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Avatar universal

Celexa Cold Turkey Withdrawal - I'm in hell

I started Celexa for "mild" anxiety and stress back in November.  It gave me increased nervousness and anxiety from the start, but I decided to "tough it out" like so many people told me I should do and give it a chance to work.  I only took it for 2 months.  The anxiety that the drug caused seemed like it started to get better and then just hit me with panic attacks and crying spells that I did not have before taking this drug.  I started on 20mg and only tolerated that for a few days and then dropped to 10mg for the remainder of the time I was on it.  I only took 5mg for about the last few days I was on it.  Anyways, my Dr. told me to just stop taking it, no taper.... and I was out of the med at that point also.  That was 3 weeks ago.  About 5 days after stopping, all hell broke loose in my mind/body.  Here is what I'm experiencing:  CONSTANT ANXIETY and nervousness, uncontrollable crying and feeling depressed, dry mouth, no appetite, diarrhea, can't concentrate.  I also had a cold right after I stopped it, but that went away.  I have xanax that was given to me to help while I "adjusted" to the drug in the first place.  I went to the ER yesterday morning because I couldn't take it anymore and they did nothing for me.  The Dr. told me that there was no magic pill that was going to fix this at this point and that I should take .5mg xanax 3 times a day for now.  The anxiety and crying are so bad in the morning sometimes that I can barely function and get out of bed.  I had a couple of days where I thought I felt some improvement, but it was short lived.  A pyschiatrist at the hospital told the Dr. I dealt with he believes since I didn't tolerate the drug well to begin with, then quit cold turkey, and also I take Protonix which they said made the drug stay in me longer than normal is causing this, but offered no solution/time frame.  I'm very sensitive to most drugs I've ever taken also.  I don't want another to put another antidepressant in my body.  Will this end?  I'm so scared of how I feel right now.   I feel extremely hopeless.
57 Responses
Avatar universal
Now they said I'm anemic.
480448 tn?1426952138
Hi there hon.

I'm so sorry you're going through this!  You've really been through the ringer, haven't you?!

Good Doctors will absolutely run some tests to make sure a new onset of anxiety symptoms aren't related to a medical condition.  There are many different common medical condition that can mimic anxiety (ie thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, etc).

I also agree that the doc should have tapered you off.  Him not pushing a taper isn't totally outrageous, due to the fairly short time you were on it.  Some people could have just stopped taking it at that point with no problems.  Personally, from what you've described, it sounds like you may have been sensitive to the med to begin with, which would explain the more severe symptoms coming off of it.

The person who made the most sense, was the doc who said that unfortunately there is no magic pill for this at this point, you just sort of have to give it some time (which totally stinks I know!!!).  That's the most honest guidance you have gotten!  Even the Klonopin and Xanax will only help to a point..they will help with the anxiety symptoms, but the emotional labilty (crying jags) will take some time.

Who diagnosed you as having a panic disorder?  Are you being managed by a psychiatrist?  I think it's very premature to make that determination, considering a good bit of what you're going through is directly related to the med.  Down the line, if panic symptoms persist, you MAY indeed find out you're contending with PD, but I agree completely that for now...it's premature.  After you get to feeling better...find a psychiatrist to thoroughly assess you...your therapist could recommend one I'm sure, then just ask your PCP for a referral.

Here's my suggestions.  Continue to take the anti-anxiety meds as prescribed, they WILL help you to a point.  You WILL gradually start feeling better, but it may take a little time.  Being patient will be a Godsend, as hard as that is (I don't say that as if it's supposed to be easy, trust me!)  

I would bet that in another 2-3 weeks, you'll notice a significant improvement, but as for getting back to baseline?  That may take a little longer.  The VERY best thing you can do, believe it or not..is continue to go about your daily life...go to work, take care of the house...whatever you normally do...keep yourself as busy as possible.  You're probably thinking.."are you CRAZY nursegirl?  I can't stop crying!!".  I'm NOT saying this will be easy, but it WILL help.  Stock up on tissues...and try to keep yourself busy.  The very thing anxiety thrives on is us focusing on it.  We condition ourselves to feel worse by worrying.  Meaning, the more you concentrate and stress about how you're feeling, the more likely the anxiety will just continue to feed off those emotions...therefore, your progress will be affected.  I've seen people who have still felt horrible months later after similar situations.  The med was long gone, but they continued to overanalyze everything...and focus on how they felt to an extreme.  Once they threw themselves back into life...they started noticing improvements.  If you can start doing this now...you may be able to speed up this "recovery" process.

Therapy is awesome..I'm so glad to hear you're doing that.  That would be my other recommendation.  Therapy will help you to cope with this...and teach you ways to stop that anxious cycle of thinking.

