Stopping citalopram after 21 days... please help!

Posted , 13 users are following.

Hello everyone,

I apologise if this has been brought up before but I feel I really need some help.

I am 37 years old, and my depression started 5 months ago when I found out my wife cheated on me with her boss.  We have been together 8 years and married just over a year.  I was extremely happy with where my life was and still madly in love.  From my perspective we had an amazing relationship and there were no signs or reasons what so ever for her to stray.  After I found out, she denied anything happened in fear of losing me.  She eventually admitted to it, but says she never sought out anything, never planned on leaving me, and that he initiated everything that happened.  She only admits they kissed several times while at work and can't explain why she let it happen.  The news has absolutely blind sided me, and completely blown up my world spiralling me into depression.  

5 months ago, my doctor first prescribed me lorazepam 1mg, because the anxiety was so severe I couldn't sleep, and was forced to be off work.

I chose not to leave my wife, in hopes that time would help me cope with what happened, however 3 months later my depression was still there.

My doctor then prescribed me citalopram 20mg.  Fearful, I refused to take the pills and they sat in my cabinet for 2 months.  Eventually my doctor convinced me to take them.

I started off 10mg for 6 days, and didn't feel anything at all... Then upped to 20mg as per the directions.  After the 3rd day of 20mg I started with a ton of side effects. Brain zap, confusion, memory loss, increased anxiety and depression, tingling in my body, crying fits, unable to ejaculate, and even suicidal thoughts... all within the 2nd week.  At that time I panicked and wanted to refuse taking any further.  My doctor insisted I keep taking them promising it would get better.

Taking her advice, I did for another week.  The side effects were decreasing, and one day for a few hours, I did feel a bit better and somewhat like my old self.  But after numerous google searches and research I've decided this medication scares me and no longer want to be on it... or dependant on it in 6 months which was my doctors plan. 

I was on 10mg for 6 days, then 20mg for 15 days... I have gone back down to 10mg to ween myself off.  It's only been 2 days and already feeling the withdrawal symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, brain zap, tingling all over... and an end of the world feeling. If I feel this horrible trying to come off after only 21 days, I don't even wanna know how hard it would be after 6 months or longer. No thanks.

I feel as though my depression and anxiety won't ease up until I can either forgive my wife, or choose to leave.  She has since been extremely remorseful, regretful, ashamed and embarrassed, says she loves me everyday, and has even quit her job in hopes to save our marriage.  I know I love her and I'm scared to death of losing her, but I can't stop thinking about what happened or asking myself why she would do this to me.  Luckily we don't have any kids, but at 37 years old, losing my wife, marriage, my house, and the fear of starting over, or never being able to trust anyone again is really messing with my head.  I'm actually thinking I would rather be alone in fear of this ever happening again.

I'm starting to panic and would like to know how long I should ween myself off and how long the withdrawals should last, only being on them for so little period of time.

And also, is it wise to take 1mg lorazepam to help me sleep through the weening off of citalopram?  I really don't want to start having withdrawals from lorazepam next.

Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you kindly in advance, and I apologise for venting.

0 likes, 29 replies


29 Replies

  • Posted

    My advice would be that if you are determined to seen yourself off the Citalopram do it under the supervision of your doctor. I have taken Citalopram for depression and anxiety since mid January and although I had a few side effects the worst being increased anxiety for the first couple of weeks but I roughed it out and now I am finally feeling like everything is alright with the world again. The anxiety left before the depression which took about 3 months. I know this med isn't for everyone but it has certainly worked well for me. I started out on 10mg. then after 5 weeks slowly increased my dosage.

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    • Posted

      Hi, sorry to jump on this thread but I see that it took you longer than the 4-6 weeks to feel better on citalopram. I am at the 3 month mark nearly but have been a bit jumpy with dosage, this gives me hope it might still work for me again x
      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Vent away!  Life is complicated, stressful, and it certainly sounds like you are experiencing some overwhelming emotions.  Somebody wise once told me that "People will always disappoint you". It doesn't matter who they are, your mom, your wife, the Pope, your best friend.  It's because people are human and make mistakes.  I don't mean to say that all people will disappoint you all of the time....

    You and your wife are still young.  Your wife may have some insecurities that caused her to fall for some sweet talk from another man. I don't think that it means she loves you any less at all.  

    What she did was wrong and doubt, but people can be weak and make mistakes.

    I feel really badly for seem like such a nice, caring, sensitive man.  I think that your anxiety and depression is situational.....I personally think that you should stay away from the medication.  I was on it for many years and it was very difficult to come off of.  But, if I can do it after 20 plus will do fine weaning.  I actually went cold turkey 2 years ago,  The nausea, headaches, brain zaps, dizziness, and other side effects were severe...but they went away. If your sex life is important to you....this medication can be a real downer.

