Celexa – Tapering off and weight loss / gain

Tapering off anti-depressants like Celexa can be a miserable business. But you want to live your life without medication, so eventually you take the plunge and start to withdraw.

For me, a major benefit of coming off the drug was that I would lose the weight it had made me put on. I had tolerated the drug well, the only side effects were feeling very sleepy and yawning constantly. Not bad for someone with a history of insomnia.

The one major thing that bugged me is that I went to a about 10kgs over my normal weight after being on Celexa a few months. When I went onto Celexa at the height of a horrible depression I weighed 5kgs under my normal weight. So with the Celexa I had put on a whopping 15kgs.

Anyway, I thought I would lose it as I came off the drug, but things with SSRI’s are not so simple. Prior to coming off I embarked on an ambitious exercise and diet plan and lost a few kilos. But the plan was too drastic and I couldn’t stick to it.

As I started to taper my doses I began to get hungrier, craving large amounts of carbohydrates. I also felt quite lazy and the brain zaps and dizziness made exercising uncomfortable, especially in the afternoon and evening, when I had most spare time.

Even as the side effects passed and I could control my eating better, the weight did not start to lessen as I thought it might, just by my bodies metabolism getting back to normal.

To get rid of the pounds you put on while taking Celexa you need to work hard. I have discovered that I probably won’t go back to my heaviest, even if I really pig out. But I won’t lose much unless I exercise an hour a day and eat very sensibly. The problem is, I still crave carbohydrates!

What is true for me might not be the case for you, and you should get a thorough checkout before you start any drastic weight-loss. And remember, short term fad diets don’t work!

But remember, there is quite a lot that the drug companies don’t tell you, and quite a lot that your doctor won’t tell you either through ignorance or through loyalty to the drug reps that buy them dinner.

Other posts on SSRI’s that you might find interesting:

GSK Seroxat Suicide Link

Anxiety, Celexa and Weight Gain

Celexa, citalopram – a personal experience

Anxiety 2 Calm: Celexa, Effexor, know your drug!

Slow withdrawal from Citalopram (Cipramil / Celexa) with minimal side effects?

GSK ‘hid’ suicide link


Today more light has been shed on the outrageous behaviour of some of the world’s biggest drugs companies. That GSK sold Seroxat (which also known as Paxil, Aropax, Pexeva or Paroxetine) even though they knew it wasn’t effective for treating adolescents is beyond doubt an act of sheer greed and arrogance. Many families have gone through a great deal of pain because of this drug, which has been know to have actually caused suicide in some cases.

My Time On Paxil/Seroxat

My personal experience of taking Seroxat was unpleasant and luckily short lived. Just like one young Paroxetine Victim I thought it could provide the answer to some of my problems, based on doctors advice. At such a young age I didn’t know what I know now. That drug companies are cynical enough and greedy enough to falsify results to make it look as if drugs work when they don’t, and to hide even the most dangerous side effects. I spent several weeks feeling rotten, sick, finding it difficult to eat, sweating profusely until I stank, and with nose-diving self-esteem. Those side effects never really passed and the drugs never did a thing to help with my anxiety. I ended up feeling much worse.

Remember, Anti-depressant ssri’s like Seroxat have been known to work for SOME people. And if you are depressed it is imperative that you seek help because something can be done. All I am saying is proceed with caution.

HELP! My doctor wants me take Paxil/Seroxat

If your doctor or psychiatrist has suggested you start taking Paroxetine (remember it is most commonly prescribed under one of its brand names) it is important to take the following course of action:


  • Ask your doctor why they think Paroxetine is the best way forward for you.
  • Ask them if they have other patients who have had success with this drug.
  • Ask them if you are likely to have withdrawal problems (If they say “no” they are ignorant/lying. Coming of Paroxetine is hell, almost always.)
  • Ask them if they have met with pharmaceutical company reps who have been trying to sell this drug.
  • Ask if they have read bone fide academic journals on the efficacy of this drug.
  • Do some extra research on the Internet. Assess your options.


