My Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

Antidepressants.  The thing half of Americans are taking and prescribed so easily.  SSRIs have become almost like the new multivitamins of our century.  Maybe even like Skittles.

Antidepressants are the New Skittles

Antidepressants are the New Skittles

When my life took a dramatic turning point I decided it was time to try something else.  What I was doing to fight off depression clearly wasn’t working.

One of the first things I did was take antidepressants.  Citalopram, or Celexa, was the first drug I was prescribed.

Topics Discussed:

0:53 – Would you like paxil, celexa, or zoloft?
1:40 – My libido went through the roof
2:40 – Weird feeling of being good but not sure if I was good
3:20 – Completely losing my mind on a high dose of celexa
3:55 – New psychiatrist and forcing lithium onto me
5:05 – Road rage on lithium
6:00 – Getting off celexa cold turkey (or so I thought)
7:45 – Getting the zaps while weaning off celexa
8:50 – Waking up one morning with a realization
10:05 – What are the root causes of your depression?

The Best Way To Get Off Celexa

I go up to the front counter.  A slightly overweight woman who looked at me with so much compassion it was like I was her own son asked me what I came in for.  I said, “I feel depressed.”  After filling out a short questionnaire I took my seat.  I rated myself on a scale of 1-10 on various factors such as how often I had suicidal thoughts or if I liked myself.

Various pictures were set up around the room.  Some were about self-esteem.  Others inspirational.  Overall, I felt really comfortable.

A slightly short woman who’s genuine smile was so authentic came into the room and said, “TJ?”  I began to stand up, she reached out her hand with the warmest smile I’d come across in weeks, and introduced herself.  I shook her hand and hoped that she didn’t mind it was a little sweaty.  Then again, she probably shakes a lot of sweaty hands.

Inside her office she asked me about my symptoms. She told me about a couple of antidepressants.  She asked me which one I would like to try.  “Would you like Zoloft, Paxil, or Celexa?  Celexa is the least likely to cause sexual side effects.”  I picked Celexa, otherwise known as citalopram.  I didn’t want sexual side effects, even though at the time I had been pretty isolated and it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

I got my prescription, went to the local pharmacy and filled it for a couple bucks, and I was on my way.  I felt the affects almost instantly.

How Does One Get Off Celexa? You Don’t If You Feel This Good!

I didn’t know what people meant by antidepressants taking weeks to take affect.  Within days I was writing poems about how I was so awesome I could escape Alcatraz.  I started calling up friends to hang out.  Things were good.

Oh and the sexual side effects? My libido was through the roof.  This was great.  Not only was I not depressed, I had the reverse of what many people experience on antidepressants.  Instead of Celexa ruining my sex drive it basically ramped up my sex drive to heights I didn’t know was possible.  I felt good.  I wanted to go do stuff, like play guitar up in the mountains with friends.  So I did.

I remember on our drive up the mountain we saw some women.  Well hello women, this is TJ, the man who is no longer depressed.  We invited them up to our campfire to play guitar and hang out.  Wow.  A few months after making my suicide agreement I already cured my depression.  Things were good.

If It Stops Working, Just Increase The Dose (And Get High Off Celexa)

Taking Celexa was a weird sort of feeling.  It was as if I was ok, but my emotions weren’t really full and rounded.  I simply felt fine, but I’m not sure I felt much, if that makes sense.  I didn’t care anyways.  Comparing that state to the state that I was in, I’d take an antidepressant all day long.

Best way to describe it is the feeling you get for the rest of the day after you ride the most intense roller coaster.  You feel good, but nothing really affects you anymore because it can’t compare to the roller coaster ride.  That is how being on antidepressants felt.  I already rode the ride and was just sitting in the half numb half satisfied after glory.

Unfortunately, after about a month and a half, the effects started to wear off. Hmm… That’s weird.  So I went back to the Psychiatrist.  She greeted me with the warmest smile I have ever seen and invited me back into her office. After discussing my symptoms, she assured me that this happened all the time.  They just needed to increase my dosage.

I got my new prescription and went on my way. I started taking my increased dose.  New poems were written and new heights in sexual drive were attained.  Not too bad.

Then the same thing happened again.  After another few months, I started falling back down into a slightly depressed state.  Uh oh.  How far can they increase the dosage?  Can I just keep increasing the dose over and over again?

Can You Get Off Celexa?

They increased my dosage again.  This time it was beyond amazing.  I had so much energy I had no idea what to do with myself.  I stopped sleeping.  I didn’t eat as much.  I started 10 new projects at once.  I went to the mall and got every woman’s phone number there.  I made out with a girl outside the Apple store.  I was on fire.

About a half a week later the sleep deprivation caught up to me.  Either that, or the lack of eating.  I crashed pretty hard.  I realized that it probably wasn’t normal to have that much energy and confidence suddenly.  So back I went to the familiar lobby with soothing pictures on the walls and people that cared about me.

“Sorry TJ, she no longer works here.”  Damn.  My psychiatrist moved on to another institution. They said there was another psychiatrist that could see me this time.  Great. A man greeted me.  There was no warm smile.  Not even a handshake. Maybe the first psychiatrist was on Celexa and this one wasn’t.

