Dealing with anger during SSRI withdrawal


Anger is a normal human emotion.  It’s a force of change for most people.  We see something we don’t like in the world around us and feel compelled to change or avoid it. In our nuanced minds, we’ve developed sophisticated ways of expressing and dealing with anger.  We use discussion and logic to make anger serve us in productive ways.  SSRI withdrawal turns this normal process on its head. In withdrawal, anger forms independently in the mind.  Instead of rising in response to an external event, withdrawal causes anger without context.  You’re just angry.  There’s no event or emotion preceding it, it just pops into your head.

Normally, there is a range of emotion to anger.  We’ve separated physical and intellectual anger, and each has a range of responses. We moderate ourselves to match the event.  Instead of fighting an insulting person, we debate or avoid them.  Extreme responses are withheld until there is a threat of physical harm.  Withdrawal blurs the line between intellectual and physical anger and eliminates the scale that we usually apply to situations to gauge our responses.  Since withdrawal anger rises independently, there is no external scale to give us queues to measure our response.  The mind is filled with anger that we then try to apply to the situation.  That’s the key difference between normal anger and the rage that accompanies SSRI withdrawal.  Instead of reacting to an external event, we’re applying an internal state to the external world.

Because the internal mental state doesn’t match the external anger queue, people in withdrawal can often dramatically over react to small annoyances.  The anger that the patient is experiencing is at the upper scale of the emotion.  It’s happening without an external event to trigger it, so the mind searches for the cause of the anger, and attaches it to anything it sees in the outside world.  The patient may feel enough anger to start a physical altercation, and apply that rage to a trivial interaction.  Road rage is one of the most common responses to withdrawal anger.  Combining rage with the anonymity of the road removes the last few barriers in the mind between anger and action.

Anger is one of the most difficult emotions to deal with in SSRI withdrawal.  It’s the one emotion that the patient is most likely to translate into action against friends or strangers.  Anxiety, depression and fear are also amplified in withdrawal, but those emotions tend to draw the patient into themselves.  Anger is more likely to be expressed outwards towards other people.  For patients, it’s important to be mindful of the difference between normal anger and that caused by withdrawal.  If you’re angry and can’t see what triggered it, it’s most likely caused by withdrawal.  It’s a delicate point in withdrawal.  Be very careful not to do or say something that you will regret later.  This stage of withdrawal causes more broken friendships and burned bridges than any other.  It’s very hard to control anger in withdrawal, though.  Don’t berate yourself too much if you do something out of character, a lot of people experience the exact same thing.

For friends and loved ones, it’s important to suspend reactions to a person experiencing anger in SSRI withdrawal.  No matter how hurtful or mean they seem, the emotion is not normal anger.  It’s an out of control emotion that they are expressing incoherently.  They can still use their imagination and intellect to lash out, but the basis for the anger is beyond their control.  Attacks can seem very personal and elaborate.  They may bring up very old problems that seemed resolved long ago.  They’re not really trying to relive those old arguments, they are just clinging to anything that can explain the sudden and overwhelming anger they feel.  We’re not used to experiencing anger without context, so someone in withdrawal will grab onto anything to explain it.  As much as you can, be relentlessly positive.  S/he needs your support to get through this crisis.  Responding with anger will escalate the situation.  The patient has no real upper limit on their anger, but you do.  Try to moderate yourself and control your emotions.  It’s very hard to deal with a person suffering from withdrawal rage, but escalating the situation will not serve either of you in the long run.

The anger phase of withdrawal does pass.  The goal for the patient and those around him/her is to recognize that it wasn’t a normal part of their personality.  As strange as it seems, withdrawal can temporarily change your personality and make you do things that you would normally never do.  It’s not an emotional state that you’re likely to return to, either.  Once you pass through anger, there are other phases of withdrawal to deal with, but anger should slowly become more manageable as time goes by.  You may find that you are better equipped to deal with normal anger now that you’ve experienced irrational anger.  Instead of fearing that you may relapse into anger in the future, take heart that you have passed through the most difficult part of SSRI withdrawal.

136 Responses to “Dealing with anger during SSRI withdrawal”

  1. Altostrata Says:

    Many unpleasant emotions, such as anger, are felt intensely in withdrawal because the regulating system has been disabled by withdrawal and downregulation of serotonin receptors. This enables an abnormally high release of cortisol, which exacerbates anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.

    Some people are overcome by these neurologically induced emotions and do things that are rash or dangerous, feeling they literally have lost their minds or have brain damage.

    You may be interested in visiting, a peer support site, for more detailed information about tapering, antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, and withdrawal symptoms.

    • npanth Says:

      Thanks, I visit, it’s a good site.

      • Altostrata Says:

        Thank you. And thanks also for telling people about withdrawal symptoms, which can be so severe and still not recognized by doctors, and letting them know about gradual tapering — something else doctors don’t know enough about.

      • Jaime Alex Says:

        You James Heaney wrote in this website….

        Here is the excerpt:
        “I would describe stress syndrome as a mental state where emotions do not emerge in response to external events, but are created in the mind. For instance, anger is normally something we feel in response to external events, and we measure our instinctual response with our intellects. In SSRI withdrawal, that process is broken. Instead of reacting to an external event, the anger springs fully formed in the mind, then looks for an environmental queue to focus on. In that way, withdrawal sufferers can overreact to trivial events because the anger they feel is not in proportion to the queue. Other emotions like anxiety and fear react in a similar way.

        During normal thought, irrational, even psychotic, thoughts do float to consciousness, but are easily dismissed as inappropriate. In withdrawal, the normal checks and balances stop working. Every thought that comes to mind has the same weight as if it was vetted by our intellects. Irrational and psychotic thoughts have the same validity as rational thought. I think that’s why irrational thoughts like suicide and homicide become plausible in the withdrawal mind. The imagination is still active, but the thinking part of the mind no longer has control.”

        My question is ….all of these are your own thoughts/opinions correct? Or what website did you learn this?

        • Jaime Alex Says:

          Do you mean that’s because of uncontrolled emotions in withdrawal like anger etc right? That makes sense since even “normal anger” make people loose control…

        • Kara Trott Says:

          Anti depressants seem to be causing more issues than helping- Ive been off citalopram for almost 9 months now (was on for 3 years) and my road rage/anger in general has been dangerous, uncharacteristic and scary. Im hoping this will change. I can’t believe this kind of thing can be prescribed with the possibility of these side effects putting *everyone* at risk.

  2. carrotshead Says:

    Totally agree.
    I’m facing it now

    • npanth Says:

      Hang in there. Withdrawal anger is very hard to deal with, it has no limits like the emotions we normally feel. The best thing I did to overcome it was to remind myself that it’s coming from within, not in reaction to anything external. It will get better in time.

      • Altostrata Says:

        A member of my site coined a term, “neuro-emotion,” to distinguish those emotions that are generated from withdrawal-induced neurological dysregulation.

        If you are angry that doctors know so little about safe tapering and withdrawal syndrome, join the club! But put aside taking action on that until you’ve recovered. You might write down your feelings and your outrage for now, then let them go.

        Use stress reduction techniques to help your nervous system heal and try to be as calm as possible.

      • Nicola Borovska Says:

        How long does it last ? Ive cut my serteline 200 to 50 within 4 weeks and im feeling as if i could ripp someones head off i scream at my kids for the most trivial things 😦 i hate myself for it but i cant help it … I dont know how to get better

        • Katie Says:

          How long did it last!? I’m doing the same thing exactly. My poor kids. I don’t want to get back on the antidepressant.

          • Shell Says:

            Hi I came off Prozac last year (1/2 tablets first, then 1/2 every other day etc). Had been on them for 5 years. One of the things that really helped me with some of the symptoms was Stinging nettle tea. I would make a pot each night and then sip on it throughout the day when it was cold. I don’t know why, but it just seemed to really help with a lot of my symptoms. We also changed to plant based diet, but it was the introduction of greem smoothies for breakfast that helped me feel more energetic. The stininging nettle helped with the out of body experience and brain zaps. I think my anger and irritablily was there all the time under the surface. My husband tried to come off his lexapro in December from half tablets to nothing – it has been beyond words with his anger. We as a family have really suffered from his anger. He has just gone back onto half tablets and immediately he is a different person.

            Is it possible you came off a little too quickly? There is no rush to come off, family relationships are so integral and its so hard for them, truly take it slow to come off, our bodies need to acclimate to the changes we are asking our mind to do.

          • Katie Says:

            Thanks for your response.
            I’m on B complex, magnesium, 5HTP and GABA to help with the transition after being in for 13 years. I haven’t found the 5Htp to be doing much, so I will begin tryptophan on Monday. I’ve finished tapering and weening and have been off completely now for a few weeks.
            How long did the anger last for you? I can’t seem to get a response with any actual length of time anywhere.
            Thanks so much.

