HELP - Citalopram withdrawal causing relationship breakdown - HELP

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My girlfriend and I met 5 months ago and everything clicked so quickly. We found so much in common with dates and loved each other company. So much so that we even felt comfortable enough to book an big holiday together after just 4 months. We hadn't even argued or found anything about each other annoying despite spending loads of time together.

She then explained to me how she had had anxiety due to work since and had been prescribed citalopram, taking it daily for 6 years since. She had also been through a terrible previous relationship recently. But now she felt so happy for the first time in ages with me that she wanted to come off the tablets.

Since she has come off them she is often not herself at all. It's been a month or two, probably a month fully off them, and she has anxiety all the time. She has major doubts about our relationship every few weeks, then everything is fine again, except she is miserable about her life in general and very anxious.

I want to stick by her as I feel she will come out of he other side of this but don't know who to ask.

How long will this last?

What can I do to help?

Will it work out, has anyone had a similar experience with a partner?

I feel helpless and really want everything back to normal asap. I've tried all natural rememd

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  • Posted

    Just to elaborate on what I mean by what has gone wrong, she now finds petty things I have always done really annoying, and she knows they aren't but can't help feeling annoyed at me and therefore doubts whether we are right for each other

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I'm really sorry to hear this. I myself suffer from anxiety and depression, have done for years.

    I have had major doubts about my relationship for no apparent reason and my depression has nearly caused it to breakdown on a number of occasions. Luckily I've managed to beat it and saved my relationship. My partner is incredibly supportive I'm so dependent on him.

    I have felt a burden on him at times and feel so lucky that he has stood by me.

    I understand that it must be tough on you, but try. Or to take anything to heart know that it is the anxiety and depression talking and that you haven't done anything wrong. Perhaps offer to go to the doctors with your girlfriend to support her whilst she speaks to her doctor? Maybe she's not ready to come off th medication?

    Lots of luck

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    • Posted

      Sorry that should have said try not to take it to heart. Typing on my iPhone!
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    • Posted

      Hi Ally - thanks so much for your kind words and it's good to hear reassurance that there are other people in the same situation

      Is there anything you'd recommend I do?

      I am more than willing to stand by her the main issue is convincing her it is right to carry on the relationship. It is still early days and she feels like a burden and that she upsets me with the doubts she has, but as things were (and are still most of the time) so perfect I want to stand by her and give it a good go

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  • Posted

    So sorry you are having these problems.

    I was on Cit for 7.5 years and it has taken me 3.5 years to get off it! I did it really slowly and had the help and support of a good acupuncturist who had 7 people coming off it!

    I have been off it for 4 weeks and am feeling low and tearful and anxious. I am due to start CBT for anxiety tomorrow.

    I am glad I'm off it tho as the side effects were awful.the key for me was the determination to get off it plus the support of friends and family. I can't say the doc has been much help as I think I know more than her!

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    • Posted

      Hey Isobel - thank you for your help and a big congratulations for getting off it!

      Acupuncture is a good shout, I will recommend that. I have also recently read Detox shakes are good, as well as yoga for the mind, so I will get her to do all these things.

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  • Posted

    I reduced over 3 years. The first year I got down from 20mg to 13 then the second year down to 9 then down to 4 then this year I used the liquid form and got off it.

    I had a lot of support from friends and family and my acupuncturist who actually had 7 of us coming off it.

    I spoke to a friend who is a retired psych who said it is early days...

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  • Posted

    Hi

    She may have come off them too quick - took me a year to withdraw.  Anyway, seems she's off them now?

    When you're on SSRI's they hang onto your serotonin making you feel happier, contented, calmer etc, and when you're off the meds the serotonin levels are no longer 'held onto' as much as before and can make you feel more agitated, tetchy, feeling a bit more negative about most things in general and feeling more miserable.  Its not her fault - its a physical thing that happens inside.  Withdrawing from the meds much slower would have eased her back down and adjusted better, allowing her body to 'aclimatise'.  Low levels of serotonin cause absolute havoc with your physical body, mental and emotional well being.

    A few things that can help:

    Relaxation - I don't mean setting aside certain times in the day to do it or just slumping in a chair, but to practise throughout the day as she's moving about, learning to any tension in the stomach, in the jaw, anywhere ..... walking or driving slower, just stop rushing about and take life at a much slower pace.

    Exercise - keeping fit helps to raise endorphins in the body, making you feel happier.  Don't go at it manicly trying to rid yourself of this 'blah' feeling, but just walking will help.

    I can thoroughly recommend a natural SSRI called 5-HTP and l-tyrosine (both bought over the counter).  I take them, and can't praise them enough.  There are no side effects with these and no withdrawl effects either (though some people may feel slight effects of course, but nothing like the prescribed ones).  You can start / stop them whenever too and no need to wean on / off.  They work quicker too - within a few weeks.  You must not take them if on prescribed SSRI's though.  

    I've been off SSRI's before and I always find myself slipping back, so I need something.  Taking 5-HTP and l-tyrosine helps me keep well.

    Its good you're trying to help her - most people need lots of support throughout this.  Talking ......... don't ever ignore it or half listen.  It means a lot when one can talk about it - lots too.  

