How To Get Off Antidepressants Without Going Insane

Tears ran down my face uncontrollably.

Lifting one foot to place it a few feet forward felt like an enormous task.

I couldn’t recognize a single face on the train.

My home was a few blocks away, yet felt impossibly far.

Every cell in my body had given up on me.  I had zero energy.

Heavier tears were somehow making their way out of my eyes as I began to sob in public, hoping that nobody would see me.

I open the door to my home and heard that familiar creaking sound.  My living room came into view.

I took a step inside, and collapsed.

My mind raced with uncontrollable thoughts of anxiety.

I stared at the ceiling and told myself over and over, “You have to get up and eat something.  You have to get up.  You have to get up man.”  Finally I get up.  I look at the clock.

It was 2:15pm.  It takes 30 minutes to get home from my internship. I left that internship at 11:00am.

I had been on the floor trying to get up for almost 3 hours.

I thought I could stop taking antidepressants cold turkey.  I thought they were safe.

But in that pain while laying on the ground I made a new discovery.

Not only was I depressed, I was now dependent on medication.

How to Get Off Antidepressant Medication

I wanted to get off antidepressants because I had become “manic” from a recent increase in my dose of citalopram.  Every couple months, the medication would stop working.  My psychiatrist simply told me all I had to do was keep increasing the dose.

They said I was bipolar. Lithium didn’t work too well either.  Looking back, the amount of citalopram I was taking was high enough to make anyone go a little crazy.

One thing was clear.  Antidepressants weren’t the answer for my long-term health and happiness.

If you’ve found this page, you’ve probably decided the same thing for yourself.

The good news is, you can get off your antidepressant if you do it right.

My Successful Attempt To Get Off Antidepressants

Celexa withdrawals left me incapable of functioning. I was forced to continue taking it or become a vegetable.

I had to wait until there was a few weeks of no responsibilities to try again.

I loaded up with amino acids, vitamins, and an old bottle of lortab. I waited.  And waited some more.

I got sick.  Not sick as in mentally sick, but I caught a bad cold or virus.

That was my time to strike.

I cut my citalopram pills in half for 3 days. Then I completely stopped my dose.

Everyday I woke up I took Tryptophan with B-Vitamins, Tyrosine later in the day, and Tryptophan at night.

I felt severe pain.  The combination of withdrawing from a powerful drug and being extremely sick was rough. Back then, I didn’t care and I took a lortab to help.

Lortab is not necessary to get off an antidepressant. I want to be honest and admit that I took a few lortabs during my withdrawal to escape the pain a few times.

I already knew what drug addiction was like.  If I took lortab everyday, I’d have to wean off lortab also. That obviously defeats what I was aiming to do, which was be happy with no drugs.

Anyways, withdrawal from citalopram is bizarre. I relived old painful memories.  I listened to music on my bed in the dark and drifted off to psychedelic realms as if I had taken a hallucinogen.  I became sensitive to physical pain.  Stubbing my toe or bumping my elbow felt 10x worse.

The weirdest phenomenon was getting “electric shocks.“I thought only people that went off Paxil experienced them.  You might know them as Brain Zaps.  Yes, they are real.

I would be walking around or drifting off to sleep and feel a distrubing sensation of a small electric jolt that felt as if it should hurt but didn’t. I swear I felt unconscious for a microsecond, almost like a mini seizure. It would sometimes travel from my brain to other parts of my body. It was slightly painful but had a very real, disturbing sense of unnaturalness about it, yet wasn’t painful at all.

Going off citalopram was a rough ride.  I still remember what I experienced withdrawing from antidepressants to this day.

The first 2 weeks were insane, then it was clear skies from there. I didn’t feel good, but I was feeling better.  A month and a half later, and I had recovered. I was antidepressant free and depression free.

I got the occasional “Brain Zap” for about two months (I capitalize the word on purpose as I respect its ability to mystify me).  I got so used to them I remember realizing one day as I froze in the hallway and said out loud, “I haven’t felt one of those brain zaps in about a week!”

Can You Get Off Antidepressants Also?

I was on my antidepressant for 7-8 months.  If you are on a high dose or have been on an antidepressant for a long time, you will want to take things slower.  It would be wise to do this with a doctor who is willing to support you in the process.

If you can’t really taper off for months at a time and don’t have a doctor to help you, this is how to do it.  Be careful, listen to your body, and get back on your antidepressant if your situation becomes too paralyzing until you can try again.  I happen to be a little extreme and wanted to get it over with.

First, Pick the Right Time To Get Off Antidepressants

Don’t try and go off your antidepressant when you are in the process of being promoted at work, your brother is getting married, and you have twins on the way.

You might lose your mind and it is essential that you have the proper environment to start your journey.  If you can’t relax and be free of responsibilities for a while, stay on your antidepressant until you can.

You might “trip” while coming off.  Pandora played a song called The Easterner by General MIDI who I’d never heard of before. I thought the song was teaching me the secrets of life.  Serious.

I got sick with a cold and realized I was going to lay around in agony anyways.  It’s better to find a week or two at full health, let everyone know you are going to be taking it easy, and start tapering off.  If you can start tapering off without much harm, start that first.  Plan your week of relaxation for when you come completely off your antidepressant.

Take the Right Amino Acids To Get Off Antidepressants And Maintain Your Sanity

Research as much as you can about amino acids and how they affect the brain.  You can start with this website. Read through the articles, contact me, or sign up for the free email list.

The Mood Cure by Julia Ross has a wealth of information about amino acids and is where I began my journey. In fact, Julia Ross claims that she tapers people off of their SSRIs with no withdrawal symptoms.  People say it can be hard to understand and implement the book while depressed, but if all you can do right now is walk to the library and start reading, pick this book up first.

Each amino acid affects people differently.  My body and mind prefer l-tryptophan over 5-HTP.  Most people respond better to 5-HTP. This is because 5-HTP skips a step in the conversion process to create serotonin. Leading practitioners in nutritional therapy try 5-HTP with people first, just don’t stop if 5-HTP doesn’t do the trick for you.

L-tryptophan is an amino acid that the brain uses naturally to create Serotonin.  It does this by utilizing Vitamin B-3 to convert Tryptophan into 5-HTP, which is used in conjunction with Vitamin B-6 to convert into serotonin.

Amino acids compete with each other. You must take amino acids on an empty stomach. I made sure I had no other amino acids in my system by waking up first thing in the morning with a glass of water next to my bed.  I’d take an L-Tryptophan with complex B-Vitamins, then meditate for a half hour before eating anything.  I took Tryptophan at night to aid with sleep.

Your brain uses tyrosine to produce dopamine and norepinephrine.  It didn’t help me as much, and actually revved me up to the point of making me manic, so I didn’t take too much of it.  I later discovered that l-phenylalanine affected me more positively.

Your Antidepressant Tells You Which Amino Acids To Take Based On The Receptors It Affects

SSRIs affect serotonin levels.  If you take an SSRI, you will want to take either 5-HTP or tryptophan.

If you take atypical antidepressants or SNRIs, you will want to take either tyrosine, DLPA, or l-phenylalanine along with 5-HTP or Tryptophan if needed.  SNRIs and some atypical antidepressants (like Wellbutrin) affect the brain’s norepinephrine levels.  Tyrosine or DLPA with 5-HTP or Tryptophan can help restore these neurotransmitters back to healthy levels.

Common SSRIs include:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Sarafem)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Luvox CR)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva)
  • Srtraline (Zoloft)

Common SNRIs include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

Atypical Antidepressants include:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL)
  • Trazodone (Oleptro) – if you use this for sleep, take Tryptophan or Melatonin at night
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron, Remeron SolTab) – for sleep try Tryptophan or Melatonin
  • Nefazodone

Research your antidepressant and find out which neurotransmitters it is affecting.  Use 5-HTP or tryptophan to replace serotonin (SSRIs).  Use tyrosine or DLPA to replace norepinephrine or dopamine (SNRIs or Atypical).

Get Your Body And Mind Back By Restoring Them Properly

There is always a root cause for why you are depressed.  Most people who question whether or not it is possible to beat depression haven’t yet realized that. This is a deadly cycle. Not taking care of myself caused me to become depressed and becoming depressed caused me to not take care of myself.

You get to break that cycle.

First thing you need to do is look at your diet.

If you’ve succumbed to the “low-fat” diet, start consuming large amounts of healthy fats.

Things like salmon, grass fed beef, avocados, fish oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc. make your brain feel very, very good.

Why? Because your brain is made up of mostly fatty acids.

Start eating whole, unprocessed foods.

Check for food allergies. I went gluten free and saw a dramatic reduction in symptoms.

Eliminate sugars and vegetable oils.  Sugar will wreck your overall sense of well-being.  Sugar depletes your body of B Vitamins and nutrients.  Canola oil contains too many omega-6 fats and is inflammatory, both of which can cause depression.

Some good places to start educating yourself on nutrition is here and here. Don’t forget about Johnny Bowden either

Start appreciating healthy grass-fed butter and coconut oil and foods that fuel your brain.  Start to fear sugar and anything that comes in a “box.”  Eat vegetables like they are going out of style, and eat them in the highest quality that you can.

If you’re not getting enough sun (which is pretty much everyone), start taking Vitamin D.

Once you’ve dialed in your diet, start experimenting with exercise.  You probably won’t be able to do squats and deadlifts while coming off your antidepressant, but a short jog or walk in the sun sounds simple yet works.

If you can’t get yourself motivated to go for a walk, tell yourself that you will only do it for two minutes.  After two minutes, you can go inside if you want.

Take baby steps towards getting your mind and body functioning right and you will thank yourself for the rest of your life.

If anything is confusing or you just don’t know where to start, contact me.


Prepare yourself for the voyage, rally up some of your close friends to have on call, and go for it.  If you supplement with amino acids, eat healthy, get light exercise, relax, and have a support system, you’ll make it through the pain period and come out the other side healthier and happier.

If you do all the above and it still doesn’t work, you might have something else going on like leaky gut.  Keep researching, keep listening to your body, get tests done by a doctor, keep searching until you find what you need.

I used to have insomnia.  I corrected a magnesium deficiency and now I sleep like a rock.

I had slight adrenal fatigue which I corrected.  I got my energy back.

These are common issues that a doctor or psychiatrist sadly never ask about.  Instead, they ask you what powerful medication you’d like to start taking.

If you want true recovery, it is possible.  Unfortunately with depression, the trial-and-error period can be extremely painful. It can be hard to figure out what to do when your in the midst of numbness and agony.

You may simply be eating gluten and you’re slightly allergic to it.  You’re actually healthy, but don’t know how to communicate your needs properly to others.  You think you’ve been getting enough sleep, but in reality you’re only sleeping 5 hours a night.

If you’re struggling to find real advice on how to recover from depression without medication, click Here for daily emails that give you truthful and actionable steps to feel like your old self again (plus a free bonus).

Let us all know in the comments if you have any other questions, thoughts, or ideas about living a life free from the side effects and withdrawals of medication. I wish you all the best.

Update From A Subscriber

A subscriber told me about her method for weaning off her antidepressant.  You can use a bottle of water with milliliter measurements (can get one free from the pharmacy similar to a cough medicine bottle).

Make sure that your medication doesn’t use a film coating that gradually releases the medication into your body at a slow and controlled rate.  If you dissolve or break these pills, it can destroy this slow-release seal.  This would be counterproductive.

If you have checked that your medication is safe to do this, dissolve your medication in the bottle and depending on how much water is in it, you can take a very specific amount of your antidepressant.

Lets say you had a 5mg pill and a 50ml bottle.  Once dissolved, every 10ml of water would contain 1mg of your medication.  This way, you could slowly wean off your medication by taking 4mg a day, then 3mg, then 2mg, and so on.

You can really wean off it slowly and can even take half a milligram.  You can keep diluting the 1ml in water and take 0.5 or 0.3 of a dose.  This way, you can get off your medication with even less zaps or horrible withdrawal effects.

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  • frizzylizzy76

    In the middle of all this at the moment. This article was very helpful!! Explains a lot. was almost thinking of going back on them but I am in my 2nd week and just exhausted but I am pushing myself to keep going.. I want my life back!! Ive done the whole conselling thing and I think now I am ready for real life

    • TJ Nelson

      What were you taking and for how long?

      I remember it was pretty intense when I stopped. Especially the “zaps.” Keep it up!

      • Lika

        Hi TJ, nice to hear your story…. I was just wondering… For how long did you take Antidepressants?

        Didn’t find this info, anywhere =/

        • TJ Nelson

          When I was on Celexa it was for about 6-8 months straight. I had taken Paxil randomly before and experimented with a few other medications like lithium.

          • chantilly

            Has your sex drive, libido ever been affected after stopping antidepressant?? Post ssri sexual dysfunction?

          • TJ Nelson

            Hi Chantily. My sex drive while on Celexa went insanely high for a while. It was actually too high. Then it would dip a bit, and then skyrocket again when they would increase my dose.

            I don’t remember much about my sex drive plummeting after stopping. I must have been too caught up in everything else. I do know my sex drive was quite low for a while until I started to really heal and get my body right.

            It would mainly fluctuate to where I wouldn’t feel much of anything then all a sudden for a few days it would spike and go really high.

            Now it is stable and doesn’t fluctuate too much.

            What about yourself?

          • Chantily

            I recently came off Cymbalta, back in June. Its been reallly rough, i kinda stopped cold turkey. I made it through all the immediate side effects, but now have terrible stomach issues, and lack of sleep. The no sleeping sucks. I feel super hyper sensitive/anxious, and emotional at times. Im not too sad, not too happy, just here. And my sex drive seems non existent, lack of feeeling any type of pleasure or excitment. Im praying that each day gets better. Just trying to stay out of my mind, and focus on other things, and heal my body.

          • TJ Nelson

            Hi Chantily,

            Have you tried any of the principles in this article and my other article on sleep?

            I found I was able to recover much quicker using some tools and methods to heal my brain and body properly.

