  • Burning sensations in hands, skull, face, mouth
  • Bouts of high blood pressure
  • Ringing in ears



  • Suggestions/Advice to cope with remaining nervous system adjustment


Recovering from:

  • Celexa (Citalopram) 40mg daily – Stopped January 2016
  • Xanax (Alprazolam) 3mg Daily – Stopped August 2015
  • Klonopin (Clonazepam) 1mg daily – Stopped August 2015


My Story: I began talking Celexa 40mg and Klonopin 3mg daily in 1999 after a severe nervous breakdown that happened in 1998. I continued to take these meds after I recovered until a subsequent life set back in 2010, where my physician began increasing the Alprazolam/Clonazepam dosage from 1mg (total) daily to 4 mg daily (along with 40mg Citalopram daily). In April 2015 I experienced a paradoxical reaction. I then made the decision to rid my system of these medications. I began by tapering down the Benzo’s over a four-month period which ended August of 2015, and then tapered down the SSRI’s over the next four months. As of January 2016, I have been completely free of SSRI and Benzo’s. I was then faced with a series of severe withdrawal symptoms that have decreased, but some of the symptoms continue to linger as stated above.


After I expressed my ongoing symptoms to my PCP in January 2017 he advised I see a neurologist. The neurologist advised the symptoms I was continuing to experience were due to my bodies nervous system adjusting to no longer having the SSRI’s (not Benzo’s) in my system. He advised complete recovery will take a long time and the best I could do to expedite my recovery was to exercise as much as possible.


In addition, I eat very healthy, 8+ glasses of water daily, Vitamin B’s, Calcium, Magnesium, Multiple Vitamin and Alpha Lipoic Acid (for neuropathy that I thought I had but do not have according to the neurologist).


After two years now I continue to experience what I call “spikes” that last 2-4 days once or twice a month. This is a dramatic improvement over what I was experiencing for the first year of recovery that included severe symptoms that lasted up to two weeks at a time.


How I cope: Aside from the benefits of distraction I learned from Narcotics Anonymous, when I am spiking I will take two Ibuprofen combined with a hot bath that helps quite a bit.


Any feedback or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, Chasent and welcome to SA. I'm glad you found your way here.  Thank you for your clear, well-written post.


I am sending several links to help you cope with your remaining nervous system adjustment.  These have aided many SA members.


This link is to a chart of common withdrawal symptoms.  It is helpful to keep track of your progress.
PDF Monthly List of Dr Glenmullen's Symptoms to Print & PDF Monthly List BLANK to Print
This link is excellent for explaining what's going on in your brain and nervous system during withdrawal.
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 



Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. 
Regarding the B vitamins you are taking, while it is often a first response to stress to take a B-Complex, in withdrawal it can be overstimulating.
B vitamins: Hypersensitive to B Vitamin or B-Complex   
Exercise varies according to the individual.  While some members report benefiting from strenuous exercise, for others it is too taxing and stimulating, and they benefit more from a gentle 30-minute walk.
You could put Epsom salt and bicarbonate of soda in your bath for additional relaxation benefits.
There are also many other suggestions in our Symptoms and Self Care section.
This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but, as I said, I am glad that you found us.

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Nov. 21, 2023 1.12mg

Taper is 94% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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That's very kind of you to share that info. I will read through and see if I can find anything that helps.


Please advise if there is anything else here I should or should not be doing.


Thank you!

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Chasent.


What might precipitate these "spikes"? You may want to keep a journal to see if it's something you can control, such as the occasional glass of alcohol or not enough sleep.


Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see



A lot of people find them helpful. Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.


Please let us know how you're doing.


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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  • Altostrata changed the title to Chasent SSRI & Recovery - My Story

Thanks for welcome.


The spikes don't seem to have any rhyme or reason. They seem to be continual fallout from the damage of the SSRI's. But they are diminishing (slowly). 


I am taking most of the recommended supplements except for fish oil, as it always effects my stomach in a negative way. But I will check the links. Thank you.



