The reason why we feel worse at first

Posted , 10 users are following.

I've posted this before a couple of years back but here's a laymans guide to what happens when we first start taking citalopram.

You take your first pill and immediately there is more serotonin, the feel good hormone available in your brain, so why do I feel crap?

The answer is receptors, at first your receptors see more serotonin available and say, Hey! there's  too much serotonin here and release less to where it is needed, this is why you get side effects and feel worse.

After repeated dosing for several weeks sometimes less in some people, the receptors see this increased serotonin as normal and become desensitised, they give up the fight and slowly start releasing serotonin to where it is needed and slowly we start to feel better.

Once you begin to feel better this then feeds off itself and recovery comes.

Last year I upped my dose in the middle of March, 12 weeks later I was fully recovered. Most of the improvements came in the last month. One thing to look out for is sleep, when your natural sleep quality improves then recovery is not too far around the corner.

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  • Posted

    Thanks for this explanation. I'm on week 6 of 20 mg Cit. 10 weeks total on ssri (was on sertraline 1st) and finally my dry mouth is easing up! My insomnia is better. Now I feel tired and could sleep 14 hours! One extreme to the next but I'll take it! Interesting to know that once the sleep pattern is back to normal, recovery is close. Yay

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  • Posted

    I like this explanation, it makes sense.   I also read that if you are taking it for anxiety and at the start you feel much more anxious then it’s a good indicator that it’s going to work well for you.   If I go on this and on your information, I should be feeling good really soon.  smile

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    • Posted

      Yes, the extra anxiety is caused by your receptors throttling back serotonin release as they think there is too much, once they become desensitised by continued dosing then the serotonin will get to where it is needed and you will begin to feel better. It's difficult to put a timescale on how long that takes, some lucky people get better in a few weeks. For me it's about 12 weeks.

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  • Posted

    well said ,, lets hope i m on day 36 and stil anxious but littel improvement,,  i pray for evrone in the group to recover from this and be happy with are lifes ,,, is not easy but one day soon we will be better ,, 
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    • Posted

      I am on day 41.  Ive noticed waking up anxiety has been reduced a bit.  Racing thoughts have slowed. Still incredibly tired though and I’m not currently working. I ache all over. 
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    • Posted

      I’m on 30mg now Laura for last 15 days before that 20mg.  Like Lois said you need to STAY on the same consistent dose for 3 months to really know if it’s the right amount. Now I’ve upped to 30 I think I need to stay here.  I’ve been able to get onto an excercise bike recently and did 10km calmly yesterday  fighting this exhaustion feeling that’s quite overwhelming. But excercise is a very important part of our recover... I’m yawning excessively as I write this which send jelly like tremors down my arms to my weak achy hands 😑 but it’s just the meds, I know that and it better than the panic attacks and extreme anxiety 1,000,000%. I can cope with the physical symptoms. The psychological ones are the scary and most disturbing ones which have been reduced👍

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    • Posted

      We’re together in this bro 💪 fear and racing thoughts, catastophising, feelings of doom and hopelessness are much harder to deal with than a dry mouth! When I read  someone wants to come of citalopram because of something annoying like a dry mouth, I wonder about the severity of condition and their mental turmoil. 

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    • Posted

      You are so spot on.   It’s the inner turmoil that’s what gets me, the physical symptoms are s**t for sure but it’s the mind zap moments like your brain just paused that are scary.   
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    • Posted

      Coming off Paxil was the worst experience of my life.  I truly thought I was going insane. And that my brain was permanently broken. The power of these ssri drugs is not be taken lightly and when I see people jumping up and down on their doses I wonder if they realise how risky a thing this is to do.  If you adjust your dose u really should stay there a few months at least...
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    • Posted

      i wish it was only dry much i would be attached myslef to a tube of water ,, we fighting diffrent psychotic symptoms site effects much harder!!! Today i thout lets go for a nice walk 🌞 out there by the time i get to the door for some vitamin d IT STARTED RAIN ?? 

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    • Posted

      I found sertraline hard to get off, I was on it for a good few years.   I was really dubious about starting back up on a new ssri but when you know, you know, some of us are just too sensitive for this world I think, we need a cushion. X
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    • Posted

      thats all we hope tomorrow will be better !!  and day after and the week after and the month after and finally the year after ,, then if we feel gd cuming of cit will be a beging of withdraws 😧🤷???

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    • Posted

      Enjoy .. because I ain't going thru that see saw again...I have convinced my self that iam feeling great because of the celexa..no way in hell iam going thru withdrawal to only jump on the wagon again.. absolutely not..