  • Toniann B

    Thank you so much for writing this. All the little details I identified with as I am in my second week without cymbalta. I tapered off in about a month or less. Second day without and the withdrawal hit hard. I’m a licensed vet tech and I broke down cryin at work because a dog was barking. All downhill from there. Called out of work a couple days to deal with it. Past memories, songs, commercials etc made me break down. The zaps dizziness and nausea were debilitating and after almost getting in an accident I decided not to drive for a few days. I thought I was goin crazy but refused to go back on that evil drug that made me feel pretty darn good for about 6 years. Problem was I gained about 30lbs plus and I’m under 5ft so I got sick of bein fat. I swear the gain is from the cymbalta even if my doctor says otherwise. So after a week of withdrawal I called my doc and asked him to call me in something before I lose it altogether. I just wanted to feel good again. So he asked what worked in the last and I decided Wellbutrin would do it. I picked up the pills but couldn’t brin myself to take one yet. I didn’t want to add new side effects from that on top of withdrawal. So I waited. Btw I did take the 5htp and fish oil to try n combat so e of the withdrawal symptoms. A week later on a Sunday morning (after feeling pretty ok on fri and sat) I took a Wellbutrin. Instant regret. So here I sit on Sunday night regretting it and searching for some answers….. Can I live antidepressant free after about 15 years on all diff kinds non stop? Reading this after readin countless anecdotes blogs accounts etc… But your account really gave me hope. Thank you so much. Tomo I will wake up and not take another Wellbutrin. Because I refuse to go thru another withdrawal in the future. I will instead educate myself on living healthier practicing mindful meditation and take it one day at a time.

    • TJ Nelson

      Toniann! Thanks for writing in. I had to leave work also because I couldn’t function at all when I thought I could “just stop” taking myine.

      Just remember that when you stop taking antidepressants after a while you should feel good. Don’t have to be off antidepressants and still feel like crap.

      You said you were on antidepressants for 15 years. Anything else you have tried? Vitamins? Amino acids? Getting your thyroid checked, hormones checked, checked for pyroluria?

      • Toniannb

        Hi TJ thanx for writing back! I forgot to mention that ur account of falling down and not being able to get up also happened to me. I was driving home and got really dizzy. I pulled into my driveway stumbled up the steps into my house and fell on my bed and ” passed out” I could not get up. Finally I forced myself but it was not normal. Also the tripping thing hit close to home as well as the pandora lol! Shake it out by Florence and the machine became my theme song of sorts. I was convinced it was written for me. Anyway…I am on my third week off of cymbalta and I am feeling okay! I did not go back on Wellbutrin so I’m antidepressants free right now. I am taking fish oil 5htp a B complex vitamin vitamin D and a multi vit. I still get brain zaps now and again. And I’m still a bit up and down in my mood. I have had many tests done but I will mention those u suggest to my doc. I started antidepressants 15 years ago because I was very sick as a kid and needed a kidney transplant in my early 20’s. I developed severe anxiety and depression from that I believe. I had been on all sorts of meds since. This is the first time in 15 years completely off any antidepressant. So my entire adult life I’ve been on something. I want to see if I even need it or if I do well off of it So far I’m doing okay. Well see as time goes on I suppose. Lol! Due to the transplant I’m on a ton of other meds for anti rejection n stuff. But I think trying a healthier lifestyle diet and vitamins etc will benefit me all around. You mentioned books that helped u thru. Any recommendations?

        • TJ Nelson

          Toniann, thank YOU for commenting! 🙂

          You passed out? Wow. I was awake the whole time, but the entire experience is pretty frightening looking back on it. When you are in the moment you can’t escape that reality, so looking back when you’re out is trippy in itself.

          When do you take your 5-HTP?

          A lot of what helped me was nutrition books. My favorite nutritionist is Johnny Bowden.

          But the book that changed the whole game was The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. When I was depressed I started dragging myself to Barnes and Noble and started reading random books. I picked that one up and thats what started it all.

          Oh, and Ultramind Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman. It gets a little too complex though, especially for a depressed brain trying to understand the science. So yeah, pick up Mood Cure :).

          I also read Depression Free, Naturally. that got me taking a ton of vitamins, maybe too much. However, I’d recommend Mood Cure as my go to book for people. That’s when it started coming together for me that there was a real reason for me feeling that way. Not just lack of willpower and all that BS.

          • Toniannb

            Thanx TJ ill go pick the mood cure up tomorrow. I’m on week 7 off cymbalta and doing “okay”. I’m still VERY moody though and hope that the book might help me understand better what’s going on. Thank you again. It’s really great to have feedback from someone who understands. 🙂

          • TJ Nelson

            How are you doing now Toniann? Did you ever read Mood Cure?

  • Connie

    SOOOO helpful. I know about the power of amino acid supplements but wasn’t sure which ones would help me get through withdrawals from my SSRI. God bless you for posting your experience! Many thanks.

    • TJ Nelson

      Connie! How long have you been weaning off your SSRI? Has it been intense?

  • Mom29

    My problem is crying, I’m not sad or upset about anything, I can be thinking of a joke and start laughing then the tears come…I can be telling a story that is completely emotionally benign and I can’t talk because I’m fighting back tears. Wtf?! Will this go away? I was dancing around cleaning house and listening to justin timberlake and when I started signing I just started crying!

    • TJ Nelson

      Overly crying can be from a lack of endorphins sometimes. I don’t know you or your situation so it could be a number of things, however, through my research when people seem to be overly sensitive or emotional it can be that they need more of our “natural painkiller”. Have you ever heard of a supplement called DLPA?

      • Mom29

        I have not, I’ll look it up. Like I said the emotions are not matching the crying. One has nothing to do with the other, it’s the weirdest thing and I feel really ridiculous!

        • TJ Nelson

          Yes it can help, sometimes just the “D” form of phenylalanine works better for people and sometimes the combined forms works better. Also could be something to do with your hormones. I got mine checked once and it showed me my DHEA was low and my estrogen was actually high. Sometimes actual lab results help

  • Brandi Green

    I have armed myself with Tyrosine and Tryptophan as well as Vitamin B and D3 to finish coming off Pristiq 50mg qday. I have gotten myself down from 100 to 25mg so far but I am going to try your way to fnish this out! Can you tell me how much of each to take in the morning and at night? Right now I ususally take my Pristiq around 3-4pm, I just need a good starting point and then I can adjust as needed. Thanks!

    • TJ Nelson

      That’s good you got both Tyrosine and Tryptophan for Pristiq as Pristiq affects both serotonin and norepinephrine.

      Start out with 500mg of Tryptophan (should be one capsule) on and empty stomach midafternoon and at night for a couple days to see how it affects you. If there is no adverse effects, you can raise it up to 2,000mg a day (1,000mg/2 capsules both midafternoon and at night).

      With Tyrosine you can take 500mg (1 capsule) in the morning on an empty stomach and try increasing the dose after a few days if it is affecting you well. I’d be a little more careful with Tyrosine as too much can make you feel really tense, jittery, etc. which is, in my opinion, harder to handle than the sleepiness that too much Tryptophan usually causes.

      I was only taking Celexa, so when I got off that all I needed was a serotonin replacing nutrient like Tryptophan, but you need both norepinephrine and serotonin.

      Most important thing is to start out with the smallest doses, then slowly increase from there, always monitoring your progress and how you feel.

      B Vitamins I would take 1 capsule at breakfast and at lunch.

      Vitamin D3 depends on your starting level. Getting a test done to see where you are at is relatively inexpensive and you don’t run the risk of taking too much.

      Always be careful when taking an antidepressant and additional supplements like 5-HTP or Tryptophan and be aware of serotonin syndrome. It’s rare but if you actually get too much serotonin the symptoms can be just like not having enough. Honestly shouldn’t be a big concern, but when loading up with the amino acids and taking the antidepressant at the same time some interesting things could potentially happen.

      Please keep us posted on your progress!

  • rezzie

    Hey there… great article….. ive been suffering from depression since a young age but never admited it or seeked help..8ver the last two years ive found myself more and more unhappy and confrontational… so much so i dont like my friends anymore lol.

    Whent to docs yesterday and i got some pills… my first full day and im always cold… pretty wiered.. well im readying everyones struggle coming off these pillss…… am i doing the right thing goin o pills?

    • TJ Nelson

      What medication are you taking? I can’t say if you are doing the right or wrong thing by taking pills, but I would suggest to look at other physiological reason why you might be depressed also.

      Things like a bad thyroid, poor digestion, vitamin/mineral deficiency, etc. are all known to cause depression that taking a pill will just mask.

  • Karmic37

    Thanks for posting this, I am now day 7 off citlopram after weaning down to 10mg for months and then five, i am so dizzy and have horrible brains zaps and have not slept properly for a week. I was on seroxat few years ago and just shut myself a way for two weeks to get through it, this time its not so intense so I am hoping another week and I’ll be over the worst, Im not a great sleeper I notice you mention calcium and magnesium, what kind of dosage? Thank you again, you are a calming influence during a stormy time x

    • TJ Nelson

      As far as the dosage goes it all depends on what kind of calcium and magnesium you get. I get Natural Calm magnesium and just take a spoonful of it. With calcium I would take one or two pills of citrical.

      Have you tried 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan as you are weaning off the citalopram?

      • Karmic37

        Thanks for replying, I’ll give them a try. I’ve just got some 5HTP today so going to give it a whirl, have used it in past when I’ve had serotonin syndrome from partying to hard and it helped shorten time taken to get through it, hope it works with this. It’s driving me nuts feel so out of it and brain zapped, thanks for this blog though, you have no idea how much it’s helping me get through x (ps..My story is practically same as yours..although Im 37 and still looking for what works for me.. have you read the book Curse of the Strong by Christopher Cantopher, Its good for informing why depression happens and that it’s a very real illness)

        • TJ Nelson

          I haven’t checked that book out yet but I will put it on my To-Read List.

          The feeling of just being spaced out for weeks is what got to me as well. I would lay down and listen to music and literally start to drift off as if I was somewhere else. The whole experience was pretty unreal.

          Let us know how your journey goes and if you have any more questions/need more support.

          • karmic37

            Well two weeks since i stopped the Celexa, still getting brain zaps but no where near as bad,worse when I am tired. Really struggling to get to and stay asleep, also emotions have come back in a woosh, was quite overwhelming but feels good to feel again. Don’t feel depressed or down which is fab. Do find myself getting quite tearful but in a good way not bad. Have been taking 5HTP as recommended in the mood cure and now starting calcium,magnesium and D vits on top of multi-vits and omega 3. Even though its been a really tough 2 weeks and I’m not completely through it yet I feel so much better. Hoping the 5HTP works for me as I will never go on anti depressants again! Anyone trying to get off them, you just have to get through the first two weeks and after that you’re home free! Thanks again TJ, you’re a legend!!

          • TJ Nelson

            Glad to hear you are doing good! Keep us all posted!

          • Karmic37

            Finally weaned of Celexa!! It was hard going for the first two weeks, started taking 5-htp and magnesium and calcium in the second which quickly abated the withdrawal symptoms, its taken about 4 weeks to finally be free of the brain zaps totally. Now started supplements as outlines in The Mood Cure and I can honestly say I haven’t felt this good in a long time, still have a way to go but what an improvement, TJ thank you..without your sharing I never would have found this new way of dealing with depression! I can’t thank you enough!

          • TJ Nelson

            That’s amazing! I’m glad you were able to get off of it. Celexa was hard for me to get off and I’ll always remember the ‘zaps’ ;). If you want to let us know more feel free to share your story or I can post it on the website. You can contact me by clicking “contact” up above or email me at tj (at)

  • zibzob

    i went off it cold turkey as id just about had enough of my dr not listening to me when i said they were not helping so went for it. my side effects werent to dramatic but i definately get u when you talk about the brain zaps… definately get used to them. its been nearly a month now and i do get bouts of them but i can think alot more clearly now i am off them and the smallest things i strangely feel overcome with happiness and happy tears lol I am now looking forward to college this year after fighting agrophobia for the last ten years and severe anxiety…..i am pusing myself and trying to block out my anxiety in the thought after a while at college my confidence will increase and my anxiety will get less. The key is definately determination!!! 🙂

    • TJ Nelson

      Good to hear you were able to go cold turkey! Did you use any supplements or tools like 5-HTP? Or did you just go raw cold turkey?

      • zibzob

        i bought some multi vitamins with iron and started taking them aswell as warm leomn and honey in water in the morning and warm lemon water at night. i feel alot better now im of them then i ever did on them 🙂 just going to be testing in september when i start college but fingers crossed!!! 🙂

        • TJ Nelson

          Wow that’s good hear! Glad you were able to get off them and start feeling great like that.

    • Jan O’Dvárko

      Hi zibzob, I’m happy to hear you managed to get off SSRI, it fills me with optimism since I’m in the process of withdrawal.
      May I know how long were you on the antidepressant and what kind? And how do you feel now, 1 year after posting the comment?
      Thanks for sharing your story!

    • TJ Nelson

      I’d be interested in hearing how you are doing as well after one year.

    • sandy

      I have been on 50mg Paxil for 15yrs. Now am worried about its effect on my brain (memory). Has anyone been able to use tryptophan successfully to get rid of Paxil?

      • TJ Nelson

        Yes, I used both 5-htp and tryptophan. It is all in the post.

    • Shay Fox Darcy

      Try watching Claire weeks on YouTube, she is amazing at helping with panic and anxiety, helped me through some very dark days.

  • Guest

    i bought some multi vitamins with iron and started taking them aswell as warm leomn and honey in water in the morning and warm lemon water at night. i feel alot better now im of them then i ever did on them 🙂 just going to be testing in september when i start college but fingers crossed!!!

  • galexina

    Can you take the 5htp or tryptophan while still on the anti depressants? I am currently tapering off fluoxetine ans am down to 10 mg a day..Worried about interactions

    • TJ Nelson

      Yes you can. Many psychiatrists are actually combining antidepressants with things like 5-HTP to increase effectiveness.

      Always start with the absolute lowest dose possible and see how it affects you. Then graduaaallly increase your dose to minimize interactions. Do it on a weekend to make sure that if you get a weird effect you don’t get messed up at work.

      • galexina

        Thank you very much for your reply. Do you recommend a brand of 5htp that you prefer ?

        • TJ Nelson

          Jarrow Formulas or NOW foods have worked for me

  • Brain_zaps

    Have you ever heard of anyone following a similar approach to your’s who has been taking Effexor XR? I take 75mg per day and so there aren’t very many steps to weening myself off, basically halving that and then off completely. I would like to try this approach of taking 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan. How would you recommend doing this? For example, would I move from 75mg to 37.5mg on one day and also begin taking L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP that same day? What dose would you recommend of either supplement? I’ve found with trying to quit Effexor before that 3 days after I dropped from 75mg to 37.5mg I felt horrible and had to go back to 75mg since Effexor has such a short half life.


