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jfrank17


jfrank17

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Hello all,

 

I've come to feel I am at a point where I really need a community of people who are going through this process or have been through it. A little background on me first.

 

I am currently 37 years old. I went on Effexor XR when I was 18 due to excruciating anxiety that led to depression. To make a long, long story very short, I had reached the point where I was just taking partial pills (they were the breakable pills at this point, not the capsules) for a long time because I "got sick" when I missed doses. There wasn't near as much out there about withdrawal syndrome at the time and my doctors were oblivious. When I was around the age of 27 I finally began finding more on the internet about withdrawal and became determined to get off the drug. After weeks and months of carefully tapering, I discontinued it. For some reason it's hard to really remember how long the withdrawal took. I remember it being hellish, and I remember the brain zaps being vicious and that things seemed to begin improving after 2-3 weeks. I don't really remember extreme anxiety issues at that time, but I was married and had less burden on me at that point in my life too. I was off of all psychoactive medications for over 2 years.

 

In about 2005/2006, my husband told me he no longer felt for me anymore and felt we should divorce and part ways. I was so devastated and shattered I called my psychiatrist and just wanted something, anything, to help bear the emotional toll of it all. I told him I did not want Effexor because of how terrible it had been to get off of it. He started me on Celexa/citalopram. I went through the divorce, moved to another state, learned how to make it on my own and working 2 medical transcription jobs. I tried to stop the med hoping I hadn't been taking it too long that I would be able to just get off of it.. but after a couple days started having the brain zaps. I decided I wasn't ready to deal with it then.

 

Since my move in the summer of 2007, gradually, life has gotten better, with its ups and downs of course, but for the past year or two I had begun thinking again about getting off drugs. Again, what has held me back was dealing with withdrawal. Around February I began to taper. I was on 20 mg of citalopram. I began cutting the pills in half, and took half for several weeks, then took 1/4 for several weeks. The tapers didn't seem as difficult as Effexor tapers had been, so I had hope about the final discontinuation not being as bad. The last few weeks I was just taking a sliver of a pill and feeling absolutely HIGH on life, bursting joy at the seams, exercising, eating healthy, getting back to a normal body weight and wearing clothes I hadn't worn since 2005. I just knew I'd be able to get off this thing and fly even higher.

 

Three weeks ago I took my last sliver. I expected the brain zaps, and I have had them. I tolerated and dealt with it the first week with hope that it would be better within a couple weeks. Oddly, the 2nd week seemed even worse/harder. And then they really did seem to diminish more. I still have them, but usually not until later in the day now and with less intensity. But the past 3-4 days I have felt more of this floating head sensation that makes me feel almost motion sick after awhile, and my emotions are completely out of control. My anxiety is smothering me. I'm having vivid/bizarre dreams and waking up overheated and with a feeling of drowning in panic. When I try to sleep, the moment I seem about to slip into sleep, I get this jolt sensation in my head. It's not a zap exactly, it doesn't feel that strong, but almost like being startled from sleep without anything actually precipitating it. I'm laying down now and closing my eyes, dreading that feeling, and dreading the bizarre and stressful dreams. I wake up dreading how emotional and anxious I will be during the day.

 

I keep thinking to myself, the zaps are lessening, everything should be improving now, but I feel emotionally much more unstable, and this head feeling is disconcerting. I'm struggling with a feeling of being trapped, and a fear I'm going to fail getting off of these drugs, fail this goal I was so sure of, so excited about doing. I think it's not helping that I'm not getting well rested at night.

 

I know this is already long, but one last thing I wanted to address. I took one tablet of Benadryl at first during the first week off citalopram as it has helped me sleep without weird dreams before, and I did seem to sleep better. I want to note I have not habitually taken Benadryl at any time, only took it rarely. However, I'm one to diligently read up on everything, so when I saw this about Benadryl (diphenhydramine generic name) on a wikipedia page: "In the 1960s, diphenhydramine was found to inhibit reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This discovery led to a search for viable antidepressants with similar structures and fewer side-effects, culminating in the invention of fluoxetine (Prozac), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)."