          • Hir Says:

            My anger lasted a year, then started to get better. It doesn’t go away completely. You figure out how to deal with it. It’s been two years and I feel great. Most doctors don’t check for candida overgrowth (leaky gut) and a host of other blood tests. I highly suggest seeing one. They check vitamin levels to make sure your body isn’t deficient in anything. Plus candida overgrowth can cause a host of issues.

          • Hir Says:

            My anger lasted a year, then started to get better. It doesn’t go away completely. You figure out how to deal with it. It’s been two years and I feel great. Most doctors don’t check for candida overgrowth (leaky gut) and a host of other blood tests. I highly suggest seeing a natural path. They check vitamin levels to make sure your body isn’t deficient in anything. Plus candida overgrowth can cause a host of issues.

        • M Moore Says:

          Hello, I realise you’ve written a year ago but how are you now? I am on the same boat. Cut sertraline and kids getting the brunt 😦 Answer much appreciated.

          • Sheila Smith Says:

            My marriage is over because of my husband coming cold turkey off anti depressants. I was subjected to hours of rage and emotional abuse. I had to leave the family home because I didn’t feel safe. My husband insisted he wanted to kill himself because of me. My crime.. coming in from work in a bad mood (he is retired). which I was doing because he was doing nothing to help in the house and went to bed within 1/2 hour of me coming in. I didn’t know he’d come off his anti depressants until I’d left him.

  3. Linda Ahlberg Says:

    Can you experience these symptoms after being on SSRI’s for a short time? Say, 3 weeks? My son is currently in jail due to his anger and aggression against his girlfriend and police…. it is so uncharacteristic. He is not a physically agressive or verbally abusive person. I can especially relate to the statement in the above article …”they may bring up old problems that seems resolved long ago” and also Altostrata’s statement above “Some people are overcome by these neurologically induced emotions and do things that are rash or dangerous, feeling they literally have lost their minds or have brain damage.” I can’t begin to explain his actions in any other way… it is bewildering. He was prescribed Prosac, then went off, and about a month later, prescribed Citalopram, 20 mg’s — I believe he quit taking them … and he lost control… I’m trying to come to grips with this… please help.

    • Altostrata Says:

      SSRIs are notorious for causing such reactions in young people, both as adverse effects while you’re taking them and if you go off. Also, taking an SSRI inconsistently can have adverse effects. You would have a defense if you got the right attorney.

      • LA Says:

        Thank you for your quick response… I’m looking for an expert witness testimony and/or factual reports to aide his atty in his defense… I am hiring a forensic psychiatrist to evaluate him … This has to be the reason for his actions…. Nothing else makes sense.

  4. Says:

    “Dealing with anger during SSRI withdrawal James Heaney” was in fact a terrific
    posting, can’t help but wait to read more of your articles.
    Time to spend several time on-line hehe. Thanks for your time ,Arthur

  5. KLGF Says:

    I am so thankful to find this blog and the comments. My doctor withheld renewing my Lexapro rx two months ago until I came in for a blood test so I ran out and was without my meds for two weeks or so. I felt “wrong” and could only describe it as crashing – feeling paralyzed with depression and anxiety and unable to get up off the couch.

    So, two months later – I’m finally stabilized on the drugs once more and my doctor does not get around to refilling my Rx promptly again. I’ve been off Lexapro for about a week. This morning I went into a rage where everything went “red.” I’m so grateful I didn’t hurt one of my dogs or family. I was throwing things and screaming about waiting for my doctor in his parking lot and gouging his eyes out for making me feel this way again. It’s kinda funny now but terrifying while I was feeling it and worse yet – seemed like I could actually go through with harming myself or someone else. Reading the stories here has calmed me down a great deal so thank you.

    Just wanted to share my story in case someone like me is searching around the internet to figure out why he/she went uncharacteristically off the rails while withdrawing from SSRI. It was the scariest feeling I have ever experienced.

    • Lilu Says:

      I experience this kind of red rage during withdrawal from every antidepressant I’ve ever been on and tried to get off of. I have and am currently experiencing this kind of rage even after tapering my medication extremely slowly. Your doctor is practicing an extreme kind of ignorance, negligence and should be reported for malpractice. I can’t believe you didn’t switch doctors after what he did to you. That is just wrong!

  6. Jackr Says:

    I was put on SSRIs at 16 despite warnings it leads to suicidal ideation in adolescents. And in this time no doctor had advised me of the dangers of SSRI withdrawal. I think doctors need to be more aware of how they educate their patients and what they prescribe.

  7. Grace Says:

    I am coming off various drugs prescribed for neuropathic pain. Duloxetine, pregablin, tapentadol, baclofen and something else which I can’t even pronounce. The consultant was very surprised when I told him I had severe withdrawal symptoms. Apparently he has never had any patients with withdrawal symptoms in the past. I went to throw Petro in tonight and lost it with the attendant. I just flew into complete rage. Not me. Needles to say I won’t be able to use that petrol station again. It’s bad. My head is pounding, my heartbeat is irregular, I have brain zaps and suffer from vertigo, nausea, etc. it sucks. All I can do is siting it out and all I want to do is crawl up into a corner and cry. I find it hard as I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. The only reason I got put on it was because of my back pain. Although it helped I wished that I was warned about the difficulties I might experience when coming off it. It’s funny really as I’d been on these meds for almost two years and they kept changing it around. Then I went on holiday to Africa and had an injection of £25 that sorted it all out. My meds cost the NHS just over a thousand pound a month. My private health insurance spend £10 000 last year on some state of the art treatment. Then all it took was a £25 injection in South Africa to sort it out and my trusted GP whom questioned the meds I was on. This is the one in South Africa. He thought I was overdosed on meds and there was no point if it did not sort out the pain. All that keeps me going is knowing that this will to pass and that I should soon have my life back minus the debilitating back pain.

  8. tonya Says:

    Going thru paxil withdrawal.could find no one to talk to about this raging. So greatfull I found this info. Now I know what is happening and know it will pass. Thank you so much.

  9. Dave Says:

    I had no idea missing a few doses of citalopram while i was sick would make me want to destroy everything and hurt everyone. what incredible rage and hatred i felt. scary stuff as I’m sure it’s pushed some people over the edge.
    Not sure what i should do now as I need the A.D’s but don’t feel comfortable taking them.

  10. anon Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m going through this as we speak and everything you’ve written has put it all in perspective. I thought I was going mad..

    • sheila Says:

      hi all as I speak my husband who keeps forgetting his tablets and a week ago as been saying horrible things temper could kill looks ect .snapped at me just now cos I started to wash the pots .he’s gone bed now six o clock …..even said he wants to separate …now after reading some of these threads I have hope ..thinking of going to see my doctor for help .he is away tommow on business do you think it’s a good idea

  11. TJ Says:

    I’ve found SSRIs to be helpful, but I have become resentful that I cannot get off them without experiencing some pretty severe rage. Also my close family now thinks that without SSRIs I am a raging lunatic.
    Not sure what is the “real” me anymore.

  12. Karel Says:

    comment is not getting through

    • Karel1 Says:

      Is there any limit on the amount of characters you can put in a reply (or specific characters)

    • Karel2 Says:

      Is there any way I can contact you (via email or something) because I want to ask you a question (bit lengthy but it wont let me)

  13. Ssri Withdrawal Back Pain Says:

    […] Dealing with anger during SSRI withdrawal | James Heaney – Jul 02, 2012 · Altostrata Says: July 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm. Many unpleasant emotions, such as anger, are felt intensely in withdrawal because the regulating system has …… […]

  14. Philip Husband Says:

    I had never heard of this phenomenon, so I was confused when after quitting Lexapro for a few days, I felt an unaccountable rage building in me. People generally describe me as a “gentle giant”, but yesterday I went completely ballistic against a fool who was riding the wrong way in a bike lane. Yes, he was wrong and I was right to confront him with his potentially deadly stupidity, however, I actually rammed him with my bike several times and would have followed him and beaten the shit out him had I not gotten a puncture.

    My sincere thanks to the creator of this forum. This particular aspect of SSRI withdrawal is not mentioned either on the list of potential side effects, or by doctors. I could have crippled someone and spent years in jail as a result of this aspect of SSRI withdrawal syndrome and it is truly shameful that this is not mentioned in the list of side effects.

  15. marnie71 Says:

    How long does The Rage Stage generally last? I’ve been enraged every day for about 2 weeks and don’t know if I can take much more of it. I’m down to 5mg of Citalopram and am taking low doses of 5HTP to help with withdwrawal. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!

  16. D. Says:

    Rage!!! How long is this going to last? Began while tapering off – now off completely but don’t know if this will last for weeks, months… Anyone else know what is the average period for this symptom?

  17. tanya Says:

    Whoa, I’m so glad I found this site. I’ve been off Citalopram 20 for about 3 weeks and running around screeching and yelling over just about anything. Now I know its normal I already feel better. What I have learnt though is that being a squeaky door at work on occasion has its benefits.

