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amanda88: citalopram - having a tough time


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I am new and thought I would post now as I am trying to come off of Citalopram. Unfortunately, my doctor is very pro-antidepressant  and has been upping my dose so I am now at 40mg a day. I was on Citalopram in 2006 for almost two years. At the time I was taking 30mg and just stopped taking them completely. I know now how extremely dangerous that is now but being very young and away from home I was not very educated on antidepressants. I remember getting very bad shocks and lightheaded but I did not face a lot related to my mood altering. I actually recovered from them quite quickly at the time and improved a lot over the next almost ten years.


In early 2017 I suffered a bad relapse in my depression and was prescribed Effexor at 20mg and then switched to my doctor back to Citalopram at 20mg after not noticing much of a difference in my mood. Over the next few months he increased continually because of his assumption that my exhaustion, hopelessness and and low self-esteem were signs that my dose was too low. Now I feel worse than I ever have and after doing some research want to come off of this medication. I have cut back to 20mg for the last week and have been having horrible problems with insomnia, anger outbursts, feeling like I'm just in this foggy haze all day, extreme anxiety. My plan was the cut back from 40mg to 20mg for one month, down to 10mg for another month, down to 5mg for another month and then one month at 2.5mg.


Do you think this plan is too ambitious? The way I am feeling now I am just so desperate to be off of Citalopram. How do I deal with these side effects (especially the anxiety and anger)?


Thank you for any advice.

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I have been dealing with depression since I was about 18 years old. It has always tended to come in waves and I have found myself really struggling to pull myself up from the bottom, especially recently.


In early 2006 when I had just turned 18 years old, my doctor recommended starting me on Citalopram as I was having very bad anxiety about leaving for school later in the fall and adjusting to a new life. By late 2007 I was on 30mg of Citalopram and felt like a complete zombie. I slept most of my free time and got into a lot of drinking and bad habits. After a very close family member had passed, I felt like the Citalopram would not allow me to grieve the way I needed to and so I stopped taking it. It may sound strange, but I was angry at what I blamed on the antidepressant for not allowing me to feel. I actually recovered quite quickly. It could be because of my age and that I got incredibly involved in new activities and found outlets for my depression that seemed to really pull me out. I did have shocks and lightheaded spells but it would nothing serious.


For the next ten years I had continued the depressive cycles but nothing as bad as what I experienced in early 2017. It was like day by day I was losing myself. I stopped going out with friends, I stopped going to work (and eventually lost my job), I started drinking again and taking sleeping pills. The doctor put me onto 20mg of Effexor, but as I continued my downward spiral, he changed me back to Citalopram and upped my dose to 30mg by the fall of 2017. By December I was taking 40mg and have been in such a bad place for a long time. I do not think the Citalopram is helping me, in fact I think it may be making some of my symptoms like exhaustion, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety worse. Anytime I seek medical treatment I feel like I am being pushed to a new medication at a higher dose and I just want try to come off of my medication and deal with this a different way.


I have halved my dose to 20mg for the last week and have been going to talk therapy weekly. After finding this board, I think I may have been to ambitious when I halved my dose because I have been having insomnia, very bad anxiety, anger outbursts, and have felt like I can't even bear to leave the house.


When I can, I find activities like walking or being with my cats to help me. I would really like to start working again because financially it would take a lot of burden off of other people, but it is so difficult for me most mornings to even get up and showered. The anxiety is like a mountain on my shoulders. One thing I need more of is support from others in a similar situation. Finding this board has made me feel a bit of hope, which is more than I can ask for most days. You are a wonderful group of people for doing what you do on here and I am so happy to have found this resource in my path to surviving antidepressants.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to amanda88: citalopram - having a tough time
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Amanda88 welcome to SA.  Can you tell us how long you were taking effexor?  How long did you take the sleeping pills, what were they and what were the doses?  It will help us if you would fill in your signatuire with drugs and taper history, we ask all our members to do this. You will find instructions here.. https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/12364-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/?do=getNewComment  


I am sorry for all the questions, but we need the info to give you the best advice. When you quit celexa back then, you went into withdrawal and had depressive cycles. That could still have been protracted withdrawal from celexa. See this topic which will explain. 


You may be better to go back up to 30mg and see if that eases the withdrawal a little. It is going to be hard because you are suffering the effects of the drug, and suffer withdrawal when you reduced it.  Lowering the dose slowly often reduces the severity of the side effects. 

When you are stable you can start a slow taper off celexa. (Stable means when you are back at the baseline you were at when you dropped the dose by half).


You need to take good care of yourself, walking, talking and taking care of your cats are the very best therapy! Self medicating with alcohol is never a good thing but most of us here have done it! Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, recreational drugs and energy drinks will  help.  

Here are some topics for you to read, it is a lot to take in when you feel so bad but they will be here at the top of your page to read when you are up to it. One at a time.  


About withdrawal syndrome. There are many links here that explain what the drugs do to the brain. 



About reinstating or updosing to stabilise



Why taper 



Tapering pristiq






**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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