 

When I read that I became scared to death it was messing around with my brain's adapting to being off the SSRI, and I stopped it. But now I feel like I lost the only thing I had to fall back on to help me get some peaceful sleep. I think some of this panic/anxiety could really be due to poor and stressful sleep.

 

I'm just really struggling with anxiety attacks the past few days. I live by myself now, but when I talk to a friend or my mom, I do feel myself calm down and regain perspective. I realized then a community support might be really helpful for more insight. That's where I am at this time.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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I was browsing another post and thought of something else I wanted to add. I've been taking a B-complex vitamin, and for awhile was taking a high dose of fish oil based on recommendations of various sites, but I started feeling like they were making me lightheaded and stopped them. However, I have continued to feel lightheaded 3 days after and am thinking of restarting them again. Maybe the lightheaded was just another progression of my withdrawal? It's so difficult. When a drug "betrays" me that is supposed to be good for (SSRI), I become doubtful and suspicious of everything.

 

I've been reading about melatonin for help with sleeping. I find myself feeling so skeptical and unsure lately about all these various remedies.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, jfrank17.

 

It sounds to me like your withdrawal symptoms are persisting. If I were you, I would get liquid Celexa and take 2mg a day (or a little more) for a few weeks, until you stabilize. Then very, very gradually go off it from there.

 

Try a little fish oil again and see how it works for you. Generally, it helps withdrawal symptoms, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil

 

Don't worry about the Benadryl and serotonin -- see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2352-benadryl-diphenhydramine-for-withdrawal-insomnia/

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 for the welcome and reply. One problem in further prescriptions is that my previous psychiatrist has left and the place I was going to is shutting down this month due to financial issues, so on top of some money worries (insurance with very high deductible, mostly a hospitalization emergency type insurance), it would probably be several weeks before I could get in to establish with someone else since the whole center where I was going is closing down. I do still have quite a few tablets left, but I feel quite a large reluctance to resort to going back, especially as the head zaps are significantly decreased as of 3-4 days ago.

 

I've been thinking and reading extensively today, and I think there are two big factors going on with me:

1. Mental exhaustion from lack of fulfilling rest.

2. Some circular thinking that is exacerbating my anxiety.

 

Through discussion with my mom and some other reading/listening to videos, I see how I've been altering my behavior more and more strictly with the thought of "I'll get back to that when I'm feeling normal again," thereby putting increasing pressure on my psyche that I need to hurry and feel normal again.

 

Some things I had been doing lately were:

1. I stopped drinking my cup of green tea in the afternoon, worrying the caffeine would exacerbate any anxiety or symptoms.

2. I did a treadmill fast-walk workout a few days ago and when I had some dizziness and head zaps after it, I became avoidant of doing that "until I feel better."

3. Because of my fears about the fish oil and Benadryl I was feeling cut off from things that might help me get through.

4. I was constantly gauging and "testing" how I feel at this or that particular moment. I.e. "a few days ago whenever I looked from my computer screen to the window I got head zaps. So the past few days I keep "testing" myself by doing that again and seeing if it seems to be less. If I feel it happen my anxiety increases and I panic thinking I'm not getting better after all or that it's taking too long.

 

So, as my mom suggested to me this morning, time to go back to more normal living again and stop waiting until I'm better. I won't feel so restricted and a lack of control. Try to stop gauging how I'm feeling all the time, stop the "tests." Try the fish oil and take a Benadryl here and there if I feel I need some help with a better night's rest. I never have taken it extensively anyway as after a night or two it seems to lose its effect until I don't take it for a few days again.

 

I've been feeling a loss of empowerment that has had me depressed and panicky. Maybe the answer is taking steps to regain that. I will try these things and see how I am feeling in the next week or so, and go from there.

