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Celexa withdrawal

Hi. I started Celexa several months ago, and had the hardest time adjusting to it...mood swings, tremors, physical inertia, etc. After being on it for a few months, well, it doesn't seem to be doing much to help me, so I decided to taper off -- which I'm doing very slowly. The problem is I'm having the most severe withdrawal symptoms (at least I think they are, because they're not at all normal for me at this intensity, and the timing coincides), major depression, paranoia, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fear. It's really awful. Has anyone else experienced this? And are there any things to do to cope? And how long did it last for you? Thanks a lot.
21 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
The withdrawal symptoms (sounds like yours) are usually over in three weeks. In the meantime, if they are particularly awful, as you have described, you can ask your doctor to prescribe some quick acting anti-anxiety drugs to help you with this period.
Avatar universal
I didn't like celexa at all. My doctor started me on it in the hosptital for severe depression. I had stomache pain, tiredness and other unpleasant side-effects. It was hard to tell which drug was causing the problems as I was on 12 different things for depression and interstitial cystitis. I kept telling the psychiatrist I couldn't take all those pills and he kept telling me I needed each one. Finally I looked at all my pills and decided to keep half of them. I picked the 6 I thought were helping me the most and threw the rest away. My psychiatrist was against it and said I'd have siezures. I felt a little funny around my eyes, like dizzyness for 3 weeks, but no siezures and in the end I felt so much better. No more tiredness, constipation, etc.
Avatar universal
I was put on celexa for anxiety and found that it was making me feel quite numb and emotionless.  I have just started to taper off and it is very encouraging to hear that others have had similar experiences with this drug.  So far the tapering has made me feel a little anxious and detatched, but I am holding out.
Avatar universal
I have taken Celexa for the past two years for anxiety related problems. I love it. It's been great. But my husband and I are about to start trying to get pregnant. I've been tapering off Celexa for the past two weeks. I've been off it completely since Friday (it's Tuesday now). Yesterday, I started getting really shaky and nauseated and exhausted and sad. I felt like I was detoxing! Today, though I'm physically better, the world feels really fuzzy, like I'm looking at it through some distorted, weird filter. I can't explain it any better than that. It's terrible. And, now I'm wondering if I should wait another month to get pregnant so my body isn't going through both withdrawal and early pregnancy at the same time? Would it hurt the baby if I did get pregnant right now? This is really hard to cope with!
Avatar universal
Hi, I've been taking Celexa for about two years at 80mg.  It was great for my panic and ocd, as well as my anxiety.  I have been really depressed for a couple of months, and my phsychiatrist is switching me to Zoloft.  I am now down to 2o mg on a 20mg per day reduction taper.  I have been having vivid dreams, headaches,I can barely get out of bed, and I am very irritable in my dealings with others.  These symptoms were explained to me by my psychiatrist as part of withdrawal.  I start 25mg of Zoloft on Tuesday.  I increase to 50mg before seeing my psychiatrist in early July.  I am worried that the dosage of Zoloft is too small.  At what point do you (anyone with similar experience) recommend that I call my psychiatrist with my concerns?  Thanks, Patrick
Avatar universal
I was on Celexa for a year, and my friends started commenting that I was "not motivated".  I stopped cold turkey 10 days ago and "electric jolts" in my head started immediately.  They have become more and more frequent.  Basically, about 6 times a minute a "shock" hits me - my field of vision jerks abruptly to the left and back again, and sometimes my lips tingle and go a little numb.  It is similar to vertigo in that the disorientation causes nausea.  I read a very similar description of Celexa withrdrawal on another board, but couldn't post to get feedback.  Is this normal?  Is it a waste of my time to go back to my doctor about it? My concern is that the doctor and the psychiatrist did not predict any of the symptoms or say anything about withdrawal.  Also, the documentation that came with the product did not say anything either.  Thanks.

BTW, my depression is still gone and I have become motivated again since getting off of this damned medicinte - paying bills, exercising, quit drinking (I went from a drink per night to 6-8 per night while on Celexa).
Avatar universal
Just saw the doctor about the withdrawal symptoms.  Found that I had gone from 165 to 200! No wonder I felt bloated.  The doctor said that celexa stays around for about 4 weeks after withdrawal and that, while the symptoms would continue during that time, I should be normal soon!! He also asked if I would like to try something else...you've got to be kidding.  Anything short of suicidal and I do without pills from now on.
Avatar universal
I have been on 60 mg of Celexa now for over several years. I am away at college and running out of my medicine without any refills. I am freaking out, because I am extremely moody. My friends have noticed a severe change in my personality because I have been acting really depressed and withdrawn. My question is will I have to go my whole life on this medicine? I can never seem to ween off it without any major side effects. I am nineteen and have been taking a variety of medicine since I was 14. How can I control my moods?
Avatar universal
Woah.  I've been on celex since like october 0f 2000.  40 mg to eventually in a couple months 20 mg/ day.  I felt it necessary at that time.  2 years later, i don't.  I went cold turkey last week, exactly 7 days ago.  

It was cool pretty much at first, just the dull, dry headache behind my eyes, and a little bit of trouble concentrating.  

Now though--I've been tired like you don't know what!Hrd to say it's all due to celexa, however.  You see, being a female, I started my period just now.  

It's helpful to note that I also take birth control pills, which do indeed help regulate emotional and/or hormonal changes and their effects on my psyche.  

As a helpful side to women hoping to achieve the greatest balance possible-- the pill I take is Triphasil-28.  This is a pill type which utilizes a graduated or titrated dose hormone cycle.  This progressive, weekly, level of hormones helps to mimic a more natural monthly hormonal cycle--or so the theory goes. It's the only one of several pill brands I was able to tolerate well (nix on Mircette--for anyone!, nix on desogen, for me, can't remember all the rest just at this time..).  My feeling is having a metered out, predictable hormonal change is a helper, in addition to the MAIN reason I take, which is for contraception.

As for the CELEXA WITHDRAWAL symptoms, I think therefore I am having some tiredness partially due to that also.  Plus, it doesn't help that in this "cold/ flu" time of the year that is fast approaching-- I have been sick, too.  I thought I was all better, but maybe my cold is affecting this whole thing as well.  

Funyy, 'cause it's like--which symptom do I attempt to treat?

Chocolate is really sounding really awesomely like my main choice.  Too bad, b/c it's not a HEALTH FOOD.

A book I've recently bought suggests trying OPTIMISM.  I think it's a great suggestion.  "7 habits" by Steven Covey is where I'm going next, as per the suggestion.... It can not hurt to be a positive thinker on my depression and self-esteem :).  
~~Natural Alternatives to Prozac, Michael T. Murray, N.D. 1996, Quill.
~~See also, "Learned Optimisim" Knopf, 1991, Martin Seligman, Ph.D.,

For Women, the hormonal cycle is explained beautifully and concisely in:
~~"The New Our Bodies, Ourselves" By the Bosten Women's Health Book Coolective--several editions out--(c) 1984 B.w.h.b.c. . pub: Simon and schuster.

Brain Chemistry, and addiction, and stuff: see:
~"inside the brain" Ronald Kotulak, (and The Chicago Tribune) 1997, Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Does celexa need to be administered after an initial curative dose to treat depression??? Consider the following:

The Physicians Desk Reference (2000, 24th ed) says under "Dosage and Administration", "Maintenance Treatment", ...

"...In one study, patients were assigned randomly to placebo or to the same dose of Celexa 920-60 mg/d) during maintenance treatment as they had received during the acute stabilization phase, while in the other study, patients were assigned randomly to continuation of celexa 20 or 40 mg/ day, or placebo, for maintenance treatment.  In the latter study, the rates of relapse to deptression were similar for the two dose groups (see Clinical Trials under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).  Based on these limited data, it is not known wheter the dose of citaloprom [Celexa] needed to maintaine euthymia [true mood, not depression] is identical to the dose needed to induce remission...."  

I have one more literature reccommendation. It is:

~Prozac Backlash, Overcoming hte Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and other antideptressants with safe, effective alternatives. Joseph Glenmullen, M.D. Simon and Schuster, 2000.
*note that celexa was pretty new when this book came out...and...the book doesn't exactly tell you how to bottom line, really, to avoid side effect of withdrawal--EXCEPT, his personal experiences as a treating psychiatrist, at Harvard Medical School, how he has titrated down the dosage of many ssri patients in a slow, controlled, careful way.  MANY MANY MANY accounts within about side effects on different SSRIs.
Avatar universal
I have been on Celexa for 3 yrs now.  It helped for awhile.  I was put on it for depression and anxiety.  I have tried to stop several times but the side effects suck!  I get sick to my stomach, I become moody, depressed, anxious, sometimes if I move my head to fast I lose my balance.  Any ideas on how I can get off of this stuff?
Avatar universal
Oh Celexa!!! I am in Britain where Celexa is known as Cipramil. I was on it a year and tired of the sexual dysfunction and mental nullity- I'm a freelance writer and wrote nothing for that whole year- couldn't do it. Anyway, I tapered with Doctor's supervision and went through 'electric shocks' headaches and nausea etc. Now it's six weeks since my last dose and still I'm getting celexa-like symptoms- nausea and head rushes, muscle-stiffness and jerky spasms on going to bed. I ask myself whether this can be a long term upshot of the drug- my doctor is *very* circumspect about that. Anyone else had that? My email is ***@**** by the way. I welcome all tales of Celexa/Cipramil hell.
Avatar universal
I started taking Celexa, 40 mg. per night, and Trazadone 30mg, per night around 10 years ago.
Recently my doctor refuse to continue subscribe them to me, because I cannot afford her office fee visit. My life has turned into a living nighmare within 2 weeks.I now have severe sweating/chilling panic attacks, periods that I feel almost like I am suffocating, have severe diarrhea, sleeplessness, tired all the time, occasional nausea, vomiting has become second nature after trying to eat.
Yes, I find NOTHING that can help me thru this period in my life...and life if not looking very attractive, if I have to finish it out, living like thiS??
IS THERE ANY HELP OUT THERE FOF SOMEONE LIKE ME?? And can a doctor be so arbitrary over an $85.00 dollar office visit, that not everyone these days is able to pay?
Avatar universal
You really need to taper off any anti-depressant or similar medicine. You'll most likely have withdrawal symptoms for a while if you don't. No, they won't last forever, only until your body readjusts. I would suggest you go to your primary care physician and ask him/her to prescribe the medicine for you while you taper off to avoid these sever physical symptoms. If you can't afford that, go to the emergency room and explain the sever physical symptoms and severe depression, they should help you in some way.

Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Look up "Gwen Olsen" on youtube or google video.
Avatar universal
i am currently on celexa klonopin and lamictal, i had a point where i was unable to fill the celexa and klonopin. after two days without both i went into an extreme episode first i thought it was just a really bad panic attack but i would sweat till i was literally dripping as if i had just gotten out of the shower, once the panic would stop i would be extremely cold and i woudl fall asleep for about 5 minutes the moment i would wake up i would go back into a panic, my body and skin would heat up substantially and the sweating would reoccur followed again by the extreme cold and 5 minute nap, iw as also throwing up bile fluid every once in a while, luckily i was in the ER during all of this and was able to get promptly back on my meds. the episode lasted for about 7 hours and ended while i was still in the hosptial BEFORE i got any medication. even tapering off the celexa is difficult, what the hell do i do, i have bad withdrawal symptoms while tapering off too. ?????? is this normal, or atleast within the known withdrawal symtoms
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I stopped taking Celexa after being on it for 2 years, I too have the electric shocks and I feel like I want to jump out of my skin. My concentration is zero right now. At night it is so hard to go to sleep. I haven't been nauseated but I think that would be a welcomed relief right about now. I don't know how long this is going to last, but for me it's hell right now. When doctors prescribe meds like this it would be nice if someone told you that the withdrawal symptom are so bad. I refuse to go back on the Celexa my depression was no where as bad as coming off of this drug. I pray to God to give me the strength to overcome this withdrawal process it's the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. If anyone else is going through the same thing, hang in  there and don't give in.
Avatar universal
i am so relieved to hear all these stories. it makes me feel a little better to know i'm not goin crazy. i stopped takin celexa because i couldnt afford it so it was cold turkey. it is making me have manic anxiety attacks. i cant sit ,i can't lay down nothing helps anyway. it's really drivin me crazy. i don't want to take anymore pills. my doctor said to double up on my xanax but it just makes you feel like you are movin slow on the outside while goin  a hundred miles an hour on the inside what do i do?
Avatar universal
I came off celexa very slowly and now two weeks off of it I sleep almost all the time.  To top it off I've been experiencing the weird brain / body shudders, extreme irritability...my spouse is being patient but I feel bad for him...how many weeks does it take for this #*@" to wear off?
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