Coming off Citalopram – reader question



A comment on this blog today, which can be read here, asks for advice about quitting Citalopram. The reader is obviously having some difficulties after having quit the drug. The first piece of advice that one has to give is to speak to your doctor.


It is a good idea to start coming off SSRI’s like citalopram after you have made some positive changes in your life or dealt with some issues through counseling. These drugs can be incredibly effective, however they treat the symptoms and do not necessarily treat the cause. They can be a great way of stopping the symptoms and can kickstart your recovery…but only with the aid of positive change and or sorting out some of the internal issues (of course in a blog like I can not be too prescriptive; I am not a doctor or a psychologist and in any case everyone is different. I can talk about my own opinions and experiences only).


So when coming off the drugs seems to lead to, or at least coincide with, a recurrence of symptoms there are a few things you need to take into account.


Firstly, did you come off too early? Did you do sufficient work besides drug therapy to tackle problems. If not, then you need to start tackling some root causes. I would speak to the healthcare professionals that you are already working with. I would also start educating yourself by looking at information and experiences contained in this and other websites.


If you have started making changes, undergoing therapy or doing anything else which is tackling root causes, then, if the drugs are not causing unpleasant side-effects, why not stay on them until you and the people you are working with feel the time is right to come off them.


Just because you feel symptoms, even severe ones, after coming off SSRI’s does not mean that you have slipped back to square one. Give yourself some weeks to adjust. Sometimes one little wobble can seem like a disaster, and if you get into a negative state of mind and start to imagine you are just as bad as you were before then mind is more than capable of providing the symptoms. But they are just that, symptoms. So try to accept a few bumps and blips, but if things are really bad then put it down to experience, take a step back, and make a new plan for the future, for tackling causes and not just symptoms.


Depression and Anxiety, a round up of the latest news

Recent research has found a clear link between jobs which cause tiredness, moodiness, bad temper and irritability and depression. Of course that might not be any surprise to people whose stressful jobs have obviously caused and aggravated their depression and low mood, but an established and proven link is a new thing. According to this study as much as 45% of new cases of depression and anxiety were due to work conditions, with these being the worst triggers:


  • Long time spent working (hours)
  • Lack of understanding, support or flexibility from managers
  • Continually pressing deadlines
  • High volume of work, with no end in sight.

What was surprising was that this did not apply just to office workers in companies with narrow minded bosses. It also affected members of the emergency services, people from the entertainment industry, refuse collectors people in fact from all walks of life. Other patterns shown in the study went along similar lines to what is already known. For some reason women tend to suffer a bit more on average from depression and anxiety.

Stress related depression may be caused by sleep disruption. Certainly it is harder to unwind at the end of a stressful day and the poor quality sleep one gets, even if it is long, is not enough to rest our minds and bodies. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can also be a problem.

Remedies to this problem may include using relaxation techniques or Yoga to wind down at the end of the day, and also avoiding stress in the first place. Becoming less obsessed with consumer goods, money, status and celebrity would probably be a good place to start.