 

Love the huge amounts of information and support on the site and I look forward to moving forward. Even with the few steps I've taken today to read, learn and seek encouragement, I have felt a REDUCTION in the lightheaded and foggy/queasy feeling. I have noticed when I do feel distracted by reading/talking/laughing at something, I feel better until I think of the issue again and start gauging how I feel again.

 

Edit: As an aside, about the mental health center shutting down, this is an amazing coincidence and had nothing to do with my decision to come off the medication. I actually just learned this last weekend, 2 weeks after my DC.

 

Edit 2: I tend to think about thoughts and posts long after I've replied.. forgive the multiple edits! I just also wanted to THANK you for your thoughts and advice. I hadn't realized there was a liquid form of citalopram, and so if for some reason my above plan doesn't help in getting to feel better, my next plan will be to get established somewhere with the plan to get the liquid and taper again that way. I did not want to seem like I was brushing off your very good suggestion.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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JFrank,

Welcome to the group. You have much insight - finding that happy medium of recognizing and monitoring symptoms while not continually performing a full body scan is tricky. I was advised long ago to NOT do that (pain doc) but this process is so nuanced for some and different rules apply.

You have good guidance and what sounds like a great support system. You'll do fine!

FYI, I've found Urgent Care/Walk In clinics to be very understanding and helpful in refilling prescriptions.

B

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Barbara,

 

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging reply. I've done a lot of reading here today, searches on things I wondered about brought up a lot of previous discussions and answered a lot of questions for me. I have oftentimes found that once I talked about something or typed out my issues that answers begin coming to me. It seems being able to take a step back and look at it more objectively helps me be more perceptive to solutions.

 

I've felt quite a bit improved physically, and very very few of the brain zap sensations today, and even then only mild -- more like a little wave than a shock sensation. I followed a link posted here to an online cognitive behavioral program and played some of the presentations that helped me see the vicious circle I was getting caught up in. My meds were prescribed for anxiety, so I have always had issues with anxiety that becomes extreme if I feel too out of control. I still feel a little shaky, but much more hopeful. Could this be the turning point? Could it really be that easy to start feeling myself again? It almost seems too good to be true.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

I hope so, jfrank.

 

Reinstatement at a low dose is better done sooner than later. If you start having bad waves, please consider getting the liquid citalopram.

 

Any doctor can prescribe it.

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 Alto. Having a plan of action in place helps me feel better too. I wouldn't really need to establish with another psychiatrist in that case. I will see how things go for the next week. I feel much more in control today than I have in several days.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Please keep us posted about 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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Just checking in on a lovely quiet Sunday. My physical withdrawal symptoms (head zaps/dizziness) have continued to be more diminished. I don't really notice improvement each day; rather after a few days I realize they are less.

 

The struggle then has been my anxiety levels, which I believe the root of it to be my fear that I cannot be successful in doing well without medication. The prolonged thinking about it and anxiety over it has gotten my thoughts stuck in a rut. Had a very difficult day yesterday with recurrent anxiety and becoming convinced there's just something really wrong with me mentally that it could be so uncontrollable and so persistent.

 

Then, last night my eyes lit on a book sitting out that I had taken out a few weeks ago when I was having an anxiety flare over something else... I can't even remember now what it was, and it helped to realize again that I sometimes had these flares WHILE I was on medication still; thus giving the lie that I need medication to have control. This book is a wonderful book titled "The 10 Best Ever Anxiety Management Techniques" by Margaret Wehrenberg. I opened it up in the middle to the chapter: Stop Anxious Thoughts. I began using some of the techniques and felt quite a bit of relief, but the most profound point for me was that the author explained why and how the brain can get caught in a repeated cycle, and how it takes persistent effort to redirect it. The reason this was profound for me was because yesterday every time I managed to calm down my anxious mind, I'd think how relieved I felt and then feel fear of it coming back... sometimes followed immediately by its return! It was driving me batty! Just realizing it WILL probably recur for awhile but that I can handle it when it does was a relief.