If your doctor is vague or defensive about any of the above, be suspicious. Although anxiety and depression are incredibly common some doctors are amazingly ignorant! Don’t be afraid to go for a second opinion, it is your universal human right.

Please comment or email me if you have any experience you would like to share regarding this issue.



Secrets of everyday wellbeing

Often, when battling anxiety or depression we tend to look for symptomatic or topical treatments. Many of us find the “holistic” approach taken by acupuncturists and many other alternative health practitioners to be too esoteric, but in truth we do need to look at the whole picture.

A life free of anxiety or depression is more than likely to also be a life with good self-esteem, physical health, assertiveness and things to enjoy. These things form something of a chicken and egg relationship with the actual physical and emotional anxiety / depression symptoms themselves. On the one hand for example our self esteem improves as we get over our anxiety, and of course we get over our anxiety by improving our self-esteem.

So whatever approach you use to tackle the issues in your life, from CBT to TFT, remember to look at the big picture, as any decent therapist will.


In that vein, here is an article on happiness:


Someone once said the secret of happiness is having someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to. There’s probably some truth in this, although it doesn’t mean you have to have an adoring spouse or partner, a high-powered job and a world cruise coming up to enjoy life.

The ‘someone to love’ could be a friend, relative or pet, and the ‘something to do’ and ‘something to look forward to’ could be just about anything you enjoy.

But even if you have those three ‘somethings’, there may be times when you don’t feel very happy. Our mood can be affected by all sorts of things, including lifestyle, past experiences and genetic factors.

Scientists think that people who always seem to be in a good mood may simply have naturally higher levels of certain substances – endorphins (types of hormone) and the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

These are released by the brain and make us feel good when we’re enjoying ourselves or when something pleasant happens.

Our state of mind is only partly influenced by the past or by physical factors. The rest is down to us – the way we think about things and how we manage different aspects of our lives. Most of us have much more influence over our feelings than we may think.

We can’t always avoid negative thoughts, but one of the secrets of mental balance is being able to notice when you’re ‘choosing’ or ‘allowing yourself’ to think negatively rather than positively, and keeping an eye on the way your lifestyle affects your mood.

Feel-good factors

  • relaxation
  • the ability to express your feelings
  • aiming for achievable goals
  • time for the things you enjoy
  • a healthy diet
  • a sport or exercise you enjoy
  • work you find rewarding
  • a comfortable balance between work and leisure
  • time to yourself, to do the things that interest you
  • time for friends and family

Things to minimise in your life

  • too much stress
  • feelings of rage or frustration
  • expecting too much of yourself
  • negative thoughts and feelings

There’s no instant recipe for a sense of wellbeing – but these are some of the main ingredients.


One important ingredient in wellbeing is self-esteem. Definitions vary, but all agree that high self-esteem means we appreciate ourselves and our own worth. More specifically, this means we have a positive attitude, are confident of our abilities and see ourselves as competent and in control of our lives.

Low self-esteem can mean we feel helpless, powerless and even depressed.

Our self-esteem has huge implications for our life paths: our history of self-esteem begins as children and continues throughout our lives, affecting all our decisions.

Rejections, disappointments and failure are part of life and even our best efforts aren’t always successful, but high self-esteem can help us get through the bad patches.



The secret of Luck and Success….no really!

There is no such thing as “luck”. Right?

I mean, things happen either due to cause and effect (atheists) or because a greater power decided they would be a good idea, educational, fun or your just desserts.

No one person can have more luck than any other. Either things happen because we lay the foundations for them (cause and effect) or because we have a certain relationship with someone on high.

So, why then are some people luckier than others!!!???

They aren’t. They just appear to be, and you can appear to be lucky as well!

Lets take the lottery. There is, using some out-dated figures for the UK national lottery, approximately a 1 in 14,000,000 chance of winning the jackpot. This does not change from person to person, ever. In fact the only thing you can legally do to increase your chances of winning is to buy more tickets. A typical example: a rich person wins big and everyone says why does it always go to someone who doesn’t need it! But in reality, poor people do win the lottery too. The only demographic where you will find a higher number of lottery winners is the demographic in which you find the highest number of ticket purchasers.