  18. Noel Says:

    I have been off ssri antidepressants for a couple months now.

    I went from being chill to pure anger. Everyone and everything makes me angry since stopping. Normally I am kind to strangers and have never confronted anyone before – but I found myself doing passive aggressive things to people over almost nothing. I was so close to cussing out a man who used his cellphone in the movies. I walked up to a woman and passive aggressively said a loud rude comment because I was mad about something she did.

    This behavior is hard to control and dangerous because a stranger could fight back and or take it to another level.

    I find that I have a problem with “everyone” after stopping. I avoid people now because I get so annoyed that I worry I will permanently damage relationships by saying mean things.

    I officially can’t hide my attitude anymore and I can’t even pretend to be respectful and nice to those around me and I hate it. I feel bad that other people are being dragged into it and I know that it’s the withdrawal because I have never ever been this rude and angry before. The tiniest thing will send me into a fit of rage, make me upset or feel extremely anxious.

    It’s the lack of control that really gets to me, I remind myself every day to get it together and not start with people but that’s not enough. I never used to get this angry or mad.

    Hang in there fellow angry people.. We made it through depression- so we can make it through this.

    My advice would be to relax and avoid people when possible if your situation sounds like mine.

    • AnAlisha Arrieta Says:

      This is literally me right now :/

    • Katie Says:

      Exactly me right now. I feel awful for my poor children. How long will this last!? I just ordered tryptophan. Should be here in a couple days, hoping it helps.

      • Tom Says:

        Hey Katie. I realize it’s been awhile since your post. I’m going through the same thing right now. I even told my boss today if he couldn’t deal with it to fire me! Way out of my character. I’m hoping and praying this passes ASAP! The last 2 days have literally been the worst 2 days of my life! No joke.

  19. jake banyon Says:

    This article has really helped me. Nobody has advised me about this side effect, can’t say my gp has advised me on any and very much plays down the symptoms I’ve described as mild, as we all know when you’re going through it, it does not feel mild. As a very laid back person I’m finding anger the most difficult in everyday life, especially work. The things I usually bite my tongue about I’m finding myself snapping over. If anyone can advise how long this will take to pass. It’s good to know i’m not the only person, there really is not enough advice and support for coming off ssris,

  20. K. M. Says:

    Thank you for this. As Jake Banyon, above, said, nobody told me about this either.

  21. Rocky Says:

    I’ve been off anti-depressants for about 6 months. I’m usually a pretty chill person and not let things rattle my cage. I will say since being off them I am irritable and angry over silly or small stuff. I do my best to check myself when talking to my children or coworkers but sometimes I want to scream. I keep reminding myself it’s a side effect and I have to put things into perspective. Some days it’s quite hard. My anger scares me. I don’t like the feeling. I’m hoping it goes away sooner rather than later. I take a ton of herbs and vitamins.

  22. karen Says:

    This post gives me hope. I need hope rite now. I was on anti phsycotic meds for 11 years and tapered off of then and it got reaaly bad. My doctor put me on citalopram 20 mg. stayed on that for a year and in the last4 months have tapered of citalopram has bee n one month with nothing.gotta say I’m doing fairly well thanks to God. However in the last week lots of crying abd rage. U had mentioned there was phases to withdrawal what are they ?

  23. lynda Says:

    I am suffering withdrawal ,cold turkey,as advised wrongly by my doctor.The anger I feel is outrage! I hope other people suffering,find help as its the most awful experience of my life.We trust doctors to help us,People with depression are vulnerable,and we should never have to be damaged in this way.Please talk to someone,you are not alone,even though you may have withdrawn into yourself because of your illness,phone free mental help line or samaritans.Dont give up! fight for your rights to be treated well. All the best to you all.Phew! Im trying! so hard.lynda

  24. Margo Monroe Says:

    I have been on Paxil for over 10 years. Tried to get off twice. Once cold turkey, accidentally, big mistake. Then on a very slow taper. Both times I made it for about 5-6 months and then went crazy with rage and deep depression. Went back on because I could not cope. Now I have started wellbutrin to get of Paxil. Doctor did not warn me about the side effects of wellbutrin…they are hellish and take forever to settle down. I was hoping to use wellbutrin to get past the 6 month Paxil rage, and then taper of wellbutrin. Now I am just scared. Don’t know who I am anymore…went on Paxil because I had undiagnosed TMJ disorder. Well that is now sorted out, but I feel almost like I am just screwed. I was never as depressed as I have been since trying to get off of antidepressants. Just felt the need to vent, feel alone in this.

  25. jbishop2002 Says:

    It’s been 3 weeks off citalopram and I’m still feeling really pissed! I feel like I want to punch someone… I am a very mild mannered individual but these w/d symptoms are hell. Why in the hell are people who are given these drugs told about withdrawal? Honestly who would want to uses these drugs if they knew before the ramifications? Not only am I really pissed off but have sensations of constant vertigo and inability to concentrate. I can’t believe that some people experience this for a year or more. Can we all get together and hire a really good lawyer to sue the s$&t out of the company who makes this drug?!! The emotional pain and suffering have been enormous for a great many people. More needs to be explained up front about the risks of long term use of this shit!!

    • lynda Says:

      I understand and empathize,with any person who is going through citropram withdrawal,too.In early november I was taken off citropram,cold turkey by my doctor,and ever since have had extreme withdrawal,anger being just one of the symptoms,and the impulse to punch people in the face and to kill myself is awful.I feel like Ive gone insane,so depressed and non stop crying.It is so wrong that we took the medication on TRUST,and it has done so much harm.Please hang on in there,like Im trying so hard to minute at a time.Some people have no LOVING family to turn to,and are isolated,while they go through mental horrors,Which people who dont suffer mental health issues ,do not understand.Perhaps we will all be stronger,in the end,I hope so. thinking of all of you,and wishing you to be well soon.lyn

      • jbishop2002 Says:

        Thanks for your kind words Lynda. I hope you get well soon too. Who would’ve thought w/d would be like this? I’m glad we have this blog to discuss because honestly there isn’t much else on the web it seems that goes into this much detail. You know any good attorneys 🙂 ?

        • neildembeck85 Says:

          I want in on a class action lawsuit. I missed a couple of doses of Paxil and went ballistic and lost my part–time job. I had no idea about this withdrawal effect. Makes me angry (even more so!)!

    • AnAlisha Arrieta Says:

      Ugh after feeling the exact same way from taking citalopram inconsistently I totally agree.. If only I knew the horrible side effects I would experience I would have tried and tried so hard to find a natural way

  26. Ian Says:

    I was taking Citalopram for Anxiety and Panic attacks for about 6 years. My initial dose was 20mg but it went up to 40mg when I was told I was building up a tolerance to it. I cut back to 20mg then 10mg before I stopped taking it all together 7 weeks ago. The first 4 weeks were living HELL. I have cried more in the last 7 weeks than my entire life. Brain zaps, nightmares, vertigo, severe anger issues. Like most of you had I known of the withdraw side effects I would have never taken it. Last week I went Hulk on my family week 6 (verbally). I completely lost it even though I’m a rational, calm person,( I had started drinking alcohol more often to deal with the withdraws, big mistake, don’t do this) I knew something was wrong with me but didn’t know what it was. Now I know. Each day is getting better. I know my triggers and have taken steps to not explode again. The biggest thing I have done to help me is pray daily and stay involved with a support group through my church. I will never take an SSRI again. My mind is getting clearer and sharper each day. I know I have months to go but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The first 4-6 weeks are very hard but stay with it.

  27. kate Says:

    This information is really encouraging. I was on anti-depressants for a year and a half, and then in October of last year, I was on Vicodin due to a shoulder injury. I went cold-turkey on both of these. I was tired of the fatigue. but went totally ballistic last night on my husband. I am so remorseful and sad today as a result of it. Just glad to see that I am not going crazy, from the sounds of it, the other people on this site have experienced rage/anger as well. Thanks!

  28. RandiKisses Says:

    Oh gosh after reading this, I am in tears. I am so thankful I found this post… I recently went off of my antidepressants, after slowly lowering the dosage and I have been having so much anger and irritability. I think the most AWFUL things in my mind and have just been very argumentative with my mom and I HATE IT! I wish this phase was over, because it makes me feel like I need my medication. But my goal is to be off of them due to the fact that on them, I’ve gave 75lbs in a year and felt NO emotions. Like a numb zombie. Plus my heartbeat has become really weird and irregular when I was on my antidepressants. I just wish I could get back to the normal me before anxiety, depression and medication.