 

Having relied on medications for so many years to deal with anxiety flares, I have never really persistently worked on coping skills and made them into learned habit. This is a great opportunity for me to do so.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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Just checking in on a lovely quiet Sunday. My physical withdrawal symptoms (head zaps/dizziness) have continued to be more diminished. I don't really notice improvement each day; rather after a few days I realize they are less.

 

The struggle then has been my anxiety levels, which I believe the root of it to be my fear that I cannot be successful in doing well without medication. The prolonged thinking about it and anxiety over it has gotten my thoughts stuck in a rut. Had a very difficult day yesterday with recurrent anxiety and becoming convinced there's just something really wrong with me mentally that it could be so uncontrollable and so persistent.

 

Then, last night my eyes lit on a book sitting out that I had taken out a few weeks ago when I was having an anxiety flare over something else... I can't even remember now what it was, and it helped to realize again that I sometimes had these flares WHILE I was on medication still; thus giving the lie that I need medication to have control. This book is a wonderful book titled "The 10 Best Ever Anxiety Management Techniques" by Margaret Wehrenberg. I opened it up in the middle to the chapter: Stop Anxious Thoughts. I began using some of the techniques and felt quite a bit of relief, but the most profound point for me was that the author explained why and how the brain can get caught in a repeated cycle, and how it takes persistent effort to redirect it. The reason this was profound for me was because yesterday every time I managed to calm down my anxious mind, I'd think how relieved I felt and then feel fear of it coming back... sometimes followed immediately by its return! It was driving me batty! Just realizing it WILL probably recur for awhile but that I can handle it when it does was a relief.

 

Having relied on medications for so many years to deal with anxiety flares, I have never really persistently worked on coping skills and made them into learned habit. This is a great opportunity for me to do so.

 

jfrank17,

 

It is so nice to have you on the forum!

 

You sound as if you are doing beautifully. I endorse your efforts to further work on coping skills. To the same end, I have joined a peer-led, self-help group called Recovery International to help me stop avoidant behaviors to things I fear and to learn how to stop letting my outer environment affect my thoughts.

 

Like so many others, I sought medication to relieve me of my symptoms and deal with life stressors. I am happy to see you taking action and that you are feeling better. :) Hugs, Annej

My Intro
2000-Effexor and Klonopin
April 2011- C/T Adderall, lithium, Seroquel, Lunesta; Pristiq and Klonopin cut by 1/2 due to med-induced "rapid cycling"
May 2011- Pristiq/Lexapro bridge/taper
June, 2011- K cut to 0.5 mg (doctor)
July 18, 2011 - Lexapro done
October 2011- K taper started
Jan, 2012- Off K, Remeron started -bad idea
March 2012- Horrific Tardive Akathisa/TD (Dx: TA versus withdrawal akathisia secondary to K w/d)
May 2012- Reinstatement of K
Current Psych Meds: Klonopin 2 mg + Propanolol 15 mg and titrating up
As of June 2013: TA gone or suppressed - struggling with tolerance to benzos - beta blocker helping

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Thank you so much Annej!

 

I know practicing and developing new skills is not the "quick fix" that a medication is, but it's the BETTER fix and the more permanent one. :)

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

That's a very good development, jfrank. You can do this!

 

Perhaps you could add Margaret Wehrenberg's book to Books I've found helpful for anxiety and depression ?

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 so much Annej!

