my experience of citalopram

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My experience of Citalopram, an SSRI

Citalopram intensifies the symptoms of clinical depression before it alleviates them. It made me feel suicidal. After taking it for a period of 7 weeks, reaching a dose of 30 mg daily, my insomnia was so severe that I did not sleep for a period of 36 hours and I was having panic attacks every few hours. I became anorexic and I also did not want to drink.

Citalopram affected me adversely in other ways.

All the time I was taking it I could not bear to be with other people, apart from my husband and healthcare professionals. I wanted my husband to be available to me all the time. When he was not at home my anxiety and panic became worse.

I found carrying out normal daily tasks very difficult. I did not want to get washed; I did not want to do any housework. All I wanted to do was to lie in bed all day. However, because I was so restless, lying in bed all the time was also difficult, so I would get up and pace about the room. For the 7 weeks I took citalopram, apart from the nights when I took 7.5 mg of Zopiclone, I never slept for longer than 2 hours at any one time. My total number of hours asleep in a 24 hour period was often only 3-4 hours. There were many times when I did not fall asleep until 6.00am or 7.00 am, remaining awake through the whole of the previous night.

Frequently, I could not bear to have the television on and asked my husband to wear headphones whilst he was watching it.

48 hours after ceasing to take citalopram my panic attacks had stopped and I was eating and drinking more normally. I could watch the television, without feeling stressed, for 1 – 1 ½ hours. I was sleeping about 6 or 7 hours at night with the aid of 75 mg amitriptyline. I did not feel restless and no longer dreaded being with other people apart from my husband. I no longer needed him to be with me all the time.

If a medical practitioner saw a patient with a fast heart rate would he give that patient a drug which would make his heart rate increase further? If not, then why are medical practitioners giving a drug to a clinically depressed patient that intensifies her clinical depression and, inevitably, increasing the risk of her committing suicide?

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    That sleep thing you mention , sounds just like me. I could not sleep before taking citalopram...but that was mnths ago.....and I still cant sleep!!! I sometimes take a sleeping tablet which my doctor gave me, sometimes that works, but running out of these, and I really dont need another problem! As for drinking, I seem to be worse than ever,,,coz i want to knock myself out, so that I sleep. My eating habits are v strange, but then they always have been. Like you did, I have isolated myself from many friends whose lives just seem to be more sorted...cant handle happier, clever, judgemental, organised, especially those with attitude, people! Only like my cat and my children! Feel sick and just hope one day I will feel better so I can work again, so I can laugh and get involved in my family, so I can be there for my mum, so I am not so selfish!!!!
  • Posted

    X if you read this.....

    I want to come off citalopram. I have been taking 10 mg a day for 4 weeks and the last 2 days 20 mg

    Can I just stop taking it or do I have to cut them down first?

    I am very shaky and anxious this morning and mhy heart feels like its goiing 10 to the dozen but when I take my pulse it is actually only 59.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated from anyone coming off citalopram

    Melbi x

  • Posted

    Well I haven't taken todays dose of citalopram and have no intentions fo doing so today, tomorrow or ever!

    I'm prepared for all the withdrawal symptoms which I might add are very similar to the side effects of taking them - now considering I have decided to stop taking them because I can no longer cope with the side effects I can't see why I cannot cope with the withdrawal symptoms while I still have some sanity left in me.

    I just can't go on taking them - I can't cope with the constant tiredness, struggling to sleep, full blown anxiety attacks, not wanting to do anything or go out of the house.

    Everything is just too much of an effort - I wasn't like this before I started to take them. I at least was coping better than i am now.

    I will just ride the withdrawal symptoms (cold turkey) I'm prepared to go through hell if I have to just to get off these crazy tablets.

    I am also going to ask my doctor if I can have Hydroxyzine and see how I go from there - not to mention the CBT - remember the priorty appointment that I still haven't received!

    Had a phone call from work today too asking how I am and to inform me they haven't received my latest sick note which I posted last Friday?!?

    I will try and post daily here of any symptoms if and when I get them.

    Stay strong all

    Melbi xxx

  • Posted

    Hi melbi, guess who black eyes was? Me/TT. God that was yonks ago. If I wrer you, you feel you cant continue with this drug, then I would go back onto 10 for a small while , have a day off, then take 10 hten have 2 days of or something, so that its not such a shock for your body.

    Ages ago I tried to come of 20mg and reduced to 10mgs, I was a demented looney at my work...took all my anxiety out on everyone there, though huh (LOL) think they deserved it. After that little incident, I went back onto twenty and things started to change, i slept a little more, but my eating habits wrer still bad. Now i am on 30 I eat like a complete pig and I am shattered all the time. Its hard to get the right balance.

    Another drug mentioned by X, amtriptyline, is suppoed to be quite good, it also acts as some sort of pain relief , you could mention that to your doctor if they do not prescribe that ...what was it call hydroxyzine.

