Citalopram week 7 and feel awful please help

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Hi everyone,

This is my 7th week on citalopram at 10mg - and this past week or so has been terrible. Horrible ocd, obsessive thoughts about things I’m unable to check.  Waking up again at 5am everyday again and feel panicked and very sick with constant anxiety all day . This went away for a few days and actually had moments where I felt nearly back to my old self, so I’m not sure what’s going on. Please help or advise am feeling so sad and hopeless 😢

Thank you x

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  • Posted

    Hi

    This is quite normal at this stage to have bad side effects worse some weeks than other weeks - those moments of feeling will come and go all through recovery.  

    The OCD, obsessive thoughts etc etc are only present because of the anxiety - without anxiety you wouldn't have them.  They're typical side effects of anxiety.

    People often become afraid of the side effects which then cause more anxiety - the very thing you're trying to recover from.  At the moment you're in a cycle on anxiety / fear / anxiety and as you recover the meds will start to soothe the anxiety which in turn will make all those side effects ease too until they all stop.

    Seems you're on the right path.  Perseverance through it all - more time - and you'll find it'll get easier.

    K x

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me - your message is very helpful. I think I’ve hit a very low point with the ocd anxiety and depression and it feels like there’s no way it will ever get better. Suffered constantly for 2 years and it seems very resistant.

      I will hold on to the fact that 7 weeks can still be very early days and perseverance is key during the first few months. Thank you for giving me some hope - I hope you have a wonderful day ahead. All the best X 

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Yes it can be 3 months before you start even noticing any improvement, though you've had moments of normality already, so that's a good sign.  

      When you're suffering with anxiety / depression you'll always feel hopelessness and won't be able to see a way out at all - thats because you're in the middle of it all.  Anxiety produces anxious thoughts - so in effect you end up feeding it.

      Anxiety is often born from stress which builds up over time.  When anxiety starts it feels quite frightening and that fear then fuels the anxiety.  The anxiety then produces side effects i.e. racing thoughts, OCD, weird thoughts etc etc which also produce anxiety, so you get stuck in a cycle.  Breaking this cycle is key and thats where the meds come in.  Understanding anxiety also helps as it helps contain it and helps you see one path.

      Yes 7 weeks is quite early still.  It can take many, many months to recover.  I suffered for 16 years and like you, couldn't ever see a way out.  6 months on the meds and I recovered.  Don't let the timescale worry you because we all take different times, and these meds and this condition cannot be hurried.  It has to take its own time, and if you try and hurry it you'll end up feeling frustrated and more anxious.  Let it come to you.  It will.

      The wait wait was so worth it ....... it gave me back my life.

      You'll get there too.  Perseverance through it all, however bad you think it feels - you're passing through recovery and it does get easier.

      K x

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  • Posted

    Hi sandpiper18 

    I feel your pain I too have awful OCD along with depression and anxiety I’m on citalopram and have steadily been increased to 30mg my GP said the OCD will take time and may get worse before it gets bettter . I’m on week 8 and although I feel my anxiety is a bit better I’m exactly the same as you in terms of how I’m feeling I’ve been told to stick with it and 8 weeks is still early days I don’t want to chop and change my tablets anymore I just want them to work! Hopefully we will get there this forum has been fantastic just reading other people’s posts in comforting to me that I’m not alone 

    I hope you feel better soon hang in there 

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  • Posted

    Sorry addressed this to you sandpiper I’ve no idea why! I meant it to Kate (new to all this) smile 
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    • Posted

      Hi Sherri

      In my experience its not really true OCD but are obsessive thoughts and impulses which are a side effect of anxiety, and often the meds.  Yes it does get worse before it gets better.

      Increasing meds also gives you more side effects too, so each time you up your dose you'll feel worse again.  Some people think that increasing their dose will stop the side effects - it won't.  Also a larger dose doesn't mean you'll get better any quicker and its usually what dose suits your body, as some people recover on 10mg and lower.  I recovered on 20mg - and I always think why take more than is needed cheesygrin

      The maximum dose is 40mg and some people struggle on this, getting continuous side effects.  If side effects don't ease after 4-5 months then its worth reducing to see if it helps.

      Also some people end up chasing recovery - swapping from dose to dose then meds to other meds trying to eliminate the feelings they have.  You can't - and in fact people make themselves much worse by doing this.  You have to give each dose time to settle (weeks, sometimes months) before increasing, and after giving one type of meds much time (and thats after tying different doses) then it might be time to try another.

      It is a long road, but again, perseverance and its of patience will bring you out the other side.

      K x

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  • Posted

    Yes I totally agree Kate I’m not sure why my GP increased me so quickly I went straight on 20mg then after 3 weeks she increased it to 30mg I feel ok on that dose just worried because most people tend to start on 10mg and settle at 20mg my OCD is definitely worse than before I went on them I’m off work at the moment and was wondering if that hasn’t helped as I haven’t got much to take my mind off of it. Maybe I’ll soeak to my GP again about the dose. I was lucky I didn’t really have many side effects apart from feeling a bit sick there isn’t much to me either so it’s a high dose it may be doing me more harm than good 
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    • Posted

      Mmmm Doctors are fond of increasing too quickly and it must be they think these meds work like other meds. The greater the dose the quicker you'll recover - alas no.  You also don't just recover nicely as you would on other meds either - with these you're up and down and they're just so slow.

      I'm sure you're fine on 30mg as many recover on that dose.  Now you're on it I'd stay there as to keep increasing / decreasing makes the body confused.  Yes the dose increase can make you feel sick for a while - it'll wear off.  When you've recovered you can always reduce a little.  I recovered on 20mg and after a year I reduced to 10mg for a maintenance dose which suited me.

      K xx wink 

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  • Posted

    I just finished week 7 and had the same thing--horrible increased anxiety and brain zaps again and naseauted all the time, this after having a really good week prior.  But the good news is just keep with it and the fact you had good days means the med is working.  This week has been somewhat better for me.  Remember you can do this.  It will get better, we just have to be patient (which isn't easy).  Hopefully this blip will be short lived.  Have a good rest of the week!

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  • Posted

    Is it still normal to have bad days at this stage? I’m so up and down I have a few days we’re i feel great and think yes I’ve cracked it then I’ll gave a bad day and it’s really disheartening. I’m on week 8 and I think will I keep improving? My good days out weigh the bad days definitely but I just want to feel “normal” all the time and I know that’s never going to be the case. Some people have said it can take months but you would think after 8 weeks it would be working it’s full effect. I haven’t returned to work yet and am worried I won’t cope with it 
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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your advice, you’re all wonderful, lovely people, and it’s so unfair that you’re all going/and have been through this. 

    I will try to keep going despite feeling so low and hopeless. I saw a robin in the tree in the garden yesterday and just burst into tears because it was a lovely sunny morning and the robin was so beautiful and I was frustrated that I couldn’t appreciate it. I love animals and nature.  You never know, a week or so could make all the difference smile all of your support helps to give me hope, all the best to you all xxx

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  • Posted

    Hey, i had the same trouble for a couple of months. ....but was around my period so i could plan for it. Is it the same for you ?

    Xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Waterview, 

      I do think things get worse around that due time for myself, but they’ll also come on randomly too, I’m hoping it’s all just a settling in phase thing? Did you find after a couple of months on cit that the anxiety before that time of the month levelled out?

      Thanks xx

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