Citalopram Withdrawal – Help Please!

I have been attempting to come off citalopram for the last couple of months and have been taking it very slowly as recommended. However, once I got down to 5mg (originally on 20mg per day) I started to experience severe feelings of vertigo. This can be a slight feeling of ‘headiness’ to full-on room-spinning. It is particulary bad when I make sudden eye movements and get a weird juddering, time-lag effect. Things are fine when I am not actually moving about too much.

I was so worried I saw my doctor but he completely dismissed my symptoms as just ‘a bit of a coincidence’  when I stressed that I had never experienced anything like it before. I decided to withraw even more slowly until I was on 5mg every 3rd day and have now been off the tablets  completely for a week. So far the diziness is showing no signs of receding.

If anybody else has had similar problems, I would be very interested to hear about it and am particularly keen to know how long I can expect this weird state of affairs to last!

Thanks in anticipation…

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115 Responses to Citalopram Withdrawal – Help Please!

  1. Jim says:

    I have been on Citalopram for over 2 years. I was on 10mg. But had nervous breakdown at work. i am a cancer surveyor and the chemo has ruined my brain. Psychologist upped my dose to 30 MG and it didn’t help. I have wheezing and uncontrolled mucus at times. I have a rash that would not go away. Once I quit cold turkey..NEVER!! DO THAT!!..I think I was getting serotonin syndrome. I went back to 30 MG/Day to try and level back. I haven’t been the same since. I cut 5MG/ very 2 weeks (Split 10mg pills) . I am now day 2 without any. Wheezing appears to be less and the rash went away. But I still feel like my brain is loose in my head and I feel flu like. I take Benadryl to slow the mucus.

  2. Louise says:

    Hi there,
    I am experiencing exactly the same symptoms and am at the end of my tether! I’ve only been off the pills for 5 days since being weaned off of them and it’s awful!
    How long did your symptoms last? (see I’m being positive in thinking they’re over by now?)

    • Hello – Good to hear from you. The good news is that my dizziness has now gone completely but I’m afraid it took a good 4 weeks before it started to fade. I was on the verge of giving up and going back on the tablets just to stop the horrible sensations but managed not to. I find it so frustrating that the doctor wasn’t willing to believe me even though it was such a marked sensation and different from anything I have experienced before. Good luck and be strong- it does get better and you might find it happens more quickly for you. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Help ! says:

    I have only been on Citalpram since April as I had been getting panic attacks. I didn’t want to stay on them for long as previous antidrepressants I had taken many years ago had caused severe weight gain which took me years to shift (still trying to after ten years). I have 6 weeks off work so thought it would be a good time to sort myself out and reduced the citalopram by half, since then I have been feeling very nauseous, dizzy and exhausted. I was pleased to read these comments to know that I wasn’t going mad. I reduced to 10mg every other day and the symptons got worse but haven’t taken any at all for the past three days and I’m feling dreadful. Determined not to go back on them and will battle on through the tears and panic attacks. Can anyone tell me how long this wil last?

    • Sorry to hear you are having a bad time. Like you, I tried to reduce slowly but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I’m afraid the dizziness latest several weeks after taking my last dose of citalopram, easing off completely after 4 or 5 weeks. Although it’s horrible, once I accepted it was just a symptom of withdrawal and not another panic attack I did learn to cope with it. It WILL stop eventually so be strong and take one day at a time.

      Weirdly, I lost a lot of weight whilst on citalopram and am struggling with rapid weight gain since coming off it!

      • Help ! says:

        Yes, I do feel better about it now I know that it isn’t me and that it is withdrawal symptoms. My doctor said it wasn’t common for weight gain but could happen. It was the same when I was taking sertraline a few years ago. I will take it one day at a time and hopefully it won’t last too long seeing as I have only been on them for such a short time. I’m just glad to be coming off them and would rather deal with the panic attacks in a different way.
        Thank you.

  4. Jennie says:

    I can’t believe this is happening to me. And what’s more unbelievable is that doctors still don’t take it seriously. Citalopram withdrawal is real and is horribly devastating!
    I was on it for more than 8 years. While I was on it, I was really ok. I never felt drugged or had any other side effects and my depression was truly under control. I was happy for the first time in my life. (Depression runs in my family, big time.) So when my life changed and I had no choice but to go off my meds (financial reasons), I figured I’d go off for just the time being, until I was working again. My doctor never once told me about how sick I would get by going off this med.
    It’s been 7 weeks since I stopped taking Citalopram (40mg). Never have I been so sick. If I wasn’t already unemployed, I would be by now. There’s no way I can work, the vertigo is debilitating. I live alone and can hardly take care of myself. I spend most days staring at the wall, crying and waiting for this all to be over. I wake up every morning hoping for the best and instead spend the first couple of hours being physically ill. I’ve even lost friends over this. They don’t understand how I could be so sick and not go back to my doctor and get back on Citalopram.
    There’s no going back for me, I will never go on this stuff again. If I had any advice to you all out there going through this, it would be to give your doctors hell for being so ignorant of the medications they prescribe to us all without knowing all the facts. And, never go on any medication in the future unless you know ALL the facts, especially withdrawal symptoms.
    If I ever get through this I will post again and let you all know how long it took and how I feel about it once it is over.
    I’ve done quite a lot of research on this matter and can find NO help or advice from doctors so these forums are apparently all we have to try and keep sane through this. I am very appreciative of all of you who are suffering as I am and are willing to write about it. It is comforting to know that I’m not completely alone. Thanks you, Jennie.

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Jennie? How are you doing now? I just tried to go off them and gave up. My story is very similar to yours. I have hope that I can do this but I’m scared to death.

    • P.. Wood says:

      Are you doing any better now? I reread your post – it has been a while and can’t find that you have written an update. What you wrote is very similar to my experience (losing a few friends…trying to do all this while living along…etc)
      Hope you have received a bit of support locally and that your system is clear.

      • Thank you for asking. Yes, I am really well. Since writing my original post in early 2012 I have stayed off the medication and apart from a few inevitable dips, have done pretty well. Two years ago this week I spent several days in a psychiatric hospital and thought I would never lead a normal life, or indeed any life, again. I feel very lucky to be having this second chance.

    • Debbie says:

      I have been off for 4 months now and am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I have agitation, nausea and nervousness, much like the flu. Shouldn’t 4 months be enough to have it out of my system? thanks for any help.

  5. chanel says:

    jenny , i am going through the same hell…:)..i was on 40 mg for 6 years ,i turned into a zombie and suffered depersonailzation,, blamed the tablets and tryed to cut down ,i went from 40 to 20 which was pure HELL…i then went from 20 to 10 , not as bad but still didnt feel normal.!….so ive went cold turkey i ve had enough , so im on day 4 of no tablets ,its pure hell and yestreday i didnt think i was gonna make it ,feel sick dizzy palpitations, stomoch pains ,whole body pains like flu ,wobbly body like jelly and disorinated , crying ,moody and snappy ,i was ready to give up and go back on them but why? to suffer this again.!…ive been eating healthy ,trying to exersice ,and taking omega 369 and full viamin 12 which is supposed to help.!..i never had a clue what kind of tablet i was taking .:(…..and the reaserch i have done i will never ever go on these again.the worst antideppressant ever! pure evil to withdraw from ..so time will tell ,im so happy to have found other people who have the same experience .makes you know you are not alone .

  6. pat says:

    i was on them for three months in april 2011 until june 2011 came off them cold turkey, still suffering withdrawal over a year on, although symtoms getting weaker and less frequent, but still there, citalopram is hell to come off.

  7. janet says:

    Wow, glad I have read these messages. Although I was only on 10mg of Citalopram and cut down slowly, I am feeling awful. I have been rude to at least three strangers today, have a blinding headache that seems here for ever and feel really achey and sick. Glad it’s not just me.

  8. Leanne says:

    I have stopped taking 40mg of citalopram about 2 weeks ago and mirtazapine a week ago. I decided enough was enough – 9 years on citalopram and 3 weeks on mirtazapine . Doc thought swopping meds would make no difference. He was SO wrong! I’ve had the head judders , nausea, dizzyness and spaced out feelings. The flu like symptoms were the worst at week 2. Everything just hurt . Still spaced out, tire so easily. Am taking omega fish oil and vitamin b11 for fatigue.