    I think youshould speak to your doctor and write it sdown before you go, so you dont black the info out...might try the same ! take care, Tiny Tears.

  • Posted

    LOL Katy will reply while you are on the loo :roll:

    I'm not asking the doctor for anything - going to get well without her help. I really wasn't as bad as I am now until she prescribed these tablets.

    She making me more ill than I started out.

    I will go for CBT WHEN appointment arrives - unless by time it arrives I no longer need it.

    Oh you back from the loo :D

    #Melbi xxx

  • Posted

    I took citalopram for almost two years and can't remember having sleepless nights. In fact it made me feel constantly tired and drained when I first started to take it. I remember when I started taking the tablets I would yawn a lot and it literally felt like evrytime I yawned my entire body drained of any energy it had left, it was very strange but eventually either I got used to it or it died down.

    I researched some other pills which are meant to help with depression and all of the ones I have looked up state that they all make you feel worse before they get better. My GP advised me to stay with family or friends and talk to people about how I felt. He was always just a phone call away if I felt I couldn't cope with the side effects. I think I'm only here today because he helped me so much.

    After 9 months off the pills I have been feeling very down for the last few weeks and have been prescribed citalopram again. I would not advise anyone trying to come off any medication to stop immediately, it's not nice at all and you make the task 100 times harder for yourself that way.

    Reduce your dose slowly over time, each time you reduce your dose you need to let your body get used to the new dose before reducing it again.

    I'm on my 3rd day on citalopram again and am seeing another GP in 10 days (sadly my original GP passed away after a long battle with cancer). I am again expereincing the familiar effects, it makes me feel sad to know I'm back at square one but i have to have something to try and lead a \"normal\" life. I am not looking forward to some of the other side effects I remember.....

  • Posted

    Hi people.

    Ok, I was given Quetiapine, Valproate and yes, Citalopram (all at once) for suspected Bipolar Disorder (Psychiatrist changed her mind later and changed diagnosis to 'recurrent depression and comorbid anxiety').

    Initially I presented with acute mania and anxiety so that's where the first two came in. On top of that I've had on/off severe depression for many, many years and this was treated (this time) with the Citalopram ON TOP OF the other two. I have tried numerous other Anti-depressants over the years and at some point in time I have always come off them, usually once I started to feel brighter. (I know that my depression comes & goes and I don't put any of those brighter moments down to medication, only fluctuations in mood).

    Anyway, my head !!! My body !!! Can you imagine ???

    Now, tell me if I am wrong but to give someone an anti-depressant, AND an anti-psychotic AND a mood stabilizer seems a little heavy handed.

    So I had side-effects from all three medications and got to a stage where I simply couldn't take them any more. I have stopped taking all the med's completely ~ It was a case of them or me. Cold turkey. I felt dead anyways so whatever happened I was prepared for some problems. Now I am wide awake at 6.00am and have real trouble sleeping most nights. I feel as if serious damage has been done to both my brain and body as a whole. I have given up trying to assess the damage, it just gets more and more worrying the deeper your understanding & awareness goes.

    I don't know where to turn, I would like to think the professionals know best but I've had too many bad experiences. One in particular added flames to the fire: taking me off Diazepam VERY quickly after handing it out month after month after month (without question or guidance).

    I am fighting so hard, it is a daily battle against the forces of depression & anxiety. My life, or rather my existence, is pained and uncomfortable and I am not alone, there are an estimated 100 million depressed people out there. The Pharmaceutical companies do not care about us, they only see dollar signs. $$$$. I believe that these medications and their prescription to be wholly unethical. The prescribers know little about them and we are left trying to decipher the information out there, as confusing as it is. I have learnt one thing over the last few months/years and that is: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY (and react accordingly). If something feels alien, ditch it. If you feel better: GREAT. If you feel worse: STOP taking them.

    \"Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential...\" (IN WHICH CASE, TAKE THE MEDICATIONS OUT OF THE EQUATION AS MEDICINE IS SURELY MEANT TO 'ENABLE' AND NOT 'DISABLE'.) (Sorry, I ramble...). wink

    I am going to try acupuncture and some other 'alternative' therapies. Traditional western approaches seem more trouble than they are worth. In my rare moments of clarity and focus, away from the darkness, I see that the answer lies not in a pill but deep inside myself.

    I so need to heal myself, and everywhere I turn I see a need for healing too. We are (hopefully) all aware that our planet is also 'not well' and as such, it is all interlinked. Below, as above. May I wish *every body* and *every mind* the very, very best. Try and be strong but if you feel that your medications are not working for you STOP taking them. They do not belong in your body.

    *ouch* and now a headache. :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

  • Posted

    Excellent post Pix! I totally agree with your observation about interlinking energy (I misquote you a little) and your comment about listening to your body. I keep a small list of goals in my pocket which I repeat twice a day and sometimes more often, and I find it shifts my focus from my own little problems to other more important things.

    I wish you a balanced recovery to the new stronger you.


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