On Citalopram having a rough time. I am going to doctor in 2 weeks when he is next available.

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I was woundering if anyone could help if at all possible if there is any side effects I should be concerned about.

I have had lots of different side effects some come and go some have stayed with me from the start. I am 23 and Male.

I am currently on my 4th week on citalopram for depression and aniexty 20mg per day. Aniexty for biting my inner cheeks and mauling ( as in biting) my fingers and thumbs (they are really bad) worse than ever before and I have been feeling really down lately due to losing my friend and both parents in a shortish time frame. Also not being able to sleep most nights I have to use nytol one a night over the last year and just been increasing the amount I take over that year as their effectivness has worn of. This is the first time I've taken anything or even asked for help for feeling down so it was a big step! I am sorry if this is lenghty and thank you so much for taking the time to read it!

This list is honestly quite long ill try and keep it as short as possible.

So week one :

Sleep got worse.

Feeling down and even more so because my sleeping pattern was 10x worse I waking up in the evening most nights and struggling to get out.

dry mouth.

Biting my fingers got worse the worst they have ever been in years!

Feeling as if everything is really fast? Noises are really sharp and my thoughts are really fast??? - This is a hard one to explain, I used to get these about 2 times a year when I would be trying to go to sleep it would usally ware of in about 5mins. I done some research and I think its a panic attack? Anyway from have 1/2 a year I started these and had 3 in a week.

Nervousness when talking to strangers? Like my neighbours I knocked on his door to tell him his lights were on in his car incase he didnt realise and i started getting really nervous and shaking? I never had this before? Thankfully this side affect has passed.

Ear ringing of and on.

Loss of balance near a window??

Light headed spells randomly.

Loss of appitite 

Large pupils


Feeling Like things arn't real.


Alot more social with friends.

Unable to ejactulate 

low sex drive girl friend isn't too happy about this lol...

Twitching when trying to sleep? making sleep even more difficult

second week:

sleep got even worse.

Loss of appetite worse than previous week could go a full 24hrs without even realising I havn't ate.

Ear ringing constantly 24/7 now... Making sleep nearly impossible unless I have the tv on and that keeps me up even more! lol. 

more dizzy spells.

Feeling numb, not happy not sad, just nothing.

staring blankly for minutes at a time?

hopelessness feeling like i wont ever feel happy.

unable to get up and get stuff done!

Dont want to leave the house and socialise I think I started these at the wrong time i wish i knew about this side effect, nearly lost my girlfriend due to events that were important to her due to panic attacks. - Now i dont really have this as much at all.

still unable to ejaculate.


week 3


Getting to sleep slightly easier.

ear still ringing 24/7

still no appetite

more dizzy spells

One morning waking up went for a smoke out my spare bedroom window my whole body started tingling really really scary and i felt as if i was going to faint. I stumbled down the hall and crawled into bed thoughts really fast noises fast i just passed out after 10mins and slept another 7 hours! (after just waking up from a half decent sleep.

Feel like its easier to get up even if I don't get enough sleep.

Nose bleeds?? I have had a cold but i had a few big nose bleeds in the shower? Prob to do with the cold though, right?

Feel almost like I'm more confident? More open? hard to explain but yeah.

Chewing fingers more or less stopped still chewing cheeks abit.

I don't have a clue if this has anything to do with citalopram but I have been seeing dots in my eyes? like black or white spots? And almost as if i can see the floor squiggling, but i know its my eyes of course lol it happens more at night i almost can control when i can see them if i just unfocus my eyes it happened a few nights ago.

Thank you for taking the time to read my life story! lol! Sorry about the lenght, any help would be much appicated and as I said I can't see my doctor for another 2 weeks. I tried ringing my local out of hours doctor but he bascially didn't give a sh*t about me and told me to speak to my own doctor that persribed them to me.. Needless to say I put in a complaint against him. 


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18 Replies

  • Posted

    Poor you sounds like you are having a really tough time. I think you need to see a Dr sooner than in 2 weeks. If I were you I would ask for an emergency appointment and see whichever Dr is available. Or ask for you Dr to call you, you can ring the surgery and request this today. You have to stress it's urgent. 

    Normally it takes at least 4 weeks for the medication to start working properly but you have lots of side effects by the sounds of it which need to be discussed with a gp.