    • Leanne says:

      I’m still dizzy and spaced out – going cold turkey was the only way for me and I did check beforehand . Stay positive everyone

  9. Emma says:

    My doctor, while I’m sure she did mean well, didn’t really seem to believe my horrible withdrawal symptoms either. By the time I got to 5mg and was shaving small amounts of my pills off like a crazy woman I decided to speak up. She ended up finding a great compounding pharmacy that was able to get me down to as little a dose as 0.13mgs. This pharmacy is an online Canadian pharmacy called Pharmacy.ca. If you don’t live in Canada, I would definitely recommend asking your doctor about a compounding pharmacy available in your area. It really was a lifesaver for me. During my whole withdrawal ordeal, I’ve realized that the only way you are going to get anywhere is by speaking up. I would also strongly advise against quitting cold turkey as there have been several instances of extremely erratic/violent behaviour after stopping Citalopram and SSIR’s in general cold turkey. Thanks for the blog post as well. It’s always comforting to know that I’m not alone.

    • Leanne says:

      Five weeks in- thought I was on the mend but the dizzyness has come back with a vengeance ! Plus my blood pressure is all over the place at the minute. Looking back I would never go cold turkey again.

  10. Peter Symonds says:

    I have been on this drug for 4 years and have come off cold turkey. I have bad headaches shivers and a feel of anxiety. I’m 5 days off now. I was on 20 mg per day. When will this feeling stop.i fel so unwell.

  11. Janet says:

    I have been off them now for almost 2-3 weeks, cant remember exactly how long as my brain is mush. I am snappy and very touchy with everyone, especially my partner, headaches, tension in neck is terrible I feel rattly, shaky and generally like a freak. I took 20mg a day until a few months ago when I got back down to 10mg, that was pretty hard, now I feel like I am going mad. Any idea how long it will take, I am taking 5-HTP now and camomile tea but don’t seem to feel any better at all…just want to go lie down somewhere by myself and sleep

    • Lisa says:

      I am going through withdrawal after being on 30 mg for a year and a half. I have read a ton on fantastic results from Maca root in stabilization of the body, mentally and hormonally. This is the 2nd time I’ve tried to get off but this time with Maca it is so much better!!! A little tears, a touch of anxiety but otherwise ok. Last time I was completely bananas, angry, head shocks, paranoia..you name it. This time is tons better, tons. I’ve tapered down slowly, now down to 10 mg. I really really really encourage you to try Maca, it has done wonders for me!!!!!!

  12. Joanne says:

    Hey all so glad I read all your posts !
    I was put on them for postnatal depression and it really helped to be honest I was desperate, however after being on 10mg for nearly a year and tapering down I feel like I’m back at square one , I had a few days of headaches, feeling sick and aches and pains but that all stopped! The problem is I felt better almost like I could feel my emotions again like laughing and crying which in a weird way was nice but the tears and mood swings are. Nightmare now ! I feel like going back on them or even just asking my doc if there is anything else I can take to help stop the mood swings the kids and hubby are really getting it in the neck ! So any suggestions please tell me
    Love to you all jo

  13. Joanne says:

    Sorry Lisa I wasn’t sure what maca is I wondered if you are in the USA I’m in the uk x

  14. Linzi says:

    Was on 40mg for a few years, tapered to 30 for afew months, then 20 and over the last week I forgot to take them for a few days so thought now is as good a time as any to stop. 5 days and today and yesterday not so great. No emotion, no energy, staring into space and slept for 12 hours last night. Scared of it getting worse as im a teacher and don’t want to be a) off or b) feeling like this in class. Will symtoms get worse, should I have continued tapering to 5mg? A little cocerned

    • Might be worth taking it a bit more slowly. 20 mg to nothing is quite a big drop. It’s very hard to know though as some people seem to stop with no problem while others ( me included) have horrible withdrawal symptoms even after very gradual reduction. Perhaps you should speak to your doctor. Good luck , it does get better in the end.

  15. Sofia says:

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one! I have been on 20mg for 8 years for my panic attacks. I am trying to stop as I recently found out Im pregnant. I went down to 10mg the affect was prominent for the first week but then was ok. Now have gone down to 5mg, Im very nervous about how will I manage my head feels wobbly and is worse to come?

    • Max says:

      Hi all, been reading your comments and have to say I found it a relief to find I am bit the only on struggling to come off ssris. I’ve been on citalopram for around a year and have been gradually reducing the dosage to just 5mg every other day over the last couple of months. I decided when the pack was finished I wouldn’t get anymore considering I was down to such a low dosage however it has been absolute hell. It’s been a week now and I feel as though my symptoms are getting worse. I’ve got extreme vertigo, dizziness and what feels like sudden shocks in the head. Is it normal to feel this bad despite slowly reducing and when can I expect this to end? I’m due back at work at the start of the new year and can’t think how I’ll be able to manage! Thank u in advance for any advice you have

  16. Jenny says:

    Hi All, I’ve never posted on a forum before but I’ve been researching SSRI withdrawal and I can see I’m only one of many having problems. I’ve been taking Citalopram 10mg for about 5 years for anxiety and now feel that it’s no longer needed. I have tried twice before to come off it but lost my nerve when the symptoms hit. There is a lot of interesting info about this on Wikipedia – including the suggestion that a short-term low dose of Fluoxetine (Prozac) may help, as it has a longer half-life and therefore gives the brain time to adjust. There’s also Citalopram syrup which enables you to reduce in much smaller increments. Has anyone else tried this? I’m currently on 1 tablet every other day. Feeling ok but can’t sleep!

    • prhiannon says:

      Hi Jenny– Taking a tablet every other day will actually make your withdrawal symptoms worse. It causes your brain chemistry to fluctuate too much. It’s far better to reduce your dosage gradually (using the liquid, or a compounded version, or making your own liquid) but still take it every day. Best place I know of for info on this subject is the Internet forum Surviving Antidepressants.

  17. Ann goodwin says:

    Hi all
    No doctors seem to have any understanding of anti-d withdrawal symptoms. The first time it happened to me – about 20 years ago I had no idea and suffered. Even recently coming off 20mg of citalopram, even though I stepped the dose down and expected the head shocks and dizziness I didn’t expect the growing anxiety and sleep problems. Currently it is 4:49 in the uk – I have been waking between 2 and 3 every night for the last 2 weeks. I will get up and take a small dose soon. It is comforting to read about all your experiences – let’s hope we all get past this.

  18. Leanne says:

    I stopped Cold in September 2012 . I would not recommend it. have had all the withdrawal and the head zaps only went in December. It seems like a long time.. BUT It does get better. My GP had no clue at all. The local nurse was brilliant and said it would take about 4 months. she was right. It is really hard…. don’t make light of what you are going through. But just want you to know that it will get better honestly.

    • P.. Wood says:

      Are you still doing o.k.? What about depression (as a symptom of withdrawal)?
      Thanks for posting here.

  19. Hi All,

    It seems like no matter what course of action one takes..getting off citalopram is no fun ( and by no fun, I mean absolutely horrible). I was on Citalopram 20 mg for 18 months. I decided to quit taking the drug in November 2012. This was following two seizures ( which came at random with no explanation). I had every test known to man and nothing turned up.
    Looking back, I’m inclined to believe that I had a drug interaction between Citalopram and Dextromethorphan- which in turn caused serotonin syndrome. I currently live abroad so it was incredibly difficult to even discuss my symptoms/side effects and the country I live in shuffles around doctors VERy often. So, after seeing 8 neurologist and a few random GP’s in regard to my seizures nothing more came of this.
    In November, I finally had enough. I began tapering off citalopram. I consulted a Dr. and she agreed I should begin slowly. 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 etc. I’ve read that breaking the tablets causes issues as some of the pill dissolves before ingestion. Too bad I only started serious research after the fact. Regardless, my “then” goal was to free myself of this drug. Now, on to the symptoms…

    I am now 12 days free of citalopram. I have experiencing and still experiencing a multitude of issues. The first 2 days were quite mild. Afterwards, it felt as though I had a massive hangover for days. Nausea, confusion, headaches, muscle pain, cardiac issues, muscle weakness, jaw pain, night-time jaw clenching, sweats, chills, flu-like symptoms. Not to mention the head “wooshes/zaps”. I read somewhere that these were described as being similar to walking down a flight of stairs and missing a step. I can say I totally agree. Around day 7 I started to experience emotional and mental symptoms. For example, Extreme aggressiveness, irritability, anxiety, crying spells, and I find myself over reacting to everything. It’s been really difficult to discuss these symptoms with my partner and friends. No one seems to understand the physical and emotional duress caused by this drug.