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  • 4 months later...

Does anyone know what kind of physician treats the physical damage caused SSRI use and withdrawal?


My PCP referred me to a Neurologist who said it will take time for my bodies nervous system to adjust to no longer having the SSRI's in my system. But 2.5 years later I am still struggling with physical symptoms such as skin burning sensations, high blood pressure, inability to sleep normally, ringing in my ears, etc. These symptoms have been diagnosed as being caused by the SSRI damage, but no one seems to be able to remedy these ongoing problems.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Self-care Chasent.  That's really all there is for people in our position.


And if you have access, a Naturopath to help you with natural medicine (plant-based) not chemical.


You need to calm your CNS and practise meditation (among other things).


Diet is another very important factor.

Dose History: 19 Feb 2014 - Escitalopram 10mg daily June 2015 - Started taper, 5mg every other day July 2015 - 5mg every 2 days August 2015 - 5mg every 3 days September 2015 - 5mg every 4 days Sept 14th - Completed tapering, but at 7 weeks "drug free" I suffered serious WD symptoms as a consequence of "incorrect" tapering. Nov 25 2015 - Re-instated Cipralex @ 2.5mg daily. WD symptoms faded. Held at this dose and experienced "windows and waves". 12 Oct 2017 Reduced dose to 1.25mg. 13 Mar 2018 Reduced dose to 0.625mg (approx.). 16 April 2018 0mg. Windows and waves triggered by stress (IBS/reflux, headaches, sinus issues) Aug 2019 Mirena coil fitted 6 Jan 2020 MAJOR Wave hit 19 months following last dose (protracted WD).  Symptoms listed below Mar 2020 Mirena coil removal.

Therapy: Nov 15th 2016 Re-started therapy Jan 19th 2017 Started CBT Dec 2017 Started listening to Hypnotherapy CD (self-esteem). Nov 2019 Started couples therapy.

Supplements: "Bioglan" Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora 10 billion CFU, live Bacteria, Probiotic, suitable for Vegetarians, with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium Longum"Pukka" Vitalise a unique blend of 30 energising botanicals.

Diet: 16 April 2018 Detox cleanse / anti-candida for 90 days. Jan 2020 Started "small plate" diet (i.e child size portions).

Exercise: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Elliptical/upper body workout, walking.

Medical Test Results: 4 Jan 2017 Homeopathic Treatment starts 24 Feb 2017 Started weight loss program 24 Mar 2017 Naturopathic Treatment + anti-Candida diet started due to suspected Candida Related Complex (CRC). DETOXED for 7 weeks to "re-set" gut. April 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Comprehensive Stool Analysis NEGATIVE; Full Blood Count (Normal) / Blood Cholesterol: 5.6 (Borderline) / Blood Sugar (Normal) / 28 Jun 2017 FSH 8.2 / 14 Nov 2017 FSH 17.7 Dec 2017 Blood Cholesterol: 3.9 (Normal) / Kidney Function (Normal) / Blood Sugar (Normal). December 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Food panel allergy (bloodwork) analysis - a few "VERY LOW/VL" allergens; Mar 2018 "Genova Diagnostics" SIBO urine analysis: High Level of Yeast/fungal markers found in small intestine but NO SIBO.  April 2018 Thyroid (Normal) / Full Blood Count (Normal) / FSH (Normal). 16 April 2018 Started anti-Candida diet - 3 month protocol.   25 March 2020 All test results "Normal". CRP" 5 mg/L (normal range to 0-5 mg/L).

Symptoms:  Flu-like symptoms, anxiety, anhedonia, sinus headaches right-side (severe), IBS issues/reflux (severe)**, tinnitus, fatigue, inner tremor, nausea, chills/hot flushes, pounding heart, muscular issues including stiff left hip flexor, intense anger, PSSD (ongoing).  **Histhamine intolerance (suspected).

