Some encouraging words about why SSRIs including Citalopram take a while to work.

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Well I've been googling stuff on the internet wanting to find out whether Citalopram is likely to keep improving my mood over time and the answer is yes.biggrin

This has been really encouraging for me because although I have experienced an improvement in mood and my anxiety has definately reduced, I do not feel back to my normal self.  Still feeling a bit low at times.

In layman's terms this is because people who suffer with depression have low levels of serotonin. When you take SSRIs it stops your body reabsorbing the serotonin it produces.  This allows it stay in your system longer but the bit I was really pleased to hear is that the reason why it does not immediately improve mood is because the body needs receptors to receive the serotonin and people who suffer with depression have less receptors, making it harder for the serotonin to be taken up by the body.  What SSRIs do over time is enable the body to produce more receptors allowing your body to receive more serotonin.

Just wanted to share because it explains why you need to give them a fair trial and also stay on them for a long time if you don't want a relapse. You need to ensure that the antidepressants have enabled your body to produce more receptors.  

This is my 3rd episode of anxiety/depression.  The first time was PND and I stayed on the antidepressants for 2 years and it didn't reoccur for 10 years.  The second time I stayed on them 3 months as I recovered quickly but the depression/anxiety returned within 18 months, so I will be staying on them this time for at least 2 years.  I'm on 20 mg of Citalopram now but will think about dropping down to 10 mg after about 6 months.  I've only been on them 10 weeks.

Hope you find this information helpful - It made me feel much more hopeful. biggrin

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  • Posted

    Hi, glad to hear your doing well. Were you on citalopram both times before?

    I myself have been on citalopram 3 times (this being my third time) this is my 3rd lot of anxiety too and it is very severe, and have developed depression too this time. Iv been on 10mg citalopram for 4 weeks and 20mg for 9 weeks, so 13 weeks all in all...I have had good days but Iv crashed badly on a few occasions, most recently Monday to now after having a good week. I came on my period last night and hoping it's that but I still feel pretty shocking today.

    Also before I went back on citalopram this time I had been on it for 4 years and worked great in that time but anxiety came back whilst I was on it! GP changed it and had a bad time so returned to citalopram again after 6 weeks off it. I thought I was turning a corner but Iv crashed pretty badly again xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Claire, I was on fluoxetine the 2 previous times and this time I started on fluoxetine again but only took for 3 days - it made me so anxious and didn't sleep at all so dr suggested Citalopram. 

      If you have had some good days then that means the Citalopram are working.  Last week I was considering upping my dose because I was feeling low but I'm feeling better this week, so i'm going to stick with the 20 mg for another couple of months. I always feel emotional around my period so if you're in a low place it may make it worst but I'm sure it will pass.

      Sorry to hear the anxiety came back while you where on Citalopram. You don't have to give details but did something trigger it? 

      Try to reduce stress, eat well, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest - this helps me and seems to speed up my recovery.

      Best wishes

      Anna 

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    • Posted

      Hi, I think it was a build up of things, I turned in to superwoman when I got better after the second bout of anxiety. I did 2 years of A levels had a baby then went to university, while I was studying a full time degree we moved house twice, I was also working part time alongside my degree plus some volunteer work when I had spare time plus having 2 children at home and looking after the household, on top of that my mum got cancer and I think it was just all too much and I hit a brick wall.

      It came back in middle of September 2016 xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Claire, Wow, you must have high energy levels to keep all that going. Yes, well that would definately be a trigger and very sorry to hear about your mum.  I don't know anyone who wouldn't hit a brick wall under the circumstances.

      The medication will work in time, it's just that you have had so much to deal with.  Try and take the pressure of yourself.  I also took a degree while my children were young - maybe we take on too much.

      Good luck & hope things improve soon. xx 

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    • Posted

      Hi Claire, just reading through old posts and see that when you wrote this you were going trough a tough patch at 13 weeks.  I'm just coming up to 13 weeks and also have really crashed, but I also just come on my period yesterday so hoping things pick up a bit now, but today feel really anxious.

      How are you now?  Hoping you have come through it.  xx

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    • Posted

      Hi, I did get through it, I was also due on my period and it was a pretty rough week. I picked up and was doing better for about 10-12 days with some little dips in between. Today Iv dipped again but not as bad as when I was on my period. It's 14 weeks now since starting back on the citalopram. 4 weeks on 10mg and 10 weeks on 20mg. Don't know why I'm so up and down all the time but maybe it's the citalopram still settling xx

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    • Posted

      Thanks for getting back to me Claire.  It's a rocky ride that's for sure. Yes, i'm sure it's just the settling in process.  I've just read the recent post by Katiecogs which explains why it's such a long road to recovery, which is encouraging.

      I'm sure we will all get there soon.xx

       

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    • Posted

      Hi...yes Iv read the post too, she is brilliant with her advice. Are u still up and down? Do u feel your mood can change frequently throughout the day? Maybe as it's my third time on it it's taking longer to settle who knows. Or maybe I'm just one of those people who takes a while for it to fully work.

      I hope your doing better and things settle after your period xx

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    • Posted

      Thanks Claire,

      Yes, very much up and down.  After 4 weeks on 20 mg I felt great and felt so hopeful but have gone up and down since then.  My anxiety is particularly bad in the morning, but yes my mood is also up and down on a daily basis.

      I think it will just take a few months.  I'm feeling more hopeful.  I've been on them almost 3 month and was hoping I'd be well again, but i'll have to be more patient. xx

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    • Posted

      I'm definitely better than when I started them. It's been 11 weeks on 20mg for me now so just about the same as you. I have had days where Iv felt great more recently but still very up and down like u say.

      I'd like to keep in touch with you to see how your getting on if that's ok? You can inbox me any time xx

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  • Posted

    Yes, it's a great medition.  However, due to me losing too much sodium  from this medication, my doc cut me from 40 mg to 10.  Hospitalized with broken leg.  Docs discovered this when checking labs.  So,  they took me off cold turkey.  When I got home, after a week or so, I decided  I had better take at least 20 mg daily until I saw MY doc.  After eight weeks when I finally saw my doc, he said sodium was still low.  He cut me to 10 mg.  That's when all the side affects occurred. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, restless sleep.  I fired doc and am going to someone else, because doc said all these syptoms were  not true!  He didn't believe me!  Since visiting this blog, I leaarned he doesn't know what he's talking about!

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    • Posted

      yes the doctors seem to think all the side effects are in your head.  My doc seemed bemused when I explained some of the initial side effects.  They should try taking them and then they would know.

      Good luck coming off them - people advise to do it slowly and gradually.

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