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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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{ 1156 comments… add one }
  • Hassan August 14, 2018, 12:36 pm

    I was on 20mg citalopram for about 5 years since I turned 18 and was diagnosed with GAD. About a year ago I decided I wanted to come off it and I am currently 2 weeks off it completely (after tapering right down).

    I am feeling pretty anxious but keep telling myself that it is withdrawal symptoms and not a relapse. This forum is very helpful in seeing other people’s withdrawal symptoms and helping me see the bigger picture. Wishing you all a speedy recovery!

  • Kenzie August 13, 2018, 8:01 pm

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one feeling this way. I was on Citalopram 20mg for 2 months. I tapered off of it the way my doctor directed me too. I have only been off of it 1 week but even the process of starting to come off of it and now my 1 week completely off of it has been terrible.

    I have not been myself in going on 4 months. I was fine one day and when I woke up the next morning I was in the worst depression I have ever felt in my life. I feel like I am never going to get better and I am going to be stuck feeling like this forever.

    My husband is trying to be so patient with me but I know it cannot be easy I am terrible, moody, don’t want to be around him or others. I just want to go lay in my bed alone and not talk. This is HORRIBLE. I hope I get better.

  • Belinda August 11, 2018, 6:29 pm

    I threw my medication away 2 weeks ago because it didn’t solve my life problems. And I still used to feel suicidal while taking it. I was on the maximum dose 40mg.

    I just felt, if I’m going to feel awful anyway, I mind as well not put unnecessary chemicals in my body that don’t make a blind bit of difference to how I feel. Also, it’s a hassle getting repeat prescriptions all the time.

  • Regina August 9, 2018, 2:52 pm

    My daughter was on 20 mg for one year and then 40 mg for another year. She recently reduced from 40 to 30 by cutting the pills. She did that for 6 days and then began on the 20mgs. It is very important to go slow and this is how her physician advised her.

    If she had any ill effects, she would have slowed down. She is going to wait a couple of weeks and go to 10 mgs. I think this might prove a little harder. I am so happy to say, she has had none of the side effects.

    She said she had one emotional day when she dropped to 20 mgs, but other than that, no real problems. I hope this gives you hope. I know that every person is different, but don’t give up. If it is something you need to be on for now, don’t feel bad about that either!

  • Sally August 8, 2018, 6:53 pm

    Hi. I’m now six weeks in on reduced dose from 10 to 5 mgs. I’ve had one of my worse days today, headache, feeling giddy, crying and wondering when it will all end. A week ago I had two very good days. Really strange how this med affects you.

    Husband getting fed up and we’ve been arguing a lot which has made matters worse for me. He cannot understand how I feel, thinks it’s all in my head. Well, I suppose it is really, they are head meds after all. So grateful for this site because I know you all understand how I feel and to read that others are experiencing the same is very reassuring. Best wishes all.

  • Graeme August 7, 2018, 7:58 pm

    I’ve been taking Citalopram 10mg for 19 months and quit 5 days ago to go cold turkey. I’ve been through withdrawal before so know what to expect. Brain zaps have kicked in alongside irritability. I just want to be on my own, which is difficult when I work full time in a busy environment and with 2 young children at home.

    I feel dizzy and fatigued. I fell asleep at my work desk today. I know it’ll get worse in the coming days before getting better. I’m ready and waiting. Also I eating healthily, running and lifting weights, so doing what I can to get off these horrid meds. I want my mind back. I want to feel things again and I want my libido back.

  • Megan August 6, 2018, 3:01 am

    Hey there, everyone! I’m happy to hear that I’m not alone with these symptoms. I have been on Citalopram for about 4 years and have fluctuated between 10mg-40mg. I have most recently been on 20mg (for about 9 months), but just found out that I’m pregnant.

    My doctor suggested I stop taking the medication in fear of it causing problems with my pregnancy. I dropped my dosage down to 10mg for one week and then 5mg for one week and stopped all together two days ago. I am already having horrible brain zaps, nausea, anxiety, crying spells, severe irritability, sensitivity to light (currently typing this with one eye closed) and dizziness.

    Obviously, I want to do what is best for my baby and don’t want to take any risks by taking the medication, but I’m worried that the stress on my body of the withdrawal is worse for the baby than just taking the medication. Does anyone have a similar experience? Thanks in advance!

    • Sunshine August 6, 2018, 7:52 pm

      I know it seems bad now, but your doctor knows best! I was on cymbalta before celexa. I miscarried at 9 weeks due to the cymbalta. Best of luck and I hope you get relief soon!

    • Deirdre August 9, 2018, 7:25 pm

      Hello! Obviously every individual’s situation is different, but I’m hoping I can give you some comfort. During my first pregnancy, I increased my citalopram dosage from 20mg to 40mg due to increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

      During my second and third pregnancies, I remained on the 40mg dosage. My doctors never even suggested quitting the citalopram. My result? Three normal pregnancies and three healthy babies!

      It’s always best to listen to your doctor, but it never hurts to get a second opinion. You may also want to consider finding an obstetrician with experience in this situation. Good luck!

    • Emily August 9, 2018, 8:14 pm

      Hi Megan, I am one of the unusual ones that had to start citalopram (first time ever on a/d’s) because of pregnancy. Hormones cause havoc and I was feeling so low – the doctors and I discussed it in great length and decided it was better for me to be calm and level during pregnancy, than unable to get out of bed and look after myself and therefore the baby.

      I read up in great detail and was extremely anxious about any negative side effects on my unborn baby. I believe the issue is this drug isn’t and can’t be tested (of course) as involves babies. It puts women who need to go on because of hormones in pregnancy, or women on them already, in a very tricky predicament.

      I’m lucky I had an excellent doctor who took a holistic view on my mental health and baby’s wellbeing. That said, I was nervous and on edge throughout the pregnancy and I kept a close eye on my baby when she was born for any possible side effects. I feel very fortunate that all was ok.

      Going on citalopram (10mg) was the right choice for me. If you decide you need to stay on tablets, perhaps try another type if breastfeeding. Citalopram does pass into breastmilk. There is an alternative that doesn’t pass into BM – worth checking with your doctor.

      Good luck and congratulations on your pregnancy.

  • Sunshine August 4, 2018, 3:31 am

    I quit taking celexa almost two weeks ago. I’ve experienced most of these symptoms. The one I have that I didn’t see was feeling like I have cotton in my head. Maybe that’s the memory one? It’s like I have a fog. However, I’m wanting to add to our family, and as I lost a child two years ago, likely due to my antidepressant, I’m trying to get as clean as possible!

    • Deirdre August 9, 2018, 7:30 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Did your doctor advise it was due to the citalopram? As far as I’m aware, there is no confirmed link between citalopram and loss. Of course listening to your doctor is most important and they will advise on what they feel is the best for you.