    Your Dr should be able to prescribe something to help you sleep as well x

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  • Posted

    It is extremely common to have all those side effects up until about 2 months of taking the tablets. I have been on 20mg upping these to 30mg and then to 40mg. My side effects still come and go after 3-4 years of being on them but they are a lot more manageable now. Mine only lasted a week or 2 at the beginning where i felt sick and achy. Had a week off work to let them settle in my system. Was horrible. But like i say, the side effects settle with time. You just need to stick through it. My advice would be to stick it out a couple of months and if no change see your doc about maybe swapping meds.... Now i am on 40mg i have a couple more side effects including grinding my teeth in my sleep and sweating. I find 30mg perfect for me. Without these meds i am an emotional wreck. Stick with it Steeko, youl be fine smile xxx
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear you're suffering bad.  Rest assured these are all side effects of the medication and often your symptoms will get real bad initially before they start to ease off.  We all seem to go through this.

    It takes around 2 weeks for things to start settling and a bit longer to see signs of improvement.  Hang on in there, it will get better.  It takes time.

    Doctors normally see you every 2 weeks for progress, and it's difficult in between these visits as you need support.  Do you have a local TalkingSpace?  They're there for counselling.

    Keep posting on here too, people will support you.

    K xx

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  • Posted

    I am sorry u feel this way, as for ejaculating it is one of the side effects common for Citalprom it does get normal after a couple of Months, for the rest l would advise you to call your GP now for a agent appointment the 2 weeks one is for people who are less ill than yyou, from what you have written yours is a emrgency now and you need to do something about it now, print or write again what u have written on this site and give it to your GP tomorrow, bcoz u are anxious u could find it difficult to explain how u real feel to your Doctor, good luck do not wait 2 weeks call your GP now.
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  • Posted

    Hi Steeko, firstly well done for being so open and writing all this down! I want to give you hug.  Steeko, it does seem that a lot of what you describe are anxiety/panic related.  If your not sure about anxiety and panic, then do google read up as much as you can on it.  I initially spent a few years in total denial that I had an anxiety issue (I m sensible, got my head screwed on right, not prone to things like that etc) and therefore chased what must have been some physical illness that was causing my symptoms. ( Feeling as though about to pass out/heart attack/ visual disturbances/ tinnitus etc) This is a very common reaction to anxiety when we first meet it.  It must be something physical.  It took me about 4 years to accept that it was an anxiety disorder.  What you are describing with Citalopram is something a huge amount of us experience when we first go on the drug.  Our anxiety suddenly gets worse. Almost acute just as you are describing.  What I read in your post is that whilst you are experiencing really quite acute symptoms of anxiety, it's been a shock to you as you've not quite associated some symptoms before with that anxiety. (Does that make sense?) 

    First things first, it does take a least a couple of months for our bodies to get used to Cit.  A lot of posters come here during that time (as I did) because we were confused by feeling worse, when we were expecting to feel better.   For me, and this is only my opinion, having described what is happening to you on citalopram, I would take encouragement from the fact that Cit is causing this, it is common, and as your body adjust, they will clear up as quickly as they started.   A lot of us found our way to Cit as we were experiencing a lot of what you describe before we started on medication, our anxiety had indeed escalated all by itself without any outside help smile 

    There have been some great posts on here, and I. Took encouragement from the general advice here, to treat myself as having a bad bout of flu for a few weeks in those early days, look after yourself, tell your nearest and dearest that your on some new meds and they're taking a bit of time to adjust to, but it will get better.  It will get better.   I did wonder at one point whether to drop my dosage down, and take it slower, but then thought, well Ive survived this far, it means I get to the finishing post quicker, why do I want to slow this unpleasant period down! And for me my acute anxiety period, caused I believe by the meds, stopped around week 6.  I do still have some jaw clenching issues, but Ive found not only did the side effect symptoms subside, but the anxiety/panic symptoms that had prompted me to seek help in the first place have also subsided.  For example, I couldn't drive my car without , hot sweats, feeling I was about to pass out, visual disturbance, chest pains, ringing in my ears etc and these physical,symptoms have now completely stopped.  Im not comfortable driving, but that's because I'm expecting an episode, but the more I now drive the more I'm learning that I can drive without panic.  

