Citalopram withdrawal - help?

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Dear all,

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.

Laura.

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura,

    I read closely you post and this reply is not very late. That's said I am interested in knowing how you feel now, as few weeks have passed already. I have been on Citalopram for 4 years. I started with 10 mg and worked my way up to 30 and about a year ago I started decreasing it. on Thursday 05/07 I stopped completely after taking 10 mg every other day.

    So far I have been having the following

    Rare suicidal thoughts

    Stomach ache

    Changing moods from euphoria to complete sadness

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  • Posted

    Maybe you should go and talk to a Therapist about the experience, try the BACP site or you can get one through your GP. CBT is a type of treatment for trauma. Good luck and don't let bad people beat you. You are the winner they are the loser scum.
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  • Posted

    Hi Everyone

    I had been going through divorce with many other complications when I found myself driving 12 miles to work in my van at 60 miles an hour in second gear thinking there was a funny high pitch noise coming from the radio. It was my engine screaming to death. As soon as I realized I turned of motorway and went straight to the doctors. After a consultation he prescribed me 60mg citalopram. Almost within 3 days my problems seemed far removed. Within a week I had severe indigestion, no concentration and just about got up to go to work to fall asleep in my van for ages when I got there. I am self employed so not good. I also work at dangerous heights but have done so for 30 years. Because of my range of issues I needed the extra dose but I went back within 2 weeks and it went down to 40mg. This carried on for another 18 months in which time I lost all sex drive all interest in a project I intended to do and still bad indigestion.

    Memory is another thing it almost couldnt be bothered. My doctor described citalopram as an umbrella in a rain storm. You are in a field and the higher the dose the less rain you feel. I'd say thats pretty much it.

    The dose was reduced to 20mg a short while ago and I kept that up for about 6 months and when I ran out I stupidly stopped taking them.

    I didn't check with my Dr because I know best, well I am a manly man. Big mistake. First week not much difference just a small anxiety hike. Loss of appetite slightly. Second week I'm really feeling down. Have big highs when a tune comes on the radio its fantastic to hear don't know why cos it wasn't that good in the first place. I'm now visiting my friend in tears and I'm having the most horrendous nightmares about issues I thought were long gone. Not sleeping at all well because of anxiety over nightmares. Not eating properly and feeling light headed too often to go on high chimneys at the moment. Is there anyone who can advise me when the light headed feeling stops its very disconcerting. Done the same job for years and meet people every day I pride myself on politeness and doing the best for my customers. if theres a problem I will move heaven and earth to sort it for them at my expense. I was reported yesterday for being aggressive to a customer over the smallest detail which was fixed in 10 seconds. I didn't realize I was being like that as it is totally out of character for me and I'm devastated by that.

    N

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  • Posted

    I found taking it at night is best. But yeah it's an ssri so good things make you happy but depending on your dose minor things can make you drop. My mum was being argumentative on holiday and I was getting annoyed and found my self thinking of blowing my brains out. However, that was normal to my depression... I went back to the doctors to up it to 40mg.

    IMO don't rush to get off them, you use them as a crutch then you have to get used to walking without the crutch so it will take time to readjust. However if you are not getting any help via CBT etc then coming off them may just return you to the state where you thought you needed help.

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  • Posted

    Hi Smurflbws

    I was told to read the CBT literature which didnt help. I also had counselling which I did for a few times but I think I'm just too closed. I felt at no point that I could really open up to the counsellor because I had nothing I could say. In private I'm too introverted.

    I will be coming to my third week without the tablets and as much as I dislike the symptoms I will stay off them. Don't like feeling emotional though it's not what I'm used to. Tends to get me in the afternoon when work is winding down.

    N

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  • Posted

    Hey folks.