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    • Posted

      I am with Lois if they work for me  I am staying on them, never gonna forget to take them or run out no way, I just want to feel well again, Health is everything
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    • Posted

      Me too.  If this med works for me I have learned my lesson.  I need seratonin in my life, I am fed up on and off them highs and lows, I’m fed up missing out on life! 
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    • Posted

      Not sure if your comment was directed towards me but I feel compelled to respond. I posted before about my doctor wanting to pull me off of Cit due to the severity of my dry mouth (amongst other crappy side effects). It wasn't just a little annoying side effect. I had tried everything I could to ease that. My gums and teeth hurt and was affecting my quality of life. Lucky for you, you haven't had this issue or you wouldn't be so quick to judge. You can wonder all you like about the condition or severity of my (or whoever you were speaking of) mental turmoil but when you actually post your judgemental critiques of someone you do not know, that is hurtful and counterproductive to the reason why this forum exists. We (or should I say, most of us) all joined this forum to discuss our issues with Cit and glean some useful info from others who perhaps have been through something similar. I find your comment very insensitive.

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    • Posted

      I apologise Mary, I did not mean to offend you. I’m sorry your mouth issues were so severe for you. I didn’t mean to be insensitive and it wasn’t aimed at you specifically. I just read various posts from various people saying they can’t take physical side effects like sweating or headaches or less serious physical symptoms and offsetting these against the real MENTAL issues (which take presidency in my book) for which this drug is prescribed for in the first place. Again,sorry if I offended you it was not my intention.  Manny x 
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    • Posted

      If members on here where more specific with there celexa issues ..we will all be more understanding ...we are not phychics to be able to respond to something some one might not like unless they are specific..I don't you if anyone has children or not..i don't know how many side effects people are suffering with unless you post it..so people chill out..and if you feel sensitive about other peoples replys ..be more specific..that way there's no confusion...that goes for every body..peace always Lois...

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    • Posted

      Here’s one about doctors for you.  I went to one at my local surgery when I decided I needed to be back on something, this time being Citalopram.  I told him I was formally on Paxil for six years and he said....wait for it.......................”what is Paxil?” 🙄. My confidence in him went through the floor I can tell you. 

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    • Posted

      Omg..same thing happened to me with a general practitioner..I ask about effexor..and she was like what is that.. I knew then I was dealing with a dingbat. And then she ask me ..what do you want me to prescribe you...I strated laughing ..and she got real annoyed..and she left and came back twenty minutes later..to only tell me we gotta take care of your anxiety ..
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    • Posted

      To be honest I have only ever see really helpful comments from you Manny and from everyone on the forum too. But then again sometimes we may be having a bad day!! Have only appreciated all your replies but good on yet for apologizing even though you didn’t mean anything! It’s good when each of us can be honest how we feel. Blessings 
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    • Posted

      Say a little prayer for this friend I have my  psychiatrist review in a few hours.  Been on cit 20 mgs 7 weeks today another week ticked off. Yahoo. I wanna talk to dr about morning anxiety that’s one of the last awful side effects remaining, all nausea gone, sore throat, stomach cramps. Dare I say feeling good so far today
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    • Posted

      I am coming to the end of week 7 too. Yesterday and the day before I felt the side effects were much reduced and anxiety too had calmed a bit.  Today not so good :-(. This afternoon in particular I had increased anxiety followed by a totally dibilitating exhaustion episode where I could not even move. I felt like a puppet string doll. I still do a bit but not as much. I spoke all funny as my facial muscles were all droopy, my legs and arm felt like lead and strangest of all I felt dead in the brain ( no thoughts so to speak). This was ironically not frightening but also unexpected. I’ve managed to pick up the phone and type this now but earlier I couldn’t hold anything as I lay flopped on the bed shattered for no reason.... and all this two days before end of week 7 🙄.  Nearly 4 wks @ 20,  3 wks @ 30! Sigh! 

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    • Posted

      I meant no harm to anyone gilip. I’m no bully👍....I was the one who was bullied at school.  In fact, it’s that kind of human behaviour that creates low self esteem, isolation and anxiety and depression in those who are bullies.  If only kids at school knew the damage at the time they are causing when they pick on the weaker minded more anxious and/or less fortunate pupils, they would know not to do it.  My experience on citalopram is unknown. As is everyone’s. But it is required I’ve accepted that I must be helped this way, it’s not a choice it’s a necessity. As is my contribution to this place and the good people who inhabit these pages, giving each other strength and support. I am good in the know that some people like yourself have found my input and sharing of my symptoms to be helpful 🙂. It’s a good feeling.... and that’s what we all need right, good feelings so thank you for your kind words  😉  

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    • Posted

      Yes Manny ..all that you mentioned about side effects are all too real..but from my experience of the side effects they all diminish slowwwwwly within 8months ...I still get a little twitch here n there ..but is manegable..and I'll take that anytime and not suffer from anxiety..

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    • Posted

      Yup a cushion is required alright, I even find myself grabbing the duvet and sinking into it as a security feels good.  3 days of sertraline didn’t agree with me at all. Terrified me as I felt out of body schitzo even which I know I’m not. Paxil did some damage to me I feel. Citalopram I seem to tolerate so far, exhaustion being the most inconvenient  side effect.  I hope you’re doing ok ? 
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    • Posted

      🙄🙄🙄 not very prefesssional of her was it. Considering the potency of these meds they should know at least all their generic alternate names of the market leaders, well I think so anyway. I was particularly surprised mine didn’t know about Paxil as it was a controversial drug with panorama and the like making documentaries about its negative effects in younger brains =countless suicides and as we’ve mentioned before inducing uncontrolllable rage in others, one poor guy killed his 11 year old as he entered psychosis caused by Paxil😕 poor man.... did you ever take venlafaxine in the end? 

