5 weeks in and still struggling.....!!!

Edited , 9 users are following.

Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice if possible. I've been taking Citalopram for the last 5 weeks (1 week on 10mg and 4 weeks on 20mg). I am taking them to help me deal / manage depression and anxiety.

I've persisted with them, taking it week by week. I've had some of the common, but more manageable side effects, such as difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately however, I've been feeling seriously 'disconnected' with daily life and would go as far as saying that they're acting like a mild sedative. I barely feel any positive or negative emotions toward anything. This has been the case since I started taking them.

I've been to see my GP on a number of occasions and he has almost dismissed this as being possible...

I'm in a bit of a difficult position as to whether to continue taking them, or to ditch them altogether. I had a similar experience with Sertaline earlier in the year and had to stop taking them after 4 weeks for the same reason.

Any advice or guidance people have would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Tom

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26 Replies

  • Posted

    Doc took me off cit 3 wks ago saying it was no longer recommended for anxiety it tends to create more issues. Id say seitch if ur not happy ive heard good things aby cymbalta and mitrazapine
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    • Posted

      Thanks for responding. Were you having particular difficulties with the Citalopram or was it just on the basis of the doctor's recommendation?

      Regards

      Tom

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    • Posted

      I started taking the Citalopram 10 mg around the same time as the Xanax. My relationship had just ended, and I was feeling anxious & I guess to some degree depressed. Honestly I started to notice benefit from the Citalopram after three days. I asked my PCP if this was possible, and she said yes. I took it for approximately 1 yr, with no real side effects that I recall. After that year, I felt like I was doing better and didn't need to be on it anymore. I stopped cold turkey, which I don't recommend, as I had withdrawal symptoms. I was in a car accident last year & was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD/Panic Disorder and now depression. My Dr. wants me to start Citalopram again, but one of my new symptoms related to my PTSD , is medication phobia. Although I had no problem taking the med before, I have some trepidation about taking it now, due to the med phobia which is caused by the anxiety. However I'm tired of feeling funky, and truly want some normalcy back to my life. So I'm probably going to force myself to try it again, to see if I can get some relief of my symptoms.

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    • Posted

      I had a load of stress from april till now kept going to doc and he kept upping my cit but i couldnt stand the side effects and the agitation was making things worse then 4 weeks ago i broke down n had enough i said to doc dont tell me to up my cit and she said its no longer recommended for anxious patients i was like no sh*t sherlock ive been telling u this since april so they swapped me to sert already feel better than on the cit but i was always to wary to change
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  • Posted

    Hi Tom,

    I've been a Registered Nurse for 14 yrs, but I'm in no way giving you medical advise. I personally find that Physicians now days are all to quick to throw a medication at someone, but not quite so quick to listen to their patients when it comes to concerns about the effects of these meds. Now, I do believe that these meds can be of benefit, if it's the right med for you. I've become so frustrated with Physicians being so quick to dismiss a patients concerns. I was placed on Xanax for anxiety after the dissolution of a 20 yr relationship, and I recall asking my PCP at the time if I would become addicted to the Xanax. His response was and I quote, " I've never had a patient become addicted to Xanax"". Well 6 yrs later I'm still on this devil drug, and have become what amounts to an unwilling addict. I don't nor have I ever used this med recreationally, conversely I want nothing more than to get off of it. Sorry for the long response, but I also took Citalopram 10mg for 1 yr, and I noticed positive benefits after having been on it for 1 week. Long story short, Dr's don't know everything, we are all different, and accordingly all meds work differently on all people. If you feel like your PCP is not listening to you, or you're feeling dismissed, it might be time to find a new PCP. Maybe this isn't the right med for you, maybe it is. But a patient Dr relationship is just like any other relationship. You deserve to be heard and feel like your concerns are being addressed seriously. Get as much info as you possibly can, knowledge is power. I wish you the best, as I know how frustrating this can be. Hang in there.

    Jamey??

