Getting off citalopram - how I did it.

Edited , 4 users are following.

I just remembered this website from a few years back!

I just wanted to do a catch up with anyone who is desperately trying to get off Citalopram. Just to let everyone know, you can get off it! It will likely be very difficult with all sorts of horrible symptoms along the way, but you really have to dig deep and search your soul for strength, knowing that you are going in the right direction.

I was on it for years. It was only by chance (or divine intervention) that I got a new doctor who worked with me over many, many months and first let me know about Cipramil Drops. My previous doctor was trying the same old advice most doctors give, alternate between doses over a week or two and you'll soon be off it! (ridiculous, unrealistic, dangerous and useless advice) . I'm sure there will be some who just come off it with ease, but citalopram is a very powerful drug and many find it almost impossible to get off. When you've been on citalopram for many months or years, your body becomes reliant on it. I'd tried many times and failed with the tablets. It was only when I changed to the drops I was able to reduce the doses so gradually, that it was possible to get off it. I eventually got down to 2mg per day, and then I started to make a glass with markers on the side. A full glass of water with 1 drop was 2mg. I divided glass into 10 equal markers. I then spent months reducing down 1 marker per week. Eventually I came off altogether.....that was 3 years ago. I've since turned to meditation and Buddhism as a way to calm the mind, which has much longer and healthier lasting effects than daily tablets.

Any questions please feel free to ask.

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  • Edited

    Did you find towards the end you had few good days, then crashed right down again. Only been on meds 6 months to help with intrusive thoughts from zopiclone with drawal but made things so much worse. Down to about 1 mg tablet form, did think was making progress but today been in tears and feeling awful. Just figure as drugs caused all my problems really need to get them out my system.

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    • Posted

      I completely sympathise with how you (and many others who are trying to get off citalopram) are feeling. Personally I would never use citalopram again or recommend citalopram to anyone, it has to be one of the toughest drugs to get off. I ended up contacting a charity who dealt with withdrawal, and they confirmed that really; because citalopram is such a powerful drug, it should only be prescribed as a last resort when all other options don't work (not that citalopram is guaranteed to work for everyone).

      Near the last few weeks, for the reasons you mentioned, I diluted the 2ml drop in a full glass of water and drank only a 10th of that glass each day, and then I started to take that 10th every other day for a few weeks, then every third day, then I just stopped and have never looked back. It takes many months after coming off it all together to start getting back to normal again.

      The key thing for anyone who is or has come off it is to remember to change the way you think about the world, your language, your thoughts, beliefs, attitude, a complete change in your everyday thinking is essential to enable you to not go back. There wouldn't of been any point for me coming off it if was going to continue with the negative thinking, depressive, anxious thoughts etc. Otherwise I'd end up back on antidepressants again.

      Buddhism is a great start....not judging others, see the good things in the small things in life, living in the present moment, not the past, showing love for others, being grateful. etc

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    • Posted

      I certainly wouldn't take SSRI again although I know they do help other people. Think I might try stopping it or dropping some days as had awful day today been in tears, don't want to be here, yet couple days ago was really making progress. Didn't have any depression, negative thinking, anxiety before being made go cold turkey off zopiclone which caused intrusive thoughts. Then being briefly on Sertraline gave me awful OCD, just want to get drugs out my system, can't believe 17 months ago I was a normal functioning person. I think they hand them out both SSRI's and sleeping pills too readily and don't warn you how difficult they can be for some people to come off, and in case of sleeping pills very addictive.

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    • Posted

      I agree with everything you've said. Antidepressants are a cheap and quick way to get you out of the doctors surgery. The issue is deeper than just a quick fix.

      I think depression is a sign of modern times, modern ways of working, high pressure, money orientated goals. Plus western people live very much isolated from their family and communities. Many people are very "driven" to win, succeed, be the best, be "rich", have everything, have the biggest car, biggest house, titles in the workplace, power, respect authority etc All of these things consume you, your energy and remove any chance of feeling peace.

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    • Edited

      I saw a psychotherapist who helped but now only on skype. SSRI's do help lot people but think talking therapy should be first option but because lack funds are not usually available on NHS. As you say they are quick fix used by doctors to get you out of the surgery. They do help many but doctors should warn you of the side effects and that they can make things worse for some. My friend been on them for years which again not really sure is a good thing. They can be very helpful and no doubt life saver for many people but not handed out quite so readiily without some warnings. I was just told you might get headaches and he kept trying get me to up dose.

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    • Posted

      I find talking about things only drags them back into the present and with them, all the bad feelings that are attached to them. I've learnt that to let go of past memories and feelings is the best way forward, but you have to accept the things that have happened and forget/forgive them in your heart.

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    • Edited

      It did help me although only had 2 sessions before lockdown, I've got very toxic mother always felt second best compared to my sister. A lot of anxiety/depression can be triggered by something and dealing with can help you move forward. Doesn't work for everyone but think better starting point than just sticking you onto meds. Just my opinion but like the drugs doesn't work for everyone. If Buddhism works for you that's great.

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    • Posted

      That's a shame about the therapy being cut short because of the lockdown. I hope you can get them up and running again as they obviously helped. I know a lot of people have had hospital appointments cancelled recently. When I talk about buddhism I don't mean in a religious sense, I just took out the good bits, the messages and helpful views on living. It really is a massive help.

      Let me know how you get on with the citalopram....

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    • Posted

      Stopped taking it a couple of days ago. Had real meltdown day yesterday tears very liw. But bit better today managed to go to garden centre. Bit wobbly with the OCD tonight but think it's the windows and waves etc. Have been trying calming breathing, an find just sitting in garden listening to birds quite theraputic. Just glad to be off them, think will have to accept will be up and down for a while until get them out my system. Really glad to be off them certainly wouldn't ever take them again!