  29. Lexi Says:

    I’ve been taking Celexa for my entire teens. I’m now 20. Back in high school, I ran out of medication and absolutely lost it. I threatened to stab a girl who had slept with my then boyfriend. As a result, I was hauled out of class and sent to the assistant principal’s office. I was in his face, screaming and cussing at him, screaming at her (she was in the room next door), and getting in the faces of the people who were searching me for a knife. I was handcuffed and sent to a psych ward where I was evaluated for 2 hours. Then there was another time that I punched 3 guys in the face in 1 day for serial harrassment. One of them turned out to be mentally handicapped. I was nearly arrested for that. This medication has destroyed the way my family sees me. They think that raging psychopath is who I am so I’ve been shamed to the point of being forced to take it. The sexual side effects are also damaging my relationship. I’m at the end of my rope.

  30. Ken Says:

    I’m so thankful that you have written this article. It has helped tremendously in realizing what is going on. That I’m not crazy. I can’t thank you enough.

  31. Dianne Says:

    Yeah fuck you! Just kidding.

    • julieswinden Says:

      I’m so glad I found this site!!! Been searching for citalopram withdrawal symptoms online and no mention of blood curdling rage where I keep ringing my boyfriend back and telling him some more ‘home truths’. I have nail marks on my palms from clenching my fists. So glad it’s only an exaggeration of how much of an annoying sanctimonious arsehole he is 😊 how long will this rage last. I was on celexa/citalopram for 5 yrs 40mg and have weaned down to zero slowly over a few months. Been on zero for 11 days and every time I think the symptoms are peaking they get worse. Anyone have a rough idea of how long I should expect to feel like a psycho for? Thanks.

  32. Dawn Buxton Says:

    I’ve been slowly coming off venlafaxine since Christmas. Now completely free of antidepressants and I still have really bad rage and brain zaps and feeling really tired. I’m nearly at the point of giving in and going back on the tablets. I hate feeling this way. I think I enjoyed feeling emotionaly numb compared to this.

  33. Drug Test Says:

    This is simply some of the best information I’ve happened on today. It’s not necessarily what I was looking for nonetheless it sure got my interest. Now i’m glad I took the time to give it a look.

  34. Julie Says:

    I really needed to hear this today! Withdrawing from the dreaded Paxil, that I was on for 4 years. I’m in the anger stage, I mean anger, I ripped a lady last night, so not me, makes me sad. However I know it is the drug and hope I get through this soon, thinking is going to be later rather that sooner. But that’s OK, one day at a time.
    Paxil served is purpose once upon a time, however I wish my Dr would have advised me about getting off.
    What kind of vitamins or herbs is everyone using to help support their body? I have been using essential oils, they are my livesafer, along with omega 3, B complex, Magnesium. In therapy for Cognitive Behavior therapy aka positive thinking.

    • Wanttobecalm Says:

      There is a natural mood balancer that you can buy from the chemist. A girlfriend highly recommends it and I am going to buy it today as I have unleashed incredible anger on my family all week and it has to stop. I thought it might be due to the withdrawal of desvenlafaxine but after reading the above I know it definitely is. I have tried to keep myself in check, but unfortunately, you just loose it in the moment and what is worse is you feel so incredibly sick and guilty after loosing your shit. It seems that if I am not loosing it I am crying my eyes out. (I am so not a cryer and i HATE it. Dr’s do need to be more accountable, they hand these things out like candy but never mention what happens when the candy is taken away. The tablets are Martin & Pleasance Harmony Balance 60tabs for women but there must be something available for men also. Good luck people, hopefully we will all get through this with our mental state and relationships in tact.

  35. Angela Says:

    I quit Citalopram cold turkey 3.5 weeks ago. I was on 40mg for almost two years. The pill made me gain 30 pounds, tired and lazy all the time and killed all my emotions. I was fine the first two weeks off the medication, but then week three rolled around and that has been a diff story. I started off with dizziness and zaps. I am now on the full blown anger side effect. I yell about everything and constantly fight with my husband. Today I yelled about the trash being full and literally told him to f off and he has to be the one filing for divorce. Over the trash can. Then I sat in the bathroom crying for half an hr thinking what a horrible person I am. It is hell. I really hope the withdrawal symptoms subside because I am a walking ball of emotions. I am NOT going back on the medication. I feel so much physically better off of them and have finally started to lose a few pounds.

    • David Says:

      I thought this uncontrollable rage must be a withdrawal side effect of ssri…no doctor will tell you….so I’m glad to have found these posts.
      Taking fish oil and finding when I’m in a state a couple of paracetamol tablets(no more than 4 per day ) levels my mood out.
      Also trying to stay in the middle emotionally. .not allowing myself to cry with happiness or become too low.
      Hope it all blows over soon before I become exhausted and consider going back on meds (ciprimil)

  36. Jessica Says:

    Thank you for this. And thanks to everyone writing comments. I am experiencing this uncontrollable rage ATM. I tried stopping twice before and couldn’t take these feelings. This is my 3rd time trying to quit taking Prozac. It has been almost 3 months. I wanted to share with you all a couple of “techniques” that have been successful for me. The first one is to get in the shower. Just let the water run over you. This usually turns my rage into sobbing, but I can handle sobbing and feeling sad a lot better than i can handle the rage. Second tip I have to suggest is to get a recommendation for the use of medical cannabis (if you can in your state). I started using cannabis 1 year ago… I’m 28. I was never into smoking weed before but it has done a lot for me. My boyfriend sometimes has to remind me to dose up sometimes when I am “on one”, as they say. It takes me a long time, once raged up, to think of these solutions myself. If the boyfriend is the one I am directing my anger towards then it is a little hard for me to take the advice, ” just have a smoke” from the object of my anger but I try to remember what is going on with my brain and that it isn’t working correctly. The marijuana seems to allow me to slow down my thoughts and see what is really happening instead of what my recovering brain thinks is happening. Anyway, these things are not going to eliminate the problem but are, instead, good tools to use, I think. I wish all of you all the best.

  37. Danielle Says:

    I am suffering deeply from this. I have shared this article with my husband. It gives me a great amount of hope that this will pass. What you have described here is exactly what I have been experiencing. Thank you

  38. Mikey boy Says:

    Hi I am coming off 375mg of venlavaxine and painkillers I have experienced the really horrible anger it’s been just over 4 weeks and I’ve lost it so many times I get so angry I snap at every thing now I’ve lost everything my partner and children I’ve tried to explain its not me it’s the withdrawal but no one believes me i am doing this on my own I can’t cope no more because I’ve gone to far this Time I need advice because I’m afraid of what I might do next I know this ain’t me I have never wanted to hurt anyone especially my partner I’ve not hurt her in that way but I’ve wanted to because she says things to make me snap I’ve said the most hurtful hate full things to her and I don’t know why because she isn’t any of those horrible things I say she was my rock and I’ve completely gone and done it I’m glad she left me because I wouldn’t want to put up with that but saying that if it was her that was like this I would because I love her and would stand by her no matter what because I know it will be over soon well I really hope I feel like locking my self up so I can’t kick off over the slitest thing.

  39. Rosieb Says:

    Wow! The anger also is threatening to split up my 20 year relationship. Tapered off Citalopram starting in January and was down to 5 mg every second day before I quit. Have been off them now for 5 complete weeks. My husband is not being supportive and feels like I am using the withdrawal an as excuse for me using ( very uncharacteristically) foul language aimed at him.
    He just doesn’t get it and tells me we should separate. I have read him this article and he is sitting across from me reading a book.
    No wonder I feel like I am going crazy. I do not want to return to zombie land, but at the same time, I want to regulate my outbursts. I will try some of the supplements mentioned above. So far I have tried 5HTP which made me more hyper, and Passion flower oil to help relax me. Neither seem to work.
    Nobody has said how long this anger will last. Does anyone have any idea? I need to know if there is to be any saving of my relationship!
    Please help!

  40. Bella Says:

    Ok, so, I’m not going crazy? That’s good to know, but when will the anger subside?

    I was on Zoloft for 4 months to address depression and panic attacks. I felt extremely fatigued, but associated it with the depression. Finally, I talked to the pharmacist who said this was likely a side effect. So, working with my doc, I dropped from 50mg (my highest dose), to 25mg, then to 12mg, over about 2+ weeks.

    At 12mg, my brain started to take ‘break’s or ‘detours’ when I was typing or writing. When I proofed my work, words were missing; words were misspelled; and words were there that I didn’t intend to type. (That’s not usually how my brain works.)
    (This same thing had happened to me while taking other full-strength SSRIs, but I had never had this side affect while using Zoloft).

    So, at this point, I’m off all SSRIs. I’ve been off them for about 1-1.5 weeks. I see my psych tomorrow, THANKFULLY, and hope she can shed some light on this issue.

    One of my docs put me on LDN (low dose Natrexone). It’s supposed to help with a number of issues I have…inflammation, depression, anxiety, etc. We’ll see.

  41. Biffo. Says:

    This is an excellent blog, really well addressed.
    I had been on paxil /seroxat for over 20 years, and had tried swapping to a non SSRi before and went through hell, and was put back on them.

