Just starting on Citalopram

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Hi everyone, I have just joined and this is my first post so please excuse me if I have done it in the wrong format/thread etc.I am also unsure as to how much background to give so sorry if any of it is irrelevant.About 6 months ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression with likely cause being worried about ongoing health issues for 18 months.

I see a pdoc weekly and a psychologist 3 weekly and have been unable to work for several months due to my condition.Luckily it is my own business and I have a great business partner and staff to carry it on so I am blessed not to have financial concerns.

I have been on Pristiq, Cymbalta and discontinued both due to bad experiences.Currently I take Mirtazapine (remeron) nightly which gives an excellent eight hours of sleep.Since coming off Cymbalta about 4 weeks ago I have been taking 5 to 10mg of valium to assist with withdrawals and current anxiety.This week pdoc will prescribe alternative to valium, possibly Seroquel.

Finally here is the help I am looking for......

I started Citalopram 11 days ago at 10mg for a week and since then I have been on 20mg.Dizziness,some headaches and mild nausea so far but overall not too bad compared to my previous meds.I have noticed that since taking Citalopram my anxiety seems more constant (and worse on waking) and stronger leading me to take more valium (with pdoc's agreement).I have also noticed that my depressive moods have deepened and I feel despair much of the time and cry a great deal of the time until the valium calms me.Appetite is depressed but pick up mood about 7pm onwards and appetite returns strongly.I would really like to hear anyone's thoughts on my experience with Citalopram so far.I know it is very early days of taking it but is it likely it is initially making me feel worse  and realistically when could I expect it to start helping.Sorry for this being so long winded and thanks for your patience in reading it.

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, It is early days with the Citalopram and side effects increase when dose is upped for a while. It will get easier but usually takes a few weeks to stabilise in your body. You can either ride it out, or with GP's advise go back down to 10mg if you think you would cope on the lower dose. I started on the 20mg and felt awful, anxiety increased, could't eat or sleep. I went down to 10mg and have been fine since. It took a few weeks to feel better. I sleep better, eat well. My anxiety has reduced to virtually nill and i have had no panic attacks for a while now. I personally do not want meds but need to take the edge off which is why i am managing on 10mg. So either ride it out or have a chat with your GP hope this helps.

    Elizabeth.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Elizabeth.Your experience is really encouraging.I am going to try and manage on 20mg if I can as pdoc. is keen to get me to therapeutic dose as he knows how keen I am to start feeling better asap.Unfortunately  it may mean that I just have to be braver while these side effects are present.Wouldn't it be bliss if these medications were side effects free.

      Thaks again Regards Rick

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  • Posted

    Hi FozBear (great name by the way) ;-)

    Yes I agree with Elizabeth, it's early days on this medication.

    I've taken this medication for 15 years and I recovered from years of terrible anxiety and depression on it.  Most of us have different stories which led us to this same illness, and mine was quite similar to yours.  Citralopram will help you, but you do have to ride the side effects through unfortunately.

    Expect side effects like headaches, increased anxiety, depressed, trembling, palpitations, decreased or increased appetite, aches and pains ........ and many others.  They are quite unpleasant but they only last a few weeks.  Each time your dose is increased too you will get similar side effects again.

    Hang on in there, and get through one day at a time, remembering to tell yourself that you are on your way to recovery.  It's a slow process and you'll need lots of patience as you can't hurry through all this - your body needs time to adjust to the medication.  Around 4+ weeks your anxiety should have eased a bit along with some other side effects.  Everyone has different time scales though.  Around 2-3 months you should begin to feel the benefits and start feeling better.  You may get odd dips, but they'll get less as time goes on.

    When I started in this medication I also found my mood would lift at the end of the day, and would wake the next day full of anxiety again.  Little by little my mood lifted for longer periods until I felt quite good.  You'll find you'll be up and down for quite a while, but this is how the medicine works while you recover.

    Just accept how you are at the moment, accept any new side effects, and move forwards with lots of patience.  You'll get there.

    Keep in touch xxx

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    • Posted

      Great reply katecogs.  Cit being an SSRI works quite differently to other anti depressants and valium etc.  It alters the way the body uptakes seratonin but takes a while to do so and there'll be lots of weird and wonderful imbalances until it settles.  You're spot on with the way you describe that initial period of settling.  I don't think doctors explain it properly and often people expect that by day two their 'magic pill' will have cured their problems.  If doctors were to be realistic with patients, we wouldnt have all the increased anxiety worrying about how bad we feel initially and that we're either going crazy or it isn't working.  Thank you for setting it out so well, I do hope that will help those who are going through the first two to three months because in the majority of cases, the light does start to shine after that.  xx
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    • Posted

      Hi loxie

      I so agree with you, wishing doctors would prepare their patients more thoroughly when prescribing SSRI's.  Often patients are sent on their way with a 'come back and see me in 2 weeks' (if your lucky) comment.  People need support, not only with this illness, but also throughout their journey on this medication.

