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☼ Irene: 25+ years of Celexa. Then three years of pain, anguish while withdrawing. Finally success


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'Twas a long time ago and the fog of years of SSRIs has settled in so dates are fuzzy but here is a snapshot of my story:

1984/5 Prescribed low dose of Prozac. Wonder drug. Sure to cure my "depression". As a survivor of early childhood abuse, it was easier to drug me than to hear about what happened; both the psychiatrist and I were complicit in this.

1987 Began a journey of recovery from ( illegal) drug addiction. Continues to this day...

By 2000, up to 40 mg. of Prozac but not feeling100% (was that ever the goal?) so switched to 10 mg Celexa

2001-2007 dosage crept up to 80 mg of Celexa. I was self-prescribing. Primary care doc just took my word for needing more since I was in the "field" and he continued to prescribe ever increasing dosages until I maxed out at 80 mg.

2007-2010 These years were worst. I was lost; a Zombie fugue state settled in. The world was a muffled, distant. I was disconnected from everyone. Everything lost its meaning.

2010 Awoke from the stupor and decided to get off Celexa

2012 20 months to get off the drug but got off the last 20 MSG in a month. Too fast. For 30 days had severe withdrawal symptoms - eyes rolling to the back of my head, panic attacks, racing heart, no sleep. Sheer madness. I drove my self to the hospital twice to check into the psych unit but called friends while in the parking lot. They helped me see that what I was experiencing would pass. Go home. Go to bed. Call at anytime if I wanted/ needed to. Symptoms of withdrawal included: Blind rages. Nasty interactions with family, clerks in stores. Insomnia. Weight gain. Anxiety. Irrational behaviour (Moved out of my house. Sold many possessions. Asked friends to care for my dog.) Fear of flying. ( My job included a lot of flying. Took .5 mg of lorazepam to get on plane. Boarded early. Flew with colleague.) it was hell. My therapist was supportive. She did not suggest to go back on meds but told me to see if I could go just one more hour, one more day, one more week without meds. My friends were very supportive. My family was worried but continued to support me.


2014 Turned the corner last fall. I began to feel alive inside. Hope rather than stubbornness was supporting my resolve not to go back on meds. (Though at this point, I had no drive to go back on meds.)


2015 Insomnia and foggy mind continue, perhaps they always will. I don't know what "normal" is. It's been a challenging life - physical and sexual abuse and the accompanying illegal drug addiction, physical complications, and then addiction to prescription drugs. It's not been easy but this I know, if you are reading this, you too have a big story.


I am 68 years old and beginning a new chapter in my life. At times it's difficult to know whether it's aging or the drug story that results in irregular sleeping patterns and monkey mind, but for today, I am creeping towards peace.

25+ years on Prozac (40 mg) then Celexa (80 mg). Took 20 months to titrate off. Too fast. Thirty days of hell. Three years of active withdrawal. Last year (2014), withdrawal symptoms (rage, uncontrollable tears, anxiety, fear of everyone and everything) began to subside. Insomnia and foggy thinking continue but wild mood swings, inexplicable crying, extraordinary fear and anxiety are no more.

Had great support. This matters enormously.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Irene ,  welcome.  

What a journey , so happy to hear you're in a good place now!   Truly inspiring.


Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Thank you for your story. 


It is important for us to see that even after 25 years of being on Celexa, it is possible to get off the drug.


Not only that, but to be able to do it at an age of 68.


I hope you continue to feel better; hopefully the brain fog will slowly lift.


There is more healing ahead -

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....


Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.


24 months SSRI-free  

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Thank you thank you!!!

You have fought many battles and came out a winner!!

I hope life brings you many joys, especially peace.

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Irene. Thank you for joining us and sharing your story.


I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol

to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

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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  • 5 years later...
  • Administrator

Hello, Irene. How are you 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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