    I am off them a week now and have started escitalorpam 5mg for a week, and tomorrow it will be 10mg a week.
    The rage is bad I have felt like kicking the shit out of people just for looking arrogant or talking loud (and I’m an ex martial artist) so really have to be careful. I am so glad to have found this blog which explains externalising an internal event so well.
    Thank you.

  42. K Says:

    Can someone help me. I am going through this exact situation as I have been tapering off effexor for months…I am on the tiniest chip of one pill every other day but I can’t get off.. these brain zaps still occur and I can’t cut pill anymore. My main issue is this anger. I am a full time single parent to a 3 year old and 17 year old. I have very little support and no family and friends. I have already been physical with both of them. I am frustrated, scared and full of guilt. What do I do? Is there something else I can take in the meantime to help get thru this or will that result in same issues?

    • Bella Says:

      I was taking Sertraline, but it caused severe Fatigue and it caused major issues with my Typing. I took a typing test in July, and my score was 1 error per minute. Then, I took one recently, and it was 5 errors per minute. So, because this could affect my livelihood (job potential), I started to lower my dose, in order to stop taking the medication.

      First I went to 50mg, then 25mg, then 12mg, over a 2-week period. But, I was feeling very angry and uncomfortable in my own skin. So, the doctor recommended I go back up to 50mg, then finally up to the top dose. That didn’t make sense to me, but I was willing to try.

      Well, at 75mg, I found myself almost running through red lights. I’m a hyper vigilant person, in life and on the road. So, this was VERY unusual. I called the doctor and they were very concerned and asked me to stop taking the drug immediately or to take it every other day – in order to taper off.

      I decided to take it every other day. I’m taking 50mg. And I don’t feel so agitated. I don’t feel edgy, like I want to tear my skin off. I’ve been taking this dosing for about a week, and I am hopeful I’ll be off of Sertraline soon.

    • Becky Says:

      Look up CBD…hopefully it is legal where you are.

  43. Becky Says:

    I am so happy to read this..It makes me feel better so see that I am actually controlling this better than a may be because of the herbs I am taking …but yes I wake up pissed off and cranky in the morning…I am normally a very sunny happy gal thats sees the best in people ..but as of late think the world is full of morons..and will confront people about stupid silly things I usually wouldn’t give the time of day about…I am going to be getting CBD in the next week as well I am hoping this helps

    • bhaskar0389 Says:

      Hi Becky,
      Could you tell me more about herbs you are taking? I stopped paxil within 15 days as being told by the shrink here.. I try to control the anger as much as I can .. but no other feeling makes me hopeless… I had taken many herbs and supplements but all in vain .

      Please help if u can.

  44. Heather Says:

    I am also relieved to read these accounts. I went off Zoloft about 2 weeks ago and lately cannot control my irritation or extreme rage. I am really scary about how to handle this at work. I literally cannot control my ordinarily cool self around my team. I am a non-stop ball of rage at home, work, or even in my car. I want to tell the world off. I want to advise my HR director of what I’m going through but I also think that maybe I need to hide out like the Hulk until it’s over?

  45. Kristi Says:

    I’m so glad to have stumbled on this article when I did… I have been off Lexapro for about 5 weeks. I had been on SSRIs for 22 years, and then switched to Well Butrin. My doctor recommended I taped. Instead, I kind of stopped abruptly because my prescription was empty and it seemed easy. Five weeks in, I regret that decision but refuse to start taking them again this far into withdrawal…

    I have been experiencing bouts with rage, generally directed at my poor husband, and this article perfectly explains why. I am not an angry person by nature… I don’t think…? But in the last several weeks I find myself just mad. And then more mad because I can’t figure out WHY I’m mad. And you’re right–there seems to be no ceiling on my level of anger. And I can’t even keep up with the array of bullshit excuses I’m using as to why I’m mad… and it’s all. Just. MADDENING.

    So anyway, thank you. And also, where can I read more?

  46. xisalwaysmissing Says:

    I’ve been on various SSRi’s for 14 years and ended up with severe parkinsonian side effects with urinary incontinence and became totally unable to tolerate any SSRi at all. I cut it off dead and went on Amitriptaline last week. I ramped the dose rapidly and it does help during the short time it lasts. I’m almost normal until it wears off. Then the rage comes back. It has a mind of its own and my poor dog just looks at me, knowing full well I will never ever hurt him, as on any of the countless times I missed a dose of duloxetine and went crazy for a day or two I’ve never shouted more than “MOVE” at him. He waits for me to finish shouting and then licks the tears from my face when I collapse in a heap. I couldn’t have done this without the Amitriptaline, I’d have been arrested for murdering Attila the Hun (doctors receptionist) or lamping some stranger.

    Word of warning though, I don’t recommend Valium. It left the rage as it was, but sedated me so I struggled more, thus lost it more. I’m aware amitriptaline is also addictive, but as long as the withdrawals don’t involve THE RAGE, I can live with those consequences.

  47. sojournerstentpress Says:

    I have Autism as well as an anxiety disorder, PTSD, and Major Depressive disorder, and Somatization Disorder. the psychiatrist put me on Zoloft and a seizure medication, clonazepam to treat anxiety and mood. The seizure medication came first. for two weeks i took that then the zoloft. the seizure medication though difficult to adjust to, helped the anxiety, but the when the zoloft was kicking in, my brains began to scramble— as in my thoughts were twice their normal speed with a greater need to express them yet an inability to do so, and anxiety went through the roof but i was more productive and quick on my feet, so to speak. i also experienced less rage in response to sensory overload (which i would get before starting meds). but the negative effects canceled out the positive ones. so the doctor took me off zoloft and upped the dose on the seizure meds . now my life is five times more a nightmare, i barely can function and i feel like a dog who has rabies that must be shot…ive got about two more weeks until my appt with the doctor who already knows how much im suffering. about how long do you think this will take to pass? ive been like this for three days already

  48. kof Says:

    I have not read any responses from family members of people experiencing withdrawl. My husband has been off his anti depressant for 2 months and it has been pure hell for me and our 2 children. He has always been short tempered and easily prone to sadness, self doubt, feelings of worthlessness and feelings of failure. He decided to taper off his meds because he felt after 6 years they were not effective. He had the headaches, brain zaps and nausea for a week or so but nothing nothing is anything like the irrational rage. He gets angry about silly things and he decides irrational things in a split second ( not attending a family gathering he committed to, family property must be removed from our house TODAY.).. One cant negotiate with him. He is never violent, just unreasonable and shouting. He does not see that he behaves unreasonably and he REFUSES to go back onto the meds. He feels he needs more time, he is getting better and the side effects prove the meds are not good for you. We are all nervous wrecks. We walk on eggshells and yet the wrath is never far. I wish I knew how long this was going to last. He was on EFFEXOR. It truly is a frightening situation and it is very hard on the family. It is very difficult to stay positive as the article says, and it is also very difficult to suspend or ignore comments made as they are unjust and hurtful. I was wondering if there are other family members who have experienced this very trying experience and how they have dealt with it

    • Shell Says:

      Hi, going throug the same thing too. He decided to taper off, then go cold turkey. To make it worse he is tapering off his steroids (for RA) so a lot of pain has returned. I’m very supportive of his RA and have we have radically changed our diet to plant based. I feel like I keep on giving, but this is just really touch now. There is an air of anger about him, and he knows he is difficult, but that doesn’t diminish the deep pain he inflicts when he just doesn’t let his comments stop. I’m so sad inside, really really sad. I do say things when he is in a better place, and he is trying to keep out of our way as much as possible. I’m also just recovering from shingles and started a new job last week, I feel like I can’t take this on as well. I think our compromise at the moment is to as much as possible when something hits too deep to withdraw from the situation and not do more damage. I also had a friend come and pray with me today.

      • Kof Says:

        I understand totally how you feel. Basically I think they have limited control over their responses but we can also only respond to the way we are treated. You simply dont hear how this affects family. Im starting to think all the people who have written in this blog are single folks without spouses and children. One can change yourself to accomodate someone else only so long. Im surely not easy all the time but that is part of a normal family dynamic and people should all be able to handle that. I hope you are getting some relief. My husband has finally started a new anti depressant after 4 months of hell but we are not out the woods yet. I really think one has to realise that some medications are for life and you simply cant go around chopping and changing as it suits you. Just take the damn medication. Its like thinking your heart will act differently if you will it to just because you dont want to take meds for high blood pressure. Simply rediculous.

        • Shell Says:

          Thanks, I needed that. Its rather isolating going through this, as you don’t want to share this a lot and I don’t want people to think less of my husband. But the flip side, its damm hard. Glad your husband is starting a new anti depressant – I can only imagine the last 4 months. I’ve just had 5 days break with him away which was so so good. He’s home and really trying, but there never seems to be the right time to safely say anything. I’m practicing being generous in my understanding…but you are right they have such limited control over their responses. He seems so irritated by people at work and debriefs for ages when he gets home and then gets frustrated when I try and direct the conversation somewhere else. Anyways, I’m hoping he will consider going onto something else but I don’t think he will….I’m going to wait and see before I suggest going onto something again.

