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Celexa Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

At Alternative to Meds Center’s holistic mental health and drug rehab facility, we know that there are treatment choices for depression, anxiety, and insomnia, without the liability of developing long-term issues with Celexa addiction or dependence.

About two-thirds of those prescribed antidepressants find no relief. Most of these persons are subject to augmenting one drug with another, in hopes of success.15,16 The road can get pretty long and dark when there is no other path provided. We are that other, well-lit path.

You can get there with the RIGHT help.
celexa addiction holistic help
For nearly 2 decades now, Alternative to Meds has provided holistic care for those who need robust help in their mental health recovery. Our published evidence regarding our success is something we are very proud of. While antidepressants may help some, for the majority there are other non-drug-based treatments that can provide superior results. We are here to help the transition to these methods. Please read on for more information on our program.
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Help For Celexa Addiction, Tolerance, and Dependence

What does help for all the facets of Celexa addiction, tolerance, and dependence mean at Alternative to Meds Center?

It means real help that allows people to transition to living life drug-free without suffering. It means treatments that are designed to reduce the unwanted symptoms that drug therapy was not able to successfully resolve. It also means effective holistic treatments that do not carry the same liability of drug-induced adverse effects. And it means the goal of being able to remain drug-free without a return of original symptoms.

getting off ssrisAddiction to antidepressants is reportedly relatively rare. Nonetheless, a research study published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing found that 27% of a group of nearly 2000 patients taking antidepressants reported they felt addicted to the antidepressant drug they were taking.6

The mechanics of how SSRIs work is not completely understood. But what is known is that after regular use, many find they cannot easily stop taking the medication without harsh withdrawal reactions. An estimated 10-16% of the adult population in western countries takes antidepressants, the largest number of which are SSRIs. And more than half have been taking them for more than 2 years. The potential for Celexa addiction, tolerance, and dependence looms ever larger in the medical landscape. More than half of those taking antidepressants report unwanted reactions to the drug, but also withdrawal phenomena when they try to stop.7

And, 2/3 of those taking antidepressants find no relief. But stopping them presents a roadblock. And, no-one should stop taking them without help. Since withdrawal reactions are a feature of drug dependence, we can see that dependence associated with Celexa (citalopram) and similar prescribed drugs may be much more common than previously thought.

Paradoxical Effects of SSRI Treatment

Paradoxical SSRI effects are reported as one of the more serious risks in antidepressant-based treatment. One very serious concern is worsening depression and the emergence of suicidal tendencies, which are thought related to the motivating effect an SSRI may induce on a depressed person. Another concern is the emergence of akathisia, which can involve extreme self-destructive and aggressive behaviors. Other paradoxical reactions can include newly emerging panic attacks, mania, and insomnia. There have also been case reports of a compulsive gambling habit that began after taking Celexa, which may be related to how the drug affects other factors in life that can start a spiral down into chaos. These paradoxical effects are NOT what a person was seeking as a successful outcome in treatment.3,13

Drug Tolerance

When a person takes a drug for a substantial period of time, the initial therapeutic effects may fade, leading a person to start taking the drug in higher doses, or more often than was prescribed to replicate the desired effects. This is called drug tolerance and is a sign that dependence has developed.

Adverse Effects of Celexa

Adverse effects are another matter of concern, for example, carbohydrate cravings, nausea, sexual dysfunction, unusual skin lesions, or rashes that may linger for some time, even after the drug is stopped. While some persons report no such adverse reactions and do not exhibit signs of dependence or addiction, evidence suggests that the majority of those taking SSRIs do suffer in these and other undesirable ways.3-5

5 Signs of Celexa Addiction, Tolerance, or Dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms emerge when a dose is missed or delayed, including brain zaps, nausea, headache, increased anxiety, agitation, dizziness, lethargy, mania, and emotional blunting, among other reactions.7
  • Reactions to stopping the drug are perceived as severe.
  • Paradoxical symptoms have emerged, such as worsened depression.
  • The drug seems like it no longer works, the dosage has been upped, or other drugs added.
  • Celexa has been taken long-term, i.e., for more than 2 years.

Why Is Celexa Prescribed?

People are often given an antidepressant before there has been any investigation to find what might be the cause of their depression. For many, it is prescribed following a traumatic emotional event. As time passes, the person may still be taking the medication but is now also struggling with antidepressant addiction. This would be indicated where withdrawal symptoms emerge if they try to stop taking it. Addiction can develop more quickly than it may be commonly realized.

What is an SSRI?

Celexa is classed as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). One of the major issues with this class of drugs is that even if an individual isn’t deficient in serotonin when they start their prescription, this medication can actually create a serotonin deficiency. This drug does not produce serotonin, it blocks its reuptake. Serotonin is supposed to be reuptaken, in order for our nerve cells to reuse it for normal functioning of neuronal activity. But when serotonin molecules are forced to stay suspended, these blocked serotonin molecules degrade, and eventually, a deficiency can ensue. The reuptake process has in fact been hijacked.1

This is a very similar process to how cocaine abuse spends all of a person’s dopamine, another natural neurotransmitter. Cocaine does not produce neurochemicals but only blockades these natural substances as previously described. Dopamine is our reward neurochemical, and when an individual takes cocaine for the first time, everything will feel rewarding. However, at some point, their dopamine will be entirely exhausted and nothing will hold a sense of reward or any value to them. There may be other consequences as dopamine is responsible for a wide range of functions in the healthy body. Although Celexa, or citalopram, does not target dopamine receptors, the mechanism as applied to serotonin is quite similar. 14

The neurotransmitter serotonin acts as an inhibitory component of our brain. Serotonin inhibits stimuli from the outside environment, also creates very important sleep neurohormones, and additionally decreases behaviors and thoughts of a compulsive nature. When an individual is withdrawing after Citalopram addiction or dependence has developed, the result is overstimulation, sleeplessness, anxiety, and even symptoms similar to OCD and Tourette’s. This is experienced because the individual now has a real serotonin deficiency. Receiving well-managed Celexa addiction help can efficiently and substantially relieve the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.


The FDA has issued warnings about Celexa being linked to potentially fatal heart abnormalities. Dosages have been limited to 20 mg or less. If addiction to Celexa has elevated the dosage or frequency of use or has caused cardiac symptoms, it may be a necessary step to seek addiction and withdrawal help for Celexa to avoid further complications.2

Where to Find the Best Help for Celexa Addiction

best holistic addiction help sedona drug rehabMany people may be frightened and unsure of SSRI withdrawal symptoms, which can inhibit their decision to overcome Celexa dependence. However, antidepressant addiction can be effectively combated and resolved in Alternative to Meds Center’s Celexa addiction and dependence treatment program. Holistic detox can provide relief safely, and gently, and can be assisted greatly with orthomolecular treatments before, during, and after Celexa addiction or dependence treatment. Through employing targeted nutrients while the drug is being withdrawn, administration of other oral nutrients, and removing neurotoxic substances from the body, the essentials needed that can actually produce serotonin are administered.9-11 This is done in combination with lab testing, and counseling,8,12 for the purposes of discovering actual contributors to why the individual was depressed originally. Our approach at Alternative to Meds Center is to thoroughly address those issues for lasting success. Many popular adjunctive treatments are also offered including yoga, therapeutic massage, Equine therapy, QiGong, dual diagnosis treatment, and many others during the client’s inpatient stay. Our facility is warm and inviting, with peer support programs in place, and is toxin-free for a refreshing comfortable experience. The location is close to many opportunities for outdoor hiking, biking, sightseeing, and fantastic photo opportunities in and around the Red Rocks of Sedona. Celexa addiction is treatable and using holistic techniques and therapies, you can regain your life, and your natural mental health, and become medication-free.


1. W. B. Siesser, Benjamin D. Sachs, A.J. Ramsey, T.D. Sotnikova, Jean-Martin Beaulieu, X. Zhang, M.G.Caron, Raul R. Gainetdinov, “Chronic SSRI Treatment Exacerbates Serotonin Deficiency in Humanized Tph2 Mutant Mice“, US National Library of Medicine [INTERNET] 2013 Jan 16, updated online 2012 Oct 1 [cited 2023 April 3]

2. FDA label Celexa [cited 2023 April 3]

3. Cuomo I, Kotzalidis GD, Caccia F, Danese E, Manfredi G, Girardi P. Citalopram-associated gambling: a case report. J Gambl Stud. 2014 Jun;30(2):467-73. doi: 10.1007/s10899-013-9360-2. PMID: 23385394. [cited 2023 April 3]

4. Fava GA, Offidani E. The mechanisms of tolerance in antidepressant action. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 15;35(7):1593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.07.026. Epub 2010 Aug 20. PMID: 20728491. [cited 2023 April 3]

5. Bouwer CD, Harvey BH. Phasic craving for carbohydrate observed with citalopram. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996 Dec;11(4):273-8. doi: 10.1097/00004850-199612000-00009. PMID: 9031994. [cited 2023 April 3]

6. Read J, Cartwright C, Gibson K. How many of 1829 antidepressant users report withdrawal effects or addiction? Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2018 Dec;27(6):1805-1815. doi: 10.1111/inm.12488. Epub 2018 Jun 5. PMID: 29873165. [cited 2023 April 3]

7. Davies J, Read J, A systemaatic review into the incidence, severity, and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based? Addictive Behaviors Journal Vol. 97 October 2019 [cited 2023 April 3]

8. Gautam M, Tripathi A, Deshmukh D, Gaur M. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for DepressionIndian J Psychiatry. 2020;62(Suppl 2):S223-S229. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_772_19 [cited 2023 April 3]

9. Yeung KS, Hernandez M, Mao JJ, Haviland I, Gubili J. Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance. Phytother Res. 2018 May;32(5):865-891. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6033. Epub 2018 Feb 21. PMID: 29464801; PMCID: PMC5938102. [cited 2023 April 3]

10. Sarris J, McIntyre E, Camfield DA. Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. CNS Drugs. 2013 Apr;27(4):301-19. doi: 10.1007/s40263-013-0059-9. Erratum in: CNS Drugs. 2013 Aug;27(8):675. Dosage error in article text. PMID: 23653088. [cited 2023 April 3]

11. Penckofer S, Kouba J, Byrn M, Estwing Ferrans C. Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010;31(6):385-393. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657 [cited 2023 April 3]

12. Dirmaier J, Steinmann M, Krattenmacher T, Watzke B, Barghaan D, Koch U, Schulz H. Non-pharmacological treatment of depressive disorders: a review of evidence-based treatment options. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2012 May;7(2):141-9. doi: 10.2174/157488712800100233. PMID: 22353197. [cited 2023 April 3]

13. Teicher MH, Glod CA, Cole JO. Antidepressant drugs and the emergence of suicidal tendencies. Drug Saf. 1993 Mar;8(3):186-212. doi: 10.2165/00002018-199308030-00002. PMID: 8452661. [cited 2023 March 30]

14. Sharbaf Shoar N, Fariba KA, Padhy RK. Citalopram. [Updated 2021 Dec 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2023 April 3]

15. Sheffler ZM, Patel P, Abdijadid S. Antidepressants. [Updated 2023 May 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2024 June 10]

16. Madhukar H. Trivedi, M.D., Maurizio Fava, M.D., Stephen R. Wisniewski, Ph.D. Michael E. Thase, M.D. Frederick Quitkin, M.D. Diane Warden, Ph.D., M.B.A. Louise Ritz, M.B.A.,+6 for the STAR*D Study Team Medication Augmentation after the Failure of SSRIs for Depression New England Journal of Medicine [published Mar 23, 2006] [cited 2024 June 10]

Originally Published by Diane Ridaeus Published Oct 20, 2019

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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