Been on citalopram for 1 week...

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Hi everyone!

Just thought I would share my story: I have had social anxiety for many years now but I was able to deal with it quite well and it didn't take over my life. About a year ago I noticed my anxiety towards certain situations get a lot worse - I would get an overwhelming feeling like I was trapped/in danger and I just wanted to escape the situation as fast as possible. Then about 8 months ago I had a big of a frightening experience which brought on my first ever panic attack. After this the doctor gave me beta blockers which I didnt find helped really.

Since then I have had much worse anxiety to the point where its almost unbareable some months. It got to the point where I would start panicking and get that overwhelming sense of the feeling that I was in danger just sitting in a waiting room, or standing in a que in a super market, or just sitting with friends - even though I knew I was perfectly safe it was just like my brain was convinced I wasnt.

Anyways dont want to go on and on but I eventually spoke to my doctor about this and I was put on citalopram. I have just taken my 7th day pill so ive offically been on them a week. The first few days I could not sleep at all, the first night I felt like I was on a different planet just completly wide awake even though I felt exhausted. When I did eventually fall asleep I would wake up about an hour later having a sort of panic attack in my sleep - it was all really weird. My sleep pattern is just getting back to normal now, I still wake up a few times but its not as bad. I still feel a bit sick and dizzy at times but its definitely improved. I also do feel spaced out sometimes but that too has worn off quite a bit. So its been 1 week and I do still feel anxious and panicky when I feel as though im in a situation I cant get out of fast. I know it said it takes a few weeks to start noticing a difference and I know its common for the anxiety to get worse before it gets better but I was hoping other people could share there experience.

How long it took to notice a difference? And does it actually stop you from having panic attacks? There are certain situations that I find almost unbareable at the minute because they bring on my anxiety and usually make me have a panic attack. At the moment I just cant imagine this medication helping me to the point where I can go into these situations/places and not feel panicky. Do they work like that?

Also I am planning on starting CBT to deal with my anxiety towards certain situations. Has anyone got any opinions on this? I am open to anything but a huge part of me doesn't believe that its going to help me.

Side note: I was put on a 10mg dose. I see a lot of people say they are on 20mg. Should I ask my doctor to put my dose up? I am not depressed at all apart from feeling down about being anxious.

Sorry about the super long thread, any replies would be appreciated.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello I am on 10 milligrams as well I started 13 days ago the last few days my anxiety has been through the roof to where I don't even want to leave my I wake up in the morning with extreme nausea and just recently started waking up every few hours during the night. I'm feeling pretty down because of the anxiety increase which is the reason I started the medication in the first place. I also was on it two years ago right after my mother died which is the reason my anxiety all started I got off of it this past November and then my anxiety came back with a vengeance in February. I'm feeling a little hopeless right now hoping that these meds kick in and do something I can't bear this heightened anxiety anymore I'm afraid I'm going to lose my job

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    • Posted

      Hi! Don't worry, we all go through times of extreme heightened anxiety and I have read a lot of people within the first 1-2 weeks of taking it can get a lot worse before they get better. I read somewhere that doctors call this the 'activation period'- its the time when the levels in your brain are changing due to the medication (which is obviously meant to happen), but this sudden change can make you feel a lot more anxious until the chemical levels in your brain level off and then thats when you start to feel a lot better. I am sure even within the next few days you will start to feel better so keep positive and keep me updated! 

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. I'm on the verge of tears right now. All I wanna do is cry, my bmw keeps breaking down. Been in the shop 3x in the last month. Just went to tk the kids to school and it won't start. I swear I'm going to get fired :-(

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  • Posted

    My doctor started me out on 10mg. as well to help minimize side effects as much as possible. At about the 5 week stage we decided that I should gradually increase my dose as I was feeling some improvement but wasn't feeling as though I was reaching my full potential. I bought a good pill splitter and increased my dose every couple of weeks until I reached optimal dose.

    Also it is quite common for anxiety to be high along with other side effects during the first couple of weeks of treatment then usually starts to subside.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ellen, did it stop anxiety? Scared I'll always feel like this. Will I be able to go out without panicking? 3 days on 10mg and can't every envisage feeling better.

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    • Posted

      It did help with the anxiety eventually but I'm not going to lie to you or try to sugarcoat it because the anxiety did increase after starting the Citalopram until my body got adjusted to the med.

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    • Posted

      if anxiety becomes too much to cope with there's no need to suffer,  speak to your doctor about taking propranolol or prazosin to ease your anxiety.  you dont have to stay on it forever, you can just take it for a month or two if you wish.  then, that will give the citalopram time to get to work on you and the anxiety from starting out on SSRI's to ease

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    • Posted

      That is correct. I myself took 10mg Propranolol which helped to take the edge off the anxiety but it only worked for about 6 hours at a time.
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    • Posted

      Did the propanol give you headaches? My doctor says this is unlikely but I get them if I take them for a few days...
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    • Posted

      No, I have never experienced headaches due to taking Propranolol. As for how long it takes for the Propranolol to begin working for anxiety I don't recall specifically but not long at least for me probably within the first 2 or 3 doses the anxiety began to ease off a bit.

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