    Sleep is an issue and I think a common one for all of us, but it has settled better now that I'm into week 8, indeed last night was the first time in years I fell asleep in front of the telly at 8pm!  A tad annoying as waking up at 10 to take myself to bed then caused a couple of hours of unable to drop back off again, but yes my sleep on the whole is getting better.  Obsessive thinking is subsiding.

     I'm starting to use kingsland 'sleep aid' that Ive bought online as I found that Nytol gave me restless legs, and I ll keep you posted as to how that goes.  But in the whole, the anxiety symptoms have dramatically decreased.  My low level depression is clearing, and I'm feeling tons better that before I started.  I think you'll find your sex drive will come back soon too, so do keep talking to your partner and explain about citalopram.  Whilst I Do understand your frustration with GPs, view the next 2 weeks as your flu period and my advice would be to persevere as best you can.  If by then you've seen no improvement at all, then yes certainly look at maybe a change of meds.  these things are powerful, and adjusting can be a very difficult time, but try to stay positive, something is obviously having an effect and I'm sure you'll start to feel the benefits real soon.  Bug hugs xx

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  • Posted



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  • Posted

    Hi all, Steeko here. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message! I took your advise and asked for an appointment asap got in today and it was a doctor I had never seen before. I think she was filling in for someone.

    Anyway, I got through about 5 side effects and she said just stop, get of the tablets. She also said try different things to help with biting your fingers and cheeks. Also said about finding a comfy spot in my house think about positive things and eventually you can go there and feel brillant once you train your brain to think that way?

    I'm not one to shoot peoples idea's down but that sounds abit silly. I will give what she said a try also will check out some websites that she recommended me to go to, I won't/can't? post it on here I read you aren't aloud to show links or anything. 

    Now I'm at a crossroads, I still have that appointment for 2 weeks with my other doctor who perscribed them to be and he was adamant that I give these at least 3-4 weeks before you decide to take it further or stop. He's a young doctor around 28 and I think he sort of understands me abit more, and yes you are right, I don't tell anyone what I feel like not even the doctors until 3 weeks ago when I got perscribed cit as I really don't have any close family anymore and my best friend passed who I talked to him about alot of my things.

    Also I remember someone mentioning about therapy the male doctor asked if I would be open to try it. I said no, I don't think talking about things I just want to forget will help me deal with it any better It'll just make me feel worse and burdon other people. I don't mean I want to forget the poeple I mean I just want to be able to deal with it make it more manageable.

    Anyway back to cit. - I want to stop, well I don't want to feel like this and I just want to feel like my oldself.  My girlfriend thinks I should give them a try "you owe it to yourself to at least stick it out for another week or two"

    Also I had the weirdest experence today when driving, I stopped at a red light knew it was red, looked at my phone changed the music and drove? litterly just drove without even realising it was still a red light. I cant really explain it I just went?! Luckly there was no cars driving from the other lane. The people behind me and beside of me must of thought I was in a real rush! lol. Maybe just not conserntrating enough when im driving, I've never made that mistake before and never will again!

    What would you guys suggest? What would you guys/girls do in my shoes would you continue the meds until I see the doctor I want to see? Or just stop them and see how it goes?

    Thank you so much in Advance for your help and taking the time to read my post. 


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    • Posted

      Oh Steeko, that's an impossible question to answer.  Fans of citalopram who are doing well on it (indeed some feel life changing) will be very pro, and those who had poor experiences will be anti.  Ive a couple of questions from today, did today's doctor not offer any alternatives ? (Other than go curl up under the stairs and thing about kittens). Also, I hear what your saying about therapy, but have you ever tried it before?  It's truly not what your expecting and that sense of being self conscious, or silly, or embarrassed, or any number of hurdles we put in the way, just don't happen.  What I found was it was a brilliant way to actually focus and make sense of my thoughts. A way to find some understanding and in turn discover just how these outside influences affect me.  You don't have to tell anyone your trying it, but for me, there have been several "oh my word that's exactly it" Moments.  Do think about it, I promise it won't make you any worse smile

      Im concerned that today's GP may have just told you to stop and that's it.  there may have been other brands of ssri's that may suit you better and a swop over onto something else is easier to manage rather than coming off cold turkey and starting again with something new.  How about a compromise?   Maybe give it till the weekend and if you're still feeling as bad, or Howabout taking one every other day?  (Which is the sensible way to come off these anyway) If you're then managing ok on every other day then it's something to discuss with your GP in 2 weeks.  Anyway enough from me, but don't despair, do keep working towards a fix and don't give in to this is how Im always going to feel. Anxiety and depression can be fixed, it's just finding the right fix xxxxx

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  • Posted

    @ chris4351 - Thanks for replying once again! Yeh she suggested I stopped and if I don't feel any better or feel the same, they would give me beta blockers in a few months time. She also said cit Is not addictive when I asked her would there be any withdrawls.

