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Coming off citalopram, Feeling Horrid, advice/reasurance please

(35 Posts)
babalon Tue 12-Feb-08 13:47:36

Hi all,
Hi been taking citalopram 20mg for a year now, but I've decided The time is right to come of it. For 3 weeks I took 1 tablet every other day and from last sunday I have'nt taken any. Emotionally I feel fine but physically I feel weird to say the least. I keep getting a dizzy wozy feeling and visual disturbances as if I've drank too much.

Does anyone know how long withdrawal symptoms are likely to last? Can I do myself lasting damage coming off them with uncontrolled withdrawal symtoms?
Anything I can do to lessen symptoms, I really feel horrible.

VinegarTits Tue 12-Feb-08 14:43:46

Maybe you have stopped taking it too quickly, can you go back to taking half a tablet every other day maybe, to lessen the withdrawal?

TigerFeet Tue 12-Feb-08 14:49:59

I agree, you might have stopped them too quickly

When I was on fluoxetine ages ago my doctor presctribed me increasingly smaller doses, I think it took a couple of months all told.

babalon Mon 18-Feb-08 21:37:00

So it's now 2 weeks + 1 day since i last took citalopram
Good news- is the horrid brain shake has gone,
Bad news- I think I've lost the plot. A really traumatic event happened last october and I've dealt with it pretty well considering. I was on the citalopram at the time, but I feel like I'm dealing with it all over again. Re living it over and over. I don't feel anxious like I did before going on the ADs but increadibly sad and shocked.

Had an awful weekend spent most of saturday crying, even when I was being nice(so I thought) it came out wrong.Things did happen to make me cross as a mum and wife but my reaction was extreme.

I really don't want to take the ads again. Maybe they have just surpressed feelings that need to be addressed anyway. Also I've had awful ,constant back pain since 3 weeks after starting the citalopram, never linked the 2 but since I've stopped it the pain has changed in intensity. GOd now I really sound mad sad What am I going to do? Feel like walking away.

Work again tomorow, did the job today but cried alot in priviate. Difficult

babalon Thu 21-Feb-08 23:08:04


no longer head whoshes but full on madness. I'm seriously tapped. Cried all weekend, cried all week at work. Didn't feel this bad before I was taking it. My son wears a brace for the treatment of clubbed feet/ talipes and I've had alot of issues about them lately. The boots got stuck under the sofa earlier and I grabbed and throw them ( they were attached to my 18 month olds feet sad) I'm not angry with my baby but these fucking boots don't help. I've got no AL at work, DD is being dreadful don't know what to do losing the plot

BigBadMouse Thu 21-Feb-08 23:24:10

Only just come across this post but you have come off way too quickly for sure. Is that what your doc told you to do? I came off too quickly and it was utter hell and exactly as you have described so far.

my experience from the point you are at now was that the intensity of the feelings got gradually less and became a bit more bearable, in the meantime I struggled like mad to keep going - I had a good reason to come off (TTC) and that is what kept me going I think.

If things get too much you can solve the problem by going back on them and coming off them a the proper rate if that is what you would want to do. Have you been offered any ther help other than ADs? The proper method of help for most is to go on ADs and have some sort of help to deal with underlying problems while they on a more even keel and can deal with them better, In reality this rarely seems to happen.

I guess your choices are to sit it out or go back on and come off properly. When you get back on track a bit more have a rethink about how you want to tackle the beast.


leggychick Wed 30-Jul-08 13:01:41

Hello. I have just come across this site - fab - I am not going mad after all ! I recently came off Citalopram,originally prescribed for depression and anxiety, after 8 months. Initially I was taking 20mg but after some counselling and a good chat with the doc I decided to reduce to 10mg for a month and then every other day.
Since stopping altogether last week I thought I had a brain tumour !! Horrendous migraine type headaches, extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea... and my work colleague said I looked "spaced out" most of yesterday. My beautiful 5yr old daughter has now experienced "horrible snappy shouty mummy"!
I have an appt with the doc after work today but I don't want to go back on if i can weather it.... anyone know how long it takes!!

sketti Tue 05-Aug-08 12:33:25

i never wanted too much to come of citropram because it was the one anti depressant that really worked out of four i tried before i began to get better.i got preg and came of them quickly.i dont want to affect the baby, but i dont feel like im coping without them.i dont know how much is pregnancy hormones and how much is me going loopy again and concerned about post natal depression.