    On a lighter note,

    I have been eating very healthy and working out. Also, taking some days off just to allow my body to readjust. SSRI drugs are dangerous and def not an answer to depression. When began this pill I was desperate to feel like my old self. I just wanted to feel better, not like a shell of my former self. I really regret the day I took my first citalopram pill. On the other hand, I will say for a few months I felt better. However, to keep the same “good feeling” my dosage would have had to go up…and up and up…

    Hence, a never ending problem. I do recommend exercise, healthy eating, therapy, sunshine, laughing, hobbies, and/or music as a alternative to SSRI drugs. However, if you feel your depression is out of hand perhaps try an antidepressant but, do your research first and weigh the factors.

    To everyone else who is suffering… good luck and you’re not alone. This too shall pass.

    All The Best,

    Amie

  20. This is an awful experience. If my doctor had told me the withdrawal from the drug was known to be this bad I would never have taken it. I feel more emotional and anxious than I ever felt before I took it, and while I have yet to feel the shocks, my body feels awful. Flu like symptoms, stomach problems, appetite shifts such as feeling starving one minute and nauseas the next….My head feels a lot like there’s something prickly rolling around in there.

    I AM noticing however than a cold icepack to the neck seems to help me a lot. I was coming off the pills because they made me so tired all the time I would sleep and never get anything done. I failed an entire semester because of it and was losing work time because I couldn’t stay awake. Now the pills are keeping me from working because I feel awful not taking them. This is a horrible vicious cycle no one should ever go through.

  21. PR Griffith says:

    Just want to mention that alternating days (taking the pill one day, not taking it the next, etc.) is not a good way to taper. It seems to cause fluctuations in your brain chemistry that actually can worsen withdrawal symptoms. Better to taper down slowly by taking smaller and smaller doses over time, but every day. Also, I recommend the forum Surviving Antidepressants for good solid information on tapering off antidepressants and coping with withdrawal symptoms.

  22. am-i-mad-or-a-genius says:

    I am on week 2 of withdrawal from Citalopram and I am experiencing feelings of confusion (I can’t place the confusion either, it’s horrible), sadness, agitation and strange brain shakes or feelings of dizziness but it’s like a physical movement inside my head when I feel slightly stressed and make quick eye or body movements. I have been on 40mg of this AD for about 8 years now. It has only been since I had a breakdown a few weeks ago that the doctors have taken me off Citalopram over a period of 10 days, I thought this was quick considering I’d been on the maximum dose for so long. I was crying uncontrollably a lot for the first 6-7 days of reduced dose (10mg) and I am now a further 7 days (no citalopram taken for this 7 days) into my withdrawal and still feeling pretty horrible. I am now also taking Mirtazipine to help me sleep at night and am awaiting a Psyche review this Friday. I don’t know if it’s my depression making me feel this bad or if it’s the withdrawal-Or both! But I am feeling pretty desperate and have noticed that there is actually no ongoing support for people experiencing this. It is scary to think that I have to wait for psychiatric review before I will be given on going support (CPN, crisis team support) In the mean time I have just been left to get on with it and even when I phoned my GP in a state and she was really kind but didn’t actually offer me and solid advice about my symptoms and it wasn’t until I said ” SO, this is how it is: I am basically going to feel completely rubbish for possibly 2 weeks or more and then there is still no certainty that I will feel any better?” Her reply was, “Yes” That’s it! I can’t believe so many people are slipping through the net of mental health after care! But at least coming on here we can all be safe in the knowledge that we are obviously meant to be feeling these things during our withdrawal and I would like to say thankyou to everyone who has contributed here; without this forum I would still be trawling the internet and doubled over in anxiety because of a lack of clarity as to exactly What is ‘normal’ on this nasty road to being clean of this dirty prescription drug!

    • Sorry to hear about your experiences. I had a complete breakdown and ended up in a mental unit for several days as I was suicidal. When I came out I thought ‘at least now I will get the help for my OCD and anxiety that I should have asked for years ago’. Instead, I found myself in a catch 22 situation where I was told because of the suicidal episode I was ‘too high risk for CBT’ and consequently have had no follow up help at all. I weaned myself off the medication but was told the dizziness was ‘just a coincidence’. You have my sympathy!

  23. jude says:

    Hi all, I was prescribed this horrendous drug Oct 12 for stress and Pms!!I ran out of meds over a weekend and experienced terrible withdrawal including suicidal thoughts, which I know under normal circumstances would never have crossed my mind, my local pharmacist is very good and told me this was a normal effect of stopping the drug abruptly. I decided there and then to get this drug out of my body and to get back to who I am instead of the zombie I have become. I tried reducing for a few weeks and have not had any medication for about 11days now, I have suffered all the symptoms everyone described but the rages and vertigo symptoms seem to be the worst of my symptoms. I went to the docs today who give me buspirone 10mg even though I asked for something that would not affect me caring for my three young children, this drug completely spaced me out, I was so drowsy my speech was slurred and I had to get my husband to come home to look after the kids. Husband rang the surgery twice and they refused to ring back but left a prescription for a lower dose of the same tablets!!! Do these doctors care or even listen to their patients. I am at my wits end, can anyone out there recommend anything herbal to combat the withdrawal symptoms because I am definitely not taking anymore prescription medication.

    • Hannah89 says:

      HIYA just looking for advice, two weeks ago I was put on citalopram (for heart palputations and anxiety although I never had it then) it gave me chronic panic attacks so after 6 days my doctor told me to stop them, since then I’ve experienced lightheadedness all day every day since then, is this a withdrawal as I was clearly sensitive to the tablets. I feel like uif tablets caused anxiety not fixed it, please help

      • It might be the tablets making you feel light headed. However, as you were only on them a few days it is possible that the symptoms are at least partly due to anxiety, especially if that is why you were prescribed them in the first place. Make sure you go back to the doctor for advice if things don’t settle down.

  24. Sarah says:

    I am so glad I came across this forum. I’ve been on a 20 mg dose citalopram for about 10 years, but I tapered down and then stopped completely 4 days ago because I’m planning to get pregnant soon. For the past few days, I’ve been mainly having dizzy jolts in my head when I make any eye movements (and my eyeballs feel hot and feverish), a headache that feels like the beginnings of a migraine with sensitivity to light, ridiculous irritability, impatience and step-back-before-I-claw-your-face-off feelings, and worst of all: insomnia for the last 2 nights (I finally fell asleep at 4:30 this morning, only to have to be up for work a few hours later).

    I am also just one sappy commercial away from crying at all times. I could handle everything else if I could just get a good night’s sleep. Even with like 5 Benadryl, I can’t sleep!

    I’ve gone off citalopram twice before, and most of the withdrawal symptoms passed within 2-3 weeks, so I’m hoping it’s the same this time.

    Once I have my baby, I plan to go back on it, though. My quality of life is vastly better when I’m on it–I don’t get deeply depressed, hopeless and suicidal like I do when I’m off of it.

    It’s so good to know I’m not alone with these symptoms. Thanks!!

  25. Nancy says:

    Wow! I just got done reading all of these post and I am glad I did. I was on Citalopram 20mg for about maybe 8 yrs but last yr. on May 9th of 2012 was diagnosed with cancer so my Oncologist upped my med to 40mg. I decided to reduce the dosage myself from 40 to 20mg by cutting the pills. it’s been about 2wks. now and I am feeling the side effects. vertigo, some nausea, dull headaches like my brain isn’t functioning right. Does cutting the pill do any harm? My neck bothers me also. I noticed quite a bit of weight gain and I guessed if I cut down I may loose some weight. My husband was also diag with cancer 5 wks before me last yr. so it hasn’t been easy for sure. Hope I can hear more uplifting details. Thanks to all and let me hear something good for my mental state at this time. Nancy

    • Amy20 says:

      Hi Nancy! Cutting the pills won’t do any harm! So sorry to hear of the physical health problems that have affected you and your husband recently hope all is better soon!

      Generally I am also so glad to have come across this thread. I am a Mental Health Nurse although really do find that these things are so different when you experience them yourself and can really help me empathise with my patients more. I have struggled with low mood and anxiety for a few years. I commenced Citalopram 20mg in June 2011 and it really did work wonders in taking me back to being “me.”

      I attended my GP two weeks ago advising that I wished to reduce and stop and her advice was to switch straight to 10mg for a week then taper down to nothing over a two week period.

