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Celexa (Citalopram) Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Will They Last?

Celexa (Citalopram) is a drug used to help treat symptoms of major depression. It is considered an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which means it influences the serotonin in the brain to help ward off depressive symptoms. It is also used as an off-label treatment for anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For many individuals, this drug is effective and serves the intended purpose of treating depression.

The problem with Celexa is that many people find that it leads to unbearable side effects including: weight gain and sexual dysfunction. Not only can this drug provoke unwanted side effects, in some cases it just doesn’t work as well as expected. There have also been disputes as to whether the R-stereoisomer of the drug has any effect. Some have argued that it is better to take Lexapro, which is essentially Celexa without the R-stereoisomer.

In any regard, most people that take Celexa will end up wanting to withdraw from it eventually. Most people do not want to be on antidepressants for life in order to cope with depression. There are simply too many side effects and most people notice that the antidepressant effects tend to wear off over time. In any event, if you withdraw from this medication, it is pretty much guaranteed that you are going to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Factors that influence Celexa withdrawal include…

There are various factors that play a role in influencing withdrawal from any psychiatric medication. These factors include things like: time span, dosage, your physiology, and whether you decided to quit cold turkey or conducted a gradual taper.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Celexa? In general, the longer you take an antidepressant, the more difficult it will be to withdraw from. Your brain becomes accustomed to getting the extra serotonin activity as a result of the SSRI that you are taking. When you stop the drug, your brain isn’t get the extra serotonin that it was getting and may have a tough time readjusting to functioning without Celexa.

2. Dosage (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg)

Most of the time people are on a 20 mg dose of Celexa, but it can be administered at doses up to 40 mg per day. Some people may be on smaller doses than 20 mg, but in general, 20 mg is considered the standard dose. In most cases, the greater the amount of the drug that you have taken, the tougher it is to withdraw from.

3. Individual Physiology

In many cases, withdrawal symptoms are largely due to individual reactions to the drug. One person may experience extreme withdrawal symptoms that last months, while another person may feel back to 100% after a couple weeks of discontinuation. Many individual factors including: withdrawal sensitivity, environment, social support, and physiology can have an influence. If you experience a more extreme withdrawal than most, it could be largely due to individual differences.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

How did you quit taking Celexa? Did you stop abruptly without conducting a gradual taper? Or did you conduct a gradual taper over the course of a couple months? In most cases, the more slowly and cautiously you taper off of this medication, the easier it is to readjust to functioning without the drug.

If you quit cold turkey, it leaves most people in a state of mental disarray and chaos and the symptoms may be more severe. If you were on a high dose of Celexa (i.e. 40 mg), the weaning process should take longer than someone on 10 mg.

Celexa Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are a list of common symptoms that you may experience upon withdrawal from Celexa. Understand that you may experience a few of the symptoms, none of the symptoms, or most of the symptoms – it all depends on your individual circumstances. This list was created to help people so that they know what may occur during withdrawal.

  • Anxiety: The anxiety that you experience during withdrawal may be pretty severe. It may be so severe that you feel nervous everywhere you go and/or have panic attacks. This is a result of your brain being left without reuptake inhibition of serotonin.
  • Brain zaps: Most SSRIs can lead to a person experiencing “brain zaps” or electrical shock sensations upon withdrawal. These can be very uncomfortable and actually feel like your head is plugged into an electrical socket. Just know that these will subside the longer you are off the drug.
  • Concentration problems: Many people report that they are unable to focus during withdrawal. It may be difficult to complete work-related tasks or school work during withdrawal. In many cases the concentration problems are due to the fact that physical symptoms distract our mental focus. Additionally a person may feel mentally slow and/or foggy when they stop the medication – this is likely due to changes in levels of neurotransmitters.
  • Confusion: Your cognitive functioning can become impaired when you quit taking Celexa to the point of experiencing general confusion. This confusion may be a result of memory retrieval problems, but could also just be confused thinking.
  • Crying spells: Some people report increased depression to the point of crying spells. Low serotonin can cause people to cry excessively. You may cry more than you have in your entire life during a withdrawal. Know that these spells will lessen in severity and eventually stop.
  • Depression: Most people feel significantly worse when they stop taking Celexa in regards to depression. Many people feel as if their depression is actually worse than before they took this medication. This is a result of their brain no longer inhibiting the re-uptake of serotonin to the degree that occurred on the medication. It will take an extended period of time to fully recover from the withdrawal depression.
  • Diarrhea: Some people experience an upset stomach to the point of diarrhea during their withdrawal.  This is not as common of a symptom as others, but can be difficult to deal with if you are dealing with this.  An easy solution for coping with this is to get some over-the-counter Imodium.
  • Dizziness: Feeling dizzy is one of the most common symptoms to experience during SSRI withdrawal. If you suddenly stop taking Celexa cold turkey, the dizziness is thought to be longer lasting and more profound than during a gradual taper. Either way, you are likely going to experience some degree of dizziness when you quit.  The longer you are off the drug, the more this symptom will improve.
  • Fatigue: You may feel excessively fatigued for awhile after you quit Celexa. It may be difficult to get out of bed in the morning or even make it through a work day. The tiredness and lethargy may be pretty severe. Just recognize that this will gradually improve and your energy levels will start to return over time.
  • Headaches: This is another classic symptom of SSRI withdrawal. Some people feel minor headaches for awhile, yet for others the headaches are pounding and feel more like migraines. Having a headache with dizziness is certainly uncomfortable – but both of these will gradually improve.
  • Insomnia: Since some people take Celexa for treating insomnia, it is no wonder that they may actually experience insomnia when they stop taking it. Additionally even if you have never had insomnia before taking this drug, you may experience it during withdrawal.
  • Irritability: Most people report a high amount of irritability in the first few weeks when they discontinue this drug. This is because the brain no longer is receiving the calming effect of the drug and it can be difficult to regulate emotions.
  • Memory problems: It is common to experience memory problems to the point that you think you have lost your memory. Although you haven’t likely lost any memory, your thinking may be impaired so that your memory retrieval is impaired. As you recover during withdrawal, this will eventually heal itself.
  • Mood swings: It’s very common to have bad mood swings when you stop taking Celexa. One minute you may feel pretty good, the next you may feel more depressed than ever. Just understand that these mood swings are all part of withdrawal. They may persist for a long time, but will eventually subside.
  • Nausea: Some people experience nausea when they first quit this drug. You may feel nauseated all day and in some cases, want to vomit. Most people do not have nausea extreme enough to lead to vomiting, but it can be a tough withdrawal symptom to deal with.
  • Sleep changes: It is very likely that your sleep cycle will be affected when you withdraw from this drug. You may notice that you have crazy dreams and/or that you aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep. You may sleep during the day and be unable to fall asleep at night. Just know that things will return to normal if given enough time.
  • Suicidal thoughts: It is very common to experience suicidal thoughts when discontinuing an antidepressant. Any SSRI that is withdrawn from is likely to lead a person to feeling suicidal. Many doctors view this as a worsening in depression, when in reality it is a result of antidepressants causing suicidality upon withdrawal.
  • Weight changes: Most people gain weight when they take Celexa – this is a result of serotonin changes. When a person stops taking this drug, they will likely drop the weight that they gained while taking the drug.  For more information read about antidepressants and weight gain.

Celexa Withdrawal Timeline: How long does it last?

Most doctors will tell you that the withdrawal symptoms should subside within a few weeks of withdrawal. If your symptoms subside within a few weeks, consider yourself lucky and in the minority. Most people experience withdrawal effects over a month after they have quit their medication. I recommend giving yourself at least 90 days before evaluating the withdrawal symptoms.

I have gone through my fair share of antidepressant withdrawals – including that from Celexa and have found that three months time is good for re-evaluation. The problem for most people is that the symptoms are so severe in the first few weeks of withdrawal that they feel as if their life will never be the same. During withdrawal it is important to do your best not to get caught up in the symptoms – rather focus on what you can do to recover as fast as possible.

Things that will help you recover quicker include: eating healthy, forcing yourself to get some light exercise, and getting a proper night’s sleep. If you are struggling to come to terms with symptoms and/or cope, be sure to talk to a therapist or professional about what you are experiencing. It can also be very helpful to talk to others on forums that are also going through Celexa withdrawal – many people that have experienced it are better to talk to because they actually “get it.”

Feel free to share your experience with the withdrawal process in the comments section below. This may give someone else some reassurance that they are not alone in dealing with difficult symptoms. I personally have withdrawn from this medication and know that it’s not easy, but I also know that as enough time passes, you will eventually experience a full recovery.

