Coming off of Citalopram

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I suffer with anxiety, chronic migraines and mild OCD. I was put on Cit for my anxiety as it was getting out of hand about a year ago. All was fine and I was on a dosage of 20mg. I have gained weight, and I have lost some sex drive which is pretty sh*te if I am honest as I have worked hard to lose weight in the past and the sex drive bit is horrid. But I stayed on them as they were helping. I also take topirimate for my migraines (which are meant to make you lose weight but cit cancels that out) anyway, a few weeks ago I had about 4 weeks of panic attacks. A full melt down of anxiety. Convinced myself my partner was cheating, my kids were going to die, I was going to die, every bad thought I could have I did. I overplayed each of these thoughts till I panicked to the point of collapsing. I knew something had to change or else I would lose everything. So, with discouragement of my partner we went to the doctors, although that took me 2 weeks to build up the nerve. He prescribed me propranolol 40mg to be taken twice a day and told me I needed to speak to someone. I finally admitted I have attachment issues. A huge step for me. My mother died of cancer and my dad disowned when I was a child. I felt abandoned. Never admitted it before, but it made me feel better. I went away with these new tablets and a phone number to call. 

I decided to research the tablets, and they have side effects of weight gain. No way was I going to take them. You can take them as and when you need them if you get into a panic, which is what I am going to do, but I am NOT going to take them daily I am not going to gain weight, and then this got me thinking about my 20lb weight gain over cit and the more it made me focus. I don't need these tablets. They didn't work for me when I had my meltdown. I can do this. I feel so positive for the first time in ages. I miss me. I have become so complacent these days. I can't be arsed to do anything. I think that is down to the tablets. I want me back. I like being busy. I don't like doing nothing. So as of today, I am on 10mg of cit. I halved my tablet and I am coming off of them. I have not told my doctor. I am going to do this myself. I have told my partner. I will go to counselling. I do still need help dealing with my issues but I don't need to be carried along with tablets. I just want myself back. 

I have read about the withdrawals and I am not looking forward to them, but only time will tell. Maybe I might escape them. But I think I will kinda use this as a diary of how I am getting on. 

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  • Posted

    it is meant to say "encouragement" from my partner. He's been amazing. 
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  • Posted

    Panic attacks and anxiety are very lonely. I have been on citalopram for 10 years and tried to cut it down and felt awful. I think you should talk to your GP and tell him/her the truth. Maybe you need other help? To be honest you need all the help you can get at the moment. Why not try and talk. Good luck x
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    • Posted

      I am going to start counselling very soon. I definitely need that, and I have the propranolol to take if I am feeling really panicky. I am on day 11 on no panic attacks. But I've had 10 full days, instead of over thinking when I feel something isn't right, I talk it through, rather than make up 67 scenarios that aren't real. I am stubborn, I don't want to tell my doctor, I want to do this on my own. Going to the doctor makes me feel like I am asking permission to change something in my life. But that's just me. I am a l ittle odd. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Cooda, 

    I am happy for you that you have clarity about what you want to do.  You probably should clue your doctor into your plan, not that he will have any real clue as to how to get you off Cit safely -  none seem to acknowledge protracted withdrawal and want to get you off faster than is safe.

    Withdrawal symptoms may be slow to come on.  I am on two ADs that I am tapering off of, and the mild WD seems to hit 5-10 days after a cut.  

    I also have the sexual side effects and weight gain, and it really sucks!  I am now at 45% of my starting dose of Remerson, and 75% of the minimum dose of Effexor, and feeling better than when at the starting doses!  

    I wrote up a post here about how to get off ADs to avoid the worst WD symptoms.  You made a 50% cut which may be too big for your nervous system.  One reason you'd probably want to get your doc on board is that he may be able to prescribe a liquid version that can be taken with a dosing syringe.  That makes it easier to do the 10% cuts per month that are advised.  I wouldn't do more than 20% at one time.