    Try to stay focused in the present.  Do not dwell too much on the past and don't go worrying too far into the further.  Trust me, I've been there and it is a waste of emotional and spiritual energy.  Stay in the moment. Many, many people have been in your's part of life....heartache.  

    I wish I could take your suffering away.  Be good to yourself....exercise, eat right, don't drink too much coffee.  Sleep well. Drink water. 

    What your wife did is not a reflection of your worth as a's something that she did from human error and weakness. 

    Try to just breathe, relax, live in the moment....try to get a grip on the ruminating.  I wish you nothing but the best. 

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  • Posted

    Thank you for the encouragement. I wish i could forgive and move on, i know I love her but i'm still so heartbroken and betrayed and can't get over it, at least not yet.

    My doctor is on holidays, does anybody have any advice on how long to ween off and how long these nasty symptoms will last? I can't take it anymore I actually feel traumatized

    And can I take lorazepam to help me sleep until i'm fully off the citralopram? I don't want lorazepam withdrawals.. Thanks again

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  • Posted

    I think you need to be sharing all this with a therapist/counsellor. Valium and similar dugs can be used for short term stress and trauma. I would never let a doctor prescribe me anti-depressants.. You need ongoing emotional support from a qualified professional. There are so many ways to deal with trauma and drugs should never be the first option.

    This forum is great for support and curing feelings of loneliness but you need someone you can trust and can offer you the best options for yourself.

    Citalopram extends the amount of time serotonin remains in the synapses in your brain - this helps people with anxiety and depression because there brain fucntioning removes the serotonin too quickly, making it harder to cope with stress, anxiety, trauma etc. It is a treatment for a medical condition and much research has been shown that cognitive brain training is more effective for people with low stress levels. Placebos have been shown to even be as effective in low stress cases. I dont mean to say that you're not incredibly stressed or anxious or traumatised at the moment - i cant imagine what you're going through. But I take citalopram because I have suffered from generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder for over 10 years. Its a serious illness and the treatment is a long, exhausting, scary process. I spent a year in therapy before I moved onto citalopram.

    Doctors are quick to prescribe antidpressants. But it's not a solution unless it's appropriate and being used in conjunction with ongoing therapy, meditation,exercise, and healthy eating. You need someone to talk to, someone you trust, someone you can work with. 

    Another note - it is dangerous to change your dosage of citalopram yourself. You should never change the dose or ween off without medical intervention and help. The up and down of your medication will only add to your stress. I spent 2 months depressed before the meds started working - I'm over three months in and still not there yet. Citalopram is not to be taken lightly. You go to some very deep, dark places on this stuff - you need support and ongoing help to get through it.

    I would recommend asking your doctor for a referral to see a therapist/counsellor. Find one you can trust and like. See them and come up with a plan. If you want to come off the meds ask for a stringent plan. The side affects of withdrawl are bad. Whether you're on them for two weeks or two years. Its the same.

    Good luck. Be kind to yourself and remember that you dont have to be happy to have faith that you will one day be happy again. Take days one at a time. If thats too much take hours one at a time. Take a break from work, go on a holiday. Stay with family. Take care of you!

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the replies.

    But again, only being on 20mg for 15 days, how long should I expect to feel this horrible trying to get off this stuff?

    I've cut down to 10mg for the past 5 days and still feel brutal in the head and have bad anxiety in the mornings.  Is that good enough weening off, or should i taper longer?

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    • Posted

      Dobber hang in there. I was exactly like you depression and

      anxiety and good old citalopram made -to my cost-things a

      1000% times worse. I was on them just under a month and knew

      if I didn't get off them I would never get better. To all the people

      who come on and shoot me down for lambasting these tablets

      don't bother. You don't know it yet Dobber but everyday you are

      not taking one of these you are getting better. Get out walking,

      cycling, try mindfullness, breathing exercises loads of good ones

      on the Internet. Recovery is slow I won't lie to you but each day is

      another day closer to you tackling the real problem and that is

      you and your good lady getting life back on track. Right now

      citalopram is your battle beat that and life will get back to what

      we once presumed as normality. Good luck stay strong.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Colin.. So like me, you tried them for less than a month and said eff that lol.  Its amazing how these can literally make you feel like you are going crazy, especially after being on them for only 3 weeks.  I weened off for 4 days, and have been off completely for the past 3 days... I still dont feel right in the head, and anxiety is extremely bad.  I fear the only way to rid myself of the depression and anxiety is to leave my wife.  Maybe I just cant handle traumatic situations very well, or I just cant forgive her.  How long did you completely stop before you were clear of the symptoms?  Thanks pal
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    • Posted