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    • Posted

      Hi Lemenna,

      I totally understand, which is more than any doctor will ever be able to honestly say. You've really got to dig deep, be so patient and not push yourself. Allow yourself to feel bad, try not to panic or over think when feeling bad or anxious (easier said than done I know), those moments do pass. Certainly, the first few days are going to be the worst. I can only say again, citalopram is a very powerful drug and should be prescribed with great caution.

      I really hope you will be ok and get off them for good. You will look back in the future and realise how strong humans can be when really determined to do something they need to do.

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  • Edited

    hello, glad to hear you are doing well, i have been off citalopram for 2 months now and i came off it very slowly, i think it took me way over a year to get off and i did it as slowly as possible 2.5mg every time. i didnt have many side effects to be honest i remember a bit of dizzyness short of breathe thats about it however now all of a sudden my anxiety has got really bad again and all the progress i have made has gone out of the window. im having really bad intrusive thoughts that are really scaring me, do you think its possibly due to coming off the tablets as ive been off them a while now like delayed withdrawls?

    thank you

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    • Edited

      Hi Bethanie,

      It took me several attempts to get off citalopram.

      The second last time, I was off it for 2 months and then the anxiety came back (very bad), I had no option but to go back on it, at the last dose I was on before I came off (which was just a 10th of a milligram). I didn't make the mistake of starting again all the way at the top on the dose I originally started on at 20mg).

      I know the bog standard reply from most g.p's (who haven't used citalopram and have no experience of withdrawal) will say it can't be anything to do with the citalopram, but the fact remains it was. Honestly, after just the first dose of just 10th of a milligram of citalopram I was fine again after about 30mins. I took it for a further 4 days then came off all together. Yes I've had lots of withdrawal symptoms lasting about a year (including anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts), but I overcame it with the help / new way of thinking about life through the things I learnt in budhism.

      I learned a big life lesson from that time in my life, and that is; there are some ignorant doctors, there are some useless doctors, there are some that are just inexperienced but most of all, many doctors just don't listen to what people are telling them, they've made up their mind before you've even spoken. They basically are unable or unwilling to learn anything which they haven't already read. This does not help at all when you are stuggling to get off a highly dependant drug.

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    • Posted

      Can you remember when the intrusive thoughts started to fade. Had them for 17 months due to zopiclone withdrawal which can apparently take 2 years to improve. Now I've stopped the citalopram hoping the OCD will ease, as have read it can be a side effect of this drug certainly never had it before taking it, so hopefully will ease once get out my body especially asonly been on them 6 months. Does give me hope you did eventually improved!

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    • Posted

      Hi Lemanna,

      The intrusive thoughts for me were worse each time I went back onto citalopram after trying to get off it. It was more the waves of anxiety after coming off it that was the problem. You've only been on it a short time compared to me, so in theory it should be less of a problem for you...

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    • Posted

      Thanks how long were you on them? I dont have anxiety just had intrusive thoughts for months then OCD from citalopram/sertraline . Would never taken it had i known can be side effect they dont warn you about these things. In both cases gradually got worse, did you find it was case gradually improved with you. I dis try mindfulness but found it hard to do!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply, its reassured me quite a lot. i totally agree with you about doctors, i got barely any information 3 years ago when i went onto these tablets i got told i might get headaches and feel a bit sick for about a week when in reality i had pretty much every side effect going for about 3 months if it wasnt for this site god knows what would of happened to me, then coming off the doctor to me to take it alternate days for 2 week then stop, good job i didnt listen. im going to take your advice with the buddhism and ive started meditating morning and night and ive started to do yoga and journalling too hopefully it helps 😃

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    • Posted

      XSorry for all questions but difficult to get answers on this forum about withdrawal everyone just keeps telling you to take meds for longer! Did you find you got emotional,upset quite easily when you first stopped. Been feeling quite teary and husband been doing shopping keep snapping at him coz gets wrong stuff. Sleep up and down get horrible dreams some nights.

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    • Posted

      hello, i can relate to this, when i first started coming off citalopram i went down from 20mg to 15mg and the symptoms i got were dizzyness but i was also so angry all the time id kick off about anything and everything, i was very emotional and did cry quite a lot but i cried mainly when i got too angry cause i didnt know how to express it. i did a lot of research on the withdraw effects and i warned the people around me that i might be a little snappy or emotional etc so people knew not to take it personally. ive been off the tablets for 2 months now and my mood is okay i never really get angry anymore i am so much calmer than even before i ever took cit. also not sure if the dreams were due to withdrawl but i remember getting really vivid dreams id wake up thinking they were real even if they were crazy ones. it will get better x

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    • Posted

      Thanks usual question can you remember how long before things started to improve? These meds gave me OCD apparently can be side effects and made intrusive thoughts much worse so hopefully now I'm off them things will improve. Trued 2 different ones neither helped. Have read citalopram one of hardest come off. Dreams almost like nightmares sometimes, and feel quite nauseous some mornings

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    • Posted

      when i came down from 20mg to 15mg i stayed at that dose for 6 weeks and reviewed how i felt, i think if i remember correctly, i only had dizzyness for about 2 week not all the time though just every now and then. and i stopped noticing any other withdrawl symptoms when i got to 10mg. i had a really easy time coming off i was expecting to go through hell but it seems to be hitting me now like a delayed reaction, but theres no way im going back on these tablets they never worked for me anyway

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    • Posted

      actually come to think of it, over the past 2 months since coming off cit ive felt quite nauseous sometimes just randomly so maybe that was a withdrawl symptom of mine too without me putting 2 and 2 together

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