      I followed this advice and must say I am experiencing withdrawals, although thankfully not as severe as some other people. I am light headed, head-achey, dizzy and sort of “dreamy,” if that makes any sense. It’s only been 5 days since I stopped taking them altogether so I will need to wait and see how it goes from now.

      Just wanted to thank each and every person who has commented on this thread as there really is a sense of love and care coming from here with everyone being genuinely interested and concerned about everyone else.

      Take care everyone! X

      • Thanks for your kind words about this thread. I started this blog in the hope of providing support and hope for others like me. As constantly self-doubting, such positive feedback is especially welcome. I am sure your own problems give you great insight and make you very good at your job. Thank you x

  26. tshrubby says:

    hI, I have been on citalopram for 18 months. I tried to to come off them before Christmas last year but suffered really bad dizziness and brain zaps. My gp suggested reducing more slowly. Initially I commenced on 40 mg, then down to 20 mg, then down to 10 mg , and now down to 5 mg February. I am trying to stretch the days now between taking 5 mg. I have managed to get to 7 days but I am still getting the dizziness and brain zaps. Anyone any suggestions and how to take this further. Running out of prescription and really don’t want to ask for more, but can’t continue with the symptoms any longer

  27. Marg says:

    Glad I found this thread! My doctor put me on these for mild anxiety, I only took them for 3 days and immediately came straight off of them because they made me feel so unwell. This is my second day without them and I have felt so jittery and anxious, I had no sleep at all last night due to terrible stomach cramps, is this normal? After only taking them for a short period how long should these withdrawal symptoms last? These pills seem the doctors answer to everything! Hope someone can help with some advice!

  28. Suz says:

    Reading this for the first time. I hadn’t got past the earlier entries. I was only on a dosage of 10 mg, but it was for a year or so. My side effects have been intense crying, insomnia and now today I have horrible vertigo, which I’m hoping will wear off soon. Of course, I went off cold turkey, which may not have been a great idea. My last pill was on April 10, so I’m close to two weeks off. Several of my friends and my husband suggest I go back on, but I am bound and determined to see who I am and what I feel like in an unaltered state, if you will. Someone tell me when I will feel normal again. I’m walking four miles a day and I also cut out artificial sweetners from my diet recently. I just want to be someone who eats and drinks the stuff God made, not what man made. I went off of the drug to begin with because another substance seemed to be the only replacement for the “blunting” I guess I can call it, of creativity that I experienced with the antidepressants I’ve been on. That and I just don’t want to be drugged forever. I made that decision once a long time ago and I think it was the right one. I’m so sorry I ever went back on an antidepressant. Turns out faith and exercise can do the trick quite nicely. Thanks for listening…

    • Thanks for posting. I went from 10mg to 5mg and then stopped altogether (after going back on for a while because of the vertigo). It took a good 5 weeks from the last dose to stop feeling dizzy. It was very hard to do but as you have already done a couple of weeks you may want to try and hold on a bit longer. Don’t be too hard on yourself though , sounds like you are working yourself very hard. Vigorous exercise, strict diet and trying to come off the medication is a lot to do in one go!

  29. Mr T says:

    Hey Guys!
    I think I might help

    I am off citalopram for almost a year now. But it was NOT easy. In fact it was tedious and difficult if not horrible.
    I failed many times. I tried going cold turkey: That did not work for me. I tried reducing the daily dosage by 50 %. Failure. But the following worked for me.
    The prerequisite is the fact that you have been and stabilized on 10 mg citalopram for a while
    This system however, is lengthy and arduous and slight symptoms such as tiredness will persist.
    1. Take 10 mg citalopram. Crush it with a spoon until powder.
    2. Divide the amount into 4 or 5 equal parts.
    3. Remove 1 part. Ingest the rest. The taste is horrible.
    4. Take this reduced dosage for 14 days. If symptoms persist, try 3 weeks
    5. After 2-3 weeks, remove the first and second part.
    6. Take this reduced dose for 2-3 weeks
    7. When reaching 1/4 or 1/5, you will still encounter massive side effects by going Cold turkey from here.
    8. Therefore, take 1/5 or 1/6 of the original 10 mg crushed citalopram and dissolve:
    Take a pitcher (with volume measurement) and dissolve 10 mg crushed citalopram in water (or juice)
    9. Drink 1/5. Put the remainder in the fringe for the following days.
    10. Do this for the Next 2-3 weeks
    11. Hereafter, drink 1/6 and so on
    12. Repeat the pattern until you´ve reached 1/20 and try if you can stop altogether.

    This system seems rediculous. But it worked for me (-:

    Good luck

    • P.. Wood says:

      Mr. T – my question is to you because it has been over a year that you have been off Citalopram. I have been off for two months. I am curious to know if your body continued to have physical and /or mental side effects – even mild – after a few months? Did you continue to see improvement over the months? Are you o.k. now? My physical side effects seem to have passed, but mentally I am quite dull – depressed- etc. I am very close to giving up and going back on an antidepressant again, but would like to learn from people like you who have been off of antidepressants for many months what your experience has been over the first 2 to 6 months after being off citalopram. Thanks much for your time and help.

      • P.. Wood says:

        I forgot to add: on Citalopram 40 mg for 3+ years, tapered to 10 mg for 18 months; tapered off completely over 2 months.

  30. Sarah says:

    Hi, Just found this thread whilst desperately searching for advice on combating these dreadful withdrawal symptoms.
    I have been taking 20mg citalopram for approx just under 4 years. This is my third attempt at coming off it as we are desperate for a baby.
    First time I went cold turkey and was ok for about a fortnight before the symptoms kicked in. They were so bad I started taking the pills again! Second time I tried to reduce the dose but got the symptoms after about 4 days of stopping completely.
    This time i have reduced over a three month period (longer than before) taking alternate 20 / 10 mg for a month then 10mg for a month then 10mg one day and nothing the next for a month.
    I stopped completely 5 days ago and the symptoms have been getting worse each day. I’m totally shattered, I’m irritable, dizzy, no energy, feel sick and generally awful. I thought I might have cracked it by taking my time but clearly not. I’ve just taken half a tablet (5mg) in the hope it will take the edge off the symptoms.
    I don’t think I can handle these symptoms for long but will be devastated if I have to go back on the tablets.
    Has anyone got any tips on getting through this ?

    My GP seemed to think I was being over cautious with my three month tapering plan and said that 10mg is such a tiny dosage that I wouldn’t notice any difference when I came off it!

    I might have a go at Mr T’s suggestion…..I’m sure the GP will think I’m mad!

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Sarah

    • tracey says:

      Hi Sarah

      I have done it! Took me months to come off Citalopram, started at 20 mg, and then down to 10 mg over a couple of months and was eventually down to 5 mg, and then each week I added a day to miss until I eventually reached one every 7 days. Then I took the plunge. The dizziness did persist but gradually decreased. I still get this when my period is due, but I am so pleased I actually stopped. It’s scary how such a little dose can still have an effect. I was on it for nearly two years in the end. Keep persevering and you will do it. Good luck with trying for a baby.

  31. Sarah says:

    Hi Tracey,

    Thank you for your words of encouragement, Its good to know it is possible to come off it!
    I’m on 5mg a day as of two days ago, I’m going to try Mr T’s method and do it really really slowly from here.
    Feeling positive again now I have a plan.
    I will never take this medication again!
    I’ll let you know how I get on.

    • tracey says:

      Good luck Sarah, you will get there! I know the feeling about not taking it again, but it did help over the period I was taking it. Take care :)

  32. ann Mckinnon says:

    i live in London Uk, i have been on citalopram for 9 years, i gradially reduced from 20mg to 5 mg and came off it 4 weeks today, the side effects have been horrendous, first i had the head zaps and dizziness, then insomnia and irritability, it is so hard but i must keep going. the doctors should take these pills themselves and then they would believe what the side effects are like. I had a reasonably good night sleep last night so hopefully a better day to come.
    I had a major breakdown before i started taking these pills and i feel they did help, there were side effects going on them so there is bound to be some coming off them. i am coming back onto this site daily because it helps to know that i am not the only one going through this.

    • Glad you are finding some support here. Like you , the withdrawal was awful but being ill was much worse and I tried to remember that the tablets had helped. Although I would be reluctant to use them again, I would probably still consider it if I ever got so ill again. Good luck, it does get better. X

    • Debbie says:

      I agree, my anxiety attacks were worse when I was taking this than before I took it. Coming off of them was a nightmare.