          • Kof Says:

            You are so lucky to have had a 5 day break! I dream of that! It really helps one to have the stress be off. We are definately not doing so great on the new meds. The dosage is quite low and it is a new generation anti depressant. There is an improvement I cant lie but it has not been nearly what we need/ hoped for. He still loses his temper over the most trivial things and then slams doors and shouts. Then we all stay clear, he has a nap and wakes up as if nothing happened. What the hell???? It is exhausting!!!!! Ive wondered if he is not a narcissist cos its like he cant see how much he is hurting his family. When he is ok, we must be ok… as if nothing happened. I hope your husband is improving or maybe decided to go onto medication. I am reaching beeaking point with this situation!

          • Shell Says:

            Hi I know what you are going through, I’m so sorry its so bad and you do begin to ask yourself so many questions about how they behave and is it something else. It really is exhausting, I found it took over all other emotions and colored every activity, I was in the middle of starting a new work position, somehow I have to put it aside and concentrate but I felt so shattered. I felt I got tot he stage where I emotionally disconnected and started to feel quite angry at the behaviour. Last Monday he went back on his medication….a horrible ride to get to this point. I’d begun to work out what I was going to do if this continued past 3 months. He has been a different person this week and said its like he had no control over the actions. For me its much better, but there is some pain that is going to take some time to recover from. This is about the damage that is done to the family. I wish I could give you a break, as I really know how much is means and even just to talk to someone. Hang in there, I hope that there is an improvement soon. I shall pray for you, thats all I can do. I kept thinking about your comment “Just take the damm medication” and I wanted to put it on our home noticeboard….rather I got a old sleeve of the tablets and left them beside his bed. Your help was so good for me. So have courage, and look after yourself, you are valuable and important and vital to your family, you need rest and good food and love.

        • Suzanne Oakly Says:

          Prob a lot if truth in that. You wouldn’t stop taking thyroid meds or diabetes meds, just to see if you could go it alone, there has to be something in it’s place. Not sure if long term use of ssris make you lose the ability to find control , it’s a dilemma and the jury is still out for me!

    • Lesley Says:

      Yes, experiencing this now. Its so stressful and I really feel like separating from my husband. We have a 3 year old son and his wellbeing is my priority. I cant just excuse this behaviour anymore. Can’t keep hoping it will pass. He went cold turkey off Citalopram. 3\4 weeks ago.

  49. bhaskar0389 Says:

    You have written so much and I have very less hope that u would even reply to me.

    I stopped the paxil 13 months ago cold turkey and I am still angry all the time. I cannot laugh a ounce .. and this anger I am trying to control.
    Many of the things got better but not feeling anything and being angry. It’s like being apathetic and filled with anger.

    Could you tell how long will it last or in case of yours or anybody else. They have made me mentally paralysed with several physical problems.


  50. Katie Says:

    How long does this last!?
    I’ve just come off Prozac, after thirteen year. I’m taking: magnesium, B complex, 5Htp (useless, so I’ve ordered tryptophan) and also take GABA. Nothing seems to help the inner rage I get…bursts of it. My poor children and husband.
    When does it end and will tryptophan help?

  51. Mark Says:

    I thought I would chime in a bit and see if I can be of assistance. I originally went on Citalopram 20mg in 2001. in 2010, I began exercising daily and losing weight, and went from 350 lbs to 210 lbs. I decided to drop to 10 mg, and only felt the tiniest of irritation. My diet was lean meat and fresh vegetables only also. I really felt almost no irritation. As with my doctor’s suggestion, I waited until spring, when I could get outdoors and not be cooped up. The outdoors and the exercise made a significant difference for me.

    Fast forward to today, 2017. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight back, which makes me unhappy and irritable. I’m back on 20mg, and feel worse emotionally than I did at 10 mg when I was healthy. I’ve started my exercise up again, and am in the process of changing my diet over. I recommend the book “Meal Patterning.” This was critical in changing to high quality foods.

    I hope this helps, and wishing you all the best.

  52. vicki Says:

    The anger can last a whole year? I weaned down and then quit taking citalopram after being on it a few years. It was a lifesaver for anxiety but I had gotten to where I could barely think straight or remember anything, and it seemed to be causing shortness of breath. After coming off it, my lungs felt as if they had more feeling and could take deeper breaths. I wasn’t expecting this anger though. I’ve been cussing everyone, but have good reasons to be angry, lol. I don’t I can feel this angry for a year.

  53. Anon Says:

    I’m 2 years into my withdrawal and I have aggressive fantasies daily. How many years will this anger take to subside!!??

    I’m scared and frustrated. What an awful drug lexapro is.

  54. Wade Says:

    In agreement with others here, for the bit of peace i get from reading these posts.

    Have gone through brain zaps (or micro blackouts/dizzy spells i felt coming off of Paxil years ago.) Wanted to avoid that this time, coming off of Citalopram in small increments. Now at 10 mg every 2-3 days, as opposed to 40 mg per day original script. Been coming off this way for 3 months now. This is the first time I’ve experienced the anger to this degree, and likely because my mg dosage is double what my Paxil was in my 30’s (I’m 46 now.)

    First thought, right off the bat, I’ve become a crazy person. A couple road incidents that surprised me, but more notably work-related events. Laid a verbal-body-slam on an overzealous site-inspector, the likes of which she hasn’t heard before. Was thinking, I’m gonna get fired over this, but i can’t help it. Had to walk away, drive off-site for an hour to cool off, before i could return to manage my crew again.

    Many other random, interpersonal explosions at work beyond my normal range of anger have gone the same way. All of them bigger, and requiring more time to come down from. Luckily the outcomes weren’t catastrophic (yet), and oddly enough many of the push-backs got things done and gained respect. Just smart enough to know that those silver linings were sheer luck, and i need more control over this super-short fuse I’m dealing with.

    Sleep patterns super-jacked, too. Work 60 hr. work week, which is a little long, but for as long as I’ve been withdrawing, have had to spend all day Saturdays in bed. Tired but likely depression also. Either way, a huge waste of my free time that I’d rather spend with my wife and daughter, building experiences.

    Feeling now like the outbursts are less prevalent. Much of that due to the recent awareness that my anger was linked to withdrawals. I ride-in to work listening to audio books like “Don’t Sweat the Smallstuff, and it’s all Smallstuff.” I also give myself the freedom to step away from tension-building interactions at work or home. Gives me and all those around me a better shot at avoiding another SSRI Hurricane.

  55. Jor Whitney Says:

    Wow I recently am completely off 40mg of Paxil after 20 years. (My dose was doubled to 40 about 12 years ago.) Thank you for writing this. I came off Paxil faster than I probably should have but I have other meds that seem to be countering some of the other wirhdrawal symptoms I experienced last attempt at trying to get off Paxil.
    Your post about the anger effect is spot on and I’m glad I decided to look up this sympton. I felt crazy and hoping it wasn’t going to be the new me without Paxil.
    Thank you for helping me to understand and to share with my partner what I couldn’t explain myself. Being able to provide your explanation has helped provide my partner with a sort of barrier and has allowed me to recognize it more.
    Now I’m hoping this crying at every little cute, sad or touching thing goes away. That’s not me and it’s uncontrollable. Also, embarrassing I might add. Anyways, thank you for your write up on this, truly.

  56. Alex Says:

    One week into cold SSRI withdrawal after ten years of medication, I am experiencing severe bouts of anger right now. My standard attitude towards other people currently ranges from unprovoked aggressiveness to outright contempt.

    To be honest, I love it.

    I feel that SSRI’s made me a (pardon me) pussy, thinking he’s a saint when actually he’s just too weak to do anything but turn the other cheek; having applied my best analytical thinking on this matter, it still seems a valid observation that people have actually been taking advantage of my inclination towards mildness and considerateness. Hatred is a consequence of ambition and self-esteem – even if distorted, or dangerous – and feeling it, I suddenly realize how much I’ve missed these attributes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to go postal anytime soon, but I do indulge in this blind rage that’s underlying my every single thought. Gotta say, it makes for quite a nice change of pace.

  57. Skittles Says:

    Slogging through withdrawal after 10 years of low dose (25 mg) Zoloft use for anxiety. Dizziness is gone for the most part, but I’m so happy to have found this site, as I was considering going back on due to the extreme mental restlessness, anger, irrational rage and annoyance I have been experiencing. I almost walked out of my card group last night after becoming agitated and wanting to punch literally everyone in the face….smug bastards. Lol. You see how it is. I am trying to lie low with social activities until this passes (not sure I can do more than a couple months). Work is a different matter and I am worried about dealing with my team in a constructive manner. Hubby is supportive so far but my teenage boys may throw me over the edge into raving lunatic status. Alternating between rage and bouts of crying. Reading everyone’s posts helps. Thank you. How long is this going to last????