    The drug caused your nervous system to remodel, physically change, to regain balance of neurotransmitters.  It is not about the drug being in your system or out of it that makes the difference.  As you drop, your system must remodel physically to readjust the transmitter levels; the bigger the drop, the bigger the adjustment and the bigger the withdrawal symptoms. That is why cold turkey is so ill advised - a huge imbalance is created!  This remodeling process doesn't happen overnight.  If anything, it takes longer than it took for the system to adjust to the drug's introduction and updosing.  So, slow and steady wins the race.

    See this link for more info:  https://patient.info/forums/discuss/withdrawing-from-antidepressants-and-benzos-safely-485891?page=0#1809368

    Feel free to ask questions.  I'll be here following your progress!

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    • Posted

      I think once I am over the worst of the withdrawels (none yet) I will tell the doctor, but you are right, none seem to acknowledge there are symptoms coming off. I didn't have many going on to be honest, just felt fuzzy for about a week. 

      So, I cut down to 10mg on Monday, and then yesterday I thought bugger it, I am not going to have any. I have read lots just go cold turkey. I feel fine. I do take other meds though so this might be helping? I will say, last night I was still cleaning till 8pm, normally I am sat down doing bugger all and I really CBA. But I felt like I wanted too last night. I miss that. I like being busy. I like my house clean and looking nice. 

      Thank you for the link. I shall read that later when I get home. At work right now..

      What made you want to come off of your tablets? 

       

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    • Posted

      I lost track of your thread!  I decided to come off Effexor last year because I had finally had it with the sexual side effects and relative anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure in general) that I realized I had had for all the years I had been on ADs.  Also, my memory sucks, and my research proved that these drugs impair brain function.  In fact, studies have shown that our brains actually shrink with long term use!  These drugs have been show to shorten our life spans and increase our chances of Alzheimer's.  

      I had just stayed on the drugs, of the belief that I had an imbalance and needed the drugs the way a diabetic needs insulin  I bought that line.  It is totally false, never proven.  There are people with high serotonin that are depressed!  They simply don't know what causes it.  But, over the years, doctors kept renewing my scripts without asking questions, such as why was I still on them?  No one ever suggested that I should come off at any point.  And so the years rolled by.  Did they help at all?  I would say all they did was flatten my emotions and make me tolerate the depression I still had.

      I have read many accounts of people coming off these drugs and feeling more alive and happy then they ever had felt before or during drugs.

      I am dealing with the emotional issues that led me to drugs to begin with, finally.  I never had effective counseling before; maybe the drugs made it impossible for the counseling to ever work, or it just wasn't the right kind.  At any rate, we become spellbound on the drugs, never realizing that problems we were experiencing were actually due to the drugs.  For me, the mental fog, tooth grinding, odd twitches, electric shocks, insomnia were all chalked up to aging, but I now know these things are drug related.  Just couldn't see the forest for the trees!

      The same thing can happen in reverse with protracted withdrawal.  Some have symptoms so far out from their jumping off point that they don't realize it is withdrawal.  Anxiety and depression are examples, coming on so many months out that everyone thinks it is a relapse.  That happened to me last year, but the anxiety I experienced was far more extreme than anything I had had before in my life, and I was never one to have panick attacks and general feelings of doom.  Withdrawal tricks you.  So, though you are feeling better now, cooda (and I am happy for you!), there may still be waves coming your way.   Just know that it is WD and that it will pass; don't panick and think "i need those pills afterall."

      If at any point WD gets too horrible to bear, you can always reinstate a small amount of Cit to alleviate symptoms, and then do a slow and proper taper from there.  There is no failure in that.

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    • Posted

      I did do a bit of an update yesterday not in reply to you but just in general. So I have copied and pasted it for you but I have to say I am feeling so much better. The teeth grinding has improved literally over night. I am super happy about that, as has the sex drive and wanting to keep on top of things with work and the house. But anyway here is the update I did yesterday to let you know how it's going

      "It's been 10 days since I last took any Cit and other than the fuzzy heads I get sometimes I feel fine. I love all the new energy I have, it's not tons but it's enough for me to notice. I am not as lazy in the evenings as I once once. No weight loss to report which is annoying but I am not eating as much that's for sure. Just guess it's going to take a bit longer to lose the weight, but hey, it's almost christmas so I guess I will start proper dieting in the new year. I am not over worrying about it now. I have not had one panic attack in 18 days. I have had moments of panic I did last night. I thought my daughter fell down the stairs, I started to panic. I threw up but I was okay, I really was okay, it wasn't an attack, it was just a moment. I even managed to eat a little later and that's something I've never been able to do after I panic. I feel positive. I am focused. 