  33. Susan says:

    I was on Citalopram for about 8 years and tapered off (rather quickly) about 3 weeks ago. The most prevalent symptoms are lethargy, “fuzzy” head, dizziness (all which make concentrating and getting work done difficult), difficulty sleeping and extremely vivid dreams, which doesn’t allow for getting deep sleep each night. For the sleep issue, I’ve been taking a Valerian root complex which has helped at least getting sleep, albeit dreaming sleep. Has anyone tried a cleansing type of product, something designed to remove toxins from the body to help relieve all the symptoms more quickly? I hate to think of feeling like this for weeks to come. (Am currently unemployed and this state of mind does not make for great interviewing!)

    Thanks and am very glad to have found this forum.

  34. P.. Wood says:

    Found these posts today and all of you have now become my support and confirmation of my sanity through this process. I have been on a variety of antidepressants for 23 years (long story short: thought good medical care for depression = use of psychotropic drugs. Turns out, physicians didn’t want to spend time listening or talking. Having a good therapist for 2 years was healing.) Have been on Citalopram the past 4 years. It has taken 5 tries of very slow tapering to be where I am now: 1 month off. (Went from 40 mg to 10 mg over 18months; it took 6 weeks to taper off of 10 mg dose). I am very discouraged (i.e. several days suicidal) that the side effects of withdrawal continue 30+ days later – terrible anxiety, crying, lack of interest in anything, which includes no sense of humor (!!!). After reading everything that you all have shared, this is what I am understanding from your posts: 1- withdrawal takes MUCH longer than what physicians/pharmaceutical companies state; 2 – there is virtually no acknowledgment by the medical community that what we are experiencing is real; 3 – withdrawal symptoms are confusingly varied in intensity and duration for each of us; 4 – withdrawal symptoms are (frequently) worse than the depression (or ___) symptoms for which it is prescribed; 5 – withdrawal symptoms do eventually subside and stop; 5 – because few if any of us are able to experience support through this process, it is very isolating as well as frightening emotionally and awful physically.
    This forum has already helped me through one day, and will get me through this coming night. Thank you all for writing down your experiences. Really. Thank you.
    Thing only thing I can add is to Amie Craddock’s post: DANCE!

    • Appreciate you taking time to give such a comprehensive post. I started this blog to help others and if it has helped you though one day then it’s certainly been worth it. For me the illness was worse than the side-effects but the severity of the side-effects and lack of support from my doctor almost catapulted me straight back into the extreme anxiety the medication had been helping to dispel! Keep strong. It does get better in the end.

      • P.. Wood says:

        I, too, benefited greatly from Citalopram, for a very short time. Though my health situation was quite different from yours, the experience with my physician was the same. On the other end of the spectrum was my therapist, a psychologist who cannot prescribe nor is expected to understand pharmacology: He knew how important his role was to hear me & believe my experiences to be real. He also took the time to learn much more about the pharmacology of these terribly powerful drugs. I am lucky that I could afford to see him – no insurance that I know of covers therapists for more than 4 or 5 visits. My point, though, is that being heard, being believed, and then being supported emotionally/mentally is the most powerful, effective help I have received. It has kept me above ground – literally. Because family and friends don’t “get” what I am experiencing (“just start taking the pill again!”) (I no longer share anything with them), I now know being strong can mean reaching out for help in an entirely new way: connecting with strangers on a blog! Thanks for the encouragement. I hope you receive help from these writings, too.

  35. Julie Wolf says:

    Hi, I have been on Citalopram since October of 2011, having been prescribed this medication for depression following my Mother’s death in July 2011. My original dose was 20mg once a day. After gaining 25lbs. ( that won’t come off so far), I decided to take matters in my own hands. I reduced my daily dosage to 10 mg. No withdrawal symptoms except for feeling a tiny bit lightheaded. Made an app’t to see my internist who had originally prescribed citalopram and she agreed that I should reduce the dosage to 10mg. but wouldn’t tell me how to withdraw the rest of the way, and I’m not sure why except she thought my depression might come back. I KNEW that I wasn’t depressed anymore so again I reduced the dose. This time to 5mg. Big mistake! About the third day in, I had “brain buzzing”, felt really lightheaded, had diarrhea, and I felt like I was in a movie with odd camera angles (a la Alfred Hitchcock). It was really just fucked. Soooo. I went back to the 10mg pills, feeling like a chicken shit. My hubby is a retired pharmacist and did some research. In the U.S., there is a syrup form of citalopram. I had to return to see my internist anyway, and this time hubby went back with me to the examining room. We discussed withdrawing from citalopram using the syrup. I left with a script for the syrup form of the drug. Tonight, I took the equivalent of 7.5 mg. of citalopram, which I will take for about a month, then I will reduce to 5mg. for a month, then 2.5mg for a month. Etc. Will keep you posted. What was interesting is that my internist didn’t know about the syrup, BUT both her and her resident who I also saw, knew and believed me about the withdrawal symptoms. Like I say, I ‘ll keep you posted. In the meantime, ask your physicians for the citalopram syrup.

    • P.. Wood says:

      .Interesting, and typical, that your internist thought your “depression would come back”. Many of the symptoms of withdrawal from antidepressants mimic depression. My experience has been that the depression-like symptoms from withdrawal have been serious and dramatically worse than my depression before taking (several) antidepressants. Several years ago, after withdrawing, on my own, from a particularly noxious antidepressant (effexor), I had 2 physicians who, over a span of time, put me on new antidepressants, the last being citalopram, simply because they didn’t know (nor did I at that time) that my withdrawal symptoms were very much like serious depression. I think several of the other people who have posted on this site have had similar experiences. I hope you have good support and success throughout your process. I used a syrup form for withdrawing from one psychiatrist prescribed drug, and the process was successful (really, really slow —but it worked) Good luck.

  36. P.. Wood says:

    Can anyone here share experiences you have had with friends/family during the withdrawal process: ways of interacting on a day to day basis that worked (or didn’t) ; ways of telling them what’s going on, or if it was better to not tell anyone what was going on; what worked/didn’t work in terms of maintaining friendships during the process; if you were able to hold a job; or just put words together to make a sentence that didn’t make the listener turn and run away….I’ve been pretty isolated during this withdrawal process. My “system” is beginning to wake up all the brain “stuff” that has been severely dulled or shut down from the citalopram. During this withdrawal I know I’ve lost a few friends….any suggestions from anyone????? Thanks, in advance, for any insight anyone can offer….

    • Debbie says:

      I had good support from my family but no one ever really knows how it feels and I still felt very alone. Persevere, it’s worth it in the end. Even my doctor says I’m a different person now X

      • P.. Wood says:

        yikes. I forgot to send a “thank you” for your reply – most appreciated. Encouraging re “being a different person” There’s Hope!

  37. harri says:

    So happy I found this. This morning I thought I had something seriously wrong with my head. Between bouts of severe vertigo, dodgy stomach, (both sides of this horrible equation) going between starving hungry and full to bursting, seeing things out of the corner of my eye THAT AREN’T THERE. Walking up and down stairs has become difficult, vertigo up, vertigo down. I dread getting in a lift right now. And all because I didn’t take my citalopram for FOUR DAYS. My partner said to just continue without them but i’m far too scared to do that. So off to the doctor after work to get my supply and then in three months beg for help. All i want to do is sleep.

  38. Cory says:

    I have been on citalopram 20mg for 6 months. I haven’t had any for a week now because I hadn’t realised I was getting low. I have put my prescription in and I should be getting some tomorrow. Since Monday I have felt dizzy, nauseous, light headed, tingling in my feet and feeling really emotional. I thought it might be because I’ve had no tablets for a week so googled it and everyone seems to have the sane symptoms. Never felt like this, I feel like a heroin addict going cold turkey and I’m scared to come off them at all now!

    • harri says:

      Exactly how I felt! I’ve been back on them now for a few days and all of the horrible feelings have disappeared. Also I found that everything tasted really chemical! So I stopped eating as well! Not good.
      Yes I’m petrified of coming off of these now. I have to see my doctor before I get the next lot in so I guess i’ll find out what the plan is then. For now I’ll take on eof my 20mg pills every day! Never forgetting again!