    • TJ Nelson


      If you take atypical antidepressants or SNRIs, you will want to try
      taking either Tyrosine or DLPA along with 5-HTP or Tryptophan if
      needed. SNRIs like Effexor
      affect the brain’s norepinephrine levels as well. Tyrosine or DLPA with
      5-HTP or Tryptophan can help restore these neurotransmitters back to
      healthy levels.

      You would start to wean off, then take the LOWEST dose possible of 5-htp and tyrosine. Gauge how that effects you. It can be a little trickier. You could even get the lowest dose and split that in half to be safe. See how Tyrosine effects you as well, some people don’t react to it well, and prefer L-Phenylalanine or DLPA more.

      Then after you see how that interaction is working, start taking the lowest doses of those amino acids and slowly increase them while monitoring how you feel, while at the same time very slowly weaning off of your antidepressant.

      On top of that, it is smart to take a high quality B vitamin and take other steps to fully depression proof your life. I’d highly recommend signing up for the email list if you haven’t, I get people telling me all the time how much just the emails have changed their lives.

      • rob

        Hey TJ, Effexor gave out on me after roughly 12 years. Would you recommend tryptophan or 5htp and tyrosine or DLPA?? I’m taking fish oil, milultivitamin, magnesium citrate and melatonin to sleep. It’s been about 2 months since my last Effexor pill.

        • TJ Nelson

          I sent you a FB message. It would probably be better to talk more as I can’t recommend something simply based on this information.

  • Peacejoy

    It’s been 2 months since I weaned off of Citalopram brutal is an understatement ! I still have withdrawals my muscles are reacting to this horribly, yesterday I had the terrible feeling of being disconnected, today I feel normal, wondering what tomorrow will feel like. and yes, I was convinced that I was terminally ill, I guess part of the withdrawal. I am so grateful for all of your stories it lines up perfectly w/mine….I agree this has been a journey I will never forget (felt like something out of a movie) and all the more reason why I do not want to be on these drugs.

    • TJ Nelson

      Thanks for commenting on the site. Have you found any relief using the methods I described in this article? Anything you have done to get your brain and body back into balance?

      • Peacejoy

        No, this is the first I heard of using the tools you recommend….The only thing I do is walk when I feel weird, that seems to help, I walk a lot lately haha…hoping this will end soon…Thank you so much for your help.

        • TJ Nelson

          My pleasure. If I was you, I’d start going crazy with changing up the foods you eat and getting a lot of healthy stuff in you. Then there is a few supplement tricks you can do to reset your mind and body quicker. If you want any more info, check out the rest of the site, email me or sign up for the emails on here.

        • Lkins

          How’re you peacejoy these days?

  • hmjb

    My experience: 16 years on antidepressants and levoxyl for thyroid. Started with paxil, then celexa, lexapro, and finally bupropion.
    My life has improved significantly in the last few years – I have a strong support system, regular exercise and healthy food, good iron levels (I was anemic, too), and no more suicidal thoughts.
    I got the okay from my doctor to try weaning off bupropion (200 mg taken twice a day), which I’ve taken for 6 years. She suggested skipping one pill out of 4 to cut back over time. After missing just 2 doses, I felt so sick! Dizzy, hot, couldn’t think clearly. It felt like a combination of the flu and super-low blood sugar. I went back on the full dose.
    So, 6 months later, I read about amino acids and felt brave enough to try again. I had a month of “light duty” from my regular work/life, so the circumstances seemed good.
    I took a packet of DaxibeQOL amino acids every afternoon for 3 days, then cut out the whole afternoon dose of bupropion, replacing it with the packet of amino acids. That took me down to 200 mg/day bupropion from 400.
    I’ve had 2 difficult but bearable weeks of weaning. Lots of light-headedness. Exercise has been challenging – I’ll feel good for the first 1/2 hour, then start stumbling and sweating excessively. One time I had to lay down beside the trail for 20 minutes because I was so dizzy! I’ve been eating high protein food, too, which seems to help.
    I’m wondering if I should take a higher amount of amino acids. Your website is the first I’ve read that talked about dosages of specific EAAs.
    I’ve been planning to wait a month or so and then try to stop taking the morning bupropion.
    Any suggestions?

    • TJ Nelson

      Since bupropion primarily acts on neurotransmitters like norepinephrine (I took bupropion once) I would advise to try taking supplements like Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine and see how those affect you.

      Also, on top of those, taking basic supplements like B vitamins to make sure you have enough cofactors to produce neurotransmitters, and things like magnesium if you are deficient can help greatly (most people are deficient in magnesium, a blood test showed I was and getting those levels back to normal helped). Also, if your vitamin D levels aren’t in the optimal range, getting that up there will help out depressive symptoms as well.

      Any other questions let me know. Also, sign up for the emails if you haven’t already!

  • Liz

    So glad I found this article! On day 11 of cold turkey from 20mg of citalopram. Doc put me on Wellbutrin 150mg because citalopram was making me a zombie. He never said anything about tapering. Brain zaps started about day 5 and this weekend was rough. Going back to doc tomorrow to see if he can get me out of work for a week so I can rest. Thought about tapering, but now that I’m this far I hate to start over. Was on Lexapro for 5 years, then switched over to citalopram due to pregnancy, been 2 years. I feel so irritable. The zaps are ridiculous and I feel drunk. I have a few good hours and that’s it.

    Feeling very scared and helpless. I pray that this ends soon. I don’t know how much more I can take. Going to try b12 tomorrow.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Liz!
      Brain zaps were the weirdest part for me. They feel almost creepy. I also was on citalopram and wrote another article and made a video about my specific experiences with it.

      What are you currently doing to help ease the withdrawals and restore your brain?

      • Liz

        Surprisingly, being full helped me. I ate a huge stack of pancakes this morning and had a decent day. I broke down in the docs office but was ok after. Took 2 naps. While making dinner I felt really light headed again and knew I waited too long. Doc prescribed me Xanax to help me sleep. Many nights my mind is racing and I cant shut it down. I will try it and see how it goes. Not excited about adding an addictive benzo to the mix, but I willl test it out.

        So don’t know if food is helping or im on the downslide of effects. No panic attacks today. Relaxing tonight and doing well.

        • TJ Nelson

          Pancakes can affect you in a number of different ways. For one, that’s a ton of carbs, which can help promote serotonin in the short term.

          I’d be curious to see what would happen if you stopped eating gluten. You might have felt great from the pancakes and then either had a blood sugar crash or the bad side effects caught up to you.

          A lot of people can have dramatic mood swings from eating a lot of starchy carbs and find they start to stabilize with more healthy fats and protein in their diet.

          Food is a major component of feeling great. I actually don’t take many supplements anymore, food does everything now as I already restored my body and brain.

          • Liz

            It probably went double for me since we went on a low carb diet the weekend I ran out of cit. I have been cheating here and there because it is comfort food for me. However, other days Im not hungry at all. Do you recommend I stay off carbs? Or at least not binge on pancakes 🙂 I miss bread and potatoes but Im suppporting my husband with this diet because he needs to lose weight. Just a whole lot of changes at once probably didn’t help.

          • TJ Nelson

            Not to stay off carbs, but choose your carbs wisely. Stay away from sugar, white starch, anything in a box… There are amazing sources for carbs like quinoa, salads, sweet potatoes, etc.

  • Mike Harrington

    Awesome post. After our talk yesterday, I went to the store and picked up magnesium and 5htp. I’ve been on 20 mg of prozac for the past year or so.

    I wonder if I should add tryptophan to the mix?

    • LesPaulZep

      Ive been off Prozac 20 mg for 16 days (12th September) – its been ok until now – get tired and feel a bit odd – sleep disrupted by weird dreams and severe sweating(which I also get during the day) – been eating of lot of sweets – lots of M&YMs big cravings and sleep cycle is not good – but i’ve coped.
      Diet could improve 🙂

      No supplements up until now.

      Today ive started feeling a bit nervy and weird buzzines in the head (not zappy ATM)- like when I used to miss a dose of Effexor years ago – but its taking two weeks with the Prozac – longer half life I guess.
      Finally took some 5htp (50 mg Jarrow formula) a few hours ago and 50 more just now.

      Here is what I am like 🙂 -I suffer from anxiety (which has not been too bad for the last two weeks, as well as depression) – taking medications not supervised by medics makes me nervous – so when I took the first 50mg of 5HTP I went tothe local hospital A&E parking lot – armed with Water a bana and chocolate – just in case I had a panic attack or an adverse reaction:). If you told people I knew about this behaviour they wouldn’t actually believe you.
      Planning to got to A&E is my goto strategy for anxiety – i’ve only ever been once before and never actually been in 🙂

      The truth is I wont know whether I am getting side effects from the 5htp or its my anxiety. Crazy huh.

      Also just added one 1 g of Natural calm magnesium.

      I am writing this to distract myself and inform others of my experience.

      • TJ Nelson

        What did you feel when you took the 5-HTP? Any effects?

        I don’t know if you’ve also seen my Celexa post, but I wasn’t even able to come off it at all until I started adding B Vitamins and amino acids into the mix. Then I was able to get off it, and after a few weeks I was functional and feeling ok. A month later, I was back to myself.

        • lespaulzep .

          I did feel calmer after a while – for me its difficult to tell whether its the anxiety easing or an actual effect from the 5HTP. Only time and repeated application will tell.

          Its the next morning here in the UK now – Felt a bit weird and internally shaky on waking up -.and now 3.5 hours after waking I am shivering /tremoring – which is a contrast from the night time heat.
          This is new symptom.

          Had some TwinLabs Stress B complex and gonna get some Nat Calm Magnesium.

          Having real difficulty typing from the shivering/tremors..

          Its now that I’m beginning to wonder if I will have to go back on the Prozac – as the withdrawal symptoms progress.
          Off to office now and then see my psychologist later.
          Arming myself 5HTP and need to get some protein in me (very bad at regular eating).
          I did see you Celexa post. Interesting – but as you will admit these withdrawal symptoms can be quite individual (especially for different drugs) and when you are going through them they can make you quite alone and finding a regime that works takes some time and effort.
          I have read a lot of your stuff and Julia Ross’s Mood Cure book which I am trying to incorporate.
          Will post back later with more observations

          • TJ Nelson

            Thanks for the update! Each individual will be different. Sometimes you can get the withdrawals to a minimum and then it just takes time.

            If 5-HTP doesn’t affect you very much, some people react much better to tryptophan.

            SSRIs can even mess with the dopamine system as well. Some people getting off SSRIs do better by taking a supplement like tyrosine or DLPA in the morning and 5-HTP later in the day.

          • lespaulzep .

            Thanks for the reply dood (too much viewings of Bill and Ted 🙂
            This is day 18 post 20mg prozac withdrawal.

            I survived yesterdays tremors and had a reasonable day with some head buzzing, tinnintus, saw my psychchologist.
            Used Jarrow 5HTP 50mg once in afternoon once in evening.
            Hit myself some Vit D (Now 5000IU) , B(Twinlab Stress B Complex) and Magnesium Calm in the evening.
            I work away from home during the week.
            Bed at about 1 am ( I have real difficulty going to bed – in fact I am sleeping on the couch ATM like Leroy Jethro Gibbs:) – usualyy revert to this when I am anxious so I can use tv to lull me to sleep).
            No problem falling asleep – just a fitful dream filled night with some mild anxiety – Ive had this since before stopping Prozac – and one of the reasons I want to stop is to sleep better.
            The worst bit of the night was a feeling of sleep paralysis – I get morning anxiety on waking for a hour or so – so perhpas light sleep was mixed up with that.
            So here I am awake and typing and not doing too bad thus far.

            I read on the site about your experience with 5HTP – hence why I am using Jarrow Formulas.
            Still using min dose @ 50mg in Mid afternnoon and evening – not sure its maknig much of an impact- maybe a small one.
            I might bang it up to 100mg today and see if it makes a difference.
            Have got some now L-Tryptophan ready in reserve (again at your recommendation).

            Off to office shortly so Ill post some more later.

          • TJ Nelson

            Love the updates! Have you seen my sleep post also? Insomnia destroys the soul :).

          • lespaulzep .

            I felt a calm yesterday that I cant remember feeling for a long time.
            In fact I caught myself thinking – “I feel calm” – and then minor anxiety setting in because I felt so calm – how silly is that?

          • TJ Nelson

            That’s very silly :). Next time just go to and let the background music play while deep breathing. It will keep your calmness intact :).

          • lespaulzep .

            Day 20 – no Prozac. Hoprah!

            Anyway didnt post yesterday.

            So I have upped the 5htp too 100mg mid afternoon and bed time.

            Taking the TwinLab B Stress Capsules twice a day.

            Still not sure if 5HTP actually having any affect – what effect t is it supposed to be anyway? (TJ??) I obvious cant take it and not take 🙂

            Ill give it a few more days then miss for a day and then see what difference there is and maybe try Trytpophan in its place.

            I have had some symptoms of what could be withdrawal over the last few days.Some tinnitus, some peculiar buzzy headed feelings, also nervousness and agitation, irritability, and sort of tic-like reactions – nose twitches. or a feeling that I am going to twitch.

            Some of this will just be noticing it because I am monitoring myself. The buzzy headed feeling is familiar from coming offing Effexor as I mentioned above – but nowhere near as intense – I think it was much more zappy withdrawing from the Effexor.

            My thinking is pretty clear though – although feel a bit too “speedy” at times – like I cant get things like typing done fast enough and sort of accelerate – speed up my typing or rush about – minor mania – nothing too serious – I just try and catch myself and slow myself down.

            When I say minor – it feels minor to me ATM- to you it may be different.

            This is Day 20 – so out of interest I calculated the probable blood serum levels of the major metabolites of the Prozac. Norfluoxetine 2-4 days. Fluoxetine – 7-15 days.

            That gives a range of around 0-2.5% of norfluoextine a12.5-38.5% of fluoxetine remaining.

            So if we go with the upper half life of fluoxetine at around 38%., its going to take another month before it gets down to 10%.

