Life after citalopram and how to cope

Posted , 6 users are following.

was on citalopram for 15yrs, it was needed at the time and got me out of a dark place, but it made me numb and totally flat and emotionless, whilst at first it was welcomed, i wanted to feel me again so i began the journey of reducing the tablets and have recently stopped taking them

Well its been 12 days since stopping, and so far so good, i have had a few wobbles such as i could feel myself getting worked up and anxious but have managed so far to calm myself down.

I feel lucky as so far haven't had any real withdrawal symptoms apart from being snappy at my husband, and i have started to cry again!!!! not sure if this is a good thing as once i start i cant stop lol.

I have prepared myself for the withdrawal symptoms to start as its early days yet, but so far so good

I just wonder how others have coped, how long till it was completely out of your system and any tips to help on this long journey

Juliex

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Julie, 

    I was on 20mg of cit for 18 months, but have been struggling for about 15 years with depression and what may be diagnosed as PTSD. Whilst I was so glad to be on cit ( as it gave me a welcome break from my thoughts and emotions) I am now in the strongest place I have ever been, and have started the slow process of coming off. 

    Dropping from 20mg to 10mg/20mg alternate days for just under three weeks. In hindsight I would have dropped to 15mg as this would stop fluctuations ( either real or imagined !) 

    im now on 10mg daily and intend to stick to this for another 6 weeks before dropping down again. 

    Withdrawal symptoms have been very uncomfortable legs/ankles and wrists....like restless legs. I hear some people are taking joint supplements like codliver oil, so yeah....that may be why. Also initially I felt a little 'surreal' with dozy vision and had mild headaches, which I took paracetamol for. Also a few anxious times that I wasn't expecting. 

    Emotions are returning, and I am finding myself looking at past issues, but am trying to stay as level as possible during this time. I have signed up to CBT sessions which will start at about the same time as I drop down to 5mg. 

    I am cautiously excited to be free, but reserve the right in my head to return should I need to ( or try something else) 

    it it would be great to hear from folks like yourself who have actually jumped into the cit free world once more ..... 

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    • Posted

      Hi rosie

      thanks for the mail, myself personally i would stick to one reduced dosage rather that doing alternate 20/10 etc, due to the fact that our bodies are getting different dosages on different days so i would presume the withdrawals would be worse as you would crave more citalopram on the 10 days, thats just my opinion though.

      I have also found that omega 3 capsules have helped, i take 2 a day, but you can take up to 6 1000mg capsules a day, i also take odourless garlic capsules and vitamin B complex.  There are just the cheap ones from the supermarket nothing fancy lol

      Whilst some say that supplement dont work and are a waste of time, even if i am getting the placebo effects then thats good enough for me as its helping.  When i started with the muzzy head i uped the omega 3 to 2 aday and it does seem to help.

      my own advice is to take baby steps, one day at a time, and if you have a down day or cant cope, then just up the citalopram to the dose which you could cope at and stay on that dosage for a bit longer.

      Its great that your going for CBT, this will help with your coping strategies, why not stay on your 10mg till you start CBT and then it will help with the reduction and how you cope with it.

      I wont say never to citalopram again if i need it, but if i find that i do, then i will make sure that i am monitored more closely and not just left for 15yrs with repeat prescriptions and nothing much else.

      I also do firmly believe that if i had been offered bereavement counselling when my daughte died instead of being put on pills then i dont think that i would have needed them.

      Good luck in your journey, and if i can help shout away lol

      Juliex

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  • Posted

    Hi julie really interesting in this post

    i have been on 40 mg citapram for about 10years now and want to start reducing as I sleep to much.

    how did you start to reduce?

     

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    • Posted

      Hi claire

      well i decided to start reducing in Feb this year as i wanted to feel emotions again and just be me for a change as i couldn't really remember who me was!!!!

      I am also newely married (4yrs) and although i have a fantastic husband, citalopram played havoc with my sex drive lol   but i was also very worried that my hubby wouldn't like the me without the pills as he didn't know me before i started them.

      I also had a major problem with the brand of tablets i was getting which was different each month, the sandoz brand was the worst omg i thought i was dying it was horrendous, dizzy, nausea, headache, unsteady on feet, it was like the first couple of weeks of starting citalopram.  I used to have these symptoms for 2 weeks of every month and was just starting to get better when i was given a different brand.

      My pharmacist worked it out that something in either the fillings or coatings of the tablets didn't agree with me and this was why i was feeling rough, i found out the if i took the Bristol Labs brand of tablets i felt fantastic no side effects, so my pharmacists tried his best to get these for me, but he couldn't guarantee it as it depended what was in the wholesalers each month, so this was another reason why i decided enough was enough.

      I was on 20mg daily and had been for 15yrs so i got a pill cutter from the chemist and cut them into 4 making them 5mg each.  First i reduced down to 15mg and stayed on this for a good 3 weeks till i felt settled and had no side effects, then i went to 10mg and again stayed on these for 2 weeks, then i went on 5mg.

      On the 10th march just before bed i looked at my tablets and couldn't remember if i had taken my 5mg in the morning, so i then decided that if i hadn't taken it then maybe this was the time to stop, which i did, so have been pill free since then.