I'm truly so sorry for what you're going through...just try to remain positive (as hard as that is, I know)..and keep telling yourself this is ONLY temporary..you WILL be feeling better in short order.  Try to get some exercise, even if it's just a brisk walk every day.  Exercise helps with anxiety a lot.

I hope you're feeling better very soon.  Know that we're here for you..you're far from alone.  If you haven't yet...check out our anxiety forum for some input on different ways people manage their anxiety.  Lots of great people over there too...all in the same (crappy) boat.

You're in my thoughts.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your in depth reply.....I really appreciate it more than you know.

Should I try to stay off antidepressants?  The klonopin they switched me to is making me feel irritated and depressed and tired all day.  It's helping the anxiety, but causing a new problem.  I lowered down to .5mg twice a day (started at 1mg twice a day) because at 1mg I felt really depressed and was crying alot.  Been on it for about 6 days.  The .5 is a little better as far as the tiredness, but I still have that empty depressed feeling inside...not crying as much, but crying while I'm writing this :(.  I was on xanax for a few months before switching to klonopin because of what the celexa did to me but he thought klonopin would be better since it works longer and I was back to having anxiety once the xanax would wear off.  For the past few weeks I was taking an average of between 1mg and 2mg of xanax a day before switching to klonopin....before that I was probably taking 1mg a day.  I was EXTREMELY sensitive to the celexa, which is why I stopped after 2 months.  My dr. doesn't seem to think it's withdrawal because he said he's never had a patient react that way to it.  I have NEVER had anxiety like this before I started on all this medicine.  I was only on xanax as needed for mild anxiety before all of this (probably used it once or twice a week), and now I'm on a benzo daily and terrified of what's going to happen when I stop taking it.  I don't know what emotions are mine, the klonopin, or possibly still the celexa withdrawal.  I'm very sensitive to medicines usually no matter what it is.    

I'm seeing my primary care dr. this week about bloodwork that showed I'm anemic and will tell him about the klonopin making me feel depressed.  No idea why I'm anemic.  I'm hoping maybe just because I have heavy periods or at least something not serious.  Wish they would've done bloodwork before I ever agreed to take any medication.  I wish I never went down the medication road and I don't know what to do from here.  I didn't feel horrible like this when I initially asked for something to help with mild stress/anxiety and now everything has snowballed and I don't know how to get out of it. I feel like I'm in some kind of medication trap.  I don't even know at what point it's safe to try stopping the benzos.  I never planned on using them daily for this long.  I'm really just so scared and confused of how to get out of this mess.  

I had breast cancer when I was 31 and I haven't felt this bad since that happened.  I am trying to do things around the house (I work from home) like light cleaning, laundry, riding exercise bike, but nothing seems to help make me feel better.  I just want this to stop and I'm scared that if I start trying more antidepressants I'll end up in a bigger mess.  Can you tell I have anxiety about everything at this point?? :)  I wish I could turn back the clock a few months.  I would have tried therapy before even considering my Dr's offer for medicine.  I feel hopeless right now.
Do not take the klonopin, I am coming off of celexa, klonopin,and topamate and I want to scream,,. I feel like I am actually losing my mind. I have,  crying spells, angry fits, heart racing, insominia . My hand shakes .I have tremors, these medications are dangerous
Avatar universal
I think Therapy would help you out with your anxiety. I would try to start as soon as you can. Some meds can take longer to get out of your body than others. Not all antidepressants work for people, some are med resistant. When you do decide to quit taking Klonipin/Xanax, taper off very slowly, this will lessen the withdraws or you may not even have any if you do it very slowly. I too am very sensitive to meds and my reactions seem to be worse than other peoples. If you don't want to try any more antidepressants, you have other choices, such as mood stabilizers and more. It's your choice to take meds or not. Although you are going thru a difficult time, you still seem to be strong andI feel confident you'll make the decision that's best for you.

It's possible the residual Xanax in your system, withdraw, immediately following having taken the Klonipin could cause cause some side effects as well as the Celexa. For me, i can take Klonipin without a problem but I cannot take Xanax. Go figure. Everyone is different and those of us who are so sensitive to meds seem to be on a different path than others. Give Therapy a good try, you have nothing to loose and possibly a lot to gain. Crystal

Avatar universal
One more thought. Since you are going back to the dr, ask that they check your Thyroid, vitamin b's and vitamin d. Thyroid issues can contribute to depression and being deficient in these vitamins can contribute to depression. I had a problem with these. Taking fish oil (no mercury in it) can help a lot too. Take care, Crystal
Avatar universal
Exercise is supposed to release large amounts of anxiety and dep, but I was in such bad shape that I never felt much relief exercising although I did all the textbook suggestions, including meditation which I could get no relief from either,  to get back to normal. My meditation book stated that meditation alone can't cure dep and is most effective in conjunction with antidepressants but once you get your life back on the level, (if the meds actually work for you) the meditation might be all you need.
Dep is described as swimming underwater and surfacing for air - the longer it goes on the harder it is to surface each time as you are being constantly attacked and weakened more and more. Eventually you can't even get out of bed, so it is the rare individual that can self-recover using only meditation etc. at this point. Ergo the value of meds to give your system a break.
It takes 6 weeks for full benefit from an ssri because it has to build in your system, but the pharmacist said some claim relief after a week. I was lucky enough for that to happen although it was as described above - just peeled back the dep some in the first week but it was still alive biting at me later in the day. Wellbutrin did not last for me past 5 or 6 pm each day. I would be ok until around 3 then on guard for the black curtain arrival later in the afternoon. It didn't give any warning, I would be fearful but steady one minute then the blackness would just pour in and the fight for relief was on for most of the rest of the day. At first I got by with an emergency ativan per day but that eventually got to 4 per day and lots of terror every MINUTE. I was the world's worst employee, spending 50 seconds of every minute fighting it (doing things like saying go away, trying to switch my focus etc every 10 or 20 seconds) while holding down an office job and hiding it from all the co-workers.
Avatar universal
A dose of celexa only stays in your body for 1 week, and by that time it is down to tiny particles of the amount you took. So your last celexa pill was completely out of your system within a week, leaving not much withdrawal effects possible by then. The fact you did 3 days at 5 means you were virtually med free 4 days later, bearing in mind the 2 pharmacists comments that 5 was so conservative they couldn't imagine why my doc even had me tapering at all onto that low dose.
The cold you mention had nothing to do with celexa, and most people have 3 a year so it is understandable that you got one in flu season.
Avatar universal
I don't think I can do this on my own anymore.  The benzos are making me more depressed.  I'm terrified of trying another antidepressant but I have no idea how to crawl out of this hole to even begin to get help through talk therapy and excerise (both of which I'm already doing).  I'm not seeing improvement, the mood swings/crying, feeling hopeless and anxiety are just too much.   If it was still withdrawal from celexa, wouldn't you think I'd be starting to feel better after a month?   I feel like a failure to ask for more medicine....and don't know if it's the right thing to do.  I hate this and feel like I'm in a trap.  I'm so sensitive to medicine I'm scared to try more.   Back when I had breast cancer, I took an antidepressant to counteract some side effects of my cancer med.  First we tried lexapro and that gave me panic attacks after only a few days on it, then tried effexor which made me real dizzy, and so I ended up on remeron, which I will never take again because it made me constantly fatigued and gain weight (not a happy time).  I want my life back....I don't feel like living it at all right now.
Avatar universal
I don't think any of the issues occurred from Celexa WITHDRAWAL, since there was not much of it in your system even when you were at 10. Besides it is gone within 7 days, so any further reactions seem unlikely. My guess is things just started building up, as they do when you are under prolonged dep or anx.

Don't give up, because living with dep or anx is not an option. I was so used to it that it seemed to be the best that life could ever be, so when wellbutrin didn't work I told my doc I thought I should not try another but she talked me into Celexa, with the quote that I needed a break so I could remember what happy meant again.
I am not so sure about all the other effects you attributed to the anti-deps you were on, as many people think they get weight gain from them, but I have read that can't happen.
Mention all the effects you felt to your doc and try another is my advice, however that will be between the 2 of you to decide. My gp was fine for my problem, but many on this forum will tell you to go to a specialist, psychiatrist type as they have more experience with this. Write back.
Avatar universal
The celexa caused a level of anxiety in me from day one that I have never experienced before and ssri discontinuation syndrome is a real thing.  I've read about it on reputable sites such as the Mayo Clinic.  It is recognized, and is especially bad in people who are sensitive to the medication and then stop cold turkey (no matter the dose).  I've never had panic attacks before I took that medicine either, and have never went to the ER feeling like I was dying until this whole mess.  I had mild anxiety/stress due to some health related stuff which is why I was offered celexa.  I was not depressed like this and having to take a benzo twice a day before all of this.  So now I'm probably dependent on those and will have have to taper off and pray for the best when that time comes.  the fact is that now I'm here, no matter what caused it, and I need to figure out what to do because my life has been a living hell.  I feel very angry and sad and hopeless and feel like this will never end.
Avatar universal
Can you talk to your pharmacist about these issues and get suggestions from them? Understanding discontinuation syndrone is beyond my abilities, but they have experience in these matters.  
480448 tn?1426952138
Hey hon...so sorry you are just in misery.

My honest opinion is that this definitely started out as a sensitivity to the Celexa (especially with what you reported with the Lexapro, they are pretty similar..Lexapro is actually considered to be easier to tolerate).  I think at this point, the remaining anxiety is more a reaction...meaning...the intial feelings of panic have kind of conditioned you to continue to feel that way.   I agree with you about the benzos too, they can cause depression without a doubt.

So...what's the next step?  I know you're scared and frustrated on what to do next,..who wouldn't be?  While you're situation is a bit complex, it's not impossible.  There are other meds that you could try that aren't SSRI's.  Have you ever tried one of the older tricyclic antidepressants (like Elavil/Amytriptiline)?  How about a beta blocker (ie Inderal)?   When a person is known to be sensitive to meds, the approach just needs to be a little different.

Here's my suggestion.  Call around (or ask for recommendations) for a p-doc who is well versed in these kinds of sitations.  Explain what you went through and that you need a doc who will be patient, willing to listen to your concerns...and able to think outside the box a little.  IF you can manage to find the right doctor...you will be able to find something that works, without making you go through hell.  If you can find one, a PMM, or psychiatric medication manager would be very helpful.

The other idea...and you may not like it, but hear me out...is to pursue a brief inpatient hospitalization.  I do not say that because I think you need a padded room (lol...because I'd be right there with you honey!), but rather because sometimes, when a person is struggling this bad, and is having multiple med related issues, sometimes an inpatient setting is best...to get the meds straightened out, while at the same time...getting more intensive therapy.  It would be a voluntary admission, you wouldn't be stuck there.  Just a suggestion.  A lot of people cringe at the idea of a psych hospitalization, but honestly, it can be so helpful...and your situation is one of those where it would be appropriate if you could pull it off (with your daily life).  You're in a bad place emotionally...and you really DO need some more aggressive help, until you can get this sorted out.  I say that with kindness...and not because I think you're so ill...you've just had such horrid luck and things have gotten worse each time you try to fix it...rather than better.

I feel so badly for you...I know you're in misery..and you just don't know what the hell to do!!  I would be fed up and scared too!  Please keep writing...and start making some calls. I promise there will be a solution for this and you won't feel like this forever...it just may take some time to figure out what's best for you.

My thoughts are with you...write anytime!!
480448 tn?1426952138
Oh,...one other thing, for right now...don't WORRY about the benzos...we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  If you can find a doc who REALLY knows his stuff (they are out there)...they will help you come off the benzos, when the time is right.

ONE thing at a time here, okay?  I don't want you to overwhelm yourself any more than you already are!

Avatar universal
I feel so bad for you. Keep telling yourself that this will get better and takes time. As I stated before, I am very sensitive to meds. The benzos can certainly make you more anxious, Xanax did me but not Klonipin. You just don't know until you try. Everyone's body is diff and we all respond diff. Whether your sensitive or not. I too have had weight gain with certain meds as many of my friends from group have. For me, when I do, out the window they go. You don't gain weight on all of them, again, everyone's body is diff. Everyone's reactions are diff because of our makeup is not the same.

So, I hear where your coming from. You know your body better than anyone.  If you think the benzo is causing this then taper off. Staying on it is not doing you any good if you think this is the cause, which happened to me on Xanax. I do fine with Klonipin. Just make sure it is very slow.

Remember to get the bloodwork I suggested above. If your out of range in these, some of your problems could have an answer and it wouldn't be psyc meds.

It's your choice to go on a diff med or not. It is all trial and error for each individual person. No two people are the same. Hang in there, my sensitive body has been where you are. It will get better:) Crystal
Avatar universal
I keep thinking about the inpatient thing because I just don't know what to do anymore.  I went to the er once and they did nothing and sent me home.  Just told me to keep taking xanax when i needed it.  I was in a full blown panic attack in front of the doctor and he didn't seem to think it was a big deal for some reason.  If I go to inpatient, how long are you usually there, and will they run medical tests for me to check vitamins/hormones and things like that?  Do you have to tell them you're thinking of hurting yourself in order to be able to stay?
480448 tn?1426952138
For starters, do you have a psychiatrist?
Avatar universal
no I have been dealing with my primary care doctor
Avatar universal
I think I might go to the hospital
480448 tn?1426952138
Okay, sweetie.  I think that's a really good idea.  I know you said you're worried about your thoughts.  Just go and explain to them what's been going on and make it clear to them that you're unable to function, you're in misery.

I'm going to shoot you a quit private message, check it real quick before you head out.  VERY best to you, I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.  I sure hope they can come up with a plan to make some changes.

Avatar universal
Did you call your pharmacist? Usually just talking to someone knowledgeable helps.
Avatar universal
They only kept me one night in the stress management unit.  I met a pyschiatrist who agreed I was extremely sensitive to these meds and cases like me can be rare so not alot of docs see them.  He switched me ativan for the anxiety (1 mg twice a day).  Isnt helping that much actually.  And also gave me a presription for 5 mg prozac.  He said since I tolerated that when I was younger maybe it could help get me back to "normal" but didn't want to prescribe a higher amount.  Well I took my first pill yesterday and woke up feeling sort of like I drank a bunch of coffee, the feeling like when I first took the celexa, but just not as bad.  I don't know what feelings are from at this point or what to do.  I can't talk to the Dr who prescrbed the stuff because he only deals with the people inpatient and i don't have appt with a psychiatrist until 2/18.  I've never seen her before so she doesnt even know my situation yet.  Do I keep taking the prozac til I see her or just stick with the ativan?  I think maye this prolonged withdrawal has put me into a real depression that I didn't have before and I feel like there's no hope for me now.  
Avatar universal
Lots of people find a med that works after searching, someitmes for a long time, so there is hope. If you stick it out with the prescribed dosage until the 18th then you will have an idea how well you can handle it when you discuss your situation with him.
Avatar universal
only tolerated the Prozac for 3 days because of the anxiety it caused and the ativan is making me feel depressed.  starting on all of these drugs ruined my life.  before I was offered any medication I could have dealt with everything through therapy n now these medications and withdrawals have me in such a mess I don't know who I am.  I'm seeing a psychiatrist for the first time next week and I'm sure she is just going to write another prescription....what choice do I have it this point?  I think I'm losing my mind.  I feel so alone and hopeless.
Avatar universal
I don't know what to do.
480448 tn?1426952138
Well, you always have a choice.  If you feel strongly that the meds are the primary cause, then I would agree that maybe you should give it a go without the meds.

Are you still on Klonopin?  That may be an option at this point...taking that regularly, every day, 2-3 times daily.  That may stabilize you until you can give this all some time.  If you're already on it, you may need a dosage increase.  It's someting to ask about anyway.

Go into the appt with an open mind, and be sure to write down all of your concerns and questions ahead of time...so you don't forget to ask anything.

Best of luck..let us know how the appt goes.
Avatar universal
I'm on ativan and I think it's making me depressed.  I think benzos might be part of the problem.  I'm sorry for so many posts but I'm really scared of the way I'm feeling.
Avatar universal
Depression and anxiety go hand in hand feeding off each other. I wouldn't think Ativan could make you depressed but someone else can comment on that.
480448 tn?1426952138
Well, it's not easy to sort out a cause, but yes, benzos absolutely can cause or contribute to depressive symptoms.  It's hard to say though, because severe anxiety most definitely will cause a secondary depression as well.

My only concern about you trying to reduce or come off the benzos right now is that it will exacerbate the anxiety and panic.  I think maybe it's best to deal with one thing at a time.  I feel for you...I know you feel like this is hopeless, but it isn't.  Hopefully this new doc will be able to shed some light on this for you.

Fingers crossed.

And, don't worry about the posts...my goodness, we're here to help.  Even if all we can do right now is support you...you've got it.  Keep posting and letting us know what's going on.

Prayers for you.
Avatar universal
I hope the new doc Can help me....none of this even makes sense to me and I can't see any light at the end of this tunnel.  I went to the doctor for mild stress a few months ago.....how did I end up here thinking about dying?  please pray for me.
4862508 tn?1360799907

     Hi.  I am praying for you.  I hope you are hanging in there.  Please know that the terrible withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing are 'only' withdrawal symptoms.  It is not you.   It is the drug and its after-affects that are doing havoc to your brain.in addition to the damage it already caused to your system while you were taking it.   Celexa is notorious for having  some of the very worst withdrawal symptoms.  Even those who have been on it for 1 week suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms.  It is very important to taper off the drug very slowly.  Drs do not seem to mention or warn how hard it is to get off of antidepressants.  But in the real world, there are many forums (go to drugs.com click forums) dedicated to this discussion,  these withdrawal symptoms are so terrifying that they have even lead to suicide.  PLEASE REMEMBER these symptoms will pass and you have many wonderful days ahead of you.
       For immediate short term relief you might want to try taking a warm bath with 3 cups of epsom salts (available at grocery stores) added to the bath water.  Epsom salts are derived of Magnesium which is naturally depleted by stress.  The Magnesium in the bath will be absorbed through your skin and temporarily offer stress relief.  You can also just soak your feet in an Epsom salt "bath" for relief

  For a more inclusive healing I recommend that you hook-up with a Naturopathic or Holistic Dr.  They can help you support the rebalancing of your neurotransmitters which always are interferred with when we take antidepressants.  All Antidepressants alter brain functions...either inhibiting or accelerating the natural activities of our brain chemicals.  It takes time and nutrient support to rebalance and nurture your brain back to optimal health.  Our brains ultimately get stressed as we get stressed, but the healing cannot occur by taking the unnatural Pharmaceutical chemicals that the main stream Drs have been taught to prescribe. Those do more harm setting our system further out of whack.   What does help us  is to regain our homeostasis, our natural balance, by supplementing with the natural nutrients that our bodies need and recognize.  Replenishing those minerals, etc,  that have been depleted as a result of our reactions to overwhelming  stress  will heal us.
         I  have been on at least 5 different antidepressants over the last 15 yrs.  I began taking each one hoping it would be different from the last.  None of them gave me better health.  One did nothing and the rest made matters worse.  I finally tapered off my last ( and it is the last) antidepressant (lexapro)  with the help of a Holistic Dr who took tests to see what nutrients were out of balance in my system.  In my case, it was Magnesium (research has revealed that up to 50% of those who are depressed are lacking in Mg) and vitamin B-9 (folic acid) which is also commonly deficient  as many of us cannot absorb B-9 unless we take it in the form of Folate rather than folic -acid. If you are interested http://www.methyl.com has info on that. Both of these nutrients support brain health.
      I pray and hope you receive some holistic guidance to support and heal your mental and physical health.  Please know that others have gone, and are going  through the same dreadful trauma you are experiencing.  Please REMEMBER  this is only a temporary bad and awful experience which you will recover from. The best is yet to come.

        You are in my prayers.  I hope you will keep letting us know what you are experiencing.  We all benefit from the sharing.

Avatar universal
Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement.  I'm hanging on by a thread but still hanging nonetheless.
Avatar universal
I'm pretty sure the benzos are making me worse and I can't just quit after 3 months on them.  I want my life back!!!!  I'm sick of crying and having panic attacks everyday.  I'm losing my mind.
Avatar universal
I'm seeing a psychiatrist on Monday but don't think I want to try any new meds with my system so messed up right now.  I have been taking 2 mg of ativan a day and before that was approx. 1.5mg xanax for a total of about 3.5 months now.... how slowly should I taper?  I'm already going through hell after stopping celexa but I think I need to get my system clean of all the drugs and see where I stand.  I was nowhere near the shape I'm in before I took any of this stuff.  I think the benzos could be part of the problem.  they are obviously not helping me feel better especially since I'm getting more depressed now.  What a mess I'm in.
Avatar universal
Trying to tell myself this will get better....I feel so empty and lost.  I'm trying and nothing takes this pain away.  I'm so scared....I have too much to live for to give up.  I don't even know what to expect from the psychiatrist tomorrow.  There is a heavy weight on my chest that will not go away.  I want to feel some kind of happiness again and stop the bad thoughts I'm having.  Sorry to keep posting, but I am truly lost right now and my life is at a standstill.  
480448 tn?1426952138
Giving up is not an option, sweetie.  I know this has been so hard for you.  Try not to worry just yet about the benzos...one step at a time.  Go in tomorrow with an open mind, with your list of questions and concerns.  I completely understand your fear of trying another med, I'm hoping this doc has some different ideas.

Please let us know how the appt goes.  I'll be thinking of you, and anxious to hear about it.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the support...I know this will get better, just ***** trying to get there...as most of you probably know.  I'm going to keep an open mind because I need help.  I'm pretty sure the benzos need to go...after I take it now I have crying fits and thoughts of dying....very scary.  I seem to start feeling somewhat better when it wears off.  I'll tell the Dr. Everything and pray for strength to get through this.  
480448 tn?1426952138
You probably are right about the benzos, I just don't want you to overly stress yourself worrying avbout everything, you know.  A taper will take some time (it should)...so you have some time to think about that.

IF you do discuss a benzo taper with the doc, I would recommend asking for a VERY slow and deliberate one.  The slower the better IMO.

Try to look at tomorrow as day one of a new start.  I know you feel so defeated, I've been there and it's awful.  If I got better, so will you.  You know I'm pulling for you, you've been on my mind a lot.  

If you believe in prayer, pray...even if you don't really believe in it, ask others to pray for you.  I'm not the most spiritual person in the world, but I believe there is definitely something to the power of prayer.  I think even just KNOWING that many people are thinking of you and wishing the best for you is a huge comfort.

Big hugs!!
Avatar universal
And this is why I don't trust doctors...

I had just about the same situation when I was on the drug and trust me getting off of it wasn't easy. My problem was I had loss of motivation and had no energy.While I was on the drug for many months as it was suppose to "gradually" help, it only made matters worst. I actually became suicidal because of it and ended up in a mental hospital for a little while. In the end I resorted to street drugs which I can say does not help.

What I can say is this, it will take a few months before what you are feeling will go away. A prescribed drug or not, it will typically lasts 3-6 months before the after effects of the drugs wear off. Now I know this probably sounds like "OMFG I HOPE NOT!" but it's the truth, however, there are ways to help you though it a lot.

First off keep yourself busy. As long as you can keep yourself distracted by hanging out with friends, playing video games, what ever, just keep doing something and try to avoid situations where you are alone doing nothing. Next off, go healthy. I'm serious! Eating at least 2 apples, bananas ect.. drinking lots of water and exercise every day will help flush the drugs out of your system lowering the length of time for the after effects to wear off. And lastly don't give up hope man.

These really are obvious points and aren't hard to remember. The hardest thing you will find tho is to apply it to your life and make it a habit, it won't be as easy as shoving a pill down your throat but it will be far more effective than that damn celexa...
Avatar universal
I already live a healthy lifestyle and have for several years....sometimes I guess it's not enough.  It doesn't hurt though :)
480448 tn?1426952138
So, how did you do at the doctor today hon?  I've been thinking of you all day today.  Please let us know.  Feel free to PM me if you would prefer that instead.
480448 tn?1426952138
Ahhh...disregard, I just saw a notification that you sent me a PM.  Off to read it now.
Avatar universal
HI, Nursegirl (et. al.)  Your comment (re: quitting Celexa cold turkey) sounded exactly like my life!  I've been on SSRIs for anxiety, all prescribed by my OB/Gyn, never seen a therapist or pdoc (but I do know all the lingo, my son has Aspergers/Generalized Anxiety Disorder...)  

DRUG HISTORY:  Prozac 6/2000, ending at 1/2009 (at 40 mg, it just crapped out, apropos of nothing and quit working), doc replaced it with Celexa 40mg until current episode.  

6/13:  Major meltdown, that had been lead up to by some incredible life experience episodes.  Details not necessary, but know they were major, and included the loss of a business opportunity that I had been working on for 4 months, my daughter's 8th grade graduation, a cross country trip in the back seat of my parents car for an uncle's funeral, and 911 call from the hospital that my recent mammogram came back with suspicious masses in both breasts......the breasts are fine, but I had to go in for more radiation.....thanks.

6/13:  At urging of PCP, went to seek psychiatric eval at emergency room.  She said that was the only way to see someone in a timely manner.  Disaster of an admittance, was there for 9 hours, and by the time I got to the social worker (who was the last step before the pdoc) Pdoc attending had gone home for the day.  Very nice, and not at all stressful.  Could have admitted to the psych ward at the hospital at that point, but they told my husband they were just going to coldturkey wean me from celexa, and he decided to do that from home.  (This was the right decision, I was so upset at the prospect of checking into to the hospital and not even being SEEN by anyone til the next morning..) Husband asked what if things go badly at home, can we just come back, they said sure, but I'd have to go through the entire intake process (9 hours) all over again.  

NOTE:   OMG, THIS is what is wrong with our medical system.  No wonder people go nuts!

6/18:  Saw PDoc in her office for 1st time/intake.  Added Depakote 500 mg which I took 6/18 –6/20

6/21 -  6/25: Not sleeping well.  Doc advised by phone to boost 1000 mg , then stopped cold turkey.  Wanted me on Seroquel in addition for sleep (that's not what Seroquel is for, and Doc didn't even talk to me about it, just called it in and talked to my husband, who didn't get the story straight, but I refused until I saw someone *competent*

6/26:  Saw new PDoc, who I like and trust, she cut me off the Depakote cold turkey and added Seroquel IR 100 mg

6/27 – 7/2:  Reduced Seroquel to 50 mg (citing extreme sleepiness and grogginess, and inability to function, felt like wearing lead boots, inability to “find” words when speaking-------but overall, the Seroquel has helped me sleep better.  So there’s that.)

7/3:  Saw Pdoc again, she said to add Seroquel 200 XR 4 hours before bed, plus a hit of 25 or 50 mg of Seroquel IR at bedtime (to help ensure sleep)

7/4:  Very shaky all day.  Didn’t take the 25 or 50 mg. last night.  Still a mess.  Are we getting ANYWHERE?  Still lots of crying.

7/5:  Slept late, a little better with the shakes, but still very much there.  Can’t hold a cup of coffee, would not get behind the wheel even if they let me.  Still lots of crying.  And the paranoia/ everyone is out to get me feeling is back.  Oh, and bonus, I’m constipated.  And I'm eating a lot, because of the foul taste in my throat (the only thing that keeps it at by is mint chocolate chip ice cream) so have gained 4 lbs since this all started.

WHAT I NEED ADVICE WITH:  I am damaging personal relationship at lightning speed.  Of course, people aren't thinking about their words when they say them, I have to keep asking for clarity, and they are GETTING IT WRONG.  My little sister says, "Well at least it's all behind you and you can start to get better...."  She meant the hospital visit, not *this*.  And people are saying dumb ****, like "I know how you feel," "Don't worry, you'll get through this," "God never gives someone more than they can handle," and I'm just ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY.

Then people compound it, because I'm not "normally" an angry person (my cup is always half full) and are irritated because they don't know how to deal with this new person.  

Can you all give me any hope, or BTDT advice, as to when I can expect to pull out of this????  At this point, maybe I DO want to go to Passages Malibu and hang out with Lindasy Lohan (just kidding.....can't do that, I have a household to run, and two children (13 and 16) to take care of......which I'm not doing a very good job with, but whatever.)  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Avatar universal
Wanted to update:  I've been off antidepressants for a few months and I feel great!  People don't want to believe that those medicines can harm you and that there is such a thing as protracted withdrawal.  Well, it's true!  I had to take remeron until my brain reset itself and then SLOWLY taper off of it...if I tried to stop too soon, I would start going back into withdrawal.  I was at the point where I had to shave tiny pieces off the pills to taper off, but finally did it.  Had alittle anxiety at first but once my brain went back to normal I've.been fine. I never needed an antidepressant in the first place, and my doctor should have recognized that. I NEVER had panic attacks before I took those drugs and haven't had one since but no one wanted to believe me. They took me through one of the worst nightmares of my life and I will never take them again.
Avatar universal
Hi I have been through hell on citalopram I had depression emotional blunting and no motivation I had breast cancer last year whilst in process of tapering off but didn't continue because scared of w ithdrawls. I now after very slow tapering from 2.5 g have had unbearable withdrawls severe depression, no emotions agitated very I'll I have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and this is hell for me. I have odd windows of improvement then the crap starts again.
Been off 5 weeks now and have lost hope. Could someone please help she'd some light on very long dark dark tunnel. I was never depressed before ADs only had some anxiety and wish I could turn the clock back and demanded therapy not this evil drug.
Avatar universal
i dont take vitamins at all. i take celexa and i didnt take it for 6 days and had withdrawal symptoms but i started taking it asap again. since i dont take vitamins could i have a vitamin deficiency also?
Avatar universal
The best thing to do is to get bloodwork to see if your deficient in certain vitamins, particularly the ones that can contribute to depression and other things going on with your body. The one's I was was deficient in are vit b, vit d and iron. I was so low that I needed prescription strength vit b and vit d. I was able to take OTC iron. It was also suggested by my dr to take fish oil with no mercury in it. Having the right level of these vitamins can really help with depression and being tired, among others. You can look these up on the Internet under deficiencies for whatever vitamin your looking into and it will list all of the negative effects if one is deficient in a particular vitamin.
Avatar universal
You're not in withdrawal because of a vitamin deficiency, however, it's a good idea to have vitamin levels checked as well as thyroid function.  Also, have a blood count and make sure you're not anemic.  I would get off Celexa as soon as possible before your system is too used to it.  I wouldn't think you need to take very long to taper down after only 6 days of use.  Maybe try taking it every other day and see how you react, or cut the dose in half.
I would try EVERYTHING in your power to fight your depression without drugs.  My life was a living hell thanks to them, and I am much better with vitamins, healthy eating, regular exercise.  Go outside as much as possible...it helps.  I take lots of walks.  You could try some of the herbal supplements for depression, but make sure you do research before taking anything as some of them can react with other things you might be taking.  You could also talk to a therapist or go to a support group.  I know sometimes those things seem scary, but talking to people really helps once you push yourself to do it.
In my opinion, most people don't even need antidepressants and the doctors don't have us try anything else before writing a prescription before talking to us for 10 minutes or less.  One of my friends just tried to commit suicide, and she's on an antidepressant.  A lot of good that drug did her.  I'm not saying that they don't ever help people, but I thought I needed a pill to feel better and I don't.  I can't stress enough how much exercise helps depression...even if you don't feel like you can do it, just keep trying and don't give up!
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with anxiety and panick attacks back in 2007. I was prescribed Celexa also known as Citalopram. It takes a while to work. Doctor said like 3 months to really kick in. At the beginning  I spent 3 months on the couch no energy, not eating, afraid to go out, not working, and then all of suddent I felt fine. Fast Forward to 2014 genius me decided I felt fine so I didn't need them. I stopped cold turkey. one month after stopping I got the biggest and scariest panick attack. I was screaming for the ambulance. I felt I was going to pass out, and felt as if I was dying. It has been almost two weeks since I resumed taking celexa. This past two weeks have been hell because my anxiety is bad. Although today I feel a little better. I have to wait again for celexa to kick in. I am taking ativa 0.5 mg 3x a day. They helped me a lot, and thank God I have them. I feel sorry for the people that can't get medication. I would go crazy I believe. I don't care for now on if I need to be on this celexa for the rest of my life I will. I rather feel good, then feel like crap, and not enjoy life because of it.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry that you're dealing with that...I hope you feel better soon.  In my opinion, it's what the drug companies want....everyone to think they need it for life because it's pure hell to get off of it.  Antidepressants are the number one drug prescribed in the US....and most doctors don't even recommend patients try anything else before giving them the prescription, or at least tell them to do other things along with it.  I wish you the best of luck.
Avatar universal
Hi, I was happy to see your feeling better now, I have been off citalopram for 3 months now and I'm still struggling everyday. Especially with depression. How many months did it take for your on feel better? I'm just hoping there's an end to this so I can live my life again I don't think there's anything worse then depression.
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