            Thanks for the link 🙂 Not used it yet but I will keep it in mind.

            Post again soon.

          • lespaulzep .

            Just ready Kirsti’s post above and noticed one additional symptom to add.

            She said “Id feel like when I turned my head my brain would turn 1-2 seconds later” is a feeling I am getting also – I don’t fel sick – just a quick zap of anxiety – although this has been happening while Ive been on all the SSRI/SNRI – was more severe in the past – I once fell off my chair as the world span an did a forward roll and flipped myself onto my feet – the guys in the office were like “WTF!” and roaring with laughter – I didn’t notice as I was too busy descending in to a massive panic attack – I actually got an MRI a few weeks later after suffering a lot of headaches and told them what a had happened ! Nothing there – inner ear infection – labyrinthitis, anxiety etc. says the doc.

            I still get this and its a bit more intense at the moment, but am sort of used to it – tends to happen when I am sat in the chair at work – I actually had an episode a few minutes it probably is tension or similar with me and the withdrawal is just making me tense enough to exacerbate it.
            In summary “got it, coping with it” (currently:)

          • TJ Nelson

            Thanks for all your sharing! Maybe Kristi can tune in more about the delay in vision when turning your head.

            From your experiences as well, I think it is safe to say that antidepressants affect the brain in a lot of ways we just don’t understand. Which is scary. Because we don’t know exactly how they are changing the brain and trying to come off of them produces such dramatic withdrawals.

            As far as your comment earlier, when weaning off of antidepressants 5-HTP can help you feel less of the withdrawal symptoms and start to allow your brain to actually produce more serotonin. You should feel more relief when taking it and less pain. Further down the line, it will give you more feelings of security, self-esteem, etc. like a toned down version of antidepressants.

          • lespaulzep .

            Day 23 off Prozac (projected drug blood serum remaining 34.5%)

            Its been 2 days since my last post. Its early Sunday morning here – just woken after perhaps 4 hours sleep, by my 3 year old grandson – who I am looking after for the weekend – he keeps me real and is he’s a delight 🙂

            Didnt take 5 HTP at all on Friday and felt mostly ok – was a busy day, including a bust client meeting then a 5 hour drive.

            Slept for 10 hours on Friday night – not straight through – rather fitfully.
            In general my sleep is a mess.
            Felt pretty rough all day.
            Didnt eat well either.
            Eating is a bit of a mess too.

            Generally my head buzziness was present for a lot of the day

            Tried 50mg Now Foods L-Trytophan (empty stomach) during the day as an alternative to 5Htp.

            If any of these aminos are making a difference – its not an immediate effect.
            I think maybe the head-buzziness was lessened by the Tryptophan.
            So in general yesterday I was more distracted by “symtpoms”.

            Eventually reverted to taking 100 mg 5HPp before bed – took me ages to sleep though 🙁

            Weighed myself for the first time in weeks yesterday and Ive put on, erm, 15 pounds in a month – which makes me around 30lbs overweight – all stored my built-in special storage area:)
            This is following a diet and then my decision to decide I wasn’t sensitive to every food in the world and then eating lots of crap to prove it.
            At the moment I am not really concerned about this – although I will keep an eye on it .

            Summarizing the above and other factors.

            I need to start helping myself more and not expecting the aminos to be an instant cure all.

            Whoa hang on a minute!
            Seems like I haven’t been listening to other people have been saying – but then gain thats nothing new.

            I think I will need to write myself a daily check card and get a bit OCD on my ass for a while.

            More updates later

          • TJ Nelson

            Yes, the aminos definitely aren’t a cure all, but a great way for most people to get quick relief. Honestly, amazing nutrition is the foundation. The aminos “supplement” the food.

            For the longest time I thought I ate “healthy” when in reality I didn’t. After a long time of experimenting and researching, I found the foods that promote well-being and eliminated the ones that caused inflammation, allergies, and depletion of nutrients and neurotransmitters.

            Keep going 🙂

          • lespaulzep .

            Day 26 off prozac.
            Quick update.
            Spent a couple of days feeling mildly manic , irritable, overly verbally aggressive and generally “speedy”. (I read somewhere that mild mania may set in around when blood serum fluoxetine drops below 10% of the previous baseline)
            The heavy sweats of the last two weeks have abated and in fact I am feeling intermittently cold and fluey with a low level headache)
            Now the mania has simmered down to be replaced by lethargy and what I think of as pre-anxiety – not an anxiety attack as such – but have a continuous feeling that something is not quite right. Motivation has dropped noticeably.
            Symptoms are bearable but are p*ising me off – slightly gloominess is setting off too many introspective thoughts of “whats wrong?” or “When will this feeling stop – is it going to be like this forever?”.
            Keep tell myself – “this is just withdrawal.”
            Still taking 100mg of 5HTP, Vit B, D and Zinc.
            Another update in a few days.

          • TJ Nelson

            Your a trooper :). It is cool to see how you don’t believe the thoughts and all the questions, such as “Is it going to be like this forever?”

            Glad you are so resilient in your recovery.

          • lespaulzep .

            Day 37 free from Prozac (Blood Serum levels should be between 2.5% and 18% now )

            I need to answer the question – why have I stoppped posting so often ? – for myself but also maybe for anyone reading.

            Or to put it another way – given I wasnt too busy – then either I was better or I was not.

            I think that it is important to point out that I would most probably stop posting if I was better.

            It would be really helpful if people would post just one last time day ‘I’m better now. Byeeee’ .

            That way hope would be fed back to those who seek help for the first time or those that continual surf the internet looking for ‘Why am I depressed and anxious and will I ever ever get better?’

            So why did I stop posting – both better and worse – lol 🙂

            On thing I must point out below – I stopped drinking 3.5 years ago (stopped due to the additional impact it might make to my issues) – dont do drugs. I also work away from home during the week.

            I had been really argumentative for a week or two ( as mentioned in previous posts) before my post of Day 26

            2 days after my last post I got so upset and resentful about an argument I burst into tears and felt awful gloom – I felt awful both for myself and my family.

            I felt so ashamed of myself for behaving like a spoilt child. There were some hangover effect, but I thought I recovered from it.

            A feeling of head buzzin I associate with the Prozac withdrawal is still present.

            Work was ok during the week – but I was staying up really late just messing with my guitar and almost afraid to go bed.

            Why I am “almost afraid” to go to bed I have no idea.

            Then on Friday (2 days ago) it happened again- this time it was at the office – I had not thought something through properly which should have been evident from reading a document a few weeks before.

            There was a lot of stress – pressure of work – going on for me and my work colleague / business partner, so we had been a bit irritable with each other.

            He pointed out the issue -not in a harsh way, but irritated nonetheless – due to our joint work load stress.

            Thats was it – internally I was getting really angry and justify myself and blame anyone but me – but luckily it was on a conference call – and I didnt – but I didnt say much afyter that – I was seething with resentment – for my own mistake!!!!

            When I finally accepted to myself (and my colleague) that I had been lax – then I mentally collapsed into feeling like a complete failure – the gloom set in. I was near to tears. Anxiety was rearing its head – it wa awful.

            I recovered from the worst of the symtoms but I’ve not felt quite right since then.

            There is an addendum to that they I’ve only just thought about – I wanted to try and fix straight away and feel I should work silly hours – but I ended up being so tense I procrastinated but think about it constantly, which just adds to the mental burden.

            I planned a few days before to stay away from home – because I was feeling under the weather like Ive got a cold mild flu – on and off – but probably a mixture of that and the withdrawal.

            I slept in on Saturday to try and recover my sleep debt. Yeah right!. Like that really works when you are sleeping 5 hours a night and getting stressed out.

            Then I was up late – through my inability to get myself to bed and messing about then another issue last night – I didnt go to bed til 7 am (UK Time) – juts messing about with a new guitar purchase and the fact they I didnt get up late til the day before.

            I even tried Magnesium Calm a few hours before – possible mistake. Two hours of semi-sleep later I was getting jittery and the bathroom was beckoning to my bowels – I also felt insanely gloomy and the voice kicked in “Oh God – its back the depression – I’m never going to recover “. I was highly anxious and jittery – I was ready for driving th 200 mile journey home to my wife to be “looked after” and then to the hospital because I was beginning to panic and didnt want to be a burden to my wife – all this going through my head – “perhaps the hospital would give me some benzos – damn it I didnt want more drugs – I just want to be better – those idiots dont know anything – they dont understand – I might just have to go back on the Proazac – what if that dosent work and I feel like this all the time. oh God etc”. All this while a mass injection in the botty department was occurring – this is not untypical when having anxiety attacks at times in the past – just that this felt more extreme.

            I didnt go anywhere – I didnt phone my wife and I didnt tell her when we had a chat on the phone – she’s got her own neurological condition to deal with and stress doesnt help.

            So eventually after collapsing on the couch and snoozing for a bit and then getting up and feelin gloomy and shaky – but no where near as much earlier – I wrote this isntead 🙂

            There is a pattern in some of the above behaviour which may warrant a Freudian interpretation -if you are that way incined 🙂

            When I was about 8 years old I was made by a teacher (father figure) to stand in the middle of the school hall for being a “know it all” about soemthing very minor – the competitive nature of answering questions in a class and geetting my hand up too quick onmce too moften and then getting the answering wrong.

            I felt completly shamed by this and I get flash back as on occassionss such as the above – it is that awful gloomy feeling of failure and shame all rolled in to one.

            Perhaps it was warranted that I needed to be talked to about my behavior – but the way it was done seems to have left a festering wound whioch I have (as of yet) been unable to deal with.

            Just had a conversation with my wife and says my daughter is still unwell – she s had abug and fatigue for a couple weeks – and I started feeling the gloom within me! (!!!Whats that about) – this is over empathising.

            (BTW my daughter is 29 and 2 kids of her own, not 5 🙂

            I know there are going to be ups and downs with life, especially with the withdrawal, but there a huge difference between a carthartic bawling session and constant gloom and anxiety.

            These feelings seem more intense now I am coming of the Prozac – in fact a lot of them and re-emerging – like the crying – I have always been what people like to call “sensitive”

            (reminder to self see Julia Ross’s book – Section “Too Senstive to Lifes Pain” and do soething about it”.

            In summary:

            My routine is a complete mess,

            I am not doing anything about helping myself

            I know of lots of ways of trying to deal with it (too many that I cant choose is my excuse – its feels a bit like buying soap powder) – I am just not doing it – dummmmmmmmmmmm or what!

            Prozac withdrawal is a pain in the derriere – its very sneaky.

            I am afraid (see above) when the symptoms hit.

            So I’ve made some decisions

            I WILL get a daily timetable and stick to it.

            I WILL take Julia Ross’s supplements.

            I WILL fiannly sign up to TJs course.


            I am/was very cyncial about “philosophy” and “therapy” in general and I am always quoting things that I dont fully recall.

            One of is Jungian suffering – so I just googled it – and its quite interesting what its atually says to what I thought it said.

            What I cynically remember iut saying is “Life is pile of sh*t and you are gonna suffer for it”

            What is actually says is :

            Carl Jung identified two forms of suffering: meaningless and meaningful. Meaningless suffering is everywhere, being part of the human condition, as the Buddha recognized. This existential suffering is the result of our trying to avoid pain, by denial and repression. None of us wants pain. We naturally shun it. But doing so is like the spleen refusing to do its job. It leads to big trouble, dis-ease, and real problems. In the realm of the psyche, these are called “neuroses.” Jung identified the long-term habit of repression (our “stuffing” unpleasant feelings, facts, etc. within) as the cause of neuroses.[2]

            Because we all do this, we are all “neurotic” to one degree or another. This is “meaningless” suffering because it makes no sense, has no significance, and gives us no benefit. This form of suffering, in other words, is not a gift.

            The form of suffering that is meaningful comes when we stop repressing and take up our moral task as humans to deal consciously with our pain. In this process, we take up the pain that is endemic to living and work with it, in the knowledge that pain has a purpose. It is a warning, with an intrinsic message. We need to listen to our inner voices to learn this message.

            To do this, we allow the full range of emotions to flow through us, without putting up resistance to the process. We set the intention to experience the full range of feelings—be they good or bad. This requires moral courage, but, while it is uncomfortable (especially in the early stages), it affords the same benefits as a well-working spleen: We are more resilient. We have more energy. Our spirit is purified. And, most of all, we begin to be aware of the meaning behind the pain we experience. As the Buddha said, the more conscious we become, the less we suffer. The development of consciousness serves to deliver us from meaningless suffering.

            Quoted verbatim from

            Not quite what I thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            That was bit of an epic! But I think it has helped.

            So glad the site is here – to allow me to do this- thanks TJ

            Get well soon – wherever and whoever you are 🙂

            Ciao 4 Niao

          • TJ Nelson

            That was a monster post :). I also used to be very “cynical” of therapy and getting help. That didn’t lead me very far.

            These days I get all the help available. I don’t know why, but a lot of people view getting help as “bad”, especially the depressed brain.

            The most successful people I know have been “helped” the most.

            If I have a website problem, I ask for help immediately. What’s the difference with a mood or imbalance question?

          • lespaulzep .

            Thanks for all the input TJ,
            Went to bed last night at reasonable time and in the first time in my actual bed in weeks (been sleeping on the couch too lull my self off to sleep with tv in background). Was a reasonable nights sleep – i.e. I didnt wake up much but boy oh boy am I feeling the change over the last few days.
            This morning I feel gloomy and shaky this morning – thoughts have been going around in my head since waking 20 minutes ago – “is it going to be like this forever”, “I cant take much more of this” ( I mean going back on the prozac – I don’t have suicidal tendencies – just so you know) .
            If I haven’t mentioned it before my particular brand of madness[ :):0] comes with a generous helping of somatization and hypochondriasis (as they say on my local park bench) – which means in my case that any bodily sensations I feel make me think that “this time what if its ifferent perhaps Ive got a terrible illness” – especially when the symptoms change somewhat – I have learned/ am learning to accept that this is not the case but it doesnt mean that I dont get periods of time when my brain starts to beat me up with these thoughts .
            This is what is happening this morning. I usually plan on going to hospital at this point (I am writing this instead and its is helping.)
            Whats annoying and frustrating is that I have had a few weeks of optimism where these feelings we almost gone. Now that the Prozac levels are lowering the quality of these somatic feelings have changed – so that changes my perspective.
            Any change in somatic qualities seems to reset my body’s panic and worry threshold. This makes it difficult to deal with and triggers “this was mistake – perhaps I should back on the Prozac”.
            The more these feelings of gloom intensify the worse my brain it will become. Its very chicken and egg .
            My brain is considering that even if I get back on an even keel if I will be able to cope with any trigger in the future – hence why my psychiatrist said “perhaps you will need to be on the Prozac for the rest of your life”.

