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I had taken Citalopram for 14 months following a traumatic incident when a man broke into my apartment while I was taking a shower. After the event, I suffered severe anxiety, panic attacks, and was diagnosed as suffering from PTSD. My GP put me on Citalopram, I (very!) gradually began to improve, and 14 months later decided enough was enough; I felt sufficiently recovered to wean off the medication.
I did everything the "right" way, and discussed a withdrawal plan with my GP.
I was on a 20mg dose, which we reduced to 10mg, and I took those every day for 4 weeks. Then, I took them every other day for 3 weeks. The next stage was to take one every three days, but due to family events and occasions, I missed one of my days of taking it, and before I knew it, I'd gone a week without taking any.
After consulting the internet and the NHS helpline, the general consensus was that, once I'd gone a week without them, just carry on not taking them.
I have now been without the medication for about two weeks.
I found the initial decrease in dosage difficult, but managed to avoid the major side effects mentioned on these forums. The most distressing symptom for myself was severe mood swings, which have only worsened since coming off the drug completely.
Usually a calm person, I am now incredibly short-tempered and irritable. I can snap at the drop of a hat, and just become a completely different person. I am overly emotional, feel like I could burst into tears at any second, and am so not myself. I find I am arguing more with my partner, because I am over-sensitive, often read too much into things he says and completely overreact to things which ordinarily wouldn't bother me. During an argument I am unable to remain calm (as I usually would), and end up shouting and saying very hurtful things. This is incredibly out of character for me.
I am trying to control these symptoms by telling myself that it's just the medication and not really me... and my partner is being as understanding as possible. He claims he feels like he is walking on eggshells, and that I'll either start crying or have a temper tantrum at anything he does. Typically, we take things out on the people we love the most, but I'm worried these symptoms might have a really negative effect on our relationship. He also claims that he can almost see me "switch", and I become a completely different person.
I understand that since coming off the medication completely, my body is "re-learning" how to make its own serotonin etc... and hasn't quite got it right yet, which is causing these effects.
My question is: how long can I expect this to continue? And when will I be "back to normal"?
I read on websites that this depends on how high your dosage, how long you've been taking them etc.... but with all the details I've given I hope that someone far more knowledgeable than I am will be able to give me some more specific guidance on when I can expect to feel more like myself again.
Thanks in advance to anyone who has read all this (apologies for the essay, I thought it important to be as detailed as possible), and I look forward to reading your responses.
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