      I have had a few wobbles, but nothing major and i could cope, last year i tried to come off them but couldn't cope with the withdrawal symptoms and ended up going back on them, the only difference between then and now is that i take 2 omega 3 capsules, 1 garlic capsule and 1 vitamin B complem tablet a day, now as ive previously said i dont know if these supplements work for everyone but they have for me.

      If i was you claire i would get your gp on board and take it slowly, its not a race, just reduce by 5mg at a time and stay on the dose until you have no withdrawal symptoms, just start small baby steps my husband calls them lol

      You have been on 40mg for 10yrs so it doens't matter how long it takes, you may decide that 20 or even 10mg suits you better and decide to stay on that, at the end of the day, only you know how you feel, so go with your gut instinct and do whats right for you.

      If you feel the need to shout or moan, am only at the end of the keyboard lol

      Sorry for the long post i can chat for england lol

      Juliex

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    • Posted

      Baby steps ...... For sure. I haven't been on as much, or as long, but reducing slowly ..and steadily....and preferably with the same brand seems to be the way that is kindest. I was advised by the gp to do the 10/20mg on alternate days and I think this was a mistake ( I'll have a chat when I see him next). I managed to turn it into 'today's a big day, all will be well' 'today's a small day, expect impending doom' wink    So now on 10mg everyday. I'm so eager to come off but very vigilant about doing it sensibly.

      I made a hash of my first try..........About 3 months ago, I just stopped...and 3 days latter was a jibbering bed bound wreck unable to do anything, I was so far gone I hadn't realised it was withdrawal, I just thought I'd finally flipped....so yeah....cutting down in baby steps is the best way for me for sure.  

      I'm glad I'm on the waiting list for CBT ...and as Julie says, I may well be on the 10mg still when I start that. Having 15 yrs plus of struggle, I'm so hoping the break cit gave me has now put me in a strong place to move forward. I have been offered CBT several times before, but just couldn't face it. It's one of those things where the time needs to be right for the individual. 

      You mention you would like to reduce as you sleep too much, are there any other things you are looking forward to ( or worrying about ) about reducing your dose? 

      Heres hoping the the good days outweigh the sketchy days smile 

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    • Posted

      Hi rosie

      sorry to jump in on your post to claire, what i have learned and it has took a while is that i cant change what life throws at me, that is beyond my control.

      What i can change though i how i deal with it and how i let it effect me, that is the difference

      Juliex

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  • Posted

    I have read many articles that the medicine is out of your system in 30 days. However what does seem to happen to everyone is your symptoms which prompted you to take celexa/citalopram return. I have been off of celexa since April 2015 and now it November 2015. The truth is its a struggle. My goal is to make it to a year. I am unsure if that will happen. The episodes I call them are pretty bad. When I told my nurse practioner I wanted to go off of celexa. He quickly reminded me I have a illness through no fault of my own and to call him. This was stated because I refused to risperdal as well as celexa. I told him I wanted to know what life was like without any meds as he had some time ago taken me off of risperdal but felt I needed to return taking them again so he was not interested in renewing my prescription for celexa at a lower dosage. Eventually I ran out of the meds as I was reducing to be off of them completely. Life after celexa/citalopram is a struggle for me. I suppose he is right I have a mental illness through no fault of my own and need to take meds for life. At this point I have not yet returned to the doctors hoping that I can make it a year without it and the symptoms will go away. We'll see most propably it won't happen and I will be returning to take the meds anyway. Good luck to you!
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  • Posted

    Oh yay for you Juliex!  I am currently in a withdrawal regiment and I too am  happy to be able to cry again.  And to feel compassion for the suffering of others.  What I've noticed recently is that there has been a direct connection to what I eat and how I feel.  I'm making every effort to consciously make food choices now that adds to my overall health, rather than empty nutritional values.  I can already see a difference.  My God, it's good to be alive again!  Here in America we have LOTS of food grown with GMO's.  It's in EVERYTHING.  And also lots of chemicals and @&*% that I believe messes with our mental health.  I am happy that Citalopram was available when I needed it going through cancer treatment 10 years ago, but I'm ready now to be off the stuff.  Now that I see that everything is connected, I am making better decisions about the kind of food I put into my body.  Yes, organic and non-GMO foods here in the states are more expensive, but now I know, I can pay for it now or I can pay for it later.  I choose now.  I've had enough of sickness and it's great to feel alive again.  God bless you Miss Juliex in your return to health, Kathi.
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  • Posted

    I have read your post and the replies and thank you so much for making me feel like I'm not alone in this struggle. I've been on celexa for about 10 years and am ready to experience life without it. My doctor advised dropping to 15 for 30 days then 10mg for 30 days then 5 mg for 30 days. I was originally at 20mg. I'm 5 days completely off it now and WOW the swings in emotions are unreal but welcome (I think)?? I am having a lot of those buzzing zapping episodes in my brain so calling dr today but so far so good. I'm married to an amazing man and learning to deal with and recognize that I have a bright life in front of me and history doesn't always repeat itself.

    Thank you and all the people that have posted here for such uplifting responses

    Maggie

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  • Posted

    Hi Julie, I have been on 40 mg cilatopram for 13 years and have been off now for 3 months. I'm having the most difficult time with depression since off and was wondering if it has gotten better for you? I tried a year ago to come off but could not bare the withdrawal. I have managed to come through the worst of that but the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. Have you managed staying off and if so did things improve for you? Thank you, Laurie

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