    • Joe Says:

      I read somewhere that crying can last up to a year so I assumed the anger too. I was very concerned to read that. But my emotions are starting to balance it seems. I’m also on lamictal and wellbutrin which I’m sure is helping counter a lot of it. I still tear up at sad or touching stuff. And it’s hard to watch movies but it does seem to be subsiding and I stopped a month ago. I was on 40mg but started on 20mg 20 years ago. I also found every meme very funny. Hysterically funny. And when I feel an emotion I feel in my brain a sense of rush. It’s hard to explain but I guess almost the feeling you get in your brain on a roller coaster ride during the dip. Fortunately, I’m unemployed after ten years and is why I decided to get off Paxil. Be careful getting off too fast. I ended up in ER last time I tried to get off 10 years ago when it was the only psych drug I was on. I also am still dealing with the anger but seems to be maybe dropping down. It was 0-11 no in-between. I’m trying to be conscience of it and my partner is the only one taking most of the brunt of it. I haven’t used Xanax as I don’t want the crutch but I wish I had it a couple days ago when I had to drive 2 hours roundtrip. There is an app called Headspace that helps you meditate. I was anti-meditation as I didn’t see the point in it and did’t think it’s for me. But this app keeps it short and builds you up to it. Find some really good noise cancelling headphones and religiously use it. It really helps. Maybe it will help you. It is a subscription app which sucks but it’s worth it, in my opinion. If you are still seeing a psych dr try to get a script for the liquid form and come off slower. Just because you are employed and I couldn’t imagine working and coming completely off of Paxil. My psych dr didn’t believe me and the withdrawal symptoms of Paxil. However, it eems to be common. There is another site just dedicated to Paxil and it’s withdrawal. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  58. Nicole Bright Says:

    Thank you so much. This described what I’m feeling to a T. I will remind myself this will pass.

  59. Holly Says:

    Thank you very much for the detailed explanation. I am currently experiencing withdrawal rage and this has really helped put things into perspective. I am being completely unreasonable at present and lashing out at everything. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, this isn’t me.. it’s the withdrawal.

  60. Heather Johnson Says:

    Thank you for this article. It doesn’t change the withdrawal symptoms I’m having, but it at least helps me to know that maybe I’m not crazy and that I’m not alone in this experience. I feel so angry. Rage is the only word and I am struggling to deal with my young children one of whom is currently a very defiant 3 year old. I hope this anger inside can go away soon. I really don’t want to deal with this anymore.

  61. Julie Calise Says:

    I was on zoloft for many years and I weened off if several months ago. I did notice that I was starting to have road rage when driving, then with friends and family.I wouldn’t outwardly say any thing but would be having inter negative
    dialog with myself then it escalated to bickering with friends and family. I did suffer two major losses within two months and just thought it was a part of grief, however after reading this I’m not sure. Its like an over reaction to little things that never seem to bother me in the past, something as simple as my cat jumping on my desk when I’m on the computer I don’t say anything but I can feel I want to explode. I was thinking of going back on but after reading this I’ll hang in there until it passes I just hope I still have friends when it does……

    • Suzanne Oakly Says:

      I can understand, the good thing about ssris is that they put a protective wall around your raw self. Once off them you feel even more raw, sensitive, hoping that does pass, but have an inkling you have to put other strategies in place. It involves a lot of consistent , hard work, which when you are low takes supreme effort. Trying to avoid people and situations that trigger is the kindest I can be to myself. Unfortunately that hurts family members !😉

  62. M Moore Says:

    Been on sertraline for about 7 years and come off now for a job application as there is drug testing involved. They won’t have me if I am on antidepressants which I think is rubbish as I was doing very well with my SSRI’s.
    Some years ago I tried to quit them out of some sort of pride but was put back in my place promptly. Got back on them again after falling out big time with my mother in law, two ‘friends’ and my other half. I later made up with the latter but even in my calm, rational self, I still think I was right in my evaluation of the mother in law and the so called friends. What the pills do is blunt my over sensitive self. They just help me tolerate the idiots around me better.
    The real problem is my over sensitivity probably.
    On the other hand, I have two kids who I love to death and I don’t want to be the horror figure to them that my mum was to me when I was a kid. If this means that I am on antidepressants for life, that my sex life is rubbish and that I am half the person I am in terms of intellectual agility, so frigging be it.
    However, again, there is an irony and confusion here. Am I horrible when I cut off the pills because I return to my ‘horrible’ self or is it the withdrawal rage? The posts here really helped with reinforcing the latter. Woudn’t it be great if I am actually all good and once this ‘phase’ is over I will be both nice and calm AND enjoy a crystal clear life not blurred by antidepressants?
    Someone was saying in one of the above posts that they don’t know who the real them was anymore. I feel a bit like that too :(.
    On the balance of things, nothing is more important to me than being a loving and consistent mother. The reason I ended up like this is probably my mum not making a similar concession. She should have been on lustral when I was young!
    Sorry, I started writing this to talk about the withdrawal rage and it turned into some selfish personal catharsis attempt. Sorry and please don’t write bad responses to it. (See, constant potential anger, fear, defence!) P.S. My game plan was to start lustral as soon as the testing was over. P.S.II Probably the whole thing will go down the drain as I found out that they are doing a hair test which shows you drug history for the last three months. I’ve been off only for two weeks 😦 which would have been ok with urinalysis but not hair :((

  63. Karen Says:

    OMG how long???

  64. sbarrett Says:

    My husband has been on prozac since before I met him 13 years ago. He was generally an easy going, mild mannered person. He would try to go off prozac a few times without telling me and he would get moody and sullen and irritable. Then he would go back on it and everything was fine. In the last few months I noticed he was irritable and snapped at me for everything and took everything I said as a personal attack when it was not. I thought he may be going through a mid-life crisis since he retired from a job he hated. He started playing pool and hanging out in bars after he retired. My daughter moved home from Paris after being overseas for 9 years and needed some help getting started again in the US. He agreed to this a year ago but when she got here he was hostile and angry to her from the start. He moved out within weeks. He came back a month later and was again very hostile and scary with his anger and rage. I had to call the police to get him to leave since we did not feel safe. Now he is more angry than ever and won’t talk to me at all. He cancelled our marriage counseling after two visits. He’s now been gone for two months. I figured out he stopped taking his Prozac sometime within the last six months. I can’t believe who he turned into. i just don’t recognize him anymore. He now wants a divorce and is throwing away our entire future together. I only wish I had known about the fact that he had stopped and the symptoms of withdrawal. I know he sure did not know about them. None of what he has said or done make any sense. Our life has been destroyed by this.

  65. Greta Says:

    Stop taking these fucking toxic drugs !!

    • Valerie Dimick Says:

      I agree!! How can it be good for us if it does this to us. The mental damage to those around during these outburst is real and permanent whether it’s you purposely or the drug withdraw saying or doing it. Why do they get this way? Is this the body screaming for the drug or what?

  66. Desperate parent Says:

    Out 17 year old was put onto 20mg Citilopram two and a half months ago due to a severe depression and also uncontrolled rage (both physical and verbal). We got a referral to a private Psychiatrist but our son wanted to see how the medication went first. It did seem to take the edge off of the symptoms but this week he decided to stop taking the medication (cold turkey). He now refuses point blank to talk about it or seek any help (he fell out with the doctor a while back) and within days the uncontrolled rage has returned. As a parent it is soul destroying to watch and wonder when he is going to kick off again. The rage is extreme to the point of saying he wants to kill people that have annoyed him and he has once again become quite destructive at home, as he was before going onto the medication. We love him so much and want to see him as the young happy person he was 6+ month ago before all of this shit happened, as does he obviously. Like everyone else seeing a loved one suffer we are desperate for any chink of light that suggests he will recover sooner rather than later. After his last outburst where the home was smashed up and we were subjected to verbal abuse and threats we spoke with friends in the police force regarding the process to detain him, not only for his own protection but for others as well. We have not pursued this as we’re hoping against all odds that he pulls through as doing this would rip our family apart in an instant but as it is, it’s slowly being ripped apart anyway and as a parent that is so, so upsetting (in tears writing this…). Anyone got a magic wand I can borrow ?

  67. Fiona Holmes Says:

    Very useful – I am on day 12 of SSRI withdrawal and have been quite ok but today – woosh – a load of emotion and tears. My poor family! Your little write up has helped me put it all into a context. Thank you xx

  68. Carly Says:

    I am coming off cymbalta otherwise known as Duloxetine one of the worst to come off with horrific withdrawal symptoms which I’ve been suffering to extreme.