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{ 1213 comments… add one }
  • Aurora May 24, 2018, 10:06 pm

    I’ve been on 20mg of Celexa for 14 months for my depression. I stopped cold turkey after not being able to get to my pharmacy and it’s been awful.

    The first 3 days were okay, the occasional brain zap and mild dizziness. It’s been about 6 days now and I’m irritable, nauseous, vomiting, headache, brain zaps and I’m dizzy. I’m also so tired, I sleep all night and come home to nap.

    Now that it’s been mentioned, I’ve gained about 40lbs since starting Celexa and it’s contributing to my depression. I don’t want to go back on and go through this again. I’m really upset with how casually my GP was about this medication, he didn’t tell me anything.

    • Doreen May 29, 2018, 9:11 pm

      Sorry to hear you are going through Aurora. Fortunately I didn’t gain a lot of weight on Celexa. I would find a 40 lb. weight gain extremely depressing! Hang in there.

    • Gail May 30, 2018, 2:35 pm

      I’ve been taking Celexa 20 mg for 17 years for debilitating panic attacks that started shortly after my Mom passed, when I was 42. Twice I tried to do a very slow taper, once with the aid of a psychiatrist and once (at a much slower taper) on my own.

      The longest I could go before withdrawal symptoms overwhelmed me was 4 weeks with no meds. I just can no longer function without it, as I cannot manage daily living with the withdrawal effects.

      I would be a nervous wreck and couldn’t eat or sleep, much less work. So – for now – I’m just going to have to stick with it. 😞

  • Charles May 21, 2018, 10:21 pm

    I’ve been on 20mg for 2 years, and decided I wanted off so I just didn’t renew my script 2 weeks ago. I’m going on vacation with my family to my in-laws where I often have a hard enough time coping.

    Needless to say I ended up on this forum searching for how long this would last. I didn’t even know there would be discontinuation symptoms. I called my doctor to not renew and she didn’t say anything.

    • Doreen May 27, 2018, 4:39 pm

      Hi Charles, I’ve been on Celexa for approximately 9 years and am very slowly tapering off under the guidance of my psychiatrist. Although everyone is different I do experience withdrawal symptoms so would never quit cold turkey.

      I tapered off of Prozac (prior to going on Celexa) and the withdrawal symptom were quite significant for me the first month. I would recommend tapering off after you come back from vacation… just in case.

  • Aline May 18, 2018, 10:41 pm

    My case is different. I wonder if anyone can relate? I’ve been on Celexa for over 15 years. I went off once, slowly, from 40mg to 35 and on down every two weeks. The symptom I suffered was blistering headaches. I thought my head was coming off. Understandable since I was messing with my brain.

    I went back on after seeing a psychologist who showed me I have had several bouts of depression starting in my teens. Unfortunately, I’m not one who just had situational depression. So I agreed that I probably need to be on these meds for life. Somewhere between 15 and 20 mg, depending on the season and the amount of sunshine.

    But in the last year, at 20 mg, I started getting what I called brain freeze. It even woke me up one night. My GP thought I needed to see a brain specialist. But it occurred to me it might be the celexa. So, I went down from 20 to 15. Then 15 to 10. The brain freeze stopped. Yay!

    On 10 for a few weeks I seemed to have no problems. But in the last two weeks, I’ve been exhausted. Low energy and mood. Is this actually delayed withdrawal? Or maybe the extra Celexa I had in my brain finally disappeared.

    I don’t want to get off the meds totally. I want to feel well. The meds do keep my moods even. I love that! But the fatigue and lassitude I do not love. I feel like I’m disappearing. I wasn’t sure whether to go back to 15 or down farther to 5mg. I decided to go down to five.

    My my, stomach pain, nausea, irritability. But, less fatigue. Now I am really confused. Probably lack of drugs, heh heh. Should I ride out these minor symptoms to keep the improved energy and stay at 5 mg, or suffer the low energy and get rid of the irritability and go back to 10 mg.

    I bet I know what my husband would choose. On a side note, I either didn’t know or forgot that side effects of Celexa include dry mouth and tremors. And I thought it was just me.

  • Jack Mehoff May 18, 2018, 8:54 am

    I’ve been on Celexa for 8 years at 20mg/day. I had to quit cold turkey for a variety of reasons. It’s been 30 days since the last pill and I can tell you that this is the most horrible mental health I’ve had in 8 years; add on every symptom in that list, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    I cannot pass the time fast enough to get through the day. The only thing that works is physically exhausting myself so I can get an hour or two of sleep and keep doing this repeatedly throughout the day.

    Opioid withdrawal holds no candle to this. IMHO – doctors should be forced to take these drugs before they readily give them to patients.

  • Mallory May 17, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Hi Everyone, After reading all of the above comments I felt compelled to share my story. When I was 20 years old, 11 years ago, I began having crippling panic attacks. At the time I was in college, having the time of my life, and had no idea what these attacks were.

    I felt like I was choking and couldn’t breathe for days at a time. My doctor at that time put me on Zoloft. I continued on a high dose of Zoloft for the next 4 or so years, I definitely had no stress but to a point that I didn’t care much about anything.

    A few years later I decided to switch medications and went on something else (which I forget now). The medication worked but made me extremely lethargic. So yet again, at the age of 27, I switched to Celexa. A year later I met my husband and was engaged at 29!

    However, my weight was sky rocketing and I couldn’t figure out why. I definitely love my wine and occasional junk food, but nothing to add 30-40 lbs on me! I was trying to look my best for the wedding, so began rigid workouts and diets to not only see weight gain!

    I recently left my old job and founded a company. I am married and have an amazing husband and family support system, so decided it was time to come off the medication. I made this decision because I’m not only sick of the extra weight, but also feeling lethargic.

    As of a month ago, I tapered of 20 mg of Celexa that I had been on for almost 5 years. I did one tablet every other day for a week, then half everyday for one week and finally 10 mg every other day for a week. I finished up two weeks ago…and it has been ROUGH!

    My energy levels are non existent, I am always tired and could sleep all day. I also have horrible irritability (like I could punch a wall), awful mood swings, tons of brain fog, sensitivity to light and trouble sleeping. The worst is my inability to concentrate at times.

    Having gone off meds in the past (or attempted to), I expect these symptoms to last another two weeks, and slowly wean down. What I have done to help is get L-Theanine tablets and other natural supplements that help with sleep, stress and to calm the body and mind.

    I’ve also tried to unplug two hours before bed and to only look at my phone after I have a morning walk and coffee. During this difficult time it is SO IMPORTANT for self care. Do anything that will help to calm you and get you through it.

    Talk to your family and friends, sit in the sun for a moment, get a massage, watch a funny movie, etc. Also, recognize what you’re going through and give yourself a break! I am very critical of myself but have had to realize that the next month is about me taking care of me.

    It is hard, but it will get better. Even though I feel absolutely terrible right now, I know that the normal Mallory will be back soon and I can’t wait! DON’T GIVE UP! Talk to someone, read a forum, it will help!

    • Colleen May 22, 2018, 1:31 am

      Mallory, after reading your account and others, I am hopefully prepared to wean myself off Celexa. The withdrawal symptoms sound horrendous, just want to get through that part.

      I have an appt with my doctor and will, with her help, will make a plan. I did stop Wellbutrin cold turkey, took a natural lithium (lithium orotate) instead of it. The only withdrawal symptoms were sweating. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Ray May 16, 2018, 7:37 pm

    I took Celexa for almost 8 years at 40mg/day and was switched to Bupropion or a wellbutrin a in January at 150mg/day. I had severe withdrawal symptoms from both after having an adverse reaction to the Bupropion. This ruined my life and did nothing while taking it, except making me apathetic.

    I would never take an antidepressant again nor recommend it to anyone, not even my worst enemy. It ruined my life and now I am depressed more than ever. I have crazy thoughts I have never had before and now I am homeless. I am a Veteran and just trying to get through this.

    It has been almost 2 months since I stopped taking everything. Does anyone have any recommendations? Is there hope or am I lost? My heart rate has increased drastically and for the first month I thought I was dying. I don’t know if I will ever feel normal again and am giving up on hope.

    • koalalue May 20, 2018, 4:42 am

      Ray, Can you get yourself to a VA Hospital? I don’t know what to recommend other than that to see if they can help you in some way. Your situation sounds so bleak, I hope you can get some help.

    • TS May 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

      Hi Ray, Hang on, you aren’t alone. I am not sure where you reside, but if you are in an area with a Cohen Veterans Network, they have staff on site that provide free care for veterans and their families, currently at no charge and you don’t have to go through the VA to get it, just one initial screening appointment to assign you a therapist and they do have psychiatrists who can assist with meds on site.