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  • Posted

    Hi Tom

    Everyone has different reactions and timescales for effects from the medications (that's certainly what I have found from reading posts on here).  The citalopram leaflet says the drug takes about 2 weeks to start working, other people say 4-6 weeks and I have had someone tell me 3 months!

    I started on 20mg citalopram nearly 7 weeks ago and got terrible side effects; it sent my anxiety through the roof (pacing the floor and having to take diazepam), nausea, no appitite amongst other things.  This started to calm down after a couple of weeks, but at 5 weeks I increased my dose to 30mgs.  For the last couple of weeks I've had the side effects again, not as bad as the start, but definitely there.  I would say that it's only the last couple of days that I've felt like the side effects are subsiding, it did feel a bit like going back to square 1.

    So for me and in my situation, I would say that I am nowhere near the drug fully working yet, though I am having some better spells now - this is frustrating when other people seem to get results a lot quicker.

    A lot of people experience tiredness when taking citalopram.  Do you take it morning or evening?

    As hard it is, my view is you need to give the drug time to get into your system (as I mentioned this can take a while for a lot of people).  That said, it may be that 20mg is just a bit too much for you, could you try lowering the dose for a while and see how it goes?  Unfortunately there isnt a quick fix, and my experience is for anxiety only, so cant discuss the depression side.  

    Go and talk to a different dr if you can, but dont just stop taking the tablets (you could have terrible withdrawl symptoms).

    Sorry my post is a long one, but I can only tell you what I am experiencing.

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    • Posted

      Hey there,

      Im hoping you see this reply, ive been on citalopram 20 mg for years jan 2020 my dog passed i was nursing him for 2 weeks before he died the night he was put down theu increased my meds to 30mg i had insomnia and bad anxiety before my increase.. today i hit 5 weeks since increase, feeling less anxious during the day but having insomnia since dig died the sleep hasnt came back yet

      is it still leveling out in my system ? should i be worried? celexa at 20 mg always worked.. doc said it can 8-10 weeks should i still be patient??

      your thoughts would be greatly appreciated

      thank you x

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  • Edited

    5 weeks is still early Tom.  It can take 3-4 months for a lot of people, and even longer for others.  A few feel some benefit after 5 weeks, but not many.

    You need a lot of patience of these meds, and changes can be so slight you hardly notice them.  Took me 6 months to completely recover from 15 years or so of anxiety / depression.  I'm stil well ..... and that's going on about 15 years now.

    K xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Katecogs, I have read a lot of your posts on here since I have been suffering with anxiety and taking 10mg Citalopram. I have been taking them now for about 9 months but am still getting off days when my anxiety is quite a problem. Is this normal, as I am reluctant to up the dose as I am a lady the wrong side of 60. I have recently been diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency and been prescribed a supplement. I am hoping this might help. What do you think ? Lily xx
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    • Posted

      Hi Lily

      9 months is a good time to be on them - it might be that as 10mg is a lowish dose its taking a bit longer to be anxiety free?  Took me 6 months to recover on 20mg and after a few years reduced to 10mg as a maintenance dose ..... maybe it will take a little longer for you?  How often do you get off days?  They are normal when recovering and usually get less as time goes by.

      My son was on Fluoxeting for about 18 months and it took him 9 months to recover.  Everyone takes different amounts of time to heal.

      I take Vit D3 too.  Helps with acheing joints too :-(  I've read it can help with depression.

      K xx

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Lily,

      A low Vitamin-D level can definitely make you feel down in the dumps. Dr's usually check what's called a OH Vitamin D-25 level. If it is low, it can really give you the blues, lack of energy etc. Hope that Vit-D supplement in combination with everything else helps you to feel better. ??

