INSOMNIA on Citalopram!! HELP! Anyone else?

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Hello everyone. I’m new to the site and definitely new to anxiety disorders and panic attacks. I’d classify my feelings as hyper-anxiety because I feel so agitated and nervous ALL the time, but the attacks are definitely the worst. Here’s my story. PLEASE feel free to comment with any words of advice or similar experiences!

I was sick with a bad case of the flu for almost 3 weeks and visited Fast-Med and my Primary physician several times for help while not feeling better. My body was very anxious and I just KNEW “something” was wrong with it. Next a trip to the emergency room at the beginning of week 4 for persistent shortness of breath/ heavy chest. They tested me for so many things I lost track. Every test came back with me looking absolutely fine. While describing my symptoms to the on-call physician after the outcome of all the tests, it became obvious to us both that I was suffering from a severe anxiety episode that had been going on since the beginning of week 2 of my flu. She prescribed me a couple Ativan to get me through til I could see my doctor. I was prescribed 2 more weeks of .5 mg  up to 4 a day. It did NOT help!

Now my doctor has started me on Celexa/ Citalopram. I was hesitant to take it but eventually decided to give in since I could NOT control my symptoms myself. I’ve NEVER felt like this before!! I realize now I’ve always been a bit hyper, but had ONLY ever had infrequent panic attacks from smoking too much marijuana. Nothing like this feeling. It feels like my stress hormones are just coursing through my body at light speed all the time. 

I’ve been taking 10mg starting dose of Citalopram for one week now and I felt after 2-3 days there were some positive changes happening. That’s when my INSOMNIA happened. Now I’m just getting about 2-3 hours of sleep before waking up anxious and restless and laying there panicky til I finally get up. Last night I couldn’t even relax enough to sleep at all! It feels so weird to be utterly exhausted and hyper-active awake at the same time. From what I’ve read so far I feel like this is a normal side effect that may subside after a little time, but REALLY interested to hear from ALL who share similar stories as mine!!

??Anyone else had panic come from a prolonged illness or anyone having the same problem with their Citalopram?

 How did you deal with it?

What dose did you start and when/ how much did it change? 

How long before you felt positive changes/ effects of Citalopram?

What’s your insomnia story/ how long did you deal with it before it got better? 

PLEASE, ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!

Thank you 

Ron5130

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18 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Ron,

    My anxiety all started from waking up one night gasping for air. Since then I struggled for a month getting to sleep, I was in a vicious cycle because I would go to sleep and think about the night before when I couldn’t breath, this then happened the next night and so on and so on.

    It could to the point that I would fall asleep and wake myself up jolting because I wasn’t breathing. It was at this point I turned to my doctor for help. 

    I’m on week 4 of Citalopram and my sleep has definitely calmed down, I still get occasional nights where it takes me a few hours to drop off. I find if I’m anxious at bed time I put on a sleep story, so that I fixate on the story as suppose to my breathing. The app I use is calmed calm and it has massively helped me. 

    Good luck on your journey x

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    • Posted

      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I’m just so nervous with the completely unnatural way my body feels right now. Hoping that my side effects calm down soon. Seems like I was very anxious but did not have insomnia and all day hyper feeling until starting the Citalopram. Did you have any of the other side effects and if so how long did they last? 

      Thank you for helping!

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  • Posted

    Hi. Sleep was awful when I started on citalopram. It can increase your anxiety for a brief period too. I had diazepam to help me through for a couple.of weeks. I find I need a routine and distraction. You will get stronger and find it easier to cope with. Look for some relation videos on YouTube. May help.in the night when you can't sleep. I had to pay games o my phone or read a book jusy9anuthing to switch off my mind. It will get better but it takes a while for the meds to work and you may need to increase your dose. Chatting on here really helped me as I knew I wasn't alone and there was always someone to talk to that understood. Good.luck.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the note. I definitely have had a few ups and some low lows too since starting Citalopram a week ago. Some days it has felt like it increased my anxiety. I am having almost every very common side effect right now- but I guess that’s good(?) because it probably means the medicine is integrating with my body I guess.

      These were listed on this site and I’ve got everything but the nausea:

      VERY COMMON (may affect more than 1 in 10 people):

      * Feeling sick (nausea),

      * Being sleepy or drowsy, or finding it DIFFICULT TO SLEEP!