Shitehawk Tue 05-Aug-08 12:38:58

leggy, I was horribly snappy when I came off Citalopram; it was reassuring when I found out that other people had felt the same. That lasted for about six weeks, although the first two weeks were the worst.

I didn't have any other side effects because I came off the tablets (I was on 40mg) very, very slowly - two weeks on 30mg, two on 20, two on 10. My GP didn't believe in taking a tablet every other day because it causes the amount of drug you are taking to fluctuate, so I broke the tablets in half.

From what I have read, the dizziness and so on only lasts for a week or two - pretty much like the initial side-effects when you start taking them.

Hope your GP can reassure you, and that you feel better soon.

drugfree Wed 13-May-09 12:53:53

hi guys, hope you're doin well... i finally stopped taking citalopran oct 08 after 2 and a 1/2 years. i did it very gradually. after a week of not taking any i experienced constant vertigo, dizziness and visual/audio disturbance (very loud crack noise in my head accompanied with bright flashes and a severe sense of falling- especially at night)

this continued for about a month (in which time i was very spun out!)

as it slowly eased away, (say- over the next month or so) i felt less scared and nurtured a tiny thought that i might actually be able to do this.

yes, it was the easing of the physical symptoms that allowed my mind to begin again, meaning old hurts and upsets revisited me, giving me an opportunity to change my perspective on well as a positive sense of re-awakening inside...

this is the current point in my journey, i am free of physical symptoms and am learning how to cope with the stresses of life as best i can, and when the sadness or anger comes i dont ask alot of myself, i cook and clean the basics only, try and focus on the kids or somehow get timeout. i know that it will pass, and i will feel capable again...BREATHE!!

having your own feelings again is good, though you will need to guide yourself through difficult times,

be gentle to yourself, good days and bad days will come, tell yourself, maybe i can do it.

good diet and sleep essential xxx

Lelly22 Thu 19-Aug-10 16:28:20

I have been taking Citalopram for three years - situational depression and anxiety. The first week was hell but worth being zonked rather than crying incessantly and frightening my children. It has helped me cope with a great deal of stress and pain, but now i am feeling better have decided to wean myself off of it.

I knew from my doctor that just to stop would be a very bad idea. 10mg is my current dose and the pharm companies do not appear to do 5mg tablets - not helpful considering how hard it is to stop... I am doing alternate days with the idea of cutting later tablets to make 5mg dose. However, not feeling great at the mo. have been feeling dizzy and teary without any apparent reason. The last time i tried in the same way, i had violent moods swings - gave up after a day and went back to full dose. Doctor said i wasn't ready - stress levels still high...hmm when is life stress free??

So, i am hoping that this evens out..if it doesn't it feels like i shall be on this forever. Even though i feel good on the tablets, normal even (!!) i don't want this forever..

clump Sat 09-Oct-10 12:26:01

this thread is quite old but wondering how people were doing a year on. i am coming off citalapram atm and am feeling pretty rubbish. wondering if i'm doing the right thing.

smudgerooney Thu 31-Mar-11 22:05:43

I just wanted to say thank you for writing these posts, they have made me feel a lot better. I suffered from anxiety/panick attacks off and on throughout my adult life, and 2 years ago I started taking citalopram and it has worked wonders. I am now in a much better place in my life work and home wise and i decided to start reducing the dose. I went from 40mg to 20mg over a period of about 6 months and then 20mg to 10mg over 3 months, I then took 10mg everyother day for 2 weeks and stopped. Its been just under a month now and felt fine for the first 3 weeks or so with a bit of dizziness and some headaches. But in the last week I have felt awful - irritable, mood swings, tears, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and a few small anxiety panicks that seem to be getting worse. I cant work out whether its withdrawal or just life? i just cant seem to be able to cope? very confused! after talking with family i have decided to go back on 10mg and then hopefully think about reducing far more gradually next time - i do think that maybe i may need a little help for the rest of my life...maybe this isnt such a bad thing?

Auntysally Sat 21-May-11 21:49:27

I have tried so many times to stop my antidepressants but fail each time - simply because I find that I go back to being somebody that I dislike so much! I loose my temper for no reason, cry at the drop of a hat, become a total bitch to my family and even the people at the supermarket!