            These are just thoughts that I am my brain is challenging me with right now – so I am trying to be objective – observing the thoughts rather than making any knee jerk decisions based on them.

            Anyway, before I went to bed last night I found a book buy Dr Claire Weeks called “Self Help for your Nerves” (published 1962 ) which I bought a while ago because it had been mentioned elsewhere – its a relatively short book and easy to read as I found out.
            It had fallen down the back of the bed space and I somewhat serendipitously found it on the first night of going back to my proper bed.
            Didnt read much (I would havbe been awake half the night) , but I did find a chapter “That Dreaded Morning Feeling”.

            This is exactly what I have got right now and when I started writing thisit was particularly intense – but over the course of the last 30 mins or so has abated somewhat.

            After an interesting discussion. The advice in a nut shell given was basically “Mornings can be really really sh*t even during recovery-so deal with it by getting up and get on with the day by, getting a shower and a coffee, by force if necessary”.
            So I did something similar – wrote this and the dreaded first 30 mins is over. I am not so shaky now and ready for that shower …
            ciao 4 niao.

          • TJ Nelson

            Awesome story :). I’m sure this is inspiring for more people than just myself.

          • lespaulzep .


            Day 51, Prozac blood levels between 0 and 10% now.

            Time for another brain dump.

            Themes of the post:

            1. The old enemy : frustration.

            2. I am not currently helping myself.

            Theres a lot of postives that are missing from here I may amend the post later.

            Havent posted for 13 days for various reasons.

            Signed up for TJs course and have been reeling from the shock at the price of all those supplements (plus the extra room I need to store them 🙂

            More expensive than the Prozac!!!!

            I am still having a mental battle wit this cost – and am just running down the few supplments I alreay have

            Some may say its worth the costs because its a one off and the return on investment is

            As of side effects – Ive still got a buzzy head thing going on.

            Consistent sleep is difficult to achieve.

            Going from undersleeping to oversleeping.

            So although Ive paid for it and havnt really started TJs course yet.

            Gone from tears – which were helpful – to anger (Happy Gilmore).

            Now I am just very tense and cant seem to release the tension at all – the carthatic tears are not coming – which is very frutrsating.

            Friday 31st I had an awful day – I did a lot of travelling and short or low quality sleep affected me over a few days and then a 6 hour car journey that should have been 3.5 to 4 hours to try and get home to my family just completely got to me. Everywhere I turned there was a diversion and traffic jam – I am so glad we dont have free access to guns in the uk. The place would be carnage. Frustration

            New Rule – never ever ever ever ever ever try to drive during the day (for this regular journey) ever again. Its just not woth it. Always leave after 7pm.

            My good intention is always to get home to my family – but they dont wont a stressed out monster.

            I could afford to go by train but that costs twice as much as the car and there are other factors like will it run on time and I have to get to and from the station.

            I have to weigh up cost versus mental health.

            I had a lot of money worries a few years ago which have made a major conribution to how I deal with money – in fact I have a great deal of difficulty pending it at all now – I get guilty when I spend money on myself and overly angry when I feel something costs too much – this is not a helpful attitude!

            I was going mad in the car with frustration – I tried to cry it off.

            Then the invasive thoughts began. My brother has an drinking problem – he fantastic when sober – but drives me and my family crazy when he been drinking – all his emotions come out when drunk – and then he cant remember when he’s sober. He simply cant or wont deal with his emotional issues. Problem is I’m a fixer – I try and fix other peoples problems – even when I cant.

            We are very similar – but he’s a few years behind (I have 3.5 years sobriety – well done me:)

            He is more of a physical danger to himsef than others – as he stays at home and drinks – he’s not been a drunk driver or saloon brawler – which is a positive.

            The emotional danger – thats another matter 🙁

            I dont have control and I know, intelectually that I cant control the situation. , but find it incredibly different to let these things go.

            I want to fix because I love him. Like I want to fix my wifes neurological problems or my kids lives.

            I know I cant do it for them – and my attempts to fix I become controlling (not on purpose) – it doesnt help anybody.

            I start off do this out of love – but end up being Hitler.

            I need to accept that they are in control of their own destinies; that I can guide – more passive , less active. If they dont heed my input then that is there decision.

            Tried to cry it out but the tears wouldnt come.

            Then back to something I havent thought of in a while – money.

            The money control issues – Ive had these for years – seem to come down to security.

            I brain does this:

            What do I need to solve all problems – money.

            Where would I be if I had mon.ey.

            I’d have a house, a new car every few years, not have to worry about clothing or feeding myself or family ever again. Holidays a couple of times of year.

            Ability to be generous and not worry about it.

            Then the brain starts going – what kind of house, what kind of car – my values then become defined by my perceived social measure of sucess.

            Lets just do the car and youll get the idea of what happens in my brain.

            Car – 4 door mid range family – a .bit average – so surviving not “successful”.

            Car – BMW 5 Series – better but a lot of them about.

            Car – Porsche 911 – “Successful-ish” – but then what would people think of me.

            Car – Lamborghini etc – too much money for mine own good – what a complete ******* driving a car like that.

            Then I start to look at myself – well to drive a higher sucess car – I have to dress the part and be athletic but not so lardy ( somewhat overweight but definitely not Texan:)

            I currently drive a warn out old Vauxhall (GM) – very cheap to run and I do a lot of mileage int it . I dont care about the odd scrape – so I dont repair it.

            So its a vlue car and generally serves my purpose.

            My father says I should get a safer car such as a Mercedes (which I can afford but I hate the idea of spending money on something so middle class – when I could spend it on something else)

            Its all Walter Mitty-esque and its absolute nonsense.

            1) Because I’m not sure

            I remember listening to Tony Robbins a few years ago and he was defining “Success – What is Success”?

            Guy 1: I need to have body fat

            I need to stand back again and look

            Some of my “special” traits and feelings :

            People pleasing/Need Acknowledment/Lack of Self Belief or Self Worth





            Control Issues


            Find playin guitar is helping – I used to get frustrated with my perfectionism in the past – but now I am slowly but surely getting over my perfectionistic tendencies in this area – and it actually helps me wind down 🙂

            Boy oh boy have I got a lot of issues of my own generation.

            If a neuroses were the definition of successful – I’d be Bill Gates :):)

            The truth is I’m not dying and I have a good life with a wonderful family – I just have to learn to disconnect my head from my arse, problem for me is – its been up there too long and thinks it enjoys it in a sad kind of way 🙂

            Thanks for reading :):)

            Actions for Dufus Head:

            Spend the ****ing money on the supplements, you dufus,

            Get on with the course.

          • TJ Nelson

            I used to fall into that same trap. I would see some supplement that could potentially help me for $15 and somehow rationalize in my head that is wasn’t worth it.

            At that point I had to stop myself. What IS worth spending my money on?

            We are all spending our money one way or another. It comes down to what you value in your head.

            For some reason for depressed people, spending money to actually fix depression seems like this huge waste of money. Which in reality, there is no better way to spend your money!

            I now see spending any money on my health and well-being as an investment I make in myself that will pay unbelievable dividends throughout life.

            Will every supplement you buy work? No, but guess what? You now know one more thing about your body and what affects you and what doesn’t. You now are one step closer to feeling better.

            My guess is we have this thought, “What if it doesn’t work?” That is what mainly holds us back from trying out new things and spending money on overcoming depression.

            The reality is, we should be doing everything in our favor to beat depression. At the end of the day, every aspect of our lives is affected by our mental well-being, from our relationships to even our income.

            $50 spent on experimenting with recovery and getting better is a no-brainer. That $50 would have been spent otherwise anyways, on a shirt, Starbucks Lattes, movies, etc.

          • Lkins

            How’re you these days Lespaulzep? Loved you sharing your story.

          • Sarah

            ok so I read it all and I have tears in my eyes, I have been on so many meds on and off, combinations of fluoxetine , citalopram, escitalopram, effexor,risperidone…. but lately since a few years I was just on 20 mg dose of citalopram in the morning, I was quiet fine, until I felt like I am all fixed up and started taking it alternate days , sometimes I just went a few days without it, everything was going well and then it hit the low, Ii started feeling shortness of breath, anxiety,panic,(BUT NO ZAPS), so I rushed to my psych, he increased my citalopram from 20 mg morning to 20 mg morning+20 mg night, risperidone half, and clobazam for shortness of breath (always seems to calm me) I started having hypersomnia , so he introduced lamotrigine 10 mg at night! I have been on this since july, i relapsed after stopping clobazam, he started me back on it all remained well till september when he reduced my morning citalopram dose to 10 mg now since i think mid november I started having brain zaps all of a sudden, they were quiet frequent , at first Ii thought they will subside but they did not so I rushed to him again on dec 1, by the way in between he had me tested for thyroid and vit D I had vit D deficiency and thyroid was elevated, but all fixed now I am on their meds too , so on Dec 1 he increased my 20 mg night does of citalopram to 30 mg , morning was 20 mg he introduced vit B,he introduced L-methylfolate (Deplin) I was supposed to switch to 20 mg citalopram at night after 1 week but zaps never stopped! so I searched and it said maybe if you are too long on citalopram this happens, or changing brands works, I tried that still not stopped they are freaking me out, because in past I have tried cold turkey and I know all the symptoms, this time I never missed a dose since july . Ii switched to citalopram from escitalopram back in 2007 now it seems like there is no way Ii can quit any of these! I am a mother of 4 my youngest is 3 I HATE THE BRAIN ZAPS!!! they just don’t seem to go away, I take enough sunlight now,early morning, i walk 30 mins every morning, I am diet conscious my doc said eat a banana every morning, I take sleep between 7-8 hrs not more not less, I spend more time in sunlight but why in the world are zaps not stopping I am sick of it! sick of it all!!! going to the doc tomorrow wish me luck, I wish I was half as courageous as you guys but the withdrawal symptoms freak me out to even want to try at all! I wonder if I will be ever free of these! I curse the day I was irresponsible of taking my meds and hit low in july

          • Sarah

            btw I have been on anti deps since 2002

          • TJ Nelson

            One day at a time.

            One day at a time.

            One day at a time.

            It is painful, but with depression and getting off meds, there really isn’t a magic pill solution.

            If you wean off antidepressants, there will be withdrawals. Best we can do is do everything in our power to minimize those and move forwards one day at a time.

          • Guest

            I have read through so many stories that people have sharedon their journey off anti-depressants. Cymbalta, which I have been on for over 6 yrs has been very hard to come off. I weaned down by removing beads for over a yr and I couldn’t take doing it anymore and figured I would need to jump off a some point.
            I have tried at least 6 times to get off of the drug but couldn’t make it. Symptoms were too sever and the doc didn’t acknowledge or fully understand what SNRI withdrawal was. That in of itself is a scary thought.

            I am on day 8 now and awaiting some supplements from the “road back” program.

            I wanted to say out of so many stories I have read through this one has really struck a chord with me, you explain so clearly what so many of us feel. It is something horrible to go through and in the beginning it seems like we will be like this forever. Also you mentioned how a song “general midi” entered your life. For me it has been Welcome Home, Son, by Radical Face. before withdrawal I had never heard of him, now I am whisked away to beautiful natural places as I fall asleep listening to this calming and inspiring artist.

          • TJ Nelson

            Thank you for your comment. Glad that is struck a chord with you. I’ve been deep down the rabbit hole, that is one fact.

            Anything we or I can do to support you here?

          • lespaulzep .

            Perhaps I should add a bit of history for those that are interested in these kinds of things.
            Its a bit of a brain dump, but bear with me.

            I am a 46 year old Englishman, who by other peoples measured, is “successful”.
            I have suffered since my late teens from various bouts of depression – from relatively severe, barely functioning to low level, to mild – anxiety – of various kinds.
            Also IBS and since my earlier twenties, progressively worsening unsteadiness – maybe incorrectly described as ataxia – anyway whateber the label – its a feeling of falling over – where I have to grab onto something.
            I actually believed I might have BSE at one time – I am English after all 🙂
            I would have occasional periods of relative normilty
            I self medicated from an early age with mans cure all – alcohol .
            Lots of self diagnoses, but no real clinical illness – other than GAD(Generalised Anxiety Disorder).

            Of course I didnt beleive them I thought “I am frakking ill – these people are idiots”.
            And I havent really trusted a doctor since even thought I have spent many years visiting them hoping for a different outcome every time.
            I had a severe headache two years ago for 3 or 4 months – and ended up paying for an MRI privately.
            Diagnosis – “your brain is normal”. It cant believe had a headache for months and theres nothing wrong. Doctors are idiots – even the machines are broken!
            This is when I went to the psychiatrist.
            Before that I’d tried NLP, hypnosis, everything – based on my own diagnosis (of course – cos I am a genius and every body else is obviously a frakking idiot)
            Nice man – very convincing – took the drugs – see below.
            I was still fighting the fact that it was (in my case)to a greater or lesser degree in my head.
            After the psychiatrist came the gluten and caffeine “cure”.

            I must mention that I was on effexor 75mg and 150 mg for years up until two years ago.
            I wasnt happy with it and the single missed dose side effects were awful (I think the stuff has a negative half life!) – I tried stopping a few years ago and it nearly my wife and I to temporarily split because it was so awful.
            I was also a “functioning alcoholic” until 3.5 years ago whjich dint help – still sober (I dont really get tempted anymore – but am still wary).
            Anyway survived the booze and the effexor withdrawal that and we are happy now – wife has ben a massive support.

            Two years ago I transitioned off effexor on to cymbalta (duloxetine) for a couple of months – withdrawal side from effexor werent as bad as missing a dose – but I became really doom-ridden, almost foetal with depression for a couple of months before switching to 20 then 40 then temporarily 60 an back down to 40mg of prozac.
            The prozac was much better. Stayed on 40mg for over a few months before getting fed up with the side effects – libido and the comorbid fatigue and other interesting features of anxiety plus lethargy etc.
            My anxiety seemed to worsen so eventually I gave up gluten caffeine and sugar and all the other “bad things” in Aug 13.
            At that point my chronic fatigue seemed to ease.
            However a few weeks ago I decided that all these food issues were in my head and started ignoring labels and consuming caffeine and sugar and some gluten.
            Howver I have avoided any wholly flour based products (just in case:) – but have certainly eaten prodcusts with flour additives – I just dont look at thje label anymore.

