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Emilia - Jumped off of citalopram, should I reinstate or keep going?


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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

Opipramol 50 mg - 2016, taken for ~half a year - didn't help but also didn't have negative effects, no withdrawal symptoms


Venlafaxin 37,5 mg - 2017, taken for ~1 week - gave me extremly painful stomach cramps, nausea as well as nose bleeds, symptoms got better after cessation


Citalopram 10 mg - since sept 2018 - bad withdrawal symptoms

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  • Moderator

Hello, Emilia, and welcome to SA.


Thank you for completing your signature.  Could you please update it to include your alternate-day dosing and the date you stopped taking Citalopram?  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


For future reference, we strongly advise against alternate-day dosing.  It's a terrible idea that is very destabilizing to the system.  I don't know why doctors are so enamored of it.


Regarding reinstating, there is no way to predict how long it will take to stabilize if you tough it out.  Some can recover fairly quickly while others take months or longer.  Reinstating doesn't always work, but it's the only known way to alleviate withdrwal symptoms such as you describe.  If you do reinstate, I'd advise a very low dose.  During the time you were alternate-day dosing, your brain has made some adjustments to a lower dose and a too-high reinstatement can be further destabilizing.  I'd recommend reinstating 1mg Citalopram and see if that provides some relief.  Will you be able to control your reinstatement while in the hospital?

Keep in mind that it takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain, so give it a chance to work before considering going higher.  If after a week or so, you aren't getting any relief, you can try increasing to 2mg.  Please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
Once you've reinstated and stabilized, which can take months, you can begin a 10% taper.
Please let us know how you're doing.


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   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

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

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 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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