  39. stalisman says:

    I have been on Citalopram for 7 years, far too long I guess but the dreams are good and life is easy and the Doctors are absolutely useless at helping me with my alcoholism which leaves me in despair. Anyway to cut a long story short I failed to get my prescription refilled about 9 days ago. Luckily the sky is blue, the sea is green and I live in a nice place :-) At the moment I get these scifi like shudders, as if you are in SG1 or StarTreck and there is a dimensional shift for a second…. it’s like feinting for a split second and waking up all in the time it takes to blink an eye and feel a headshock. Bzzzzz! there it goes again … I think 7 years is enough :-) Jeronimo!!!!!!!!

  40. Deeferdi says:

    I’ve been on Citalopram for around 5 years, they’ve helped me combat depression and although I’m not sure it will ever leave me completely, I feel like I am in ‘remission’. I’ve just slowly withdrawn from them and the only side effect I have is extreme anger and irritability! The red mist descends at the drop of a hat, and I feel like I’m a perpetual state of extreme PMT, has anyone else had these feelings on withdrawal? The only down side to taking Citalopram for me was weight gain, other than that they’ve been a life saver for me! Good luck to everyone who is just starting their Citalopram journey or indeed anyone who is ending or ended it recently just like me :-)

  41. P.. Wood says:

    This is an status update that may be of help to some of you: I am 60 days off of Citalopram. My tapering process was slow,having been stable on 10 mg for 18 months, then taking 2 months to taper off completely. The first 6 weeks (!) of being antidepressant-free my days and nights were filled with all of the terrible physical and frightening mental side effects that we all have written about in these posts. The “good news” : weeks 7 & 8 the physical symptoms have improved – GI tract quiet and normal (very little nausea, vomiting etc); weight stabilized – I lost weight – (appetite better, however, food still tasting odd; ) dizziness/lightheadedness/woozy feeling has moderated ; bouts of agitation, anger/rage, crying for no reason, are infrequent, brief and less severe; sleep is much better – , quieter, fewer nightmares, dreaming normal, etc.. These 8 weeks have felt like an eternity – but the physical symptoms are finally better. This process has felt like a very slow, horrific body-brain cleanse that is still in going on. The symptom of depression coming back (like being hit by a freight train) is still here for me,
    so I won’t write about that now – however, I hope others will write about your months after
    withdrawing – including about depression over time. Thank you all ——

    • Glad to hear the physical symptoms have eased. Difficult to comment on the depression as I was on citalopram primarily for anxiety. I have good and bad spells like anybody but nothing as bad as when I went on the medication in the first place.

      • P.. Wood says:

        Thanks for taking the time to answer – our different specific needs for use of citalopram (anxiety, depression, etc.) might very well make our experiences during withdrawal and after cessation of use different.

  42. Sarah says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been following Mr T’s advice and have been crushing my 10mg tablet and mixing it with water so I can take small parts each day.
    I got down to splitting the tablet into 12 parts so 0.83mg per day and felt ok.
    I’ve now split it to 14 parts so 0.71mg per day and for the last week have been experiencing a fuzzy head, irritability, feeling sick and trouble sleeping even though i feel soooo tired!

    Its not as bad as when I tried to come off them before (dropped straight off at 10mg).
    However I did notice that even if i stirred the water up when taking a part there were grains gathered in the bottom of the pitcher. This lead me to think that the tablet wasn’t dissolving completely and thus my dosage wasn’t equal each day.
    So after reading that you could get citalopram in liquid form I called my doctors and was able to get it!
    I will be starting it tomorrow at 0.83mg and reducing from there.
    I can not believe however that after taking such a low dose I still got fairly severe withdrawal symptoms.

    Although I feel annoyed that I was never told about the difficulties of coming off this drug, it did help me at the time (I suffered anxiety).
    Not sure I would ever take it again.

    I do think that GP’s are unaware of the sort of difficulties that are described on this blog and assume that the patient isn’t ready to stop taking their medication.

    Would like to know if anyone else has been able to come off citalopram by reducing really slowly and been able to avoid these symptoms?

    • P.. Wood says:

      I withdrew from citalopram very slowly and it has now been 10 weeks being off completely.
      As with others who have shared their experiences here, the withdrawal symptoms continued for weeks (for me 9 weeks). Though this is not the news you were hoping for, the GOOD news is that the symptoms did finally subside. Good luck to you in the weeks ahead.

  43. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the reply, i was crossing my fingers for a different answer but part of me expected your reply!

    Do you think the withdrawal symptoms were easier because you did it very slowly? or do you think they would have been much worse if you stopped suddenly?
    I’m wondering if i’m just delaying the inevitable?

    Did you taper as slowly as i am? ….24 weeks from 10mg to 0.71mg? So i reckon another 8 weeks before i stop completely.

    Since i switched to the syrup citalopram my withdrawal symptoms have stopped and i actually feel pretty good! So think crushing the tablet was a little inaccurate.

    • P.. Wood says:

      I am happy to answer your questions, but please remember I have NO medical training (western or other). That written: I have posted a few times on this site with details on my withdrawal process that can give you the time period for my withdrawal from the drug. Over the years I have, on this drug and other psychotropic drugs, stopped suddenly. Symptoms were worse than I could have imagined. Finally, under good therapeutic care, with one psychotropic drug withdrawal process I did use a liquid med(valium substituting for the medication. Liquid Valium used because it has a very long half-life in the body, so the symptoms were milder) – this process was much like what you are doing and in my case the withdrawal symptoms were up-and-down: Lots of really bad days or weeks, then a good day, or several days. My therapist called these “windows” . During those periods, he recommended that I stay at that particular dose for “a bit” – give my brain and body a breather/a break and enjoy the relief, before doing another drop in dose. The good part: those good days gave me hope and yes, gave my body & head time to recover . Your liquid regimen may continue to provide you “windows” like what you are experiencing now —– maybe even better than that: no more symptoms. However, hold on to hope if the withdrawal symptoms come back. Remember: hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies. (from the film Shawshank Redemption). Best wishes to you.

  44. Sarah says:

    Thank you for your reply, I’m crossing my fingers for little or no further symptoms.
    Really want to rush cutting down as we have been wanting to try for a baby for some time now, but think it bet to keep it slow and hope for the best.
    Will keep posting updates.

  45. Tammy says:

    I went on Celexa about eighteen months ago after my husband was deployed and came back. However, when we got out of the Army my GP increased my dose from 20 to 40 mg. I did nothing but sleep constantly and I mean constantly. I could not get in a car without closing my eyes and falling asleep. I drove across country to get home and it took me three times as long because I had to stop every two to three hours and take an hour or two nap. It was the absolutely debiliating for me because everyone always complained and called me lazy when in fact, I am the least lazy person I’ve ever met. Then, three weeks ago, we lost our insurance from the Army and I stopped COLD TURKEY because I did not realize it was on the 4.00 list at Walmart until today!!! GRRR. However, for three weeks I have been experiencing the scariest symptoms of my life. I thought I was having a heart attack last Wednesday, I had a fever, my blood pressure was very high (it has always been low), how flashes, sweating, extreme virtigo with a thump thump in my head to where I can seriously hear my own heart beat. I have done well to get dressed and take showers in all honesty. The carrying of the trashcan in case I vomit is the least scary symptom, the not knowing where I am and why I want to kill someone is beyond scary for me. I had a meltdown two nights ago and I called my husband every name in the book at the top of my lungs and told him I hated him?!!! WE DONT ACT LIKE THAT EVER!!!! I have cried more in the past week than I have in ten years. So, as I sit here tonight, I made an executive decision to go back on at least 20 mg of Celexa from now on. I have to. I have never been addicted to anything in my life, not alcohol, no drug use ever; not even experiemental; NOTHING. However, because of the side effects and the adverse affect this is having on my life and others around me, I need to go back and get my head screwed on right. I can do without sex for life if I have to; I just cannot feel like I am going to stab someone for asking me a question. This is ridiculous and they need to be checking these drugs over again; the withdrawal symptoms seriously need to be in a monitored environment. Here’s to hoping I can get back to normal and my brain can stop swishing in the fluids I feel like I am swimming in.

  46. Sarah says:

    Hi Tammy, I’m taking Citalopram and also had awful withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop, not sure how similar Celexa is, but if its anything like then I hope I can offer you a light at the end of the tunnel….albeit a long tunnel.
    I am now down to 0.22 mg of citalopram….. which is basically a 10 mg tablet divided into 44 parts! and I take one part each day.
    Its taken me a long time to get to here and I have had ‘off’ days (although not many and nothing compared to going cold turkey) but I’m hoping to be off it in about 8 weeks time.
    My advice would be get stable on as low a dose as possible eg 20mg then stay on that for a couple of weeks before you start to reduce.
    Then do it ever so slowly, look back on this blog to Mr T’s advice, that is what i’m following….although I couldn’t come off as soon as he did so I’m splitting the dose further, but I feel I am almost there now.
    Also get a liquid form of the tablets so it dissolves better.

