Citalopram Withdrawal

Citalopram-boxCitalopram (Celexa) is a drug which is used for treating major depression. It belongs to SSRI group which is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This is the mechanism which stops the serotonin from entering the cells and by doing this, it increases the levels in the extracellular space which reduces the depression. It can be used as an off-label drug for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as for anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Some people have noticed significant side effects affecting weight and sexual function. Since these effects can result in sexual dysfunction and weight gain, many people find that it’s not worth it and that they should find another medicine. If you were on an antidepressant like Celexa, you might want to discontinue it after some time since there are a few side effects which can be bothersome. If you are going trough withdrawal period, you might experience quite a few symptoms.

Factors Which Affect Celexa Withdrawal Symptoms Appearance

It is important to state that there are numerous factors which affect Celexa withdrawal symptoms. Some will be present and it will influence the symptom occurrence among Celexa users. These factors are common when taking antidepressants and are generally discussed when going through withdrawal symptoms. They include time span, dosage, individual factors, tapering, etc.


There are 3 dosage options when it comes to Celexa, 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg. Those who were on a minimal effective dose should feel milder withdrawal symptoms. Patients which were taking 20 mg to 40 mg per day may experience heavier periods since withdrawal symptoms depend on the dosage. The higher the dose the greater the symptoms.

Time Span

The time span is the period in which the patient took the drug. It can be a short-term or a long-term period. Those on a short-term therapy may not get used to the drug effects such as the ones who are on long-term effects of Celexa. The brain becomes dependent on serotonin levels and the changed surrounding when taking the drug, so it’s harder to taper the levels of the serotonin from that level and to get back to normal state. Your brain will go through shock trying to cope with all the changes.

Cold Turkey Vs Tapering

If you were taking Celexa for a long time and you suddenly stop using it  – “cold turkey”, you might experience heavy symptoms since your body is not used to that state. It is important to convey tapering process over the withdrawal period in order to safely go through this period with stabilizing your body in the best possible way. Your doctor will come with a tapering plan and the doses which you will gradually reduce over time until your body gets to its natural state. Some people may have a difficult time when quitting cold turkey and it can end up in mental imbalance.

Individual Factors

Not every person experiences the same withdrawal symptom. This is mostly due to many different individual factors. We all have different genetic code with different enzyme expression, different sensitivity, physiology background, different environment and support. If you notice that you have sensed something that someone you know who was also going through Celexa withdrawal didn’t, it can be solely due to different individual factors.

Possible Celexa Withdrawal Symptoms

There are numerous symptoms which can happen when on Celexa withdrawal. It may depend on many factors and may not be present in every individual, but it can be useful to know.


When on Celexa withdrawal, you may experience anxiety. If you start to feel nervous and even feel like you have panic attacks, this is normal since your brain is not used to that kind of changes and it’s starting to cope with the present situation.


Since Celexa is used for major depression therapy, you may feel your depression symptoms worsen. This can be a result of serotonin changes where the inhibition of serotonin reuptake is stopped since you are no longer using the drug. It can take some time before your withdrawal symptoms subside.


If you feel tired and lethargic, it can be a withdrawal symptom as well. You may feel like you have no energy and you might want to stay in bed. Your daily tasks may lag due to tiredness and weakness. You will eventually feel better and your energy will rise to its normal levels.

Cognitive Dysfunction

You may experience reduced concentration and memory problems when discontinuing Celexa. If you start noticing problems when doing your school work or job tasks, it can be due to reduced focus and slow mental work of your brain which is going through change. You may even notice that you don’t remember some things or you have lost your memory. This is short-term and you will recover it after some time.

Brain Zaps

You might sense electrical shock sensation in your brain when discontinuing the drug. This can be a common withdrawal symptom when taking SSRI drugs such as Celexa. It can be a scary moment and you might be scared, but know that it’s only short-term and will pass.

Crying Spells

You might sense mood swings up to a point of depression where you have the urge to cry. Low serotonin levels can make you cry excessively and you might have crying spells. This can be hard to cope with but it will eventually stop.


You might experience restless intestines which can lead to diarrhea. It is not as common as some other symptoms, but some people have reported stomach problems. You can try to solve this by using some over-the-counter drugs as Imodium.


You might sense some headaches which can be milder or stronger ones like migraines. It can be accompanied with dizziness and it can be hard to deal with. You might want to take some over-the-counter painkillers if it becomes too much to bear. It will pass after some time.


 If you struggle with sleep and you can’t go to bed at the same time, your sleeping cycle may get affected. You can even have some dreams which can prevent you from having a good night sleep to rest and feel better. It can be difficult to cope with, but try to make a routine and it will subside soon.

Weight Gain

Some people have reported weight gain when on Celexa withdrawal. It can be difficult to socially handle this kind of symptom and it can prolong the depression and bad self-image. Some can even have suicidal thoughts when going through depression and trying to cope with all of the symptoms.

How Long Does The Withdrawal Last?

It will usually last up to a few weeks, but some people have reported symptoms which lasted up to a few months. The first few weeks are the toughest and you will get better over time. It is important to focus on recovery and realize these are all short-term symptoms. It can help you if you eat healthily, stay active and exercise, drink enough fluids, stay socially active and you might even consider going to a therapist if you start to feel heavy depression and suicidal thoughts.

If you’ve had an experience with Celexa withdrawal, comment below to share your experience. Did you get some of the symptoms we mentioned? We would like to hear what you have to say.


    • If you have decided to quite using a pharmaceutical, then speak with your medical professional about your symptoms. Continue to monitor your experiences at this time. Make an appointment with a doctor and speak with them about your needs and questions. Best of luck, Ray!


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