May 14, 2009

Celexa Withdrawal Symptoms and Getting Through

Have you heard of Celexa? It's an SSRI, a drug often used for depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.

About a year ago, I had a series of scary panic attacks and I was prescribed Celexa
. I took 10mg of Celexa for almost a year, and it worked. It took away the panic attacks, the anxiety, and the fear. It also took away my passion, my joy, and my enthusiasm. I became a calm, steady, detached shell of myself. I could have kept going like that and been fine, because well, life was pretty easy. I didn't get angry anymore, didn't get frustrated, and did what needed to be done without complaint.

But I decided I wanted my passion back and I wanted to start caring again. I also felt like I was disappearing. I was ready to find out what would happen if I started feeling real, solid, heartfelt emotions again.

Almost two weeks ago, I went to see my doc for an annual. He said, "Stop taking Celexa whenever you want, it's only 10mg." So I did. Almost overnight my sex drive was back, I was enthusiastic, and ALIVE!

But, it was like I was on speed. And I have been experiencing profound dizziness, aches in my legs, annoyingly vivid dreams, and trouble sleeping. The past two days, I've also had tingling in my hands (which almost always comes with tingling in my brain), and I get sooooo incredibly frustrated/intense/overwhelmed, I'm induced to crying. No particular reason, just need to release from this intensity!

I did a little research, and found out that these are withdrawal symptoms. It doesn't make the symptoms go away to know this. It does, however, make me understand what's going on, and that they will eventually subside.

In a way, these symptoms are a chance for me to practice zen and mindfulness.

Crying helps temporarily. And it feels good. It's amazing to feel my body just NEED to cry without having some kind of specific reason or emotion to go with it. It's like jumping up and down or hitting a pillow. It's a way to release the tension that's constantly building up.

I had gained quite a bit of weight on Celexa, and I was sleeping all the time. I can already feel that weight starting to shed, and I'm sleeping normal hours again, except waking up several times a night from aches and vivid dreams.

One of the weirdest side effects I'm getting is that I feel like I'm having every emotion at the same time. Happy, sad, mad, calm, attentive, bored, enthusiastic, frustrated. It's like a flood gate was opened, and all of the things I wasn't feeling on Celexa are coming in at one time.

In a way, it's a time for me to learn, so when all of this withdrawal is over, I can remember that so much of emotion is physical and chemical. Since none of my emotions are being caused by anything but chemicals, I can't blame it on anything. I really hope I can remember this when I'm no longer beholden by the chemistry in my brain, and see my emotions not as my enemy (like I did before I took Celexa), but as a physical symptom.

Or maybe, this is all the withdrawal symptoms talking :)

One positive symptom, although painful at times because the feeling is so intense, is a renewed energy for writing. Almost an obsession. Writing has taken on a similar function as crying—it's a way for me to get some release. This year on Celexa stalled my desire to write to almost nothing. I would write things, but I didn't really care about them. There was no passion. My muse was taking a vacation.

Now, I again have motivation to write and exercise. Maybe it's the feeling that I'm on speed that's causing this, but man, I'm so glad to have my creativity back. Whether or not it's temporary, I'm going to focus on that part of the withdrawal as much as I can, rather than focusing on the spinning, insomnia, and freaky dreams. (And actually, my freaky dreams have lent to some very interesting story ideas!)

I'm trying to focus on what's good, and to keep reminding myself that these withdrawal symptoms will eventually go away. Sometimes, I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, and I just can't take it anymore. Crying, exercising, writing, and sharing my story with others will get me through.

I've had lots of thoughts during this year, and I continue to wonder about the long-term effects it will have on my zen practice. There is a lesson in here somewhere. Perhaps several. Can I have the egolessness enough to see them?

In case you'd like to know, these are the common side effects of Celexa withdrawal. I put a star next to the ones that people seem to complain about the most on the websites that I visited during my research.

  • Anxiety *
  • Dizziness *
  • Fatigue *
  • Headache *
  • Insomnia *
  • Tremors
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea *
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness *
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle and joint pain *
  • Jolting electric "zaps” *
  • Tingling sensations *
  • Fever
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Flu symptoms and general malaise *
  • Anorexia
  • Agitation *
  • Vertigo *
  • Gait disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Irritability *
  • Aggression
  • Nightmares and/or vivid dreams *
  • Confusion
  • Memory and concentration difficulties
  • Chills and hot flashes
  • Crying spells *
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness


These are the suggestions for getting through the withdrawal symptoms. Although it's highly recommended to taper off the medication slowly as a way to prevent withdrawal, it still seems that many people have some symptoms, even with the taper.

  • Drink lots of water
  • Exercise (swimming, running, walking, biking, etc.)
  • Yoga/Pilates
  • Meditation
  • Talking to a counselor/therapist or friend a LOT during this time
  • Eat regularly and healthy
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Dramamine (mixed results)


These are some things that worked for me, but nobody else had mentioned them in my research

  • Crying and enjoying it
  • Ibuprophen for the headaches and muscle aches
  • Tylenol Simply Sleep (ask your doctor first!!)
  • Mindfulness and "watching" all the symptoms like a movie
  • Finding the good that is coming with the withdrawal
  • Writing, writing, writing
  • Playing games (video, board, card, etc.)
  • Doing things I love
  • And when the anxiety/restlessness/intensity rears its head - remember it's not ME, it's the chemistry in my brain that's doing this.

If you are reading this and are currently going through Celexa withdrawal, you are not alone.

Namaste

684 comments:

1 – 200 of 684   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Thank you for a very thoughtful and informative post! There's so much to think about here.

Elizabeth

Stephanie said...

Hope you are feeling better by now. I went through similar things when I went off paxil the second time (did not have problems going off the first time) and realized that the second time I had been on a time release version of paxil which I think made the difference.

I found very similar things while on paxil...I always thought that it was ironic that I had the choice to be stable emotionally with no sex drive or be depressed with a good sex drive. Luckily I have been able to find relief non-medically (through homeopathy and accupuncture) and a great therepist and have not had to be on anything for the past 7 years.

Good luck in your journey!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I am coming off of celexa, too. I started taking it for anxiety about two years ago and haven't take it at all for the last 3 weeks. I have been crying a lot, headache, trouble concentrating, feeling depressed, and tired. That being said, though, on celexa, it did help with the anxiety but it also dulled me. I believe being off this medication is the right thing for me but am weary in the withdrawal symptoms. Your post reminds me this is a process and I will get on the other side of it. Am becoming more engaged in meditation . . . need to add exercise to the mix. Thanks for your post.

Nancy said...

Thank you for your post. I am withdrawing from Celexa as I write - zapping headaches and all. It is oddly comforting to know that I am not alone! I hope by now you are feeling better and will enjoy - as I hope to - a future not controlled by celexa! Take care, Nancy

Larry said...

I have been taking 40Mg for quite a while and started cutting it in half to 20mg last week. Withdrawal is not fun, but I'm looking forward to going back to the old me, which was a work-a-holic who actually enjoyed it. Now, as you mentioned, the passion or drive is gone.

I'm fondly remembering my chaotic norm, but Celexa has given me a chance to slow down a bit, get some hobbies, and I don't expect that those will go away. It helped to get through a bad time, but I need to get back to working again!

Tammy said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. It's been about a month and a half since I posted this, and I'm happy to say that the withdrawals are completely over.

In fact, when I posted this, I was at my wit's end. And that's when it started to get better. I get the feeling that many of the people who post about their withdrawals on celexa do so at the worst of it. So if you feel like you just can't take anymore, the good news is that you are probably at the summit. It's all downhill from here!

It took another few weeks after this post to completely wean off of the drug. And now I'm back to my old self.

My old self was kind of unhinged, and having a year of no emotions gave me quite a perspective on just how much my emotions and my body dictated my life before. I thought I was in control, but in fact, my body and chemicals were in control.

The hardest thing now is to know that my emotions and body are taking over when I start to get frustrated or scared. I can feel trapped by them. So I'm still learning how to recognize and then manage it when my physical reactions start to take over.

I haven't had any panic attacks since I have gone off the drug. Just knowing how much my emotions were controlled by chemicals running through my body keeps them from coming on. When I start to feel the physical feeling of panic, like racing heart or dizziness, I know it's my body overreacting to something.

If you are coming off of Celexa, it will get better. It will never be perfect, and that's part of the healing, to accept that we are human and our bodies are not perfect, nor are our brains or ego. But it will get better. Embrace who you are, instead of fighting it. You are wonderful. What's happening to you is chemicals, not "you". Let it happen, and it will subside in time.

Good luck!

Taylor said...

Thanks for this post! I stopped taking celexa about two weeks ago and I am having very similar withdrawal symptoms. It was nice to read this.

Anonymous said...

did anyone feel like their thoat is swollen while going thru these withdrawals?

Janice said...

YES!! I have taken these weird coughing fits and it feels like my throat is swollen shut almost. Along with twingy headaches, vertigo, etc..

Anonymous said...

YES! I woudl take these coughing fits where it felt like my throat was swolle shut. Along with the typical zapping headaches and twinges, vertigo, etc..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post! It was very helpful. I stopped taking Celexas a few weeks ago for the same reasons you outlined: I wanted to feel motivated again. Over the past year I've learned a great deal about not over reacting and caring about other people. I think I've learned enough to me able to manage without the medication although I am grateful it was available at the time. I’ve been feeling strange and it occurred to me I may be having withdrawal symptoms. Now that I know what is going on and that it should end in another few weeks I feel even better. I have the dizziness and leg twitches but I’ll gladly take these if it means I can feel again and drop the weight gain I piled on the last year. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your posts. I have been going through these "brain zaps" and really wanted to know how long I have to endure these feelings.

Robbin said...

I can't thank you enough for posting this. You have given me the best info I have received yet, even from doctors. SAD! I thought if I heard or read "slowly" or "in time" one more time I was going to throw in the towel and go back on celexa. I realize we are all different but nobody seemed to be able to give a hint as to a time table. Instant results type of people need some light at the end of the tunnel. THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

i have been on celexa for 15 years because i have severe panic disorder and deppression, also on klopion. i recently decided that it was time to come off celexa and let me tell you i feel terrible from all these withdral symptoms.i feel so alone my kids and husband dont understand.this is very hurtfull for me.its only been 8days off and istill feel crazy from all of the side effects. when is this going to go away.my doctor tells me it is going to take a while ,but in the mean time these withdrawl s are killing me.i wish i was never interdusted to this medication.my symptoms are dizzyness,anxiety,cant breathe, very bad nightmares that make me terrified because when i wake from them i cant move my body at all.i also get chest pains ,weakness, and my brain always feels in a fog .i could go on with more but i wont .i feel more depressed know than ever because these symptoms are to much all at one time for me to handle.you have to remember i suffer every day with panic disorder also going through menopause alot i know but all is true.i am scared at all times the fear of fear and i feel like giving up .someone please write in with some help.thanks name BD

Robbin said...

Oh my, this is in response to the july 21st post. You are welcome to email me...sunflower58@cox.net

Hang in there, it is tuff. But we can do this!

Anonymous said...

This post has saved my life. I have been taking Celexa for EIGHT years! I can't believe it has been that long and the doctor gave it to me for migraines. Well, it never helped but recently I decided to reduce the dose from 40 to 20 mg per day and the effects have been profound just like Namaste said in May.
Every time I feel as if I'm falling off the edge, I read the post and think, no, no it's just the drug.
I too have rediscovered my soul, my energy, my creativity and my sex drive. My husband doesn't even mind that I feel crazy right now because of the sex!!!!
We laugh about it, but this is so sad, I've lost eight years to this stuff.
I'm going slowly and I'm hoping all these symptoms will get less and less.

Robbin said...

I too found that this page is the only source of strength I have had coming off this stuff. I truly believe it has helped my life more than words can say. I read it every day, the same posts over and over.

Hang in there y'all. It is getting better. Now my brain washes are only every couple days and short lived. I am loving it!! OHHHH and the sex....omg!

Anonymous said...

This website has been a lifesaver. I've been on celexa for 7 years. I am on my fourth day of withdrawl. I feel horrible but am bound and determined to get off of this stuff.
Thanks for all the encouraging comments. My strength comes from the Lord and as the Bible says, "these things too shall pass." God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I thought I was going crazy and wanted to check myself in. I reduced my dose from 20mg to 10mg about 3 weeks ago. Almost 2 weeks ago I started having headaches and and muscle and joint pain. It has not stopped. I can't sleep and I too have had the vivid dreams and several other symptoms. I went to the doctor this week and he did not catch this. He sent me for blood tests for everything under the sun.

Does anyone know how long this lasts and will it start again as I drop to the next lower dose? Like you I wanted to feel normal again, but this is not normal.

Thanks for keeping from going insane.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Bless you. I got on Celexa in the summer of '07 for panic disorder, and just a week and a half ago switched to Wellbutrin. I wanted to go completely off, but my psychiatrist listened to what I didn't like about Celexa and convinced me (in the moment) that switching was a better idea-- mostly because I am getting married in September.

I, too, have gained a lot of weight (30 + pounds), and nothing I do seems to lower the weight. Wellbutrin is supposed to *maybe* help with the weight, and it is considered an "active" anti-depressant. I definitely feel like I have been removed from the tired, listless state of being I have been in over the past 2 years.

I am in school to earn a bachelor's degree, and my lack of interest and energy has made the last couple of years painfully difficult motivation-wise. I am an English major, and writing has always been my passion as well. I also experienced a massive drain in my desire to write, which has had me feeling insecure about my choice of major as well as future career goals.

Some things have improved on Wellbutrin, but I am also experiencing more of the weird balance episodes as I did on Celexa.. except now they're more fequent and more jarring. I just want off it all.

I, too, have read that one should taper off slowly, and I have read a lot of accounts where people still go through horrible withdrawal even after considerable tapering. This angers me to no end. I am going to quit, and I will probably go through withdrawal no matter what. We're essentially prescription drug addicts, and I hate it!

A year ago I tried tapering off Celexa with the intention of quiting, but I apparently did it too fast-- according to the doctor, and my withdrawal symtoms sound just like yours. I panicked and convinced myself that meant I was severely depressed and needed to be on them for life. I feel differently now knowing it is a cleansing process, but I am still not looking forward to it.

Something else I have experienced from being on Celexa is memory loss. It is scary! Simple little things I could've known in my sleep have escaped me! These drugs are B-A-D. Maybe a small dose for a few months to treat a minor problem is ok, but my doctor is happy to keep me going forever. I think many people are dealing with the same from their doctors.

I plan to exercise a lot to deal with the anxiety and overload of emotions this time. I also like your suggestions for meditation, and observation of feelings. Thank you for sharing.

Namaste,
Sherri

donna said...

I couldn't stop crying as I read Tammy's first post. I've been on celexa for 5 years, and decided 3 weeks ago to start decreasing dosage (I am now off). I, too, had lost me...I had very little emotion and zero passion. My husband said he missed "Donna, unfiltered." And now I am going through the dizziness, horrible dreams, insomnia, and crying jags. Thank you so much for having this blog, and to everyone who has commented. Knowing others have done it will give me strength.

Robbin said...

ok gang, I am, for the most part, past the major physical stuff and now it's the inner b*+^* that lives in us that used to only show up for a visit once in awhile but now wants to reside. Now what am I to do with her?

Jonathan said...

Thanks to everyone for the posts about this awful withdrawal. I've been of Celexa for about six weeks and sometimes the anxiety is almost more than I can bear. I broke down and took some Celexa a while ago to reassure myself that I really feel so bad from the withdrawal. It's kicked in and I feel better, so it has to be the Celexa. So tomorrow, back on the train. The worst "cessation effects", as the shrinks call them, have been anxiety, aching muscles and headaches, flu-like symptoms. The anxiety can be crushing. I've been on SSRIs for 18 years, so I guess I can't expect this to be a picnic.

Melissa said...

Thanks for this post. I went off just 3 days ago (from 5 mg - I take the smallest dose and cut it in half!) after being on it for ~3 years. I didn't know why I felt so dizzy and tingly, and thought that I could at least blame the dizziness on it being peak allergy season, even I had no other allergy symptoms... Apparently that isn't the case!

I will say that I'm glad I was initially put on citalopram (celexa). I was unable to hold a job because of panic attacks and had severe social anxiety, in part because of complications from other medical issues. (Straight A "skipped a grade" student goes to college -> gets narcolepsy and doesn't know it -> falls asleep in classes and/or runs out and cries in the hallway to avoid letting the professor see her fall asleep -> eventually drops out.) I wasn't digging myself out of the hole I had gotten in on my own with counseling, etc., and the only thing that helped was the citalopram (after being prescribed 4 other far more horrid things first). But, now that I'm in a stable relationship/job/etc. I wanted out and feel I can do it safely.

