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Ready to be off antidepressants for good!


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Hi everyone,

I'm almost 47 years old. I've been on and off but mostly on antidepressants since the early 2000s. Over the course of nearly 20 years I've gained over 100 pounds and I know it's from the antidepressants. Now weaning off for the 2nd time in less than 2 years the withdrawal is horrible 😢.  I'm slowly tapering off too. Itchy skin, horrible agitation, and just an overall blah disposition. I also feel like my brain chemistry has changed due to the long term effects of the drugs. I've taken Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Cellexa and Cymbalta. Cellexa and Cymbalta are the hardest to kick and have caused me a weird behind the eye nerve pain that no doctor can figure out. Please tell me this will get better. The longest I've been able to go without taking the medication is 3 months. I want to be free for good. Is it possible?

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Dear @Mom74, 

Welcome to SA. 


I am so sorry you are going through all this and you've had such a hard time kicking off these drugs. The good news is that it will get better and you will be ok. The bad news is we don't know how long it will take or how bumpy the road will be. Withdrawal tends to be worse in people who have been on the drug for a long time and who have switched between drugs, changed/skipped doses, quit the drug before. All these things make our nervous system more sensitive (also called kindling if you wanted to learn more about it). So it is very important at this point for you to go as slowly as possible and respect that sensitivity. I am currently tapering at 1% whenever I can handle it and holding until things get better. I am a big fan of holding though it doesn't work for everyone. For me personally, holding for a few months allowed many of the symptoms to resolve and gave me hope that there will be, at some point, an end to this nightmare. 


When you say slowly, how slowly are you tapering? Below are some resources that may help you taper. You may have already seen them but here they are in case you haven't. We recommend to taper by no more than 10% every month and if you need to, go even slower. 


Why taper by 10% of my dosage? - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants


Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants


Below is an even gentler method to taper and some people go even slower than that by listening to their body and cutting the dosage only when their symptoms are gone or manageable. 


The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants


If your symptoms are too hard to bear, it may also be advisable to updose a bit and stabilize at that new dose so that you can start a slower taper from a place of stability. 


We ask our members to list their drug signature on their profile so that we can advise them better and faster. These threads can get long and it's good to have that information in one place. Please follow the guidelines on this thread. 


How to List Drug History in Signature - Introductions and updates - Surviving Antidepressants


It is also very helpful to read the Success Stories thread - it's a bit hidden in the Current Events section but here is a link. Lots of people recovered even after torturous withdrawal as you will see there and so will you. 


Success stories: Recovery from psychiatric drug withdrawal - Surviving Antidepressants


It might also help to look into this thread, I find it very helpful: 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants



Hope you get some respite soon, 

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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