Is there a way back?

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I have been suffering from mild anxiety and had a few panic attacks, my doctor prescribed me Citalopram last week: day 1 of taking them, I had the worst panic attack ive ever had for no reason at all, it then continued to come in waves for hours at a time, day 2 was even worse, I felt so anxious I didn't want to leave the house, day 3 I felt like I was going to die, the anxiety was so bad I couldnt cope, even making breakfast left me having a panic attack. I rang the doctor and he said that the tablets may cause a little more anxiety for the first few weeks but if I couldn't live with it then stop taking them. I have been off them for 4 days and still feel as anxious as I did when I was on them, is there a way back to how I felt before? I would rather live with the mild anxiety than feel afraid to leave my house.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Leanne, I'm really sorry to hear you had a bad time on Citalopram. I can really relate - I had a very similar experience in the first few days. I'm now on day 5 and it seems to be getting a tiny bit better - I guess my body's getting used to it. I have no appetite though and am still far more anxious than usual. I heard from a lot of people that the side effects last for a week or two, and I'm hoping that's true.

    I know you've stopped now - and the reason you might still be feeling anxious is due to Citalopram's "half life". If I remember right, there's still half the amount of the pill you took in your system about 30 hours after you took it. In other words, there's probably still a bit in your system. Also, if you stopped taking them suddenly you might be having a few withdrawal symptoms.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better soon.

    Take care

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  • Posted

    I understand that this may have been a temporary side effect but I cannot afford to be feeling this way, I have two children that need their mummy to be able to function.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear about all this Leanne. How long were you having anxiety and panic attacks before you took citalopram? My anxiety and panic attacks sound the same to yours and they manifested to their worst over a period of about 4 weeks. Are you sure that this isn't just the natural progression of your anxiety? Maybe you would still feel exactly the same as you are now if you never took the citalopram.

    Sounds to me like you now have generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. You might need medication to get through it or just therapy. As my psychologist says once you've got the anxiety doesn't matter what triggered it, you still need to deal with it in they correct way. All anxiety is the same thing.

    Citalopram seems to increase anxiety for a lot of people in the beginning, maybe you just need a different medication. Talk to you GP. You will need to see a counsellor as well.

    Also for now try guided meditation (you can find lots on YouTube) try doing anything that relaxes you eg going to the beach or a long walk. Swimming works wonders for me. Also learn mindfulness techniques, apparently that's the key to dealing with anxiety. Xo

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  • Posted

    Been having them since november, Monday when I went to the doctors I was feeling OK and he suggested that the meds would help, I hadn't had a panic attack for a while but then after taking the first tablet I experienced the worst panic attack I've ever had along with constant sweating, yawning and terrible dry mouth with a strange taste all the time not just when having an attack. Still feeling the same now after no tablets for 4 days.
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  • Posted

    Hi Leanne,

    it takes weeks for you body and mind to adjust to the citalopram so it probably is your anxiety kicking in cause u were taking the tablets ur mind was feeling anxious about it thus making you worse, once I felt a bit better I could see this is what was happening with me, when starting off on CIT some people like to take a minimum dose of diazapan to help them thru the worse, but sticking with CIT may be the best thing you ever do for getting back to normal, I started suffering with anxiety in August last year and tried so hard to get better myself then I had to give up as nothing was helping and I was getting so much worse, so I gave in and went on cit, had to stay strong as knew I couldnt do it alone. 6weeks later I was brand new, so happy I stuck with them, as not sure where I would have been if I kept fighting it, ask ur doc for CBT to help you to cope also and regain your confidence. Please join us on the forum Anyone NOT had any side effects on Citalopram? as so many folk there to support you that have been thru the same thing, have a wee read and see if you think it will help you, its a tough journey but better than suffering continously. take care and I hope whatever you do you get well again.

    Anne

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  • Posted

    Im on day 6 of not taking the citalopram and the physical effects are only just starting to back off, sweats, lack of appetite, dry mouth, inability to sleep,random panic attacks. Im hoping that chemically it's out of my system and that with a little gentle reprogramming I will be able to manage life as it was before. Thank you all for your support.
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  • Posted

    Hi, i had the same problem with 10mg citalopram, i was only on them for 5 days and the increase in panic attacks and every side effect under the sun, almost made me loose my mind (no exaggeration) and I'm only 24...after 5 days of less than 4 hours sleep (combined) , no food, constantly feeling anxious, depressed and constant panic attacks from when i woke up until when i finally exhausted myself enough to, for lack of a better word, pass out i thought to myself enough is bloody enough!!!