Ok so the lottery is random, I hear you say, but lots of people are lucky in other ways, aren’t they? Jobs, exam results, relationships, investments, friends, looks, weight….the list is endless.

Ok, so now we get to the nitty gritty. Yes it is true that some people consistently out perform others in certain areas of life without seeming to put in extra investment in terms of time, money or effort. So how do they do it?

Well, it is NOT through luck. 

In fact, it is all down to specific aspects of their personality, which they don’t understand or know they have. For them it’s a subconscious thing. For you, it can be a conscious decision.

“I am sold, where do I sign up?”

Actually, this is not something that you need to buy, although I am sure there are many people trying to sell it. All you need to do is understand the things that make people “lucky”.

Calmness: When you are relaxed you think rationally and notice more. You will see things the tense person misses, and you will have opportunities they miss as well. I recommend mindfulness meditation.

Confidence: Walking tall, carrying the body language of a confident (but not arrogant!) person, will be surprisingly effective at opening doors. Act like you already have what you want.

Gut instincts: Successful people tend to follow instinct more. Sometimes your conscious mind’s rationality, fuelled by anxiety, can scupper a perfectly good plan.

Stop End-Gaining: End-Gaining is where you are working for something so obsessively you scupper your chances of obtaining it. You hunt so obsessively for the perfect partner that your obsessiveness makes you completely unattractive and unapproachable. You don’t speak to people you don’t fancy and miss out on the chances of making new friends, which could well lead to romance. Successful people aren’t so obsessive. They know the difference between obsessiveness and tenacity. You should learn this difference too. 

Practice being successful. Visualize success. See yourself after your success in your mind’s eye. Then move into yourself and look out of your successful eyes.

Follow these rules and you too can be lucky!


Stress – Blog your way to relaxation

Pent up anger is a great cause of stress. Some psychologists would also argue that repressed anger can lead to anxiety and depression in later life. Either way, anger is an emotion that needs to be expressed. If we don’t express anger we feel:


  • frustrated
  • worthless
  • low self-esteem
  • even more angry
  • restless
  • aggressive


Ideally, you can vent anger to its cause. The person who has annoyed you for example. It is obviously important that the anger is vented in a sensible, manageable, and productive manner. Certainly if you ever feel a need to physically harm someone it is time to visit an anger management specialist.

Sometimes it is not possible or practical to aim our anger at its cause. Perhaps you can’t shout at your boss or even find the cowboy builder who just wrecked your patio. You can always rant and rave to a friend, but this is very boring for them and you may find yourself without friends.

Writing down your thoughts has long been know to be therapeutic, and this in my opinion is indeed true. The only problem is that you never get to air those thoughts to anyone else. That is where the Internet comes in.

When you are angry, upset, or stressed you can tell the world about it in a blog. Get it off your chest, rant and rave as much as you like. It can be anonymous, and people can support you, or argue back with you, prompting you to get even more bile out of your system!

I recommend just letting yourself go and writing whatever you want (although try not to get taken to court!) A political blog is a good place to start, as politicians cause a lot of anger but are too remote to answer back to. But you do whatever you like!

Setting up a blog is very easy, and the more technically minded can personalize it to their hearts content. It might even be beneficial though to put some thought and attention into design. Put your thoughts on a pedestal, they are important and worth looking at. Be selfish, this is your space to think and speak!


Downsizing survivors ‘depressed’

In continuation of the of the new section on stress and office anxiety I have posted an article from the BBC which illustrates how bad stress has become in the workplace over the past twenty or so years.

This article looks at how workers who keep their jobs after others are made redundant are at a higher risk of stress. Some researchers have hypothesized that this is due to mistrust between them and their employers. They are told that further redundancies are not needed and that their jobs are safe but they do not believe it.

The employers would have god reason to lie. If they tell the truth, that further market downturn or lower profits will lead to more redundancies, they will spread stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace, which will cut productivity. Of course businesses need to think more about how a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

I think this highlights one of the wider reasons for the increase in stress and anxiety both at work and elsewhere in life. The lack of trust between employees and employer mirrors the lack of caring we increasingly feel towards others. Children are now more remote from parents, much more interaction is with machines and digital products, the urban environment is much blander: bigger shops, more international companies, less of a relationship between businesses and community. This all creates a feeling that we are pretty much on our own. And no, people don’t feel they can trust their employers.


This is what the BBC had to say:


Workers who keep their jobs following cuts are almost as likely to need treatment for stress as colleagues made redundant, say researchers.

University College London researchers, writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said more help should be offered to “survivors”.

They examined records of prescriptions given to Finnish municipal workers after redundancies in the mid-1990s.

Another expert said stress might even be more common among survivors.

The majority of sickness absence in the UK is now due to stress-related illness, and increased work pressure, alongside the threat of redundancy to cut costs and following company mergers has been blamed for some of this.

Male problem

The UCL team compared evidence of mental health problems such as stress and anxiety in 5,000 workers who remained in post after ‘downsizing’, comparing them to 4,000 who lost or left their jobs.

They found that men made redundant or who left during downsizing were 64% more likely than those in completely unaffected workplaces to receive prescriptions for drugs such as antidepressants and sleeping pills.

However, their former colleagues still working were not far behind, with men having a 50% increased chance of being prescribed such drugs.

In women the effect was much smaller, with no increase in the chance of prescriptions following redundancy, but a slight increase in women who held onto their jobs in a downsized unit.

Men were more likely to receive antidepressants, women more likely to get drugs to counter anxiety.

The researchers said that it was clear that downsizing could increase the workload and reduce job security of those who stay in their jobs.

They said: “Policy makers, employers, and occupational health professionals should recognise that organisational downsizing may pose mental health risks among employees.”

They suggested that the reason for the difference between male and female responses might be partly due to cultural differences around how the importance of work was perceived.


Professor Cary Cooper, who carries out research into organisational psychology at the University of Lancaster, said that “survivor guilt” affected those left behind.

He said: “Some of the coping strategies that people use when they feel at risk of redundancy can actually add to the problem.

“They’ll often go to more waste-of-time meetings, try to take part in the politics, to protect their job.

“But this is called ‘presenteeism’, and can actually have the effect of making them more stressed – and worse at their core job, making them more vulnerable to redundancy in the future.”

He added: “The trouble is that employees don’t tend to believe their employer when they’re told there is no risk of further redundancies – managers need to try to increase their credibility by being completely honest and transparent in the first place.”

Story from BBC NEWS:


Also read this page on stress.


Psychotherapy and Stress pages


Just to let you know that I have added a couple of new pages to the Anxiety 2 Calm.

Firstly I have added a page giving information on when you should think about getting outside medical or psychological help to deal with mental health problems such as anxiety and panic. In the future I will look more at self help methods. Typically people wait too long either because they don’t understand what is happening, they don’t want to appear weak and stigmatized by metal illness labels, or they fear a doctor’s diagnosis. Either way talking to a doctor is the best course of action to take in the first place, to rule out medical causes of symptoms if nothing else. It should of course be remembered that doctors sometimes don’t recognise the symptoms of anxiety.

I also added a page on talking therapies, and I would appreciate any feedback on that. Especially regarding kinds of therapies people have had, what their opinions were and how long they stayed in therapy for. I am also interested in hearing from professional therapists, as they can best describe what they do and what psychological models they use in their own words. This section is not about CBT, but about more analytical therapies such as Jungian Therapy and Art Therapy.

Lastly I have added a page on stress which looks specifically at the phenomena of Office Anxiety, which is being labeled ADT, which stands for Attention Deficit Trait. This is apparently sweeping the offices in the USA and UK and causing untold grief. It is also causing a media storm which may or may not be beneficial. At least large employers are now getting to grips with taking positive action to promote calm in the workforce. And people are feeling secure about talking to counselors and admitting they have problems with stress.