      Dobber can't sugarcoat this as coming off them is just as bad as

      getting on them. I had never suffered from depression or anxiety

      before I took ill last year. Few months off work with a virus and

      things just snuck on me before I knew it. Doctors cure- citalopram -

      don't get me wrong I really like the guy but when it comes to mental

      health it's not his strong point. The tablets took my thoughts to places

      I hadn't gone before. It was crippling, the feeling in my stomach every

      morning was horrific and the anxiety was uncontrollable. Anyway got

      back to work(off tablets about 3 weeks) but it was about two months

      of pushing everyday just hoping tomorrow would be better. Don't know exactly when it was

      but the horrible feelings just slowly subsided. But there is no doubt

      I would not be somewhat back to normal if I kept up with the

      citalopram.I don't want to pry into your private life but have you

      discussed with your wife what you are going through the now.

      She might want to help. I know I needed my missus even if it was

      to listen to the same old crap I used to come out with everyday.

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    • Posted

      Colin, do you think I weened off enough? Or should I have a little longer... I only dropped the dosage for 4 days then stopped altogether... and it's been 4 days off them.  Still feel off in the head, and I'm starting to worry this has become permanent.  I must say, orgasms are extremely powerful though lol. My wife is aware of how I'm feeling and is trying to stay strong for me, and I still very supportive, but at the same time she is the reason I started my depression and started these God aweful pills in the first place.

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    • Posted

      Hey Dobber good to see you still have a bit of humour left. Your

      right if citalopram has one plus side it's downstairs.

      The way you have come off is almost exactly same as me. Couple

      of days 5mg then bang cold turkey. I was on holiday when I done it

      and phoned the GP when I got back and a young locum told me

      that with the time I was on that It would reduce in my system after

      eight days. Could tell he never had the misfortune to stick one of

      these down his neck. All I can say is hang in there get some

      distraction going on because the feelings just eat you up

      otherwise. Not easy I know but promise you its possible.

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  • Posted

    How are you going I'm in the same boat. Almost four weeks on them and stopped 11 days ago. Still cant sleep and I feel so off! :-( I feel like I'll never be me again!!! Hope your doing better! ?

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    • Posted

      Hey there... I've been completely off for 4 weeks now.. and still have some sleepless nights, and I still have severe anxiety every day... The brain zaps are mostly gone, but still get tingling throughout my body once a week or so... I still dont feel like myself, I cant really explain it.. im just not "me".  I'm starting to worry this has become permanent.  I am going through a very shocking divorce where I found out my wife cheated, so I'm hoping that has something to do with it and will go away once settled.

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    • Posted

      Hi Dobber, it sounds like you are going through an extremely stressful time at the mo so it will make you feel shocking. Do you regret stopping the citalopram at all?

      Have you tried any CBT to help with the anxiety?

      I hope things will start to pick up for you soon mate.

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    • Posted

      Hey Matt, I dont regret stopping... I regret starting them in the first place.  I never felt any of these side effects before this poison, just the anxiety and of course a little depression.  I have not tried CBT, but I have been recommended it by several sources.  Have you tried it? Does it help at all?  Crossing my fingers it all goes away after the stress of divorce settles.  Best of luck bud.
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    • Posted

      Hey, I have tried some CBT and it does help. Give it a go if you can. It just helps reframe things and provides coping strategies for dealing with the anxiety.

      Your divorce sounds really stressful, I think its totally natural to feel anxious after what you have been through!

      Are you getting out and about or are you stuck on the work, eat, try and sleep cycle?

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    • Posted

      I will try CBT soon is things dont ease up.  My life has been very blown up if you will.. almost trauamatic when I found out the news.  I was really depressed for the first 3 months, but lately I've been getting out with friends, and even going back to the gym.  It definately helps, but the pain of losing my marriage is certainly there.  I'm 37, with no kids, we were together 9 years, and married for 1, then she cheated on me with her much older boss.  I feel so stuck, feel no hope for the future, and thinking I'll never find love again.. Just really afraid of starting over, all that depressing stuff...  its not where I wanted to be at this point in my life.

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    • Posted

      Mate thats a long time so you are bound to feel like it will be impossible to love again etc. it isnt impossible though and you arent that old! CBT will really help with that.

      Not sure if you are a cyclist but there are a few threads on the "single track world" forum from people who have been in a similar situation and come out the other side.

      Anxiety is the worst, give me a broken leg or arm any day of the week!

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