            Theres a pattern to this isnt there? – and now writing it down – it will be a useful reference.
            The pattern:
            I self medicated for over 25 years.
            I have had lots of “terminal” illnesses – a lot of which happen to be in the media and internet or Ive come across with an acquaintance etc haing an actual physical illness.
            (I seem to acquire these from an over-active “empathy gland” :))
            Doctors are idiots and only I know the answer.
            Then eventually – the internet knows the answer – I have a rare concation of symptoms that doctors cant see because they only give you painkillers and antibiotics for everything.
            When its anything other than a cold and a sore knee doctors are supid – all that training – and they cant cure me – what a bunch of frakking money-grabbing arrogant b*stards ( or is tht lawyers or real estate agentes?)
            Hang on a minute …
            Lets go and see a psychologist – ah its all about my parents divorce and feeling unloved – lets draw some pretty pictures and lots of other sh*t.
            Jeez .. another bunch of idiots … etc etc.
            Internet cure all of the week says its -ta-da “gluten” – grain brain, wheat belly, sugar etc etc.
            Its just more pundits trying to make a name for them self and more importantly money!
            For fraks sake the only thing left that I cant give up is oxygen!!! (thats another cure – oxygen tents, too much oxygen, too little oxygen -will these people ever stop)

            Now at the end of all that – the thing is I have no idea which are real cures or which are placebo or even nocebo.
            Its a bit difficult to do a double blind study on yourself!!!! 🙂

            And also some of these issues and cures are actually real for some people – I just dont know about me!!

            What is different this time?
            I have actually stuck to and listened to a single psychologist – I even talk about my scepticism about the process – and do you know what – she doesnt get all huffy about it and insist that she is right.
            I can be a real pain the posterior in these sessions – just arguing away everything.

            Whoa – what a brain dump – better hit the office.
            More ramblings alter.

          • TJ Nelson

            Yeah, you are right. Only you have the answer.

            I now take everything about my health, mental well-being, emotional life, under my own control.

            The surprising thing is, that’s when psychologists, therapy, doctors, etc. can help you the MOST.

            Nobody can really “fix” anyone. If I get on the phone with someone, and they just don’t even care, it can be hard to give them that spark where they realize they are the only ones that can save themselves.

            I got lucky because I didn’t have anyone that really gave me the payoffs of sympathy and everything had failed, so I was forced to take responsibility for my life or kill myself.

            If you really want to feel good, first find the physical root cause of what is making you feel like crap. No amount of therapy is going to fix your adrenal glands.

            THEN once you have your body right, therapy, coaching, etc. will just benefit your life more and more and more.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hey Mike,

      I’d first see how 5-HTP was affecting you. If that works for you, you won’t need the tryptophan. Typically I tell people to start with 5-HTP and see how if affects you, and if it doesn’t work, then try tryptophan. Tryptophan works better for me personally, but the majority of people find relief from 5-HTP. They will do essentially the same thing for you, as 5-HTP is just one step further along the conversion process of converting tryptophan into serotonin.

  • Kristi

    Interesting stuff. 13years ago I had anxiety from ptsd & my doc put me on citalopram. He topped my prescription as needed & neither of us questioned it. I was on it for 9 1/2 yrs..& he’d said 1 pill was a mild dose so I thought what harm could it do? But no matter how hard I tried or wanted to I didnt seem to have the energy etc to sort my diet/exercise out. I was tired all the time. Magnesium helped with sleep, vit b with energy when I actually tried it but I still lacked oomph.. so I wld go back to slothing..not me, I knw that. So I didnt talk to my doc, or take anything, I just stopped cold turkey. It was pretty yuk.. I was dizzy and heavy headed bad for about 6-8 wks with total effects taking about 3-4 mths to stop. Id feel like when I turned my head my brain would turn 1-2 seconds later & it made me feel spaced out & sick but as the symptoms decreased my energy came back. I feel like ‘me’ came back.. I thought she’d gone.. I lost 18kg and workout 5-6 days per week. My life got positive in so many ways.. I wish Id gone off after 6months not 9 years! Or had other strategies.. if there were articles like this to bump in2.. Anyway, now I take vit b & magnesium & fish oil + epo. Food too – I keep gluton low – espec. bread as my tummy gets mucked up. Anyway, g8 article! Thx! 🙂

    • TJ Nelson

      Wow, thank you for sharing! The delay when turning your head is scary. I’ve experienced that before, not a lag time of 1-2 seconds, but I remember how odd of an experience it was.

      Good to hear you have survived and feel like yourself again! You should write a success story about your experience.

      • Kristi

        Hey thanks! Yes I’ve thought I will one day add it to my personal blog when I get that up & going.. 🙂 It’s g8 how it is so much easier to find/share stories & helpful info now, people needn’t fly blind, trusting solely on their doctors or 1 opinion 🙂

        • TJ Nelson

          Yes, the internet is really bringing lots of information finally out into the world. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to fix my depression without the internet. I would have mainly had to browse bookstores or trust the medical system trying to find the right path.

          If the story is good, I might be able to post it here if you wanted a lot of eyeballs to see your success story and be inspired by it. I’ve been thinking of starting a section dedicated to success stories, since most depressed people only hear about suicides and people failing.

          People are succeeding at overcoming depression everyday and it helps to see and know that.

          • Kristi

            Wow thanks, I’ll keep it in mind. I am moving from NZ to Vancouver in 1mth so be a cple mths.. I think ur idea is a great one to have success stories! Everyone is different, there is no clear-cut diagnosis for most people, & docs only have so much time & experience. People need to be proactive which can be hard given circumstances so the more info/stories available the more likely someone seeking answers will find one that resonates with them.

          • TJ Nelson

            Let me know once you are a little less busy with going up to Canada if you would like to write something. Also, make sure to get enough light up there in Canada :).

          • Kristi

            Thanks TJ will do! I’ll try & get some light too hehe 😉

          • TJ Nelson

            You should share more about how you experienced the delay in your brain/vision when turning your head as well, lespaulzep below mentioned your comment!

        • Mike Harrington

          This is awesome, Kristi! I thought I recognized your name and face. =)

          So you’re going strong with no pharmaceuticals, and still rocking with the Vitamin B, Magnesium & Fish Oil? What kind of Fish Oil? I’ve never really tried fish oil on a regular basis, but am always open to what helps!

          • Kristi

            Ok.. so definitely have to log on before you reply..I’ve lost my reply to you 3x now! haha.. that’s shocking but I’ve always been rushing! Leave NZ this Sunday. SOOO here goes again.. hehe.. Yes I’m not taking any pharmaceuticals and definitely I would say I would never need to go on them again 🙂 I am pretty hopeless at taking my vitamins/minerals but when I do I really notice the biggest difference with Vitamin B Stress Formula and secondly Magnesium (PPMP). I don’t know the type of fish oil, pretty sure it just says “fish oil”?! Sorry! But I take it more for hormonal balance and skin/brain.. I also have taken cod liver oil over periods of time.. The biggest thing for me has been diet/exercise as if I keep my body feeling good then I feel good too. Plus exercise helps me when I’m anxious as I just burn it off.. I love a good hike in the forest too.. breathing in all the fresh oxygen and being around huge trees is positive and energizing.. that sounds so hippy.. and the other thing I’ll say that will sound hippy too is that I really do believe that we all have the power to heal ourselves at least to a certain degree. I scoured books and looked inside myself a lot for a long time. I had to heal things and it did take work. One more 2 cents from my experience with others with depression etc too.. and this isn’t saying you do! – just putting it out there.. smoking pot to relax or feel better is a real trap and I’ve seen people really held back from that, me too back in the day for a period of time..luckily it stopped doing anything for me a long time ago but I know people that have never moved forward because of it..
            I wish you the best in your journey and flick me an email any time 🙂

          • TJ Nelson

            “If I keep my body feeling good then I feel good too.” —> Exactly! This is what amazes me. So many people come to this site because they have tried all the “think positive” tricks, but they FEEL like crap! Of course you aren’t going to feel good if your body is messed up. It took me a long time to realize this, mainly from being programmed to think depression simply meant I was deficient in prozac and from learning how to eat unhealthy from school meals.

            I also get people posting on my facebook how cannabis fixed their depression… but I have also gone down that route. If you become dependent on marijuana and need it everyday, guess what, you’re not changing your brain to need that. I also got withdrawals when I stopped smoking weed, so I don’t believe anyone that says it has no potential to be addicting.

            You can send me an email anytime as well.

            Where are you moving to?

          • Kristi

            Thanks TJ and likewise 🙂 Yeah pot can be addictive for some people I guess just as alcohol can be too especially if used to mask negative emotions/feelings. Definitely what we put in our bodies whether it be drugs, alcohol, food will have an effect on how we feel.. and exercise is our best way to naturally detox and combat that. I still indulge in crap every now and again but I don’t have the self destructive all-or-nothing approach anymore because my focus changed from pleasing others to realizing if I didn’t care about myself I wouldn’t have anyone else who would either. Guess there’s some bonuses to getting older! I don’t want to diminish anyone’s fight with depression though because it is different and in varying degrees for everyone. I just deleted a book I wrote again.. there is so much more to it all..
            I’m moving with my daughter to Vancouver, Canada! Scary but exciting!! Where are you based?

          • TJ Nelson

            Yeah, I like to see drugs in the case of a problem or an addiction as the “smoke on the fire” rather than the fire itself. Some people can smoke a little pot every now and then, but definitely not me :). If I got high right now, I would probably keep smoking for like 3 days straight and then I would be screwed.

            Right now I am in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was in Asia for 8 months to get this site started, then came back to United States. Might head to Austin Texas or Medellin, Colombia soon.

            I’m gaining some traction in SLC though. I randomly created a site yesterday – – and so many people liked it I am creating a “Hug Event” here in a few weeks. I will see how things go, but I hate winter :).

    • Jan O’Dvárko

      Hi Kristi, thank you very much for this post! It gives me so much hope… I was on Citalopram for about 6 years and then on Lexapro for a few months. It’s been 14 days now since my last dose after tapering off. My anxiety was very bad last few days, and I realise there may be a period of strong post-withdrawal symptoms yet to come, but it is so comforting to read that you managed to quit Citalopram after more than 9 years.
      Could you tell me if you were taking Citalopram for anxiety or depression, and in what dose?
      Thanks again!

      • Kristi

        Hi Jan, that is wonderful news to be able to give you some hope! Everyone is different and so I would never say that someone should be off their medication but for me it was the best thing I did and I should have been off so much earlier.. I really hadn’t realised the effect it had on my energy levels until I was finally clear of them. For me I think the main thing was I had ptsd and I should have had maybe some other help such as strategies & support for the anxiety and feelings of panic that I would get rather than just a prescription.. but it worked enough I guess.. who knows. I still get anxious but I have inbuilt strategies that I don’t even have to think about it anymore. I just immediately wipe it away with distraction and I find doing something active helps the most, such as a good hike or even a walk around the block with some good music. I had situational depression some years back for a period of time (after going through a fair bit), where I felt like crying all the time and didn’t want to move. It was very horrible. Funnily it was just after that that I decided to go off the citalopram. I guess I was crawling out of it as I really wanted to feel better and have the energy to do more. You asked about the dosage and I was on 1 per day which was a low dose. I remember way back a doctor prescribed me 2 per day but I didn’t take it because it made me too tired and I didn’t think I needed it. I think doctors over medicate all the time.. and the thing was I had a reason I felt the way I did at the time. I don’t think it’s good to mask your problems with drugs.. it doesn’t help.. so that is why I didn’t take the dosage I was recomended at that time.
        As I said too.. it took a few months for my head to come right after coming off. Stick at it! You will feel yucky but it does get easier.
        It is really important to look after yourself. If I could say one thing that helped me the most it was dealing with my inner dialogue.. it’s cheesy but I started using mental affirmations. I also wrote a lot. Always try and turn a negative thought into a positive one and be kind to yourself and love yourself. You only have this one life and this one body (in this life anyway)! Try and catch out your thoughts and if they are mean ones (to yourself), immediately shut it down and think of something good about yourself and your life – what you are thankful for. That is what really helped me more than anything.. being thankful.
        Sorry to ramble on I am typing rather fast as I have to go and do more work but you are welcome to reach out to me any time or friend me on fb and we can chat any time!!
        All the best and thanks heaps for your message!

        • Vallet

          Hi Kristi, I read your blogs on here and wanted to know how your doing and how Canada is going for you? I just signed on today so I just wanted to say hi!!!

      • James Fisher

        Hi Jan I am in a similar situation now. Took Citalopram for 6 years and now have completely tapered off. Withdrawal symptoms have been on/off for about 3 weeks now. I’m assuming all of your w/d symptoms are gone now. How long did it take?

        • Jan O’Dvárko

          Hi James,

          Short answer: About 8 months

          Long answer:

          I’m afraid there is no clear answer to your clear question James. The withdrawal symptoms I’ve personally experienced were anxiety and depression, and probably depersonalisation (which I guess I’m still experiencing.) Looking back, I think some form of CBT would have been very helpful during that period. And I’m still considering this option.

          I personally came to conclusion that antidepressants only suppress what our “deeper wisdom” is trying to tell us through psychological suffering. Short after I began to taper off, all my fears and distressing thoughts started to bubble to the surface and the more painful they got, the more meditation I practised to dissolve them. I’m not sure whether this approach works for everyone, but for me it was a tremendous help and I’m pretty sure I would have never made it through without it.

          I’m saying that because my withdrawal story is closely connected with meditation and, as a result, it’s hard for me to tell which changes have been induced by meditation and which are purely a withdrawal effect. What I can only say is my values and beliefs have been shaken to the core and I’m in a process of getting used to it. I feel extremely sensitive and sometimes very confused about myself, but hey – calm and with no anxiety whatsoever. The confusion might have been caused either by my values being shaken, or by depersonalisation/derealisation that supposedly happens to some people during SSRI withdrawal.