      My husband is a veteran and I know first hand how difficult it can be to get VA veteran care. This way goes around it. Maybe they can give you some suggestions? I am on here for having come off citalopram a year ago. Still am not what I would call back to normal, but day by day it does get easier.

      The issue for me is wondering if I will always have this level of anxiety and depression (as I have always been prone to it), or if it’s brain change based on the lack of medicine to help each day. Either way, it sucks.

      Maybe I’ll find another medicine that helps in the future with less side effects, and I will learn to be okay with being on a medication long term, again. Either way, I think we all expect so much of ourselves that it is hard to see clearly in the midst of this depression/anxiety fog.

      Anyway, don’t give up hope and don’t be afraid to get help. Based on this thread, you are in good company.

    • Sue May 22, 2018, 8:52 pm

      Ray – the symptoms will subside- it took me about three months to start feeling better. (Went from 20 to 10 mg). My Dr. recommended an ENT for my dizziness who gave me some simple eye and neck movement exercises that seemed to help.

      Maybe you can find them online. Hang in there- it is hard to feel mentally well when you physically feel like crap. I hope you can find a good Dr. that can help you.

  • Brett May 16, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Hindsight is 20/20 but when I say – I wish I had read this forum before I went cold turkey eight months ago – would be an understatement.

    I had been on Citalopram for the past 10 tens and I tended to self medicate based on my stress levels – never really stopping but anywhere from 5 to 20 mg a day would be normal. Peak stress I did go up to 40.

    Last September (2017) I finally went thru with my desire to be independent of prescription meds- though lacking was my research. I went through one month of big time zapping that then tapered off and I actually felt Ok and thought things were more or less alright.

    In early November I got the flu and after that ended, I could not shake an off kilter dizzy feeling. Fast forward to May and I am still no better today than I was six months ago in terms of dizziness. Some days are better than others but it never actually goes away.

    At first, I thought I had an inner ear infection (from the flu virus) causing the dizzy/vertigo. So I went down (and explored) the cat scan/ MRI avenue- all came back ok. So while it was nice to know that I didn’t have anything majorly wrong, I had zero direction of how to get better.

    I had always treated this medicine kind-of nonchalantly – and I GREATLY under estimated its reach on my body and brain. I recently reconnected with my prescribing doctor and am taking it again.

    I figure, I need to get back on – to then one day get off – but the right way. About one week later, I can’t say I feel much different but there really isn’t much I can do other then hope that this is what gets me back on track.

  • VP May 16, 2018, 2:42 pm

    It’s been 10 months I’m on Citalopram for mild/severe anxiety and I always express to my Psychiatrist I wanted to come off as soon as possible. I started off with 10mg for 1 month, then went to 20mg, then changed again to 30mg.

    I’m starting to taper this week (from 30 to 20mg), it’s been 4 days and I can already feel some mild symptoms. I feel dizzy, very tired, and unable to concentrate sometimes. Sometimes I just get a little bit lost inside my head and thoughts. My sleep quality has gone terrible.

    The interesting thing is those symptoms are exactly what I felt went I started the treatment. They were more severe back then though, so I’ll have to wait and see if this will scale to something worse. The thing I relate the most is when people say they get skeptical about their “real selves.”

    It’s so scary. You start to change and you barely notice it. When I started taking Citalopram I felt completely disconnected from who I was. After a panic attack, out of the blue, I just couldn’t connect to anything around me for a few days.

    It was a weird feeling, like I did not know what was reality anymore. This medication helped me recover this sense of ~being~ me again, and I just don’t want to lose it.

  • Ben May 11, 2018, 12:39 pm

    I have been on Cit for about 10 months now on 20mg a day. I had a very turbulent year last year, my business partner screwed me over and threatened my family. I was constantly hearing from “friends” what people were saying behind my back and my fiancé told me she didn’t love me anymore and left me.

    I tried to come off cit about 2 months back but was a nervous wreck after a few days, was emotional and feeling so upset so I went back on it. I am finding myself constantly tired and genuinely totally fatigued. I bought some iron and vitamins to try to improve my tiredness but it’s helping has been minimal

    Now I am adamant I don’t need it, I lease out my other business for a secure income. I’m the primary carer for my son and I have deleted social media and only a few have my phone number.

    I started reducing my intake, firstly I started taking one every other day, but then read that it could give me up and down days – so started cutting my tablets in half and taking 10mg a day. It’s been 2 weeks and I don’t feel anxious or depressed but I am increasingly ratty.

    I blame it on the tiredness as I always am cranky without sleep. I will get off this. I don’t need it. My problems are in the past but I just have to wean myself off it properly and try to stop being so moody.

  • LVT May 10, 2018, 9:27 pm

    This thread has given me so much comfort! I’ve been on Citalopram for around 9 years, increasing from 10mg to 20mg about 5 years ago. After a month of tapering following GPs advice – which I must say I had to prompt her to give, “just stop” didn’t fill me with hope! – I’m on Day 4 of total withdrawal.

    The scariest part has to be the fear that this is the ‘real me’. Alongside all the unpleasant physical side effects I’ve been shocking myself with things that have came out of my mouth without a second’s thought! However, this has really reassured me and I’m determined to keep going. I know it has to be now or never. Good luck everyone.

    • VP May 16, 2018, 2:32 pm

      Hi LVT, I was on Citalopram for 10 months now and I’m starting my tapering process today. Thank you for your comment. It really gives me hope.

  • Peter May 8, 2018, 11:08 pm

    I’ve been on citalopram for about 3 years. Tapering down from 20mg to 10 over the course of a week was fine but then dropping to 0 was fine too for a couple of days until about 3 or 4 days later – it was like I was hit by a truck.

    I thought it might have been a cold virus but then one of the GPs in the new practice I’m at helped me realize it was withdrawal. I had no idea what to expect! So I’ve been completely unable to do much at all except sleep, eat and occasionally go for a walk to my local park for a bit of fresh air!

    The fatigue is extreme and I have some nausea, but not enough to stop me from eating. Although I definitely have food preferences. This morning I had a craving for bananas and yoghurt! And loads of salad.

    I must say I am envious of those who have felt able to go to work!! Good luck.

    • Stacey May 24, 2018, 4:48 pm

      I have been experiencing withdrawals for about three weeks now after tapering off for a period of about four months. Everyday I wake up I pray that my sensory disturbances will have gone away but nope they’re still there.

      I am hoping that this ends very soon as I have no choice but to go to work. It’s absolutely miserable and no one truly understands how hard it is :( I hope you are feeling better now.

  • Jordan May 5, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Reading each response has had me in tears. This last week has been hell for me as I stopped cold turkey- not by choice, because express scripts didn’t renew my Rx like I signed up for them to do. I figured I’d just wait the 7-10 days for the new Rx to come in. I’ve taken 40mg for about 2 years for my depression.

    I also take Wellbutrin daily with it, so I figured the one depression medication would be okay for a few days until the other comes in. Over the past 5 days I’ve experienced every side effect mentioned except the brain zaps (which sound terrifying to me). I had such a horrible nightmare earlier this week I was shaken to my core.

    I didn’t want to talk to my husband BC he was in my terrible dream- poor guy did nothing wrong!! Yesterday I finally called my doctor as I felt like I was getting to a point that I couldn’t function— walk, drive, focus. I had NO idea this week of hell I’ve been through was because I was withdrawing from this medicine.

    The nurse sent in a bridge script for me until my regular Rx comes in. However, now I am extremely concerned about the chemicals in my brain and how horrible this week has been without it. Yes, it has helped my depression tremendously, but I actually think I’d like to try a different medicine or method to help my depression over this medication.

    It sounds like tapering off this medicine is going to take a while. :( I also had no idea that this medicine has contributed my weight gain. My weight is one reason why I feel so depressed!!

    I’m upset they my doctor didn’t tell me how addictive this medicine is, or that it would cause me to gain weight. I am a first grade teacher and Mom of three young kids. I am I’m shocked that I survived this last week with the stress in my life!!

    • Cami May 14, 2018, 9:58 pm

      Sweetie I feel the same way and I’m actually so mad that my doctor didn’t mention to be about weight gain! That’s why I am depressed too! I ballooned up like a hippo!

      I am determined to stay off the meds as I quit cold turkey and am just going to power thru the withdrawal. It sucks so bad but I don’t want to have to start all over again.