      * Headaches, dry mouth

      * Feeling weak, dizzy or shaky

      * Sweating more than usual

      * Changes in your sleeping pattern

      Did you also go through this before things leveled out? Thank you for your help!

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    • Posted

      Hi. You are right. The fact you are feeling side effects means that they are getting into your system. The side effevts i felt were headaches fatigue nausea sweating I would yawn a lot and then my jaw would tremble. These were when i started on 20mg. I have since increased to 30 and then 40 and the side effects were hardly noticeable. My described taking the meds for the first time like restarting a car. It takes a while for them to get going and it may he a bit like an uphill struggle. I promise it will get better
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    • Posted

      I’m glad to hear it will get better! Just trying to be patient and let the Citalopram do its job. It’s been a struggle so far but hoping for some peace and normalcy soon 🙂

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    • Posted

      Hi Joanne,

      I was wondering how long you were on the initial dose of Citalopram before it was increased?

      Did you feel better at all before it was raised or was that the reason why it was increased?

      You mentioned the side effects were hardly noticeable when you upped the dosage. Just curious as to how long before it’s safe to go up. 

      Doctor says if I don’t feel better with the anxiety I can double to 20mg a day. I don’t want to do that if my sleep hasn’t returned yet, since that’s one of the major side effects of the drug.

      I’m feeling a little bit better but mostly due to positive thinking- still having anxiety most of the time(at work and at home). Also having very restless nights getting maybe 2-3 hours of sleep in broken intervals. Using meditation sleep apps and yoga music has helped relax me some. Took Benadryl last night but even that couldn’t get me all the way to dreamland. 

      I appreciate your time and info sharing. It really helps! 

      Ron

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    • Posted

      Hi. I started on 20mg and I think I was on that for about 6 weeks. I went up to 30mg as I was feeling better but not 100%. The Drs were happy that I had levelled out and was ready to increase. I didn't notice awful side effects when I increased like I did when I first started. I guess our bodies have gotten used to the meds a bit. My sleep has always been poor. Interestingly enough I went to a stress control.class ran through the nhs tonight. It was really good and very interesting. I would definitely recommend it. I had diazepam when I could sleep for a while.and it really helped relax and calm me down. How long have you bewn on 10mg now??

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    • Posted

      I’ve only been on Citalopram 10mg for a little over a week. Been feeling quite anxious during and after my flu struggle and 2 weeks of Ativan was not an answer for my problems. Tried some CBD (Cannabidiol oil) pills but they didn’t relax me after the first time. So now I’ve decided to try this.

      Haven’t had many sleep problems through the years so that is also a new feeling to get used to. Hopefully I won’t need to be used to it for long! Been using relaxation apps and deep breathing / hypnosis apps to settle down and relax for the last couple of nights. The yoga music also really does help to get me more relaxed even if sleep doesn’t happen. 

      Thank you so much for your comments and help!

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  • Posted

    My anxiety started after a virus, my gp said it's quite common for anxiety or depression to start after an illness

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    • Posted

      I started on sertraline a few weeks ago, 2 and a half weeks at half dose then been on a full dose since Friday so almost a week. Luckily for me it has helped my sleeping. I ha e a lavender pillow spray, it may be coincidence but I have been sleeping better since I got it.
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  • Posted

    citrolopram will normally take 2/3 to set up the ssri in your body,before that it can cause you to have sleep ness night till the medication take effect ,then you will feel a bit sleepy,each persons body is different,therefore each will get some side effects where as other may get other side effects
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for responding. I’m just so new to this and am desperate to find out how long I may deal with these very uncomfortable feelings and side effects. It’s good to know that with the medicine help is on the way. 
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    • Posted

      It really helps a lot to know that relief is on the way! I’m using some relaxation and calming sleep apps to try and relax. Also some Chamomile tea and pharmacist recommended Benadryl- Hoping that will do the job! 

      I read your feed and glad to see 2 weeks of side effects the first time. I’ve read many people say that so far, so that’s encouraging.

      Glad you’re feeling so well now! I’ve realized I need to change the ways I deal with stress in my life to truly get well, and I’m excited to make those changes count. 🙂

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    • Posted

      Keep going

      Not sure about taking Benadryl to be honest

      But keep up with the rest

      It will pass

      It will resurface from time to time

      Better than not being on the tablets tho!

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