  • Sally August 2, 2018, 12:46 pm

    Hi everyone. I have been on Citalopram 10mgs for about 10 years and for about five weeks have tapered to 5mgs. I am feeling extremely tired, lethargic, giddy, forgetful, anxious, fast heart beats, pulsatile tinnitus, digestive issues, headaches, joint pain, stiff neck and others that I can’t think of right now.

    I am starting to wonder if I have Lyme disease. I can’t drive nor do I want to go out and socialize because I feel so horrible. Some days are worse than others. I do get some fairly good days. I can only wait for the withdrawal symptoms to end to be certain that I don’t have anything else.

    So fed up! Best wishes everyone.

    • Isobel August 8, 2018, 7:44 pm

      Hi Sally well done for deciding to reduce the Cit. and sorry you are finding it so difficult. I think you are probably going too fast. When I was on 20mg my GP suggested reducing it fairly fast, so I hoped to be off it within about 10 months. I soon started to feel strange, and fortunately a psychiatrist friend suggested I do it much more slowly.

      So I reduced my weekly dose by 5mg every month or so, I think. I also didn’t reduce it during the winter, so I reduced it from March to Sep/Oct. I switched over to the liquid form at some stage when I couldn’t chop the pills up. So the whole thing took me 3.5 years!

      I’ve been off it for 21 months; my acupuncturist says I’m much better physically, but I still have a lot of anxiety and tension in my upper body! Good luck, I’m sure it’s better to be off it if you can do it!

    • Deirdre August 9, 2018, 7:32 pm

      If you’re concerned about Lyme disease, then you may want to visit a doctor to get checked out. I hope you feel better soon.

      • Sally August 11, 2018, 11:25 pm

        Hi. Thank you for replying. I did mention it to my GP, Rheumatologist, ENT and physiotherapist and they all said the same thing. They asked me if I had been abroad and said I was unlikely to get it in the UK. It’s a taboo subject. I know you can get it in the UK, you only have to look at the internet.

        I used to do a lot of dog walking in fields and wooded areas and an infected cyst on my back (which has now gone following a course of antibiotics) started my scare off along with my aches and pains and googling my symptoms.

        I have since been diagnosed with early osteoarthritis in neck, spine, and knees, so I have to go with this. Hopefully once my withdrawal symptoms are over I can see what I am left with. Regards.

  • brian July 29, 2018, 4:49 pm

    I have been on Celexa for 6 years. In those 6 years I have gained 25 pounds, destroyed my sex life and became totally empty inside. I began tapering a few months ago but was really feeling awful, especially the brain zaps! 3 weeks ago I began Transcendental Meditation and it has changed my life!

    Within days I completely stopped all medications, my sex drive returned in force and I feel a million times happier!!!! I have lost 13 pounds over the same time! I do still get brain zaps, but they are not debilitating like before! Stop wasting your life on meds and start living again! Now go find a TM instructor ASAP!!! Peace -Brian

  • Leanne July 26, 2018, 5:45 pm

    I have been on 40 mg of Celexa for 17 years. Over that time I leveled out and learned to deal with my anxiety and depression. Learning emotional intelligence, self acceptance, and a stubborn knowledge that I will get back up no matter how many times I fall – helped me to crawl out of the depression and anxiety.

    I am now ready to come off the medicine. The doctor told me to drop to 30 mg, then if I’m fine, in 2 weeks drop to 20 mg etc. After just over two weeks at 30 mg, all hell broke loose. I have been in a constant panic attack for about five days now. I’m exhausted from the start of the day to the end of the day no matter how much I sleep.

    My chest hurts, I have trouble breathing, and I can’t stop crying. It helps to know that these are withdrawal symptoms and not evidence that I am actually crazy and will never get better. But I have decided to try this again later when work is less stressful and I have a better chance of success.

    I will also try going down in doses less than 10mg at a time – I think that is too aggressive. Any thoughts? Thank you all for being here and talking about this.

    • Doreen July 29, 2018, 3:35 pm

      That’s a very quick taper Leanne especially because you were on the maximum dosage and for many years. I’ve been tapering from 20 mg since September 2017 and am finally down to zero. I still have withdrawal symptoms and they seemed to be the worst going from 20 to 15 then 15 to 10.

      When I got to 10 I stayed on that dosage for about 3 months and then went to 7.5, 5, 2.5 than around 1. And just an FYI I have done the tapering under the guidance of a very good psychiatrist I have seen for approximately 10 years.

    • Amalia July 30, 2018, 3:22 pm

      I totally understand what you are going through, in the past two years I have tried coming off of Celexa three times. I have been taking 20 mg for 14 years. I tapered down to 10 mg, I had a few withdrawal side affects such as difficulty sleeping, stomach issues, dizziness.

      When I went down to 5 mg two weeks ago, I really began having more intense side effects: anxiety, depression, body aches, headaches, problems sleeping, irritability, and feeling alone.

      I am planning to keep taking 5mg for at least 9 months. Next summer I will stop taking it completely. Hang in there. I know it’s very difficult to have a normal life when you feel like you are feeling yourself.

    • isobel August 8, 2018, 7:54 pm

      Dear Leanne, I feel so sorry for you. How can the doc suggest reducing Cit so fast after 17 years on it? You may have seen my replies to other blogs, but basically you need to do it much more slowly.

      After trying to come off it over a period of 10 months, I realized that I couldn’t do it so fast, and slowed right down, taking 3.5 years! I only reduced from March to Sep/Oct, not during the winter; the first year I got down from 20mg to 13mg, the second year I went from 13mg to 9mg; then the third year I did 9mg to 5mg, and then the last year I went from 5mg to zero.

      I did it by calculating my weekly dose and reducing in tiny amounts, using the liquid form the last months. I must point out that my GP was NO HELP at all and I relied on my acupuncturist, my herbalist, a psychiatrist friend, and the pharmacist. Good luck!

    • Deirdre August 9, 2018, 7:36 pm

      My doctor has recommended reducing my dosage as follows with a current dose of 40mg: Reduce to 20mg for one month. Then reduce to 10mg for another month. Then reduce to 10mg every other day. Then off completely. Good luck!

  • Aria July 23, 2018, 10:49 am

    Thank you for such a positive take on withdrawal. This is my 3rd attempt to come off citalopram (I have been on it for 10 years), after an extensive period of weaning. I managed a month completely off in January and it was a horror show so I went back onto a low dose for 7 months.

    I am now 6 days off completely and managing it a bit better. I am so determined to make it to the 3 month mark. I have experienced all the above symptoms. However, there are moments (windows) when I feel the light again (and my emotions). I am taking 5HTP, CBD oil (for a physical pain issue) and magnesium.