Having lived with my mother (who was a manic depressive) and who refused to take any "drugs" I realise that for me, the best thing is to continue taking as small a dose as possible to keep me on a level that stops the bad side but allows me to still be me. My problem started 20 years ago from a bad post-natal depression but my doctor explained to me about the workings of the brain etc and how these pills work so I decided to take the plunge.

I have managed to have a break of 3 years but during that time I ended up with a divorce! I really would prefer not to take them but each time I give up, after a while I have come to realise that I will genuinely need them for the rest of my life.

So my answer to the problem about giving up, is to work out if giving them up is really the best thing for you - maybe all you need to do is reduce the amount you take - I take 20mg for 3 days and then miss a day - not sure if that is right but it works for me. By cutting down slowly over a period of time is how I managed for the 3 years. (Not convinced it was due to me being a bitch that the ex moved out but it probably did contribute!)

If you really want to give up I suggest that you discuss this with both your doctor and family - the doc will be able to advise you and your family will be able to tell you honestly if you are being a pain - that way you can work out with your doc and the family the best way to do it.

Best of luck xxx

betterwhenthesunshines Tue 24-May-11 12:47:43

Sounds like you need to check with your doctor. I took Citalopram when my DD was 6 months old and I realised I had to do something. They did help but I did feel life was a bit of a haze and not totally real. I tried once to come off and went back on, then came off slowly with CBT that helped me deal with the day-to-day issues. (after 2 years). Two years on (last summer) I felt it was all going down hill again but I didn't want more pills so I have been seeing a therapist. It's a much longer term approach, but for me it has really helped me understand a lot of things about myself and things that have happened which relieves a lot of the stress / anger / upset. My DD is now 6, but finally I feel like I'm ready to be a better mum capable of being me and being a mum to her and my son.

Sazzle8 Wed 29-Aug-12 15:45:01

I have been on anti depressants for roughly 10 years, starting on Prozac but shifting over to Citalopram pretty quickly. I have tried to come off them once before and lasted a year but then went back on them as I felt I wasn't coping. I was put back on 20mg, which I asked to be reduced to 10mg recently when I felt like I was back on my feet. I stopped completely 4 days ago. I feel pretty awful, in much the same way as people have said above.

If anyone does know roughly if the dizziness, crabiness, tiredness and wanting to cry will stop, I'd love to know because if this is just how people feel generally in life then I will be back on them before you can say boo to a goose.

It's so annoying because it's such a huge step to decide to come off them, this just makes it even harder. I could basically sleep all day and night, I feel dizzy and I feel miserable and very emotional. Again, GP refuses to believe that there are any side effects which makes you feel pathetic for complaining.

strawberry17 Wed 29-Aug-12 18:19:43

rather than repeat myself all over again, if you look at two other threads here "why do I have to take adps" and "can't stop crying", I can tell you that you have come off way way too fast and are suffering withdrawals, if you look at those threads you can see I have given some help from my own experiences and some links which you might find useful. Hope they help!

Dollybird2012 Sun 16-Sep-12 22:13:35

Hi, I've just joined mumsnet for advice with Citalopram, I've been on them now for about 5/6yrs and I'm only now on 10mg but am desperate to come off them, although they help hugely in aspects of my life, they are also causing huge damage! ever since I had my 7yr old daughter and started to take these, I have had no sex drive whatsoever, for me and my husband it is really taking it's toll, no body on these chats have mentioned loss of libido or anything like that, does it affect any of you guys? It is very hard to explain things to my husband as to why I don't feel like doing anything because I have no answers, I blame the medication, I love my husband very much but I can see us breaking up very soon because I show very little interest in that side of things but inside I'm hurting because I wish I did still have those urges, I'm only 33 we always had a good sex life before this but I'm feeling so lifeless from citalopram! I want to get off them and be free. Please if anyone has successfully reached that goal, please tell me your story because I can't cope anymore. sad

strawberry17 Mon 17-Sep-12 13:20:41

Hi Dollybird I can indeed sympathise, it is a taboo side effect but one that impacted on me, the main reason I was so desperate to come off Sertraline, not many people talk about it. If you look at my profile you will see a link to my blog with lots of info/links about coming off. You'll see that I have written about this subject on many other people's threads in the Mental Health forum as well. You need to taper yourself off citlopram slowly. Here's a link to a really good article about coming off, how to do it:

I'm really not sure if Citalopram is available in liquid form, you will have to ask your doctor or a pharmacist, if not you may have to shave the tablet and weigh it to taper down or if it's a capsule open it up and weigh contents.