 

I know practicing and developing new skills is not the "quick fix" that a medication is, but it's the BETTER fix and the more permanent one. :)

 

AMEN! :):)

My Intro
2000-Effexor and Klonopin
April 2011- C/T Adderall, lithium, Seroquel, Lunesta; Pristiq and Klonopin cut by 1/2 due to med-induced "rapid cycling"
May 2011- Pristiq/Lexapro bridge/taper
June, 2011- K cut to 0.5 mg (doctor)
July 18, 2011 - Lexapro done
October 2011- K taper started
Jan, 2012- Off K, Remeron started -bad idea
March 2012- Horrific Tardive Akathisa/TD (Dx: TA versus withdrawal akathisia secondary to K w/d)
May 2012- Reinstatement of K
Current Psych Meds: Klonopin 2 mg + Propanolol 15 mg and titrating up
As of June 2013: TA gone or suppressed - struggling with tolerance to benzos - beta blocker helping

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That's a very good development, jfrank. You can do this!

 

Perhaps you could add Margaret Wehrenberg's book to Books I've found helpful for anxiety and depression ?

 

Thank you Alto! And that's a great suggestion, I added two books to that thread that have helped me. I have also read Claire Weekes' book mentioned there, a great little book as well.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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I felt so good yesterday, but had a difficult night last night and am feeling frightened and discouraged. It seemed like every time I was about to drift to sleep last night I got a brain jolt and after a couple hours of that I 'lost it' and went into full anxiety/panic/feeling trapped mode. Since then I seem stuck in that rut of this crushing sense of doom and I am beside myself with feelings that I'm going to fail getting off this med and that something is wrecked in me neurologically.

 

How could I be so positive and in control yesterday and be such a mess now? If anyone has any words of encouragement, it would mean the world to me.

 

 

Edited to add some more info. I have had p.r.n clonazepam 0.5 mg that I had around for times when I would get stuck in a rut of panic I couldn't seem to control. I would go weeks and months without touching it, so I still have 26 tabs left. I had been avoiding it while going through W/D not wanting to compound things by having another psychoactive drug in the mix, but I folded and took 1 this morning finally when I could not seem to break out of the panic cycle. Is this something that it would be okay to fall back on when I have a particularly bad bout during these next 2-3 weeks as the withdrawal runs its course more, or would it only do more harm than good. I am not one who would get to the point of taking it except when I get "stuck" badly for several hours and get so overwhelmed that I start to feel frightened for my safety. Sometimes just knowing I have a rescue available if I get too out of hand is enough to calm me and I never go for it.

 

Just looking for any insights on that as well.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Withdrawal symptoms come in waves, with windows between.

 

How often have you had this pattern before?

 

Next time, try 1/2 a clonazepam 0.5 mg, the less the better.

 

Please do consider reinstating a little Celexa instead. Any doctor can prescribe it for you.

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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I know and understand the logic about the Celexa but it makes me feel sickeningly depressed at the thought of going back on it. I'm not ruling it out, but the thought of having to go back on it is one of my biggest anxiety triggers too right now. I thought later about trying half of clonazepam in an emergency.

 

It's good to be aware about the windows and waves.

 

I do have an appointment with the a doctor at the place that is shutting down on Wednesday where I am going to discuss the situation and see what she has to say. I may ask about a script for liquid celexa at that point too.

 

I made the mistake last night of thinking I had had such a positive and relaxing day I could try to do without something to help me sleep. I guess I'm pushing myself too hard with too many limits.

 

Thank you for your support and advice.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Good idea, get a script for liquid Celexa just in case.

 

Have you had that kind of waking and anxiety during the day before?

 

The morning light can exacerbate withdrawal anxiety when cortisol peaks early in the morning. You may benefit from room-darkening. See Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

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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I've had morning anxiety episodes off and on normally (on meds or off), but this is pretty different. It's when I'm going to sleep, I feel tired, relaxed, ready to sleep, my mind just starts to drift off, and I get a jolt in my head that jerks me out of it. I think it's a brain zap though it is harder to pinpoint because when it happens I'm just in that state of entering sleep. I still feel really tired and drowsy and close to sleep, so I start to drift again, and again the jolt comes. After awhile, the anxiety kicks in, the anticipation of the jolt becomes like an aversive to relaxing and going to sleep. It's very tormenting. Eventually I finally tend to reach a state of panic/anxiety that is out of control and everything in the world seems wrong.