  • Jess May 3, 2018, 12:08 am

    I was prescribed Celexa 4 years ago and took 40 mg per day. For 6 months I reduced to 20 mg then to 10 mg for three months and am now no longer taking any as of 2 weeks ago. I feel the dizziness and slight loss of balance. Not to the point of falling but I notice the difference.

    My skin tingles and head and stomach feel dull. I feel most of the brain zaps behind my eyes. I’ve experienced worse side effects in the past, but this is quite uncomfortable. In the past I have titrated from other psychotropic medications.

    I notice a lot of fruits (citrus), vitamin D, calcium and iron have been helpful. I eat a lot of vegetables which also helps. I have IBS and when I am off a psychotropic med I notice my stomach is a bit more sensitive.

    It’s difficult to explain but overall it’s as if my body is blah… Good luck to us all!

  • Fiammetta Cosci May 2, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Dear All, I am Fiammetta Cosci, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florence and Associate Editor of the scientific journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. For some years I have been carrying out research on the phenomenon of antidepressant discontinuation and reduction-related withdrawal.

    Scientific research suggests that the reduction or discontinuation, either gradual or abrupt, of antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms. Patients or treating physicians often consider these symptoms as a return of the original disease following the reduction of therapy. This phenomenon has instead been described as a consequence of SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants or SNRI (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressant-related withdrawal.

    The withdrawal symptoms can already be observed 24-96 hours after the dose reduction or the discontinuation of the drug and may last a few weeks but also months or years. In order to verify if there is a withdrawal syndrome due to antidepressant dose reduction or discontinuation, we developed a semi-structured interview called “Diagnostic clinical Interview for Drug Withdrawal 1 SSRI and SNRI”.

    My research group and I would like to give the users of this forum the opportunity of receiving a free assessment through the interview, over the phone or Skype, with the aim, for us, to collect research data and thus increase the knowledge of this important clinical phenomenon in the scientific community.

    More information is available on the web page https://www.smettereglipsicofarmaci.unifi.it/changelang-eng.html as well as in the Facebook page Gruppo di ricerca Smettere gli psicofarmaci (https://it-it.facebook.com/Gruppo-di-Ricerca-Smettere-gli-Psicofarmaci-268191017028951/), where users can share their own experience.

    They can send their stories to our e-mail address [email protected]. The stories will be treated as confidential and published anonymously. Best regards, Fiammetta Cosci. Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology. Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence.

  • J May 2, 2018, 5:13 am

    Thanks all for posting your withdrawal symptoms. It has really helped me to feel more normal! I went on celexa about 3 years ago. My highest dosage was 20mg, but I did go down to 10mg a few times. I started weaning myself off about 8 weeks ago and am completely off of it for 2 weeks now.

    During the 3 years I gained 45 pounds on it, even with diet and exercising I kept gaining. My cholesterol also went through the roof and I eat a very strict diet (stomach issues). These were so rapid that my doctor ran a ton of tests only to tell me it was the celexa.

    So now that I am off of it… I am getting the heart palpitations, tingly lips, headaches, vivid dreams, mood swings, crankiness, and lightheaded. Some things seems to be getting better as time goes while others seem to be ramping up. I am really eyeing that 90 day mark to feel normal again. Good luck all!

    • Rik August 12, 2018, 4:49 am

      Hi J. Having been on meds for more than half of my 41 years on the planet I can safely say most pills make you gain weight. It’s just some do more than others. In my case, celexa did like many others – so perhaps in some ways, it just added to the collection. Not fun by any means, but what we do to stay (or at least feel) somewhat sane.

  • Allison May 1, 2018, 4:20 am

    I have been on Celexa 20mg for 11 years. In December Of this year I decided to start weaning off. I began with; 20, 20, 10, then 20, 10, 20, then 10, 10, 20. That got me to march being on 10mg a day. Now I’ve got it in liquid so I’m tapering down 1mg every 2 weeks.

    I am on 6mg a day and I feel great. I’ve tried doing cold turkey and it was horrid. Dizzy, emotional, angry, feeling hopeless. This slow taper has been a success so far! It will be 6 months total of tapering before I’m off completely but totally worth it! Good luck everyone!

    • Emma May 7, 2018, 9:55 pm

      Hi Allison, Your story lines up scarily similar to my own! 10 years of 20mg citalopram, December I went 20, 10, 20, 10 with no side effects. 😊 One week ago I went to 20, 10, 10. Today the dizziness has hit and I can’t even roll over in bed without feeling like I’m plummeting off a cliff.

      Reading your story gives me hope that the dizziness is a blip and I’ll be ok to continue this journey. I’ve been cold turkey a couple of times-both times I crashed and burned! Learnt my lesson and taking it super slow this time.

  • Georgeanne Fletcher Matthews April 30, 2018, 11:47 pm

    Do not go cold turkey! Omg… read the literature and understand that this is absolutely the worst approach to getting off the meds. I’m two weeks off Celexa after 5 weeks weaning off. Occasional mild brain zaps are the only withdrawal symptom so far.

    And it seems to be when I have a glass of wine. I feel good, no depression, no anxiety, etc. I was only on Celexa for one year which is approx what Doc said would be needed. Going on the med was a slow approach and weaning off was a slow approach. I am Canadian.

  • Cherie April 30, 2018, 9:34 am

    I was taking 10mg of Citalopram for about six years and occasionally 20mg. I tried to stop taking them a few times but always went back on them because of the awful withdrawals. This time I stopped taking 20mg and went down to 10 due the fact that I have been getting really bad heart palpitations at work, feeling agitated, and not being able to sleep at night.

    I found that when I went up to 20mg from 10mg my weight just ballooned as well. Once I had come down from 20mg to 10mg I decided to go cold turkey within one week, not a good idea at all! I am now free of Citalopram for 13 days and have felt dreadful – brain zaps, nausea, diarrhea, crying, terrible nightmares, whole body aching and the most awful tiredness.

    I’ve had to go to work with these symptoms and try to pretend I was ok even though I work with the public. If you are considering quitting these meds do it slowly, give your body a chance to adapt. Tell people around you what’s happening and ask them to give you some space, get plenty of rest and try and stay off alcohol.

    On day 13 now and I think I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, don’t feel as sick or tired and the hellish nightmares have just turned into vivid dreams (thank god). Make sure your doctor knows what you are doing and take a day at a time. 🤞🏽😘

    • Susan May 21, 2018, 11:34 pm

      You give me hope for day 13. I am on day 5. The good thing is, I keep saying… this can’t last, you can do this!

  • Brenda April 29, 2018, 1:45 pm

    Wow – has anyone been on 80mg? I was put on 80mg and have been on them for 4 years although they work for me I have gained 45 lbs and still going even if I exercise and eat right. I made the decision to get off but reading all this is scary.

    I did cold turkey two years ago for 2 months was a complete nightmare. My biggest thing is my entire personality changes and affects my family and those I love, I get very dizzy to be here I think I’m going to pass out and I get a scary tingly numbness in my tongue and lips.

    I made the decision to get off again this time I tapered. My weight has just made me depressed and I can’t get it off due to these meds and I honestly don’t want to be dependent on this medication anymore.

    I’m on day 3 and tingling and numbness of lips began last night. I also get severe panic attacks. Has anyone tried anything natural that may help with any of these symptoms?

    • Stacey May 24, 2018, 4:57 pm

      There’s not a whole lot you can do in terms of stopping the withdrawals because even tapering you’re still going to experience them. I tapered very slowly and still have them. In your case since you’re taking such a high dose I would taper off ten milligrams a month maybe.

      It’s going to be hard no matter what but you have to know that there is an end in sight. If you’re experiencing severe panic attacks though while you’re still on the medication I would talk to your doctor maybe celexa isn’t the medication right for you.

      And you may still need to be on something. I haven’t had any panic attacks since stopping celexa but the withdrawals are horrid and I can relate to the way you feel. I hope you get some solution to your situation.

    • Cat June 3, 2018, 1:30 am

      80mg is insane. I’m really surprised your doctor did that. I was on 50mg but my doctor was super hesitant with that. He said he was only doing it because I had been on it for years with it being effective and it was hormone related that was making me need a higher dose (I was pregnant at the time).

      He said to me, switching would be worse for me than giving me the higher dose. There are risks to your heart at higher doses than 40mg though. I would say Celexa is definitely not working for you. Get a new doctor too because that one put you in harm’s way.

    • Doreen June 4, 2018, 9:14 pm

      As already mentioned 40 mg is the maximum safe dosage of Celexa. You definitely need to see a different doctor as 80 mg is putting you at a significant risk for heart damage.