As I entered his office, there was no smile filled with warmth.  Only an authoritative gesture for me to sit down. He told me that I was bipolar and needed to take additional medication to counteract the effects of Celexa.  He said I should take lithium and he could write me a prescription.

Lamictal - What I Was Denied Access To

Lamictal – What I Was Denied Access To

I had done my research on lithium before and someone in my family had taken it and it hadn’t affected him very well.  I didn’t think it was the best choice for me.  I told the psychiatrist I’d rather take something like lamotrigine.

He promptly told me that lamotrigine was a lot more expensive than lithium and that I should take lithium.  I questioned him further.  He pulled up a wikipedia page on lithium to answer a few of my questions.  After a while he finally told me, “Lithium is only $4 at Walmart.  It is the better choice.”

I guess I should just take the lithium then.  I got my prescription, went and filled it at the local Walmart pharmacy, and I was on my way.

Two days after taking lithium I developed severe anger. Some drunk people pulled up to me at a stop light and started saying some random cocky stuff to me.  I leaned out of my truck and yelled, “F!@* I’M GOING TO KILL YOU” just as the light changed color.  They turned left and I cut across the lane to make the left turn.  I started chasing them, but they got away.  My plan was to run them off the road.  This is coming from someone who has never had road rage in his life.

I promptly stopped taking Lithium and began to question whether or not it was wise to continue taking Celexa.

Getting Off Celexa Cold Turkey

I decided I was going to stop taking Celexa.  So I did.  No weaning off of it slowly.  Just straight up stopped taking it.  I didn’t know it was such a big deal.  The next day I’m in my internship and everyone keeps looking at me and asking, “TJ, are you okay?” and “TJ, what is wrong?”  Nothing is wrong.  Well, wait a minute…  I haven’t done anything for an hour.

They keep asking me questions and I can’t make sense of it all.  So I just declare that I’m going home and get out of there.  Halfway home I break down sobbing.  Not just crying, I mean sobbing.  Where your tear ducts are emptying every last ounce of tears humanly possible.

I make it into my home, walk into the living room, and fall down on the ground.  As I’m laying there, I keep thinking to myself, “TJ… You’ve got to get up. You’ve got to get UP.”  I laid there for 2 hours… Telling myself to get up for 2 hours (I know because of what time I left the internship and what time I finally made it into the kitchen).

Think Twice Before Quitting Antidepressants Cold Turkey

Think Twice Before Quitting Antidepressants Cold Turkey

I had to start taking Celexa right after that.  Now it wasn’t a question of whether or not to take Celexa to beat depression. It was either take Celexa and function or don’t take Celexa and become a vegetable.

So now I’m in a slightly depressed state, right where I was before I started the Celexa, and dependent on a high dosage of an antidepressant.  Uh oh.  I didn’t have as much time before my suicide agreement date.  Back to square one…

Get Off Celexa Safely

After reading numerous books, I finally got off of Celexa successfully with minimal withdrawal in about 2 or 3 weeks using vitamins and amino acids.  One of the weirdest things I experienced were the “zaps”.  Yes, they are real.  I can’t really describe what they feel like.  You only really know if you have experienced them before.  It feels like an electric pulse that goes through your body.  It usually felt like it came from my head and my brain area and I’d feel it go down my back.

Even after not having any withdrawal symptoms at all and feeling completely normal I’d get the random zap.  It just kept happening.  I sort of accepted I might have the zaps forever.  Maybe I’ll start naming my zaps.  Then I remember about 2 months after quitting antidepressants realizing, “Hey, I haven’t felt a zap in a while.”

Getting Off Celexa Symptoms

Other than brain zaps, getting off of celexa was one of the weirdest experiences of my life.  I was either feeling fine or had brief moments of fear.  I was either laying down on my bed listening to music or wandering about the day aimlessly wondering if I had permanently screwed up my brain.

While I was on Celexa, I used to track my mood.  The purple bars represent my mood, the green line represents how much sleep I got.  You can see how I would be really messed up, stabilize for a while, then feel like crap again.  That’s when they’d up my dosage and the cycle would repeat itself over and over until finally the side effects were too severe for me.

You can see in March, 2011 I’m all over the place.  Finally in April I start to stabilize a bit.  In May I start to be slightly depressed everyday.  Then the blue section represents me upping my dose from 20mg to 40mg.  June 2011 I am stabilized for a month, then in July I’m all over the place once again.

March 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

March 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

April 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

April 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

May 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

May 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

June 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

June 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

July 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

July 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

Best Way To Get Off Celexa

It might sound like I’m against medication, but I’m not.  I took it at a time where if I wouldn’t have, I don’t know what might have happened.  At the very least, I learned a lot about myself and I finally had the energy to read a bunch of books on the impact that nutrition has on depression.

After my experience, I realized that antidepressants should be used after trying to figure out the root cause of the problem first.  If someone doesn’t have enough Vitamin b12 and folic acid in their body, throwing an antidepressant at them is potentially dangerous, as the real reason they are depressed still exists.

It’s important to view medication as a bigger decision. Right now you can walk into a doctors office, say you don’t feel good, and 5 minutes later you have a prescription for an SSRI.  SSRIs have their time and place and work great for some people.  But for others they can be a scary road, especially when you try to get off of them.

The best way to get off Celexa and other antidepressants is to get the core fundamentals of depression down.  You need to know the root cause of your depression to actually solve the problem and be able to get off the antidepressants and citalopram in the first place.  Celexa affects serotonin receptors, so you’ll need B-Vitamins, a few other vitamins and minerals, and 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan to wean yourself off.

And if you are coming off your antidepressant now, rest assured, eventually the zaps do stop.

If you want more information on getting off your antidepressant, check out my most popular post here on how to do so.

If you want to finally get your depression under control, sign up for the daily emails.

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  • Charzie

    Wow! I am struggling with getting off this shit after maybe 10-15 years! Having all kinds of physical and anxiety issues mostly, because I really cleaned up my nutrition, etc. and lost a ton of weight, diabetes and healthier in general! Just getting off this crap is torture! I have weaned down to almost nothing and everything is heading downhill! I am at a loss and feeling kind of like just giving up and continue taking it, even though I hate the idea! I started taking Celexa for severe depression, but it also really slayed numerous anxiety issues I forgot about after all this time…until now! I hate it!!! Going to explore your site. Thanks for this!

    • TJ Nelson

      Glad to see you found your way to the site! Have you already read my post about getting off antidepressants?

      • Charzie

        Yes I did! Lots of really good advice, but I have a few “issues” that complicate things. First off, about 5 years ago at 57, I was a total wreck. I was an accident waiting to happen. Because we didn’t have much money, my diet was poor, lots of fats and starches, poultry, fish locally caught, cheap stuff, though we had a garden and I always loved fresh veggies. Not junk food, no soda, not sweets, just cheap. Anyway, so here I was on 12 different medications, high BP, cholesterol off the charts, chronic pain issues from a bad back, arthritis and fibromyalgia…and morbidly obese at 300 lbs, you get the unhappy picture. Oh, and a 2 PAD cigarette addiction! But hey, I was on Celexa for years, so what’s to worry about, right?
        Until I got the diabetes diagnosis! My husband had already lost a leg to it, even with the medications and moderating his diet. I wasn’t surprised of course, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Once I started the pills, I quickly gained another 20lbs, felt like crap and just “woke up” one day and started researching. So much conflicting info on the websites, tried some of the stuff everybody was shouting about, like paleo, etc, big fail. Even the American Diabetes assoc. diet was a major flop.
        I remembered at some point seeing a movie called Forks over Knives, and watched that again, looked up the doctors in it, and got the links to actual studies. Not one or two isolated ones like most used, but scores of them, over time…what I wanted to see. A whole foods plant based diet appealed to me because I have always felt at my best in nature, and the premise was just eat whole natural foods…nothing processed! The diet seemed pretty simple and basic, and being mostly plants was great because I never liked eating animals or contributing to their suffering, I couldn’t digest it, and it was pricey anyway.
        So I gave it a month to see what would happen. What happened was, in 2 weeks my blood sugars were normal, in less than six months I was able to ditch almost all of the medications, and I eventually lost half my body weight and felt awesome! I know you recommend adding oils or fats to your diet, but fact of the matter is, diabetes is caused by fat. People used to think it was sugar, including myself, but apparently (this is type 2 diabetes) your cells get so clogged with fat that the insulin can’t get into the cell to do it’s job of unlocking the passage of glucose into the cell as energy, so it essentially gets locked out and spills into the blood. Add more sugar and of course you make the problem worse, but sugar is not the problem, it’s fat! This also explains why T2 diabetics also often produce up to 4X as much insulin as a normal person, but it doesn’t work! I proved it to myself by metering my glucose after a high fat meal
        and a high sugar meal. Sugar will cause a quicker spike that drops
        dramatically later, but a high fat meal will raise it slower, but higher,
        and stay there a long time, progressively doing more harm unless fat in the diet is reduced. This worked great for me, like I said, 2 weeks, and that was before much weight loss, just cutting dietary fats. That worked for me too on another level…I had my gallbladder removed many years ago, so fats caused lots of digestive issues too that I had never even connected until after the fact! Oh, and I quit smoking too!
        So there I was feeling awesome and realizing my pain levels were also diminishing! I was on narcotics after all else failed, just to be mobile, but suddenly, I wasn’t needing them. So I weaned off! Ironically, Oxycontin was a demon, but switching to morphine, which sounds awful to me, made it a whole lot easier than quitting smoking even! It took a while for my body to compensate, but I did okay I think.

        Then, disaster. My son, my own TJ, had been burned in a horrible accident. He battled his injuries and infections and survived! It was an ugly and long battle too, but he was a big strong guy, and fought it! After what seemed like forever, he was finally released, and went home to his wife and 4 beautiful kids. One day I got a call from his wife shortly after. He died. He never woke up. Because of all the medicines and procedures and stress his body underwent, he couldn’t clear the drugs from his system and they became toxic, he died in his sleep at 42. In a way, I am grateful my emotions were blunted by Celexa at the time, because there is nothing worse in the world than losing your child, no matter how old they are! It is just WRONG! It doesn’t get any easier, it just gets a little less edgy. Until I see or hear something that sets me off. Like coming here for help and finding TJ!!!

        So…after all this, my final demon….you guessed it! Celexa!
        I started weaning by getting a pill cutter and halving the 40mg I’d been on for maybe 10-15 years, it’s all a blur to be honest. Zombie woman woke up and decided to get real. I kept cutting back the time between doses and when the zaps got too bad and frequent, I would relent, and when ready to cut the dose, I would take it a little sooner, and repeat, until I was down to a sliver. It was all good! The zaps were annoying, but I could live with it. It was just amazing to FEEL again! I had passion and excitement and an emotional range that had been blunted for so long, I felt alive again! Ups as well as the downs, but real and workable! I was down to just a sliver every other day or so, and figure, okay, this is silly, I need to just stop. A week later, it all fell apart!

        Like I said, I started taking Celexa for severe depression, but I also had severe anxiety issues that I didn’t understand were somatic at the time. I had more ER visits and test than you could shake a stick at! My heart would skip every third beat and pound in my chest like I was kicked, my veins felt like ice water ran through them, my chest ached, my stomach hurt, I had IBS, it went on and on! I was in my 40’s at the time, but convinced it was over. I feared death yet courted it with my habits! And it got to the point where constant anxiety ruled, until I just shut down in a depression so deep, there was no light. Celexa was my savior then! In a few weeks I was alive again, and glad to be! I was wowed! I eventually came to realize all the other weird crippling life sucking symptoms had vanished too! It was awesome! I think then I accepted that it would be my savior forever because it rocked my world!

        But I’ve gone through a LOT of changes since then. I wanted to slay the last dragon and not have to rely on any chemical support since my diet is so totally natural and it has changed me so completely too! After I stopped, all was great, and then one day I was feeling weird. Hard to pin it down. It got worse. And worse. At first I thought I had a bug or something, I’ll get over it. I didn’t even make the connection with stopping the Celexa since I had done it slow and over a period of time, and it was good. Even a week after…or so…not keeping tract, as isn’t that part of the point… freedom? It was the aha moment when I realized the feelings were familiar….from a long time ago, that it hit me….the stupid withdrawal. Depleted. No more drug.

        So…I have no reliable income and certainly no disposable income for random trials of stuff. Medication is covered, but not supplements, great system, huh? I was letting the panic overtake my better judgment, and took the same sliver of a pill to see if that would help and ease my mind it was the drug withdrawal, or if it were something else…which I doubted because I had a check up a few months ago. Sure enough, the symptoms eased. So I feel stuck!!!
        I still would rather find another way to cope. I was hoping cleaning up my diet and feeling so great would have been a sign that my body would handle the problems I battled better! Instead, I am getting all those old feelings that my body is betraying me and it is maddening! I don’t think quitting narcotics and Celexa back to back was the best idea maybe, but I just wanted to be done with it! I read some stuff here that I am hoping will help if I can come up with the cash, but in the meantime, how do I deal with this horror? I know that sounds dramatic but I feel like I am being tortured because I can’t function. Sitting here trying to think and type is a supreme effort, but I have to do something! At this point I feel like it is something innate in me and not the pill. I’m so stumped and frustrated on top of all the issues! The temptation to just give in is so strong right now, but now I have 2 TJ’s on each shoulder saying don’t! What to do???

        • TJ Nelson

          It sounds like you have experimented a lot with your diet and found what works for you there. Have you done any other testing? Thyroid? Adrenals? Vitamin/Minerals? Vitamin D or Magnesium?

          Have you experimented with any amino acids?

          • Charzie

            My Dr wanted to put me on thyroid meds because I was slightly hypo, but I asked if I could try diet first, and started consuming sea veggies, which did the trick. I think it was just a basic test though, nothing specialized. I know this sounds weird, but because I had it here and read about it a lot first, even though it isn’t the ideal solution, I’ve been taking Mag. sulfate and a decent multi, along with B12. I live in FL and get outside a lot, so my D should be good, but I don’t even know if our insurance would cover tests for vitamin/mineral tests? They are pretty basic. I know it’s hard to believe, but we really are on a fixed income and barely keep afloat, it sucks. I grow and sprout a lot of my produce, and do a lot of lacto-fermenting for the gut issues, a huge help. I was doing great for so long, and this is really knocking my on my @&&!
            Oh, on the amino acids…I’ve not really used any consistently. I am curious to try though as I need something, I feel like I’m losing it!

          • TJ Nelson

            Have you signed up for the email list?

          • Charzie

            No, but now I will. Thanks!

          • TJ Nelson

            Great! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

          • PRomeo

            Have you tried OTC Lithium Orotate? Do some research on it to see if it may help you. The Kal brand, which is very good and trustworthy, is less then $7 a bottle for a 2 month supply at the health food store.

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  • Bethany

    I’m actually in the process of the zaps now…. it has been freaking me out… or almost like a drunken slurs for a second then it’s gone. Also I have felt like I’ve had a low grade fever all week… I don’t know if others have felt the same…. but my anxiety being off the medication has improved greatly. This video was veey helpful. Thank you 🙂

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Bethany, yes the zaps were really freaky for me as well. I felt sick and/was sick when I got off of it also.

  • Nick Heckert

    Those zaps! Omg… I thought it was just me… I’ve tried to stop taking this, but after day 3 I get these crazy lightning bolts through my body when turning my head or even changing thoughts… it’s so weird. I thought I was crazy! Thank you for helping me identify this weird phenomenon. Hopefully that’ll help me get through this… it just sucks when it’s accompanied by heart palpitations 🙁

    • TJ Nelson

      Yeah, the zaps really freaked me out. Was such an odd, slightly disturbing in a weird way, sensation.

    • Crazy girl

      Me right now! I feel like I’m going crazy out if my mind zaps! I have been in 40mg for close to 10years!

      • TJ Nelson

        Are you slowly weaning off right now? What exactly is going on?

  • Colleen

    TJ, thanks for this great blog. So much of what I read about quiting is just doom and gloom! I started celexa about 10 years ago and loved it!! My experience was very similar to yours – felt great, then didn’t, increased the dose, etc. It improved my life in so many ways. After years of low-level depression, severe social anxiety, and such a lack of confidence that I could hardly function at work I am a new person. But, I think its time to start feeling life again and to start caring. My plan is to wait until the new year as there are a few stressors coming up – husband retiring, new boss, menopause just starting – and I’ll take some vacation. Any suggestions on what I can do to get my body ready for this? I do plan to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Beth North

    T.J. I have only been on celexa 20mg for 1 month..can I quit cold turkey ?

    • TJ Nelson

      It is always best to slowly wean off of it and consult with your medical professional while getting of antidepressant medication as I am not a trained physician.

      It can be done cold turkey, but each person is different and I have no idea what your situation is like or how your brain would react.

      Slowly weaning off of it is always the safest option.

  • ep

    Hi tj, do you know if 5-htp can serve as a replacement for antidepressants? Or only as something to help you off them? I’ve just started 5-htp (and potentially l-tyrosine too) for pretty bad depression & am avoiding antidepressants like the plague (I have physical health problems like chronic fatigue & gut problems which makes them particularly risky) but if antidepressants are really the best option for moderate to severe depression I don’t want to waste time. Thanks 🙂

    • TJ Nelson

      Yes, for some people it can be used as a replacement, although depending on your depression type it doesn’t always work for everyone. Finding the root causes of your depression and fixing them can be a trial-and-error process, but the good news is, eventually you’ll figure it out if you keep going and have the proper approach.

  • Ashley Emerson

    Hi Tj,
    I really connected with your video. Everything you said hit home with me except the libido part. I have just currently weaned myself off of Celexa which took about a month. I’ve been experiencing a lot of the same side effects as you did. I am dizzy, getting those “zaps” like every 3 minutes, and have been crying randomly for no reason. However, my sex drive has gotten better since I’ve been off.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with me.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Ashley, good to see that my experience was similar to someone else’s. It was a wild ride for me. Are you completely OK now?

      • Ashley Emerson

        It’s day 4 of not being on any meds and it’s been really hard. Iam just looking forward to these withdrawal symptoms going away soon. My brain feels weird all the time and the crying needs to stop.

  • Azz

    It’s been 5 months and I still have all the withdrawal symptoms except they have lessened somewhat, that being except depression. I’m trying to relax myself that it will eventually subside or will it be permeneant?

    • TJ Nelson

      It will eventually subside. The best thing to do is tackle depression from all angles and fix the root causes. That way your body has what it needs to function normally.

  • james weir

    My mum had been taking this tablet for 23 years went off it cold turkey and in the last 1 year she has sever mussel pain and high inflammation and low iron would doing this cause issues like this any help would be greatful our what can she do to help this they thought she had reuatiod artist but she doesn’t need help.

    • TJ Nelson

      It can cause a lot of problems going off, especially if quickly, and problems that were being masked by the antidepressant can come to the surface when the antidepressant is stopped.

      You would want to go deeper and look for the root causes for what is causing the inflammation and start fixing the deficiencies.

      • Danielle Slody

        I’m really glad I came across this, I was on celexa starting 10 mg and went up to 20 mg for focus, sleep and slight depression. I started feeling numb after a few months.. After getting to where I wanted to be with my career I decided to stop taking it.. By the way it’s only been five days, I have been super irritable lately. I even let some of my close co workers know what’s going on. One finally spoke out and told me I should contact my provider but I’m stubborn and I want to figure stuff out on my own.. I think I’m going to try the supplements I really don’t want anything to do with this drug anymore. But thanks for putting up the video it opened my eyes to what’s really going on.

        • TJ Nelson

          Glad that it helped. Remember to always look for the root causes for what made you feel the way you did originally and seek out the celexa in the first place, for sleep and slight depression.

          Fix those issues, and you won’t need the Celexa.

          • xxxx

            what if the problems have always been there? i was put on celexa when i was 5 years old for extreme anxiety and depression—what the hell kind of root cause could have been there back then? i recently went off it and am going through hell (age 20 now). really don’t want to go back on any kind of antidepressant but also don’t want to feel horrible…is there always an underlying cause? or do some people just need medication to function? 🙁

          • TJ Nelson

            When you ask is there always an underlying cause, what do you think depression is?

            I started having depression when I was young as well.

            If some people just need medication to function, what does the medication do? Is there other methods of accomplishing the same thing? Does the medication just fix the symptoms but not what is causing the symptoms?