Does anyone else feel like they can't remember what happened as well before going on the drug? It's like when I'm on citalopram, I much, much more clearly remember things that happened while I was taking it. I may be superstitious, but that's the biggest reason I wanted out. My wedding is in 2 months, and I don't want to risk that it would be something I can't remember clearly if & when I go off meds in the future.

Oh goodie, another dizzy spell with the swooshing sound between my ears just happened...I read somewhere that the withdrawal can last up to 8 weeks. By pure chance, I stopped taking the pills exactly 2 months before the wedding :) Good timing I think...

Best of luck to everyone going through this... -Melissa

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, best of luck to you. I think one difficulty with this experience is that we all don't suffer from the same problems. Your withdrawal symptoms are very similar to mine, however. I've had some brain zaps, but mostly anxiety, which I suffer from anyway, and muscle/joint aches. I think the aching is the worst part. Tylenol helps some for that. Mostly I have to tell myself that what I'm going through is just for now and that it will go away. I try to treat myself well too, whether it's taking a hot bath or a nap. Just simple stuff.

Jon

aimee said...

I was on cylexa for 2 Years and stopped taking it 5 days ago.I am feeling like have the flu.the mind "ZAPS"Are a killer.i didnt think the withdrawl symptoms would last this long.It sucks.my anxiety feels out of control but I'M JUST hoping it gets better soon.

Anonymous said...

Aimee, have you talked with your doctor about withdrawing slowly? Most people seem to have better luck than by sudden cessation.

Jon

Anonymous said...

This is the most helpful site I have found and makes me realize my symptoms are "normal". I was on lowest dose of Celexa for 2 months after falling down a dark hole following an ugly betrayal and break up of a longterm relationship.I had all the side effects and more as described in these posts. My physician switched me to Effexor. After one week of 37.5 mg one time per day I was supposed to increase it to two times per day. The side effects worsened and I also started having tinnitus (ringing in the ears) 24 hours a day. I have never experienced anything so debilitating and crazy making. I weaned myself off the drug slowly but now 3 weeks later still have continual brain zaps and this terrible tinnitus. Has anyone else experienced SNRI related tinnitus? and, if so, any advice on how to deal with it? Thanks.

Robbin said...

Effexor was the WORST thing that I ever had to overcome. By far the hardest and no doubt I had the worst withdrawals from it. I did it very slowly but for a couple weeks after the last dose I was ill. And for about 3 days I was actually bedridden with very flu like symptoms. I had a huge brain wash/zap and nearly passed out, dropping to the floor for a couple minutes and when I stood up, the side effects were all over for good. VERY STRANGE! But please do hang in there, it does all go away.

Anonymous said...

I withdrew from Effexor once. It wasn't much fun! There's a good web site to help with this stuff. You may know it already but if not, it is: http://www.theroadback.org/

It's a free site, no fees. All the info is free. This is not an advertisement. They recommend certain supplements to help with the withdrawal and I must say that they do help, especially for me with the anxiety and muscle/joint pain. It's better today, so I know I can get through this.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Okay, things are getting worse if possible. In addition to the anxiety and joint/muscle pain, I now have insomnia and nightmares. Hardly sleeping at all, nothing works. I'm going to make it through this!

Jon

Ariane said...

Thank you so much for your honest insight on this. I started taking Celexa almost a year ago and I have found that though I enjoy many of the benefits of being on such a medication, I have lost the energy, creativity and pizazz that makes me who I am. I am a shallow shell of a person walking around the world like a zombie. So a few days ago I forgot to get my refill and things happened that blocked me from getting it for the following couple days. So I decided to try to go off it. Unfortunately this means I'm going cold turkey. Today was the beginning of some serious anxiety, crying, irritability, headaches and jolting, brain-zapping weirdness. I feel that anything that causes this much trauma, is something that I don't need. I will take the roller coaster emotions over being a zombie any day.

Becky said...

I was on Celexa (anxiety) for only 20 days before I decided it wasn't for me. I experienced low blood pressure, jitteriness, and dizziness. My dosage was 10mg for the first 10 days, then 20mg for the next 10 days. The next day I dropped back to 10mg. Took that for 2 days, then dropped to 5mg for 2 days. When I first began dropping back on the mg, I had ALOT of dizziness and my blood pressure would spike. Now I'm on my second day of 2.5mg. Tomorrow I'm not taking any of this med. I continue to have dizzy spells, though they seem to not be quite as bad. I did not think I would have experienced withdrawal symptoms, since I had taken it for such a short time. Of course, I was experiencing the dizziness while I was on the prescribed mg. I don't think I had gotten past the original side effects. I'm hoping this dizziness will disappear as soon as the Celexa is completely out of my system.

Anonymous said...

Becky, I wish you all the luck in the world. Keep us posted! Are you doing this in consultation with a doctor? I've been completely off celexa for eight weeks and am still suffering bad withdrawal, but I was on SSRIs for eighteen years so it may take a while. I'm going to start on a low dose of prozac tomorrow so that will hopefully curb some of the jitters and aches. This is one of the worst things I've ever gone through!

Jon

Lou said...

I have been on celexa now for about 6 years and recently increased to 40 mg. After reading this blog, I think I have experienced some of the same side effects that you all have....weight gain, loss of interest, NO sex drive, etc.

Two weeks ago, I went to a weight loss doctor to help me lose weight. He gave me phentermine to take once a day. After a week, I couldn't tell it was doing anything, I was still hungry. I went back to him and he told me to take 2, one in the am and one at noon. I started doing this about 3 days ago and I feel like I am having the withdrawal symptoms that you have mentioned...bad headaches, bad dreams, aching neck, and jerky legs. I had read that there was an interaction between the two drugs, but still don't quite understand what it is. But what I think is that the phentermine is decreasing the effectiveness of the celexa and causing these symmptoms. And I think the celexa is keeping the phentermine from doing it's job, because I am still hungry after taking 2 pills a day.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do? I really want to come off the celexa and my Dr. told me a year ago I could try and wean myself off, but everytime I tried, something major would happen and I would put it off. What type of weaning process is there and for how long?

Please help! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Update: I went on 10mg Prozac yesterday for two reasons. I wanted to confirm that what I've been experiencing is Celexa withdrawal, and if so, to get a little relief from it. I feel much better after two days of Prozac, so that means that I have been going through Celexa withdrawal. So I will take the Prozac for a week, drop it down to 5mg and then stop and pray I don't go through the same nonsense again.

--Jon

Robbin said...

I sorta did the same thing except with ativan. Think I had four or five pills, took one then half in am and half in pm then down from there. Helped a BUNCH!

Lou said...

Robin, I'm not sure that I understand your last post. Is ativan an appetite suppressant? Were you taking it and Celexa at the same time?

I've started the weaning process to get off celexa and I'm going to see what happens. My pharmacist told me to take one every other day, then one every two days, etc. until I"m down to one a week. She also said I can cut the dosage while I"m doing this.

I'm ready to feel better and I want the phentermine to work and be able to lose all this weight I've gained while being on Celexa.

Doe anyone out there know if Celexa and Phentermine decrease the effectiveness of each other?

Anonymous said...

Ativan is a "minor" tranquilizer, similar to Valium. I used something like it to kill the withdrawal effects from Celexa. It helps with the anxiety. I am loath to use it very long because I don't want to get hooked on tranquilizers. I used it for a month and stopped with no ill effects except for the anxiety from withdrawal coming back. I'm now using Inderal which is not addictive. It's a beta blocker, a heart medication, but it does help with the anxiety. Talk to your doctor and use your head.

Jon

Robbin said...

Thanks Jon for explaining. I sometimes don't write well, get my thoughts ahead of my words.

I have taken phentermine too. It increases the side effects of withdrawals, or at least it did for me. So I quit taking it until I was weened off of Celexa. Phentermine will increase your anxiety level too so be careful on it with your stress level/reactions.

Lou said...

Robin,
when you were on the phentermine...did it work for you? I had been taking two pills a day and it still wasn't suppressing my appetite. Do you think the celexa has something to do with that?

Robbin said...

Lou, 2 pills a day of phentermine is alot. I lost 40 pounds on 1/4 pill per day. My body now compensates for it I think, I can take a half and eat. But I will tell you, phentermine is a tool. You must work with it and CHANGE! The weight will come right back on and more if you don't starting the day after you quit taking them.

I have decided the reason the pills worked for me is that they make me move, moving decreases my appetite and therefor lowers the weight. So the key is to get moving. SUCKS too!

Sarah said...

I've been on 40mg of Celexa for about a month and a half. About a week ago I found out I was pregnant. I quit taking my celexa and now I'm having literally all of the withdrawls. At first I thought it was morning sickness but it isn't, I've had 3 kids before this one. And I am going crazy. I don't know what I should do. I've been drinking a lot of water but I have no energy and I feel sick and weird and disconnected. I don't have a OB yet and can't go to the ER or Urgent Care because I don't have insurance since I was laid off. :( Not sure what to do. But your blog was very informative. I hope this goes away soon.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you may want to talk to your doctor about withdrawing. I know nothing about how the drug does/doesn't affect your child. I withdrew for two months with the same awful effects then went on low dose (10 mg) Prozac for a week. Now I've stopped and the withdrawal is just coming back. I would have been better off just suffering through it. You have a unique situation though that sound like it needs a doctor's help.

Jon

Faith said...

Thanks for all of your posts. They have been very helpful to me to understand my withdrawal symptoms from Celexa.

I have been off Celexa for 4 weeks after taking it for about 18 months. I got up to 40 mg., then reduced to 20 mg.. I was going to wean myself off slower but just decided to quit. I experienced many of the symptoms everyone in this posting has mentioned - dizziness, fatigue, restlessness, nausea, muscle pain, vivid dreams, tinnitus, etc. These have subsided significantly. I now only feel fatigue and have some bad muscle pain for which I am going to a physio therapist for - advil or tylenol don't seem to help.

I have regained my ability to think clearly, feel more alert when I get out of bed in the morning. These things alone have been worth it.

I HIGHLY recommend Tammy's suggestion of drinking LOTS of water, very regular exercise (for me yoga, walking). Relaxation is very helpful and being sensitive to what your body needs, etc. In my research I also learned that fish oil supplements are helpful in the withdrawal process. Do check into this as I believe that they have been a life saver for me.

I know everyone experiences these things differently, but hang in there. I don't think I will ever go back on Celexa or another anti-depressant again.

Take care out there. A well-lived life is truly a gift.

Anonymous said...

I have been off of Celexa (20mg) since 8/15. A couple of days later, I started to feel like I had the worst allergies/sinus infection. I also felt dizzy. I got agitated, stayed home most of the time and forced myself to do my usual tasks. I stopped exercising and started focusing on my symptoms. I used to panick about any little symptom and excessively looked it up online - it's what I am doing now. A few days ago, I put two and two together and realized that this could be withdrawal symptoms. It's really bothering me. The worst is the feeling I get of my eyes moving left to right unintentionally when I try to focus on something or if I move my head. Some days are worse than others. I'm obsessing that I may have a brain tumor. I have ringing in the ears, headaches and these movements which bother me the most. Does anyone have the same eye movement problem that I described - the feeling of both the eyes and brain shifting? I'd feel so much better if I heard from someone who has this also. If this is a side effect, I'll deal with it and stop obsessing. I guess this is all part of the withdrawal. Thanks for any help.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've had the same effect, and if you read other posts you'll see that this is a common withdrawal symptom.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Jon
Thanks for responding. Is the eye shifting/jerking considered a brain zap? Do you think it'll go away? I'm determined to stay off of this drug. I wish the best to all who are going through this.

Anonymous said...

Based on the experiences of others, it will go away. I have seen what you experience with others. I think the most common vision or sensation type feeling is the "brain zap', where you feel like your brain is getting a jolt of some kind. I've had those. The worst problems for me are the anxiety and the aching joints/muscles. I was on SSRI anti-depressants for 18 years so I expect the withdrawal to go on for a while. If you haven't already, do a Google search for "celexa withdrawal." You'll find lots of interesting stuff. I've read that Lexapro is similar to Celexa and there is lots of info about that on the Internet.

Jon

Robbin said...

I had the same eye thing going on and the brain swishes. That was the worst part for me too. Hang in there, mine are nearly all gone. Had one in the last week and was a week or so before that since the previous one. It is so much better and I actually feel better too. Lost weight, just a few but every pound counts!

Anonymous said...

I started Celexa last December for Anxiety attacks (chest and arm pains). I went up to 40 mg fairly quickly.The drug seemed to work and kept me mellow through a big project at work but I was still feeling some pains. In March the doctor upped me to 60 mg. I have not seen anyone else at this level. I started coming off the Celexa 2.5 weeks ago and am down to 15mg for the past three days. While I have had lots of vivid and long dreams and feel a fogginess in the head along with some insomnia I have not had head zaps or muscle aches and such. I have had to take some time off from work to try catching up on sleep. I am going to try 10 mg for the next few days and see what happens. I have a vacation on Oct. 17th and want to try to be free of this. I feel lucky, so far, compared to what some of you are going through and hope that it doesn't worsen as I get to the end.

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Have you run this withdrawal past your doctor? If not, it's usually a good idea. I'm not trying to scare you but the worst withdrawal symptoms came for me after I was completely off the drug, not during the tapering down period. Just so you know, maybe you won't be as surprised if it happens to you. I have had this same scenario occur whenever I've withdrawn from something, whether it's pain killers or SSRIs. As the heroin addicts put it, once you "jump off" things can get a lot worse.
Stay in touch. The group can be a help.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Yes. This withdrawal from Celexa was recommended by my doctor. It is the first time I have ever taken anything other than pain meds. I was pleased with the results but don't think the withdrawal is worth it. After reading the forum I have been a bit worried about the symptoms showing up after I take my last pill. We will see. Thanks much. It is a comfort to know I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

I did 5 mg the past few days and am stopping tonight. It has been difficult with the foggy head and verge of nausea all the time almost like vertigo but not quite. I just want to sleep all day and night. The dreams are still constant (though interesting I must say)The Doctor said I was going a bit fast but perscribed more Lorazepam for me. I had Lorazepam for emergencies but didn't use it much. I do not want to take that much as I know it can be addicting.
I will let you know if it gets lots worse in the next few days.
Work has been great about it but I don't know how long they will put up with me.

Anonymous said...

Good luck and keep us posted! I had to take 10mg. Prozac for a week after I had been off Celexa about two months as the withdrawal had become unbearable. The Prozac helped and the withdrawal from the Prozac had been less severe than from Celexa. I took SSRIs for eighteen years starting with Prozac when it was new, so I don't expect to get rid of them quickly. It's been a long process but it has gradually gotten better. The symptoms you describe seem to be quite common.

Peace,
Jon

Robbin said...

Hi all, just wanted to say "hi" to my friends. I do read often but not post as much as my symptoms are GONE!! I owe all my peace and hope to this website. I looked for years for help and never found it til I found this site. Keep the faith and keep moving forward! We do arrive!!!!

Anonymous said...

Robbin, thanks for checking in. It's good to hear that someone hasn't gotten past the withdrawal! So tell us, all together, how long did it take before you were symptom free?

Jon

Anonymous said...

Woops, I mis-typed! I meant to say that it's good to see that someone HAS gotten past the withdrawal. I guess my hands were shaking...

Jon

Robbin said...

I kept notes but at this moment can't seem to locate them. I will look for them and post closer to exact dates. People who posted on exactness was a huge help for me. A way of giving me a daily countdown I guess. I do know I tapered off for 6 weeks before the last dose. Be back soon.

Sarah B said...

I have been off Celexa now for 12 days and I REALLY want to emphasize that stopping a 10/20/40/whatever dose cold turkey is a very bad idea and NOT the best way to stop. Quitting abruptly can set you up for failure. My psychiatrist said that you should ween yourself off by gradually stepping down the dosage - like 5mg at a time. If you feel symptoms you need to do less - it's all about the gradual withdrawal from your bloodstream. You can even take 5mg every other day or what have you - ir descreases the overall amount in your bloodstream but you don't get the intense side effects.

As for me, I have been crying at the drop of a hat in response to any frustration or irritation but my house is clean, I started a blo, I started singing lessons - it's very odd. I am on a different drug now - lamotrigine - and have been for 4 months; I don't know if that is affecting my withdrawal, but based on what the rest of you all have reported I seem to be experiencing fairly typical symptoms. I can't believe I only need 8 hours of sleep!
Anyway, please be careful and if at all possible very gradually reduce your dosages - there is literally no need to rush it and endanger yourself or make yourself miserable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment. I took lamictal for a couple of years and it worked pretty well. It took about six weeks to kick in, fwiw. It was one of the few drugs I've stopped that gave me no withdrawal effects. YMMV. Even with the generic it was very expensive. Best of luck with it!