      (Note: Besides taking antidepressants, I worked in the mental health field for many years.) I would also recommend seeing someone to help you taper slowly and safely off of the Celexa.

  • Deebs April 27, 2018, 6:36 pm

    I’ve been on Celexa for nearly 20 years. I’ve tried to come off before but the side effects of withdrawal kept me on it. I decided to just quit cold a week ago and sure enough after a few days the vertigo/motion sickness came, as well as weird dreams. I was on 20mg a day.

    So I took 10mg one night and that made the symptoms subside a bit. Then yesterday I had a stressful day at work and I felt like I was going to cry – not normal for me. After work I cried a little, then last night the emotion just came over and me and I cried harder than I’ve ever cried.

    I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stop. I finally did and then went to bed. I woke today feeling like I had been hit by a truck! Very fatigued today, but I don’t have to work so I’m just resting.

    I wish there was an exact timeline for when symptoms will subside. It’s the not knowing that makes me want to run back to the medicine cabinet and start taking it again. This is the longest I’ve been off it.

  • Niamh April 26, 2018, 12:08 am

    So glad to find out that I’m not alone with the memory problems. I was on 100mg of Sertraline for over a year, and tapered off over 3 weeks because I would wake up and think my hand wasn’t my own, would forget my name, etc. I felt catatonic some days.

    I changed to 20mg of Citalopram just before Christmas and have tried to not think about how it’s affecting me. Because of the terrible doctors where I am, I haven’t been able to book an appointment for a prescription so have been cold turkey for a week.

    I have 3 major essays in for my first year of university, I’ve worked 35 hours and struggled with the usual fears of leaving my house. I thought I was being dramatic but it’s helpful to read that the ‘electric shock’ feelings are normal, I had no idea what that was.

    I also haven’t been able to keep any food down whatsoever, so everything is just a bit s**t right now. Hope everyone else is doing ok, we’re all on the same type of journey :)

  • Kim April 20, 2018, 10:35 pm

    My prescription ran out and I was feeling so good that I decided not to refill it. BIG mistake! After about 10 days I was having soaking night sweats, weird dreams, horrendous headaches, and just all around ‘odd’ feeling(s).

    I figured since my ‘depressant’ had moved to another state (meaning my ex-husband) that all was well but didn’t expect all the side effects. Now I’m back on citalopram until I get back up to speed… so I can gradually taper off.

    Wish I knew then what I know now – I would’ve saved myself some long days.

  • Dana April 16, 2018, 7:19 pm

    I’ve been on citalopram for just over two months. I lost track of my prescription and forgot to get it refilled. It’s been 3 days of not taking it, and I am in horrible condition. I have been a lot more emotional, and irrational. I woke up this morning with a migraine from hell.

    I tried to take some migraine meds, and that was followed by vomiting and the d-word. I can’t move too quick otherwise I’m back to vomiting. I’m dizzy and lightheaded. I’m sleepy but can’t sleep. My entire body feels stiff and sore, especially my head, neck and shoulders.

    My brother is picking up my prescription for me, and I’m going to be taking my 20mg dose soon. I’m hoping it will very quickly dissipate my symptoms. I’m so very sorry to everyone whose been feeling these symptoms on a long term basis. ❤️ Wishing you strength for a healthy recovery.

    • Leigh-Ann April 16, 2018, 11:09 pm

      It took about ten days for the withdrawal symptoms to completely go for me. Now I feel normal again. I had the same symptoms as you with the neck and shoulder pain every morning. Felt like I’d been beaten up! It’s crazy how one little pill can give so many different side effects. Hope you get back on track soon 😘

  • Leigh-Ann April 12, 2018, 12:43 am

    I was on Citalopram for a couple of months when I decided to come off it as I didn’t feel it had helped me. I was on 20mg, then went down to 10mg, then 5mg. A few days after being off it completely I started to get vertigo, constant headaches and nausea all day. Some foods I can’t even look at.

    I’ve had these symptoms for coming up to 2 weeks now and I have had to have time off work as I am too exhausted to do anything. I can’t even walk up stairs without my whole body aching.

    I feel like I have the flu every day and it’s really getting me down. Does anyone know how long this will last? I’m afraid to go back to work as I am also getting panic attacks from feeling this way. 😞

    • Anna April 23, 2018, 5:46 am

      I am on week 2 of gradually tapering off. I have had two days of awful flu like symptoms, exactly what you have described! I also tried going off cold turkey at one point this year and had flu like symptoms for a week straight before I couldn’t stand it any longer and went back on the pills. It sucks, you’re not alone.

      • Leigh-Ann April 23, 2018, 4:49 pm

        I can understand why you’ve done that. It almost got too much for me to bare but it does pass and I’m glad I gave it time. I’ve been put on a new med now called sertraline.

        It’s been amazing – I’ve not had any side effects at all other than a bit of an upset tummy on Day 1.

        Guess it’s just finding the right one for you. Looking back now I can’t believe I actually stayed on citalopram. It was hell! Felt and looked like I was on something illegal lol!

  • Danielle Strachan April 6, 2018, 6:51 am

    I have been on citalopram for around 9 months. I was on the 20mg and doctor dropped me to 10mg for a month and we decided I was ready to come off it altogether – as all the reasons for my depression I had ticked off, amended and faced. Now I’m on my first week of coming off and I am struggling.

    To be honest, no matter how early I go to bed I’m still shattered in the morning and struggle to get out of bed for work. I have been isolating myself and feel like I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. I’m grumpy and cry for no reason at all. The dizziness is becoming unbearable already every time I stand up I feel as though I am going to keel over. Can anyone shed a light on how long this will continue?

    • Louis April 7, 2018, 7:08 pm

      Hi Danielle. For me personally when I stopped taking celexa and abilify at the same time about a year and 3 months ago – it was NOT easy to deal with. I had severe anxiety, depression, mood swings, a lot of crying and a bunch other withdrawals.

      This went on for roughly 10 months for me. They will subside it just takes time. My brain still doesn’t feel right sometimes, though I feel myself getting better monthly. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever overcome in my life and I’m still battling it.

      • Danielle Strachan April 11, 2018, 8:47 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I do feel a bit better tonight however I had a breakdown at work yesterday. I don’t even know why really a colleague asked how I was and I just broke down and now feel rather embarrassed. My boss has given me some time off.

        I’m not back until next Wednesday so I’m hoping I’m a little better and the break will do me good. I’ve not been sleeping too well. My mind is doing overtime. I guess you’re right though and it is natural as my emotions have been toned down for a while I feel.

        Like everything is getting on top of me. Your advice has made me feel better in the knowing that it will get better even if it is slowly. Just knowing that it will get better is reassuring. Also doesn’t help my poor 6 month old kitten has become really ill and spewing everywhere.

        Had to rush her to the vet this morning and I got really upset about that. But I think she is on the mend as she is a bit better now. Thanks again for your advice.

        • Anna April 23, 2018, 5:49 am

          You’re not alone!! I’ve been so emotional these last 2 weeks as I’ve gone off of it and my poor husband had listened to me cry multiple times a day over nothing.

          But he has been so helpful and encouraging, and supports me in my decision to stop the medication. I can say that having a good support system is helping me SO MUCH. Find yours!

  • Luke Ryan April 6, 2018, 12:55 am

    Hello all. Kinda wish I’d have looked up these forums before I stopped taking my meds. I’m 24 years old and originally started taking 20mg cit roughly 2 years ago for what the doctor told me was GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) due to a mixture of childhood trauma and years of drug and drink abuse.

    Before taking cit I suffered with chronic anxiety, mainly social and the thought of everyone having one in for me, always looking over my shoulder etc, I think I was about 16 at the time and eventually it did just stop. As I got older I started going out again but I was always high on something. I took drugs recreationally from about 17 years old until I was about 20.

    I abused LSD mainly and would take it almost 3 times a week for a long period of time and for the best part of my drug years I felt exceptionally well. Of course like most things it had to stop at some point and by the time I turned 21 I was only treating my to a monthly dabble with drugs and I was quite happy with how my life was going.

    It wasn’t long until I felt like I hit a brick wall, like I was back to where I was when I was 16 but a lot more INTENSE. I was really struggling, in and out of the doctors on a weekly basis demanding blood tests and all sorts. This was an on-going thing for almost a year, constantly feeling like I was psychically unwell, doctor after doctor telling me I needed to go on mental health medication but I was adamant that the horrible butterflies in my stomach were ulcers or something and the brain zaps and constant headaches were cancerous.