10 Anxiety Tips


Here are six things we could all do to cut down on the stresses in our lives and be calmer.

  • Exercise: Why not buy a pedometer (I got one for under £3 the other day) and then walk 10000 steps a day. Building up slowly if you are new to this exercise thingy.
  • Breathing: You could look at the breathing exercises used by the likes of Swami Ramdev or the buteyko method.
  • Try writing down whatever is stressing you. Sometimes, if we fail to express ourselves stress can build up inside us.
  • Learn to meditate and determine to stick to it for a couple of weeks.
  • Cut down on caffeine until you don’t drink any at all. Try some herbal or rooibos teas instead.
  • Pledge to tell someone politely but firmly that you don’t want to do something, and refuse to feel guilty for it.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables, less processed food, less sugar, and investigate sources of omega 3s for your diet.

These are just some things that can let you tackle your life from a sturdier position.

Mental health drugs overused


This article seems to confirm what a lot of us already know. That doctors in the westernised world are encouraged to overprescribe drugs to patients who actually would do much better with other forms of treatment. Yes drugs are cheap, but they do not get to the heart of the problem, even if they are successful often this is just a crutch.

Although longer term, more labour intensive treatments seem to be more expensive in fact they are not. If you look at the longterm benefits to the whole economy of having a workforce in sound mental health you will find that it is an investment to take mental healthcate seriously.

So let’s see better strategies for mental health, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and panic attacks.

Here’s the article:

Up to one in three mental health patients are being over-prescribed drugs, says the Healthcare Commission.
A report found mental health patients were more likely to have problems with medicines than those in other trusts.

The healthcare watchdog said management of mental healthcare patients’ medicines must improve, and pharmacists should be involved in patient care.

It said the findings were “concerning” given the importance of medicines in mental healthcare.

Healthcare Commission Chief Executive Anna Walker said: “Managing medicines safely, effectively and efficiently is central to the delivery of high quality care that is focused on the patient and gives value for money.”

She called on both primary care trusts and mental health trusts to look at their medicines management, and said patients in mental health trusts had told the Commission that they had not been involved as much as they would like in decisions about their medicines.

She said: “This needs to be addressed if trusts expect service users to take their medicines as prescribed.”


In research undertaken by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health, 36% of people were found to have been prescribed more than the maximum recommended dose of anti-psychotic medicines.

Mental health charity Rethink called for an end to the over-prescription of mental health medicines.

The charity’s chief executive Paul Jenkins said: “The Healthcare Commission has once again highlighted a shocking over-prescription of powerful medicines to people in hospital experiencing a mental health crisis.

“As well as defying national guidance, this over-prescription actually delays successful discharge in many cases.

“Everyone has the right to the best evidence-based care, but it is unacceptable that people experiencing a mental health crisis can still be treated as second class citizens.”

Reviews helpful

The Commission said the problem could be detected by an effective clinical pharmacy service.

It found that reviewing medication benefited patients, with 70% of reviews in mental health trusts leading to a change in a person’s medicine, and 46% of those reviewed being found not to be taking their medicines appropriately.

David Pruce, Director of Practice and Quality Improvement from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said: “The evidence shows that medication reviews in mental health by specialist pharmacists can have a major impact, with over 70% of the reviews leading to a change in the patient’s medication.”

Yet 24% of wards in mental health trusts received no visits from pharmacy staff, compared to only 14% in acute trusts, and just 14% received more than five hours of pharmacy staff time in a week, compared to 64% in acute trusts.

Mr Pruce said: “The future should see specialist mental health pharmacists having an increased role in the care of patients.”

Not complacent

National Clinical Director for Mental Health, Professor Louis Appleby said: “We recognise that the safe and effective management of medicines is central to the delivery of high quality patient care.

“This report will help services address a very important issue and ensure that patients are fully involved in decisions about – and get the most from – their medicines.

“We are not complacent and more work is needed to ensure that all Trusts reach the standards of the best.”