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I have never been on an antidepressant before the beginning of July of 2009. My PCP put me on 20mg of Celexa and I DID feel better. I noticed that I wouldn't get annoyed as easily and didn't feel so bad, but I was having sexual side effects. There was just no "feeling" there... So, when I went back to the PCP I told her about that and she put me on 75mg of Effexor. I was only on that for a couple of weeks. The rx said to take 1 for 3 days and then 2 everyday after. But, I just took the one. So, this past Wednesday I forgot to take it and later that night I started feeling weird... I guess those electric "jolts" people have been talking about. And the dizziness was the first thing I noticed. I just stopped taking it. I figured that I haven't been on it that long and I didn't want to have to keep taking something. I called the doctor and they told me that where I haven't been on it that long that I shouldn't have the side effects. But, after looking around online and reading about everyones side effects I'm thinking that they are wrong... Should they have weened me off even though I have only been taking these medications for a short period of time? I just don't like feeling like this anymore... I have felt very irritable, tired, anxious, like I just want to cry all the time... And those weird jolts. I thought it was something with my blood pressure or something... I just don't know if I should just take it and get weened down... Just to stop these awful feelings... Any advice would be extremely helpful!!

:)kristin

Anonymous said...

Kristin, sorry you're having a bad time. Why don't you talk to your doc asap about withdrawing slowly. I used to take effexor and had to withdraw from it very slowly and had no side effects from the withdrawal. The stuff is weird, it's very powerful. I think it's easy for us to underestimate the strength of these drugs. I would be a fool to recommend a withdrawal schedule, but your doctor should be able to manage that. Call him/her tomorrow. To heck with their off days.

Jon

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'd be able to get in touch with the doctor today. It's kind of like a clinic. The lady that prescribed them to me is a nurse practitioner. I called and asked them the other day. I told them that I was dizzy and they just told me that since I haven't been on it so long, that it shouldn't be from that med. So, I didn't know that I shouldn't have just stopped. I did just take one this morning... Hoping that the dizziness and weird feelings will stop and I'll call the doc tomorrow. I just don't understand why the nurse I talked to didn't tell me to not just stop taking them! Is it possible to have these withdrawl symptoms even though I haven't been on them that long?

:)kristin

Anonymous said...

My doctor told me I should be fine and have little adverse effects within a week. Wrong! It's been ten weeks and I'm still suffering, but not as much. I took Prozac-like drugs for eighteen years, so I would expect my experience to be the way it has been. No doctor I've spoken to about this has a realistic view of how powerful these drugs are and how long it takes to get off of them. I'm no expert, but I wouldn't think it would be very long before you felt fine. I don't feel comfortable telling you what to do, so use your best judgment. And call the nurse tomorrow.


Jon

Oleander said...

Similar account to what others have posted except that like Sarah my main symptom is rages. I had tapered off for a long time before stopping. But any amount of celexa kills sexuality and motivation. Those things are back, but when I find something annoying (which is probably the right reaction for me) I now go into a rage and launch a verbal attack. I hope this passes as I need to hold down a professional job. As for The Road Back, I believe the nutritional approach is helpful but the actual product package looks like an overpriced scam.

Anonymous said...

I've read of the rage that sometimes occurs. I don't think you're alone. I've had a taste of it myself. After almost three months being away from Celexa things had almost calmed down. It's been a long haul for me. I went on Prozac for a week to settle things down and that helped. As for The Road Back, I basically agree with you. I've tried some of the supplements and they've been some benefit but maybe not so much as their priced tag would have you think.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Fish oil helps with brain zap! Many people are reporting "brain zaps" from celexa withdrawal. Someone else mentioned that fish oil helps with that and I wanted to second that. The fish oil pretty much eliminates the brain zap, at least in my case. I take the Nordic Naturals; 2 caps per day.

Anonymous said...

This is a good point. I take all three omegas, fish, flax and borage. It does seem to help. I also take vitamin D and
E every day along with injectable B-12 once a week.

Jon

Brads said...

I decreased to 10 mg from 50mg over a 4 mth period at a rate of 5mg/decrease every 10-14 days.
Now at 10mg, I am feeling it. Anxiety after 5 days and depression and neck and shoulder pain after 11 days. Off work the last couple of days. I am due to reduce to 5mg tomorrow. Any suggestions as to reduce or wait til symptoms get better. Thanks. Brads.

Amanda Peterson said...

I am 18 and have been on celexa for about a year now for my depression and eating disorder. The past few months i have gained 10-15 lbs and it is very depressing. Once i found out it was the celexa that was causing this i went off. i usually take 40mg a day then one day i took 20mg and then i took none. I have had a couple of really bad panic attacks and crying. Even a few days later i am feeling better other than the constant dizziness and nausea.
I will only get better from here.

Anonymous said...

I have been on Celexa for almost 9 years and have found the withdrawl process quite awful. I stopped because I am having a sleep study for narcolepsy in 2 weeks and the doctor wants me clear of all meds (Celexa, Concerta)for 2 weeks prior to the test. The plan is for me to resume the pills once the test is completed.

After 9 years I can't remember who I was before taking the pills. People have written that after stopping the meds their creativity and drive for life has returned. Part of me is curious to see what life is like without all of these medications. I am not sure if I should "resume" or try living life med free. One thing I do know is that I can't wait to stop feeling so sick from the withdrawl symptoms.

Anonymous said...

Hey Everyone,

So here is my little story on being on Celexa. It might not be the best story in the world but it is the truth. Remember everyone's experience is different and this doesn't mean this will happen to you.

It all started with me in June of 2006. I was in the process of getting divorced and was in a deep depression. I was seeing a therapist and asked if i could take an antidepressant. I was prescribed Celexa.

I started taking Celexa and worked my way up to 40 Mg a day. I tell you when I started taking it, I felt like a million bucks. I was what you would say Manic. I was more sociable, it helped me ignore the pain of my divorce, and many more things. I would say this was a happy time for me until October of 06.

In October of 06 I was at a movie and I had a panic attack. My heart started racing and my skin became flush. This is when I started to doubt my medication. I also began to notice that this medication was turning me into an insomniac. I decided I could live with this.

In december of 06 I decided to take myself off of Celexa cold turkey. I had good reason to. My divorce was finalized, I had a good realationship going for me, and much more.

Right away there were symptoms of withdrawal. Panic Attack, Vertigo, Brain Zaps, Nerve pain in right side of body, Hot and Cold feeling, Stabbing pain in occipital area in back of neck.

These things caused me to go to the emergency room like 5 times. They did every test you can imagine. They even did an MRA to see if I had an Aneurism. So these withdrawal symptoms got so bad that in March of 09 I had my doctor put me on Short Term disability for six weeks.

During these six weeks i just rested and tried to tell my body that this pain was my friend. and this pain would still be with me when I got back to work six weeks later. I just decided that it would exist with me but not affect me. It's kind of like in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" when Russel Crowe decided to not acknowledge his skitzofrenic hallucinations anymore. They were there but he ignored them.

So that summer I broke up with my girlfriend and moved back in with my dad. I decided to go back to school. I still had all of these withdrawal symptoms but they were slowly weening away. School helped me take my mind off of the pain. I would say that by Christmas of 07 I was having minimal withdrawal effects. It seemed like they became more like episodes rather than a continuing pain.

The neck pain, dizziness, vertigo, nerve pain in leg was completely gone by christmas of 07. I would say that the brain zaps were completely gone by the summer of 08.
To this day I still get that flashing in my vision but it doesn't bug me. I still get leg jerks every once in awhile. For the most part as of October of 09 I am symptom free. I have not taken a single anti-depressant since december of 06 and don't plan on taking any again in my life.

I am personally torn on antidepressents. It helped me but I also believe it scarred my body as well. No one knows what the long term affects are of SSRI's. I would just say use with caution. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Today, life for me is doing pretty good. Yes, life has it's challenges but I know I can deal with it on my own. Please also don't get freaked out and think that my case will happen to you. I believe I was on the extreme end of the Withdrawal symptoms. Please, if you think you can't handle the pain just deal with it and invite the pain to be your friend. It is only temporary and it will go away. Don't give in to taking more of this drug if you don't have to. I believe in all of you! Take care you all!

Anonymous said...

Great Information on this website!! I have only been off Celexa for about a week now and am starting to feel some side effects - brain zaps, fatigue, flu like symptoms. It is crazy how one little pill can cause so much to go on in your body. I know that my Lord will help me get thru this - without Him, I can do nothing. I love Him with all my heart and only want to give Him the glory for this.

One question - I probably haven't cried 5 times in the past 3 years - is this a side effect of the celexa??? Crying is such a good thing - sometimes I want to cry and just can't. This past week I have cried 2 times. It felt soooo good!!

Judy said...

Thank you so much for this! I suffer from periodic panic attacks but, a series of life crises several months ago sent me to the doctor, where I was diagnosed with full-blown anxiety disorder. I am a “non-medication” person – use only natural and alternative remedies – but, I was so desperate and could not function that I “gave in” and accepted a prescription for Celexa. Then I read the accompanying literature….which scared me MORE than the panic/anxiety attacks….so, I would not take it. Then, 5 weeks ago, I had a worse panic/anxiety episode….went to the doctor again, and was convinced to take it – along with Xanax, as needed. Almost 4 weeks “in” I thought I was feeling and functioning better….until I experienced horrible, scary tingling and numbness in arms and legs….plus shortness of breath….which scared the daylights out of me and sent me to the E.R., where I was assured it was “only paresthesia” (look THAT one up!). Followed-up with my doctor 2 days later and was told to stop Celexa “cold turkey.” I questioned not gradually weaning off, but was told that since I had only taken it for "only 4 weeks," it would be fine. Ha! For the past week, I have experienced most of the symptoms described by everyone here: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, feeling wobbly, tingling, numbness, headache, insomnia. It’s debilitating! I feel so much better, though, that I am NOT GOING CRAZY….that this is “normal” withdrawal stuff! I’m just so frustrated, because I resisted taking anything like this for so long….and, now I know why! I’ll take the panic and anxiety over THIS….ANY time! Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I wish you all luck and may your symptoms cease SOON….VERY SOON!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I am currently in withdrawals after taking the maximum dose of Celexa (40mg) for the past 14 years. I am feeling all of these things but at least I am feeling again. I love it and hate it all at the same time!! Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for creating this resource. I have been trying to wean myself off of Celexa for the past 10 months! I was on 20mg and cut it to ten for a few months and then quartered the pills to ~5mg. Each time I lowered my dose, I experienced all the unpleasant and disorienting side effects that you and others have mentioned. I decided I may just have to live with the low dosage until I got the courage to brave the withdrawal again.

Now, at 6 weeks pregnant, I have decided I don't have a choice. Even though some medical providers say it is okay for pregnant women to take anti-depressants, it is still a schedule "C" drug. For perspective, Tylenol is a schedule "B" and I think twice before popping one of those in.

So five days ago, I stopped taking the little "whiff" of Celexa I've been on for the last eight months. The withdrawal has come crashing down on me and I am feeling absolutely awful. The dizziness is the worst, especially since I just recovered from a case of benign positional vertigo. I am hoping that all these symptoms will subside before morning sickness sets in.

Your post and the comments that follow have definitely given me hope that I can come out a better person on the other side of all this mind altering ickiness. In the meantime, I am trying hard to remain functional and keep my emotions in check. The real reward will be getting back to my old self and then giving birth to a naturally healthy and happy baby.

Thanks again and best to all who have shared their experiences here.

Anonymous said...

Ah, fellow anti-Celexa travelers. Good to know a name for the "brain zaps". Also experiencing tinnitis, tingling lips and tongue tip, slight dizziness. So good to hear from others going through this withdrawal. I find if I have used Celexa before the withdrawal is more difficult the more "on/off" symptoms I have. Never again!
Elizabeth

Judy said...

WOW! I can not even imagine taking 40 mg. Celexa….for 14 years no less! Or, even 20 mg. and trying to wean off for 10 months! I started on 5 mg. (1st week); increased to 10 mg. (2nd week); then (3rd week), max dose of 20 mg. – with side effects so severe and scary (numbness, tingling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness), I ended up in the E.R. – after which my doctor had me quit “cold” – which is what threw me into the horrors of withdrawal!

It was a nightmare – but, I am happy to report that the WORST symptoms subsided after 10 days – and the others are gradually diminishing. In fact, today is Day 17 and I actually think that today is the closest to “normal” that I have felt – physically and emotionally. So, hang in there! It seems like forever, when you’re going through it. But, it DOES get better. I agree with Elizabeth: Never again!

Thank you all for sharing. It is so enlightening – and reassuring. I wish you well – in every sense of the word – on this “journey” and hope your symptoms subside with each passing day – and stop altogether VERY SOON!

Anonymous said...

I am on day 6 of withdrawal and don't know if I can make it through. Thank you for all of your comments. It helps a lot. I just don't know how I am supposed to get through my two jobs and take care of my two kids. I quit cold because I wanted to get the withdrawal over with. I've tried tapering down in the past but it just takes so long and I still had withdrawal symptoms. But this is really really bad. Praying to God helps because He is with me through it and I will walk through this and see the other side. The question is how long will it take?

Lisa

Anonymous said...

I was on celexa for eight months and kept gaining weight even thought I was running and eating right. When I finally went to the doctor again I had gained 15lbs. I asked her if it was from celexa and she said no but gave me a perscription for another drug. When I got on the internet I was amazed at the stories from everyone about the rapid weight gain from celexa. I decided to get off celexa and not try anything else. I feel like a real person again. I have emotions and I cried the other day for the first time in months. I guess while I was on celexa I didnt realize how calm I was with no feelings. I am having a few withdrawl symptoms. I am having trouble sleeping at night, sweating or have hot flashes, I can cry again, and being happy, sad and excited somehow all at the same time. I am glad that I got off celexa

Carol said...

I've been on Celexa for the last 4 years. My doc wants me off so that I can try a new pain med for my fibromyalgia. Well, I've tapered off from 40 mg. to 20 mg. to 10 mg, to 10 mg every other day, and this past week to nothing. I'm having freaky symptoms as others have described above. Mostly I feel hugely depressed, and am crying at the drop of a hat. I don't feel good about this, in fact, I'm tempted to go back on the low dose. But I see my doc tomorrow and will let her know how bad it has been. I don't feel myself at all, sweaty then freezing, ringing in the ears constantly, disturbed sleep, etc. etc. I will not go back on any SSRI or any other kind of med like this again. Hang in there -- I've been off now 7 days and counting.

Anonymous said...

I understand that this is about Withdrawal. I just went to a Nurse practitioner and she thought it was a good idea for me to take 10mg of Celexa. I am having a hard time with making decisions and every so often feel as if a huge amount of weight is on my shoulders. In time it passes... But comes back. I have had many life changes in the past and think that that might be an issue to everything. I got engaged and right now it is at the point where my fiance moved out of my house... I have read some of the side effects and honestly do not feel as if I need this medication. Can someone help shed some light for me. Thanks

Ber said...

Interesting. I find the crying just leads to more crying, and hurts my chest, and I haven't noticed myself writing again - but there is definitely a different way of thinking. I'm switching from Celexa to another SSRI, but the symptoms are nonetheless right on!

Nik said...

Okay; you'd think I would have learned my lesson. I went through a horrible experience w/Prozac last year and I swore I'd never be on SSRI's again. Yet, here I am withdrawing from Celexa and feeling awful.

I went off of my meds last year after my husband almost left me. A year of increasing emotional "zombification" nearly destroyed my marriage. We went through counseling and I tapered off the Prozac and I became myself again. Our marriage was saved, but I went into a deep, deep depression. I went to a psychiatrist right before the holidays last year and she put me on Wellbutrin XL 150mg. It worked for a bit, but then the depression came back. She upped the Wellbutrin to 300mg. That made me start feeling really aggressive anger (so weird for me since I'm such a calm pacifist usually). So, back down to 150mg I went. She wanted to supplement that w/the Celexa 20mg. I said okay in a moment of desperation to get out from under the double blow of depression and over-the-top agitation. Well, 20mg became 40mg and then she added in Buspirone 15mg to help reduce the anxiety that developed.

In the last few months my husband and I started to see those old SSRI demons rear their ugly heads: sexual dysfunction, lack of emotion, inability to connect w/my daughter, weight gain, exhaustion. Last week, I decided enough was enough and I tossed the Celexa into a bag of old coffee grinds and threw it in the garbage.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Now, the withdrawal has hit me full force. I have the zaps, dizziness, nausea if I don't stay full, that feeling that I'm not 100% in sync between my brain and body, irritability, lack of temper control, muscle aches, and an overall flu-like feeling. Yuck. This is the first day that I've been able to link this grossness to my cessation of Celexa, though. I guess I was a little slow on the uptake.