    Eventually I did give in to medication, you all know the score, first few weeks you feel disgusting but you ride it out until eventually you feel a bit more stable again, still have the odd bad day but stable and coping. Things are looking up a bit but your sex life deteriorates and at the back of your mind you know that all the medication is doing is masking how you really feel, almost like putting a sticky plaster over your brain but you get on with it because all in all you do feel better.

    There’s a big gap here because I don’t know or can’t remember what pushed me to wanting to come off my meds, but roughly 4 months ago I went down to 10mg cit every day and eventually I was doing one day on, one day off. In the end I was taking a tablet one night and skipping two days. All in all going from 10mg every day to the one day on and two days off, I only really experienced a few side effects.

    I’d have bad days like any normal person and I had the odd panic attacks but nothing too brutal. I stopped taking my medication completely 13 days ago and I feel like I’m deteriorating again, almost like I’m back to my 16 year old self and exactly why I’m on here writing this now. Side effects are ridiculous, anxiety levels are sky high.

    I’m struggling to sleep (it’s 2am now) I’m struggling to get up in the mornings. I feel almost light sensitive during the day like I’m always squinting, I’m drowsy, lightheaded, intense brain zaps and ringing in my ears. I find myself getting worked up and breaking a sweat just telling myself to man up and get on with it – but even the simplest of tasks feel like I’m making myself walk to the other side of the world.

    I’ve got 2 full boxes of 10mg cit beside me on my bedside table that I picked up from my doctor’s today as a form of comfort, a way out from all of this if you like. I’m not sure whether or not to take my meds again and wean myself off them like how the rest of you have, one day on, three days off.

    I’m not sure if this was the right time for me to quit cit and not sure how anyone can give advice to me but that’s my story so far. Remember, you’re not alone. Luke.

    • Anna April 23, 2018, 5:56 am

      Luke, thank you SO much for writing this. It’s so comforting to hear similarities in your story with mine. I’m also struggling every day with the idea of taking my meds again, not knowing if I can continue with these withdrawal symptoms. It has been two weeks for me.

      I mentioned this earlier to someone else, but having my husband who supports me completely through all of this has been so incredibly helpful for me.

      Every time I cry, saying I’m not sure if I can continue doing this and that I’m afraid of not only driving myself crazy, but also him, he tells me “I am all for this. It may be hard for a long time, but I’m always here for you and know you can do it.”

      I would suggest finding someone who can be your support as well, whether it be a friend or family member. My husband’s encouragement is the only thing that keeps me going.

  • Amanda April 5, 2018, 1:07 am

    Hello all! I am so glad I found this… it’s making me cry – but the crying could also be part of my withdrawals – funny, not funny, I know. I am not one to “google” health issues, but after being on 40mg of celexa (started at 20mg and very shortly went to 40mg) for the last 5 years due to depression, anxiety and a very severe panic attack, after losing 5 people (3 to cancer – 1 being my 57 year old father) who were near and dear to my heart in 1 year.

    I have been tapering for the past 3 weeks. I am now down to 20mgs and it has been hell: brain zaps, dizziness, irritability, crying, depression, memory issues, stomach issues and most of all EXTREME fatigue. Last night I fell asleep at 6:30pm and didn’t wake up until 10:30am this morning and I only got up because my husband drove home from work to force me to get up.

    Apparently he had tried to wake me up last night to no avail and I have no recollection of it. All of that sleeping, after I took an hour nap on my lunch break. That all scared me, so I googled. And I’m glad I did, because I know that is not just me and I’m not alone.

    Thank you to everyone that has shared their stories… you’ve helped this girl know that she can get through it with perseverance and time. Best to you all.

  • Tina April 4, 2018, 7:59 pm

    I am withdrawing from celexa. I did a taper but I feel dizzy and I am getting the feeling out of nowhere that I need to throw up. I’m having very vivid dreams and a hard time getting to sleep.

  • Nancy April 1, 2018, 5:35 pm

    Pleased I stumbled onto this site. Been on 20mg for 5 years now. I’m soon to be 62 and want to get off… Started cutting down to 10 mg Feb 1st daily and did so the whole month. March was every 3 days and today I’m down to every 4.

    Definitely feel like crap the first day I make the change. Irritable/kinda stoned feeling. Weepy today too. I walk most days and meditate as well, it helps.

  • Janice March 31, 2018, 8:40 pm

    Thank you so much. I was really panicking I thought I was dying. The worst part I found is the dizzy, lightheaded side effect. I am going cold turkey. I know it’s not recommended, but I’m sick of taking tablets and just getting though life – not living it.

    I’m 47 and have been on this medication for 6 years. I was originally prescribed it for post operative depression/ anxiety. I am going to continue with going cold turkey and hope that the symptoms will soon end and I can start to live my life again. Having said this, should I not feel great – I will speak to my GP and maybe change medication.

  • Kelly March 29, 2018, 11:06 pm

    After 5 years on Celexa, plus amitriptyline and Buspar, and a 50lb weight gain, I talked to my doctor about weaning off of them. Starting in November last year I weaned off of the Buspar and the amitriptyline. I successfully stopped both of those mess.

    In January I started to wean off of the 20mg of celexa. Each tapering has been done slowly. Per my MD after two weeks of 10 mg every other I should be able to stop taking them. I had brain zaps and mental confusion so badly that I cut the 10s in half and started 5mg daily for two weeks then tried every other day.

    It’s been 2 weeks of 5 every other day and I seriously don’t think I can deal with this. The brain zaps and vertigo are so bad I am having a difficult time driving. Tail lights cause my eyes to zap. I dissolve into tears over the news.

    I work a high stress, high level job and am having problems functioning at work. Panic attacks are waking me up at night when I am able to sleep. Please tell me this will get better!

    • Amanda April 23, 2018, 12:51 am

      Hi Kelly. Can you update on your condition? I was taking 30 mg/day of citalopram for 2.5 years and tapered to 0 over 4 weeks under a physician’s care. I am 10 days into withdrawal. I have dizziness, brain zaps, flu-like symptom, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. I’ve stopped driving and now Lyft to work.

      My high pressure job is suffering. I can’t work out without losing balance and I miss that part of my life. I don’t think I’m getting better. My parents have had similar experiences with going off meds and say it lasts about 2 weeks.

      I’m skeptical but hopeful. There’s a lot of info out there that says this goes on for years. I’m very interested to hear how you’re doing.

  • T March 25, 2018, 7:47 pm

    Hello, I have been reading several of your posts and wanted to add my experience as well in hopes that it will possibly help someone here and/or help me! I have been on Celexa (Citalopram) 20mg since September 2015 for chronic depression.

    Over the last year I felt it was not really working as my depressive states were becoming more severe and longer lasting. Then, I began experiencing manic episodes as well. I am 47, and therefore entertained the idea that what I was experiencing may be hormonal.

    However, all testing came back normal. In January 2018 I had a psych evaluation and after looking at my history and associated behaviors, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and prescribed Lamictal. I really feel that the diagnosis fit and Lamictal was working.

    However, last week I ended up in the hospital with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome – a severe, and rare, systemic allergic reaction to the Lamictal. I have subsequently been taken off both the Celexa and Lamictal. All that said, I did not taper off of the Celexa and have stopped cold-turkey.

    I am on day 12 and am experiencing quite a few of the side effects listed here. However, I am in no hurry to begin taking any other meds until I am completely recovered from the allergic reaction. Fortunately I have healthcare providers that are willing to follow my lead and not put me right back on a handful of medications.

    I am also on high doses of steroids and antihistamines so there are additional and unrelated side effects. The biggest one is thinking that I am doing better than I am and accepting that the healing process takes time. Please respond with any comments, similar experiences, or other. Wishing you all the very best on your pursuit of mental health wellness. T

  • Jen March 24, 2018, 1:45 am

    Glad I found this, but getting really worried. I have been on celexa for 10 years. But have been on 60mg for 4 years. Last year I got a new family Dr who said this is way too high and can cause elongation of my QT which can eventually cause cardiac arrest. She referred me to a psychiatrist to evaluate my medication.

    A year later (Tuesday) I finally got an appointment and she was great bug told me I had to be weaned down to at least 20mg before she can put me in something better. Long story short I had a terrible day plus a lot of alcohol and swallowed a whole bottle.

    Yes I feel horrible about it but that’s another conversation. After 2 nights in the hospital and being released to my family with 24 hour supervision. I have in fact lengthened my QT.

    My Dr has now taken me off cold turkey. Until my heart improves and she can start me on something else. Fair enough. After reading all this I am terrified of what lays ahead. She did give me ativan for when I need it. It is day 2 and I am scared.

