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Citalopram withdrawal

(34 Posts)
CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 13:38:19

Hi, I have been on Citalopram for 9 months for anxiety and depression. It has really helped and I have had talking therapy throughout this time for PTSD. My therapist and I have agreed to not see each other but to leave the door open as I've been doing so well.

So... I have decided to wean off my meds. Discussed with my GP who pretty much said do it however you like?! I was going to start in Nov but my DH felt that with the stress of Christmas it might be wise to wait until after so I halved my dose starting 2nd Jan. I was on 10mg now on 5mg. Had a big low about 5 days in and have felt up and down which I expected needed diazepam for X1 panic attack on day 5.

Now I get to the point! I've had the flu since Thursday and I am on the mend but I am soooo anxious and feel freaked out. I keep telling myself this is withdrawal and to hang in thee it will pass but am convincing myself I can't cope without the meds and to go back up. My counsellor told me to get in touch if I need to see her but I feel like I'm failing if I do sad also I really can not afford financially to see her either. I know I am exhausted from the flu but the other side of me is telling me it's not the flu and its me slipping into depression again.

Not sure what the hell I am asking really! I guess does anyone has experience of this? I remember when 8 first started taking Citalopram the 3rd week I had an awful day long anxiety attack which the GP said is common due to the brain chemistry adjusting to the meds, could that be what is happening now?
Thanks in advance for your advice

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 17-Jan-17 13:48:51

I was on 40mg for over a year and was told to come off VERY, VERY slowly. So alternating between 40 & 30 mg for a fortnight, then onto 30 & eventually being on 2.5 mg on alternate days for a while until I stopped altogether. (I got a pill cutter from my local chemist.) I remember the feeling of my brain shifting.

I know you're nowhere near that level but maybe halving your dose is taking it a bit fast? Perhaps try alternating 10 & 5 for a while & when you feel comfortable with that move to 5?

Good luck.

Wolfiefan Tue 17-Jan-17 13:50:22

Yes. VERY slowly is the way to go. Drop a tiny amount. I think I dropped again once I had felt ok for a month. It worked.

UnbornMortificado Tue 17-Jan-17 13:58:07

I really suffered.

Lethargic, nauseous and I kept getting electric shock type pains up my arms and legs.

I was going from 40mg to nothing with zero tapering (not my idea) I'd been on them about 5 years though.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:15:16

Thanks for replying guys, having a really bad day. I was going to cut into 1/4s and start by going to 7.5 but I guess I thought I'd be okay. Just not sure whether to ride this out until it settles or go up to 7.5

I forgot how soul destroying this feeling is. Although it's hard did you all come off and stay off? I feel so fucking useless today, I thought I could do this and I can't...

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 17-Jan-17 14:23:27

I would go up to 7.5. Honestly. And go easy on yourself! There's no time limit! flowersflowers

And yes, it took me months but I've been off them for over a year now.

Wolfiefan Tue 17-Jan-17 14:25:32

Took me months too. But I've been off them for months and months now and I'm fine. There's no rush.

MirandaWest Tue 17-Jan-17 14:31:59

Before cutting back, how long did you feel "fine" for?

I've come off anti depressants several times and I came off them too quickly several times as well. The time it worked, I'd been fine for over 6 months while off them and then cut down very slowly. Went from 40mg to off in about 18 months and was probably about a year from 20mg and 9 months from 10mg.

I've been off them for over 7 years now. What seemed to help for me was having CBT which helped to get my brain realigned I think. Have been through marriage breakup since then and still much all right.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:35:14

Thanks guys. I'll go back to my original plan. I was going to go down 2.5mg every 8-12 weeks depending on how I felt. I am having an operation in 2 weeks which is closely linked to my PTSD so feeling like this is prob not a good idea so close to that! It's really difficult with these fiddly tablets and pill cutter, it's a tiny pill as it is.
Thanks again, it's hard to talk to anyone in RL about this for me. I'd put some flowers in for you but I haven't figured out how to do that yet!

