Jump to content

Chasent: SSRI and recovery - my story

Recommended Posts


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.

Share this post

Link to post

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.

Share this post

Link to post

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!

Share this post

Link to post

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.


Share this post

Link to post

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.



Share this post

Link to post

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.

Share this post

Link to post

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.

Share this post

Link to post

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

Share this post

Link to post

Did you cold turkey or taper quickly? 

Share this post

Link to post

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. 

Share this post

Link to post

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. 

Share this post

Link to post

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




Share this post

Link to post

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.

Share this post

Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy