Celexa (Citalopram) is a commonly used antidepressant. It is part of a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Celexa is a drug approved by the FDA to treat the symptoms of major depression, but it is also used to treat anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and eating disorders.
All antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms. Although newer antidepressants like Celexa are unlikely to cause adverse reactions when you take them, the situation is completely different when you quit smoking.
Fortunately, Celexa is not one of the most serious offenders when it comes to withdrawals, but it is still very impactful.
Overall, more than half (56%) of smokers who quit will experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can last for several weeks or longer. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how or whether you will be affected. Common symptoms of Celexa withdrawal include dizziness, irritability, feeling, and flu-like symptoms. Sometimes, dizziness can be so severe that it is difficult to stand up.
When you quit Celexa, you may relapse and experience depression symptoms again. Stopping taking it may also lead to increased suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Signs and symptoms
Celexa is an SSRI that works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter-chemical messenger-involved in functions such as regulating mood and anxiety. When you take SSRIs regularly for a long time, your brain will get used to this level of serotonin.
When your dose is suddenly interrupted or reduced, your brain must adjust to lower levels of serotonin. This adjustment period can last from a few days to a few weeks.
Celexa has a half-life of approximately 35 hours, which means it takes 35 hours for half of the drug to leave your system effectively. It takes about a week for the drug to leave your system completely. This is good because it means that once your dose is stopped, stopping will not happen soon.
For most people, Celexa withdrawal will start three to six days after your last medication. Symptoms may last from five days to a month, and in some cases, last more than a month. Keep in mind that it is difficult for researchers to measure the duration of antidepressant withdrawal, so experience may vary.
The severity of SSRI withdrawal symptoms also varies greatly. Recent studies have found that the severity is worse than doctors once thought. Researchers estimate that nearly half (46%) of people experiencing SSRI withdrawal describe their symptoms as severe. People with severe symptoms may find it difficult to perform family and work duties.
To better understand the range of symptoms and severity of symptoms, you may want to check the Discontinuation-Emergency Symptoms and Signs Scale (DESS) that clinicians sometimes use.
The following is a complete list of symptoms associated with SSRI withdrawal:
- Digestion. You may experience nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
- balance. You may feel dizzy or light-headed, which can sometimes cause difficulty walking.
- Sleep problems. You may have nightmares, unusual dreams, excessive/lively dreams, or insomnia.
- comprehensive. You may experience flu-like symptoms, including headaches, muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue.
- mood. You may have anxiety, agitation, panic, suicidal ideation, depression, irritability, anger or mood swings.
- Strange feeling. You may experience concussions (such as electric shocks or brain tremors), needle tingling, tinnitus, peculiar smell, or allergies to sounds.
- Heat resistance. You may sweat excessively, flush, or become intolerant to high temperatures.
- motor control. You may experience tremors, muscle tension, restless legs, unsteady gait, or difficulty controlling speech and chewing movements.
Response and relief
If you have trouble logging out of Celexa, don’t worry, you have many options. If you discontinue Celexa because of a reduction in depression and you have determined with your doctor that it makes sense to discontinue antidepressants, you may want to consider gradual reductions. Gradually tapering medication means gradually reducing your dose over the course of weeks or months. For SSRIs like Celexa, tapering doses is not always effective in avoiding withdrawal symptoms, but recent studies have found more promising results.
New research suggests that a very slow gradual decrease (for several months) that continues well beyond treatment levels may help successfully control withdrawal symptoms. This means that by the end of your taper, you will be taking a much smaller dose than when you started. Your taper may continue until you hardly eat anything.
If tapering does not work or you still experience breakthrough symptoms, you can take other steps. A good first step is to seek support from family, friends, and others who are struggling with antidepressant withdrawal. When you get social support, you are less likely to feel isolated, ashamed, or lonely. When friends and family know what will happen, they can forgive you for being more anxious or agitated than usual. You can also find people who have experienced the same things online. This is a good place to exchange tips and tricks you didn’t expect. Here are some examples:
- Psychotherapy. Treatment can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and relieve irritability.
- Non-prescription drugs. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-nausea medications to treat pain or flu-like symptoms.
- exercise. Approximately 45 minutes of moderate activity 3 times a week can improve mood and reduce stress.
- natural treatment. Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements can boost energy, reduce stress and treat insomnia.
Celexa, like other SSRIs, is accompanied by a warning from the FDA that children and young people have an increased potential risk of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. When you quit smoking or change your dose, your risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior may increase.
If you or someone you love is quitting or has quit, it is important to know what to look for. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please contact your doctor or emergency services:
- Plan how you will commit suicide if you are going to commit suicide
- Talk about or think of suicide more than usual, for example, “I wish I died”
- The means of collecting suicide, such as bullets or pills
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Have strong mood swings
- Engaging in dangerous or self-destructive activities, such as drunk driving
- Focus on death, dying or violence
- Organize affairs or give away money
- Say goodbye to people like the last time
If you become pregnant while taking Celexa, you need to make some decisions. Discuss the risks and benefits of continuing to take antidepressants during your pregnancy with your obstetrician and gynecologist.
Women who take antidepressants in the second and third trimesters may have a small risk of preterm birth.
Unfortunately, women who choose to stop antidepressant treatment are five times more likely to have recurrence of depression. Postpartum depression is harmful to both mother and baby.
Your treatment outlook will depend on many factors, such as why you decided to stop antidepressants and the symptoms you are currently experiencing. If you withdraw from Celexa because Celexa is ineffective or have too many side effects, you should continue to seek treatment from a qualified mental health professional.
A psychiatrist can help you switch to another antidepressant, while a psychologist or therapist in another discipline can provide treatment based on psychotherapy. Remember that both psychotherapy and antidepressants can effectively treat many symptoms of depression and anxiety.
About 50% of people who recover from depression will develop depression in the future.In order to reduce the chance of recurrence, it is often important to continue taking antidepressants and participating in treatment. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and other universities have found that people who stop taking antidepressants while undergoing psychotherapy are less likely to relapse than people who do not take antidepressants.
If you or someone you love has suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). You will get in touch with the staff or volunteers of the crisis center near you. The person on the other end of the phone will be able to listen and help you figure out what to do next. It is available 24/7, 365 days a year. If you are hesitant to call, you may prefer to chat with a counselor. The chat service is also open 24/7.
If you are interested in finding a new psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist in your area, there are many ways to find it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a searchable directory of qualified providers. You can also call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and a knowledgeable operator will search for you.
If you have health insurance, you can also search the company’s list of local providers that accept your insurance. Most insurance companies have at least some mental health insurance, including state and federal plans.
Very good sentence
Although exiting Celexa may not be as easy as you think, the symptoms are usually mild. When you do your cone, remind yourself that the discomfort you are experiencing is only temporary. Your symptoms will eventually disappear and you will return to your normal self.