On the bright side: I had a rush of emotion return to me last night while watching, of all things, the new "Star Trek" movie. I tell ya, that Spock/Kirk friendship gets me everytime. AND, best of all, my husband and I had the best sex we've had in months! TMI, I know; but, it's so significant to me.

Thanks to this blog, I've been able to finally make that vital connection between feeling horrible and coming off of Celexa. I hope the withdrawal ickiness is gone soon. Today seems to be the worst day so far and it's been one week exactly that I went off the meds. There is light at the end of the tunnel, I think.

So, thank you to anyone who read my long-winded story. It helps so much just to get it all off of my chest in a supportive forum.

-Nik

A mon avis... said...

First of all.. thank you. This post has saved my sanity! I have been feeling all of this and it is awful. I am 7 days free after 5 years of 20 mg and 2 months of tapering off.

Second, to Anonymous on November 1 (I think it was!) I understand exactly how you feel with not being able to make a decision and feeling overwhelmed. I felt the same way for so long. It is debilitating.

I am going to power through this with water, sleep and the knowledge that eventually the crying, depression and hopelessness will go away. Thank you so much!

Zeeeee said...

Thanks for everyone who wrote. I had been on Celexa for 9 yrs mostly on than off. I tapered off only taking 20 mg for the past 9 mths then I went off 2 weeks ago. It was a huge step but at some point I am planning to have a child and needed to get off the celexa.
I know things will get normalize but one huge side affect is feeling off balance and having a feeling of Empty air in my head.
It sucks today I cried about it! I am happy though, I feel things in my life have normalized and I know I can get through it! Either way, thanks everyone for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have been checking this blog periodically as my withdrawal symptoms have subsided. I am not sure they are entirely gone yet, but I do feel so much better. Also, at 10 weeks pregnant, I feel more morning sickness than disorienting withdrawal. What a relief!

Even with my pregnancy, I have more energy and the fog has lifted. I finally feel completely safe driving my car again as I don't get "brain shakes" every time I turn my head. I felt so down and scared the first time I wrote my story here, but now I am grateful to myself that I had the courage to through it one day at a time.

At 26 days after quitting Celexa, I feel more in control of my real self and that this pill will never be a part of my life again. Hang it there, it does get better!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I've been on Celexa since July and it's been a great help to me. That's just in case someone is considering the medicine and is frightened by the withdrawal symptoms.

I don't think I would have been able to get through this year without the medicine. I am handling this year much better now.

The first two weeks were awful and I felt much worse. I have, however, been much better since August.

My doctor suggested taking it for six months and then tapering off. I appreciate all the warnings about the symptoms of withdrawal. However, even though it may be unpleasant to stop taking, I'm very glad I was given this medication.

Anonymous said...

I went off Celexa 2 weeks ago - the vertigo is horrible! I spent two days on the toilet throwing up! I was warned about possible withdrawl symptoms but I never thought it would get this bad! I am constantly dizzy and have a hard time keeping my eyes open during work. The only thing that seems to make me feel temporarily better is exercise. Send me some prayers guys because I am sooo ready to go back on it just to get off this tilt-a-whirl!

TEtech said...

Coming off slowly will help. The webmd.com instructions on Celexa include "withdrawal symptoms (such as nervousness, headache, numbness, tingling, trouble sleeping, nightmares) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately"

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who has shared their withdrawl symptoms. I was taking 60mg a day. Which, from reading posts is 20mg to much. After going cold turkey,I'm in my second week of withdrawls, and knowing that this is what I'm going through helps tremendously.

Anonymous said...

I was on Celexa(10mg) for anxiety for 5 years and in July '08 stopped taking it I didn't experience anything until this past July(a year later) then I began to feel emotions again it was overwhelming I began to feel like I was "not real" like I was watching a movie and seeing what someone else was seeing followed by felling like I was going to pass out I still feel this way off and on but I think I'm coping with it more I hope to eventually be rid of that horrible "not real" feeling soon I contemplated going back on Celexa when I began feeling this way but I don't want to go back to the apathy and extreme anger I was experiencing while I was taking it the current withdrawal I'm experiencing getting off of Celexa is far better than what I experienced while on it Good luck to all the other posters and take care

Anonymous said...

I'm new to posting and blog sites - not sure how all this works, but THANK YOU to all the folks who have talked about withdrawal from anti-depressants. And Celexa withdrawl, in particular. I have been on Celexa for 8 years, and I have been yearning to 'be myself' again. So, I have been withdrawing since August 09 from the top dosage of 60 mg, to 50, 40, 30, 20. My last pill was 20 mg just over 4 weeks ago. It has been the worst time in my life - the brain zaps, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, dizziness and a few others have brought me to what I feel is the brink. But, I am going to continue to go through this withdrawal and see what happens. My doctor did not warn me about tapering off from 20 mg and I'm furious with that person. With new information from this site, and chats with pharmacists and other health care pro's, I realize that I should have been instructed to withdraw slowly from 20, not cold turkey - 20mg to nothing.
I appreciate reading everyone's support and to know that I am not alone has meant the world to me. Thank you!
I want to post again in a few days or a week and be able to say that the brain zaps and dizziness are getting better...my impression is that most people do have these symptoms subside over time...

- juniper -

Anonymous said...

I often return to read these posts, when I'm having a bad (super bad) day, and considering going back on Celexa. I had been taking it for 8 years, only going off for the duration of my 2 pregnancies. Those times were complete "white knuckle" experiences. Now, I've been off for a few months.

I believe I can manage without, but the trick is going about daily emotions and pitfalls while in the company of two kids under ages of 5. Any of this ring familiar? Oh, forgot to factor in the husband who is still 'medicated' and deems himself stable. Why is this sucking so much....
r_s_hansen@hotmail

Anonymous said...

I just read the most recent post from the person who has also been on celexa for 8 years. I am female too - but older - so no need to go off during pregnancy. (my kids are grown and their dad, my x, has psychiatric issues which I did not know initially, and our kids, male, both have either small mental health or large mental health (schizophrenia) issues)Sorry, this sounds like a downer note ... but pls read on... So tough for a mom to deal with life/finances/health/work AND health issues with hubby/kids and herself....Hang in There! It does get easier, but it can take a while.
I can understand that you are considering oging back on celexa - me too. But it took 5 weeks for the withdrawal to become manageable, exhausting for me, but the brain zaps stopped and I'm at week 6 now and feeling a whole lot better from the terrible withdrawal. I hated being apathetic and feeling asexual and gaining a lot of weight over the years on this drug.
So, I guess we are the best judge of what meds/therapies suit us. It's a challenge to be able to 'work' with a busy family doctor who just doesn't have the time to fully discuss the causes of our depression, and the options available to help us. It's been so easy for them just to write a prescription. Though, I know that I did need an anti-depressant for at least a year or two...the doc was right, but other major issues had to take priority in my life and I wasn't able to get the counselling and time with the family physician to address my own health properly. I chose to take care of my family instead of myself..wish it had have been more balanced.
Anyway, I am now on that journey to better health. And I'm scared too, but feeling positive that it's the right thing for me to do to stay off drugs as I have had some significant side effects in recent blood labs. My other health condition doesn't allow me to have a drink, or smoke something, so the occasional use of valium helps with anxiety and makes a bit difference in how I can get through the day.

Take one day at a time - one minute or one hour at a time. Women, especially mothers, need to care for themselves. I learned this the hard way. As I don't have anyone to help take care of me.
(other than me!)
with hope,
- juniper

Connie said...

I'm almost through week 5 of coming off celexa and I have to say that I never want to take another anti depressant. I've been on several off and on in my life and never had a problem mentally coming off any of them. And only coming cymbolta did I have phycal pain. It has been horrible coming off celexa. Last year in June my mother got Guillian Barre'. Before that in the winter I decided to come off the cymbolta and like I said other than horrible physical pain I was fine. After I quit taking it I was doing great mentally. I had energy, weight was coming off and mentally I hadn't felt that well in years. But after Mom got sick I needed something to get me though so my doctor prescribed lexapro. Due to not being able to afford it and there being no generic I had my doctor switch me to celexa. It seemed like I was getting worse mentally so in July or August I think, I thought the dosage needed to be upped so doctor upped it from 20mg to 40mg. Big mistake on my part. That is when I started having physical side effects that I didn't even relate to the upped dosage. And I was getting worse mentally. One night I sit down and thought about just how I was feeling mentally. And well I was feeling nothing. I wasn't up or down, had no enthusiam or excitement about anything. I was only existing. I had to force myself to do any type of house work the smallest of things looked huge to me. So I decided to look up celexa side effects and wow. I then realized that it was the celexa cause me to feel what I thought was depression but was actully side effect of taking celexa and the physical problems were related to the upped dosage.
Coming off it isn't been easy. My short term memory is shot. If I say something within less than a minute I usually forget what I have said. After the first week I was starting to catch myself picking up around the house without giving it any thought and before I would have looked at something and just think I will get it later and go to bed and take a nap. Now typing this it has occured to me that feeling what is real depression now, and worrying will I need to be put on another anti depressant shouldn't worry me at all. I think I started feeling a little excitement when I caught myself picking up around the house and that gave me a pink cloud early on. And so now me feeling depression is just the normal process of coming off this horrible drug. I know the lengh of time it takes for this drug to get out of a persons system and them starting to feel good again differs but if anyone out there can fill me in on how long it took for the depression side effect to lift for them I would appreciate it. I just want to feel alive again, have enthusiam and feel excited about things again. I think it would help me a lot knowing I am not the only one feeling depression in week 4 and 5 of coming off celexa and knowing it will life.
Thanks Connie

Anonymous said...

Connie,
It seems like I'm going through withdrawal about the same as you are - timewise. I think it's been 6 wks now. And I too feel depression, but I think it's a difficult time of year for a lot of people anyway, so I'm not too worried about it. I hope you start to feel better soon. I know that I will feel better soon too. One day at a time is a great motto.
- juniper

Anonymous said...

Good to find this site. Admitted to hospital Oct 26th. Doctors not sure if it was the depression or colitis flare that hit first. I think it was the colitis. Put on Celexa, didn't do anything for me. Saw a the phyciatrist just over a week ago and he stopped the 30 Celexa and started me on remeron. Stopped Celexa cold on Dec 1st. Discharged from hospital on the 3rd. Since then I have suffered from tingling sension in my tongue, face, hands and feet. Having anxiety, weird dreams and feeling unwell, sad and hand tremors. I thought it was the Remeron until I googled celexa withdrawal. I'm feeling a little better now that I know why I feel like I do. I'm praying this will not last long.

Memzie said...

I'm happy to find this site. I've been on many different SSRI's in the past 18 years. A couple of years ago, MD switched me to Cymbalta. I was able to switch from Cymbalta to Celexa, with only a few weeks of moderate to severe symptoms. Now, I'm ready to tackle Celexa withdrawal. I am sharing all of these posts with my family (husband and two sons) so they will know that what I'm about to do is going to have ramifications for the whole family. I need them to understand and help me through it. I'm going to wait until the first of the year, because of the holidays, to start my taper. I'm at 80 mg, so this is going to take a while .... I'm happy to be here where others are going through the same thing.

Connie said...

Memzie, if you need any support you are welcome to email me. My email is iluvhawaii@live.com
I am in week 7 and things are going a lot better. What I have found is that different withdrawal symptoms happen at different times. And some that were in the beginning reappeared in the middle and toward the end. Also I thought the worst of it would be in the beginning. What I found out was that I didn't have nausia and some other things until about the middle of 1-8 wks. One to eight weeks is the gauge I'm using but I also keep in mind it may take longer and I'm ok with that. What has helped me though the tough times is to remember these two things,
1) This to shall pass.
2) I'm not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I use to be.
I know it will continue to get better. I think it is great that you are letting your family know what to expect. I finally had to let my husband know the best way he could help me was to just let me be where I am at, at any given time. God Bless him he wanted to help so much and would say things and tell me things to do thinking it would help and it just made it worse. So after talking to him and him letting me be where ever I was at and am at has helped so much. Again feel free to email me.
Connie

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I had done a search on this topic. Your insight is bringing tears to my eyes...or is that just my withdrawal lol...my doctor had me taking 3-20mg tablets of Celexa...I've been taking this for years and I, like you, felt something missing. That something...was "me". I'm haing a really hard time staying on top of this withdrawal thing but after reading your article...I think I have the energy to keep going...Thank you! Kelly

Mcihelle said...

I am getting off Celexa as well. My Dr had me on 40 mg, then took me to 20 mg. She said I could cut it into 10's after a couple of weeks if I wanted. When I went to the 20's, I didn't feel any different so I didn't think anything of cutting them down to 10's. Why bother. Just quit. WRONG! The things that are bugging me are nausea and buzzing in my ears that gets worse when I move my eyes/head too fast. Almost a dizzy feeling at times. I feel that getting off the med is the right thing for me. I hope I won't need it later on.

Thanks for listening (reading) and if you have any ideas on how to settle the nausea, I'd greatly appreciate the advice. You can e-mail me. I did take some Pepto today and also ate some ritz crackers.

speedbump@charter.net

Michelle

juliemom said...

I took 10mg citalopram for about a month. I never liked it too much because of all the side effects. I tapered off in 2.5 mg increments over a few weeks and thought that would be gradual enough. But it's been over a week since I quit taking it and I'm having dizziness, vertigo, abdominal discomfort, twinges, trouble thinking straight, trouble sleeping, restlessness, change in appetite, anxiety, cold, tingling hands, tearfulness, "twitches," oh, and the odd swollen throat sensation somebody mentioned. There are more symptoms but I won't bore you. I went to the doctor yesterday because of the vertigo, before I made the connection. Dang. Now I see all the similar experiences.

Anonymous said...

this was very enlightening - i did not understand the excessive need of sleep - i thougt it was all about wor - i have alineated my friends and cannot even bring it up to call them - little did i know - i have been on celexa for 4 years - going from 20 -40 mg just recently up to 60 mg - depression increased, so does the fogginess and pain in my hip (artheritis???) according to my pcp t will subside (the side effects) - so far it has only make it worse -
i will taper off and quit - thank you for the valuable feedback - i really thought that anti-depressant should t make someone even more depressed - i gained 20 pounds in one year - i love the person who said that the only excercise is to roll from one side to the other - physically i feel exhausted - totally disconnected from my friends and job - I HAVE BECOME A RAGING BITCH !!
renee

And Shine said...

Thank you very much for this post. It stopped me crying for the moment, and that is something!

I started taking Celexa July 2008. My Doc only wanted me on it for 6 months to rewire my brain a little. However, it made me feel so much better I stayed on it until a few weeks ago. Before Celexa I had negative thoughts that made me cry that I couldn't stop and I secretly cried pretty much every day. I also had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. No one knew. After Celexa I stopped crying and had so much more zest for life, and no more panic attacks. My relationship with my bf also became much more peaceful. The down side was it killed my sex drive and diluted my personality quite a bit.

Anyway, I had surgery on Dec 7, and had to stop taking Celexa, (along with food and everything else), about 5 days before the surgery because I was throwing up several times a day. I had already tapered down to only 5mg a day + half a Wellbutrin.

Now I'm 3 weeks Celexa free, and I'm crying again against my will and feeling blue as hell.

This post gave me some hope that if I hang on for another few weeks I might be okay. I suppose I should give it a try at least so that I know one way or the other whether I can experience happiness without SSRIs.

Good luck to all the rest of you out there.

Anonymous said...

i've been t aking 20 mgs of celexa for years and went off cold turkey about 28 days ago. The withdrawal hasn't been too bad but I am soooo crabby. Oh my gosh I don't know if I can take being this crabby. can some one help me?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great blog post! I'm going through the same exact thing. Stupid drug! I can't wait to get it out of my system.

Rachel said...

I have been on anti-depressants since April 1988 and have since learned that my problems were adrenal-related. So I've been working on strengthening the adrenals and part of that is coming off the celexa i've been on since 2002. I've been on 20 mg. I weaned off of it over a few weeks, but now I'm thinking i should have gone much slower. So far, the mornings are the worst for me. I had no idea the withdrawals would be this bad. Depressed, anxious, but so far my dreams aren't bad and my sleep is okay. However, it's only been a week since I've taken my last 5 mg pill. I thank you for this site which has been a big help! My faith in God and the help from some dear friends is what's keeping me grounded.

Samantha said...