 

I think it's particularly damaging to my psychiatric state because at a certain point I become avoidant/afraid to try to sleep anymore. Such a paradox because it doesn't seem to happen until my body and mind are finally relaxed and slipping into sleep.

 

I do think at this point I am NOT going to try to "sleep without any help" for a couple weeks, even if I feel relaxed and have had a good day. It's too damaging to my overall progress and hope to have a night like this.

 

Another thought: It's so weird because it's like I reach this state of being in a half sleep/half waking state and my nervous system enters a super hypersensitive state. Just a very minute sound like one of the dogs moving around in the room will set off a brain zap sensation.. even though now most of the day I don't have very many or the ones I do have are much more muted than originally.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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I ordered some magnesium supplement as I've read repeatedly that can be a helpful supplement. I also thought about alternating one 25-mg Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at night with Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), they are similar and both in the antihistamine class.

 

I also may try increasing my fish oil supplement for now too.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

The jolts when drifting off are classic withdrawal syndrome. Please look at the sleep topics from the link I posted above.

 

It's important that you relax rather than anticipate the jolts when you're going to sleep. See our topics about meditation in the Symptoms and What Helps forum and Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have withdrawal insomnia

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 Alto. I had read some of the information earlier but some of it had already slipped through the sieve of my tired mind. I think I'll copy and paste things I want to be sure to remember into a document for referral. I'm continually amazed and grateful for all the work here of you and others and the depth of information.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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Hi...I have been tapering Celexa. Have a long way to go. Very sensitive to WD.

 

From my own experience I too would suggest taking a bit of the liquid Celexa. It may really help reduce symptoms.

 

In the last week or so I have been experiencing the same symptoms as you, so this has got to be WD.

 

I have taken Propanol which is a beta blocker and non addictive for panic attacks. It works. B Vitamins are too stimulating for me. Magnesium helped me with anxiety during a Lexapro taper.

 

You do not sound anxious at all. You sound very strong and healthy :)

 

The two books you mentioned....well I may browse over to Amazon and buy them.

 

Thank you and hand in there.

 

Nikki

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Thank you Nikki.

 

I go through waves with it. Usually when I listen to some modules on the Living Life to the Full site or read in some of my books I feel quite a bit of calmness.

I've also been trying to journal and keep mood logs. The late at night anxiety seems to be when it spirals out of control for me often. I stopped my B-complex supplement when I read others mentioning it could be activating. Hoping the magnesium will help and I have read up on other things; the L-theanine sounds interesting.

 

Today was one of my days off (I'm off Sunday and Monday), but I opted not to try to sleep today despite my awful night last night because in the past when I have had trouble and tried to sleep during the day I felt disoriented and with worse anxiety. So instead I've tried to keep myself occupied and plan to head in earlier tonight and hopefully get some rest. Everything is so much worse if you aren't rested.

 

On a side note I do try to keep my room darker and cooler (in the summer). I wholeheartedly agree that it is more restful.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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Jfrank,

 

There is a wonderful thread under the finding meaning topic called let's talk anxiety.

 

There is a link to an amazing article about anxiety posted by tom. I believe that you would benefit from the link.

 

I know this is very hard. I am struggling every day as well. Somedays convinced I have an awful disease they haven't found ....other days perfectly fine.

 

You will be fine. You will gradually get better. You will make it.

Everything was ok. And then it wasn't.

 

Med History

11/2009- 50 mg Zoloft (1st ad ever) in combo w/.50 xanax for 2 weeks then use xanax as needed (1st benzo ever)

9 days on Zoloft, I was awake for 9 days straight C/T Zoloft

11/2009- trazadone to sleep for 2 weeks c/t Trazadone

12/2009 start 10 mg Lexapro w/ Xanax as needed

5/2010-3 week taper off lexapro

9/2010? back to Lexapro 10 mg after 5 or 6 weeks c/t leapro

12/2010-10mg paxil

5/2011-6 week paxil taper

8/2011 5mg lexapro

last lexapro pill January 7 2012

all this as per doc orders Thanks Doc!