      Doctors should be made to experience the medication and directed to this site I think lol :-)

      xx

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    • Posted

      I fully agree. I binned the medication, (citalopram), after a week as all I got was side effects and no benefits. Not what I had been led to expect. sad
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    • Posted

      So sorry you weren't given the full info, but that seems part of the course.  It's like hell on earth being on this medicine at the start, but the benefits far outweigh the bad side of this. I can honestly say my experience of them has been a miracle for me :-)

       

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    • Posted

      Glad it worked for you. My GP is trying to get me to restart as says will feel better, still no mention of worse first, so no way - trust has gone.

       

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    • Posted

      Well, if you do decide to them another go, I'd suggest starting very slowly and building up.  The slower the better - same as coming off the tablets.

      Im the scardiest person ever ..... never go on fairground rides, hate heights and lifts .... and spiders omg!!! ...... but I got through Citralopram lol.

      Anyway, if you change your mind, people here will support you xxx

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kate, I think your advice of accepting things is really valid.I pay my psychologist a lot of money to keep giving me that same advice each session and I could have just talked to you ! Acceptance is something that I really have to learn as the lack of it causes me such emotional pain daily.

      I was a  little worried to see that you mentioned 2 to 3 months to feel better.I know everyone is different but when you are suffering that seems like an eternity.I will just have to be optimistic and hope it happens a lot sooner.(there's my impatience and lack of acceptance showing !)

      Thanks again for your advice Kate. best wishes from Rick (aka FozBear !)

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    • Posted

      Well I'm glad to hear your psychologist is on the right track :-). It's just accepting the way you are at the moment, and waiting.

      Sorry, don't to be too alarmed at the 2-3 months timescale.  That's just an example, and going through the medication doesn't mean you'll be really bad for the length of time.  When were feeling so vulnerable, reading the right words means so much to us ....... but I didn't want to put you'll be better in a few weeks .... because you might not. Some people feel the benefits much earlier than this.

      Everyone is impatient when they're ill, and want to be better tomorrow.  I often use the example of 'if you had a broken leg, you'd have to give this time to heal, and it's the same for this illness'.

      Good luck and keep in touch re your progress x

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    • Posted

      Hi Fozbear, I guess we've all been at that point where every bad day seems like a year in time and it's so so difficult to look forward, it's part of the problem isn't it?  I kept telling myself that I had been ill for years and that if this worked I only had to wait another couple of months but I really do understand that it's often impossible to visualise it ever getting better when you feel so bad.  As much as a lot of people on here have very similar issues and effects and feelings, being depressed or suffering anxiety is a very isolating condition.  No two people react the same and it's nigh on impossible for us to relate to anyone else's issues even though they're having the same problems.  Take strength from all these posts, Katecogs has hit the nail right on the head, it's short term hell for long term heaven rather than permanent purgatory.  be strong. xx
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    • Posted

      Thanks again Kate (is Kate ok or do you prefer kate cogs ?)

      your analogy of the broken leg is a great one.If I had that I would just accept that it is going to take quite a while to mend and although I wouldn't like it the acceptance would remove the distress,Because a mental disorder doesn't have a set time to mend it is easy to get caught in a never ending loop of worry of when will I be better again.Thanks again for your support and very wise words Kate Best wishes from Rick x

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    • Posted

      Loxie you are so right when you say that a bad day seems like a year.Its like time passes so fast when you are having fun (I think I remember fun ) but when you are bored time seems to stand still.I think the hard part is when you are put on meds you start playing the waiting game ie when will the side effects stop,when will I feel better etc.As my psychologist said today (I see psychologist and psychiatrist) "Rick, you just keep waiting for all of these external things eg meds to get better but the power is within you now"It made sense but easier said than done.Thanks for the support Loxie.Best wishes from Rick x
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    • Posted

      Loxie's right too ..... I'd been I'll for years and also thought a few months was nothing (but I still longed for it to happen overnight).  I remember I had been so very ill for a long time (think I lost a few years of my life), so the side effects for me initially were nothing new to how I'd been feeling.  Yes a bit more intense, but I'd try anything just to get better :-)  I thought it's either stay as I was or try the new meds and see - what had I to lose. Luckily the meds worked ....... I never want to be back in that hell hole I was in. I think at the time if someone had said we can chop your arm off and it would cure you, I'd have done it! :-)

      Yes waiting for a broken leg to mend I always thought would be easier.  Ok it would be painful, but at least I'd have been able to have a sound and relaxed mind.  For me, depression was painful.

      I recovered on this med ....... and I'm back to how I used to feel - happy, relaxed, content ..... and I never thought I'd ever get there.

      So, it can be achieved :-)

      Kate is great (ooh I'm a poet and didn't know it) ..... katecogs was a nickname I used to be called by friends ;-)

      K x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kate.It's lovely to hear that after you suffered for so long you are now in a happy place and content in your life.It certainly gives hope to others like me who are in that dark place you described.When you're there it just feels that there is no escape and no end to feeling so bad each day but you are proof that there is.

      Thank you again for taking the time to provide your support

      Warm regards from Rick x

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    • Posted

      I have agreed to start paroxetine which she tells me is a cousin to this drug, she does not feel it will be as effective but my attitude is wait and see plus something is better than nothing.

      As I was OK on it when took many years ago, feel able to give that one a go

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