Hi all...I've been kinda lurking on this page the past few weeks, and now finally feeling like posting something. I went off Celexa roughly 6 weeks ago (give or take) and have had an interesting constellation of symptoms. After about 2 weeks of quitting, I noticed that I was very emotional(crying easily, irritability, panic attacks) At the time, I did not attribute it to quitting the Celexa. You see, I've been on antidepressants off and on for most of my adult life, and have never had side effects from quitting anything. I was on Celexa for about 2 years, and quit it because I was in the process of moving and ran out of refills. At the time, it was not a huge priority, since my Dr. did not really warn me about stopping it. Boy, was that a mistake....I had the panic attacks and most all of what everyone here describes, and didn't know what the heck was going on until I got online and stumbled across a website by accident, which it turn led me to this site. I can tell you, after 6 weeks, most of the symptoms have gotten better, although I still have emotional issues , just like I have had most of my life. My biggest issue at this stage is irritability. It has gotten to the point where I don't want to go out in public because I'm afraid I'll get in trouble. Yes, it's that bad!!! I cannot handle just an outing to the gas station sometimes because I get so angry with people so easily. My poor husband has had to deal with me for the past few weeks, and for that I'm truly sorry for him.... I'm sure my poor kitties don't know what to think of all of this, since they seem to be in trouble a lot lately, lol. I made an appointment with my new Dr. so I can figure out what to do about this, hopefully without having to go back on Celexa. I've gained so much weight, which I know was probably the Celexa, and just recently found out that I have an underactive thyroid. Whether or not this has to do with the Celexa, I have no idea, but it just might. I have no doubt that I will probably end up on another antidepressant, since I've had issues all my life, but I will try to stay away from this stuff....I know these drugs tend to dull me, but being dull is a lot better than being in jail, which is where I'm afraid I'll end up if I don't do something. I know I can't stay at home 24/7!!!!

Julie said...

Hi to the previous poster,
I just wanted to say that I have been tweaking my dose of thyroid hormone over the past few months and that it has had a HUGE impact on my mood. I don't know whether it affects everybody that way or not, but I found that when it was a bit too low I was crying all the time and when it was a but too high I was a raging maniac. So my new motto is: Never underestimate the power of thyroid hormones. My main symptoms of hypothyroidism (before it was treated) were extreme need to sleep (12 hours/night), constipation, cold hands and feet (wearing multiple pairs of socks), feeling down, etc. (but people's symptoms vary). I hope you get some answers and feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

hello everyone...i have been on this website on and off for about couple of weeks. i am soooo glad i found it because now i have the courage to stop my celexa after 6 months. i had taken lexapro for about 5 years on and off and really did not like the feeling. my doctor recommended celexa about six months ago after not being able to tolerate lexapro any more and i felt a bit better. i am the kind of a person who does not really like to take medication, ESPECIALLY anti-depressants! i consider myself strong and had to go through a whole bunch of pscychological stuff to allow myself to take lexapro to begin with. to make the long story short, i did well for maybe a year on 5 mg of lexapro and then it was not so much fun. i honestly believe that your body becomes immune to the stuff you are putting into it and starts rejecting it after a while. at least that is who i felt. i even uped my dosage to 10 and felt worse. anyways, i was on 10 mg. of celexa for six months and last week after going to another doctor and finding out that i too have thyroid issues, he recommended to taper off of celexa. he also mentioned that a lot emotional mishpas come from hormonal issues to begin with and depression and/or anxiety are definitely amongst them. i am glad i have started to take the initial step and have taken 10 mg. of celexa every other night for the past week. this week, i have put it out of my regimen completely since i have started taking westhroid for my thyroid and it seems to be working for me. i too have gained a lot of weight in the past few years after the birth of my 4th child and cannot stand how i look. i would looooove to loose 20 lbs. and look like who i was before i put all this garbage in my body. i am a bit angry at the doctors to prescribed pills so easily without giving us the warning of how it might make us feel in the long run. i was even told that it is best to stay on a low dose of either lexapro or celexa for the REST OF MY LIFE. can you imagine? i am currently 42 yrs. old and have a birthday coming up on the 15th...yipi :) i want to get my energy, sense of humour, zest, and basically my LIFE back. i do have major head-aches and dizziness most of the time and i kind of relate it to having 4 kids and not enough time to myself. but exercising and walking in beautiful sunny weather of los angeles, california can be so refreshing. thanks for listening to me and i would appreciate any feedback. i am hopeful not to experience any more side-effects but will let you guys know of my progress. love, peace, and unity to you all. may we all have a wonderful beginning with the beginning of 2010. AMEN :)

Rachel said...

I posted on Jan. 1 and I too have hypothyroidism and I have to wonder how many of us who have thyroid issues have been on anti-depressants when what we really needed was to get our thyroid hormones right. Today, it's over 2 wks since i've been off celexa completely after tapering off. My worse symptoms are anxiety and nausea. I can handle the back aches, tiredness, weakness, irritability, hyper-sensitive, tho they are not fun at all, but the nausea and anxiety YUCKKKKKKK. Thankfully, tho it's cold, the sun is shining today. I'll go for a short walk to get some air.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow it will be three weeks since I stopped taking Celexa. Still having the swooshing sound in my ears. I can't wait till I am back to normal. I hope it will be soon!

i'mjustsayin said...

Hi, I have been reading the posts here, and I have been taking Citalopram (generic for Celexa) for about 3 years. I have reached the point where the effects of this medication has clearly changed me in so many ways. I wish there was one thing I could list that is positive but I can't. I am preparing myself for slow and steady tapering in 2 days.

I am 35 years old and mother to 2 small children. I began this whole thing taking Lexapro. I was 6 months pregnant when my mother died from cancer, and after her birth I lost control of all my emotions between my mom dying and having a new baby. It was horrible! So i opted for a temporary fix and just never got off of it.

About 6 months of paying $100/month for the Lexapro, I asked my doctor to prescribe me the generic version of it. Unaware that she switched my to Celexa I happily paid $4.00/month for my med. It's sad, because had I known I changed this crucial medication from the cream of the crop version to the dirty version I would have kept paying the $100/month!!

In the last year, I have visibly gone from a very upbeat, happy person. Loving and affectionate, caring and responsive to people's needs to an unpleasant, numb, flat, unresponsive person that my life has continually gone down hill including my work, my marriage and my overall well being. I hardly laugh anymore, I argue continually with my husband, I can't ever understand why he can't see things my way so small arguments explode into huge "heading for divorce" like arguments, I avoid anything and everything that has to do with stress, confrontation, anger, sadness, etc. Basically I just flat out avoid it because I don't know how to deal with it. When I am confronted with long conversations the best way I can describe myself is like Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good as It Gets" when he is in the cafe and Helen Hunt is trying to talk to him. He gets fidgety, annoyed, and impatient. I have a great lack of compassion and a strong detachment from family and friends. I have withdrawn from almost everyone I know in a physical manner, the only communication I have regularly is on Facebook or email.

That's me in a nutshell. I have allowed this to go on for so long because i didn't know what it was that was making me be like this. I guess I just assumed it was me changing for other life reasons and I never connected the two. Currently I am on 40mg Citalopram. I started on 10mg. And have bumped up to 40mg within a year and half. I am maxed out on my dosage amount and now I just take the pill so that I don't fall into depression and get worsened psychological issues. It does nothing for me at all.

i'mjustsayin said...

These are my symptoms:
- depression
- crying for no reason
- thought of suicide
- hair loss
- picking at my fingers and nails
- anxiety
- low self esteem
- trouble speaking and choosing words
- withdrawn from family and friends
- tired and groggy all the time
- trouble sleeping
- vivid dreams and nightmares
- trembling in my sleep (spasms)
- zaps
- muscle and joint pain
- feelings of giving up on everything I have worked for and care about
- weight gain
- forgetfulness
- headaches
- lack of motivation
- unable to prioritize my day; work and family


When we figured out that it was the medication - the night we were most definitely separating- we stopped in our tracks and started educating ourselves with these psychiatric drugs that are given willy nilly to people that SHOULD NOT BE ON THEM! Long term especially. Why aren't the doctors keeping track of the people that are not clinically depressed? I was clearly not someone that fits that shoe and it was CLEAR to my doctor that i just needed short term help to get me through the post partum and death of my mom. I feel like a fool to have got sucked in to this for so long. I always had a fear of getting off because there was always some big "life" thing going on to not deal with it.

My husband has also suffered a great deal and just when he thought there was no helping our situation for some reason this problem clicked when it did. We are more of a unit now helping each other, but he has gone through a lot of emotional damage and stress that makes him uneasy. I have to remember this is not ALL about me. But it's hard because I am emotionally incapable of being as compassionate as he is.

The one thing about me is that I am a very strong spirit. (Like my mom was) and I am very much into meditation and affirmations. I know for a fact that there was a divine intervention that came to us the night Dave connected the medication. There was absolutely no reason for us to turn the corner towards healing that night, rather than us trying to figure out what we are going to do about our separation; kids, living arrangements, etc.

Through all of this chaos, there was always a part of me that begged to live better, that begged to let my husband know how much a truly love him and that begged for me to be successful running my own business. But it was like it was behind a huge glass wall and couldn't be heard. I have had dreams of alter ego situations, it's like the real me wanting to show herself but the medicated me is so overpowering that i couldn't be heard. I am so sick and tired of this mental B.S. I just want to be myself again!! I know its going to be a rough road ahead, and I need all the help I can get to remind myself that its the medication that is talking - not me.

I am very excited to hear some feedback. I think this will be a really good thing for me to look forward to every day. We all need inspiration and to feel like we are loved and understood. I hope that I can be of some help too!

Anonymous said...

For I'm Just Sayin. Your story reads almost like my life on celexa. I posted on here a while back. I was completely flat lined when it came to feelings and disconnected myself from people and places. I also started out on lexapro due to my mother getting sick and being in hospitals and a nursing home for a total of 4 months being weaned off of a ventilator. (I am sorry for your lose of your mother). Later I also had my doctor change me to celexa due to the cost. Thinking my dosage just needed to be upped I had my doctor to up it. Bad mistake I only got worse. After sitting down and thinking and asking myself just how did I feel I came up with I feel nothing. Each day was a challenge. I would have to force myself to do anything around the house and to go out to get groceries. My husband would fuss at me telling me I just needed to get out and be around people. Which made it worse. We had a talk when I started coming off celexa and I asked him to just let me be where ever I was at, at any given time and that would be helping me and supporting me, which is what he wanted to do. He just wanted the old me back and so did I.
I am happy to say I am through it now. After about the 7th week I lost track of how long I had been off it. But now I believe it has been about 3 months and what a difference. Life is so much better. I still have a way to go but I think that may be due to I got off track taking my thyroid medicine during all the withdrawals. I would take it a day or two and forget the next 3 days. So 4 days ago I told myself I cannot forget anymore. So take heart it does get better. I quit completely without tapering. This works for some and not for other. So my withdrawal was more intense. But thanks to this site I knew how to combat it. Benedryl became my friend for a while for the anxiety. Dramamine for the nausea also helped. But what really helped was these three things, 1-Letting myself be where ever I was emotionally or mentally at any given time and not beating myself up. 2-The saying "I'm not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I use to be." And 3-This to shall pass.

Anonymous said...

My husband was put on Celexa 10mg for one week then upped it to 20 mg which he took for one week. He has been having severe sleep apnea. So a total of two weeks. He was sucidal and crying, feeling alone. He decided (against my advise) to go off cold turkey. So that was on New Years day and it is now 11 days into withdraw. Then with this not sleeping the sleep doctor then put him on klonopin which again is very scary. He slept a bit for a couple of night then last night just flew off the handle for no reason. He was crying and packing his bags. He did not even know why. Has anyone had memory loss? He did say that he was having the brain zaps yesterday. I keep telling him that it is the withdrawing from the celexa. This is so bringing me down. I don't know how to handle much more of this. I am trying to be so strong through all of this. The only saving light is that we are trying Qi Chong, which is by a chinese master. He has had one visit and his blood pressure was down. That is another think, he needs to get off the blood pressure meds.

We did go to a therapist and she said he is not depressed but lacking in sleep. So Celexa was not the thing for him to be on and now he is suffering. Then to be put on Klonopin - again scary. Sleeping pills are not working. I am praying that the chinese doctor will help him and we can get through this.

So please, if anyone has had memory loss can you let me know and does this go away in time?

Mariah said...

HOW LONG until these unbearable symptoms stop? I have read many posts but nobody has said how long it takes to feel normal again. I am completely disabled by dizziness, forgetfulness, nausea, diarrhea, brain zaps, tremors and anxiety. Was on 60 mg of Celexa for a year, but on various SSRI's for 17 years. I went cold-turkey but am simultaneously adding in Welbutrin as a substitute.

Amanda said...

I too suffered from memory loss - while I was on Celexa. It was bad - I thought I was losing my mind. Now that I have been off for about 4 weeks, my memory seems to be coming back a little bit at a time. My withdrawals are almost gone - and I am so happy - that was awful!

Anonymous said...

Miriah,
My time line went as follows. After a few weeks the anxiety let up a lot. I found by a suggestion on this site that benadryl helps and it did. I also took over the counter sleep meds for the sleep. The nausea was off and on for about 6 weeks. It was odd. One week fine the next I would have nausea for a few days. Then another week fine for it to return again. The brain zaps was pretty much off and on for 8 weeks. It helped to to remember "this to shall pass" and "I'm not where I want to be but thank God I'm not where I use to be." I think it is finally now all out of my system. Though I do still have the problem of once in a while saying something and as soon as it leaves my lips I forgot what I said. But I know that will pass also. Just hang in there. Allow your self to be where ever you are at mentally and physically at any given moment without beating yourself up. And know that what ever you are feeling at any given moment will pass. If you need me my email is iluvhawaii@live.com I will answer your email as soon as I get it. Just write celexa in the subject line. Take care of yourself.
Connie

Anonymous said...

hello everyone...i left a message not too long ago. it is exactly 8 days i am off of celexa after taking it for 6 months and lexapro for 5 years! i took lexapro because i was going through tough times with 3 kids and an unexpected 4th pregnancy and a bankruptcy as well as some sibling issues. life was throwing it at me big time :) i must say the lexapro helped me for about couple of years but after that it was useless or maybe i did not need it any more. i am soooo angry since my doctor did not recommend to wean myself off of it but actually told me to up my dosage. i am not a person to take drugs and did not listen and stayed within my comfort zone of 10 mg of lexapro. i was having massive head-aches and was so lightheaded sometimes i had to take naps during the day! i gave blood test and nothing was wrong and the only thing was that lexapro was not working and there came in celexa. it worked for maybe two months and my headaches returned and that is when i had to make my mind up. i am a very capable person and take care of a tons of stuff on daily basis. this task was the toughest i had to tackle with. i weaned myself against my docs advise and switched my doc to find out i had thyroid problems. i learned today from your posts that benadryl helps with anxiety and i will buy a bottle today and try it out. my main withdrawal is headaches (especially in back of my neck and head) sort of a numbness which does not go away. that is the main thing that makes me helpless. is this a withdrawal symptom? two nights ago i had to go for a long walk, jog since i was having a "civil war" inside of me. do you know what i mean? it felt like my cells were fighting against each other. i never used any drugs (crack, weed, or whatever else it is called) but i think it is how one would feel if they are lacking something in their system. the jog and on and off crying made me so much better. my 4 yr. old was sick last night and i did not sleep at all and today has been a tough day. lack of energy and this annoying headache. can someone tell me when the withdrawals would get better? mother of 4 and a busy household needs a strong and upbeat caretaker. would appreciate any feedback.
love and luck...nikki

Anonymous said...

Great blog post. I know it was written many months ago, but it has clearly been helpful to many people, including myself.

I was on Celexa for about 8 months following a kind of mental snap, some extreme anxiety and a diagnosis of PTSD.

I was only taking 10 mg, and I loved the person I was on this drug. Nothing bothered me, nothing scared me. I was confident, easygoing and friendly. I was able to do things on Celexa that I would have been too frightened/anxious to do before, such as drive cross-country on a tour with my new band.

I weaned off of it and my last dose was one week ago. I looked this up to see if what I was experiencing was likely due to the withdrawl. I am experiencing some dizziness, wooziness, fatigue, weird brain-zaps, and hearing issues. I would list the nightmares too but, well, that's a PTSD issue that I've always had. :)

I wanted to go off of it because I started dating a really great guy a couple of months ago, and while lack of sex drive wasn't one of my issues, I really would like to be able to fall in love. I know I love this guy, but I just can't feel it. I don't wanna miss any more of this great new-relationship honeymoon feeling. I have warned him that I will likely be more difficult to get along with when I'm unmedicated, but he has promised to love me anyway. <3

Good luck to everyone. And thanks for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

About how long will it take for this to be over? I keep having these dizzy spells that only last a second and it makes me feel like I need to eat... like my blood sugar is low.

Anonymous said...

I was on 9 medications last year after being MIS diagnosed with everything under the sun. After an excruciating year-long valium taper and withdrawl, I thought these last two meds would be a breeze. Thanks everyone for validating the feeling that I'm still going through hell. OMG, I thought I was losing my mind with the dreams! I would never have realized what was really wrong without these forums. God bless you all.