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ajnjj, I will definitely take a look at that thread.

 

I am feeling better this morning. Last night I took 25 mg Benadryl about an hour before bed. By the time I went to bed, I noticed the head zaps I tend to have by evening were gone. I listened to my guided relaxation MP3 and this time did not get the head jolts as I would drift to sleep. I was not plagued by vivid and disturbing dreams.

 

I'm not sure why Bendadryl seems to quell the nighttime head zap sensations, but it does, and I really needed some relief from that.

 

My hope is a few more peaceful nights in a row like this would do a lot to help my general mental state. Feeling calm is such a wonderful, beautiful thing, never to be taken for granted!

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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Did I mention that for sleep Melatonin drops in decaf chammomile tea works wonders? I am sorry if I said this to you already!!!

 

How are you feeling? How is your anxiety? One thing i do to get through any anxiety episodes is I try to switch gears. If I start to fel anxious I usually let myself get caught up in the feelings of anxiousness. Then it become consuming and I start reacting and so on. I switch gears when that happens. I usually start acting really silly with my kids or I peel an apple and eat it slowly or I focus on a cleaning activity like scrubbing the tub....What I dont do is sit and ruminate with it. That makes it worse for me.

Everything was ok. And then it wasn't.

 

Med History

11/2009- 50 mg Zoloft (1st ad ever) in combo w/.50 xanax for 2 weeks then use xanax as needed (1st benzo ever)

9 days on Zoloft, I was awake for 9 days straight C/T Zoloft

11/2009- trazadone to sleep for 2 weeks c/t Trazadone

12/2009 start 10 mg Lexapro w/ Xanax as needed

5/2010-3 week taper off lexapro

9/2010? back to Lexapro 10 mg after 5 or 6 weeks c/t leapro

12/2010-10mg paxil

5/2011-6 week paxil taper

8/2011 5mg lexapro

last lexapro pill January 7 2012

all this as per doc orders Thanks Doc!

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I'm still getting the anxiety waves off and on through the day but I feel like I'm getting a bit better at riding them out or dissipating them by using some of the skills from books and websites.

 

I had a really weird/upsetting sensation a bit ago where I was looking at some things on my desk and suddenly felt like I was looking at the belongings of a person who was gone. Like there was another me that is gone now. I didn't feel separated from myself or depersonalized, just a sense that things aren't right with me and I might not get back to being the person I used to be. It was a horribly depressing feeling but I quickly distracted myself reading some friends' Facebook updates and it went away. It was so odd and disconcerting.

 

I do feel like I'm making progress, but of course it's still quite difficult at times. Thank you for your suggestion. I always have chamomile tea around, love it :)

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

Link to comment

I am still a bit fixated on my worry about taking Benadryl. An hour after I take 25 mg my head jolt symptoms are completely gone, as if I took my AD again. This makes me nervous that it is affecting my brain chemistry in a similar way to the AD and that by taking it I'm prolonging or interfering with the withdrawal process.

 

Is this just my twisted thinking again? Sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed by not knowing all the answers.

 

Going to the psychiatrist appointment in a bit. Hoping it will be a helpful visit.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Don't worry about the Benadryl. Enjoy it while it's working. You might see if a lower dose can do the same for you.

 

Have you tried a little fish oil http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2384-jfrank17/page__view__findpost__p__23741 ? People say it also helps with zaps.

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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Hi Alto,

 

I am taking fish oil daily (6 caps a day, 3 morning and 3 at lunch).

 

I just got back from my appointment and the doctor wrote me a script for liquid citalopram, but I'm feeling confused about the script now that I'm home and looking at it.