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate. Thank you for replying so quickly. I seem to have my little blips when I feel physically unwell. I am quite anxiety free as long as I am feeling "fit" !! I think what you said about the low dose perhaps taking longer to do a complete job makes sense, and I must admit I am a lot better now than I was 6 or 7 months ago. Anxiety is no "walk in the park" is it ?? Take care. Lily xx

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    • Posted

      Physical illness, tiredness, stress etc can all cause us to have off days, so sounds like you're still recovering maybe?  When I'm overtired it affects me - I can feel it coming now and that means I have to take care of my sleep.

      Glad you're a lot better now than all those months ago.  Though it took me 6 months, I was surprised to find improved even more after than too.

      Anxiety is definite no walk in the park.  Worst illness I've ever had.

      Look after yourself Lily xx - I'm sure those off days will get fewer after even more time passes.

      K xxxxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Jamey. Thank you for your reply. You are quite right about it giving the blues. I have to think positive now and believe the supplements will buck me up when they kick in. It really is a debilitating illness isn't it? I also think that unless you've suffered with it it is impossible to understand just how it feels. Take care, Lily xx

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    • Posted

      Hey there,

      I hope you still see this reply.. I've been on Citalopram for years 20mg until Jan 2020 my dog got ill and was dying and I was nursing him for 2 weeks until he passed, which spiraled my anxiety and caused insomnia. He passed Jan 20th 2020 and that day they increased my citalopram to 30mg.. so today makes 5 weeks.. my anxiety is better other then waking up with a bit of anxiety and then night time as I fear sleep since the insomnia hell started.. But I should not be panicked that I'm on 5 weeks starting to feel better but not great yet??? It can still take longer? Stick to what I'm doing?

      I see a lot of people feeling great after 2 weeks and it's worrying me that something is not right with my dose...?! Any advice would so appreciated!

      Thanks a million x

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    • Edited

      Hi, at the beginning I am sorry for your dog:( I know if you treat animals as your family members (which you obviously do) - it can hurt when they leave..

      As for Citalopram - due to some life events (severe problems in marriage, at the verge of divorce) - I started to take 20mg in May'19. The beginning was HELL for me. Literally. I couldnt eat, I couldnt sleep, I was anxious, I felt unreal, daylight seemed to be too strong for me...Hell, really.

      Soon I will be 10 months on citalopram (I wanted to quit in autumn as my life events calmed down but the next slap came along and here I am..) and if you ask me when side effects went away...I DONT KNOW. It was so fluent. In June I was still dying and in September I was ready to quit citalopram as I was feeling totally ok.

      If I recall well it was maybe 12 weeks that I started to feel ok. But after that time it was great. I could go through hard times without panic attacks, thinking clearly, believing in myself...I am still doing counselling and I believe medicine without therapy is just a temporary self-soothe. But if you combine both - you will be stronger that ever before. At least this is my case and believe me, I went through A LOT last 10 months and I have never been so self-aware and feeling so self confident. Good luck!

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    • Edited

      i have been on it for 6 weeks now and the past two weeks have been great feeling like my old self until yesterday morning i woke up very anxious and i was so out of it yesterday and still feel blah today and nauseated. this makes me nervous that im back where i was or if this will take a couple of days to deal with? prayers for you also!

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    • Posted

      Hi Ashley,

      My doctor said it can take 8-10 weeks to level out in your system. Praying mine does! The fact that you were feeling great the last 2 weeks tells me its starting to work.. just have to be more patient I guess by any chance are you PMS'ing?? because Im going through that now and Its been worse again.. I think the anxiety will still come in waves until it levels out completely. I hope somebody else here has been through this and can give us both advice that its still early and we still have hope. Are you able to sleep? My dog passed in the beginning of Jan i had to nurse him for 2 weeks before he died and that caused my anxiety to spiral and caused insomnia. The night he passed I was told to increase my citalopram from 20 to 30 so hoping this is why its still taking so long.. and i get nervous around night time to sleep . They gave me klonopin temporarily to help some nights it does.. do you take anything for relief?

