How long do Cit withdrawal symptoms last?

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Hi all,

10 days ago, after 7 months on Citalopram (dosage 30mg), I decided it was time to taper off. Mainly due to the sexual side effects (I can't take feeling of nothingness 'there'), but also because I feel my mood swings were being stabilised and I was on the path to recovery.

I have tapered off over the past 4 months in the following dosage sequence - 30-20-15-10-5-2.5 - with roughly 2.5 weeks on each dosage untl stopping 10 days ago. I feel more or less normal, but I am starting to feel a few of the withdrawal symptoms in light measures, such as irritability, facial tingling and zaps and slight anxiety now.

Obviously this was a lot better than what I felt when, 4 months after being prescribed Cit, I stupidly went cold turkey for almost 3 weeks. That was hell! Wild mood swings, extreme irritability, insomnia, anxiety and irrational behaviour. That experience has actually helped me put things into perspective this time around; when I feel out of sorts I immediately try to calm myself and say it's only the effects of the withdrawal.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, how long do Cit withdrawal symptoms last? I am taking 150 mg of Wellbutrin SR to keep the depression in check, but I am planning to taper off that in a couple of months, and be drug free by August this year. I should mention that I chose Wellbutrin because it's supposed to counter the sexual side effects of Cit, but it hasn't worked as well as I expected.

In the final analysis, all I can say is that SSRI's are a real double-edged sword!

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Funk,  for me, the answer was 5-6 weeks before I felt "normal" again.  "Normal" meaning no brain zaps, no irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety totally gone.  Towards the end of the first couple of weeks the anxiety and negative feelings were overwhelming.  My guess is that it would be shorter for you since I was on cit for 10 years.  Keep pushing if you can to stop, although the ride was brutal And filled with self doubt I am so glad I did.  I feel better than I have in years - double edged sword indeed!  Good luck!
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    • Posted

      Hi Stanley,

      That's very encouraging to hear. Yes, I'm entering the second week of complete withdrawal and I feel the symptoms are gathering arms to wage a war on me! I'm certainly feeling that irritability and urge to snap at everything, but my cold turkey experience has affirmed that this is all just part and parcel of withdrawal. At least this time around I played it better. Am keeping some Clonazepam handy in case it gets too much.

      I'm definitely going to keep it going to the end. Thanks for the encouragement, and I am happy that you are doing well now

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    The withdrawal symptoms usually subside within a month after cessation of therapy, but there are people who take years to get over the withdrawal. It's very patient specific.

    I am curious if your sexual sides have gone away since tapering and now quitting. ..

    I am asking because I suffer from pssd....

    I hope you are not as unlucky as me...

    Thanks,

    Alex

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    • Posted

      Hi Alex,

      A month sounds reasonable. How long were you on CIt and on what dosage? 

      As for the sexual side effects, I do feel my urges returning slowly but definitely not as full on as before. Not such great erections and penile sensitivity poor. What are your symptoms?

      PSSD is a terrible thing. I'm bracing myself for fighting this for the next 6 months or so. If it doesn't get better I'll have to see an expert about it. Some people have mentioned acupressure as a possible cure, but I'm not so surreal. 

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I am sorry for not responding sooner. I was on various ssris for 15 years. During those 15 years, I tried quitting twice, both times for 4 months. Both times, sex drive only got worse. Then, I had to cut my losses, and go back on the drug as depression only worsened.

      I am curious how you are doing now. Did the sex drive return assuming you are still off the drug.

      Thanks,

      Alex

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    • Posted

      Hi funkdakarma,

      What ended up happening with your withdrawal? Did you manage to remain drug free?

      What about sexual side effects? Did they improve eventually?

      Thanks much,

      Alex

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