Citalopram activated new anxiety symptoms after trying it for 3 weeks? Is this withdrawal?

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Hi I hope someone can help and advise me regarding my experience. Its been two months since i stopped taking Citalopram for three weeks.

After two family losses i was pretty down and had some mild anxiety - chest pain.

I went to my doctor a few times, he gave me diazipam and zopiclone and after a few weeks he prescribed Citalopram 10mg to ease my anxiety/bereavement pains.

I hesitated to take them because i hate pills but after a few weeks i still couldnt face going to work and i felt i should try them out. I did not realise and was not told they are anti-depressants but was told it may take a few weeks to kick in.

For the first few days my hands would shake and i felt very hot. After a week the shakes spread all over my whole body, i was sweating alot and my anxiety increased, felt like i was being stabbed in my chest. By week two my whole body/nerves felt like it was on fire, whole body was shaking, could hardly talk or move, felt very hot and had headaches. On week three these symptoms still persisted so i told my doctor i was going to stop the medication, he advised i carry on but i said i cant take these side effects anymore. He did not advice me to reduce the dose and i just stopped taking them.

After stopping i had brain zaps, very agitated, mentally unstable, racing thoughts, i frlt crazy...this lasted for about two weeks but they passed.

For the last two months the shakes still persist but not as strong...mostly on my hands but i feel my body shakes too, my heartbeat is constantly pounding where i even feel my body move and can hear my heart when i try to sleep, constant pins and needles in my feet and lower legs, prickly/tingling skin on the rest of my body, occasional high pitch sound in my right ear, occasional muscle spasms and involuntary movements mostly in the mornings, feel constantly nervous and feel panic doing things i did before the meds, bad insomnia and feel depressed...probably because i have these new symptoms. Im not interested in things i was interested in before taking those pills. All these feelings persist no matter how much i try to distract myself with friends and family.

Went to my cousins BBQ and after drinking two beers i had a panic attack for the first time. So now i dont drink. I only smoke cigs.

I returned to my doctor as well as other doctors within the practice various times over the last two months (about twice a week) to explain my new symptoms but they just say its anxiety and kept giving me new pills such as Paroxetine, which i will not touch. I have explained i did not feel like this before but they do not take me seriously.

I have put pressure and demanded tests-

ECG - normal

BLOOD TESTS - liver, kidney, vitamins ect...all clear.

Waiting for an appointment with a neurologist which i requested because of how my nerves feel and a Psychologist, which my doctor thinks i need.

My doctor who prescribed the meds insists it cant be the pills, but ive explained i had none of those symptoms before taking them.

Spoke to my pharmacist and he says it should pass but its strange im experiencing new symptoms because i only took them for three weeks.

For the last two months i eat healthy, lots of fruit, nuts and veg, take all my vitamins, omega 3, magnesium, zinc. I work out and try to avoid stress but i still feel terrible and its hard to ignore how my body feels.

I take Nytol often to help me sleep but it doesnt work too well. I use Zopiclone once or twice a week, i used it before constantly for over a month but stopped just over a month ago. I also take Diazipam occasionally at night but i try not to have it often.

I drink alot of herbal teas to help me relax and also to help me sleep but nothing really works.

Im very worried i will feel like this forever and that ive ruined my body trying those pills. Im very lost. Cant do anything without fear, worried about going back to work incase i panic, constantly on edge about how my body feels.

I am wondering if anyone knows why i have these new symptoms since taking Citalopram? Is this withdrawal syndrome? Or have the meds activated this new anxiety?

Does anyone know how much longer this may last or am i stuck with this intense, constant anxiety?

Feel free to ask any questions, i hope someone has any knowledge on what i experienced.

Thanks for reading.

0 likes, 5 replies


5 Replies

  • Posted

    Forgot to add that i also get occasional chills on different parts of my body if not all for no reason mostly at night.

    I hope someone out there knows something. Thank you.

  • Posted

    Hi. I have been on citalopram for a number of yeats. First on 20mg then put on 40mg after bereavement 3 years ago. I stopped approx 4/6 wks sgo. I have had a lot of the symptoms you have so yes i think its withdrawal. Ive just had bloods etc back saying normal. Doc doesnt think withdrawal as drug out of system within 7 days but i was fine before came off it. I was fine for 2 weeks after totally off it then symptoms of nausea and vertigo and all over body tingling. Shaking. Feeling of wanting to cry. Anxious. Irritable. Palpitations. Sweating. I was given anti nausea drugs and felt better in a week and fine for next then last week all came back. Got nausea drugs again and diazepam. Cant sleep for tingling and like you feel like it will last forever. Doc wont put me back on cit as need go thru this again if do despite saying not withdrawal. Ive been on anti ds before 20 yrs ago and was fine coming off them but this particular drug is apparently awful to withdraw from. When you start reading about it like i have you panic more. I cant say when you will feel better as ive been on longer and still suffering so i would just advise to hang in there. Heaven knows whats in these drugs and had i known what it would do when stopped i would never have taken but we are where we are. You are not alone in your misery and that was a comfort to me as until i joined here i thought i was. I came off to start another drug which i now know is the same type and im not taking it and told doc i wasnt. I dont think youre stuck its just a case of time and perseverence but its bloomin miserable. I read someones blog who says be kind to yourself and give yourself at least 90 days which seems at moment unreachable but its a goal to reach and hopefully rid of this hell
  • Posted

    Hi there.... After reading your post I just wanted you to know that you are absolutely not alone. It sounds like you have had a really confusing set of experiences and picking apart your grief, side effects, depression and anxiety about all of these has left you feeling like you've gone down Alice's well... Citalopram is hard to get on and it's also hard to come off. It takes time for the body to adjust and we all react differently. My experience is that doctors don't always understand how perplexing the journey in and out of the world of the SSRI is. You shouldn't have taken the cit without being aware of what it was and I'm sorry the doc didn't explain. For now trust yourself to get through the next few weeks. Take the pressure off yourself to feel 'normal' if you know why these things are happening it will be less anxiety provoking and you can then start to get back to your normal self. Grief is a natural and necessary process..... Good luck and stay strong. Keep up the gym and get those endorphins going....


  • Posted

    Btw I should probably have said - I've been on 20mg of citalopram for 8 years and am currently coming off. I'm down to 10 mg and experiencing loads of wild side effects. I'm just staying focused on the goal and keeping my eyes open as to why these things are happening..... I'm having to work through it day by day.... Using the gym and being kind to myself.....

  • Posted

    Thank you all for replying.

    I just find it hard to accept that I had such a bad reaction after just taking Citalopram for three weeks.

    My body just isnt the same. Constant anxiety, nervous, pins and needles in the soles of my feet and legs, prickly sensations that also hurt all around my body....heart is always pounding.

    Also bad insomnia, have to take Zopiclone or Nytol to try to sleep.

    Does anyone know if this will heal itself or do i have to learn to live with these new symptoms? Life has fallen apart since taking those meds. Cant work and lost my girlfriend who i love so much


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