          Anyway, it’s been about 9 months now and I can say my life gets brighter every day. As I walk down the street and watch people and things, I often get flashes of pleasant feelings and joyful memories, reassuring me that everything will be fine, in fact that everything already is fine as it is and I just don’t always see it. And these flashes of joy are becoming more frequent as days pass. So I’d say be patient with yourself and with all the windows and waves, it will keep getting better for you in the long term. But when you’re feeling really bad, talk to someone. I guess it would be very beneficial for you to talk about it regularly with a good therapist who will supervise your progress.

          Having said all that, as I read my diary, it took about eight months from my last dose of citalopram to the point where there were no records of anxiety or depression (about month ago.) But each person is different, obviously.

          I’ve been searching the internet the same way you do (I assume) for withdrawal experiences of people in a similar situation in order to get some rough idea about when I can hope for the torture to subside. It can get very frustrating and despairing, can’t it! Especially when you read some people talking about their symptoms taking years to subside. But I think the only thing that matters is the progress, not some distant point in the future when everything is supposed to be great. And the progress does happen – every day.

          Good luck James. I think thousands of people are going through the same struggle right now, keep in mind you’re not alone.

  • Aria

    I am trying to get off of celexa, so far down to 5mg for the first month I felt great now I am so dizzy. I am curious how did you heal your adrenals?

    • TJ Nelson

      I got a test done which showed my DHEA and cortisol levels. Turned out that my DHEA was low. This is how I confirmed it was my adrenals.

      I took a supplement called phytisone, continued taking things like magnesium, then I took it really easy on working out and lifting weights. It is really hard for me to give up lifting weights, but I did for a period of time.

      Then I took a very small dose of DHEA, got a lot of rest, and took it easy.

      After a while, my adrenals were able to recover. I think I still have lingering effects, so I am extra careful not to overtrain. But right now my deadlift is the strongest it has ever been and I have more motivation and energy than ever before. It is a great feeling getting the body working right and properly.

      • Aria

        Thank you for replying so soon!. I will look up phytisone. I am taking a magnesium supplement called nature calm. Sometimes it helps and other times it gives me heart pain, I don’t know if that mean I need to keep taking it daily since I am low on magnesium or if I should avoid it.

        • TJ Nelson

          Hi Aria, if you are getting adverse symptoms from natural calm that can mean you already have enough magnesium or that that specific brand is not reacting well with your body.

          You can get a test done to see if magnesium levels are low. If you have seen my Natural Calm Review on this site I show on my blood test that my levels were actually low before I began heavily supplementing.

          If it is doing that, I would either switch to a different product (like using epsom salts or get the lotion and see how that works) or stop using magnesium altogether until you know if you actually need it.

  • KCD

    TJ, I commend you for being able to help yourself and find the right answers. While I experienced PPD and hypoT after first child, an SSRI and stimulant kept me in the game fully functioning and able to care for three children, youngest with Down Syndrome. In 2008, I had tubal ligation / ablation and within 6 months bedridden with many physical and mental symptoms. I’ve been treated for lyme, mold, etc, and many physical symptoms improved. I have been on MANY med combos and remain on low dose lamictal, seroquel, lexapro, ativan, and concerta and feel everyday like giving up (not going to). I cry ALL the time and have become house bound as even being around people I know causes this internal angst…SOO irrational and opposite to who I am. Last year I completed 36 rounds of TMS which helped during treatment, but relapsed within one week of cessation. I have a clean diet and take Calm, vit D, FO, probiotic, 5HTP, and B vitamins seem to exacerbate anxiety off the charts….even starting slow.
    Brain fog is by far the worst symptom and I struggle sifting through info, even when it is easily outlined. So do you think ALL depression has a cause? I would like to think mine does, but have aggressively combed through spiritual, physical, and mental with no relief for the past 6.5 years.
    Still hoping for answer….

    • TJ Nelson

      Yes, it does have a cause. There is always a reason for it.

      How is your gut? When you eat, do you feel better or worse afterwards?

      • KCD

        Labs look like ‘one of a Crohn’s patient’. I have never experienced any digestive issues,-bloating, constipation, gas, heartburn etc. I do regular maintenance for leaky gut. Also, Biotek shows only few foods with sensitivity.
        There is not a noticeable, measurable difference after I eat.

        • TJ Nelson

          So you do have digestive issues, or not?

          • kcd

            GI Effects tests indicate that I do.

          • TJ Nelson

            If you fix your gut, your entire world will change. Trust me.

            Just recently, my gut got completely wrecked in Thailand. My test results showed I had ongoing high colonic inflammation and my pancreas wasn’t secreting enough enzymes.

            I slowly fixed my gut and all the brain fog, slight depression I got from eating, etc. completely went away.

  • danradinovic

    I held your hand, while the sky fell apart. This song found me on the second day of withdrawal and is helping me through a very difficult, strange time.

    • TJ Nelson

      Thank you!

  • Katherine

    Wow, just wanted to say thank you for this article! It is great and for some reason really rare to find an article written by someone who has gotten through the bad period and is doing well. I also really appreciate the practical advice! I’ve been on 20 mg of Citalopram for the past 6 years and am going off it now. My mood has been pretty crap and I’ve felt very out of it. Today I was at the point of questioning whether or not I could continue doing this… but browsing through this article, comments and the site make me feel like I can (seriously… thank you :)! Tomorrow morning I will be going to the store and picking up the 5 HTP, B vitamins, fish oil and magnesium. I’m going to try to eat more healthy fats as well… just so happy to have something to try. Happy New Year to you!!

    • TJ Nelson

      Happy New Year to you as well! Let us all know how everything turns out.

      • Katherine

        Hi TJ!

        It’s been three days since I started taking the supplements and altering my diet to match what I’m learning I need to be eating to keep my serotonin levels high.

        It’s made a BIG difference!

        I’ve started out each morning with 5 HTP, Fish Oil, B12 and Magnesium. Also Vitamin D because I’m often low according to my bloodwork. Each day, I’ve tried to eat foods like steak, turkey, avocado, lots of veggies, whole grains, salmon, eggs, beans. Very nutrient dense foods.

        Although I don’t feel perfectly normal yet, I have to say – my mood is mostly great. I get a little tired throughout the day, but as soon as I eat something from my new healthy selection, I feel fine again.

        Your advice KICKS BUTT. I am very excited to be able to share my story once I get through this. I’m still on 10 mg of Celexa and will be for another couple of weeks as I taper down to 0… but given how much better I already feel using your advice, I feel really good about going off entirely.

        THANK YOU!

        A couple questions:

        Is there anything bad about taking 5 HTP and tryptophan together? Or should you just stick to one or the other?

        Is it possible to take too much 5 HTP? (Right now I’m just taking it in the morning when I wake up and right before I go to bed).

        I’m just taking a B12 supplement right now – would you suggest going for a B complex instead?

        Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

        • TJ Nelson

          Hi Katherine,

          Good to hear you are doing so well!

          I’ve never heard of anything bad happening from taking 5-HTP and l-tryptophan together. Most people choose the one that affects them more positively, but if you find they work together without adverse symptoms, they won’t interact in anyway to my knowledge that would cause harm.

          If you take too much 5-HTP you will get adverse symptoms and know to lower your dose. Also, if you take too much serotonin boosting supplements, you can get what is called “serotonin-syndrome” which means too much serotonin and mimics the effects of low serotonin.

          The only other concern with taking large amounts of only 5-HTP or tryptophan is raising only levels of serotonin can cause the catecholamine system to lower itself in relation to it.

          Some people are fine simply taking one or the other, but some people need to raise both serotonin and catecholamines at the same time. That would involve also taking l-tyrosine or l-phenylalanine with it.

          It all really depends on your personal biology and how everything affects you.

  • rob

    Hey TJ. I have been on Effexor for 12 years when finally “pooped out”. Tried a few ADs after that and can’t get relief. I’m experiencing anxiety, depression, insomnia and a lot of other pains. Would you recommend Tryptophan or 5htp? Tyrosine Or DLPA? I’m taking multivitamins, fish oil and magnesium citrate. Melatonin for sleep.
    Please help

    • TJ Nelson

      Send me an email

      • choudhurytamal

        Hi TJ

        Can you please share your email id.
        I want to send you an email regarding the difficulty that I am facing with my anxiety.


    • Lkins

      Rob- how’re you?

  • Jason

    Hey guys. Great article, exactly where I am heading. I’ve been reading and researching vigorously about coming off my wellbutrin and supplementing with amino acids etc. In fact I’ve ordered just about all of the omega 3’s, tryptophan, 5htp, tyrosine, basically everything there’s too many to name. Spent a pretty penny but money means nothing in comparison to peace of mind. I’ve been to hell and back and there again and have made up my mind to fight it with everything I got. Implementing serious lifestyle changes and will be extremely proactive on my mental health. And when not if I come out on top, I want to help everyone I can to do the same and support anyone who needs help because I know just how alone and dark things can become. I’m nervously optimistic but have started my slow wean off. Need to figure out what and when to take all these supplements. Thank you for the article was a great inspiration for me!!

    • TJ Nelson

      Glad that it was inspiring for you!

  • meg

    Thank you for all the info! I stopped taking Prestiq because it caused my blood pressure to skyrocket. I did wean for a few days but then decided to just stop taking it. I have started taking fish oil, 5 htp and other vitamins. I will stop by gnc to get tyrosine and some more 5 htp. This is my year and will be antidepressant free. You have a great blog and you should be proud of yourself. I am sure you have helped many people during the withdrawal period. Thanks so much!

    • TJ Nelson

      Thank you very much! Let us know how everything goes!

  • Guest

    Regarding the last piece of your post RE. dissolving medication in water. From my understanding, a lot of medications including SSRI like Celexa have a film coating. This is to gradually release the medication into the body at a slow and controlled rate throughout the day. If you chew/break/dissolve pills, you destroy this slow-release seal, meaning a whole day’s worth of medication can be released into the body, over the course of 1 or 2 hours. Could that not be completely counterproductive and potentially dangerous?

    • TJ Nelson

      I haven’t looked into that. I just heard from a few people that they used the dilution method to wean off. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

  • Lynne Bezuidenhout

    Hello, so glad to have found your site.
    I realized a few days ago that I am tired of being on Celexa. I am in a good place, feel good, have been exercising regularly, eating healthfully and mindfully, but can’t shake the 20 lbs I have slowly picked up over the 15 years I have been on Celexa. I want to stress that the reason for wanting to stop taking Celexa is not purely because of the weight gain, but that I feel that I am in a good place and that it is time. It helped me when I needed it, there is no doubt about that.
    I am really interested in your take on supplements and diet and it all makes sense. I have slowly tapered my dosage down from 40 mg to 10mg over a period of 3 months. I am of to get some 5-HTP and Vitamin B.
    Thank you for this site.

    • TJ Nelson

      Glad that the site has helped you! Keep us updated.

  • Lynne Bezuidenhout

    How do I edit this to take my last name off?

    • Lynnefree

      Are you able to take my last name off? I tried editing my profile, but I still end up coming on here with the last
      name attached.

      • TJ Nelson

        That is your profile with the commenting system Disqus. I can’t edit that.

  • Rebekah

    Great website! I think it’s wonderful that your mission is to help people. This is one of the few places I found on the web that discusses after care. I think people give up and go back to the meds because they feel like hell. I’m looking into the book you recommended and also wanted to know what your take is on weaning off with low doses of St. Johns Wart just to take the edge off, not to stay on it? Also how long should I take off work when I start the process? My work is physically demanding. It seems people are okay up until 3 days after they quit, so I’d probably work until day 2 no meds.. I plan on using the water bottle method for a few weeks after a month of just taking 10mgs celexa from a 20 mg dose. I’ve been on C for a year now for major depression.
    Thank You! Guest RV

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Rebekah, thanks for the comment. I am not 100% sure on using St. John’s Wort for tapering off. If you are able to take a small dose with no adverse effects, you might be safe. I have just never done it myself or known anyone who has.

      Taking work off will depend on you, but like I said in the article, it can be best if you have 2 weeks where you don’t have too much responsibilities to be able to wean off.

      Let us know how it goes!

  • Chaim Bochner

    Hi, What’s your taking on testosterone problems for men. See, I had chemotherapy a few years ago and was told my testes were shot. I then used transdermal testosterone gel but now its being highly questioned.

    Since I suffer from depression and anxiety and I know a link exists between low T and mental health, how do I boost testosterone naturally or I shouldn’t worry about it?

    Thank You,


    • TJ Nelson

      Hormonal imbalances play a massive role in depression and anxiety.

      I don’t know exactly what to do if something is wrong with your testicles. How I boost mine naturally is through the proper diet (enough healthy fats, grass fed beef, eggs, along with lots of veggies), proper sleep, and lifting heavy weights.

    • Shay Fox Darcy

      Take a dhea supplement, Broccoli is good for boosting testosterone as well

  • Amanda

    I have been off celexa for 2 and half months now and I’m feeling like I lost all feeling. I’m kind of flat and enjoy very little. My husband and I argue constant and I feel it’s due to me having lost my feelings. It’s bizarre and I don’t know if this is just the way it’s going to be or if it will subside. Please anything will help.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Amanda, have you read around the site and signed up for the emails?

  • Ryan

    Hi I’m just curious I’m going through hell right now and tried all the ssri’s and currentlyklonopin. I quit taking lexapro 4 months ago and ever since I’ve been a panicked, anxious, depressed mess.I went to my natural path and he gave me GABADONE which has most of the ingredients in it that you are recommending what are your thoughts on gabadone and what can I use to supplement omega fish oils as I’m deathly allergic to almost all seafood? Please any advice would be amazing and helpful I just want my life back and to get off of these mind altering poisons .

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi, I’ve never taken Gabadone or have any experience with it, so it would be hard to tell you if it is any good or not.

      When you say you are deathly allergic to seafood, does that mean you can’t take fish oil and are looking for a way to get omega 3s without them? Or you want a good brand of fish oil to take?

      If all you are looking for is a good brand of fish oil, you can see that here:

      • IR8WARRIOR

        I’m saying that I cannot take amythimg seafood based and what is my next best option? Fish oil ois not an option of any kind.