      I decided, after reading about them to purchase 5HTP to help the fuzzy heads, I have only been taken them since yesterday so I have no idea IF they are doing anything yet. I will give another update. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones, maybe it is the other meds I am on. I just don't want to go back on them tablets ever again. Happy Thursday to you all"

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    • Posted

      Really track how you are doing with the 5-htp.  The authorities actually don't recommend using serotonergic supplements will in withdrawal because it complicates healing.  Perhaps try a step-wise approach of dosing, maybe tapering down gradually.  I did take 5-htp and Sam-E when I was in protracted withdrawal from Effexor but didn't realize it.  Initially, my symptoms were physical in nature though I had extreme brain fog.  It wasn't until five or so months later that I started having horrific depression and anxiety, and the 5-htp did nothing for it!  So, I don't know if my symptom pattern would have been the same regardless of the supplements, but I did learn that Sam-E can increase anxiety!  So, my picture was pretty complex and so I don't know what was what.  So, do keep a journal of what you are doing and how you are feeling so that you can identify patterns.
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  • Posted

    Keep going coda

    I am coming of Diazapan now down to 2mg a day now have good days and bad but as you have l have a great wife if not for here l do no where l be but l have found rhe more you talk the better life seems l wax on 12mg a day because of a loss in our family aniexty came out of the blue with depression but l hope l am getting throu this and you will as well keep talking

    Paul

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    • Posted

      I defiinitely agree Paul, the more you talk the better it is, keeping things in and turning them into things they're not is horrible. 

      Have you been referred for counselling? Maybe ask as it might be the right way for you. I have always scoffed at the idea of it, but now I am looking forward to it. I need it. 

      Good luck 

      Kirsty

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    • Posted

      good for you, Paul!  The evidence shows that ADs perform only marginally better than placebo, I don't think statistically so, and that CBT performs better.  We get depressed usually because of negative thought patterns which indeed get amplified with social isolation.  It is amazing how distorted and distressing our thinking can get!  It is really important to have a support system.  I have been in a program that has group members do daily check ins with eachother by phone; we offer each other support while each does some work, without judgement or parenting.  It really helps to have someone listen who knows what it is like.  
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  • Posted

    Just wanted to give an update 

    So I have not took any more tablets since I took 10mg on Monday. I feel pretty much okay. I know it's early days. And I am expecting a lot of withdrawels but I am also hoping my other tablets might be helping too. I have had some headaches and in the afternoon I have been feeling spaced out for about 3 hours. A bit like I was when I first went on these tablets, That's the only side effect I had when I went on these I should point out. Some have horric side effects, I didn't. But yeah, I feel spaced out, Kinda like I've drunk on an empty stomach. I feel like i shouldn't drive, so I don't. I just chill out at home as I only work for my partner and I finish when I get our daughter from school so I am lucky I can just chill for a bit. Again, I know it is early days but I am feeling like I have more energy and I feel happy. Like something has been lifted, a fog maybe, energy, I have a little more. I even did the washing up last night before bed, where are normally I just can't be arsed. With anything. 

    So if too much info but the whole sex thing. I felt more last night. Which is a huge bonus. A welcome one at that. So I am going to continue on this path as I feel fine. For now. No flare ups of anxiety. I haven't had a panic attack in 13 days. I am so proud of myself right now. 

    :D

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  • Posted

    Another week, another update. 

    It's been 10 days since I last took any Cit and other than the fuzzy heads I get sometimes I feel fine. I love all the new energy I have, it's not tons but it's enough for me to notice. I am not as lazy in the evenings as I once once. No weight loss to report which is annoying but I am not eating as much that's for sure. Just guess it's going to take a bit longer to lose the weight, but hey, it's almost christmas so I guess I will start proper dieting in the new year. I am not over worrying about it now. I have not had one panic attack in 18 days. I have had moments of panic I did last night. I thought my daughter fell down the stairs, I started to panic. I threw up but I was okay, I really was okay, it wasn't an attack, it was just a moment. I even managed to eat a little later and that's something I've never been able to do after I panic. I feel positive. I am focused. 