Major Life Events: 

Re-located to UK from Canada: Jan 2016

My father died: 5:05pm, Monday 5 Feb 2018 Last Lexapro dose: 16 April 2018 (its now been over a year since I quit ADs)  Moved house: Friday 23rd February 2018  "Divorced" toxic Mother: Monday 26 March 2018 Starting working again: 19 November 2018  Diagnosed with: 5th August 2021 PTSD/C-PTSD Diagnosed with: March 2022 Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful bladder syndrome

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Chasent SSRI & recovery - my story
  • 10 months later...

Topic title:  Lingering Symptoms


I have successfully stopped using SSRI's (Celexa 40mg daily) and Benzo's (Xanax/Klonopin 3-4mg daily) for three years now after using them for 16 years. Of the nine withdrawal symptoms I experienced, I am down to three symptoms that are lingering. Specifically, terrible sleep problems, elevated blood pressure and ringing in the ears. My PCP recommended I see a neurologist and he advised that the lingering symptoms are a result of the damage caused by the SSRI's and in time they will go away. Does anyone know when these lingering symptoms will leave and is there any recommended treatment I can utilize until they are gone?


Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 



Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title
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Did you cold turkey or taper quickly? 

Originally at 100 mg Zoloft and 150 mg xl Wellbutrin for ten years. 

Abruptly dropped 50 mg of Zoloft April 2018.

Cut Wellbutrin in half (75 mg) for a month in December 2018.

Cold turkeyed Wellbutrin January 2019.

Reinstated Wellbutrin half of 150 xl (75 mg) in January 2019 and added Xanax.

ER visit iv of 5 mg Haloperidol.

Finished Xanax taper, cold turkeyed Wellbutrin February 2019 and added 10 mg buspar twice daily.

Tapering buspar


50 mg Zoloft at 10:00 am


2.5 mg buspar at 9:00 pm 

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If you do not mind me asking, what were the other symptoms? As this is the recovery section, we'd like to read about what has recovered here. 

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I tapered down from the Benzo's first over a period of 4 months and then tapered down from the SSRI's over a period of the next 4 months. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Chasent: SSRI and recovery - my story

I created a log off my symptoms as I was withdrawing as follows. Much more than I thought. Feel free to ask any specific questions if needed.

  • Acne/Skin problems
  • Anxiety/Irritability
  • Blood in urine
  • Brain Zaps
  • Cannot taste food
  • Constipation
  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Difficult sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue/Lethargy
  • Hair loss
  • Head pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot spells
  • Inability to sleep
  • Iciclization (my word) – Sensation of the roof of my skull coated with a thin layer of ice (coffee. tea, cocoa would help).
  • Increased urination
  • Inner Trembling
  • Logic impaired
  • Negative thoughts
  • No sex drive
  • Midnight pain
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Ringing Ears
  • Salty lips
  • Seizures
  • Shoulder/backache
  • Spikes – Increase of all symptoms for days to weeks at a time.
  • Sweating
  • Tingling in hands, face, mouth & scalp
  • Twitching
  • Unable to lay down
  • Yelping




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  • Administrator

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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Thank you Altostrata.


I go to sleep about 11pm every night after taking 10mg of Melatonin. I wrestle until I then wake up every 1 to 1.5 hours, where I am awake for about 1 hour until I fall back asleep. I do this until about 7am. Of the eight hour period (11pm to 7am) I get about 5-6 hours of broken sleep.


Prior to taking SSRI's and Benzo's I never had any sleep problems, but since stopping the meds I have an ongoing low-grade pain in my body that prevents me from consistent sleeping. At times when I wake up during the night I will take a couple of Ibuprofen PM or Tylenol PM and sometimes combine with a warm bath and these seem to help me sleep. This tells me its not so much an issue with anxiety or mental related, but it appears the SSRI's (per my neurologist) have damaged my nervous system in such a way as to impair my ability to sleep a straight 7-8 hours. 


Would you have any suggestions that would address the damage to my nervous system that has caused this and how I might return to normal sleep?


Thank you in advance for your help.

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