a man in shadow with depression

Q. I was concerned about a swooshing sound when my eyes move. Thank goodness I found your website. I thought I was losing my mind.

I had been taking Celexa for generalized anxiety for the last eight years. Four weeks ago I lost my health insurance and had to discontinue the Celexa just like that.

In addition to the swooshing sounds, I’m having anxiety attacks and trouble sleeping. I cry at the drop of a hat. (Don’t show me any pictures of soldiers being reunited with their families!)

Thanks to comments I read about Cymbalta withdrawal I learned that other antidepressants can also cause misery if stopped suddenly. I now know that A) I’m not crazy and B) my eyeballs are not going to explode out of my head.

A. Antidepressants like citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro) and sertraline (Zoloft) can cause awful withdrawal symptoms when stopped abruptly. Some people describe “brain zaps” as electrical shock-like sensations. A very gradual taper, when possible, is preferable.

Without medical insurance, it may be difficult to get that swooshing sound checked by a neurologist, but hearing your eyes move can sometimes be a symptom of superior canal dehiscence syndrome. If the sounds of moving eyes persist after your other Celexa withdrawal symptoms fade, we urge you to ask a physician to rule it out.


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  1. Tromp

    I was on Celexa for the past 4-5 years on and off. I stopped cold turkey off 10 mg in January and had the worst withdrawal ever. Dizziness, brain zaps, head pressure. Horrible. After a month I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to go back on it and taper off at a later time. So I tapered off this past thanksgiving. Going down 5 mg each week from 20 mg. Apparently that was not slow enough, because here I am having severe dizziness and brain zaps and head pressure. My doctors tell me withdrawal isn’t possible since it has been 5-6 weeks since I have taken it however, I have read symptoms can last 90+ days. Everyone is different. So now I have been scheduled for an MRI Monday morning to eliminate possible MS or a compressed blood vessel in the back of my head. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one having withdrawal..

  2. Patricia A.

    I, too, had the electric shock symptoms when I tried to get off of Celexa. I’m down to 5mg. (I cut a 10mg. in half), and still have this weird feeling if I skip a day or so. I guess I’ll have to be on it forever!

  3. Barb

    I am able to get citalopram (the generic for celexa) at Walmart for $10 for 3 months. That’s without insurance.

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