Please don't do the alternate day thing if the doctor suggests that, it just totally messes up the nervous system and for many people just doesn't work.

Dollybird2012 Tue 18-Sep-12 20:35:43

Thank you for your response strawberry17, I went to the doctor and I am now cutting my 10mg in half and having 5mg a day for one month and then we'll see where I go from there, I'm sorry to hear you have gone through this aswell, it's a real horrible place to be! lets hope there is light at the end of the tunnel thanks

FootyGirl Thu 20-Sep-12 15:47:27

Thank God I found this conversation! I was on citalopram for 18 months and came off it two weeks ago after gradually reducing the dosage over a few weeks.
I have been feeling tired, moody, dizzy, sick, irritable, emotional and now I know why. I had thought it might be withdrawal, but now I feel so much happier I have read your messages of support.
Last night I was emptying the washing machine and I dropped a sock, as irrational as it sounds, I picked up the whole load of clean washing and hurled it across the kitchen before disolving into tears.
I was scared I was going to have to go back on the tablets. Now I will persevere and hopefully the side effects will stop soon. thanks

Kennyp Thu 20-Sep-12 18:12:19

I have just gone on it 10mg, but am marking my place on this thread. So pleased to have found it smile (the thread, not my pills)

strawberry17 Fri 21-Sep-12 07:49:38

Footygirl, if you don't start getting any better, you may have to consider going back on the citalopram and tapering off much much slower. If you look at my post above there is a link about the 10% tapering method. Doctors are generally pretty rubbish and getting people off these drugs safely and slowly enough. The alternate day thing doesn't work for many many people and you end up yanking your nervous system about and the withdrawals feel like the original illness and you end up back on the drug.

I think if you look at my profile you will see a link to my blog about my own taper off Prozac and on the right hand side I have put pages with links to lots of useful info about how to go about tapering off among other things.

Good luck, you maybe ok but this is just something to bear in mind!

Help4Bre Sat 30-Aug-14 09:00:42

I wish there was more information to help those who have to discontinue taking Citalapram. Unfortunately having to change medication due to lack of effectiveness the withdrawals from citalopram are (in my opinion) very dangerous depression, difficult, and at times very discouraging. I attempted seven years ago to discontinue my dosage of 20 mg citalopram-after experiencing dizziness, sadness, emotional outbursts, frustration, aggravation and raging fits of anger. ..So discouraged that I went back on the citalopram and my doctor increased it up to 40 mg. Citalapram was prescribed to me for my anxiety, fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. With all the new medication coming out it was agreed that I wean myself off of the citalopram over a month! It has been three months now and I can tell you the side effects are starting to lighten up however they are still very present! I always explained the most common side effect that I had as feeling like I was boxing under water, sluggish, dizziness, total fatigue and sadness with crying and "temper tantrum's". Fortunately I do not suffer from depression, however I suffered many depressed, crying and very emotional moments along with anger and raging outbursts with very little patience. Many days it appeared to be easier to stay in bed and sleep then to wake and cope with the feelings of sickness.
I am very grateful that I have a loving and understanding family and my husband lovingly states "this is just a temporary situation". We look forward to the day that the raging crying emotional outbursts and the total overall physical well-being returns. Does anybody really know just how long it takes for the side effects to go away?
(Oh, my new drug is Savella.)
Thank you.

Sheilae44 Wed 16-Mar-16 13:16:49

Have been on 20 mg Citlopram for 10 years following the death of my son !
I did try to come off about 5 years ago and weaned myself per my GP's recommendations. OMG ! I felt horrendous and now after reading these threads I have firmly decided to stay exactly where I am. I'm scared reading what people are going through coming off C ! My GP has hinted, but she is ok with me continuing. If the feelings of intense sadness,and physical sickness came back whilst coming off Citalopram , I'd probably end my life !
I'm 71, and really don't think I'm strong enough ...... Mentally ! 💕

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