  • Suzy July 21, 2018, 3:21 pm

    I am very glad I found this. I was prescribed 20mg of Citalopram last November and was upped to 40 as of March. The medicine definitely works, but as of June I have been ready to get off of it – as I changed my life and no longer need the meds to cope.

    I started to taper off gradually, but my therapist quit and I have no interest in starting this process over. Unable to get my prescription filled, I stopped cold turkey 6 days ago. The withdrawal effects are debilitating.

    Even being home with my family has become too much at times. I want to feel like myself again and I firmly believe after these side effects subside I will be able to. I haven’t felt like me… It’s so bizarre how self aware we are – but I know I’m here.

    The medicine works, but if I knew how it would make me feel – I would have never taken it.

  • Gary July 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Retired military. I started taking celexa 5 years ago do to a out of the blue panic and anxiety attacks it came on so quickly that I was medically discharged after 30 years. I was doing fine on 20mg with a few bouts of anxiety. However, my lack of interest, enjoying things, exhausted and just feeling like I was here got me to thinking of tapering off.

    My doctor through many sessions said I could taper down to 10mg anytime I was ready. So out of the blue, I did it. It’s been about a month now. The first 3 days were bad, so I started back with counseling, and then it started getting better as in I was thinking a little clearer.

    Had a little more energy, then a few days ago, bingo, anxiety attack. Now 4 days after still tired, very little appetite, a lot of bathroom trips. Anxiety has lessened but still I feel very uneasy. Hard to get to sleep. Was thinking if I would have read up before I started tapering.

    Had no clue of withdrawal and it would have made a difference in how I tapered with very minor dosages. I use essential oils and have really started to look at the information on vitamin supplements to help with withdraws as some of these post have mentioned. It is tough, but I am committed to see this through. Any suggestions are most welcome…

  • Susannah July 19, 2018, 9:15 pm

    I took 10 mg Celexa for six years following a death in the family for depression. I am now 71 and decided to stop because of brain fuzziness and having the opposite word come out of my mouth from the one I intended (like, black for white). I tapered from 10 daily to 10 and 5 on alternate days, then 5 daily, then 5 on alternate days, then zero, over about six weeks—maybe too fast.

    I had low grade fever for three weeks which went higher with even light activity, brain fog, extreme fatigue, and some brain zaps. The fever went away and the other symptoms gradually improved. There has been some depression but mild considering the death of an elderly relative whose final illness began about the time I began tapering on April 1, lasted 9 weeks, placing great logistical strain on our family.

    I have taken no Celexa for 6 to 8 weeks and continue to have bouts of extreme fatigue and brain fog that last several days to a week, improve, then return. Today I could not stand more than a half hour without feeling that I would collapse from exhaustion or burst into tears from sheer weakness, which I solve by lying down for at least a half hour.

    In the past month I have lost most of my appetite as well as 8 pounds. I gained about 20 to 25 while taking Celexa. My great concern is this horrible fatigue. It feels as if my brain is tired and my head simply must lie down, if that makes any sense. Even my hands feel weak when it happens. Does anyone have any comments on this and how long it might last?

    I also take 1200 mg gabapentin daily for serious back pain as an alternative to opiates. I do not appear to have side effects from that. There have been noticeable improvements in mental functions which began shortly after I began reducing the Celexa dosage, except when I have these bouts of fatigue.

    • Sally July 31, 2018, 8:01 pm

      Hi Susannah, I know what you mean about the tiredness. I feel exactly the same way. I can be busy doing housework say in the morning and by early afternoon it feels like my body wants to shut down. I get an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and feel the need to lie down in case I fall down.

      Sometimes half an hour is enough to get over it, sometimes it takes longer. I also get that feeling of weakness like I cannot stand for up any longer. I am withdrawing from 10mgs, currently on 5 mgs for a week. So, you are not alone here, we will do this!

  • Ann July 17, 2018, 6:28 am

    This is a helpful site. Thank you everyone for your comments. I have been off of citalopram for 1 month now. I was on 20-40mg for 15 years. I went cold-turkey then tried to taper. The taper just made me feel worse so went cold-turkey again.

    The good news was that after the first couple of weeks, I had never been sharper. I actually can keep up better with conversations than I did on the citalopram. I have people, who don’t know about the withdrawal, comment on how sharp I am.

    The dizziness was bad for the first 3 weeks but has now subsided and is only occasional at this point. I rested as much as I could which helped. Keeping hydrated and making sure I ate something substantial helped too.

    I am starting to experience the blues and mood swings this past week. I am not sure if it’s more pronounced because I am having a new lack of energy this past week, and it is hot outside which makes it hard to get out and walk. Walking is how I like to exercise and would help increase serotonin production.

    Benadryl has helped me sleep better. I have been having insomnia for the past 2 weeks. I also itch all over at bedtime which the Benadryl helps with too. I know it will get better. I, like some of you, would rather deal with these withdrawal symptoms than go back on citalopram.

    Kind of feel let down by the drug. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you if you need help. You sure find out a lot about your friends and family at times like this, but I have found I really like my doctor. She has been understanding and supportive.

    • Anne July 20, 2018, 4:38 pm

      I’m so glad to read your post. I feel like I’m losing my mind. The doctor doesn’t seem to get it which makes it worse. It’s only been about a month for me. Will give it more time. The dizziness, fatigue and overall sense of not feeling good are getting difficult to work through.

      I just don’t want back on Celexa. Am also on Wellbutrin so you’d think the side effects from stopping Citalopram wouldn’t be as bad. NOT!

      • Doreen July 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

        Wellbutrin has an extremely short half-life so leaves one’s system very quickly – that’s why it probably isn’t helping with your withdrawal symptoms. And hang in there because it does get better. I’ve been tapering very slowly since September 2017 and thought the fatigue especially would never end. But it has!!

    • Karen July 23, 2018, 5:43 pm

      Thank you Ann… I too have been on celexa for 20 years and went cold turkey. I am on my 2nd full week of withdrawal. The dizziness and nausea are subsiding, but the crying spells, crazy dreams and fatigue have not. Trying to have patience…

      • Rufus July 27, 2018, 2:12 am

        Karen… reading your email at 3:04 in the morning has rung a bell with me. Waking from crazy dreams after falling asleep crying – I’ve actually felt I was losing my mind. I went cold turkey 7 days ago, after having a major operation and forgetting to take them for 5 days. Only 2 days ago the dizziness crept in. My mood swings have been insane, but I refuse to go back on a drug that has this effect on me.

        • Veronica August 11, 2018, 5:10 am

          Hello Rufus. Me too! I refuse to go back on this drug. After more than 10 years on 40 mg daily… I am a zombie. Away from home without medication 7 days ago, I read about side-effects of citalopram. No wonder my heartbeat and blood pressure have a mind of their own.