    I thought to myself, if i carry one i am truly going to end up in a nut house (no lie) so after some heated discussion with my doctor she finally put me on 37.5mg venlafaxine, twice daily. Now i will admit the side effects dramatically decreased, i could finally eat and there was no constant nervous feeling.....although my panic attacks became constant throughout the day, out of the blue, lasting hours, and once I'd finally calmed from one another would start 5 minutes later and i still had lack of sleep.

    I'd finally had enough, i called an emergency appointment at my doctors, i thought if i cant get it sorted now then I'm packing in the tablets all together.....

    well i had 2 panic attacks on the way up to the doctors (embarrassing or what!) and then had to ask the receptionist in the doctors for a private room and broke out in hysterics.....

    finally when it came time for the doctor to see me i was surprised to see a different doctor than to the one who had been seeing me so far (and had also said to tough it out with the citalopram) ....well safe to say he was shocked to see someone walk into his office in such a state.....there's me, cried all my makeup off, couldn't talk, trying to explain what the hell was the matter with me!.....

    Anyway, i finally got it all out....surprise surprise this wonderful doctor actually listened to me and understood the fact that i could no longer mentally or physically cope (the panic attacks had been effecting my work also)......This wonderful man prescribed me a short term course of Diazepam to help calm me down and Propranolol (Beta Blocker) to slow my heart rate whenever i felt an attack coming on.

    I can honestly say these last few days have been the highlight of my 8 years of suffering with panic attacks, I've almost completely got them under control, my CBT starts on the 26th of March, which I'm so excited about.

    I know i may have rambled on a bit, but i just wanted to give hope that Citalopram IS NOT for everyone, yes it may work for some, i will fully admit that, but not everyone, we all react differently to different medication, especially mind altering ones. I had the worst experience of my life on them, almost broke apart my relationship, my family and my mind.....don't be afraid to look for alternatives.........i can 100% guarantee the first thing doctors turn to is Citalopram whenever anxiety, stress or panic attacks get mentioned.......please please please don't go through what i went through, i wouldn't wish this sort of mental torture on anyone.

    I hope my long, but short story (this was over 8 days) has helped even a little, and i hope you find peace with you inner demons also.....i can only hope what i have achieved will last.

    All the best hope, and good luck xxx

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  • Posted

    Danielle, thankyou so much for sharing your story with me apart from the time period this could have been me. Today I went to see a mental health nurse who has assured me that the 3 days of medication and past 2 weeks of panic and anxiety are only temporary and while they haven't altered my mind they have indeed altered my whole mind set. The NHS do not make promises lightly but this lovely lovely man promised me that I do not have to feel like this forever and with a referral for my CBT on its way, I am feeling a little more positive but this time round im going medication free. I still wanna freak out over the next attack but I know that's what is bringing them on. Suck it up, breathe deep and stay calm.
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  • Posted

    Hello Leanne - I take mirtazapine for anxiety and panic attacks. It worked a treat. The Mirtazapine does make one sleepy. I am happy to report reduction in anxiety by day 5. The power of this improvement is great, it shows you that you can feel better. Then I did the NHS talking therapies CBT sessions and have returned to exercise. Net result is no more crippling panic attacks !

    David.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your comment david, I'm too frightened to take anymore tablets just in case they tip me over the edge again. Do you feel that CBT alone would have helped you? I'm kind of hoping it will work without any medication. I still get freaked out on a regular basis but I'm managing to get by.
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  • Posted

    Hello Leanne - keeping in mind that we are all different and our progress at any given time will likely be different - I would not have been able to go to CBT if a had not had the meds. I refused the GP's offer of seeing Talking Therapies as I was sure they would take too long and be useless. This all reflected my state of mind. So for me getting onto the right meds was a necessary starter to recovery. Meds did have immediate impact and I was less troubled within 2 weeks. I was at the deep end of non psychotic depression and had made plans to jump ship.

    Best Wishes,

    David.

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