citalopram, menopause and dysthymia!

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I am almost free from withdrawal symptoms after 2 months approx,  from taking Citalopram for 6+ months. I felt better for a while, lost weight (needed to) felt generally lighter in mood ( dysthymia). Though after 6 months was questioning how much they were helping and I hd developed a persistent cough. Cough has now gone. Though i think I have acid reflux, symptoms being discomfort in my back ribs. However, I am very fatigued now, having hot flushes at night ( peri-menopausal? 52yrs old) and as I have an 8 year old child I am concerned as to whether I needed to have taken them for longer. Are these still withdrawal symptoms. I worry if I take them long term 'What then' ...dystymia doesn't just go away.  And the long term effect of taking 'drugs'. I am loathed to take what I feel is chemical induced hard core meds. I think I am probably moderately depressed though that seems my permanent datum point, or at least 'mildly', if I were to score myself. Just feeling bemused as to what to do. My child is with me all the time as he struggles with separatin issues and I am a lone parent! My day to day life can be quite challenging! Any constructive thoughts welcomed.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Have you had your vitamin d3 levels checked mrapple
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    • Posted

      A while back though not recently.

      I think I had them checked when I initially went to GP.

      How can VitD3 affect things? Can I boost the levels for myself?

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  • Posted

    Hi Mrapple, I think you may have come off them too soon.  I came off Fluoxetine too soon 5 years ago and ended up going down again.  My doctor says I should stay on for at least a year after you start to feel well. 

    I'm have now been on Citalopram for just over 4 months and they only recently starting working well for me, so i plan to stay on them until at least this time next year and then take a year to withdraw off them.  I'm probable being a bit over cautious but can't risk any reoccurance of the anxiety/depression.

    Did you know that doctors prescribe Citaolpram for menopause symptoms (i'm 46).  They help you with mood swings.  

    I wouldn't worry about being on antidepressants for a couple of years.  The anxiety probably does you more harm.

    Do you have anyone to support you with your child.  Everyone deserves a break now and again, it's too much pressure that gets you into this situation.

    Good luck xx

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. I have almost come to the conclusion that it may be wise to start them again and to give myself a year on them . I hadn't realised they can be prescribed for menopausal sypmtoms. Unfortunately I have no support with my child ( I also home educate my child) so that has an impact. Indeed a break would be beneficial though just not possible.I go round and round as to how I can eliviate some of the challenges I feel i face and I just have to get in with things the best I can. Many thanks

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  • Posted

    When I first came of Ssri, I had a hard time, so not wanting to be on drugs anymore I went the the pharmacy and bought a bottle of saint johns wart.  I took one a day and that seemed to relieve my side effects.  Then when I felt ready I cut the dose in half and soon I was off them it only took one bottle for me to be free of the old side effects and I did not feel stressed.  It's something to think about good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your thoughts. So many people and so many approaches all of them valid and helpful. 
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  • Posted

    I was on Citalopram for many years...40mg.  I suffered from depression, melancholy, and endless ruminating....and some anxiety.

    I decided, after retiring, that I wanted off the medication.....I needed to feel again and to be able to cry.  

    I am the same age as you.  I stoppedcold turkey and it was very, very difficult and the side effects of withdrawal lasted more then a year. 

    The nausea, dizziness, headaches, waterlogged feeling were intense in the beginning and lasted at least 6 months before waning. The very worst problem, for me, coming off the meds, is the irritable mood that I seem to constantly have. 

    I am menopausal now.......and the hot flashes are horrible. I've had them for over a year now ......they seemed to go away....but with the warmer weather here, they have returned.....not as severe, though.

    At this point, I am not sure how I'm supposed to be feeling...what is the 'real' me. Menopause can be a very trying time, obviously, right?

    I feel for you because you have a child to think about. For me, I can, mostly, stay to myself when I get in a bad mood.  You have to think of your little one. 

    I will just say that, although, I am glad to be free of the medication after so many years.....my nervous system does seem to be very sensitive and my emotions are left very 'raw'. 

    Exercise makes a world of difference for me.....and making sure I get enough sleep.....without sleeping too much.  If I sleep too many hours.....it's like the worst thing for my depression.