          Several times I have totally collapsed and been carted of in an ambulance… Only to switch back into reality after an hour or so and get sent on my way with a notice not to annoy anyone anymore.

          So 7 days ago I quit. I feel dizzy and exhausted, but I AM going to regain my life at the age of 65 and smell the roses, even if…

    • Dawn August 7, 2018, 6:49 am

      Hi Anne, it’s been so helpful reading your post. I’ve came off Citalopram 3 weeks ago after 10years and have gone cold turkey. From stomach upsets, dizzy, violent headaches and brain zaps (I could go on). I feel as though things are easing. I am determined to see it through.

      It’s interesting to read how others are coping. I know going cold Turkey is not suggested by Drs, but I don’t want to prolong the side effects. I’m lucky I have 6 weeks off work to do this. It’s so helpful knowing other people are going through the same and are coping.

      Good luck everyone who reads this. Hang in there.

  • Susan July 16, 2018, 10:53 pm

    I was forced to go off my Celexa almost a week ago when my doctor dropped my insurance, leaving me without a doctor. I have EVERY SINGLE side effect listed. I’m hoping the weight loss one follows, because I did gain a LOT of weight with it!!

    The worst thing for me is the Brain Zaps and dizziness, I wish they’d go away soon, because I can’t function with them. I have 2 kids at home and it’s tough being off, but I’m honestly wondering if I wouldn’t be better staying off of it!!

  • RL July 14, 2018, 2:53 pm

    Prescribed this for hot flushes etc. from the menopause (not for anxiety etc.). Big mistake, took it for a year without realizing that it was giving me nasty side effects. Then it interacted with some pain meds I was taking (Gabapentin – from my experience with that medication I suggest steering well clear of that as well!) and gave me Serotonin Syndrome (which is vicious!).

    I couldn’t face tapering off because of feeling so ill from the Serotonin Syndrome so have gone cold turkey – now have had SSRI discontinuation syndrome (yep the whole damn list of symptoms) for 2 weeks. I feel so ill! I have never suicidal thoughts, but I have them at least once a day now.

    I wasn’t warned about the side effects of citalopram or the possibility of Serotonin Syndrome and feel very let down and angry at the medical profession. I always read the info leaflet before I take any meds, but I don’t feel it was made clear how commonly the side effects are!

    I would rather have put up with the menopause symptoms, which were pretty severe, than go through this hell with citalopram.

  • Dan July 13, 2018, 8:02 pm

    I just came off about three weeks ago after having been on 20mg daily for two years. For the last six months I had my dosage reduced to 10mg daily. When I ran out and was feeling good, I just stopped. In hindsight, I probably should have done 10mg every other day for a while instead of just stopping.

    Dizziness and “brain zaps” seem to be the biggest withdrawal symptoms for me. Perhaps brain zaps might not even be the right term – for me, it felt like what I would call a “voltage drop.” It would only last a second, or maybe even less than a second, but it happened frequently over a week or so after I had quit the 10mg.

    It didn’t hurt at all… it was more like an acute dizziness that made my brain feel like it was losing power. I feel more or less back to normal now.

  • Veronica July 13, 2018, 4:00 pm

    I’ve been on 40mg of Citalopram for about 5 years due to family stress. It really helped! Now we have moved to a place I love and hubby has a job he likes. I was feeling great, loving life again. Felt so good I thought I could go off the anti-depressant.

    So I found a new doctor (since we live in a new state) and she agreed I could go off, First week, every other day and then 2nd week, every 3 days. Do you think that was too quick to come of the medication? I have the headaches, I don’t care about anything, I’m so sick (which I did not miss while on the meds) and am not sleeping.

    And irritable doesn’t come close to describing me. The anxiety is every day, mostly evenings and hard to breath. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m ready to go back on the meds. I’m seeing a new doctor today that was recommended to me by a friend I met at church.

    It’s hard to move and find a reliable physician. I was also given Ativan to help me sleep when first prescribed 5 years ago and rarely used them. Since going off the meds I think I’ve taken 2-3 a week. They’re great for anxiety which I get when I travel.

    • Allison July 14, 2018, 6:01 pm

      Definitely slower!!! It will help.

    • Doreen July 14, 2018, 6:08 pm

      Hi Veronica, My situation is different in that I’ve been on one antidepressant or another for close to 30 years. I am now coming off of Celexa which I have been on for approximately 10 years. My dose was 20 mg and I’ve been tapering extremely slow (with guidance from a great psychiatrist) since September 2017.

      I’m now down to 2.5 mg daily and the plan is to come completely off without going on another antidepressant. I think because you were on the maximum 40 mg dose your taper has been very quick. And I think skipping days so early on in tapering probably hasn’t helped.

      Even though I have gone very slow, I still have withdrawal symptoms – but they have been manageable except for a few days here and there. Do hang in there and if needed take the Ativan at bedtime so at least you can get some sleep.

  • Tara July 11, 2018, 12:35 pm

    So glad I am not alone! I had been contemplating coming off Celexa (20mg) for a few months. I initially started it due to severe anxiety, which resulted from an enormous amount of stress. Having your father diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and then subsequently moving in with your family will do that!

    Anyway, I had been on it for about a year and half, but went to therapy, started exercising and lost some weight. I was and am feeling better. The biggest concern for me was medication interactions. I hated not being able to take an antibiotic or Tylenol without worrying about the possible side-effects.

    So, while on vacation a few weeks back, I decided to taper off. I took one every other day for a week. Then one every 3 days, then stopped. I’ve been off completely for 2 full weeks. I feel great! Sex drive is back, no severe side-effects, though I am currently experiencing some tummy troubles and sleep issues – all related to withdrawal.

    Overall, I am completely happy with my decision and I feel like a brand new me. Best of luck to everyone undertaking the process to come off. Just make sure you have some tools and resources in your pocket to help cope with withdrawal symptoms; as well as possible recurrence of original symptoms.

    • Ashley July 13, 2018, 1:18 pm

      I love hearing this! I am currently getting off as well. My last pill (5mg) was last Sunday. It has been an up and down week emotionally and lots of brain fogs. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Chrissy July 10, 2018, 1:04 am

    I have been on celexa for 7 years… 10 mg everyday but the past 4 years every other day. About 2 weeks ago I forgot to take it (was feeling good) and have stopped. Was feeling the same symptoms… fatigue, dizziness, headache, irritability, bathroom issues, night sweats and my joints hurt.

    I also realized it looks like I am going through my change. So I was curious if how I am feeling was withdraw from the medicine, change or both. Reading everyone’s comments have helped me and I think it is a combination. However, I do take a small dose of a sleeping pill.

