celexa pills

Celexa Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

celexa pills

What is Celexa (citalopram)?

Celexa is the brand name for the drug citalopram, which is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Celexa is usually prescribed to treat mood and anxiety disorders such as major depression, OCD, and panic disorder, among others. Although Celexa isn’t considered an addictive drug, it is a popular one that is widely accessible and cheap, which makes it easier to abuse.

Celexa works by changing a person’s brain chemistry to improve their mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. It balances serotonin levels in the brain, which is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood and sleep, among other bodily functions. As a result, people taking Celexa may be much less likely to have panic attacks or suffer from negative symptoms of depression, OCD, and other mood disorders.

Is Celexa Addictive?

Celexa is available in liquid and pill form and although it is not physically addictive, it can cause symptoms of withdrawal and SSRI discontinuation syndrome if a user suddenly stops taking it. It may also cause psychological addiction as a result of chronic use.

How Common is Celexa Addiction and Abuse?

Celexa (citalopram) is not a popular drug of abuse, however, a person may abuse it in hopes of achieving a euphoric high or drastically improve their mood. In instances like this, a person may take larger or more frequent doses of Celexa to get high. Difficult life circumstances like the loss of a job, a death in the family, stress, or co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression can also trigger Celexa abuse.

While users may abuse this drug to get high, Celexa does not produce any euphoric side effects. Instead, in high doses, Celexa only produces harmful and potentially dangerous side effects that affect the user physically, psychologically, and personally.

Since Celexa is not a commonly abused drug, there is no data available about the frequency of its abuse or the number of people who become addicted to it. Regardless, any misuse of Celexa is dangerous and can result in damaging consequences.

What Are the Side Effects of Celexa Abuse?

Short-term side effects of Celexa abuse include:

  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Convulsions
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Hostile/aggressive behavior
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Vivid dreaming
  • Frequent urination
  • Suicidal ideation

Long-term side effects of Celexa abuse include:

  • Weight gain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Itchiness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Menstrual cycle changes

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Celexa Addiction?

Some people who take citalopram may be at risk of developing a psychological addiction to it. Most often, Celexa abuse occurs when a person increases their dosage without the consent of the doctor who prescribed it. Since this drug is highly effective for treating depression and anxiety disorders, a person may assume that upping their dosage will make it work even better. Unfortunately, this only leads to unwanted negative side effects.

If a person is psychologically addicted to Celexa, he or she may feel like they need the drug to function normally. A person may also be preoccupied with using it, have relational problems, and neglect hobbies and important responsibilities like work, school, or family.

Just because Celexa isn’t considered an addictive drug doesn’t mean someone can’t become addicted to taking it. Someone who is experiencing negative side effects of Celexa abuse should seek professional help to overcome their drug abuse and address the underlying issues.

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Celexa Detox and Withdrawal

Abruptly stopping citalopram use can cause severely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as well as something called SSRI discontinuation syndrome, which can include symptoms of depression, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, headaches, irritability, and insomnia.

Common Celexa withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chronic headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

The symptoms of Celexa withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and may even become dangerous if they are left untreated, but medical detox can provide a safe and stable environment where a person can recover from Celexa addiction.

Detox is often the first step of Celexa treatment. Medical detox takes place in a home-like environment and consists of personalized medical treatment for the symptoms of withdrawal. Clinical care is also provided during Celexa detox with individual and group counseling, so clients can process the various emotions and feelings they experience s a result of Celexa withdrawal.

Medically-assisted Celexa detox also greatly reduces a person’s risk of relapse. Since Celexa withdrawal symptoms and SSRI discontinuation syndrome can be so uncomfortable, a person may return to abusing Celexa simply to find relief. However, medical detox provides treatment for uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms so clients can rest comfortably and focus on their recovery without the risk of relapsing.

If you think you might need Celexa treatment and you have health insurance, your policy should cover medically-assisted detox. The best way to check is by calling the phone number listed on the back of your insurance card.

Celexa Withdrawal Timeline

The half-life of Celexa is approximately 36 hours, so it can linger in the body for days. As a result, Celexa withdrawal symptoms may last longer than some other antidepressant drugs with shorter half-lives like Zoloft, but the withdrawal symptoms will likely be less severe. Below is an approximate withdrawal timeline for Celexa.

1-3 days after the last dose:During the first few days of Celexa detox, mild withdrawal symptoms begin to appear.
4-5 days after the last dose:Withdrawal symptoms become more severe and may include shakiness, fever, dizziness, and nausea.
1-3 weeks after the last dose:Withdrawal symptoms persist for several weeks after Celexa detox but will gradually decrease in severity and eventually fade completely.
One month or more after the last dose:Some people may continue to experience mild withdrawal symptoms for several months after completing Celexa detox.

Treatment for Celexa Addiction

After detox, people who are recovering from Celexa addiction may choose to continue their addiction treatment with a rehab program. Although Celexa is not physically addictive, rehab can help people overcome the psychological issues associated with addiction and the contributing causes of drug-seeking behavior.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term addiction treatment that lasts at least 90 days will provide the greatest opportunity for lasting recovery. For those who are struggling with Celexa addiction, a long-term treatment program may also provide adequate time to make positive and lasting behavioral changes.

During drug rehab, clients work closely with addiction treatment counselors and professionals to achieve a set of objectives that will help them learn how to not only just live a sober lifestyle, but also maintain it. All Celexa treatment programs are different, but they typically consist of:

Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab for Celexa Addiction

While there are many types of drug rehab programs for Celexa addiction, two of the most common are residential rehab programs and outpatient rehab programs. Both types of Celexa treatment provide intensive, high-quality, recovery-focused care, but they have unique qualities that cater to certain client populations.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of residential and outpatient Celexa rehab programs:

In residential rehab, clients:

  • Live at the rehab center while they complete treatment
  • Adhere to community rules, policies, and daily schedule/structure
  • Participate in individual and group counseling daily
  • Participate in various types of behavioral therapy and group activities
  • Have limited access to the outside world while completing rehab

In outpatient rehab, clients:

  • Attend outpatient group meetings for several weeks while they live at home or in a sober living house
  • Complete homework assignment independently
  • Continue working, attending school, or attending to other personal responsibilities while in treatment
  • Have limited access to treatment staff and clinical care

Although neither type of Celexa treatment is better than the other, one may be more suited to a person’s treatment needs than the other. In general, residential rehab is well-suited to people with severe addictions or who have relapsed and outpatient rehab may work well for those with moderate addictions and less complex treatment needs. However, clients may also complete both residential and outpatient Celexa rehab for a more comprehensive and robust treatment experience.

The cost of a residential or outpatient rehab program will vary depending on several different factors, such as:

  • The location of the Celexa rehab center
  • The treatment services offered
  • The type of population served
  • The amenities offered
  • Payment options/insurance

Many rehab programs will provide various payment options and may work with several insurance providers to provide treatment that is affordable. These payment methods may include:

The best way to explore all your payment options is to call and speak with an admissions representative at a Celexa rehab center. They will be able to answer your questions and help you determine your options.

Continued Care Options for Celexa Treatment

After rehab, clients may choose to continue their addiction treatment with continuing care programs like sober living or aftercare. Both types of treatment are designed to support individuals in their recovery journey after rehab.

Sober Living Programs

A sober living program provides a structured living environment for people who need support maintaining their sobriety after rehab or during a transitional stage of life. Sober living homes act as a buffer between rehab and the “real world,” as they offer recovery support services, structured housing, and peer support for sobriety.

Residents of a sober living home must adhere to the community rules and policies, as well as maintain their sobriety in order to live there. Many sober living homes also offer support services such as:

  • Regular drug testing
  • Personal monitoring
  • Peer-led support programs
  • Tiered recovery programming
  • Educational planning
  • Employment assistance
  • Volunteer placement
  • Access/referrals to therapeutic services

The cost of a sober living program varies greatly depending on its location, the recovery support services offered, the staff to client ratio, and the type of residence.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are especially helpful for people who have already completed detox, rehab, and sober living. Aftercare provides a safe, supportive, and accepting environment where people in all stages of life and recovery can come and support one another, receive encouragement, and continue growing on a personal level.

Aftercare programs generally consist of a series of weekly meetings where clients discuss ongoing issues in recovery, check-in with their peers in recovery, and discuss ongoing challenges, successes, and personal issues related to sobriety.

Completing a comprehensive addiction treatment program can help people recover from Celexa addiction for good. If you have questions about our citalopram addiction treatment options at Nova Recovery Center or you’d like to enroll yourself or a loved one, please call our admissions team today to get started.


  1. https://www.verywellmind.com/faqs-about-celexa-for-panic-disorder-2584294
  2. https://www.addictionhope.com/celexa/
  3. https://www.drugs.com/celexa.html
  4. https://www.medicinenet.com/citalopram-oral/article.htm
  5. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8603/celexa-oral/details
  6. https://www.verywellmind.com/ssri-discontinuation-syndrome-378682

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