    • Emily March 25, 2018, 9:54 am

      Hey Jen, Sorry about your current situation. What has helped me is just reminding myself that the symptoms I’m feeling are nothing more than chemical reactions in my brain. I also have an emergency anxiety med just in case I need it. Just knowing that I have it helps a lot (it’s not Xanax, what I have is not addictive). There are Facebook groups you can join for support, even one for coming of citalopram. Just know that you can do this!

      • Lauren April 4, 2018, 11:42 am

        What non-addictive emergency med do you take?

  • Karen March 22, 2018, 12:48 am

    I was on 20mg citalopram for 14 months. They did help to elevate my mood and calm the menopausal mood swings. I especially liked the “don’t give a f***” phase because nothing stressed me any more. Unfortunately this led to me being emotionally flat and I felt that was not a good place to be.

    I weaned myself off them literally by nibbling a tiny crumb off for a week, then a bit more each week until I was down to less than half a tablet per day. Even with such careful weaning I had terrible withdrawal symptoms. Brain zaps, that feeling of leaving your eyes behind, dizziness, nausea, even a hospital visit for the kind of abdominal pain I never ever want to experience again.

    It had me rolling about the floor, but luckily just wore off after a couple of hours in the emergency room. I kept my diet healthy and took plenty exercise and after a few weeks I was down to just the odd brain zap. I never want to experience any of this again.

    Would just like to add that I now have memory issues. There are huge blank areas in my memories now that I just can’t recall anything about. On a daily basis I can remember things that are important but I readily forget things less so. I did gain weight while on the drug but have managed to lose that and more at a slimming club so it can be done.

  • June March 21, 2018, 5:57 pm

    So happy to have found this site. I have been on Citalopram 40mg for 4 years and it has really helped me through some trying times. When I started taking it, it was the first time I think I have ever felt ‘normal’ – I actually think I didn’t cry for about a 2 year period, when I had been weepy previously.

    The lesson I have learned is that I shouldn’t take for granted what the drug does for me. I sent in a refill and have been so busy that I didn’t get it picked up. The upshot is that I have been cold turkey for about a week and it has not been fun. Lethargy, crying jags, low esteem and a feeling of being alienated have been awful, along with nausea, severe headache and gastrointestinal issues.

    I just phoned in my refill after speaking with a friend of mine (a retired RN who also takes it) who pointed out that I was having withdrawal symptoms. I honestly had no idea. I think I will work on weaning myself down over a long period of time and see where it takes me.

    I’m so glad to know that others are on the same journey. Best wishes to everyone.

    • Michele March 22, 2018, 9:21 pm

      June, I’ve been off my citalopram for a week and have felt exactly the same as you, it’s been miserable! I keep hoping that in a few weeks it won’t feel so difficult being off of the SSRI, I’m tired of crying already!

  • Allison March 20, 2018, 3:38 am

    I have been on 20mg of Celexa for 11 years. I have had a heck of a time losing weight and went to a naturopath to discuss my health. She looked and my food diary and said there is no way I shouldn’t be losing weight. She tested my thyroid and it all came back normal. She said the last option was to come off my Celexa.

    I started doing 3 days on, 1 day off for 4 weeks then 2 days on, 1 day off for 4 weeks. Then every other day for 4 weeks. I finally made it to 10 mg every day. I did 2 on, 1 off for 2 weeks and now I am on 10mg every other day. This is the first time I’ve felt significant withdrawal symptoms.

    They include, irritability, confusion, dizziness, and mood swings. I know I should’ve kept on with 2 on 1 off for a few more weeks but I felt so good. I’m going to push through and see how it goes. A last option is getting the drug in liquid form and coming down by 1mg increments. Good luck everyone!

  • Tsure March 13, 2018, 7:17 pm

    I posted about a year ago when I went off of the 10 mg prescription I had been on for about 8 years, and wanted to give an update. For the first about 4-6 months I experienced: crying spells, anger, dizziness, brain fog, all the typical symptoms. I thought it would never end, and then slowly the bursts of emotion slowed down.

    However, a year out, I still feel as though I don’t have the mental focus that I once did – I search for words and feel foggy mentally which is super frustrating as I typically have a great memory. Concentration levels can be lacking. The extra lbs I gained (about 7 lbs) haven’t come off, and I exercise 6-7 days a week and am an avid runner, and always have been.

    The depression and anxiety I am prone to is back in full force, though never truly went away on the meds. I find myself overly emotional on a regular basis and less able to deal with standard annoyances. After all this work to get off, I don’t want to go back on another med because I believe it may need to be a lifelong process.

    I do feel as though maybe some of us just need the extra serotonin boost. Perhaps some of us don’t have situational depression that goes away after a stint on meds, and are more prone to anxiety, as I have been for most of my 30ish years. Anyone else been off for this long who can share their experience?

    • Eunice June 11, 2018, 2:58 am

      Hey Tsure – I have been on Citalopram for 10+ years at 2.5mg and off since May 2017. Regarding the extra serotonin boost, have you considered other areas of your life? Recovery in this case for me has been physical, emotional and spiritual and I have had to revamp all three aspects.

      Whole food diet, therapy/12 steps and forming a positive spiritual connection and a general determination to do whatever it takes not to end up in the same situation as I did before assisted greatly to not fall into depression in WD.

  • Ron March 13, 2018, 6:25 pm

    Hi everyone, I’ve been on citalopram on and off for about 7 years. I decided to wean myself off these tablets, I was going to the gym and feeling really good! I was on 40mg then went down to 20mg for 3months. Then thought I’d half my tablets which took me down to 10mg.

    I told my nurse and she said she would like me to stay on 10mg for a while. So I continued for a few weeks then stopped in September. I had no side effects at all. Until January when I started to feel very low then started to suffer with severe anxiety worse than I have ever experienced before.

    I couldn’t sleep, eat and felt I couldn’t cope. The symptoms have eased but I’m still suffering quite bad, I don’t want to go back on this drug. But I don’t know what to do. Do I persevere? Will it get easier?

    • Emma April 17, 2018, 8:34 pm

      I can relate completely… I weaned off over a few months and that was months ago. I felt really great but in the last month or so I have been really bad.

      Suffering with severe anxiety, feel like I can’t cope and cry over everything. I feel like all of this should have happened when I came off them but it’s like a delayed reaction.

  • Andy March 13, 2018, 2:31 pm

    I am 47 years old and I have been taking 20mg Citalopram for about 15 years. Although I am keen to stop taking this medication, I cannot deny how much it helped me over the years. I really felt the benefit immediately and have been lucky with hardly any troublesome side effects.

    I recently made a big change in my diet (90% vegetarian, very low dairy, very low sugar etc.) and have lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of energy and mental focus. Due to my doctor stopping my prescription, so I would go and see her, I found myself without it for a couple of days.

    I decided to use this as a spring board to begin a tapering procedure to stop taking it or at least dramatically reduce my intake of this medicine. I went 2 days without then almost fell over I was so dizzy, so I took 10mg. It took another 2 days before the dizziness returned so I took another 10mgs this morning.

    I think I will continue on this basis and hope that I can stretch out the time between dizzy spells. I am prepared for this to take up to a year to complete. The other side effects I am experiencing are: brain fog and a little insomnia. Although I have had a cold, allergies and the clocks went forward all in the same weekend, so not knowing what day it is might be normal!

    I work in a very fast paced and mentally challenging environment and so any issues with concentration are a real problem I hope I can keep on top of it all. Good Luck everyone.

    • Lorraine March 13, 2018, 6:12 pm

      Hi Andy, good luck. Was really interested how you feel your dietary changes have helped. I tried to come off bout 18 months ago and anxiety went through the roof, so reluctantly went back on. Now on 10mg daily and hope to taper off at some point very slowly. All the best of luck.

      • Andy March 14, 2018, 7:28 pm

        I made changes to my diet almost a year ago now in an effort to fight increasing lethargy and brain fog. I hope that the lift in my underlying well-being that I have experienced since making these changes will help with the side effects caused by reducing my citalopram dosage.

        Apparently my mind likes me to be hungry! Its still too early to say how much my new diet is helping withdrawal though. After reducing too much over the last week I have decided to stick to 10mg per day for at least a month or two from now.

  • Rachel March 11, 2018, 5:44 am

    I was on 5mg for a week. Nothing, right? I’m just relaying my experience to validate everyone’s real struggle – my dose was so low and so short, I should have had no problem, but it’s been hard!!! It’s a week after coming off and I’m nauseated, have had terrible nightmares and a big fat, unrelenting headache. All very not normal for me.

    While I was on it, the muscles controlling my eyes did not want to focus. Even while driving. It felt unsafe. Also, even though I am an athlete and work out multiple hours a day, Citalopram made me eat less and gain several pounds. Other than eating less, I was exercising the exact same as usual. My metabolism slowed down for sure. The drug felt like a toxic overload.

    I’m now alternating taking L-tyrosine and SAMe instead. So much better! My metabolism is righting itself. I am hoping by next week the other side effects will be done. I would tell everyone to stay far away from these drugs. They do more harm than good. Amino acids are better for sure.

  • Rachael March 10, 2018, 8:13 am

    I’m on day 7 of cold turkey off 20mg Citalopram, apart from vidid dreams I’ve so far been lucky and not suffered any other withdrawal symptoms. I was on this dose for 3 months, before the increase I was on 10mg for about 11 months. I wanted my life back, since the increase I’d been suffering with quite intense alcohol cravings.

    This side effect is not mentioned on the paperwork that comes with the tablets here in England but it is in America!!!! Since stopping I’m a completely different person, no cravings for alcohol so go figure!!!

  • Chris March 8, 2018, 3:25 am

    Been on Citalopram since 2005, tried to get off it once and had a horrible time but this time I’ve cut it out by using a very long withdrawal process over 3+ months. However, still going through the side effects even though I’ve now been off it about a month. Dizziness is the worst, but also nausea, irritability and lethargy.

    Even considered going back on it for life just to start feeling physically less sick but I’m hanging in there for at least 3 months to see if the symptoms go away. It might be that my baseline state actually needs the extra serotonin but I will make that decision based on what sort of a person I am after the side effects stop.

    Having gone through this, I think the following points are critical:

    1. Tapering off is the only way.
    2. The longer you take and the smaller the dosage reductions the better.
    3. It will hurt – don’t believe the doctors, you are not going to enjoy the experience.
    4. It will get better.
    5. the final stage is the worst, going to a zero dose is the hardest bit.
    6. It does get better.
    7. There is a final hump to get over and once you have hit that the end result is worth it.


  • John March 8, 2018, 2:46 am

    I left a comment last year when I started my journey to quit taking Citalopram, but it isn’t here. Anyway, here is a quick rundown of my journey. I was on 20 mg for about 3.5 years after a nasty divorce. I decided in Feb last year that I was going to come off of it because some of the side effects were undesirable.

    My plan was to cut my dose in half for 2 weeks and then in half again for another 2 weeks and then every other day for 2 weeks. After 4 weeks, I just stopped taking it. I was really worried about this because of some of the stories I read here but in the end I was lucky. I had some brain zaps initially but by the 3rd week, they were gone.

    I had some tingling in my extremities that lasted for about 2 months. I didn’t have a lot of the depression or migraines I read about. I did take some supplements to help me out but I can’t remember what they were. I did a lot of research before I stopped so I was prepared.

    The best part of coming off the depression meds is that I feel like myself again. I am no longer a zombie just going through life waiting to take my next dose. I am slowly losing the weight I gained while on the meds and try to get to the gym 3 times a week. To those that are dealing with this, I say hang in there. There is life after the meds.

  • Frances March 6, 2018, 2:01 am

    Hi, I’ve been on citalopram for about 3 years now. Started at 20mg and had to increase to 40mg because of stress, anxiety basically I just couldn’t cope. Am in a better place now and about 10 days ago reduced my dose by 10mg. The first couple of days were actually not too bad but today I can’t stop crying, have headaches and cannot sleep unless I take a sleeping tablet.

    It’s 2am and I feel exhausted. It’s not the first time I’ve tried reducing the dosage but each time it’s been the same, the anxiety I feel is dreadful! And my nerves are on edge. I really want this to work and be free of tablets. My stomach feels sick all the time too. It’s been such a relief and help to read other people’s comments just to know I’m not imagining all these side effects!

  • NPGirl March 5, 2018, 11:03 pm

    Bit of a success story for anyone struggling with withdrawal symptoms. I’d been on 20mg for 5 years, cut down to 10 for 6 months and came off completely 4 weeks ago. Admittedly the first 3 weeks were terrible – the brain zaps and anxiety were were almost unbearable (several times I wanted to cave in and have another tablet).

    Normal Panadol/paracetamol really seemed to help as did taking Magnesium tablets. Now, in the 4th the brain zaps have (very almost) stopped and I’m feeling good. Just persist, you’ll get there :)

  • Kelly March 4, 2018, 6:30 am

    I have taken Celexa twice in my life. I am going off it now. I am taking 5mg and will do this every other day for 3 weeks. Both times while taking celexa, I have experienced “rapid weight gain of 30+ pds in a 3 month period. This is why I am discontinuing this med.

    One symptom I have had is a thickness in the area from the pubic bone to the area above my breasts. This is a definite symptom taking this med both times. Also experienced fluid retention. I hope I will never feel the need for a med for depression again. The weight gain created other issues for me.

    More depression, lower self esteem, and hopelessness. I am a retired professional who pays very close attention to my health and wellness. No doubt in my mind that LOTS of unhealthy weigh gain. Good luck to anyone who is told that your appetite improves and this is why you gain weight… false… it’s the drug.

    A pharmacist told me the average weight gain is 50 pds on these drugs. I look forward to losing weight, feeling better about myself… been a long time a coming. CBM

  • Clayton Brannon March 3, 2018, 4:36 am

    I have been taking Citalopram 20 mg for many years. I stopped taking it a week ago and so far I have only had a small headache. I have not felt any other symptoms except for a little anxiety over not taking the medication. I keep waiting for the shoe fall. I hope I can stay off the medication.

    • Jackie Grande March 13, 2018, 1:08 pm

      I have tapered off citalopram within a months time. I originally started it more than 10 years ago because of a medication that causes depression. After doing research on teeth grinding, I discovered that anti-depressants can and do cause Bruxism. SSSI’s are worse than the others.

      My dentist told me my teeth have hairline fractures from grinding and clenching my teeth (day and night) and I should plan on future dental work on at least 5 of my teeth. I am going into week three of Citalopram withdrawals. I feel mentally unbalanced, extremely agitated, and it is 8:00 in the morning and I have not slept a wink last night.

      Nausea comes and goes as well as the extreme fatigue. If I sleep well I usually feel pretty good in the morning but the symptoms return in the afternoon. I am not giving up! But what I find disturbing is how the withdrawal symptoms are not discussed with you when they are prescribed, and the bruxism caused from being on them is real! (Look it up on the internet).

      This drug is ruining my teeth and will be costing me a small fortune to eventually fix. The symptoms of the Bruxism are lessening as I go through my withdrawals, but not gone yet. All I ever heard about were the side effects of going on this drug, not the withdrawal effects. Pardon my French, but this is bulls**t.

  • Jennifer Beech March 1, 2018, 9:19 pm

    I’ve been on Citalopram for over a decade, on and off, and a year ago went up to 30mg. I’ve made some life changes in the past year, and was feeling really settled, so discussed with my doctor about reducing my dose.

    She suggested reducing by 10mg every other day initially then every two days etc. No mention of any possible side effects. Nothing. Two weeks after I began I started with these unrelenting headaches everyday. Furthermore I’m now struggling with lethargy and heart palpitations. This has now been going on 3 weeks.

    I have now decided to go back to my original dose for a month and start again but even slower, 5mg reduction next time. The symptoms have been hellish and not something I’m prepared to put up with for a possible 9 more weeks, minimum. I was in a great place before this started and now feel a little like I’m going backwards ☹.

  • Tiffer February 24, 2018, 11:12 pm

    So glad I found this site!!! I have been on Celexa for 15 yrs. Also the same for Klonopin which I am very slowly tapering off. Can you believe that my doctor told me I could go cold turkey on the Celexa without and trouble?! I sort of didn’t think that sounded right – so went searching and here I am. I know now what I have to do – taper!!!! Thanks for being there. I so do not trust doctors anymore!

  • YoginiJen February 21, 2018, 7:04 pm

    I’ve been on Celexa for 2 years / 20mg. My anxiety was getting worse which suggested that my need for the med had passed. My doctor said quitting cold turkey can be very dangerous so I’ve been tapering with 3 weeks of 3/4 pill, 3 weeks of 1/2 pill, and now the final 3 weeks at 1/4 pill.

    So far everything has been going great and I’m been absolutely amazed at my memory and ability to multi-task, my thinking is clear and I’m really excelling at my demanding job (where I was starting to experience a lot of brain fog).

    I do recommend tapering to get your mind/body time to adjust to the change. It’s not really fair to do that to your brain and expect it to function “normally” – whatever “normal” even is lol.

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