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Assie: Away with the Citalopram; I feel sick now


Assie

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Hi all,

 

I've been on Cita for 4 years and have finally decided to quit.

It helped me get through mu period of anxiety and depression. Which where due to unsolved matters from the past, so to say...

A psychologist was also involved and she tought me about mindfulness.

 

When I was on 20mg I felt like a zombie....our dog died and I cannot describe hoe weard I felt. I was so sad, but could hardly cry. Is this what I wanted? So I decided myself to go back to 10 mg. That did feel better after a while.

In may 2014 I decided I was strong enough to come off it. I told my doctor and he agreed.

After 2 weeks on 5 mg Cita I quit instantly.

 

I can now say that I am physically in a bad shape....pfff. Nausea, diarrhea, flu-ish, and weird eyeball rolling.

Sleep is okay, but I am also very tired. It seems like urinating is much more than I was used to; (that I don't mind.) 

I try to run 2-3 times a week 5 km's. I walk my dog every day and also go to work.( 2 shifts)

 

All in all I am clean now for 4,5 weeks and i don't feel good at the moment. I don't know if I have got the flu or if it's the withdrawal....

Really hope to get some recognition and find some answers on this forum. 

I know no one can tell me as for how long these wd symptoms will last. Does it matter I have been on a low dose of Cita for 2 years?

 

Thanks for reading and I wish everyone a lot of strength!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

If I were you, I'd go back on a very small dose of Citalopram, maybe 1 mg., immediately.  Please read this discussion on reinstatement: About reinstating and stabilizing  You've gotten off the drug way too fast and are asking for trouble for months or years to come. Going off in a matter of a few weeks is extremely stressful to your nervous system.

 

If you're wondering how to get a 1 mg. dose, here are instructions for making a liquid: How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules. I'm not sure if Citalopram is available as a liquid in your country, but a compounding pharmacy could make one for you if you don't want to do it yourself.

 

I expect this wasn't what you wanted to hear, but I can tell you personally that going off an antidepressant quickly will result in a great deal of unnecessary misery. Citalopram is a drug that's very similar to Lexapro, which was my poison, and you can read my Intro and Success stories by clicking on the links below.  I would not wish my experiences on my worst enemy, and I tapered off 10 mg. of Lexapro (the standard dose, as this is a very strong drug) over three and a half months.  It's taken me over two and a half years to get close to normal again, and I still have a way to go. Please note that it was three weeks before withdrawal symptoms set in with a vengeance, so your experience is typical of too-abrupt withdrawal from an AD.

 

Welcome to the forum, Assie.  You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here. And please, please, consider my advice.

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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Hi Jemima,

 

Boy, you scare me.....I'm really confused now!

i know my doctor thinks this is the right way to withdraw...

But I also know he knows nothing about it too....

I must read how to make 1 mg liquid. But how long do you suggest I take 1 mg? 

Am I now in cold turkey do you think?

I could handle a few weeks of wd symptoms, but not years.

 

Thanks for your welcome; I know you mean well!

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Hi Assie

I could do a long post

It would be easier for you to read my posts

They are just below yours on this page.

I went cold Turkey virtually.I have reinstated at 2.5mgs trying to stabilise before slow taper

In the UK you can get liquid Citalopram

See if it's available in Holland.

Any questions feel free to ask

Others will come along to help

Don't be scared it's doable!

Seroxat 1994 then Citalopram 2000- 2014 quit Citalopram CT and descended into Hell with PAWS pollydrugged on following Mirtazapine 30 mgs Seroquel 150 mgs 

 Ativan 2 mgs June 2015 switched from Ativan to 20 mgs Valium Tapered-down slowly.

As of 15th March 17, I am benzo free. took 20 months to taper 20mgs Valium.

Seroquel tapered off 125mgs from 19 Sept 17 to 26 Dec. 17

current med 30mgs Mirtazapine

 

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Hello Northcoastboy,

 

Thanks for your kind words!

I've been thinking it over and decided to go through this so called cold turkey.

I know of a lot of people around me, at the moment, who are ill. Thinking that it might be the real flu.

So I'll wait and see what happens.

