Citalopram, Doctors and Ignorance about Mental Health

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Hello all,

I've been taking Citalopram since November. I started off on 20mg, but was soon put on 40mg. I was reluctant to go back on medication after having a bad experience with Venlafaxine a few years ago whereby I felt like a Zombie for 3 years! After another 'crash' in November my doctor persuaded me to try them, assuring me that if I felt bad or had no improvement we would try something else.

Basically, I don't feel any better whatsoever! I still have the emotional highs and lows. The only difference I notice is that when the lows come I'm unable to cry and so am left still feeling the unbearable emptiness but with no release which is horrible.

I've had another review with my doctor this week and am stunned at the attitude he has taken with me. He basically told me that my depression and anxiety has been going on a long time now and that everybody has problems but they just deal with it and get on with their lives, and that I need to do the same!!!! He also insists that I should keep taking Citalopram even though it's doing nothing for me, and in a way is actually making me feel worse when I hit the lows. Needless to say I stopped taking the Citalopram that day, I would rather feel the pain of the lows than be tormented by the emptiness that Citalopram fills me with. I'm starting to feel really dizzy now.

I just don't know where to go to get the help I need. I'm devestated by the ignorance and negligance with which my doctor treated me, and came out of there in tears and have slept virtually all weekend, overwhelmed by no end in sight.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Aimee I would report your doctor to the practice. they shouldnt say things like that to you

    Have you tryed any CBT or theropy, only a sugestion but it might help.

    I wish you all the best


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  • Posted

    Time to get a new Doctor my darling.You should not come away from your GP practice feeling that way.Is there another GP at the same practice that you can talk to???If not I would change...What have you got to lose.The GP'S are there to do a job and if you come out in tears because of that GP then I would say \"someone aint doin their job\"Their problem luvvy,not yours!!Get another Dr.Good luck sweetie and let us all know how you get on. :wink:
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  • Posted

    That is really awful. Obviously your GP doesnt understand depression. He is right in saying that alot of people do have stresses in their life and get on with it. But their comes a time in most peoples lives when we cant just get on with it and need some help. You also dont want to hear that when you feel down and not coping, it just makes you feel worse. You have gone to him to ask for help and how he has treated you is disgraceful. Obviously your medication is not right for you and maybe you could benefit from a change. I would ring your surgery and ask to see another doctor and tell them how upsetting your last experience was. Take care
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  • Posted

    hi Aimee :cheerup:

    first off, plz, plz dont just stop taking your meds abruptly like you say you have :? Citalopram has a half life of only 37 hours, unlike some other SSRIs such as fluoxetine (prozac) which has a very long half life and is easier to quit without withdrawl symptons as a result :wink:

    you need to see a doctor to advise you on discontinuing your treatment and to advise you on any further treatment :D

    its obvious to me that you must change your doctor, or even ask to be refered to a psychiatrist as yours appears to be a long term problem, words fail me on how your current so called 'doctor' is treating you, he needs to be reported for failing in his duty to you !!!!!! grrrrrrrrrr :shock:

    anyhooooooooooos good luck and let us know how you get on :biggrin:


    Ken ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ :cheers:

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  • Posted

    I have also had bad experiences, firstly with with Venlafaxine ( a zombie for 9 years) . I tried without anything for a year (having withdrawn suddenly and the experience is [u:11f7b08652]NOT[/u:11f7b08652] recommended. (feelings of my skin peeling off me and huge rollercoater waves of emotion for 4 weeks!) Then after an horrific few months was persuaded to try Citalopram. (Incidentally,my new Doc said that the dose of Venlafaxine I had previously been on, would only be given now to patients if they were hospitalised.!!!

    I find that Citalopram does work for me in some respects. I feel that it does 'gloss' over things in some way though. Everything is o.k but I'm stuck on a never ending plateau and have no inclination to try to come to terms with anything I have been sitting on for the past 14 years of various antidepressants. They were needed initially, I was completely broken and raw, but I have wasted so much of my life by not having the opportunity of getting to the bottom of things. Citalopram lets me function and is nowhere near as bad as Venlafaxine, but I still feel 'squashed' and very apathetic.

    It also made me put on weight and my sex drive is non-existant. Also, like Aimee, I find I cannot have a damn good cry, which used to enable me to release some of the pent up unhapiness. I feel quite numb and miss crying as a type of release.Now I feel as though everything is simmering beneath the surface and I am terified of the lid coming off.

    I would not recommend anyone coming off medication abruptly. Coming off Venlafaxine was the hardest , most distressing thing I have ever experienced. I wouldn't give up Citalopram but wish I didn't have to take it.

    Incidentally, after telling a GP in the practise how I am having trouble getting out of the front door, he suggested I get a job and join the real world again. !!?? My own GP is marvellous, but there is no funding for prolonged counselling for someone like me.

    Keep smilinmg everyone. You are not alone!

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  • Posted

    Hi Bee

    I hope today finds you well.

    I just like to say why is there no funding for councelling etc surely in the long run it works out cheaper. Why can't mental health have money spent on it?

    At the moment I have asked for CBT and to see a specialist in London for another condition i have and i got the impression I wasn't allowed both I wonder why? I think its all down to money. Still waiting for both referals 5 weeks down the line.

    But having been so ill for 20 months i'm not going to let the practise wriggle out of them. I want my life back and not to be terrified and ill all the time.


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  • Posted

    Hi Aimee,

    I hope you still visit and read this post.