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    • Posted

      That’s ok Manny when you feel desperate and you come on here it’s such a relief when someone kind answers your plea for help!!!!!  Sometimes you feel so alone in depression it’s not something I talk about outside of the forum!!!! Went for psychiatrist review tonight and he upped my cit from 20mg to 30mg I told him I would go up by tiny degrees so tomorrow I start 22.5mg I don’t want all those side effects back so will try to trick my body, let’s see if it works, he wanted to put me up to 40mgs but I refused it’s way too high as 30 my that be!! Did you feel when you increased that all the side effects came back???
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    • Posted

      That’s ok Manny when you feel desperate and you come on here it’s such a relief when someone kind answers your plea for help!!!!!  Sometimes you feel so alone in depression it’s not something I talk about outside of the forum!!!! Went for psychiatrist review tonight and he upped my cit from 20mg to 30mg I told him I would go up by tiny degrees so tomorrow I start 22.5mg I don’t want all those side effects back so will try to trick my body, let’s see if it works, he wanted to put me up to 40mgs but I refused it’s way too high as 30 may be!! Did you feel when you increased that all the side effects came back as badly??????
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    • Posted

      Yep I noticed the increase from 20-30 for sure, think I still am tbh.....I just wanted it done but I can see your approach ‘might’ work.  When on paxil I withdrew from 40 to 0 over 9 months. The last 5mg were the worst. It comes in liquid form so you can go in tiny quantity drops.   When I went from 5ml to 4ml that was the most scary crazy confusing time for me. I did 1ml drop each two weeks..... in the end I switched to sertraline to get off.   A year on I tried sertraline again but 3 days in i was losing my mind so I stopped it.  Guess what I’m trying to say is even small dose changes can make. Difference.....    I wish you well 🙂.  I went to 30 purely because my doc thinks it’s ok as I need a bit more than the therapeutic dose. Let’s hope she is right. 

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    • Posted

      I wonder why my phychiatrist says any dose is a therapeutic dose ..iam on ten and at times I wanted to upped the dose and she would say no..stick to 10 she would say...and Lord and be hold she was right..
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    • Posted

      And boy didn’t I know it! I’ve never felt that kind of disassociative feeling in my life. I still remember that terror and panic to this day. Having said that even a simple glass of wine caused me a scarily uneasy episode when I was med free. Forget horror films this was real fear.  About a month before which led to a panic attack.... fortunately I was at home. 
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    • Posted

      That’s really good to know that a dose of 10mg has sorted you out Lois🙂. Now I’m at 30 I’m guessing I should stick it out at 30 unless something terrible happens in the meantime.  I’d prefer to be on 10mg if I knew it would do the job, more is not necessarily better as you say! I’ve spent a lot of time in here this evening after my awfully disabling afternoon. Thanks all for the company and reading 🙂 17 posts today and I even bothered to update my profile with a little recent pic of myself kinda smiling...

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    • Posted

      Yep the cursed rain. And people wander why I want to move abroad. I went to Florida in April and drove over 3000 miles in the sun. It was in the 80’s and 90’s Fahrenheit in April right up until around 7pm. I never felt more chilled and I was in a country I didn’t know, in a car I didn’t know, driving on the other side of the road. Right the way around Florida, up through the state of Georgia,  South Carolina and North Carolina to The city of Charlotte. Then  rode on the Fury 325 Coaster (was the tallest in world 3 years ago) where was my anxiety then? Nowhere, seems I left it in England! 
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    • Posted

      Yeah we r running tandem ! Been quite good that to encourage and feel encouraged. I was on 40mgs about 12 yrs ago and that was right for me then but I am older now so don’t wanna be on that much. I was a nurse for 30 years and never thought I would be on this much pharmacology!!!!! 
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    • Posted

      Yes I lasted 6days...the vision problems where insane ..I couldn't look at anything bright it would hurt my eyes...and the pain in the back of my calves was horrible ..

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    • Posted

      Yeah when the dr told me to go up to 30mg he felt 20 definitely wasn’t enough. He is the expert right. So I thought maybe if I added it very slowly my body wouldn’t notice but we will see. You take these every year yeh?? Do you mind if I ask you why you don’t just stay on them? 
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    • Posted

      That's insane coming off only to go back on..that causes more havoc than actually staying on them.. you can stay on them for the rest of your life..just saying...

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    • Posted

      I do, but the dose creeps up by 2.5mgs or 5mgs every SAD season, I started on 5mg and recovered on it too. I got up to 40mgs a few years back but then had a year with no SAD at all and I slowly went off the meds completely. The withdrawal wasn't too bad for me. I was well for the best part of 2 years and then the meds merry go round started again.

      In the summer proper I'm a completely different person, happy go lucky, calm and productive at work. SAD is a sod but with meds and sun it always goes away.

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