        • TJ Nelson

          If you absolutely can’t take fish oil or krill oil than plant-based omega-3 sources like flax, hemp, chia and perilla seeds are high in ALA which will convert later. Not everyone can’t convert ALA properly, but if you can’t take fish oil at all, that is your best choice.

        • Christina Marie Bhattacharya

          Flax seed oil will work the same as fish oil. It has to go through another step to convert to ALA in the body but you have to take a higher dose than you would with fish oil.

          • TJ Nelson

            Not everyone is able to convert flax properly, so I would make sure that you take flax and then get tested later if you can to ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acids.

    • Shay Fox Darcy

      Use coconut oil if you have a seafood allergy, it has lots of amino acids and healthy fats. Cut out all sugar, gluten and processed foods, buy organic fruits and veggies, supplement with vitamin c, 1000mgs a day, vit d3, magnesium oil for use on skin, easiest way to absorb it. Only buy grass fed beef, avoid dairy and replace with almond or hemp milk. These things are doing wonders for my tapering off citalopram.

    • Lkins

      How’re you IR8WARRIOR?

      • IR8WARRIOR

        Hi Lkins thanks for asking how i am. I am actually worse off then when i wrote this a year ago. Im off of all meds but i suffered a tramatic brain injury last june and it has complete changed my life. Everyday is a struggle to not give up and i have pretty much lost all hope for living a normal life again. Being disabled is rough especally since our medical system is a complete and utter failure and all they want to do mask symptoms with drugs instead of working on treating the actual problem.

  • Krys

    I’m goin on 2 months of problems from stopping cymbalta. I only took it for four days and the side effects put my body in shock. I was nauseated, shaking, dizzy and having panic attacks every 10 minutes to where I wanted to end my life!! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced!! I stopped it and a week later I got withdrawl symptoms that I’m still dealing with. My doctor of course says it’s not withdrawals but it’s the only change I’ve made in my life and than BAM I’m sick. Cymbalta is a powerful drug!! I was dumb however and let the doc prescribe me Lexapro to ease my only on 5 mg but I don’t feel much different or better and am still having the dizziness, blurred vision, can’t focus or think straight. My quality of life has gone down dramatically from anti depressants:(…long story short, my naturopath found out I’m in severe adrenal fatigue with producing barely any cortisol, dhea and my neuro transmitters are barely functioning all because of the stress and shock that cymbalta put me in. I just started taking tyrosine 2x a day, 5htp 2x a day, theanine 2x a day, vit d,b and c crystals. Dhea, and a adrenal support vitamin. I’m hoping these kick in and I can have relief. I have a baby I need to enjoy and need my life back 🙂 I plan to taper Lexapro soon

    • TJ Nelson

      Good to hear you are on the right track and know what the root cause is, now you can solve it and finally heal yourself! Sadly, antidepressants are for the most part just fixing the smoke on the fire. They help the symptoms, but they don’t fix what is actually wrong.

    • Lkins

      Krys- how’re you doing a year later? Sometimes it takes a few months to fully recover from your system being jolted. Checking In on ya.

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  • Kathryn Schofield

    Given me some energy to keep going…I have just stopped after trying to taper from 10 to 5 (celexa) and then 5 each 2nd day. I thought given the low dose it would not be very noticeable – I was wrong. I have felt as if I’m walking around on a ship, kind of moving against another moving surface at times, not nauseated but really not able to hurry or anything and changes in elevation also seem to have a very strange effect on what is probably blood pressure. I was even on escalators not actually moving my own body and felt a kind of blood pressure alteration when going up. It was quite scary but did not last for more than 2 or 3 days. Still feeling very out of control and unpredictable emotionally though. Add to the situations above where you should be careful of taking away the support that the drugs give you – your child’s first week at school! Again I thought it would be a case of a couple of days emotional strain but it’s lasting longer for me as if everything has burst in in glorious technicolour again.
    One thing I have been suspecting: do you think that other things that are habit forming, taken alongside celexa, get a bit reinforced, or could it be coincidence? I hadn’t followed the advice not to drink with it and over the months have really found myself drinking in quite a habitual way, which is why I stopped, as I’ve suspected that one regular habit has kind of encouraged the other and both have felt quite good but obviously with some less healthy consequences.

  • Renae Harris

    Thanku so much ……..I’m on my 2nd week tapering from 20 mg to 10 mg at present
    …….I am in a world of pain……but I will not give in…….read your article made me feel like I can do this…….next week I’ll go to 5mg….I would appreciate any advice …th ku so much h …God bless

    • TJ Nelson

      Keep going! It might be a rollercoaster for a while but the brain has magnificent ways of healing itself.

  • Lisa Greco Lopez

    Thank you so much! I’m presently up reading about this because coming off of my SSRI has caused Insomnia. I was on 20mg Celexa for 2 years now and I am done treating my depression with medication. I deduced that over the past month and then just decided I was going to quit. Essential oils have helped ground me during this process but I’m really interested in these amino acids as well. I’m going to look into that. I am joining a spa where I can use the elliptical several times a week. There is an indoor pool with lots of natural light. I hope this will help me cope with my SAD this year, naturally. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone. It’s nice to hear my floating head won’t last forever.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for writing in! Glad that you are taking so much action. Looking forward to your success story :).

  • 484isa .

    I don’t know how I’ve never seen this before, having googled extensively for how to get off precisely “how to get off citalopram without losing my mind”.

    I was on it for 8 months, and it helped me a lot. I went from being an absolute disaster, barely functioning, to being… well, happy and content. But always very tired, needing way too much sleep, and having constant ringing in my ears.

    I was on citalopram for 8 months at 20mg a day then 1 month at 10mg a day. I stopped 4 weeks ago. I got through the zaps ok, because they felt *so* unnatural I knew it was withdrawal, and that made it easier. I thought things were getting better, but the last few days I’ve just crashed. I’ve hardly slept at all, just lying awake panicking.

    THANK YOU for this article. I think I already eat ok. I heard on the radio that humans are pretty unique in their ability to metabolise starchy carbs as well as we do, and we need it because we have such big brains. Fats are a good idea, but I think it’s basically good to not go on any radical diets while you’re going through withdrawal.

    I’d heard a lot about 5-HTP before and took it once or twice before ADs with no luck.

    I’ve just googled and my local H&B is open today. I don’t care about the cost.

    Probably every single person here knows what it’s like to be thrown a lifeline when you’re struggling. THANK YOU for this article.

    • TJ Nelson

      Thanks for commenting. I always wonder how many people this article has helped that I never hear from.

      The zaps were really bizarre for me as well. I had always heard about them but it isn’t until you experience them that you realize how creepy they are.

      Let us all know how everything goes!

  • Sandy

    Hi, been on 20mg Celexa for 15 years now I think the doc just forgets I’m on it this long lolololol now I’m cold turkey 5 weeks taking 5 HTC omega fish oils, B12 Vits, Roseola supplement. Headaches, foggy, sleep. Deprived, angry I ever went on this crap, up and down in a second emotionally. Waiting on a miracle cause I’m so sick. But I will fight to the end.

    • TJ Nelson

      Never give up! Took me a while of trial-and-error. This article might help you:

      • kelly

        really would love to hear how youre doing now

        • TJ Nelson

          Been doing amazing. I haven’t taken any medication for 4-5 years and have been depression free.

          I just have to watch myself closely and make sure I am getting the proper nutrition and covering all my bases.

    • jmonster097

      what is the roseola for? that’s a new one to me

  • jmonster097

    i have to second and third anyone who has thanked you for the article. i’m not much of a forums person. i generally just observe. i joined this one because 1) you all seem cool and supportive… 2) you seem intelligent… 3) this is the only one i’ve been eyeing that didn’t seem chock full of hypochondriacs … and 4) my girlfriend told me to join one hahaha

    quitting cymbalta after around a year. i went from 90 to 30 mg and already experiencing the brain zaps and being on the verge of crying jags. lovely business, these ‘anti’ depressants

    • TJ Nelson

      Glad that you feel welcome here. Keep us posted on your journey.

  • dippitydo1

    Thanks for so much good info in an easy to read format.

    • TJ Nelson

      My pleasure.

  • Amanda Black

    Thank you so much! This is so helpful. Im scared for the withdrawal symptoms to start. But this has been inspiring and ready to get it done. Just ready to feel myself again. Thanks!

    • TJ Nelson

      My pleasure! Keeps us updated on your journey.

  • Tuesday

    I found this article while looking for information on controlling withdrawals for my husband who wishes to discontinue his use of Prozac. I Just want to say that for the first time in 14 years, it is SO profound for me to read another person’s experience with Celexa. I hate that stuff, it did it’s job (PPD) but the aftermath was not worth it…I really questioned if I would make it thru coming off the medication. I too, like you mentioned, can still VIVIDLY recall the whole experience of going off of it 🙁 The part that made me feel moved to comment was your remark about the physical symptoms. TO THIS DAY I have tried to explain to my husband the feeling of my skin ‘hurting’ and he always looks like he’s questioning me lol 😉 unfortunately, even after over a decade, I STILL have some lasting side effects from the celexa, occasional ‘sensitive’ skin is one. (random hives when I’m in water is the other…never happened before celexa, happens occasionally every since.). Just know that it has been so NICE (lack of a better term) to read someone else’s experience that nearly mirrors my own, and to know I’m not alone!!! Also, I have taken control using all the things you have mentioned in terms of diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements, and have been medication free for many years controlling my depression. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Tuesday, glad that you resonated with the article! The brain zaps were so bizarre, I have no idea how to accurately explain that to someone who hasn’t experienced them before.

  • MD

    Thank you for creating this platform about antidepressants. I have been taking Bupropion for ADD, anxiety and mild depression since May of 2015. I would like to get off of it and try a natural way to manage anxiety. I take two pills a day. I think they have the coating on them. How would you suggest tapering off?

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi MD, in the article it has instructions for how to taper off :). Buproprion specifically targets catecholamines, so amino acids like l-tyrosine, l-phenylalanine, or DLPA would be your best bet.

  • Susan Trierweiler

    Hello All, Just read everyones posts.I have to share.On 20 mgs Lexapro.Last month lost whole script.Cold Turkey was horrible.So got script because everyone tells me how horrible I am when not medicated. I took a few,then went off. By the way I was able to find some when I lost script.So now I am crazy…. No energy,but go 100 miles an hour. Currently unemployed,my dog of 15 years had to be put down. My ex of 30 years is dating someone,man am I angry. Two more rants..Going to have to move out of my inexpensive home of 12 years and my mom who I helped moved away..I am currently taking Turmeric, D3 with K2.Just found a bottle of DHEA.. I started a juice cleanse yesterday,but too much too fast. I also quite coffee two days ago. Replaced with a wonderful drink called Golden Milk… HELP….. I feel like my heart is going to beat out of chest.. I have energy to stay up all night,but not do dishes….I am also a recovering Alcoholic.I have Omegas, Calcium.I also do Yoga twice a day..I also take Niacin which is B3

  • Adam

    I’m in the process of getting off celexa after a year at 20 mg.
    At the moment I’m having a lot of trouble sleeping. I read that 5-HTP helps with this and I am willing to try it but I have read many warnings of how you are never supposed to take 5-HTP while on an SSRI. On my taper I am still at 10mg. Do I have to wait before I start on the 5-HTP? Is it a danger to my health to take it before I am completely off of the SSRI?
    For sleep what are the best supplements to take and at what time of day for those supplements? I heard reports about fish oil, magnesium, B-complex vitamins, B-12 and calcium, but what do you recommend for dosages? Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Adam,

      Serotonin syndrome is pretty rare, but still a possibility. If anyone decides to take amino acids such as 5-htp while they are weaning off of antidepressants or are on them, it is always best to take the absolute lowest dose possible and only gradually increase the dose if everything is going well.

      Here is where you can see what to do for sleep:

  • Mary

    please, help me find a doctor to help. I have tried to get off 3 drug in the period or 10 years. I got off neurontin in 3 years and Valium in 2yrs, but I was unable to get off Zoloft, no matter how slowly the taper,. The mental hospital put me on even more Zoloft plus risperdal, Valium and cogentin. I have a doc that says he came help with nutritional support, but he wants to to find a doctor that knows how to do this properly, I am in utter despair. Please someone help. I am at the beginning of tapering all over again. You don’t know the misery I fell to be in that predicament again.

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  • Alexis

    I’m not sure if anyone is still checking the comments or messages on thsi page, but I just came across this article. I have been on Celexa for over 15 years, and enough is enough. I really feel like I have been in a fog and not facing my actual problems, just masking them. These articles really hit home for me, and I felt like I was reading my own story. After many attempts of trying to stop cold turkey, I’m ready to do this the right way. Again, I have been on 40mg of Celexa for the past 15+ years, so I know this will be an uphill battle. I have started cutting my pills in half, and I’m hoping I can avoid the mental breakdown and zaps that usually follow after a few days. I appreciate all the information about the vitamins and supplements–I am going to load up and try to make this work. If anyone has any suggestions for me after being on medication at this high of a dose for such an extended period of time, I am extremely open to any and all input. Thanks.

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Alexis.

      The biggest thing would be to make sure you have all the foundational aspects of depression handled as well. Your diet, fix any nutritional/mineral deficiencies, etc.

  • Jules123

    What would be the corresponding receptors for Abilify? Do I treat it as a SSRI, SNRI or atypical?

    • TJ Nelson

      Abilify is a second generation antipsychotic (SGA) or atypical antipsychotic. It affects both serotonin and dopamine.

  • Ryan

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  • adoreellen

    Thank you for perhaps the most level headed thing I have read today. You touched on a topical issue. I would appreciate if you’d written about how to fill a form online. I am sure at least once in your life you had to fill out a form. I use a simple service for forms filling. It definitely makes my life easier!

  • Joanne

    Hi this a great article but I am confused on how to safely ween off ! I am on 10 mg of lexapro have been on this for several years! How do I dissolve in water to ween off .. please pardon the confusion as I do have the brain fog :/

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Joanne,

      I understand! Brain fog makes everything hard.

      Lets say you had a 5mg pill and a 50ml bottle. Once dissolved, every 10ml of water would contain 1mg of your medication. This way, you could slowly wean off your medication by taking 4mg a day, then 3mg, then 2mg, and so on.

      If you dissolved a 5mg pill into a 50ml bottle, to take 1mg of your medication would be 10ml of water.