Mr. Roman Numeral Five said...

I've just come off Celexa. Your description of the symptoms you're experiencing are spot on...for me at least. I did enjoy never having to worry that my level of anger and irritability would cause me to damage relationships or my standing at work while on the drug, but now that I'm off them I feel those feelings more intensely than ever. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all your stories. I felt very alone in trying to come off this medication and now I feel hopeful I can do it. First I was on prozac for 2 years and gained a lot of weight. Two years ago I quit prozac cold turkey and it was the most horrible experience of my life. For 7 weeks each day got worse. My symtoms were huge "brain zaps", flu like symtoms, my body aching, no energy, very irritable and feeling very hopeless. Finally, after 7 weeks I took a prozac pill and the buzzing in my head went away within a half hour. The relief felt so good but I knew I was now a victim of this drug and I couldn't seem to escape it. I told my doctor all this one year ago and she gave me celexa. I absolutely don't want to be on any meds anymore but feel trapped. After gaining yet more weight this last year I am willing to try to get off meds again. So, in all, I've gained 65 pounds, I too don't have my zest for life anymore, I sleep a lot, and I'm a lot like a zombie. You all give me hope to get through this and I will update you all on my progress. Thank you all!!!

Anonymous said...

I was having a lot of trouble sleeping and my doctor prescribed Immovane, a non-benzo sleeping medication. This did not work very well and after 7 days I was climbing the walls during the day with anxiety, a side effect of the Immovane. Withdrawal from the Immovane was quite bad and after a few days of this my doctor prescribed Celexa; he felt all my problems were caused by anxiety and thought the Celexa might be the answer. I took 20mg for 7 days and by then I was really in trouble. I can't tell you how bad I felt; the restlessness and agitation was so bad I thought I would explode. For me, at least, this is an absolutely vile drug. It had no beneficial effects, only negative. My doctor said to taper off so I dropped the dose to 10mg for 2 days, then stopped completely. That was 11 days ago and today was the first day that I felt reasonable normal. The withdrawal from this drug has taken longer than the total time I took it. The withdrawal symptoms were basically the same as the side effects. Agitation, restlessness, abdominal upset, chest heaviness, tingling extremities and tongue and more. Just brutal. Doctors should be more careful when they prescribe this drug. I am not depressed and should never have been put on an SSRI. I know that now. Too bad I didn't know it then. Keep away from this horrible medication unless you are clinically depressed and there is no alternative. Also, start with a small dose and work up. Better yet, just keep your distance from it altogether!

David said...

Thank you so much for this post! I was prescribed Celexa in 2000 after having a massive panic attack (I though I was having a heart attack!). For the last 9 years I have been on a 20mg dose and as you described life became very mellow. I am married and have a 2 yr old son.

I too missed my passion and creativity. I too slept alot and recently really started getting blurry vision. Maybe from long term use. My doctor said I could taper off to 10 mg and then to nothing.

I am only on my 2nd day but I too feel like I am on speed! Its crazy! I exercise alot and drink tons of water. I will up my video game usage too!

Cant wait until this passes. Its scary to have any withdrawals as I never thought of myself as addicted to a drug!

D

Anonymous said...

I have been taking 20 mg celexa for seven months for anxiety due to a stressful family situation. The situation has resolved somewhat, so I decided to stop the AD.

To get off celexa I cut the dose to 10 mg for two weeks, then two days on 5 mg, then nothing. Now I have been completely off for nine days. The withdrawal symptoms are miserable, including dizziness and nausea (seem to occur at the same time), muscle aches, brain zaps (especially when I move my eyes from side to side) and headaches. Also, one side of my body seems to be "awakening" kind of like novacaine wearing off after a dental procedure.

Maybe I should have tapered longer, but I longed to be my old self again, not the groggy, emotionally flat person I was on celexa. My old self is coming back, which makes all of the withdrawal symptoms bearable. This forum helps me know that I am not alone. The best advice I have seen here is to be where I am on any given day without beating up on myself.
Jennifer

wearehealers said...

What is the best way to ween?

I've been on Celexa 20mg for 10 years. I weened to 10mg last week.

My main symptoms are nausea, tiredness, racing thoughts and chest pain.

I'm ready to do this for real!

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how helpful your post has been for me. I read it a month ago when I made the decision to come off of Celexa. Now, reading it again, I realize that it's soothing me! Your post alone pushed me get through this morning after have some wicked crying spells last night. And you're so right - they HELP and they feel good!
I won't go into the way I was before or during the meds... you've nailed it almost 100% already. In 2007 my doc placed me on 40mg daily - which I feel now may have been a bit much. I'm down to 10mg per day and a large part of me just wants to stop and get it over with.
To all the others leaving comments, I hope and pray you've found peace in your time after Celexa.

Anonymous said...

In regard to the post by wearehealers, I think the best way to wean depends on your individual response to withdrawal of the drug. According to Dr. Joseph Glenmullen of Harvard in his book The Antidepressant Solution, withdrawal symptoms and their severity vary widely from person to person. He suggests reducing a celexa dose from 20mg to 10mg and then staying at 10mg for one month if your symptoms are tolerable and don't interfere with functioning or your daily activities. If you experience only or mild or moderate symptoms, you can reduce the dose to zero after a month. (I personally think you could probably stay at 10mg for longer than a month, especially if you've been on the drug for 10 yrs.) However, if your symptoms for the first reduction are significantly uncomfortable, after a month (or more) at 10mg you can reduce to 5mg or even to 7.5mg. If necessary, you can keep reducing by 2.5mg for a month each time until you're off.

Notice that I did not follow this advice. I reduced from 20mg to 10mg for about two weeks, then quit the med altogether. However, in the past I have tapered off an AD over a period of several months, making small reductions each time, and the symptoms were indeed a lot milder. Afterwards, I stayed med-free for years, which I'm going to try to do this time too.

I hope this helps. I know it must be scary to quit an AD after ten years. Good luck to you.
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Hello again,
I wrote one week ago when I went from 40 mg to 20 mg of celexa. A big part of me wanted to just get this over with but after my attempt to go cold turkey off prozac I knew I wanted it to work this time so I had to go slower. I felt pretty good all week, felt some weight coming off and felt hopeful. I did kind of feel like I was on speed for a few days then by thurs I felt tired and I felt my body starting to bloat again. This is sat and I feel very irritable and the buzzing in my head is getting louder. I will just relax this weekend and see how I'm doing by Monday. I want to make it all the way off this time and being able to read all your comments is helping me. Thanks and I will write again next week.

Anonymous said...

what a relief to read all the comments and sharing!
the same feelings (detachment, alienating dear friends - anti social behavior and excessive napping) that seemed to be related to taking celexa - thanks to this site, i have started to reduce from 20 mg to 5 mg in about 4 weeks - knowing that there are side effects is very helpfull - mine are terrible headaches and pain in neck and shoulders - i will try benadril -
thank you for your support - it takes a lot of courage !

LuLu said...

Are there any comments about how life is after weaning off Celexa? I would like to hear about that.

I'm in week three or four of withdrawal and pray I'm doing the right thing. I worry about being short-tempered and making rash decisions.

And I am so glad I found this thread.

Lisa said...

I'm on day 3 of no Celexa. Your blog described exactly all of my symptoms and experiences, thank you! I am feel really sick and not happy with the withdrawals. I've gone through this many times with other meds but it never gets better...

Amanda said...

LuLu: I have been off about 6 weeks not. I am finally feeling normal! My memory is getting better and I am feeling a lot more emotions (but not in extremes). I feel like I did before I took Celexa, just without as much anxiety. I occasionally get a little withdrawal symptom, usually tingling lips, but I have found they are few and far between. Getting off it after 5 years on has been the best decision!

Anonymous said...

This blog has been so helpful. I don't think that my husband would have been able to get through the withdraws without all the input and information that this blog has given us. I was close to committing him. He has been free of Celexa (cold turkey) for almost 5 weeks. He has some good days then goes into his dark hole for 3 days. There are more good then bad days now. We keep saying that it will get better and life will return to normal. Though his work has asked him to stay home until he feels better. Unfortunatly, he needs to be at work to feel normal. This was a blow for him and set us back a bit. One of the benefits of this whole process is that our marriage has become much stronger. We talk more and all the things that he had buried are now coming out. He is just having a hard time being the "strong man". My feeling is to let me be stong for 2 months then he can unite with me. The kids (teens) are withdrawn from him right now and that also is an upset. Again, we will work on that later. All this from Celexa which he was only on for 2 weeks. I feel totally sad for anyone who is on this drug and has to withdraw. As a caregiver, this reaks havoc on the whole family! I know from reading this site that it will pass, when you are living in it time seems to go so slow. So to any spouses out there, good luck, stay strong and for me I did and still do a lot of praying because I do not know what the next hour will bring.

Thank you again to all who have posted. It has helped me so much.

And Shine said...

In response to the question about being worried about being short tempered and making rash decisions post celexa, I'd like to speak to that.

I am definitely more irritable than I was on celexa, but the irritability is not in general.....only with the areas that I am not happy with, (like my day job). Maybe it will push me to make positive changes. Let's hope.

I also notice that I have much less anxiety than I had before I started taking Celexa. That much is good.

Anonymous said...

Im going on my third week now, I cry a lot, which is a good thing, haven't cried in years. The worst sypmtoms for me are when I lay my head down at night, I hear a swooshing sound along with a drumming noise. I also have awful pain in my neck and can harldy move it. I just feel terrible all over. This sight has helped me a lot. I thought I was suffering from some kind of disease. I pray for us all.

Sarah said...

Wow what an insight. I have been off Celexa "cold turkey" for 7 days. And it has been like the flue for me. No one else has mentioned it this way from what I've read. I feel like I've got food poisoning. I have also been like others said, full of emotions, laughing and crying at the same time. Feeling like myself again but extremely ill. If anyone can help, how long do the withdrawls last??

Lisa said...

I've been withdrawing from celexa for about a week now. I thought I was on 10mg, so I didn't taper myself down correctly. I was really on 20mg. I cut the pills in half for about a week, and then stopped. Big mistake!

This last week has been a living hell. The symptoms have kept me home from work for 3 days. I'm nauseous, feeling as if I was going to throw up at any minute. Saltines and ginger ale helped a lot.

I slept a lot. It felt as if I were seasick all the time. Dizzy, unbalanced. Massive headache that doesn't go away. And the "brain zaps"...electrical shocks in my brain and body that are so devastating I was afraid to drive my car just in case something happened.

I have been experiencing hyper sensitivity as well. Sounds are amplified. I have an increased startle reflex. Lights are too bright, or darkness is too dark. And smells that I used to like are now nauseating!!

My doctor suggested I take 5mg of celexa every other day for a week to get over the withdrawals. That has helped a lot. I took 5mg on Tues and Thurs of this week and I am starting to feel normal again. I am now 2days off the celexa and I hope the effects are done.

My suggestion to anyone on this is to taper slowly. Slower than you want to! Don't go cold turkey. You'll be in a living hell for a long time.

Lisa said...

I also wanted to follow up on the weight gain comments people have made. I took celexa for 10 months. In that 10 months I gained 15 pounds. That probably doesn't seem like much. But there is NO reason for me to gain any weight this past year. I work out 5 or 6 times a week, intensely. I'm training for a marathon. The pills are what did it. :(

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to know withdrawl really well here... and I enjoyed everyones posts. I have been on celexa for 5 years for depression and the last two years I have been tapering off from 60 mg. I have been doing really well tapering down, but of course some physical symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. It has been 8-9 weeks that I have completely discontinued the drug. Now the last week I have felt anxious, overwhelmed, uneasy, nervous which leads to lightheadedness, nausea, weakness. I cant seem to relax and feeling scared. I really dont want to go back on the drugs. I dont know what to do. Please help

Amanda said...

TO the last post by Anonymous - have you considered just taking a tiny portion of it every couple of days to help with the more extreme withdrawal symptoms? I had to do that when I was weaning off it. My psychiatrist said I was so sensitive to it that even having a single milligram seemed to help. And eventually I was able to go 6 days between those tiny doses of Celexa. Then 10 days. Then I didn't need it at all. Good luck and I hope you start finding relief soon!

Deb said...

wow listening to all of you has been helpful. I am on week 2 of slowly stopping my celexa. I have quite a few more pills to go through also. I am tired of all the side effects from these meds. I am looking into different types of health care verses the medical field whom so easily push the pills that only mask the real problem. My worst right now are agitation, anger,anxiety and nightmares that have scarred my poor husband. I have checked several sights and found one to be interesting but costly. but hey as much as I spend on meds the healthy way may be worth the cost. anyone heard of the road back program. I am interested but need to know if others have tried this.

Anonymous said...

I have been on Celexa for the last 10 years and have tried to wean off several times from 20 mg. This past October I started the process again. 20mg to 10mg to 5mg to 2.5 liqued. I finished the last does on December 21st. I thought I was doing pretty well only minor symptoms and then it hit may 4 weeks later. I am now about 2 months from my last does and still have all of the symptoms. How long does it last?

Anonymous said...

I took Celexa for 3 years & made a profound improvement in my outlook, calmness, cheerfulness, etc. It was like it fixed so many attributes & said "I'm on this drug for life"! I decided that I didn't like the sexual side effects & my urologist said Celexa is a negative, along with ageing, & other stuff. So I was already taking less than 20 mg/day on average & just stopped taking it about 3 weeks ago. Dizziness was my only adverse withdrawal symptom until now. Now I sometimes get shortness of breath when I lay down, but more frequently get a panic attack?? when I lay down. If I get up & walk around, I'm fine. I couldn't finish a massage on vacation; the gal thought I didn't like the massage. I think looking down the hole on the table just all of a sudden wigged me out & I laid my head sideways...but it was too late. I had to stand up. After a few times of this I realized it was not insomnia, not too many Margarita's; it must be withdrawal...but it's been almost a month w/o Celexa. How long can this last or did Celexa change me forever? Is that possible?

Mike

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
This is my 3rd post. I cut down from 40 to 20 mg of celexa 3 and a half weeks ago now. last week was pretty bad. I had a lot of anxiety, sleeping a lot during the day and up half the night, shortness of breath and coughing. I am in college right now and I missed 3 days of school last week from just not being able to get out of bed. The alternative of being on celexa was that I didn't have motivation for school work and my huge weight gain so I will keep going. Today was better, I went to school and got a paper done for a class. I just read through a lot of posts again and it brings me such peace. I will stay on 20mg for at least a few more weeks till I feel stable then go down to 10. thank you all for your posts.

Anonymous said...

WOW - I am so glad I found this sight! 7 years on Celexa and now 6 days without cold turkey - had been taking 20mg. I didn't send in my mail order script in time. I have tried to lose weight for 3 years now and have just kept gaining. 6 days of all the symptons listed, I need to stay strong so when the script arrives I have the willpower to not take it. This website is AWESOME!

Joyce

Anonymous said...

I would like to add a more optimistic note. There may be withdrawal symptoms, but they may not be as severe as some here have experienced. I'd been on generic Celexa 40mg for years, and with the underlying cause (cancer depression) now removed, I like others here began to scale down, eventually to 10mg daily before I stopped completely eight days past. I have experienced withdrawal symptoms - specifically dizziness - but it is not like standard vertigo; for instance it did not impair me on a 12km ice skate yesterday (indeed, I felt it less than when I am at rest!). I do have the achy legs, but of course that could be attributed to the afore-mentioned skate :-). I've also noticed increased irritability, but not an emotional reaction that overwhelms one's ability to control it (unlike depression or panic disorder). So am I glad I had access to the drug to get me through depression? You bet. Was it time to stop - yes. Are there side effects of taking and stopping? Yes again, but manageable and better than the alternative. Like the various SSRIs out there, your mileage may vary from case to case, but my message is (a) don't be scared if you experience some withdrawal symptoms - those are normal and temporary and (b) don't get to scared about stories you hear. The thing to remember is - you are ultimately taking control of the discontinuation process - not the other way around!

Anonymous said...

Glad i found this site. I wanted to share my story. I've been on 20mg of celexa for 8 years. I've tried to taper off myself many times but encountered the following withdrawal symptoms: early wakening, irritability, dizziness, and a general malaise. I recently sought out an alternative medicine Psychiatrist MD in my city. He put me on two capsules of pure omega, and 60 mg of 5htp, as well as a multivitamin. He also gave me melatonin for sleep. I'm on day 8 of weaning and my first day fully off celexa. So far so good although still feeling many of the above symptoms. He said the withdrawal symptoms can be brutal but explained in great detail whats going on in my brain. One thing that people need to be aware of is that alcohol can be really harmfull if used at all during this process.

Thanks- JT

LuLu said...