  • Allison July 9, 2018, 5:45 pm

    I’m finally off!! It took 9 months of slowly weaning, but I was successful with no withdrawal symptoms. 😁 Super happy that I went to liquid and came down 1 mg every 2 weeks. It may seem brutal going slow, but it’s so worth it!

    • Gail July 9, 2018, 6:24 pm

      Allison, How long have you been totally off Citalopram? I will look into the liquid form for tapering off, as well. I’m willing to taper over a year or more, to finally be off this drug. I’ve taken it for 17 years, at 20 mg. Gail

      • Allison July 9, 2018, 8:59 pm

        Hey Gail. I was on celexa for 12 years at 20mg. I’ve been completely off for 1 week. I feel amazing! I dropped down 1 mg every 2-4 weeks. It took almost 9 months.

        • Gail July 9, 2018, 10:23 pm

          Allison, That’s great that you had no withdrawal symptoms – and I hope it stays that way. Would you please update your status after being off for a full month? I’m going to try to follow your example! I won’t mind it taking a long time, as long as the end result is good.

          I’ve tried twice to withdraw and the withdrawal symptoms always overwhelmed me. Going much slower and in 1 mg increments will probably be the key! Did you take any other supplements to assist in this process? Gail

          • Allison July 10, 2018, 8:10 pm

            Absolutely Gail, I will let you know. I didn’t take any supplements other than Magnesium Glycinate which is known to help with anxiety!

  • Tiffany July 8, 2018, 4:02 pm

    I have been on 20mg tabs for about 5 years. I had to quit cold turkey – I was out of town and the pharmacy would not fill my script because it was too “early,” and so in the middle of my trip I ran out. By the time I got home I was already a week off, and I been wanting to stop them, so I just went with it.

    I have now been off of them for about 2 weeks. The first few days I was fine. Except in traffic on the way back home, or going over bridges. After a full week, I started feeling like my eyes were darting around so maybe that’s the brain zaps…? I have also noticed I am so emotional.

    I cried getting my car washed yesterday, at movie trailers, during conversations with people, etc. I have gained about 5lbs and I am on topamax already for migraines, but I have been getting some pretty gruesome headaches for which I am using 2 Aleve to take away.

    All of this is not on a daily basis thank goodness… I had 2 beers yesterday and I felt like I had a whole 12 pack – that hasn’t happened since I was 21. Now I am going on 2 weeks. I know it has to get better with each day that passes. So I hope.

  • Ellen July 6, 2018, 9:52 pm

    I too have many of these symptoms. I tried to come off once before but the irritability was awful and ruining my home life so I went back on 20mg. I’m now coming off again but I’ve never felt so spaced out. Brain for, tiredness, emotional wreck, nervous etc and an upset stomach.

    It’s been 2 weeks almost going cold turkey. The heat certainly isn’t helping but if I had known how hard it would be to come off if have never gone on them. I feel they are a part of me I can’t get rid of. So many of us experiencing the same frustrations.

    I thought the hardest thing would be going on them. I was very wrong. My sex drive whilst on them was minimal and the confusion and sweats unbearable. Hopefully in 3 months I’ll be back to my old self. I really don’t want to go on them again.

  • Seana July 6, 2018, 3:41 am

    I recently tapered off 10 mg of citalopram. It’s been about three weeks now. A little background story: I was taking it for a little over a year and recently decided to get off of it to try to have a baby in the near future. It has been terrible!

    No brain zaps thank goodness, but the depression and crying spells have been everyday just about. Mood swings and irritability are heightened. I’ve tried to talk about it to others, but they don’t really understand which makes me feel worse.

    I feel defensive and hurt by everything and everyone lately. On the citalopram I was normal, and I miss it :(. I was about to call my doctor to get back on citalopram, but decided to research first. I am so glad I did.

    YouTube and this forum really helped me. I am so thankful for this! I am going to remember the withdrawal effects and hopefully that will help me deal a little better.

  • Jeff July 4, 2018, 11:49 pm

    I started Citalopram 30mg last August. My main symptom was derealization. It never went away, and I didn’t feel well on the medicine anyway so I decided to start tapering in May about 2 months ago. I have been completely off of it for just over 3 weeks.

    The first week was really bad, brain zaps and insomnia. The dizziness is still present but has improved. I was dizzy while on the medicine so that’s actually a big improvement. I still feel nauseous a lot though. Still dealing with derealization, but it’s manageable alone.

    Problem is that I am always dizzy and fatigued with it, making it so hard to do activities. My fatigue has been really bad lately too. I sleep a lot, but have no energy, especially after around 6. Typing this now from coming in from outside because yard toss completely drained me lol.

    Just looking for closure or someone who can relate because there’s actually not much information on withdrawal.

  • Susan June 30, 2018, 5:28 am

    I have been having tachycardia the last month or so after being on 10mg of Celexa for 6 months. My Psychiatrist advised me to go off Celexa to see if it was causing the tachycardia. It has been 3 weeks. I have experienced increased anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, balance issues.

    Some of that is now subsiding. But the tachycardia is non-stop right now. How many times can I have an EKG and go to ER and urgent care only to be told my heart is fine. My question is, how long will this last? I’m at least glad this community is out there to talk to.

  • Jenn June 28, 2018, 12:29 am

    I was on 20 mg of Celexa for a year. Doctor increased it to 40 mg to help with the stress I was having at grad school. I’ve also started Testosterone Pellet therapy as my doctor found out my level was low about 4 weeks ago. She said I could start tapering my meds since I am also now out of grad school.

    I cut my 40 to 20 the first week, then 10 then to 5, then to nothing. I have been completely off of them for about 2 weeks now. My first week off was fine. I actually had tons of energy. This all took a turn about 5 days ago as now I am battling with tinnitus and severe insomnia.

    I have only been able to sleep 3 total hours in the last 5 days. I’m so tired and becoming irritable. I have tried melatonin and sominex with no help. Doctor now wants me to go back on 10mg or go on Ambien.

    I really don’t want to do either. She said my symptoms must be from anxiety and not the withdrawal. I have a huge family event in a week, help!! Would it be better for me to go back on the 10 mg. until my family event is over with and then decrease it through the 10% method that I’ve read about?

    I have about 6 weeks after my family event before I start my new job, I don’t want to fight these symptoms and have it affect my family event.

  • Susan June 24, 2018, 12:51 pm

    Oh my goodness! So good to hear others experience! I have forgotten how to sleep at night! I hadn’t even considered it as a withdrawal symptom as I am also currently suffering from a muscle injury. I am also struggling with the lightheadedness.

    On a bonus, and a huge one – sex has never been better! I have been on citalopram for about 16 years and can count on one hand the orgasms in that time. Since withdrawing, my sex drive has gone into overdrive and orgasms are fantastic new experience. Happy days!