    Last week I had a few drinks with my partner and i usually stick to the one type of drink but somebody gave me a shot of jager master which made me really drunk. On the way home in the taxi he said some things which had upset me about me embarrassing him which I had no knowledge of and caused me to have a rage, I kicked and hit him. I have never done this before and I ended up with a cut eye and broken finger from apparently him restraining me. I was hysterical yet had no memory the next day. We have never fought and have been with each other a few years.

    He is very shaken as am I to the point of us nearly breaking up.

    I feel like such a bad person and searched the internet for answers as to to what happenedband came across this site which has helped me tremendously.

  69. Chris Rose Says:

    I am in withdrawal from Citalopram. I am having rage attacks. Sometimes it has a context. I have been disregarded for some time at work. When I was on the Citalopram, I didn’t like not being listened to, but I could put it aside with difficulty. Without the Citalopram it is impossible to ignore. I am very angry. I have not lashed out at anyone – yet, but I am always on the verge of doing so.

    What do you have to say about there being a definite reason for the anger, but since it was never resolved, it is now causing me extreme discomfort. I have no one I can talk to at work about this. I don’t want to get labeled as a trouble maker and lose my job. Nevertheless, I need to have some sort of outlet or some non-judgemental person to really hear me.

    • Ian Says:

      Depends what he is on. I took Citalopram 20mg for 2 years and 40mg for 1. I FELT like I was a zombie so I Tried to quit cold turkey and it was a disaster for my family. ( Hulk rage) I have found that 10mg takes the edge off without me being in that cloud funk. I still have anxiety but not near as bad. The 10mg is a happy medium for me.


  70. Cate Says:

    I took celexa for aprox 2 years. This is the 2nd time I have taken this med. I weened of of it and completely stopped about 3 weeks ago. I have had the head zaps, insomnia, and angry out bursts.
    This anger comes and goes. But today I woke up and everything and anything is bothering me and I am angry. I have out bursts and take them out on my husband. Most of the things I am angry about happened years ago and I have dealt with many issues and put them behind me. After reading about the anger, I think I am having withdrawal anger and it comes and goes. I hope this is the end of it soon. This is my worst day ever. My doctor told me last year to stop talking this, she didn’t suggest and long term anxiety treatment for me. Other things I have done is a positive nutrition menu, counselling, positive affirmations, meditation, and dancing. I am having a difficult time focusing on much of these things. I also gained 40 pds on this med. 35 the first time I took it. Both times I noticed that I developed a thick layer of hard layer which seems like it is muscle but it is not exactly that. I remembered how I was so uncomfortable the first time and experienced this the second time. Anyway, I am hoping to get through this and have it done with. I don’t think these meds have ever been a positive for me. I Ave only lost maybe 2 pds but that thickness has declined and my cloths are much looser. Both times the same. Have you heard of this from anyone else? And how long is this craziness going to last? I need to focus better. I am an anally organized person and during this time you ‘d think I’m becoming a total slob. Help, I need answers!

  71. Tom V Says:

    I’ve just come off my 2nd term of very low dose Sertraline (25mg per day). I’m 48, and my impulsive anger results in physically smashing objects. I can’t tolerate simple things like computer malfunction or making typing errors repeatedly <> I feel unsafe in my own skin and have injured myself in the past even when not on meds or in withdrawal. Scary stuff :-/

  72. Valerie Dimick Says:

    I understand the withdraw anger but my children do not. I do not want my childten permanently scarred because of this drug that a medical professional says will fix my husband’s anxiety/sleep issues. How long does this phase last?

    • Ian Says:

      Depends what he is on. I took Citalopram 20mg for 2 years and 40mg for 1. I FELT like I was a zombie so I Tried to quit cold turkey and it was a disaster for my family. ( Hulk rage) I have found that 10mg takes the edge off without me being in that cloud funk. I still have anxiety but not near as bad. The 10mg is a happy medium for me.

      • Valerie Says:

        He takes zoloft. He has tried weaning off slowly but even then at a third of a dose he is as you experienced hulk like behavior.

    • Ian Says:

      I took Citalopram 20mg for 2 years and 40mg for 1. I FELT like I was a zombie so I Tried to quit cold turkey and it was a disaster for my family. ( Hulk rage) I have found that 10mg takes the edge off without me being in that cloud funk. I still have anxiety but not near as bad. The 10mg is a happy medium for me.

  73. Wanda Says:

    Reading this has helped me greatly. It describes what has been going on with me since weaning very slowly off of Cymbalta(duloxitine). The only problem is, is that other people are not understanding of this process and now irreparable dammage has been done. I may be in the process of loosing my job. Also i have lost some minor friendships. My closest friends and loved ones have been much more understanding. So far.

  74. Suzanne Oakly Says:

    Thanks for this its helping me to resist the urge to go back on Prozac, puts a lot of what I’ve been feeling into context. Alas I feel family and other close relationships have been irreparably damaged. I wish I could get that protected feeling you get on SSRIs from life in general!

  75. Veronique Cholette Says:

    Thank you so much.
    Im so scared right now

  76. Laura Parker Says:

    I was only on 10mg of citalopram for six years. Trying to reduce it and been taking 5mg for about eight weeks but I have the rages. Bad at work, I feel no one is doing their job properly, no one gives a damn and no one cares as much as me. Incompetence drives me nuts. I feel like I’m so on the edge at work I could easily explode. Its really hard. I feel like I hate everyone at work and then feel paranoid they think I’m crazy. I was crying at work today but no one saw me thankfully. Been feeling so depressed. My friend says I should go back on it but getting this far I don’t want to and it numbs feelings. Hoping I’ll get through it.

  77. Jim Says:

    No…….You take these drugs and you take the responsibility that goes along with it. All of it. There are consequences for bad behavior and bad judgement. Drunk drivers face consequences and we’re expected to treat SSRI users differently?
    These drugs wrecked my relationship with my father, I disliked him before he began using these drugs, now I simply hate his f’in guts. The way he looked at me under the spell of these drugs removed any chance of reconciliation with. I hope he dies soon!

  78. David Francis Says:

    Cannot fathom why this awful stage in withdrawal has been justified as acceptable and therefore ok to administer the drug in the first place. Certainly as being on the receiving end of irrational anger outbursts and in dear of real violence and hurt, and from the look in the person’s eyes, sometimes more than just hurt! Friends and family should be prioritized to be given help or at least warnings about it.

  79. Another Desperate Parent Says:

    This a wonderful site! My son (35yo) is going through Effexor withdrawal. He was on this for 5 years (37.5 mg eventually upped to 225mg), initially for situational depression. He has a history of ADHD and low frustration tolerance. After a year on this medication, he developed severe anger outbursts and was eventually diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder – doc ups his dose, more anger outbursts, dose upped again; more outbursts and an escalation from verbal to physical; dose upped again, yup, more outbursts. Apparently, no one put two and two together – these outbursts are a known side effect of this medication. Instead, they tried to medicate the side effects with a mood stabilizer, which came with additional side effects. He was quite unhappy to say the least. Long story short, he decided to stop the Effexor cold turkey – on day three of withdrawal, he became irrational and verbally/physically violent and the police/EMS had to be called. Off he went to the hospital, where he was sedated overnight. He is now about two and half weeks Effexor free and happy about that, but very uncomfortable with withdrawal effects. Anxiety is bad, feeling trapped/claustrophobic, and sooooo irritable/angry. No violent outbursts, though! Yay!! We are now treating with St. John’s Wort (hopefully short term), omega-3s, and threanine. Hoping this will get him through the next few weeks or months of this. It’s very painful as a mother to watch this and know that there is not much I can do. It is also painful to be on the receiving end of the irritability/anger – all of the posts here will help me let this go. Thank you for sharing.

  80. Nikki Page Says:

    Thank you
    I’ve been cold turkey for three weeks. The severe dizziness and nausea have gone. I am now left with the severe rage (that you described). I was only on Effexor for 4 months , so I’m hoping that this will be resolved in a few weeks. Its made the understanding easier to cope with – although I feel like such an up and down person – with everyone walking on eggshells.
    I’ve resorted to sending your link to the people that I may affect.

  81. Leah Says:

    Thank you so much for this article.
    I have been on Zoloft for 20 years! Have tried to get off it many times throughout the years and failed.
    Around 6 months ago I started tapering again – this time very slowly. I have now, finally, been completely drug free for 3-4 weeks however I have been filled with the worst rage – full on fury, contempt for anything and everything. I am just so full of hate and anger it’s very worrying and dangerous even. My sex drive has finally returned though ha!
    Now that the world is ‘waking up’ to discontinuation syndrome and how insidious these meds are, people are starting to go off them in droves and it is going to become a very hostile society. So many people are on them – many needlessly.
    I believe there is going to be a frightening mental health crisis like nothing seen before, with rage filled people everywhere :((

  82. Storm Says:

    Thank you, my wife is suffering from Withdrawal Anger and ushered me to this site. Thanks to all the proactive people out there is a lifeline and such an important factor in overcoming these issues. Thank you for helping us, it’s very much appreciated

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: