Been on Citalopram for 3 years, upped from 20mg to 30mg but feeling awful

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I went on Citalopram 3 years ago for extreme anxiety which led to depression also. After feeling awful for a while it seemed to work. But the last year and a half my bouts of extreme anxiety have been getting more and more frequent. They usually last around 10 days where I struggle to eat sleep and do anything. My GP has upped me to 30mg around 3 weeks ago. I felt like I started to feel better, but a week ago I spiraled again, and I'm back at my lowest point. I got it into my head that Citalopram is either not working for anxiety or making my anxiety worse (I feel like my brain is poisoned). I also have propananol which do seem to dampen the physical feelings I get - I take about 40mg of this as and when.

What is most likely?

Citalopram not working?

Citalopram making things worse (seretonin syndrome?)?

Mix of Citalopram and Propananol making things worse?

I haven't given the jump from 20 to 30mg of Citalopram enough time to work?

It's so hard to know what is doing what 😦

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    If you’ve had some years of feeling calm and well and still on the meds then I doubt it’ll be a higher dose you need and maybe it’s your lifestyle?

    Anxiety is a result of stress and it could be that you’re continuing a life with high stress ie work related or anything else, and of course sometimes life’s stresses just seem to happen, and your body will not cope with these high demands, pumping out adrenaline which manifests into anxiety.

    Not only do we initially need medicine to help reverse the process but we also need to look at our lifestyle and take a calmer approach. This is absolutely true.

    Also when anxiety strikes we automatically start to fight it which is the wrong thing to do - this again means we stress about it, rush about trying to escape from it, all which lead to tension, stress and yet more anxiety. We get anxious about being anxious, fret about how to get rid of it, and become fearful of the fear. This all keeps you in a cycle of constant fear.

    Also increasing meds and adding others in will cause anxiety to spike to start with, so it could this that’s adding to it. This will calm down after a while, though I suspect at the moment you're panicking at the feelings 😉

    People say their meds have stopped working, but in all reality I think it’s lifestyle that’s probably played a huge part. We are basically a machine, and for example if you push a car engine to it’s full speed on a daily basis for months on end and not care for it, then it’ll surely start to break down. Our bodies are just the same.

    I’d suggest you don’t add anymore meds or doses in and look at slowing yourself down. Even too much lack of sleep will do it (it does it to me).

    K x

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    • Posted

      As ever a great answer Katecogs! I've just been abroad again and had a lot to do with workmen & officialdom. Hassle. Woke up and felt sick, actually was sick & have struggled since being home. Anxious, nauseous & shakey.

      Will it settle?

      I'm still on 20mg of Cit.

      I take great stock in your knowledge!

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    • Posted

      Hi Stephen

      Aww bless you...

      It could well be related to the workload you had - I know even now that I have to take care of my stress load, and even too many late nights / less sleep and I start to notice a dull feeling creeping up on me, so remedying that and I feel absolutely fine again. Maybe once having had anxiety our nervous system is all too ready to be triggered ......

      Yes I'm sure once you settle down at home, relax more then the anxiety will ease off.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Hi Lois xx

      Oh I'm still here ...... just sitting quietly in the background lol 😉. Yes I'm sure we need to look at our stress levels as our body and nervous system is so tired when we have anxiety, and slowing down helps to return it to a normal level.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kay, Lois and everyone else who can relate to this thread - I sure can!

      Kay, the bit about having had anxiety previously and it being more readily triggered is so true - in fact what you explain to others about the whole cycle of anxiety is so well explained and perfectly easy to understand.

      I still get episodes of mild nausea and feeling unsettled for no reason but I do try and not overthink it all , it's really hard and horrible sometimes but it usually just passes.

      Kay - your words are an inspiration and reassuring to many of us out here !

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    • Posted

      Hi Gerrymoo

      How lovely to hear from you!!

      Yes the cycle of anxiety is so understandable and something I started to learn about probably over 30 years ago in my darkest days, yet it would still be years later and the help of starting SSRI’s when I could fully understand and feel it. It also further confirmed my belief in this cycle when I read that amazing book you first introduced me to.

      Trouble is when you’re so deeply entrenched in anxiety, understanding and believing the cycle can be so hard to take on board, because you can’t ‘see the wood for the trees’ and we run about like headless chickens (I did too). We almost recover ‘blind’ because at first we all flounder around in the dark and can’t see any progress for months until the medicine starts kicking in and / or the understanding about anxiety starts to sink in. As you say, taking care of your body is so important, also knowing the triggers and knowing how to deal with it when it rears its ugly head.

      Anxiety is truly a vile condition to suffer with but understanding the cycle helps in taking the sting out of it all. Learning about all this has enabled me to become meds free. Best thing I ever did.

      K x

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    • Posted

      What's concerning me this time is how often I am triggering compared to in the past. And what I'm triggering over. It used to be tangible events - finding out I'm becoming a father, a traumatic hospital experience, an investment failing, hearing a family member has cancer. But now I'm triggering from nothing - it's like ANY thought and my brain goes in to anxiety overload. The not knowing if upping the Citalopram and taking Propananol again is actually causing me more pain is also adding fuel to the fire. I'm scared that anxiety is now just a daily automatic response 😦

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    • Posted

      Hi Poorlybrain

      When you have anxiety, thoughts and fears can change with time and sometimes it doesn’t take much to trigger it all off.

      Intrusive thoughts are a side effect of anxiety, and those thoughts will then in turn cause more anxiety, keeping you in a constant loop. Your mind will seek out all manner of weird and wonderful thoughts, and it seems wherever you look you'll find some fear in it. Anxiety causes anxious thinking, so thats why you find fear in places you wouldn't normally do.

      Anxiety will make your mind race as you automatically try and fix things, but you just make it worse. Your mind is tired, and anxiety will keep your mind constantly active, when all it needs it a rest.

      Yes, as Lois says, increasing meds will heighten anxiety temporarily and that will also make your mind race more. Increase side effect do ease off.

      Anxiety is a fear of anxiety, and who wouldn’t be afraid of that awful feeling.

      I’ll private message you.

      K x

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