    My husband will be mad if he knows I’m withdrawing – as tried unsuccessfully so many times before, but I reckon I have this now. Keep going! We can get rid of these evil pills!

  • Debbie June 23, 2018, 4:13 pm

    I was on citalopram 20mg for 4 years, reduced to 10mg for 6 months. First 10 days felt like my head and body were not in sink, dizziness and brain zaps. This eased off and I noticed no change in my mood so continued on 10mg for another 2 months and dropped to 5mg. Same symptoms as previous reduction but not as severe.

    Stayed on 5mg for 6 weeks then dropped to 2.5mg had a few dizzy spells, brain zaps and noticed being a tad more emotional over ‘silly things’ literally just watching TV!! Now 2 weeks into 0mg, have bouts of dizziness, brain zaps and still blubbing at the TV, but have felt able to go with ‘this is just leaving my system’.

    Really don’t think I’m back to square one – as I can push through these times whereas before couldn’t. Am hopeful for the future without citalopram, good luck to all!

    • Louise June 28, 2018, 7:34 am

      Wow this is so comforting. I had been on 20mg Citalopram for several years due to family circumstances. I had to retire early too – so after 9 months of retirement decided to reduce to 10mg as I was feeling fantastic.

      However, after 2 weeks on 19mg I have severe migraine type headaches and am feeling sick particularly first thing in the morning. I am determined to stick with it but the headaches make it very difficult.

      It is good to know that this is “normal” it will improve but will happen again with further reductions. Rather than going to 5mg is it worth taking 10mg every other day, every 2 days etc. To reduce symptoms?

  • Carly June 23, 2018, 7:40 am

    I was put on 10mg of citalopram after 4 months of 30mg per day of amitriptyline. This was not to do with depression or any similar problems. The geniuses thought these pills would alleviate the pain from bowel issues!!!

    Omg too much to tell, but I’m down to 5mg every 2 days and am in excruciating pain in my abdomen 18 hours a day. Pain in all parts of GI tract. Terrible D and I don’t know what to eat. This is awful!! What a dreadful drug! How long will it take to get back to normal? 🙏🏽🙏🏽

  • Denise June 13, 2018, 3:16 pm

    I was on 20mg Citalopram for two years. Prior to that I was on 20mg of Prozac for a number of years due to major depression. I had Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for dealing with the depression caused by illness. The coping skills helped greatly allowing me to go off the Prozac.

    I had no problem with discontinuation symptoms with Prozac. I was happy and depression free until my brother passed away. My doctor put me on Citalopram. I was feeling great again and using my coping skills so I decided to get off the Citalopram by tapering down using the 20mg to 10mg every other night.

    I started experiencing anxiety but decided to stick it out. I have been tapering down for the past five months and with each reduction the anxiety got worse and worse. No depression, just a feeling of panic.

    Now I’m back on the full dose and the anxiety has disappeared, so I know it was discontinuation of the drug causing it. I hope to try to get off the drug at a later date. If I had known how difficult it would be to get off this drug, I would have never taken it to begin with.

    If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it. I feel this drug has poisoned my system.

    • Liz July 9, 2018, 1:24 pm

      I’ve been off of it for roughly 3 weeks and have experienced every side effect on that list along with others not listed. My suggestion is, with the approval of your doctor, taper off of it again and fight through the side effects. The longer you’re on it, the harder the withdrawal will be.

  • Eunice June 11, 2018, 3:09 am

    I have been on Citalopram for 10+ years at 2.5mg (!) Attempted to jump off after tapering to 0.1mg (using a water titration method) and couldn’t stop crying, ended up reinstating and took another year to taper to finish off at 0.002mg in May 2017.

    So I am a year out and every bloody month there are new symptoms which come and go. The first lot was severe eczema (which I already had) from salicylate sensitivity. I went on a low salicylate diet which managed these symptoms. Now I am EXHAUSTED most days from 3-4pm and in bed after work, with no extra-curricular activities.

    And very itchy eyes when I get tired. This fatigue is as bad if not worse than when I decided to stop taking Citalopram due to me feeling “pooped out” on it. Sounds like the symptoms will pass and I have having A LOT of rest – it’s surprising how much spare time I have to rest when I don’t watch TV or go out!

    Anyone want to tell me how long their fatigue period lasted and how they managed it? Would be appreciated – I am looking into getting some MCT C8 oil and amino acids…

    • Isobel August 8, 2018, 7:33 pm

      I was prescribed Citalopram in 2009 for anxiety, and was on 20mg for 4 years, unmonitored I have to say!! I realized that I was getting loads of side effects, and decided to get off it. My doc recommended reducing it fairly fast (i.e. by halving one day a week every 2 or 3 weeks), but that was too fast and I slowed right down.

      In the end it took me 3.5 years to get right off it, using the liquid form during the last months. I came off it in Oct 2016, so I’ve now been off it for 21 months; in my ways I am a lot better physically, no palpitations, etc. and at last am sleeping better. My question is: Why am I getting terrible anxiety, and tension in my upper body?

      I feel really low and the tears are never far away. Oh and fatigue. It has been suggested to me that these things could be the result of being blown up by a bomb when I was 18 months old… It would really help to know whether anyone else has these symptoms so long after coming off it!?

      • TeresaS August 11, 2018, 4:49 am

        Isabel – Yes, you aren’t alone! I’ve been completely off after going cold turkey from 10 mgs (down from 20 for several years prior) 16 mos ago. The first several months were terrible, and then things got a little better. However, the light headedness, vertigo, and sleep issues have never waned.

        I also feel as though my ability to concentrate is shot, forgetfulness an issue as well; which is highly unusual because I tend to have an amazing memory. Still struggling with depression and much higher levels of anxiety.

        I tend to wonder if the medication permanently changed something or if the initial symptoms that were muted while on the medication, are simply back, full force. Best of luck to you, and everyone else struggling with this!

  • Charlie June 10, 2018, 8:36 am

    I’m a disabled Viet Nam veteran so VA care is my only financial option, plus feel I paid ahead. I have been on 20 mg citalopram/escitalopram for over 15 years. It seems to be a favored drug of the VA for any type of mental issue. While on citalopram my sex life disappeared, gained 60 pounds, felt like a wet noodle (didn’t much care about anything), but it did curtail my anger and suicidal thoughts.

    I have tried to get support from the VA mental health on a few occasions in 3 different states but met strong resistance. So a month ago I decided to wean myself on my own. I’ve been off totally for a month now. I’m still dealing with nagging headaches daily, crying fits, wild mood swings, quick to anger, lack of focus, and brain cloudiness.

    The suicidal thoughts are creeping back in. But every time that happens I look at the bands I wear in honor of my brothers who have committed suicide, it helps a lot. The crying, anger, and mood swings are far worse than anything I experienced prior to being on the drug.

    I found this website because I was wondering if what I was going through was common or normal. Information I couldn’t get through the VA mental health, they just wanted to continue even though I wasn’t happy. But hey on the bright side I had my first erection in over 10 years! I know TMI. Can’t wait for the other side effects to disappear. Hanging on in Oregon.

    • Susan July 3, 2018, 12:04 pm

      Charlie, thank you for your service! Also, hang in there. Please promise you will seek help if any negative thoughts get worse. It has been a month for me, however, no alcohol, healthy eating and exercise helped greatly.

      I no longer have any side effects. (Was on 20 mg. 15 ish years) Remember every “body” is different. Be sure to keep in touch with this website and be good to yourself.

    • Liz July 9, 2018, 1:41 pm

      Thanks for your service, Charlie! I’m a navy wife and the first thing they handed me for anxiety and depression was citalopram (maybe it’s a military thing). I actually became more depressed and anxious over time on it and decided to stop taking it.

      I never talked to my doctor first (could not get an appointment in until a month and a half later). Roughly 3 weeks off of it and I’ve experienced the anger and the crying and the mood swings as well. It’s been rough but it’s worth it.

      Keep hanging on there. The side effects will pass. Hanging on in Mississippi.

    • Amy July 24, 2018, 1:34 am

      Wow this is like group therapy! So relieved I am not alone. Was on celexa almost continually for 25 years now. Stopped working altogether so my doctor switched me to trintellix. He told me to taper my 20 mg of celexa to 10 mg and combine with 5 mg starting dose of trintellix.

      I was told to do this for a week and then go to 10 mg of trintellix. I have been experiencing horrible withdrawal from the celexa for 5 weeks. Suicidal thoughts, intense anxiety and panic, memory lapses and complete brain fog. Uncontrollable crying jags and almost no appetite.

      Had to take a leave of absence from work it’s been so God awful. Taking a shower and eating a meal is an accomplishment. Yesterday I started to feel a little more optimistic. Mornings are especially bad but as today progressed I actually was able to leave the house with my tween daughters which did me a world of good.

      This has been the most devastating time in my life and I’m kind of awestruck that physicians prescribe this stuff like candy and never discuss weaning you off of it. I am finally hopeful that I will come out of this but unless you’ve been in that hopeless state of mind before you have no idea how absolutely terrifying it is.

      I am beyond grateful to my husband, daughters and friends that I have been brave enough to open up to about what’s happening to me. This is a great site and each and every one of your posts makes me realize I am not alone!

      I pray and hope we all get through this in one piece. I hope sharing my experience helps as much as reading about each and every one of yours has helped me. One day at a time!

  • Simona June 8, 2018, 4:31 pm

    Hey all. I’ve been on Citalopram for almost 2 years now and have decided to wean off them. I’ve discussed this with my doctor and she agreed because I was feeling better. So we decided to start by halving the dose – from 20mg to 10mg for a month and then for about two more to take in every other day.

    I’m 2.5 weeks in halving the dose and had a really stress experience yesterday (almost missed my plane to come back home for a week). Anyway, I caught the plane but yesterday evening I had a horrible time – horrible dizziness, my heart is beating fast and slow, couldn’t sleep.

    I somehow slept a bit and when I woke up today feeling so tired, want to sleep all the time, laying in bed almost all day, can’t really look straight. Even when I’m writing this, my eyes are closing… I don’t want to worry my family while I am here but don’t know why this is happening.

    I suppose it sounds like withdrawal symptoms? I know this will eventually go away – well at least I hope. But if you do have any similar experiences, please let me know. Sending lots of courage to everyone on the same journey!

    • Rachel August 1, 2018, 11:23 am

      Hi Simona, I’m almost a week into halving my 20mg dose to 10mg and have the same symptoms as you do… dizziness, changes in heartbeat, and insomnia, plus ringing in my ears and nausea.

      I’ve been on Citalopram for over four years now and have decided to stop as the reason for going on the drug is now firmly in the past (depression and anxiety from post-surgical complications). Hang in there! We’ll get through this :-)

  • Helen June 7, 2018, 8:27 pm

    5 weeks off of Celexa after being on 10-20mg for 8 years… relieved to know that the gastric distress, sleep disturbance and difficulty concentrating are all possible withdrawal symptoms. I was getting kind of tired of dealing with them and was wondering what was going on when I was talking to a friend and realized that these symptoms started around the time I went off Celexa.

    Then I discovered that my son had similar issues coming off of antidepressants. Emailed my doctor who was dismissive of the possibility that it was withdrawal and sent me healthy diet and stress reduction handouts. She did suggest that maybe I should go back on Celexa – and yet said not withdrawal symptoms?

    So thanks for this article and the comments! I now have the determination to give it more time, with hope that my body will figure out how to digest food without SSRIs! (And maybe I can drop some of the 60 pounds that came with the Celexa…)

  • Susan June 6, 2018, 12:36 am

    I had been on 20 mg of citalopram for five years, prior to that, Lexapro for 20 years. I have had success in coming off. I tapered down two weeks at a time. The weeks of no drug were uncomfortable however, I read up on successful withdrawal and the following is what I did:

    Healthy diet, fruits, vegetables. No sugar or alcohol. I exercised ( walked ) DAILY, for 45-60 min. I take 5,000 mcg vitamin B12, 200 mg Vitamin B6, 520 mg Omega 3. I also take for absorption and gut health PB8 2 capsules. B vitamins if not used are excreted, so the dosage is safe.

    I also found during the rocky times taking 150 mg L-Theanine, it seemed to calm things, however, I didn’t want to rely on another drug. But it really worked. The woozies have subsided greatly, I have finished my third week of no drug. I am not going to fool you, it wasn’t fun, but I focused on WHAT I was going to do to remedy the withdrawal.

    Everyone is different, some may NEED citalopram. However, I feel those of us who do not want to continue have GOT to take care of our bodies and be stringent on exercise, relaxing and eating a healthy diet. You are all in my thoughts! It isn’t fun! Good luck.

    • Deborah June 11, 2018, 2:59 pm

      It is rough! These mood swings are killing me.

    • Monica June 15, 2018, 9:54 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I have taken Citalopram (20 mg) for almost 6 years, and I finally decided to try coming off of it a few weeks ago. I decided to try this because I felt like I had gotten through a particularly anxiety-producing time in my life, and I was starting to think that the suppression of dopamine was making me feel kind of emotionally numb, like it was a lot harder to get excited about things – not impossible, just not as easy as I wanted it to be.