 

It is written as for citalopram 10 mg/5 mL solution. Dispense 60, refills 0.

 

Does this mean 60 mL? If so that doesn't even seem like a month's worth if I were taking the equivalent of 5 mg (which I'm guessing is about 2.5 mL?)

 

I wish I had looked closer and clarified this because since I'm uninsured these visits cost me out of pocket and that is stressful.

 

I still feel upset and confused if I should relent and go back on. I cried all the way home at the thought of it. The psychiatrist said it seemed more unusual to her for this much prolonged withdrawal from citalopram but she had seen it with Effexor more. She did seem sympathetic and supportive of me being off medication.

 

I feel so down and confused right now. If I need to do a more prolonged taper I can't afford to have to go back for new scripts every month.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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  • Administrator

Sorry, I don't know what "dispense 60" means. Phone the pharmacist or your doctor and clarify.

 

See Tips for tapering off Celexa (citalopram)

Use Celexa liquid concentrate to taper

In the US, the liquid oral solution comes in 10 mg/5 mL (2 mg/mL), peppermint flavor. The bottle contains 240 mL. Pharmacy identifier is NDC 0456-4130-08

 

Use an oral syringe to precisely measure out doses as small as .01mg.

If you take 1mg a day, that bottle will last you 480 days. 2mg/day, 240 days. You may only need 1mg-2mg to begin with.

 

You should ask your doctor to make that prescription refillable, just in case.

 

Or, if you have tablets, Making a Celexa solution yourself

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Alto,

 

I just got back from my appointment and the doctor wrote me a script for liquid citalopram, but I'm feeling confused about the script now that I'm home and looking at it.

 

It is written as for citalopram 10 mg/5 mL solution. Dispense 60, refills 0.

 

Does this mean 60 mL? If so that doesn't even seem like a month's worth if I were taking the equivalent of 5 mg (which I'm guessing is about 2.5 mL?)

 

I wish I had looked closer and clarified this because since I'm uninsured these visits cost me out of pocket and that is stressful.

 

 

I don't know how to interpret that either, but in your place, I'd take the script to a pharmacist you trust and ask for clarification. I've found pharmacists to be very eager to help and even act as go-between for patient and doctor. Pharmacists are a highly knowledgable and much underutilized source of medical info, IMO.

 

If the script isn't what you need, you don't have to get it filled and the whole matter can likely be set right by phone.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Thanks much for the replies. I have felt a curious calm the rest of the day as well as less neurosensitivity this evening. Just enjoying that feeling and delaying my final decision for the moment, but I think I feel more at peace about the whole situation. I realize that the anxiety waves could return but just not going to worry about it tonight.

 

Thanks so much everyone for your support and help.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

Link to comment

Checking in. I had 2 really good days and decent rest from Mon-Thurs and then had a setback with a difficult night last night with some anxiety difficulties remaining today. Feeling some fear that my moods will never smooth out without meds. Obviously "fearing the worst" there but sometimes it's almost harder after having good days to have a difficult one again.

 

Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend.

Self-tapered off Effexor after being on for 9 years around 2001

Medication-free until 2006

In 2006 went through divorce and placed on Celexa 20 mg and p.r.n. clonazepam

Stayed on 20 mg until 2011 when began cutting in half and taking 10 mg (Didn't really notice withdrawal symptoms)

Began to plan to come off in spring/summer 2012, continuing 10 mg Jan/Feb.

Tapered to 5 mg March/April (about 1 week mild withdrawal symptoms).

Tapered to sliver of tablet, estimated 2-2.5 mg in (1-2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms progressively diminishing and then stopping)

May 18, 2012: Stopped Celexa.

July 5, 2012: Reinstated Celexa at 5 mg.

July 13, 2012: Increased Celexa to 10 mg.

August 30, 2012: Increased Celexa 15 mg.

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