    I asked from day one, I didn't want to have anything addictive in my body or something I will have to rely on to make me feel better - I just want something to help me manage and he offered cit, I read up on it alot and apperently there is withdrawl side effects.

    Don't really know what to think about all that, I guess I just trust the Doctor,  I can understand if he maybe thinks that there is more of an upside than a downside for me by taking cit, I can't be mad at a guy trying to help me and do his best for me.

     The girl I spoke to today didn't really seem as if she knew alot about cit. The previous guy that actually suggested cit said stick through it and come back and check up for side effects. So thats in 2 weeks time as he is all booked up I guess. 

    After a talk with my girlfriend I think I am going to stick through it and see how the cit pans out, weighed out the pros and cons if it helps then great if it doesn't - awell I have nothing to lose by continuing until I see my orginal doctor who gave me them. Maybe even put me on an alternative to see if that works I guess. I just keep myself motivated by saying its only a side effect it'll pass. Just sometimes it gets too much!

    Thanks for all your support and messages! 

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    • Posted

      You haven't been on this medication long enough to give it a chance.  Your doctor is wrong to say just stop ..... you can't just stop or you'll be ill.  They need to be tailored off gradually.

      Everyone gets these side effects - we all want to better now, but we all have to be patient and wait unfortunately.  It's very hard to wait.  But seriously, you really need to give this time to get into your system and for it to start working.

      There are many SSRI's on the market, and even if you find this one is t correct for you then there'll be another.  But you need to persevere with one for a long time before you can make a decision if it's right.

      It's very painful waiting - I've been taking this medication for 15 years with great success.  At first I was the same - dreadful side effects and wanted to stop.  I thought 'well what was the alternative, nothing has helped before' so I persevered, and slowly, oh so slowly I started to enjoy things again, noticed my anxiety had stopped occasionally, and hadn't had obsessive thoughts for a while.  Over time all this stopped completely.

      If you had a broken leg, you wouldn't expect to have healed in a few weeks, and even after 6 weeks you'd still get twinges etc.  Try and be patient, treat yourself gently and kindly, reassure yourself you WILL get better.


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  • Posted

    I would give it time for the medicatin to fully take effect sometimes in people it can take weeks, I got put on these when I was 21 a few months ago. I was really sceptical about taking them, but thought what the heck, I have nothing to lose. I was initally put on 20mg then after a month doctor upped it to 40mg, and it wasnt until a few days until taking the 40mg that I was starting to feel much better. 

    When do you take your medication? I was taking mine in the mornings, but throughout the day it was making me really tired and I felt so spaced out with a foggy head like I couldnt concentrate on anything, so the doctor recommended I take them at night, and did so and I found it helped me to drift off to sleep. 

    Have you thought about counselling? The doctor recommended it to me, I wasnt keen on the idea at first, but my mum pushed for me to try it, however I did go private but the lady was fantastic! She helped me loads, and got to the root cause of my anxiety and everything, and she gave me tips on for the future on how to curb it. My counselling ended about 3 weeks ago, and so far Ive been okay!

    Hope any of that helps!

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    • Posted

      hey nataliem, I take my 20m of cit shortly after I wake up, I am having really bad nightmares and vivid dreams and I read that if you take it in the mornings you will have less of a chance of having them. Guess it doesn't matter when I take the tablet because I still have them every night if I do get to sleep. I guess I'll change the time of taking the tablet to before I get into bed see how that works out for me.

      I have never really thought much of counselling. I know that I do have a problem with maybe moving on with what has happened to me. The more I think about it the more it upsets me the more depressed I get and the more I end up biting my fingers/cheeks. I really don't think counselling would help me, I can't even go to the grave sites of my lossed ones as it just upsets me too much and reminds me of the worst time's in my life never mind wanting to talk about it all.