      It felt like I was just emotionally blunted. Plus, I still had bouts of anxiety. I have been in a new relationship in the last few months – first boyfriend I’ve had in at least 6 years – and while he is wonderful and I have nothing to worry about related to him personally, I felt myself having trouble letting myself get excited about our future, in part because I became very jaded during my single years (read: one failed date after another); however, I began to suspect the Citalopram might have been another reason for my emotional distancing (which would also lead to a decrease in sex drive).

      It became counterproductive to the point where I felt like the lack of emotional excitement was MAKING me anxious, even while still taking the drug. Now I don’t feel like I’ve had bouts of anxiety for a little while (and I’ve also seen a therapist to help me work through these feelings) but I’m still experiencing a lot of brain fog and difficulty getting motivated to do things.

      The brain zaps seem to slowly be going away. I’m just ready to feel “normal” again – whatever that looks like now! Can anyone say how long it was before they felt their mental and emotional health stabilized after withdrawing from this drug?

    • Audrey June 15, 2018, 10:06 pm

      Don’t feel bad about taking L-theanine to help with withdrawals. It’s not a drug – it’s an amino acid that helps your body cope with the withdrawals. You won’t become dependent on it.

      I’m down to 15 mg of celexa after two years of slow taper. The withdrawals get worse when I go below this dose, so my psychiatrist is going to put me on Prozac simultaneously, have me wean off the celexa, and then wean me off the Prozac.

      It’s supposed to be easier to get off Prozac than celexa. We will see!

    • Gary June 19, 2018, 7:18 pm

      Susan did you build up to the exercise?

      • Susan June 20, 2018, 10:47 am

        Gary. Yes, I built up. I didn’t go crazy either. I am in my 60’s and retired. Started the citalopram as I was working (stress) sometimes I think doctors forget you are on the drug… 😢 Anyway, I started with 30 minutes, and now am on an hour.

        I don’t walk super fast, I just MOVE. I think that, water, and healthy diet has helped big time! Also, I am no longer thanking L-Theanine. Be carful of essential oils, like drugs and like supplements, they too can have interactions and side effects.

        Good luck. If you don’t need the drug, you can outlast the side effects, especially if you remind yourself, it is from coming off the citalopram. Good luck! Am here for anyone!

  • Cat June 5, 2018, 12:36 am

    I’ve been on Celexa for over 10 years now. Doses have gone up and down over the years but I was on 50mg most recently. I decided to go down to 40 about a month ago, both because my prescription was running out and because the side effects of being on a higher than recommended dose scare me.

    Thursday night I took my last 20mg pill and have had none since. It’s now Monday night. The first 36 hours were rough for me emotionally, but I started using essential oils and have no withdrawal symptoms since! Bergamot is really good for serotonin support and I’ve added clary sage, lavender, and a few other emotional support oils.

    I think it’s really helping! My mood has been great. My sleep has been normal. I had a minor headache today but that’s normal for me during this time of month (yes, I’m PMSing through this too which usually adds to my depression and tiredness). I know it’s still early and I may still experience symptoms but making it this far I think is a great sign!

    • Lorraine June 6, 2018, 6:18 am

      Hi Cat, please can you say how you have been using your oils? Hadn’t thought of using the benefits of oils. Hope all continues to go well. X

    • Gary June 19, 2018, 7:14 pm

      Cat Ive been taking Celexa for 4 years 20mg, was told I could start cutting it in half anytime I wanted. It has been one week and the side effects are not fun at all. I have heard that about the essential oils. What would your recommendation be on how much and where to use?

    • Rosalinda July 17, 2018, 3:49 pm

      Great tip on the essential oils! I have been taking 10 mg of Cit for about 5 years decided to go cold turkey, but after 2 days the nausea and dizziness are horrible. Going to get out of the recliner and start implementing oils immediately! Thanks!

  • Ken J May 31, 2018, 4:25 pm

    I was on Celexa for about 15 years. In my 13th year I started tapering off the 40mg down to 20mg in the first year. I then went down to 10mg, 5mg and 2.5mg. In the following year I had many withdrawal symptoms. The brain zaps lasted about 6 months and the disorientation was scary. I’d have moments when I was driving and didn’t know where I was.

    It lasted just a few seconds but was disturbing. 2.5 years free of SSRIs and I still battle loose stools and sudden crying spells. I was going to the bathroom 14 times a day for about 3 months. It was awful. I had X-Rays, Stool samples taken and a colonoscopy. All results were normal.

    I now run to the bathroom 3-6 times a day. Things are more solid but the urgency is sudden. I take Metamucil after dinner every day. 3 doctors say I now have IBS-D. It will likely not improve much. Working and doing things away from home are difficult at best.

    Nobody has a solution other than going back on a low dose of Celexa. Still I am hopeful my digestive system will get better in the coming decades. Had I known of these long term issues, I never would have gone on Celexa.

  • Rich Lane May 30, 2018, 12:47 pm

    Great reading this page and hearing others stories about coming off Citalopram. I was on 20mg for 15 months and found them very useful whilst I changed lifestyle habits (exercise and not drinking) for my depression/anxiety. As I said, I found them very useful and were a good tool whilst setting up non medication therapy.

    One found I’ve had that been increasing is the vivid dreams which disturb sleep. As everything else was falling into line and the vivid dreams were a problem, I decided it was time to withdraw from the medications. I tried to taper off from 20mg to 10 mg. I am not on day 8 on 0mg and still struggling with the vivid dreams resulting in lack of good sleep.

    This forum has been very useful in giving me information about the time in might take to be clear of withdrawal effects. Literature I read said between 10 -14 days, though reading here, majority of people seem to have taken longer… Fingers crossed for a shorter time.

    I haven’t had any other negative side effects that stand out besides the vivid dreams which from reading not a lot of other people seem to have had? Anyway, thanks for all people sharing, and it is reassuring to read other people stories.

  • August May 29, 2018, 10:40 pm

    I was on 30mg of Citalopram for almost 9 years with only brief pauses to try other drugs (Paxil and Zoloft). I was on Citalopram for anxiety specially for hypochondria. Stating about a month ago, I was phased down off the 30mg (30-20-10-5-0).

    I have now been off of it for a week and the withdrawals are brutal-severe dizzying headaches almost daily are the worst of the symptoms. When I say “dizzying” it’s how I feel it doesn’t actually affect my balance or anything.

    The frustrating thing is I called my provider who is a PA who works for the psychiatrist (apparently in Texas we don’t see the psychiatrist directly, at at least at this practice). He could neither deny or confirm that these were withdrawals from coming off of Citalopram.

    Maybe it was CYA issue I have idea. Overall my anxiety is greatly improved being off the drug, but being a hypochondriac it does aggravate my anxiety because I begin to think “uh-oh, if it’s not due to the withdrawals then it must be something life threatening.”

    I am hoping that these withdrawals will end or decrease in severity in the next 10-14 days…

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