      Can somebody else here give us some hope we are on the right track?? xx

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    • Edited

      i have taken celxa before after my first son was born and it helped me, then once again after my husband passed in a car accident and it helped so i know celexa helps me but i dont remember it having these side effects and taking as long. intake 20 mg at night and like i said two weeks i felt myself, then had an attack in the middle of the night and now i am worrying myself if im going to have more. i do take ativan when i feel anxious and having to take an anti nausea medicine also. it is actually time for my cycle so i think that maybe why i feel this way also. i do not have it yet but time for it as of today. thank you for the words of advice it is such a great thing to have people going through the same thing

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    • Edited

      im on day 3 today and hoping my hormones level out i hope somebody else can xhime in and say 5 weeks is still early ive been in celexa for years at 20 it has helped but scared the 30 not working so well maybe the klonooin is giving me next day anxiety?! only been takung for a week Friday .5 once a day so very low what yiu think?

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    • Edited

      i meant to tell you sorry about your dog also. i believe our hormones through us for a loop espically since we alreay have anxiety issues. i do take ativan only when i feel i need it and i was prescribed 1 mg but i take a quater and it seems to knock off the edge. i do not take it every day though only when i feel anxious so the past two days. but when i feel better after taking ativan i worry am i only feeling better because i have taken somthing else to make it better if that makes sense.

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    • Edited

      im the exact same way.. am i only better cuz of the clonanzepam? ive been taking .5 at night because of the insomnia but only since last friday scared to be dependent on it but hear its safe for a couple of weeks.. scared of that too! the citalopram is just taking its sweet time to work i guess

      hopefully soon enough we will be back to our selves again you can message me anytime you want

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    • Posted

      what did you take for relief until the meds levelled off?? ive been feeling better in the days but i fesr the sleep part so my anxiety is higher at night.. what helped you get through it until you were ok?

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    • Posted

      Hi Maltese

      I’m really sorry you lost your dog - I know how painful it is losing beloved family pets, having lost many of my own over the years. They are your family, and their loss is felt deeply.

      Increasing meds will heighten anxiety and all side effects again, but these do settle. 5 weeks on the increase is good, though everybody reacts differently to the meds, so don’t compare yourself to others.

      What keeps anxiety going is our worry about it, worry about thoughts, worry about anything ……. Though we can’t stop our negative thoughts we can change the way we react to them - and THIS absolutely works.

      You say you’re worrying that something isn’t right with your dose, and you’re also getting fearful about insomnia.

      All thoughts subconsciously pop into our heads, whether good or bad, and they’re there for a while before our attention is taken onto something else. We’re not aware of the actual point we lose our natural attention on the first thought, which is a natural cut-off.

      We don’t allow the obsessive / intrusive / negative or worry thoughts to do that because we always return to them to replay them, analyse them this way and that way …….. and so they’ll stick in our head and frighten us, make us worry more.

      When you have a thought (whether intrusive, negative or even an anxiety / worry thought) pop into your head, you need to just let it be there, and it will be followed by a big spike of anxiety - its that feeling that makes us replay it over and over as we try to ‘fix’ it. So when the thought pops up followed by the anxiety - however you feel, the key it to NOT return to the thought to analyse it, however strong the compulsion to do so is. Nothing at all - not even reassuring thoughts, sayings or anything. The thought will spike then ease a little as our natural cut-off takes over. This allows the thought to flow and leave us - however you won’t lose that thought yet, but repeatedly doing this will in time allow that thought to lose the fear and let go of it, so it won’t frighten us anymore.

      Also something you can do to help with the insomnia which I’ve found has helped me. Get an audio book (pop it onto a Kindle, iPod or your phone), plug in earphones and listen to it when you wake. I was having trouble sleeping and someone suggested this to me and I now can’t get past one page before I’m asleep. The only annoying thing now is that I have to keep going back to that page to replay for the next time) 😉

      But do look at your worry thoughts as above - it really does work and is the answer to stopping thoughts and anxiety. Try it for an hour … or even a day. What have you to lose by trying?

      Hope this helps.

      K x

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