  • RZammit

    Hi TJ,

    keep it up for your blog. I used to take citalopram for 6 months and now I have been off the meds for the past 4 months. 3 days ago after having a couple of drinks (alcohol) I started feeling anxious, sweating, cannot sleep properly, and unsteadiness when I walk. 2 days ago I started to take sun warrior supplement which has amino acids such as l-trytophan and also omega 3 and omega 6 ( It seems that the anxiety is increasing rather than decreasing. What do you recommend I do? i went to the doctor and told me to stay away from alcohol and keep on with the supplement. What is your say? thanks

    • TJ Nelson

      Hard to tell if it is from the supplement or not based on when you took it and what is going on.

      I would start revamping your diet, getting it all handled and squared away, stay away from alcohol and keep digging deeper into what is causing your issues.

  • Car

    Hey TJ-

    Its been 3 days of weaning from 10 mg celexa to 5 mg and I feel like pure CRAP, no appetite, nausea, zaps, fuzzy head — just yuck ! Doctor told me to just stop taking the 10 mg – hmmm I said how about the side effect (as I know my body) and reading online posts so the doctor was like do 5 mg then. Thanks for the rushed 5 min apt doctor !! I was on 10 mg for 4 months and the side effects of starting were bad too. Of course, my doctor wanted to push another anxiety/ depression medicine and I said no – as my blood work was ok but low on Vit D !

    Im so glad I have found your page – thank thank thank for sharing your experiences. I have thought long and hard and i identified the root problem and I have a plan on how to tackle it (once the fuzzy head, zaps and other side effects go away). I have started taking Omegas, vit D and will be starting my B-vitamins this week too.

    I understand that I need to have patience and faith but omg – i just want it to go away. Please tell me this doesnt last forever.


    • Car

      oh and my Family doesnt understand these side effects and why i cant just STOP them and why im experiencing them… which makes it harder

    • TJ Nelson

      I Car, it definitely doesn’t last forever. I also have a post that I should be able to release soon about family and friends that don’t understand depression or say things like “Just snap out of it” and what to do in those situations. That was one of the most annoying aspects of depression when I had it.

  • DerekJR321

    I started on 20mg, and now they have me up to 60. It basically makes me feel the same… nothing. And I do notice that now even on 60mg, my irritability is coming back. I really don’t want to be on this crap anymore, but I too get the horrible brain zaps, extreme emotions, etc. You are lucky with the side effects. I have the exact opposite. ZERO sex drive and weight gain. In fact I think I’ve gained close to 50lbs since I started back in 2012.

    • TJ Nelson

      We need to start letting people know that taking antidepressants isn’t just this magical solution with no bad effects. Antidepressants can cause all sorts of negative and dangerous effects, and we are unsure what happens long-term.

      Have you started to wean off of it?

      • DerekJR321

        I’m cold turkey right now 5 days. And to be honest, it’s f’ing horrible. Super mood swings and my brain feels like its in a blender. Had my doctor ever told me of the side effects, I would have NEVER agreed to go on it. I’m going to have to go back on it, but I think I’m going to just take 20mg instead of 60mg, and try to wean down from there.

        • Car

          how are you doing with the 20mg?

          • DerekJR321

            Doing okay actually. I was losing weight when I was on nothing. I was surprised. But I couldn’t take it. So I went back to 60mg for a week and the weight came right back. So I decided to try and ween off. I did 40mg for a week and now I’m at 20mg and its okay. No real side effects. At least nothing that I’m aware of. I’m going to stay on 20mg for another week or so, and then try breaking them to 10mg.

  • Mr Flim Flam

    The good old Celexa withdrawal. What a mess. Been on Celexa almost 5 years. Just popped one 40mg have one left. I always come looking for stories on withdrawal hoping to find some techniques that will work. I am going to try what you did TJ. See if it works for me. Glad to hear you escaped and are working at the issues rather than just covering them. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • TJ Nelson

      Thank you for commenting. Keep us updated on your journey.

  • Alissa

    Ok, I’ve been on celexa for about 3 years. On 20 ml. daily. Because of the side effect of insomnia I had to also start taking phenibut to help me sleep at all. It worked GREAT AT FIRST, then after a few months stopped working as well. I decided that I wanted to start tapering off of celexa. First starting to only take 10ml, then eventually get off of it all together. I still feel anxiety and depression while on celexa, but I would like to take all natural supplements instead of celexa. Yesterday was day 4 of lowering my dosage and I got pretty severe anxiety when I laid down and tried to sleep, and had to take a phenibut, which I havent taken in a few days, as Im trying to get away from ALL these pills. Anyways I was able to sleep, however my main question is, when Im feeling this anxiety and depressed right now during the day, is it withdrawals, or is it my body’s way of letting me know I need to stay on the celexa because I need it? Also I have a friend that advised me to take a really good organic magnesium supplement and this organic hemp seed to stay on to help with mental isues, instead of celexa, but should I let the supplements take effect for a few weeks before I try to wean off again?

    • TJ Nelson

      It is up to you whether or not you want to take the supplements and have them start affecting you more before you wean off. It will come up to the individual and your specific situation to decide what is best.

      It is not your body saying it needs Celexa, it is withdrawals. In my opinion, people aren’t “Celexa deficient.” Depression is a symptom of something else. Once you figure out the real root cause of the problem and fix that, the depression goes away.

      Antidepressants just fix the symptoms, not the cause. It’s like blowing out the smoke and not putting out the fire.

  • Kyler

    I came to this site because I’ve been all but forced off celexa cold turkey due to insurance issues and not getting a refill easily. What I found, instead of help identifying what were symptoms and what are underlying problems elsewhere, if your article. It sounds incredibly akin to Bipolar Disorder. Usually the extreme highs following SSRIs are a result of mania, and something I would highly recommend you bringing up in a conversation with a psychiatrist if you decide to see one again, especially considering your reaction to the Lithium.

    • TJ Nelson

      I luckily haven’t seen a psychiatrist since probably 2011 or 2012. I haven’t had depression or issues in years :).

    • Amber Meggs

      Antidepressants can cause mania, I believe even in people without bipolar.

  • Laura

    Hi there I have stumbled across your post while searching about withdrawal effect from citalopram. My GP has given me the green light to try and come off citalopram. I have been taking 40mg since May 2015 and I am feeling in a much better place and fingers crossed I no longer need the tablets. My GP has advised a 4 week period of taking 40mg one day then 20mg the next for 1 week. The second week he has advised me to take 40mg every 2nd day and nothing in between. The 3rd week 20mg then 10mg the next day and the final week 20mg every other day and nothing in between. My question is do you think taking vitamins would help in this process? I am excited at getting off the medication but worried if it doesnt work 🙁

    • TJ Nelson

      The biggest thing you can do is start looking at all your root causes, fix hormonal problems and vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and start eating really health food.

      The vitamins and amino acids specifically can make coming off of antidepressants easier, but each person will have different needs.

    • KaPOW

      How did your tapering method go?

  • Scott Birk

    Hi TJ! Thanks for your article. I have been on Celexa for over 10 years with doses up to 60 mg several years ago. When a notice came out saying that Celexa in doses over 40 mg is very dangerous for older adults, I dropped back down to that level. A couple of times I’ve tried going off the drug gradually, but failed because I couldn’t handle the side effects of doing so. This time I am trying it again, but with the support of essential oils. I went from 40 mg to 20 mg over a period of two months. A week ago I dropped off completely and it’s been hell! Horrible fits of anger. Some pretty emotional moments. I REALLY REALLY want to be free of this stuff and I’m hoping that as the next week or so go along, I’ll find these side effects wear off. Otherwise, I’m afraid that I’ll have to go back to the drug or lose it completely. I find hope in your article and would appreciate any other input from readers that I could use as I try to work through my withdrawals.

    • TJ Nelson
      • Scott Birk

        Hi TJ! No, I haven’t read this. But I will. My wife read some stuff to me this afternoon about people and their experiences getting off of Celexa. Wow! What a diversity of experiences! I listened to a Youtube video about a guy who went off Celexa and he mentioned that 5-HTP can be very dangerous in that it increases serotonin. I have a lot to read, to say the least. I’m glad I came across this website as it looks like a treasure trove of good stuff. Thanks again! Today has been a tough day, but the more knowledge I gain, the more faith I have that I can overcome the negative stuff if I just hang on long enough.

    • Michele G Rogers

      Which essential oils?

      • Scott Birk

        Hi Michele!

        First of all, I use doTERRA brand oils. They are the best and most pure. They have several blended oils like Serenity and Balance that help me calm anxiety problems. They also have blends like Motivate and Cheer and Citrus Bliss that do for me what their title says. But my favorite is two drops of Wild Orange and two drops of Frankincense under my tongue a few times a day. After a couple of minutes, I swallow the oils. I’ve made some other dietary changes and the combination of these things has really helped me. This is my fourth attempt at getting off of Celexa and each of the previous times I went back on the drug because I couldn’t handle the withdrawals. With what TJ has shared on this site and my doTERRA regimen, I’m two weeks into my fourth attempt and I’m doing better than I ever thought possible. I’d be happy to share more info with you if you’d like.

        • Michele G Rogers

          Thanks Scott, I use doterra too. Thanks for the tip!

          • Scott Birk

            Hi again!

            Since you’re familiar with doTERRA, let me tell you a bit more… I can’t overemphasize the use of the LLV and DDR Prime in helping me get back to a good state.

  • car

    I weaned myself off back in April and I’m finding that I’m experience hair loss (balding/thinning) on the top. Anyone experience this hair loss ?

    I’m fining it very hard to loose the weight I put on while taking this medicine.

    • TJ Nelson

      A lot of people have to stop taking it purely from their experience with gaining weight. I haven’t heard of hair loss, but there are a lot of side effects that can come from artificially blocking the reuptake of serotonin.

  • Aaron

    Hey TJ
    I just stop taking Celexa a few days ago and I feel dizzy all the time just sitting here right now typing this I feel dizzy. I wanted to know did you also feel that way?

    • TJ Nelson

      Yes I did, I had some slight dizziness. Other people had it way worse than I did, though.

  • Jennifer Yetter

    I stopped taking my Celexa 3 days ago and feel absolutely horrible, I keep getting these dizzy spells. Should I go back on them or cut the dose in 1/2 until I see my Dr??

    • TJ Nelson

      I would wean off them as slowly as possible and find a doctor that can really help you wean off safely.

  • Cindy

    My daughter is weaning herself off this nasty drug and has alot of body aches. Her back hurts all the time. Anyone else have this problem?

    • TJ Nelson

      How is she doing now?