    I decided, after reading about them to purchase 5HTP to help the fuzzy heads, I have only been taken them since yesterday so I have no idea IF they are doing anything yet. I will give another update. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones, maybe it is the other meds I am on. I just don't want to go back on them tablets ever again. Happy Thursday to you all

    Kirsty

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  • Posted

    So, another update from me. I've not taken Cit for I think 17 days now. Fuzzy hungover head has gone now. I have so much energy it's unreal, I care about things more. I even cleared out my freezer?!?!?! 

    I feel so much better. Better off of the tablets than I did on them. So for me, I know this was definitely the right way forward. I am not saying these are bad tablets, but I didn't like the way they made me feel like I just didn't care about things. Like, the house, exercise, myself. I have joined a gym, I feel great. No weight loss yet but I am compensating as it's almost xmas so I am eating when I want too as I feel it's okay to do that. Jan is a few weeks away, I will start being good then :D 

    The tablets helped me when I needed them, and now I don't think I do. I really don't. Anxiety is doing okay, no attacks. I still count things to calm me when I need too, but most of all I keep teliing myself that the thoughts I can sometime have are not real, it's just my brain over thinking. 

    I am so pleased I am off of them. My new journey is a better one medication free. Oh I forgot to mention I got 5HTP, well I am not even taking these, what a waste o money they were haha. 

     

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    • Posted

      It improved while I was in withdrawal, but the cruel irony was that I was non-responsive down below.  Now that I have reinstated and am tapering, I am more responsive down below but the libido is gone.  It truly sucks!
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    • Posted

      After going on the ssris in 2000, I tried going off by cold turkey-ING twice, each stint lasting 3 months. In 2009 and then again in 2012.

      Neither time did my sexuality return. In fact, it became nonexistent.

      After I resumed the meds, it came back from a 0/10 to a 2/10 which is my on-med baseline.

      Two weeks ago, I stopped prozac after a 2 week cross taper with viibryd. I'm on 20 mg viibryd now. Sex drive is better but it is way too early to tell yet...eilll need to wait for couple more weeks before I can say for sure. The 20 MG viibryd is also equivalent to 20mg of prozac, but I was on 30 MG prozac...so maybe the drop in serotonin reuptake is to account for improvement in symptoms.? It may be just a temporary improvement.

      My goal is to very slowly continue tapering off.viibryd...will wait for another 2 months to see how this dose is working out for me before cutting back.

      Regards

      Alex

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    • Posted

      Mine hasn't come back fully yet. Better. But what has come back is I'm definitely more easily aroused. Doesn't take long. Trying not to be too crass iykwim. But I don't want it any more. Time will tell.
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    • Posted

      I have heard that Viibryd is supposed to not have the SSRI-related sexual side effects.  Tried it briefly but it caused through the roof anxiety and depression so I stopped.  I was in protracted wd from Effexor at the time so my system was super sensitized, I now realize.

       

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    • Posted

      That is good news, Cooda.  I hope it just keeps getting better.  Sex is an important part of life!
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    • Posted

      That's what the manufacturer says, but one always has to be careful in believing those claims..as we all know.

      Also, Viibryd is in fact an ssri with additional 5ht1 partial agonist properties.

      From what other users see saying, viibryd is just as bad as regular ssri in terms of sexual side effects.

      I guess it depends on a patient and on the dose....remains to be seen in my case.

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    • Posted

      Yup, I bought the cool-aid AGAIN with the Viibryd but very quickly realized it was messing me up badly!  Sadly, due to protracted WD that I didn't recognize as such (just thought I was going insane) I ended up on Remeron, and when that didn't relieve my suffering, I reinstated the Effexor.  I was like a junkie taking a hit and getting immediate relief!  It was only after that that I learned about protracted withdrawal and the need to taper ultra slowly, so that is what I am doing now.
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