Been prescribed Citalopram for anxiety over insomnia

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Hi all,

I have been reading in this forum and it has really helped, thank you everyone.

At the begining of January I started waking in the middle of the night with stomach pain, trapped wind, I would have to get up and take Gaviscon to help relieve it and would have to sit downstairs for 1-2 hours whilst it passed before going back to bed.

This severley disrupted my sleep and I began to worry about it. After 2-3 weeks this got better but I had developed so much anxiety over my sleep that my sleep actually began to get worse. For the last 2-3 weeks I have had terrible problems sleeping, I go to bed my usual time between 10-11 but do not get any sleep until around 4am and sleep for 1-2 hours.

I have been given some Zopiclone which worked well to begin with, now when I use it I get 2-3 hours deep sleep before waking and struggling to get back to sleep.

I am going to CBT sessions to help me deal with my anxiety but this is going to last 6 weeks and I really struggle with the idea of not sleeping well for this long. I worry about my sleep all day and its really getting me down, I seem to have had constant heart palputations for the last 2 weeks due to the anxiety.

I have been to the GP a few times and they have now suggested using Citalopram to help with the anxiety, which in turn will hopefully help me sleep. I have never really suffered from anxiety or depression before (although I do get quite anxious about my health sometimes) so its not like this is an on-going situation.

I have been reading a lot today about Citalopram and its side effects. One of the most prominent seems to be insomnia which is the thing I am trying to solve! What are your thoughts on this? I feel I should listen to the GP and take Citalopram but after reading on this forum it makes me question it.

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  • Posted

    Hi Nigel 

    I have been on citalopram for 8 weeks I suffered with anxiety and insomnia for  half of last year.i have been sleeping well for the last 6 weeks so stick with it, it does work 

    regards sue x

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    • Posted

      Hi Sue,

      Thank you very much for the response, this has given me a lot of faith that taking Citalopram is a good idea. I was just unsure as I have always been a decent sleeper (although always worried about not getting enough) but this has developed only recently and only a few weeks ago. I thought it would sort itself out but my anxiety has just been increasing and I feel like I will struggle to beat it without any medical help.

      Do you take yours in the morning or evening? Was your anxiety related to your lack of sleep or was it over other things?

      Thanks, Nigel

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  • Posted

    Hi I take it in the morning,  indirectly my anxiety came on from lack of sleep,which made me unable to cope with lots of stress that our family went through. My sleeo pattern changed after some health problems and I became so exhausted I couldn't cope x
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    • Posted

      I'm glad it has helped you Sue. I have just took my first 20mg pill so I'll soon see if I have any immediate side effects.
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  • Posted

    I've been Citlopram for a year now, there are no quick fixes, i suffer from rage, but not the way you maybe think, it's just i blow up at times in my car, which i shouldn't, i went to my Doctor and told him, he put on the tablets 20mg, but i went back other week, and he put it 10mg, but i can say, stick to them they will work, maybe not for a while, but do feel benefit for them.  Good luck to you.
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  • Posted

    Hi Nigel

    Reading your takes me back to this thine last, reading it sounds exactly like my problem last year. Mine started by me having back pain and thinking it was something really bad wrong with me, started by waking up at 5 then 4 until I was sleeping 1 hour a night. This went on for 6 weeks until I went to the doctors and they gave Me citalopram. I started taking it and didn't sleep for three nights, I rang dr he said keep taking at. I stopped taking it and rang a private psychiatrist I saw him the next day. He prescribed mirtazapine and quetiapine the first night I slept eight hours, I stopped the quetiapine after 3 weeks as didn't need it any more.and have been taking 15 mg mirtazapine since and been skeeping like a baby. I now coming of it as feel I am ready. You will hear good and bad about all antidepressants on here. But when you need to sleep what can you do. I also have taken anything like this before.

    I hope this helps

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Thank you for your help. I have heard about Mirtazapine and have heard that it can help you sleep. I wonder why my GP prescribed Citalopram instead, I guess I have to put faith in the GP. I just want something to help me sleep, once I have a few days of good sleep I think my anxiety will decrease a lot and it will help me sleep naturally. I guess I have to give Citalopram a go and see how effective it is.

      Thanks, Nigel

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  • Posted

    Hi Nigel.  Sorry you're having such sleep problems, its hateful isn't it, it affects everything we do when we're exhausted.  I first got prescribed Cit specifically for a sleep disorder not for anxiety.  I had 'night terrors' ie I had vivid dreams where i would thrash around and often hurt myself by hitting the headboard etc., cause was apparently excessive REM sleep. I was given 10mg cit and told to take them in the evening.  They dramatically reduced the REM sleep so although I slept lighter I didnt get stressed during sleep so didnt wake up.  It worked quite well.  Some years later I was prescribed 20mg cit for anxiety and although they worked, I unfortunately had an allergic reaction to the higher dose so had to stop.  Lessening your anxiety will definitely help sleep, although some people do find it causes disruption in sleep patterns but usually that's only the initial side effects. Do try meditation techniques - there's one that's very easy and very very effective at helping you get off to sleep, called belly breathing.  You focus on how your breathing is moving your tummy, don't force it or control it, just breathe normally but concentrate on your tummy moving with each breath.  Sometimes I nod off in just five minutes doing this.  It's very soothing.
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    • Posted

      Hi Loxie,

      Thank you for your help. I'm glad the Citalopram helped your sleep, it gives me confidence that it will help mine.

      Thank you for the breathing technique, I have tried different things but haven't tried this yet. I will give this a go tonight.

      Thanks, Nigel

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Reading your post i think you are wise to question the use of Cit. For many is appears to work though most appear to suffer a very slow transition back to life without Cit or severe withdrawal (my case after a short 6 week period on the drug).

    I think you should consult the GP about the initial cause of the stomach and at the same time seek other avenues which could reduce the stress be it tranquelisers of beata blockers which could give the relief form anxiety without the possible side effects of Cit.

    Having said that people have been on Cit including a female friend of mine where she was on it for six months found that it did not help her so stopped (not sure how she stopped i.e. cold turkey) but she experienced no side effects at any time as do others. It is wheter you feel it is worth the risk for you!!

    I hope this helps

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  • Posted

    Hi Nigel. You posted this a year ago but I have the exact same issue.

    I wondered if this worked for you?

    I've had insomnia for a month and my

    dr prescribed me this instead of the other sedating ADs.

    I'm scared to take my first pill in fear of making my insomnia worse.

    Hope you can help!

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    • Posted

      I had a serious issue with insomnia for some time and also spates of severe 'night terrors' ie where I would be violently active fighting in my dreams.  My doctor suggested low dose citalopram (10mg) and I queried why she thought an SSRI was necessary.  She told me that low dose anti anxiety meds reduce REM sleep and thus reduce the severity of dreams so that my sleep would be more restful and beneficial.  It did work for the sleep issues but unfortunately I had an allergic reaction to citalopram so had to stop taking them.  If they dont cause you any allergy problems, they are quite affective for sleep issues but I believe only in a low dose.

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