Well, I had a good three weeks, then got PMS and feel like the Celexa with drawl started over again.
In fairness, the physical symptoms- gastric issues, feeling like I have the flu and also a bad headache- were not as bad as January's. Perhaps my brain is better as well, if only because I am aware that I am off meds and so watchdogging my behavior, speech and words. I made immediate environmental and behavioral changes to shore things up- cleared my calender as much as I could, went to bed early, made sure I got in my exercise and tried to stay hydrated. We're also doing work on our house- in the main room that cannot be put off any longer- and I've insisted that we stop working at 5PM and put the room back to a livable state. That has helped a LOT.

The front half of my brain feels numb. I've been on edge due to PMS and the home renovation project [who can be comfortable in one's living room with an air compressor and dry wall lying about?]. I walk on eggshells, very paranoid that I will go off on something. I'm aware that I am snarky and don't let myself talk to my son much. I mean, I still spend time with him, but I don't talk a lot and let him direct what we do, ect. He's 5 so hasn't really noticed. I finally broke down and took a sleeping pill tonight [OTC Unisom]. Please God, let me sleep well tonight.

I'm really annoyed about returning to extreme withdrawl symptoms after being off the drug since the beginning of January 2010. But it looks like Celexa with drawl is tied to my PMS cycle. Sigh. I love being a girl.

Aaron H. said...

This site has been very helpful for me. I recently reduced my Celexa dose from 30 to 20mg and felt many of the side effects mentioned. I thought I was going crazy. I was originally put on Celexa (20mg) in September 2007 and upped the dosage to 30mg a day in February 2009. I have gone cold turkey several times just to feel normal again. I believe it may have been my depression magnified by the drugs that resulted in stopping the medication. Each time I stopped taking Celexa, I would end up in an almost catatonic state after just 3 days off the medication. The last time was July 4, 2009, when I ended up in the emergency room. It felt like my brain had disengaged from my body and I ended up unresponsive on the cold hospital floor. My wife and several nurses had to subdue me before I stripped off all my clothes in the ER. A few hours later I was fine and could barely remember what had happened. I do know that it was a relief to have feelings again and even for a brief moment I was happy not to feel like a zombie. I actually felt good, but returned to my numb existence the next day when I resumed Celexa.

I have been seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis for the last six months. The good news is I discovered the source of my depression, which had persisted for over 20 years. During that time, I had encountered numerous bouts of severe depression (5-6 episodes a year on average). I had contemplated suicide many times, but never made a serious attempt. I am also glad that my depression never landed me in jail because it was usually preceded by intense anger that resulted in property damage on many occasions. I even broke my hand punching a wall (surgery and six pins were required to put it back together).

I am a 36-year old graduate student and am going to stop taking Celexa after the current quarter. I am working with a psychiatrist to make sure that I minimize the withdrawal symptoms and don't end up in ER again. I experienced many of the mentioned withdrawal symptoms while tapering from 30 to 20mg and am now more prepared for the next time. Funny that my psychiatrist did not mention any of the withdrawal symptoms when I consulted him. My psychologist gave me a book, which was written 10 years ago and described the dangers of being on drugs like Celexa (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, etc.). I have experienced memory loss, muscle spasms, tics in my eyelids, severe teeth clenching to name a few. I have also gained about five pounds since reducing the dosage and found out that Prozac-like drugs are appetite suppressants. No wonder I have been constantly hungry for the last month. I brushed these aside as being annoying but not results of being on Celexa. I wonder why dangers discovered ten years ago have not reduced the use of these drugs, especially in people with minor problems that could be fixed with psychotherapy. If the source of my severe depression could be identified and managed in six months, then I believe most people would take much shorter time.

The book also describes all of the withdrawal symptoms listed in this site. Again, why was I never told of the withdrawal symptoms if they have been known for over a decade. Interesting that the drug companies refer to withdrawal symptoms as "antidepressant discontinuation syndrome" to avoid a bad connotation and being categorized with similar drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, tranquilizers, and amphetamines. It has been discovered that Celexa and rest of the Prozac-like drugs are indeed in this class of dangerous drugs. I believe I was not told about the withdrawal symptoms because I was told I would be on Celexa for the rest of my life.

Again, I want to thank everyone who has shared their experiences and helped me through my first withdrawal. I am looking forward to March 20 (first day of spring) when I begin my next step towards a life free from Celexa.

stephanie said...

It has been a comfort reading your blogs and knowing I am not alone. Anxiety,panic,depression are enough to deal with let alone withdrawal symptoms. I have been on celexa for a year and a half and the last half was me tappering off. I started with 40mg and ended at 10mg. I haven't taken a pill in 6 days and I think the anxiety, restlessness is there but no other symptoms as of yet. I do get rapid heart beats out of the blue or sometimes after eating. Not sure
if this is anxiety/panic related but it does bother me and keep me from sleeeping or relaxing. I am 8 weeks pregnant and had to stop the meds for the baby. Has anyone else experienced the heart beating hard and or fast during withdrawals?
Thank you again for your blogs it has given me some peace!

Stephy

Anonymous said...

This post has really helped me. I have been feeling alone all day. Just crying and crying. I was on 40mgs of celexa and last week I cut it down to 20mgs. Two days ago I cut it down to 10mgs. I have had a horrible headache behind my eyes. It actually feels like my eyeballs are in pain. I have been nauseous,depressed, had tremors of the hands, and lots of crying. I would love to chat with others that are going through this or have been through this. It's hard when I am home during the day and crying and feeling alone. Thanks for all the stories. They help so much.

Hilary said...

I can't thank you all enough for this blog.

About 3 years ago I started having intense anxiety attacks. The first 4 attacks (not knowing what it was) I had my husband rush me to the ER fearing I was having a heart attack. Only to find after tests coming back ok and doing research online, I was suffering from anxiety/panic attacks. My family doctor prescribed xanax, which honestly did nothing for me. After switching doctors a few months later, my new Dr took me off the xanax and prescribed a "non addictive" drug called Celexa. I immediately gained weight, felt numb, no longer had any interest in my husband and sadly ended up being unfaithful. I felt nothing, even when a very special person died, I couldn't even cry. I strained and tried so hard to feel, but I simply could not.

However, the panic attacks completely stopped on this med, so I continued taking it. Thinking I was just turning into a horribly person all the sudden and not relating it to the drug I was on. Mind you, I made the mistakes, I take full responsibility for them.. but knowing who I was before going on this med, I strongly feel that if I had not gone on it, certain things would not have happened in my life. I would have felt conviction and not just an empty hole.

So now, 2.5 years after starting Celexa, I ran out.. I didn't have a refill, the Dr said I need to come in for an appointment to get a refill... and I am broke. My hubby just finished college and we don't have insurance or much money. So I figured I would just wait it out until I got some money to pay for my appointment. That's when I started feeling these awful withdrawal symptoms. I never would have guessed I was going through withdrawal, this drug the Doctor told me was non-addictive after all! I have been off of it for a week and tonight I completely broke down. I have been so dizzy, my eyes have felt like they are rolling around in my head, I can't sleep and when I do my dreams wake me up. My stomach hurts all the time, I feel so sick to my stomach... I can't take this.

Thank God I finally came on and looked for some answers. Reading your posts and stories has given me the willpower to stand firm and stick this out. I do not want to be on this drug for the rest of my life and if I need to go through these trials and withdrawals, I want to do it now and get it over with. Thank you again, your posts are so encouraging and if I had not found them I would have probably gotten back on this med, I no longer want it in my body.

Much love to you all and wishing you the best of luck.

Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Aaron H. Would you mind sharing what book you were given about the dangers of antidepressants? I would love to read it. Hope you are doing ok. I am tapering off of celexa also and just want a normal life back.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have suggestions about supplements that could help with the anxiety and depression while tapering off and supplements that you could stay on that may help you avoid future anxiety and depression? Thanks so much, any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I too am grateful for this post. I began using lexapro a few years ago and then my insurance company require I switch to celexa.
Then, not long ago I decided to stop the celexa just because I wasn't happy with the effects all my meds were having on me.
Just four days ago the crap hit. Fear out of nowhere and for no reason. Anxiety for no reason. Lack of balance, some dizziness, confusion, feared I was going crazy. You have saved me from continued searching for the reason. This fits 100%.
I plan to reach out to friends, my therapist, everyone for help through this. Ken

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts! I started celexa for the 2nd time 1.5yrs ago. I tapered from 20mg to 10mg over 1 wk and felt no withdrawal syptoms. I stopped taking it altoghether 1 week ago. I only had brain zaps for the 1st few day then came severe irritability, hair trigger temper, sore body, not ever feeling like i could get enough sleep, scary dreams, nausea-like 1st trimester pregnancy, overhwelming feelings.
I have hope someday that i'll be ok again from your posts!!

Anonymous said...

I am a 79 year old woman who underwent Spine surgery 3 months ago. I have been desperate to find out what these horrible symptoms I have had since I stopped taking Celexa. I went to my doctor for a blood panel and everything was all clear. It has been 3 weeks since I took my last 1/2 pill. I have nausea every afternoon. It is making me crazy.
I eat and it still happens. I have not vomited but just experience this nausea. This web site has been a God-Send to me as I thought I must have stomach cancer or some such awful illness.
But after reading all of your posts here I feel better. Just wonder how long my family will have to put up with thier old Mom and Wife being sick and nervous all day. Is there anything I can take to ease this nausea. Please help. Thanks so much.
Izzy

Anonymous said...

The worst of the withdrawl symptoms for me has been the uncontrollable rage outbursts that truly scare me. I realize now how powerful this drug is. I decided to quit taking it after I complained to my doctor about it making me 99% impotent. His response? "Oh, that's normal." Thanks doc. The nightmares are long, vivid and horrible 10 days after quittting cold turkey. Thanks for this great forum. It really makes a difference.

Karen said...

It has been helpful reading this.
I slowly weaned off Celexa after being on it for three years (and Lexapro for 1.5 years before that.)

This is the third time I've tried to get off it. I have a feeling I will succeed this time.

In January/Feb. I slowly decreased the dose from 30 mg. to 0. The last couple of weeks I was only taking 10 mg. twice a week.

My last 10 mg. was a week ago. I have been dizzy at times, some anger/rage, blurry vision, tingling in hand, little pains in muscles. I also had a couple of days of very achey muscles.

Today it is just the dizzy weird feeling in my head, blurry and burning sensation in my eyes, a bit of crying, and tingling in my hand, and a mild headache. I'm think I'm doing okay with it all because I weaned off slowly.

I have been exercising regularly which I think is helping. I know it will go away at some point. I can deal with it. It has been challenging getting along with coworkers at work though.

I have gotten acupuncture and herbs for this and for the chronic sinus problems I've had. The reason I really want to get off Celexa is the weight gain.

Thanks to everyone for posting. It helps to know I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

my fiance was on Celexa for just over 1 month after an extended illness. He quit taking it cold turkey 3 weeks ago. He is still suffering very bad withdrawals. Any insight as to how long this might go on would be very helpful

Ashley said...

How long do these withdrawal symptoms last. I went off celexa approx a month ago and the last week I have been constantly dizzy and nauseus. Almost passed out a few times. Wondering when this will end???

Izzy said...

Still working on withdrawal from Celexa after almost 2 weeks. Some days I am not as nauseous but I am crying alot and so tired. I too want to know how long this withdrwal takes. What a nasty little pill.

Anonymous said...

I have been experiencing these "brain zaps" since going cold turkey 2 weeks ago. seem to be slowly going away but very annoying

Patti said...

just wanted to thank you for this post. i went off celexa about 10 days ago and have been feeling so strange. i didn't realize that the withdrawal symptoms could be so physical (vs. emotional). i thought something was really wrong with me!

once i figured out what was going on, it makes it much easier to just relax through the weirdness and let it happen, knowing that things will level out soon.

i, like you, am enjoying the renewed sex drive and creativity - it's enough motivation to push through and get past the icky stuff!

Jennifer B said...

Hi everyone...
I have a few mixed "feelings" on this subject.
After suffering a series of severe panic attacks, I was prescribed celexa about a year and a half ago. I took 20 mg a day along w 1mg of Ativan daily for 1 year and 1 month. While on the drug I had mild controlable anxiety, better "discipline" (on a regular schedule) and alittle more zest for life. I did however notice a few of the downer side effects (loss of sex drive, weight gain, and small Los of creativity were my most noticible). I felt amazing on the drug, like it almost gave me a chance to reclaim my life. But one day out of the blue, suffered a severe panic attack and discovered that the drug wasn't working for me anymore. After talking with my doctor, she decided that 20mg of Prozac would be the best switch for me. I made the transition to Prozac over 2 weeks, alternating both drugs. I had a horrible reaction to the Prozac, suffering excessive severe panic attacks, uncontrable anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, stomach issues, and basically falling asleep randomly (Like a case of narcolepsy). I decided after 2 1/2 months of being on the Prozac to quit ssris completely. I have been completely off for about 35 days now but am still suffering terribly from the withdrawl. I get extreme dizziness, vertigo, daily panic attacks, brain zaps, body aches, nausea, chronic fatigue, and crying spells. I am considering going back on celexa because it has become unbearable. Although close friends and family and I myself have noticed a personality change since being off medication (in a good way) I am still juggling the idea of trying to conquer it myself or give celexa another shot. I honestly felt like it was an amazing drug and truely did help my battle with panic disorder. I am being told by peers to stay off the medication and try to conquer the disorder myself, but I would like insight from others who have been through my same battle and understand more what it is that I am going through. I am only almost 23 years old and I would love to reclaim my life, and am looking for advice on whether that should involve medication or not.
Thanks =)

Anonymous said...

So glad to read all these posts and feel like I'm not alone - it's hard when no one around understands what you are going through. I had been on Celexa for 8.5 years, and have weaned off under a dr's supervision for the last 8 months (starting from 30mg). Because I did it over such a long period I thought I was going to be free from severe withdrawal, but unfortunately I was wrong. The first week I was really anxious and I'm now in my second week and feeling extremely dizzy and like I have the flu. I wanted to share one thing I found extremely helpful so far: acupuncture. To be clear, I am a huge skeptic and HATE needles, but my therapist thought it might help with the side effects (I started going two months ago when I went down to 10mg on the Celexa and started having anxiety symptoms again). It has been amazing; it relaxes me and I truly feel like a new person. I haven't been since I started having the dizzy/flu symptoms, but it really helped last week with the anxiety. Going again tonight and if anyone's intersted I'll report back on whether it helped with the dizziness and flu symptoms.

Good luck to everyone - this is a rough process and it's nice to know strangers can come together to share their experiences and help each other.

Christine said...

I would like to let everyone know that after letting a few months pass, the withdrawal symptoms did go away. I have now been celexa free, (with no substitute), for three months and am doing just fine. The most annoying part is that being celexa free is forcing me to deal with the areas of my life that are unsatisfactory. While I was on celexa I was aware of the areas I needed to make changes in, but it seemed less urgent to work on making changes.

Anyway, my point for those that are in distress is that it does get better.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
This is now my 4th post. Without all of you I wouldn't have made it this far. I went from 40mg to 20mg and now I have been on 10mg for 11 days. Things had been going good and I had a really good week last week. I didn't need to nap during the day, I even went to the gym. My school work was a breeze and I felt like my old self again. Yesterday, out of the blue I felt really irritated and tired. I really wasn't nice to my boyfriend at all and told him it was withdrawl and I was sorry. I have still been gaining weight which I didn't expect and I do feel so angry about it. I have been having the long bad dreams again and I missed school today from not being able to get up. Since I went through this before I will push through. I noticed this hit sooner this time. I am so, so grateful I have a place to talk about this. So anyway,I feel pretty lousy right now and I absolutely have to make it to school tomorrow, that's why I'm writing. It truley does help me to connect to others who are going through the same thing. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi - I wanted to post again. I am feeling so good the past few days since my last post last weekend. I now feel that all or most of my symptoms have subsided already. I do think slowly weaning off is the real key. I have been taking some supplements since I started the weaning off process too. Since January - a high quality multi vitamin, superomegas (fish, flax, borage), super B complex. Just last week I added calcium/magnesium which I think might have helped me process the vitamin D in my multi better. People seem to be talking more about vitamin D and how important it is. I feel like just getting more of that into my body has really helped. I wish everyone the best and that you get through these withdrawals as quickly as possible.

Dani said...

Hi I started taking celexa about six months ago for severe pms I am 37 and was told I may be peri-menopausal anyway I have gain almost 40lbs in the short time I have been taking it so I decided to quit my Dr told me celexa was a mild anti depressant with minimal side affets she also told me that I could just take it two weeks out of the month for my pms instead of taking it all of the time well that didn't work after taking it for a month straight I was going to start taking it just 14 days of the month for pms I got very Ill and started having vertigo and nightmares I didn't know this was due to the celexa until a friend went online and started finding info about wht I was taking needless to say I started taking it everyday instead of just for pms but i'm so unhappy with the weight I've gain so now I'm on day four without celexa I've been dizzy and i've been having dreams I've been taking meds for the vertigo so I'm doing ok with it I know my pms will be there and it will be bad again If anyone has any sugestions as to how to deal with this i'd appreciate the imput thank you so much for this site

Dani

A mon avis... said...