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:39:28

Miranda, I have felt fine for about 5 months I'd say. I'm scared that the longer I'm on them the harder this is going to be. Also I suppose I'm testing my therapy. I find that I don't have a clear head/memory on them which effects my work, but I'm realising that that's a damn sight better than sobbing on the bathroom floor like today. Also zero sex drive isn't doing my marriage any favours. I feel flat on them I want to feel the full range of emotion again but I guess I forgot about the bottom end sad

WhiskyChick Tue 17-Jan-17 14:46:34

When I came off citalopram the dr recommended doing dose every second day, then after a bit every third, fourth etc. I decided I had bugger all chance of remembering when I would need to take what and when so after a little research I just came off. I knew I had a little stock just in case. I found that I felt very spacey and dizzy at random intervals but after a few days that all cleared up. Having said that I'm now (after a couple of years) back on citalopram and another also!

UnbornMortificado Tue 17-Jan-17 14:49:54

Can't there is no shame in having to take them. Slightly different as I have bi-polar but I've accepted I'm on them for life.

I'm on amitripiline now, which is actually not as "strong" as typical ad's and doing OK.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:51:48

I read that alternating days is not great and that reducing the dose consistently is easier on you. I think I'm being hard on myself too as I have the bloody flu to top things off.. I'm not good at being ill

dorothymichaels Tue 17-Jan-17 14:53:17

Not a positive tale here I'm afraid. I've been on citalopram for six years (20mg). Tried and failed three times to come off them. Very very slowly, reducing by 20-10mg one day a week, then two etc etc. Each time the weaning off has gone fine but when I stop or get to a very low dose the depression symptoms have returned. I suspect I need to do more than stop the pills and make some significant lifestyle changes. Not something I can do currently. So i still pop the magic pill.... and resent it.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:54:08

Thanks unborn. I resisted going on them for so long, and tbh felt silly once I saw how much better I was on them. Happier than I have been in a decade! But I still can't shake this feeling of wanting to get off them....

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 14:58:38

Dorothy, thanks for sharing, it's truth I want which is what you are saying. My fear is that despite all of the lifestyle changes (and sacrifices) I have made I'll still not get off them. I have changed my job, I don't drink I've lost 2 stone.... You get my drift. I'm going to go with slowly slowly. Or even shelve this until spring, after my op and when there's a bit of sun in the sky!! God January is depressing with the pills let alone without it.

UnbornMortificado Tue 17-Jan-17 15:00:08

Cant its really good you feel ready to come off them but please remember they are available if you ever need them again flowers

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 17-Jan-17 15:08:42

I'd try dropping by 2.5mg every fortnight?

And if I needed them again, I'd be on them like a shot frankly.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Tue 17-Jan-17 16:26:46

Thank you for all of your advice. I've had a chat with DH. I'm going back up to 10mgs until I have recovered from my operation. Then we will make a proper plan to come off much slower and arrange holiday from work for the fun bit (that's sarcasm!) that seems to occur at 2-3 week period after dropping.
Thank you again, you are all so supportive x

BratFarrarsPony Tue 17-Jan-17 16:28:54

I just came off them. The main withdrawal symtom was feeling incredibly horny.

BratFarrarsPony Tue 17-Jan-17 16:43:05

I dont mean I 'just' came off them recently, it was years ago.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Fri 20-Jan-17 12:16:00

By Wednesday night I was in a right state, had to go to GP and get diazepam and went back up to 10mg :-( now I feel sick dizzy and anxious whilst re-adjusting to my normal dose. Am so fucking passed at myself. I feel like I've fucked myself up again. Feel awful with zero motivation.

GP said I need a proper plan for withdrawal, I went to fast and did not have accompanying strategy eg meditation, exercise etc.

I know this is a stupid question but how long until I feel 'normal?! I was on half dose for 17days. quite sad that normal feeling is now how I am on the tablets whereas normal used to be me on my own.

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Fri 20-Jan-17 12:17:33

Pissed not passed!

CantGetNoSleeeeeeep Fri 20-Jan-17 12:19:48

Also GP recommended what you all said 10/5/10/5 which I'll do next time (when I've forgotten this episode!)

BagelGoesWalking Fri 20-Jan-17 12:24:04

I think your GP did you a great disservice by pretty much leaving you to cope with it! He/she should have given you a much better plan, esp considering circumstances like your operation, PTSD etc.

I understand why you want come off them but not sure you should, perhaps it's better to carry on with a lower dose for a much longer period. Good luck with however you do it and for your operation too.

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