    First of all: I was pregnant, my doctor told me to come off immediately and I did after some days elaboration (I was loathe to do it) and BOY - what mistake! I had the worst low within years, absolutely terrible and frightening. And I only tool 10 mg!

    Though I must say, the description of your doc would be well enough to provoke a low.

    Here my conclusions:

    - Don't just get off, not a good idea. Try alternating taking / not taking, if you reall want to come off fast, though that is more than the pro's recommend you.

    - Next: I think, we tend to have a very good inkling, if something does help us, when to stop or to continue and similar, never mind us having an emotional illness. Probably becuase we constantly monitor our modds, we do get good at reading them. I was asked if my mood improvement was not due to the pregnancy (I somehow didn;t think so, but obviously couldn't prove it), and anyway I only took half the therapeutic dose, so 'it couldn't do anything' - on both accounts GP wrong, myself right.

    If you say, it doesn't help you, then that's it! You are the measurement for your mood improvement, maybe a partner or good friend may help with feedabck, but what does your GP knows, how you feel inside! Anyway - he promised you, that you can switch or stop, should you not be happy with it, so he should stick minimum to his own word.

    - Also: GP's often don't have a clue as to what they prescribe. As to dosage, alternatives, how to come off, here a telephone no. I found extremely helpful: CITA (Council for Information on Tranquilizers and AD's) 0151 932 0102, lines are open 10-1pm; please persevere, the line will be constantly busy, no wonder of good info is so hard to get.

    - Last not least: Don't go back to that prat! If you feel strong enough, yes, report him. But minimum do yourself the favour to go to another doc. I changed group practice twice within the last year and am finally happy. I hope, there is at least some choice where you live (I live in London, so I'm spoilt for choice).

    I can't believe anybody with some medical training utters such tosh!

    You know, you ahve to deal with life's problems. Your problem is, that somehow you can't deal with them and he is supposed to help you with that! It is like telling somebody with a broken leg \"we all have two walk on our own two feet some day\" - I mean is he insane, or what?

    If he really thinks, there is nothing wrong with you and you just have to get on with it - how come he precribes 40mg Citalopram to you over months? Wouldn't that be rather irresponsible? Absolutely unbelievable.

    Lots of courage to you and please, please go elsewhere -

    that guy would make anybody sick.

    All the best,


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  • Posted


    Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who replied for their kind messages. Each and every one of them offered words of support and encouragement, and proved to be some light amidst the darkness, so thankyou smile

    An update... I had to go back to the practice yesterday (Monday) to have some stitches removed by the nurse. While I was there I asked her if any of the doctors took a special interest in Mental Health. I ended up telling her about my experience with my GP and needless to say I got very upset. She was very supportive and booked me in with another GP and told me to repeat what I had told her to him.

    I had my appointment with him today and basically experienced more of the same! It seemed a case of 'Boys own club' to me and it was clear from the way he spoke to me that they had already conferred! So he also spoke to me like a time-wasting simpleton and repeatedly asked me what I want them to do, adding that medication hasn't worked and I'm already receiving CBT (which is a limited service) and that I need to start 'helping myself' - which he kept repeating!

    I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I explained that I have helped myself and that it is through sheer hard work, discipline and facing my pain that I have transformed my life. I explained how at one point I shut myself away, spent most of my life asleep just to escape my pain, and was too scared to drive. I've managed to overcome all this, and this transformation happened once I took myself off of Venlafaxine! So all done by myself! So to have him repeatedly tell me that I need to start helping myself was not only insulting, it took away from me the achievement of what were for me major struggles. sad

    I seem to have hit a stumbling block though with my efforts to return to work, and have struggled to hold jobs down because the anxiety overcomes me and then I seem to experience a relapse. This keeps happening, and last November I ended up quitting a really good job in the civil service (which is the kind of work I use to do before I became ill) because I just couldn't cope with it. I was devestated and had a major meltdown, and this prompted me to once again seek medical help in the hope that they would help me in this hurdle in my recovery. I'm now stacking shelves in a supermarket 3 nights a week and I can barely cope with that sad , just how they expect me to help myself any further is a mystery. It really is no wonder so many mentally ill people end up on the streets, or worse - it's a tragedy.

    He wasn't interested in listening to any of this, and after telling me several times to start helping myself he told me that he had to move on cos he's got other people waiting! My 5 mins was up and that's all he cared about.

    My concern is that I've had mental health problems for 9 years now and have asked to see a psychiatrist for expert diagnosis but have been denied access because my assessments have not found it necessary! I understand the complexities of mental health issues and feel after 9 years of suffering it's time I saw someone who knows what they are doing, instead of this blanket diagnosis of 'depression & anxiety' that GP's dish out so freely which for so many people means not only a mis-diagnosis but inappropriate mediaction and total mis-management of their condition, and ultimately potentially a lifetime of unnecessary suffering.

    It feels like that is exactly what I'm facing, and as I'm sure so many of you are all too aware, the prospect of a lifetime of this nightmare is simply unbareable. sad

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  • Posted

    Hi Aimee

    Hope you are feeling a little better this morning.

    If I were you I would try and change doctors practise its a bit like that at my practise all for one and one for all.

    There are some really nice doctors about but you do have to look for them.

    Ask to see an psychiatrist again you are entitled and the govermant are pushing for this kind of treatment at the moment. The problem I was told was once i had done that certain jobs would be off limits but I'm not well enough to work full time even without mental problems.

    It sounds like you have done a lot for yourself already keep going it will be sorted in the end just keep working at it slowly but surely.


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