Oh my word Dani! I can't believe any doctor would prescribe this for just 2 weeks out of the month. I just can't imagine the cycles of withdrawal. How awful for you!

I too have really, really bad PMS. It is much worse in the 4 or 5 months I have been off Celexa. Blinding rages, crying fits, feeling insane. I think it's more PMDD than PMS. I have to pay really close attention to my moods because I do not want to go on Sarafem (which is Prozac). "They" say the best thing to handle severe PMS is exercise and eating whole, healthy foods. I am working on that. I know it will treat a lot of ills in our bodies!

Amanda

Mel said...

Hi,
I have suffered from severe depression for a year now. I also had a similar episode four years ago when I was 15 which led to a botched suicide attempt. I felt helpless and took 30 painkillers, went to sleep, hoping to never wake up.
This time round I was able to acknowledge my symptoms and seemed help eventually. The first antidepressant my doctor pescribed had a worsening effect. I suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, anger, severe anxiety and increased suicidal thoughts. The drug was called mentazpiene? It was a while ago forgive my spelling.
I then decided after this negative experience to opt for a natural regime and started taking 3 niacinamide and 2 vitamin B 1000mg per day. I found they kept me stable but eventually the balance began to overturn and I was tired of feeling ok but at any given moment able to break down.
I then returned to my doctor and he prescribed me 10mg Celexa Which increased to 20mg then 40 thereafter.
I may not break down anymore for any reason, I am past the point of crying, if I could I would. Instead I still anticiapte dying, it seems like a beautiful escape instead if being confined to this chemical inbalance, this constant disinterest in life, fatigue, reluctance to go out.
The harsh realization is that a year later on my doctor has diagnosed me with severe depression again. And I must comprehend that realistically this will be a longterm mental illness.
For the permeable future erractic mood swings, vivid nightmares, insomnia are all symptoms I will have to normalize, if I can. I know what the easier option seems like right now....
Constant recommedations to "see a psychatrist" frustrate me. I have already been pumped full of enough chemicals and do not wish to see someone who is spefically paid and trained in pinpointing a problem an throwing more medication at it.
After my experiences of watching my mum suffer from severe depression all her life and fail suicide 3 times I have learnt antidepressants are just a CRUTCH
the worst thing is I KNOW routine, exericise which increases seratonin levels helps but how do you even consider such things when getting out if bed is a struggle?
I have abruptly stopped my 40mg Celexa, not sensible I know. But I yearn to be the old me! To feel without having to identify alien feelings such as anxiety, sadness etc.
To be alert and aware. the worst withdrawal symtpoms for me are the nightmares.
Conclusively It is comforting to know although sad that I am not alone.
The days of laying on my floor for hours crying, jumping at a leaf being picked up by the wind, convinced people driving are trying to open fire on me... Are over
but in a way I
am now stuck with the same emotional problems I had along but no output.
I want to live. I had no reason to be depressed.
I want to break free from this horrible illness
I want to die....
But I know it's not the solution
i've babbled on the original writer was correct you do have the urge to write write write!
Good luck to you all
M

Anonymous said...

Mel, I know what you are going through is hard. I am having a hard time myself. Reading about you laying on the floor crying all day is what I am still doing. You are not alone and as crazy as this sounds, I am glad that I am not alone. I am going on two weeks of being celexa free and it feels like these feelings will never end. Hang in there and know that other people know exactly what you are going through. This site has helped me through some trying times the past few weeks. Please let us know how you are doing.

Mel said...

Thank you,
Just being able to read and communicate with other people who understand is comforting. To know I am not alone.

You can explain to someone that your depressed but in my experience they can't understand till they go through it themselves.

I am just so tired. Sometimes I tell myself im being ridiculous and that's nothing wrong with me, but I cant help it.

Do you ever feel like that?

I am sorry to hear about you crying on the floor.....I know at the stage you must feel so helpless and defeated.

And as far as the Celexa goes, I think trying to get off it is better in the long run. Right now as you know it's intolerable. I wish I never started them
Hang in there too

Take care and please let me know how your doing too

Mel

Anonymous said...

I took 20 mg Celexa for 4 months for an anxiety attack but felt just like you describe. So asked my doctor to wean me off. He put me on 10 mg for two weeks and then off. That was two weeks ago. I am going berserk. I thank you for your post, it helps.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever tried St Johns Wort for depression and anxiety? Please, please, let me know. I have also heard about SAM e. I don't know how these work. I have been trying 5HTP but I'm not sure its not making it worse. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I have been taking Celexa for about 6 years. At first it was 10 mg, then I went up to 20, I've been back at 10 for the past year.

I stopped taking it about a week ago. The first withdrawl symptoms came yesterday .... dizziness. Last night I got the tingling, felt like ants crawling on me. Today the ants are gone, but I'm still dizzy and my head is foggy.

How long will this last? I don't want to give up!

Anne

Anonymous said...

Mel, Thanks so much for the reply. It is so nice to be able to communicate with others. I am still having crying spells and depression. And yes I do feel tired also. Sometimes I think I am not going to get through this and end up on antidepressants again. I would love an alternative medication that would help without all the side effects. I just wish I knew more about options for alternative meds. Hang in there. You are definately not alone. T

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
This is my 5th post. Starting in Jan I went from 40mg to 20 mg for 4 weeks, from 20mg to 10mg for 3 weeks and now I've been celexa free since Sat.(5 days) Things got pretty bad right away this time. I hope it's because I weened off to such a low dose that it only took a few days to start the withdrawl. I have loud buzzing in my head and brain. I want to stay off this time no matter what. Being on these meds has seemed like I'm been in a nightmare I can't get out of. When I get all the way off this time I will never go back on any depression meds. I so appreciate all the posts. It gives me the courage to keep going. I chose to go all the way off right now cause I am on break from college. I have 11 days to get through this before school starts again!!! I will keep posting as I progress, thanks.

Sue said...

As I have read from all the previous post before mine, I want to join in saying, thank you!! It has been 7 days now since I went cold turkey. I have many of the physical symptoms as well. I am at the stage right now, that I would like to tell everyone exactly what I am thinking and how I feel, maybe even yell it at them. It feels like I have suppressed my opinions for a very long time. I know it is not true, but I sure feel like it. I now know that it is the withdrawal that is making me feel that way, thanks to this post!!

All of you that have the support of your families and friends be thankful. My husband is trying to be supportive, but I sure feel he would rather have me on the medication than the emotional roller coaster I am currently on. Another suggestion I would like to give to all the supporters reading this: Please don't tell us when we express something, that it is that we are off our medication. WE KNOW THAT!! But please consider what we are say, we may have some validity.

One more side effect, staying focused!! I had great difficulty writing this, so I sure hope it makes since.

Thanks again everyone.

Anonymous said...

I posted once before on November 23rd but now have a question at the end of my post.
I have panic(i.e fast pounding heart beat, feeling like gagging or vomiting when I'm outside in a social setting again which is the reason why I started taking celexa in the first place at the age of 14. What is new to me however is the feeling of unreality that hits me at any moment during the day which only used to hit me at night prior to celexa. The unreality is so overwhelming that I feel like my brain is just going to shut off or I'm never going to feel right again which is horrible. I went to see my doctor recently about the panic attacks and they want to put me on a Effexor XR. I'm terrified about going back on medication and not having emotion or just not feeling like myself as well as having the tunnel vision I experienced on celexa. Because I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot I'm feeling very depressed and anxiety ridden.

This leads me to my question, for those of you who have been on more than one medication, do all the medications pretty much have the same effect in the way of being emotionless and tunnel vision?

- Distressed and Depressed

Anonymous said...

Oh, yuck! I'm going through these aweful withdrawels right now, too. The electric "jolts" feel like frogs trying to jump out of my nerves! I am very anxious and almost irritated. But calm just the same. I can't stand this feeling! Under a nurses advice, I am going back to 10 mg tonight b/c I just can't stand this. Then I will do 10 mg every other night until I can ween off of this horrible mess. I'm telling you, I would rather go through a few days of the PMDD than this!

Anonymous said...

To Sue on March 19th, I hope you will post again and let me know how you are doing. I would like to say that I know just what you are going through and you are right. Those that have the support of their husbands are very lucky. I know that mine would like me to be back on them just because the flat line of emotion is easier for him to handle. he keeps complaining about me being depressed and down while I am going through withdrawls. This is something I cannot help and he doesn't get that. He thinks I can just snap out of it which he tells me often. He says that it is personal and it pisses him off. By the way, he doesn't want me on them either because he doesn't like the side effects they cause. Lexapro made me sleep ALL the time. I feel like I'm trapped in the middle of no good solution. If you feel like yelling on here than yell away. I feel like that too. Take care and know that you are not alone. T

Sharon said...

I weaned myself slowly off Celexa after being on it for less than a year (20 mg). Am experiencing all of the withdrawal effects that everyone mentions. Had the zaps years ago with Paxil. Have been on many antidepressants but never experienced withdrawal like this. I have a question regarding the tinnitus. I have always had some but it is now extreme and the zaps go along with that. Does anyone know if the tinnitus will alleviate somewhat? It is driving me crazy. Thanks for help. All the comments do help.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for everyone's comments. I, obviously incorrectly, thought that the main side effect I'd feel from celexa withdrawal (if I had any) would be depression. I've been on the drug for about 8 or 9 years. I've been weaning myself for 2.5 months from a starting point of 30 mg a day. Eventually I went from 10 mg for two weeks to 5 mg for only 5 days and then off. Phew -- that's when the dizziness, headaches, etc. kicked in. I had no idea it was the withdrawal until I saw my doc. I went back on 5 mg a day and still have some headaches and side effects but the bad dizziness is mostly gone. I will try this for a couple of weeks and then go to every other day, then every 3rd, then off. I have experienced many of the side effects listed but no brain zaps.

I have a couple of suggestions. Eliminate caffeine if you're experiencing any kind of anxiety. I learned the hard way that caffeine kick-drives the anxiety and anger. The other suggestion is using a homeopathic treatment called "Calm's Forte" by Hyland. I've used it in the past for insomnia, which it helps with, but it's also useful during the day if you are feeling anxious. It works better for some people than others, but it's non-habit-forming and can help as a tool through the withdrawal.

One last thing -- Vitamin E did help me with sweating and other symptoms. And Vitamin D (needs to be D3) helps with the depression, muscle aches/pains, etc. You need to take 2,000 to 3,000 units a day and give it some time to build up in your system. It comes in 1,000 unit capsules. Might be worth a try, especially if you live in a cold, northern region where daylight is limited.

Good luck to everyone -- it's a tough journey but worth the effort. And if you are still really depressed after getting off of celexa, then think twice. Being on the drug is a drag, but depression can be much worse if it destroys much of your life.

Anonymous said...

Everyone's posts have been very helpful!

Sad to say, but I have been in the MH field for over 10yrs and had never heard about SSRI withdrawal being a problem except in situations when stopping cold turkey, and had certainly never heard about symptoms being as bad as I've been experiencing!

I've been on 20mg Celexa for a year and went down to 15, 10, 5mg over 3 weeks. I'm now on day 5 of having the flu/migraine like symptoms everyone's mentioned, and been teary or wanted to scream at someone. I keep trying to bite my tongue!

The only good thing about going through this is that I can warn others that this could happen to them so that they don't just assume it's their original symptoms coming back and stay on the medication indefinitely. Everyone has different sensitivity levels, but I think it's important to be forewarned.

A mon avis... said...

As someone who has posted here many times :) and is finally completely withdrawal-free, I encourage anyone who is weaning off to go even lower than 5mg before stopping. I am not a doctor, and this is only from personal experience, but I found when I actually broke the pills down into 2.5 mg, I was better able to wean from once a day, to once every 36 hours (day and a half), then to once every 2 days, until finally I was taking a quarter of a 10mg once every 5 days. It took several weeks. After 2 weeks of taking one every 5 days and then just stopping, it was immensely better than when I tried to stop at 5. This is the worst feeling in the world, and I hate that it took me so long to get off it, but life is a whole lot better now! Good luck :)

bridget said...

Hello,
I am just getting off of celexa. I weened myself off for a liitle over a week. I was on 40mg. then 20mg. I have been having terrible ringing in my ears and very dizzy. I also have been crying for two days straight. I am so miserble. I don't know what to do. I am so upset. When does this go away? I am scared. Please someone help me. I am praying for everyone right now who has to go through this. Please help. Bridget

Anonymous said...

Great site. It's great to know that a lot of us are in the same boat and even better to know that these awful symptoms will go away. I'm on day 11 and I'm FINALLY starting to feel less dizzy. I was on 10 mg for about 6 months and stopped cold turkey. I was getting the spins pretty badly at work and couldn't stand for long bouts of time. Also I found I went through a phase of muscle soreness like I had just worked out for about a couple of days. Now I'm finding my sense of smell is pretty heightened and I can't take strong scents because it makes me feel nauseous. I'm looking forward to this all being over with so I can get on with life. On a positive note my sex drive is up up up! I didn't notice how much the drugs had numbed me.

beverly said...

Hi again,
I have posted several times now, my last post was 10 days ago. I was at 5 days celexa free, was feeling withdrawls but thought I was doing ok. Things are getting worse each day and I start back to college tomorrow so that sucks. What I wanted to add as my side effect has happened 3 times now. The last time just happened a little while ago and I'm so shook up I had to write about it here. I get something like a panic attack but it just happens all of a sudden when I try to lay down. I go into horrible fear or something in my head. It feels so, so bad and I can't even really explain what is happening. It is just that being inside my head is the most awful place to be. I just prayed and prayed because the fear and bad feelings were so bad. I never had a thing like this happen before and I'm hoping to God it's the withdrawl. Right now I am afraid to try to lay down and go to sleep for fear those feelings will come back. I am so thankful for this site. I don't want to give up and go back on drugs. I'm 15 days off celexa now, I will just keep reading the posts for the courage to keep going. It's just when you are in the middle of it, it seems like it will never end and get better.

Dionne said...

Thank you for your informative post. I weaned off of Celexa, in 2001. And a few others over the past several years. It's not easy, but it can be done. Now, I am completely drug free, and have been since 2008. Also, what helped me was reading the book "God's Creative Power Will Work For You" by Charles Capps. I read that tiny 30 page book 3 times daily for a few weeks, and I was completely healed from depression. Now I read it intemittently, about once or twice a week, and I feel great. Still happy and depression free. 2 years and counting! Jesus is the ultimate healer! Believe it!

bridget said...

Beverly,
You just posted about being nervous about going back to sleep, you are just having anxiety. It will pass. Try taking deep breathes and relaxing your body. This will pass. Praying is very helpful. God is always with you. This will all pass soon. This is just the chemical getting out of our body. I will be praying for you and all of us who are going through this time.

Beverly said...

Thank Dionne and Bridget. I just read your comments to me and I just cried with relief. I will hold onto your words, continue to pray and read the little book. My prayer did get answered. To hear such kind words coming from people who know how this feels means the world. Thank you

Audrey said...

I have the 'brain zaps' everyone is so aptly describing. I experienced this a few years ago after a two year course of prozac which I stopped cold turkey from 40mg. Bad for 3 weeks, can't remember if I had any other symptoms then. I have been on celexa since November 08. Started at 20mg for a mild depression after my Mom died. Thought I'd wean down this time as the prozac memory never really left me. I went to 10mg for 4-5 weeks, then 5mg for about 4 week now. I just started alternating the 5mg every other day this past week. Every day I do not take it, I get the brain zaps, have some intermittent and mild tinnitis and joint aches (which I had anyway but may be worse as of late). I am so not happy with this drug and pharmaceuticals in general. It is not that I don't respect my doc, it's just that for someone like me, who had mild, situational depression, one would think suggesting rest, hydration, excercise and diet changes would have been a little easier on the body. I am never going to use pharmaceuticals for depression again. Saint John's Wort is a very effective herb and is prescribed medically in Europe. It takes longer to take effect and cannot be mixed with any other MAOI inhibitors. I plan to use it next time I think I need some help. I have used it in the past and remember feeling better and did not experience any side effects when I stopped. It is a drug though, so please read up on it and use caution and get you docs guidance. I hope that what we all take away from this site is that we be able to warn others of the extreme dependence they will experience if they decide to take Celexa. Good luck to every one, I know it's not easy for some of you, I have it easy and am not on any other meds. I pray all will be well for all of you, Thank-you so much for the support and information. I am very greatful.

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