Trying to come off citalopram and feel terrible

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I have been trying to take citalopram every other day to ween myself off them but i feel terrible. My life is still stressful and although my various family crises of last year have settled, work and my domestic burden is making life very difficult. Walked through the door with the shopping and virtually collapsed as I could not do any more. I'm now in bed and husband is having to cope. Is this what happens when you reduce?

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18 Replies

  • Posted

    Why reduce? If you're ok on it can't you stay on it? xx
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  • Posted

    I agree with Marf, why reduce if you're feeling stressed at the moment?

    However, if you want to reduce, I did it by reducing by 5mg at a time and never had any side effects.  Buy a pill cutter, chop up the pills (I chopped up my 20mg's into 4), then start by taking 5mg less and stay on that for a good month.  Next reduce by another 5mg/stay on that reduced dose for another month and so on until you're down to the last 5mg.  Lastly take that every other day for a month, then every 2 days for a month and so on until you can stop.  That's a very long drawn out way but you'll probably avoid side effects.

    K x

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    • Posted

      I've come off the medication twice.  First time I took half my dose at a time and felt very weird for weeks.  Second time is only this year and did it by reducing by 5mg at a time and have had no withdrawal effects at all.  Am now down to 5mg from 20mg.

      Dont forget though, you can stay on these meds for life if you need to.  You might even find that taking a really small dose suits you better.

      Anyway - hope if al goes well. xxx

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    • Posted

      The half life of Cit is about 35 hours, which is why skipping days is not a good idea.  I think it is very sensible to use the drug through a crisis and the wean off when you are feeling better.  However, the stuff causes remodeling of your neurons; it is not about getting the drug out of your system, but instead the fact that your neurons adapted to it's presence and have to adapt again to the absence, and unfortunately that can take some time, often longer than it took to adapt to the drug's presence.  Meanwhile, larger cuts create an imbalance of neurotransmitters that cause the withdrawal symptoms, so it is much safer to maker smaller cuts so that your system hardly notices the change.  

      See Paddy's thread on this here, where I give a ton of info about getting off:  https://patient.info/forums/discuss/citalapram-discontinuation-485453?page=0#1806107

       

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  • Posted

    Sally, I,m trying to go off Cit as well. It has been horrendous so I reinstated to 2.5 mg today . I cried about it though cos I had so much invested in being drug free.

    My hope is that I can be successful  but who knows cos I,VE been too stoic X maybe stuffed up my central nervous system.

     Good luck with your regime.

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    • Posted

      The nervous system is very reslient but it will take time.  Don't feel bad for reinstating - you are doing yourself a kindness and can now drop down at a safe rate that will avoid the worst WD symptoms . I am doing a 10% taper of mirtazapine now and still do feel WD symptoms after a cut but they are quite mild and tolerable.

       

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  • Posted

    I also came off Cita for about 6 months this year after being on them for 10 years, it was a nightmare and I tried so hard not to go back on them, but it comes to a point where you think I cant live like this anymore, so I have gone on escitalopram, early days but will see how it goes smile

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks Dawn. I,m at the point of doing anything to feel better.  My husband X I both held each other X had a little cry about my reinstatement to 2.5 mg yesterday.

      l started to feel more alive after about four hours. It didn,t last X during the night the stress was so bad I felt like drowning myself in the pool. This thought passed X I finally went to sleep after getting up X having a soothing shower.

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    • Posted

      Feeling that you just can't take it anymore is a common one in withdrawal.  Hopefully your reinstatement works for you.  Doctors don't believe in protracted withdrawal, but you are another example that it does happen.  If you did a cold turkey, that is why it was so horrible.  It is not recommended to cold turkey these drugs, ever!  Even the taper schedule doctors tell people to do, half the dose for a week, a quarter dose the next, and then off, is way too fast and the same as a cold turkey!  As I wrote above, the brain and nervous system has remodelled and needs time to change back, and the bigger the cut in meds the bigger the change.  If you would like to try again, talk to your doctor about getting the liquid version that can be dosed with a syringe, and then take 90% of your current dose, only cutting 10% of the PREVIOUS dose every four weeks as long as you feel stable.  If at any time you don't feel good, then don't make a cut!  And stabilize on your current dose for a month or two before tapering.  I wish you luck :-)

      The longer we have been on these drugs, and the higher the dose, the slower we must go to get off.  

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    • Posted

      Try not to let this upset you so much!  Think of it this way:  you are on much less of the med than ever before, just to prevent suffering, and from here you can get off entirely, but very slowly. It is not a moral failing to reinstate.  It doesn't mean you have to stay on this med forever.  Talk to your doctor about getting a liquid version that you can then taper off of 10% per month of your previous dosage, but only after you have stabilized on this dose for a good month or two.  You only ever want to cut when you are stable.  Too many have cut despite having WD symptoms, and only make things worse by doing so. I understand the desperation to be free of the drug, been there done that!  But I also know the suffering of going too fast, so it's a double edged sword, the veritble between a rock and a hard place, damned if you do damned if you don't LOL!  Try to have a sense of humor, and practice kindness and compassion towards yourself.  There's no blame here.  

       

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    • Posted

      Another thought:  it may be that the reinstatement dose is too small, but you might want to sit tight with it and see how it works over the next week.  Just keep reminding yourself that the feelings you are having are withdrawal, not you, and nurture yourself through.  Do whatever it takes to distract you from your suffering.  The more you ruminate and worry over how you are feeling, the more suffering you create for yourself; try not to fight it.  Accept it for what it is, a sign that your nervous system is healing.  

      Hang in there!

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    • Posted

      I came off over about 4 months, looking back now I wish I had done it over a year, but you are right the doc knows nothing, he said my anxiety that I was experiencing would have nothing to do with coming off Cita as by this time i had been off about 2 months and he said all side effects would have gone by now, he said it was just the way I was, so thinking that I would feel like this for the rest of my life - I went back on them sad x

       

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    • Posted

      Last night I had a better sleep . The only meds I had yesterday were the 2.5 mg Cit X two paracetamol for a headache before bedtime.

      Rumination is rife within me X distraction from it hard to achieve.

      Thankyou for your help .

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    • Posted

      Rumination is a common WD symptom and it is indeed hard to distract out of.  Just remind yourself that you don't HAVE to have those thoughts!  Thinking is an indulgence :-)  Try to catch yourself engaging it it and tell yourself "thinking, thinking" and then perhaps try some mindfulness.

      A simple version of mindfulness is to just think about your body like this:

      Envision your right big toe, then the ball of your right food, then your right shin, right knee, back of the knee, right thigh, belly-button, chest, right shoulder, right bicep, right elbow, right wrist, thumb on right hand, right palm, right shoulder blade, font of throat, back of neck, right ear, right eyebrow, nose, chin, top of head...then do the same for the left side.  Just imagine how those places feel, bringing awareness to them.

      There are lots of mindfulness guided meditations on the web; just do a search.  I like the guided ones as opposed to simply trying to meditate because it gives me something to actively listen to.  Anything that puts you in the present and distracts you from ruminating is a good thing!  It may only help temporarily but is a skill that you can reach for when the ruminating starts again.  I have a lot of shows I like to stream as well, for distraction.

      I'm glad you got better sleep, paddy!

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