    There certainly should be a strong warning about the withdrawal effects of these tablets, and GP’s should be more aware of them. Most GP’s just think the withdrawal symptoms are just signs that your depression / anxiety are still a problem and you need to keep taking the tablets when this is just not the case.
    There must be thousands of people out there who are still taking these drugs because they think they still need them when they don’t!

    Hope you feel better soon. x

  47. P.. Wood says:

    Hello Tammy – please keep posting how you are doing – people here do care, plus they are very helpful. Most physicians do not know, nor believe, anything about what you are going through, and would rather give you more drugs than “deal” with you. Also: you are not “addicted” to celexa (citalopram). Your body has adapted to the drug – this is not addiction. This is pharmacology: once you stop taking the drug, your body has to “rebalance” itself.
    which takes forever and may include depression/anxiety reappearing —- even though you are NOT in a state of depression/anxiety. I, too experienced the terrifying rage (where the f$%k does that come from?) Confusing? Yes. Discouraging? Yes. Frightening? Yes.
    During withdrawal it may be helpful to keep a log/a journal of all the physical and mental symptoms as they manifest and eventually change (and yes, they will eventually go away ). You may be surprised at all the different parts of your body that are affected by this drug. What you are experiencing is real and quite serious medically. Do read Dr. T’s advice on this blog: being able to manage your withdrawal dosage using a liquid form of celexa will be very helpful, even though it will be a very, VERY slow process. And by slow, I mean weeks to MONTHS. Even after a very slow withdrawal, when you are completely off the medication you may experience mild to very serious withdrawal side effects for weeks to months. (Read all entries in this blog to get a good perspective on what you are facing in the months ahead) Please do reach out for any and all support you can – even if the only people who believe what you are going through are people here, on this blog. The withdrawal effects are real, are serious and you deserve better care than what your physician is offering. Best wishes to you in the months ahead ——- you will get better, get back to health, over time – really.

  48. wingnut says:

    hi all. I came off citalopram after 4 years on it 4 weeks ago tapering from 30mg to 20 m/g for 2 weeks and then 20mg to 10m/g for another 2 weeks and finally 2 weeks on 5 m/g under guidance from my GP. my symptoms did not really start until I finally stopped. I had head zaps almost constantly for a week with insomnia. this has reduced, but I have been left with being easily irritated, more headaches then normal and a easily upset stomach and all that goes with it. I read that it takes up to 4 months to finally get over all the symptoms. I urge anyone reading this to do it very slowly, I did it too quickly I think but I feel liberated being free of the drug and will ride out my remaining symptoms.

  49. Sarah says:

    I’ve just doped to 0.17mg and hope to stop completely in seven days. I’m hoping that because i’ve done it so ridiculously slowly i will escape the symptoms i experienced before.
    Although my next point is only helpful to women its worth mentioning. I’ve found i do get slight withdrawal symptoms around the time of my period, so i found that reducing a dose was much easier and less likely to give symptoms if done after my period.
    I also get slight symptoms if i’m really tired.
    My dose is now so small its hard to believe it could still cause me a problem when stopping, however i was unable to stop at 0.5mg without symptoms so I’m not expecting it to be easy but i am hopeful.
    Will post again as soon as i know what effects i experience.

    Fingers crossed.

    • P.. Wood says:

      good luck, Sarah – have been reading your posts with interest (and sending good wishes your way). will be interested to know if you continue to have side effects (& if so, for how long) after you are no longer on the citalopram – pleasing do keep posting!
      Pat

  50. Sarah says:

    Hi Pat,

    Last dosage tomorrow!

    Just wondered if you had any information on how long it takes for citalopram to get out of your system (with regards to trying for a baby).
    The general medical view both from my GP and other sites seem to say that as soon as the meds are stopped its safe. Have you or anyone else on this site heard or read anything different?

    I’ll be 38 in January and don’t want to wait too long (already taken me 2 years to get this far)and miss the boat.

    Thanks in advance.

    Sarah

    • P.. Wood says:

      Wish I could send you to a trusted source of information, but I simply don’t know any different from you. It seems that many of “us” (folks who have posted on this site) continued to have assorted side affects for weeks after stopping. I wish I knew if this is because: 1) the body & mind are continuing to re-balance or 2) the citalopram is continuing to “hide” within some organ for “x” amount of time before being completely flushed from our systems. CONGRATULATIONS TOMORROW!!!!!! and good luck with your future family.

      • Jau1976 says:

        Hi all I am not sure if anyone still replying on here but I am 26 days in… Tapered as recommended by GP he advised go from 10 to nothing as ” 10mg is not worth having” I suffered terribly in the first couple of weeks then felt fantastic! Like a my head was clear more energy still a bit of anxiety but felt positive however the past 4 days have been horrendous I seem to have gone right down… Irritability, absoloutely exhausted in the day taking a nap but at night horrendous anxiety thinking on heart is stopping, focusing too much on breathing etc… I literally cannot get a proper nights sleep! I wake up about 2 am sweating clenched up fists heart racing its awful and very scary has anyone had severe sleep problems since being off cit? Thanks

      • Sorry to hear about your problems. Unfortunately sleep problems do appear to be a problem of withdrawal, particularly vidid dreams. The symptoms you are describing are classic anxiety symptoms though so it is difficult to know whether these are due to withdrawal or not , especially without knowing your medical history and reasons for being on the meds in the first place. Hopefully this phase will pass, I know how horrible it is!

  51. P.. Wood says:

    first: congratulations on 26days off — especially “cold turkey” from 10 mg (my physician also thought it possible to drop off 10mg to nothing with no side effects ——which was not true for me – I had horrific side effects). Anyway, the sleeping problems you are describing are very similar to my experience – terrible and frightening. The fact that you had a “window” of feeling quite good for a while, then the symptoms resumed is something I, too experienced. This seems common for other people. However: as others have posted here, over time ( weeks to 4+ months) the symptoms lessen and become less frequent. To help with sleep, a small dose (13 -25 mg) Benadryl seemed to help me for the worst weeks: I was able to fall asleep and sleep quietly for a few hours ( though I would still wake up, as you are, 2 or 3 am with an anxiety attack.) I no longer take the Benadryl, and now do not have middle of the night anxiety attacks. The span of time for me was 10 weeks. Hope this helps — it does get better, even though it seems like forever. Please keep posting with updates —- when I first started reading this site, what helped most was to learn about people’s experiences AFTER their last dose of citalopram, especially learning about how long people experienced side effects; patterns; types of side effects, etc. Thanks for posting – and good luck to you.

    • Jau1976 says:

      Thanks so much for replies I feel immediately better knowing that 1/ I’m not relapsing and 2/ it will subside eventually :) will defo give the Benadryl a try too xx

  52. Sarah says:

    I too suffered anxiety attacks, racing heart, the shakes, vomiting, stomach cramps etc.
    I still do get them occasionally but not as severe as I used to, I put this down completely to a CBT therapist I saw (until I saw this therapist i was very negative towards counselling), she taught me that the only way to overcome anxiety attacks without medication is to find coping strategies that made the attack easier to deal with and to face it head on. She completely changed the way I viewed my anxiety attacks.
    I know now that when/ if i have one, that it will pass, i’m not going to have a heart attack.
    I’ve found that being cold when I feel an attack coming on helps, running my wrists under a cold tap, propping myself up in bed with lots of pillows and reading a magazine (not a book something with short stories) helps me overcome an attack…but I do have to act as soon as I feel it coming on.
    I couldn’t have attempted to come off my meds without having CBT, and at first the attacks got worse before they got better, but as soon as I understood I was going to come through it they lessened.
    I stopped citalopram completely 4 days ago after reducing extremely slowly….my last dose was 0.17mg.
    So far so good but last time I stopped (cold turkey after 10mg) it was day 5 when I started with the withdrawal symptoms so its early days yet.
    I have noticed i’m not sleeping very well and have had a few vivid dreams but that has been going on for a few months whilst reducing and its bearable at the moment.
    The worst part for me last time I tried to stop was the nausea,vertigo, feeling soooo tired and being short tempered.
    You’ve done so well getting to 26 days (I only managed 6 days) that if you can bear it and you feel sure your symptoms are withdrawal and not due to the reason you were put on citalopram then I would try to sit it out.
    I can’t say yet if reducing as slowly as I have done will work as its really early days…..I have everything crossed that it does because I couldn’t stand more than six days of the withdrawal symptoms and I really did try to cope!