    I've suffered this illness and also supported my son who went through the same.  I talked to him lots, every day and told him he could tell me anything.

    ?It can last weeks, months, years ....... no two people are the same.  Don't try and hurry her - let it take its course.  Yes you want things to be back to normal asap, but I can bet you she wants that so much more than you do.

    5-HTP and l-tyrosine ...... again ..... you can't go wrong there.  As least try it.

    K x

     

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    • Posted

      Brilliant advice I will bear all that in mind and get her some natural remedies

      Unfortunately she is having even more doubts to the point she thinks we won't work. I can't completely blame the anxiety but I know things were very different 8 weeks ago - I'm trying to convince her that it's worth perusing but don't want to appear desperate or beg. Tough one

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    • Posted

      Katecogs,

      I just got over a blip, had a great week and now I am anxious again, but my period is supposed to start tomorrow. Can the days leading to your period make you anxious? Will this subside, too?

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    • Posted

      Yes you can completely blame the anxiety - when you're ill with anxiety (and / or depression) you think completely differently to how you'd normally think. Everything is negative in thinking and doing, opposed to positive.

      Definitely get her to start on the 5-HTP and l-tyrosine and she'll find herself thinking positively again I'm sure.

      Ask her to review this all again in about a month - I'm sure she'll have a completely different outlook again.

      Aside from doing all the natural remedies, talking, relaxation etc etc ..... IF IF IF IF she finds nothing is helping then she should go back to see her doctor and reinstate Citalopram again.  Staying on them for a year, getting life back in order and then withdrawing from them really, really slowly so in order not to 'shock' the body will really help the anxiety not coming back.  Nothing is worth the misery of this wretched illness - seriously its not.  It rules your life.

      You're a good person to be so concerned about her and for trying to help in all you can.  You're worth your weight in gold.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Hi Kayleigh

      Yes a due period can cause a blip / anxiety again.  Your body is still fragile at the moment, so anything that upsets the rhythm can cause it.  It won't always be like that each month as your body gets stronger throughout recovery - you'll in time be able to treat each period as anyone else does.

      When you're recovering you'll get many, many blips - almost like being on the sea with each wave coming then subsiding.  Each week can be different, and then of course these will in time get longer with each blip getting shorter.  They're a pain and I remember each time one appeared for me it'd feel like I was back at the beginning and my body's natural response was to fight it.  That's the worst thing - try and let it be there, let it shout and yell at you (because it'll do its hardest to want to let you know its there), but reassuring yourself its just temporary and its an expected part of recovery, relaxing towards it should soon steer you back on the right path again.

      But yeah .... periods eh rolleyes

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    • Posted

      Just the mornings are the worst.

      I wake up, stomach turns, acid reflux, mind races. For days it went away. But now with my period coming I am cramping, diarrhea and I feel really irritable. Insomnia is common, right? Like, I don't feel inpending doom or anything, I just feel uncomfortable. Seven weeks Wednesday. 1 week on 10mg and 6 on 20mg. Is all this common? Your feedback is so helpful Katecogs.

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    • Posted

      Mornings are the worst for most people, me too.  That first thing morning stomach churning and anxiety was the last thing to disappear for me.  Yes insomnia is common, but it should wear off eventually.

      7 weeks on the meds is quite early still.  Took around 3-4 months before I started recovering and felt really well by 6 months.  After that I still continued to improve even more.

      It really can be a slow road to recovery - and I'm sure over time it will all even out.

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    • Posted

      Somedays it lingers (I think it is atm because my period will be starting tomorrow), but throughout the day it usually passes. Is it a good sign if the feeling does subside throughout the day? I know the more I do the better I will feel, but nights I don't sleep I just wanna crawl in bed after school and not move, lol. One day at a time.

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    • Posted

      Yep - mine subsided during the day.

      When I recovered I started feeling well in the evenings, and over time this graduated into afternoons and then mornings.  I still woke every day feel dreadful but it wore off during the day.  During this time I also had good and bad days, good and bad weeks too etc, but the slowly got less.  Eventually I started waking without anxiety ..... first time it happened I lay there wondering what was different, and then realised!!!!  I sort of went looking for it too - was weird.

      From then on I'd still get some days and the occasional week when I wasn't right, but that slowly disappeared too.

      Like you, things upset my rhythm and it came out as anxiety etc.  That stopped too.

      I've been well for around 15 years now, and I helped my son through the same thing 2 years ago.  I had to restart meds because it stressed me so much I could feel myself slipping back again (something that big upset my rhythm).  He went through a similar pattern of recovery too and has now recovered now and off meds too - same as me.

      Have you spoken to your doctor about melatonin tablets - melatoninis is a manmade form of a hormone produced in the brain that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycle and helps with insomnia.  Worth asking about - lack of sleep is no joy.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Yes, I am very familiar with Melatonin. I had it last week to regulate my sleep schedule and it helped, but once my anxiety appeared with PMS, nothing is keeping me asleep. I even tried a sleep aid last night and I stayed asleep for 4 hours total and my stomach started turning again.

      I am awake, though. I will keep on with my day and not stay in bed. The day will get better, but the mornings are just so horrid.

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