    I do take vitamin D and other supplements......fish oil, magnesium, vitamin b-12, vitamin C, and vitamin e.

    I wish you well and hope that you can fifure out what is best for you and for your child.

    There is no easy way.....but I will say a prayer that God does lighten your load.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying. Goodness! I am amazed you coped with cold turkey. That must have been pretty uncomfortable and for such a long time with withdrawal symptoms.

      How long were you on the meds for?

      Yes, hormonal changes can be quite life-changing in themselves without anything else on top. 

      I was only on 20mg and then ahd to reduce to 15mg as i was just numb and the brain fog was too much for me to cope with on a day to day basis with a child. I woudl just forget what I was saying in the middle of a sentence.

      I am very restricted in my life due to my situation as a lone parent and full-time-educating-at-home etc mother. There is no free time and no chance to have a regular slot for excercise, though I totally agree, that it can make a world of difference. My work has generally been physical though not so much now and since I became a mother.

      If I were on my own I would not be considering taking meds again as I really find it hard to take such chemicals and my system seems quite sensitive to 'drugs', however I feel compelled to do something to even out my 'moods' and well being for my child. 

      It is a state of our society that so many of us feel isolated.

      Anyway, that's another matter.

      I welcome a little lighter load and for you too. Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Hi again.  I was on Citalopram for like 20 years.  I do have to say that I agree with you.....the world is a difficult place ....society has changed....and, absolutely, so many are isolated from family and loved ones.

      The antidepressant actually worked really well for me for a long time.  Everything kind of rolled off of me......well, not exactly everything....but my extreme moods, worrying, ruminating, overly sensitive personality was numbed quite a bit.

      The meds got me through tough times.  I had an extremely stressful career in law enforcement as a security supervisor.  I got custody of my 3 year old nephew.......went through a massive amount of painful drama with my sister.  I was diagnosed with a brain tumor the same week that my (wonderful, amazing) father did too.  It was hell.  So, I kind of know a little bit of the stress you have. I became a mother to a young child overnight while working full time....single mother, like you.

      My nephew is 15 years old now and he is back with my sister....but I am completely committed to being there for them both.  He is the love of my life......and a wonderful teeneager.

      When I retired after 25 years.....the Citalopram started to feel like it was turning on me....like I had taken it so long and it was turning toxic in my system.  My hair was falling out....I just felt suffocated by the numbness too.  I could never, ever cry.  I wanted to cry so badly.  Other side effects too.

      I was stubborn and went cold turkey.  But I do not recommend doing this for most people.  My moods were so extreme...paranoia, fear of abandonment....lots of anger....short temper.  Everything was unbelievably raw. Plus all the horrible physical withdrawal symptoms. The headaches and nausea were horrendous.

      I do take Xanax fairly regularly.....so, that has helped me so much.  

      Do you have family around to help you? Or any friends, co-workers? 

      I really understand why you would continue taking the medication.  I would be too if I had a young child that I was completely in charge of.  I might take less...like 20mg or 30mg....it sure did take the edge off of my anxiety and depression so that I could cope.  But, yeah, like you, I was in a bit of a fog.  Time just went by and I was like not really feeling too much. 

      I wish there was a way that I could help you.  I certainly know how crazy it is when taking care of a child.  I was so tired all the time...I always needed a nap desperately.....but there was never a moment for myself.

      I hope that you can broaden your support system somehow....it could make a big difference for you.

      Hope you are doing good today...whatever time it is wherever you are.

      I had an unusually nice day today for a change.  My nephew wanted me to take him skateboarding and so, I got lots of exercise walking along while he rode the skateboard.  The sun was shining and it was just a beautiful day.

      But, it's not always like that....my nephew, like so many teens, spends a lot of time with his headset on and in his room playing on the computer, video games and watching YouTube.

      I miss him being a 5 year old and playing in the park with him all day.

      I did blabber on a bit.....just really wanted to answer you and let you know I'm thinking of you and saying a prayer for you and your child.  Be strong and take care of yourself.  Be good to yourself.

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