    Would really like to hear how you get on. Good luck.

  53. Sarah says:

    Hi Pat,

    Seven days in….so far so good! Still early days though.

    Sarah

    • P.. Wood says:

      I’m so happy for you!

      • Jau1976 says:

        Hi Sarah and Pat,
        Sarah I’m glad ur feeling good and it’s working for u brilliant news!

        Pat as someone whose off cit I have a query, with regards to my previous post my symptoms are getting worse it’s now 32 days since totally being off cit and I literally cannot sleep… E.g last night I got into bed closed my eyes and they were twitching like mad I felt as tho my whole body was shaking but it wasn’t also ( and this sounds weird) whatever side I slept on I could eat my heart pounding through my ear also feeling heart beat in throat it was really scary I checked my pulse and it was 93 Bpm this scared me as I’m not sure what’s normal… I took some rescue remedy went to bed really late to make sure I was really tired and still couldn’t sleep worrying and listening to my heart for 2 hours.. I was never this bad on cit not was I this bad before I started cit… I’m hoping it is still withdrawal and I do t have to resort to tablets again, feeling really scared any advice? Thanks x

      • My advice would be for you to go back to your doctor. Your symptoms are those of increasing anxiety, whether caused by withdrawal or not. Please dont take this as criticism , i am relating to my own experiences , but your worries about withdrawal may actually be helping to feed your anxiety and making it worse. Maybe some other coping techniques could be discussed with your doctor as a longer term strategy. If you had something else in place, such as CBT you may feel more able to cope as it wouldn’t be a just a case of should I be on or off the meds. This might take some pressure off you and might reduce some of your anxiety. The therapy would hopefully also help it it’s own right.

      • P.. Wood says:

        oops, I meant to address my comment to jau1976!

      • P.. Wood says:

        Sarah: obsessivelynormal knows what (s)he is talking about! If you don’t already know:
        CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – well accepted and successful.

  54. Sarah says:

    Hi Jau1976

    Would recommend CBT……and that’s from someone who was very anti counselling and thought it a waste of time.

  55. Sara Lee says:

    Thanks to all who have posted. I am relieved to know I am not alone in dealing with my citalopram withdrawals. I stopped taking my 10 mg that I was on for 3 months 7 days ago. I had to come home sick from work due to dizziness and heart racing. The vision problems of slow eye tracking are bothersome to say the least. Vivid dreams too. And, yes, the irritability has been felt by my whole family. Based on this blog, I am going to my doctor today to request the syrup to try to wean slower. Anyone out there recommend just sticking it out and dealing with symptoms?

    • P.. Wood says:

      No – would not recommend it – especially if you have a physician who can help you do a taper from the 10mg. Good luck!

  56. Grainne says:

    This may be completely unrelated to the drug. It sounds like you might have vertigo full stop ! Might be bPpv experienced with head movements lying down moving around etc. if you have the Eply done by a trained doctor he will let you know.

    • Thanks for your comment. If you check back to my original post on this blog you will see that these symptoms appear to be very common with withdrawal from citalopram but are unfortunately often dismissed as vertigo. A good doctor would obviously consider the possibility of both options and do the appropriate work to find out which is at play. The reality appears to be that many doctors are not sufficiently knowledgable about these problems – the reason I posted my question in the first place.

  57. Sarah says:

    Hi Sara,
    I’m 15 days off citalopram now and so far so good, very very slight dizziness but nothing worse than what you might feel if you stand up to quickly and no where near as bad as what I experienced before.
    Hoping the really slow tapering may be the answer.
    I very much doubt you have vertigo as suggested in earlier post, dizziness seems to be one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal from citalopram, it certainly was with me.
    When I stopped citalopram the first time i did find the dizziness along with my other symptoms stopped when I started taking citalopram again, so pretty sure it was withdrawal.
    Will keep updating on my experiance as time goes by.
    Good luck with the syrup.

  58. Lorie Groom says:

    After a radical Hysterectomy at age 34, my brain chemistry was radically changed for the rest of my life. I have taken Paxil (the WORST) Lexapro, and finally Citalopram since 2001. I was taking 20mg of Citalopram when my pharmacy failed to refill it for 3 days – standard withdraws as everyone mentioned, but I noticed also that I had lost nearly 8 pounds! That stuff was keeping weight on me and getting worse, so I called my Doc and said, I’m done, I’m going off the stupid drug.

    The day on day off method was recommended, but from past experience, takes too long and enhances the symptoms of withdraw. I found and alternative!

    the first 4 days were terrible – now on day 6 – no doses but added 100 mg of L-Theanine today and my friends – welcome back to the land of the living free and happy after about 15 minutes of taking the supplement. Still lightheaded, but I’m only one week clear and functioning like a human being. Ordered mine with VitaCost.com – less than $9.00. Good luck everyone! Sending Happy VIbes to all

  59. Sarah says:

    Hi All,
    29 days off now!
    About a week ago I had a couple of days of feeling a bit low and a bit dizzy…….again nothing like what I experienced before though.
    I’ve had a cold for the last week but other than the cold feel pretty good!
    I’m still not holding my breath as I know I could still get withdrawal latter on, but so far so good.
    Just starting to forget about worrying about the withdrawal symptoms which must be a good sign.
    Have got my energy back and feel like me again!
    Hope I’ve done it this time.

  60. gra says:

    Hi all,
    I have been off CIT now for 5 weeks after taking for 2 years, the only symptom i have is the head fuzz, I stopped taking them no tapering just completely stopped, I have monitored that my head fuzz only comes when i am tired. Stick with it you beautiful people.

  61. Janice says:

    It has been so useful to read all these posts.
    I have been taking anti-depressants for 13 years and stopped citalopram (10) completely 7 days ago. The first few days were fine but the usual withdrawal symptoms have now kicked in, big time!! At least I am not alone and I will stick with it. Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences.x

  62. Rebecca says:

    I was taking 40 mg of Citalopram for about 4 years when suddenly I fell into a deep depression again. My therapist and psychiatrist decided the Citalopram lost its effectiveness. For about 4 weeks, I was taking 20 mg Citalopram and 150 mg of Wellbutrin. Just last week, my psychiatrist took me completely off the Citalopram and increased the Wellbutrin to 300 mg. The first 3 days of this new regimen, I felt fine. For about the last 3 days I have been dealing with bouts of dizziness, lightheadedness and just feeling foggy. I also have this overwhelming fatigue. Like an eyes burning type of fatigue. I just want to lay down and sleep. It seems like I am withdrawing from the Citalopram as opposed to having side effects from the Wellbutrin. The only positive I have seen so far (and it is a good one as far as I am concerned) is that I have become less puffy and lost some weight. The Citalopram caused me to gain a significant amount of weight. I am happy to have found this site and hope that these withdrawal symptoms disappear quickly. I can’t function feeling this exhausted.

  63. Sarah says:

    I’ve been off citalopram now for just over two months.
    I have previously tried to come off it by tapering as advised by the doctor but experienced severe withdrawal symptoms which were so bad I could only stick it for a few days before I had to go back on the citalopram.
    After finding this site I read an entry by ‘Mr T’ which suggested tapering but to the extreme! (would recommend looking back to his entry for details I managed to get citaloram in a syrup form from my GP so it could be mixed with water to reduce the dosage rather than crushing tablets) I was willing to try anything to come off it so I gave it ago.
    Looking back over the last two months I can say that Mr T’s method worked for me.
    Overall I did experience some withdrawal symptoms (which I would consider mild) and had bad days (not many though) but nothing anywhere close to what I experienced before.
    In fact most of the time I felt pretty good.
    My main withdrawal symptoms were the dizzy feelings which I still get now if i’m tired (again they are much milder than before and completely bearable). I’m hoping they will stop one day but if they don’t then it is something I can live with.
    Overall I feel more like ‘me’ and happier than I was on citalopram.
    Extreme tapering with the syrup was definitely the way to go for me and I would recommend it, but you need patience it will take a few months.
    Good luck to everyone.
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel (one which I never thought I would see)! x

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