    Have to say I don't feel anti depressants are the answer any more. Have struggled in and out of depression since I was 15 (now 28) I was prescribed fluoxetine for a few years when I was a teen and it drove me off my head, they eventually changed me to citalopram which I have ben taking on 6 months, would wean off and the 6 months later I'd be back at the doctors. I have been finding life very difficult lately and they have referred me to psyhciatriSt and not giving me pills, they want to get to the route of the problem. I feel it's a vicious circle. I think my gp feels if she puts me on pills I won't open up the same to the psychiatrist and there wont be as true a picture.

    Shall see

    L

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura,

    I'm wondering how you got on with things after coming off the tablets.

    I've been taking 20mg Citilopram for 6 years after my mum died - it was the straw  that broke the camel's back so to speak and I needed a prop for a while.

    I don't like the flat feeling that Cit gives me, along with heartburn, excessive sweating and frightening dreams, so decided to come off.

    Saw the doc - he said go down to 10mg for three weeks and then take 10mg every other day for the last five tabs. Last one was four days ago.

    I feel rubbish - shaky, dizzy, headachy & nauseous and very tearful.

    I wonder if this was too quick? 

    I'm tempted to go back to see him again but am worried that he will just say go back on them. :-/

    I'm going to try to stick it for a while.............

    Amanda

     

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  • Posted

    Laura  - I am just coming off 10 mg of the drug after 5 years on . . the dizzy feeling is really bothing me . . so I hope you are starting to feel back to normal!  How are you now and if the side effects left how long did it take?
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  • Posted

    Laura,  i have been on citalopram for 4 years. i didnt see the need to stop taking it since my anxiety issues were compleyely gone and life was so much easier. however a few months ago i decided to stop taking it and see if i could handle things myself. i slowly went off the meds 20 mg every other day for a month then every three days for a month then 2 a week for a couple weeks. my withdrawel symptoms were mainly dizzyness and headache. then the anxiety came back with a vengance!  i was not brave enought to fight it. i went back on the med 20 mg every other day.  i do feel defeated and wish i had given it a few more weeks, it may have stopped   but the anxiety which was totaly debilitating before just makes me crazy!!  if you or anyone have a word of encouragement i could sure use it.  i dont want to be dependant on a drug    thanks

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Gena....I stoped taking it 3 weeks ago...I still feel horrible. ...but I can feel. It is getting better. 

      3 yrs ago I starter taking it because ..economyc problems. ...the anxiety. .was to mutch. .

      evrithing is better now...and I dont need it any more

      .....all do it feel realy bad...to stop it.  

      But ..see...if you still have a problem...or it could olso be. Hormonal....you may need it for good.

      don't be afraid. ...of this

      the benefit of feeling alive. ...is wey greater. .than. .any side efects..

      with all my hart. .....I hope you feel better... 

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  • Posted

    I reduced my Citalopram dosage by half to 5 mg 8 days ago after taking 10mg for most of the 5 1/2 yeare I have been on it. Your discription fits mine to the letter. In addition my motivation has reached zero and I feel exhausted, slept 12 hours last night and the night before! I don't much like the person I have become in just a few days.

    I commenced a 8 week Mindfullness course yesterday which is why I have decided to to this. While I was at the course I felt great and decided this was the righ thing to do. Today I am head achy too and right on the edge of reaching for the pill packet. It feels awful. Very confused. Glad I am not alone in these feelings but don't know whether to persevere or go back to my old dosage.

     

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    • Posted

      There seem to be plenty of folk out there struggling to give up Citalopram. Has anyone out there come off them successfully and still feel in control of their emotions and anxiety?
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  • Posted

    Hi I was on 30mg for close to three yrs. I quit cold turkey 10wks ago. I was so emotionless, in a daze all the time didn't care what was going on around me. Zero sex drive the list goes on. The first couple wks after stopping was a bit difficult I was sick to my stomach, had the shakes couldn't sleep. Ten wks later I am very emotional something I'm not use to I could cry over anything. Feel a lot of anger and sleeping at night is very difficult. 
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