If it really gets worse I will reconsider to reinstate(?).

I am letting my body do it's work, after all, I have been poisoning it for 4 years, so I will give it time to heal...I shall try and hang in there.

The only thing so hard, is that work continues, so I cannot lye down on the coach if needed :)

 

I shall keep you all updated! 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Assie,

I'm sorry you have been feeling unwell since coming off citalopram.  Your symptoms sound very much like withdrawal, but like you wrote, it could be the flu.  How long have you had these symptoms?

 

If what you are experiencing is withdrawal, its important to reinstate as quickly as possible, because the sooner you do it, the more likely it is to work.  If you read the link Jemima posted, it explains why.  I hope that what you have is a temporary flu but...

 

"Many people seem to be able to taper off psychiatric medications in a couple of weeks or even cold-turkey with minor withdrawal symptoms perhaps for a month or so. Doctors therefore expect everyone can do this. However, it seems a minority suffer severe symptoms for much longer.

You won't know if you're in the unlucky minority until it's too late. It's a lot easier to taper slowly than to put your nervous system back together again after it's injured."

 

Please read this:

Why taper by 10% of my dosage  it will explain why tapering slowly reduces the risk of withdrawal, which can sometimes last for months or years.

 

If you do decide to reinstate, please ask for any help or support you need with the method, its not difficult once you understand how to do it.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hi Petu,

 

I've been having these flu like symptoms for 3 days and today I am feeling a bit better. Paracetamol for aching throat etc.

I also have a nice soar on my upper lip. That means my immunity is low.

I have no headaches, just feeling a bit under the weather. Slept all night through for like almost 9 hours. That did well.

My head is allright, no weird eyeball sensations. The first 2 weeks of wd, where worse for me, it seems. (I could even hardly handle the traffic on the road, so bad.) A little nausea which comes and goes and, because I have asthma, a little short of breath.

 

Thank you for your advice, but I really don't want that s**t in my body once again. Even if it's just 1 mg. 

Do I sound too radical?

My mental health is quite good. No panic, no anxiety, feeling a lot more real emotions, which is nice.

I am proud that I am not taking the Cita anymore. Tuesday it will be 5 weeks without poison. Yay...

My partner helps me to get through, although this is hard to understand for people whom have never experienced these drugs in their life.

 

Have a nice weekend!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Assie, Please reconsider reinstating if you feel withdrawal symptoms. Toughing it out 

is what many of us tried to do and then found it isn't that simple! 

 

It isn't about the drug leaving your body and de-toxing, it's about your brain struggling when the 

drug is removed.  Our Rhi explains this beautifully here. 

 

A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning.

What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. 

For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain.

So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. 

To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. 

This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay.

When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.

SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. 

It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. 

I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long. 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. 

Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected. 

 
You may be one of the few people who can stop a drug and not experience much discomfort, I sincerely hope
that you are one of them and don't suffer the withdrawals that brought many of us here.  :)

**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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I hope for your sake you really do have the flu, but I can tell you that during the fall of 2011 when I cut Lexapro according to my doctor's directions, I thought I had the worst case of hay fever on record throughout all history. If your flu doesn't go away after a week of symptoms, it's pretty safe to say that you're in withdrawal and the best thing you can do for yourself is reinstate.

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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Hi all,

 

Small update....

I definitely had a case of the flu! I was ill for about 3-4 days.

I'm pleased with that, also because now, after 5 weeks completely of off ad, I can really say I feel GOOD!

When things should change, I'll let you know.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

That's great news Assie, seems you are one of the lucky people who can get off these drugs fairly easily.

 

Sometimes, symptoms can return temporarily a few months after the drug has been stopped, this can be mistaken for a relapse of the original condition, but its often just a wave of symptoms related to changes in the nervous system as it continues to heal. 

 

If things should change, you know where we are.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, that would be my only addition--sometimes people settle down from the initial withdrawal and then are hit with another round of it a few months out. At that point they're often told they are having a "relapse" and need the drugs or need to stay on them for life or something like that. If that happens to you, don't let it knock you down, it's just more withdrawal and it will pass eventually. If you need to come back here you can, but hopefully you'll be just fine!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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