      I always find that when I'm bored when lying in bed and can't sleep and tend to bite more and sometimes get panicky. Or when I'm in the shower as I like to take long showers some nights I would bite more. It is really when I'm not concentrating on anything or keeping my mind active I do tend to just do all the things that I really want to stop and feel truely happy again.

      Personally I don't think a counselor would actually help, it's just something I have to try and live with or if the medication works then great! The doctor did recommend it to me also, I said no to the offer, I am going to see him again next week, I guess it won't hurt if I ask some information about it. 


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    • Posted

       Morning Steeko, just read this this morning and just have to tell you your wrong !    Steeko, what you are describing is classic avoidance.  For some of us it's avoidance of an activity, avoidance of a situation, for you, you've discovered avoidance about thinking about your loss and you're viewing your fix as finding a permanent way to forget.  You're looking at counselling as a situation which will force you to think about your loss, hence your avoiding it.  Oh buddy, if you try to bury this, you will only get worse not better.  I do understand that the pain is unbearable.  But honestly, counselling will help you so much, so much so that I think you'll find that you won't need any medication, props etc to get through a day.  How about setting yourself a target?  (Do tell me if I'm way off here) But, would a target be perhaps, 'Id like to be able to think about those Ive lost and smile or even laugh again at the happy memories' ?  Wow, wouldn't that be fantastic instead of the raw pain you feel? You can get to that point,  and I do think counselling is the better vehicle to get there, with a little hand holding from citalopram.   But today, re-think about your target.   Please do think about counselling I think it would help you far more that you can imagine. Sending loads of hugs, Chris x
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    • Posted

      Hi again chris! I will be asking my doctor when I go next week. I suppose I can't really say it won't help me as I have never tried it. I just don't see how talking about what has all happened will change or bring them back. Do you know what I mean?

      I am also not a very open person at all, I have never really expressed to anyone what I feel apart from on this really lol. I guess its harder face to face and I don't like attention and don't like being felt sorry for. 

      Do you really think that if I bury it and don't talk about it I will get worse? I am told all the time that it gets easier, but I guess it doesn't for me I've been like this for ages now. I will definitely take your advice and look into talking to someone.

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    • Posted

      Hi Steeko, yes I do.  I'm not a counsellor  but I do care so how about chatting a little around this here.  I completely understand your fix would be a time machine.  That as we know is impossible (but every so often we go looking at technology as one day it may be possible) but if you look at say the Victorians, a huge industry of psychics, seances, came about as the unrelenting desire to see our loved ones again.  It's heartbreaking, but as thinking feeling humans, bereavement has been something that affects us so deeply and is utterly out of our control, that coping with it can seem impossible.  They say time is a great healer, but we have to be careful, that by sticking a plaster over something, or allowing time to put distance between us and the event, we avoid healing.  I can speak a little better about PTSD so I m making some similarities here, but I think bereavement must be similar to PTSD so I ll crack on smile.  With PTSD, it gets buried, we allow distance to avoid, but as I m sure you'll know, donkeys years later, to pick that scab takes a sufferer all the way back to the day it happened.  

      Today is rememberance Sunday, and I'm thinking a lot today about our great grandparents, the generation who never spoke about the war.  Into their 90s, to think of their experiences still brought the pain and tears back as fresh as it had been 70 years earlier.  We do know, those who coped better, talked.  I found talking to myself was a good start.  I started to write things down.  I thought  Id write a book, initially driven by the need to tell the world how much I was suffering.  I absolutely empathise with you in that at the moment, you can see nothing positive from your loss, indeed the future looks as bleak and painful as it is today.  I can say, you are wrong. What counselling can do is help greatly.  Counselling can help you break down this huge, all encompassing situation, into manageable pieces.  It's so complex you feel utterly overwhelmed. Counselling can help find coping mechanisms and yes a positive step forward.  It's not about sticking plasters. It's not about , it's happened, accept it, move on.  It's about understanding why you feel like you feel and how there are answers, and solutions.  Yes you can fix what appears to be something completely unfixable. (What, the counsellor has a time machine?!)  Today, is rememberance Sunday, it's healthy to take some time to remember.  Drive up a hill, with the countryside around you, views all our loved ones adored, take your hankies and honour those we've lost with a little time remembering.  You will be ok.  Lots of hugs Chris x

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