  • Karen

    Thank you. I have learned more from your article and video in the last nine years than any health care provider. Please can you tell me which amino acids you take and where I can buy them. I am ordering the Jarrow B-Right. I am down to 10 mg celexa – I feel so depressed and can’t seem to get on with my life, I am exhausted. I feel like an elephant sitting on top of me. I am so ready to wean and get off this mind controlling drug. Please help me..

  • Casie Bracewell

    Hi, Im Casie. I stopped taking my celexa less than a week ago. I have horrible dizzy spells, Face & body numbness, heart flutters & sleeping problems. I am afraid to take this medication again…. I want to do nothing but sleep. The pain my body feels without this medicine is almost unbearable. I am 25 years old & a mother. How can i be a mommy to my daughter & a good wife to my husband if i cannot even function? My emotional state of mind is a wreck. I cant eat without forcing myself to. What can i do? Please, someone help me…

    • TJ Nelson

      How are you doing?

      • Casie Bracewell

        I unfortunately had to be put back on the medicine.

        • TJ Nelson

          What is your plan from here?

          • Casie Bracewell

            Weaning off slowly

  • Nicci

    I was on 40 mg Citalopram for three years after being on Paxil for about 10 years. I dropped to 20 mg for a week, then 10 mg for a week, then 10 mg every other day for a week. I have had a few minor side effects-lack of energy, difficulty concentrating….but nothing like I was expecting when I started to research side effects. I think it was all in the tapering! Good luck to everyone!

    • TJ Nelson

      Sounds like you were successful?

  • Jo

    TJ-I’ve been slowly weaning myself off cit for over a month. Zaps haven’t been bad but the loneliness, lack of interest, and depressed mood are horrible. A small is the insomnia and body aches. I read your reply to someone saying something like it’s not your body needing the drug it’s withdrawal. I’m wondering, how do I know that? I want to get and stay off but sometimes I think I really need it. However, I don’t want to believe that.

    • TJ Nelson

      Why does your body need it? What does the drug do that your body needs?

      When you get to the root of it, you’ll discover why you don’t “need” medication, you need what it does for you, which is usually more serotonin or similar.

      Why is your brain not producing enough serotonin on its own? Or what other problem is occurring that is making you feel that way?

      Fix that and you’ll fix the real reason why you “needed” the antidepressant in the first place.

  • Nikki

    Hello, I stopped taking this medication after weening off for only about a week… it is terrible I cannot sleep I feel physically sick and dizzy and very depressed (more then before then when I was on this medication). I am taking 5htp and other vitamins but not much has helped it’s been about two weeks and i feel like I am on the edge of a cliff with my life. How long does it take for these feeling to go away? It is ruining my life (or at least feels like it). I want to get back to myself and never take this again !during taking it , it was ok but I gained weight and couldn’t lose it mind you I work out everyday and eat healthy… I went from lexapro to cit (lexapro I had side effects while I was taking it, way to sleepy, zero sex drive etc.) the side effects of citalopram while taking it were minimal but now that I am off it is so bad, just looking for more advise from anyone .. thanks. P.s I started all this due to have anxiety after having a child, panic attacks etc.

    • TJ Nelson

      The time frame it takes for those feelings to go away varies with each person. Some it goes away faster, some people it can take a few months.

  • Dee

    Does anyone know if 5-HTP is safe to take while breastfeeding? Dr. Google gave me conflicting answers. And I didn’t even think about it until after I ordered it off amazon! Derp

  • AC

    As others have said, tapering off is the key! I was taking 20mg for about a year and a half and felt like I no longer needed it. So I started taking half (10mg) every day for about 2 months. Then I took a half (10mg) every other day for about two weeks. Then that was it. I personally did not experience any zaps or any other symptoms that I can think of that really stood out. I also want to note that I do take vitamins/supplements regularly, so that may have helped as well! Hope this info helps someone 🙂

    • TJ Nelson

      Good to hear! Thanks for sharing.

  • lordhelpme

    Please help….I need some encouragement.I was at 40mg celexa,weaned to 30,then 20,then 10.I have been off for 8 days now and I am still extremely ill.I feel like I have morning sickness along with heart zaps.I know this too shall pass but boy oh boy it sucks.How long will it take for me to feel normal again.Fyi,I agree with the poster it can be too easy to get antidepressants.I truly believe I would’ve been better off if I had gone to a physcologist to deal with the root cost of my depression.I didn’t realize just how drugged up I was until I cut down to 20mg.Prior to that I was just going through life not really feeling anything.Then when I weaned to 20mg it was like a veil had been lifted.Which gave me the strenght to keep going and to get off.My mood is fine but it’s the sicknesses that is getting to me.Your love and support would be so appreciative.

    • TJ Nelson

      You can do it! It might be rough for a while but in the long-run it is so worth it. I’ve been medication free for many years now and it’s amazing.

      Getting off in the beginning was rough.

  • Nancy

    My mail order pharmacy did not get my script of 40 mg out so i have not had any for 3 days now.
    Not sure when the withdrawals will kick in. I am in the middle of doing a detox and am wondering if that may be helping flush my system. have been on them for about 4 yrs. prior to this have been on others for about the last 20 yrs. Had the dizziness and zaps when i went off zoloft. anyway wish me luck.