When do I know when citalopram dose (or any at all) is working for me..

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Hello - first time post.

I've had anxiety for about 9 years (I'm 28) and in the last year I've started seeing a counsellor who is also a GP. She determined i have a generalised anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder (repititive negative thoughts - not physical habits). After a rapid decline in my mental and physical health, huge stress on my relationship and an inability to generally cope I started taking citalopram.

I started out on 20mg which i took for two months. I felt very sick to start with but got over those side effects. My anxiety got worse and never really got better.

We decided to up my dose to 30mg which I have been on for almost two weeks. Doctor said it should be a relatively quick adjustment and at first I felt it was helping my anxiety. I am know starting to feel more anxious and am still suffering some side effects.

I'm not sure if I should go up to 40mg a day for a period and then reduce it if I feel I can. Or stick with the 30mg for a while and see how that goes.

I'm worried because after spending two months on 20mg with no positive change I was broken. I don't want to go through that again..

Not sure if maybe it just won't work and I should try another type of medication/none at all.

I work full time and have a lot of extra commitments I have to maintain - plus my home life and relationship. It's a lot to keep going at 100% when the meds make me feel awful - if it's not working I don't see how it's worth it all.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I read these forums a lot to boost my morale and commitment to getting better.

Thank you

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I went on citalopram in 2011 and was on them for 7 years, they were a god send never really had much problem with them.

    But this is what I know, that they can take up to 8 weeks just to start working... and the symptoms are not nice before hand, have a read on your label of your meds pack.. it increases you feeeling crappy to begin with.

    I'd say keep with the 30mg a bit longer and fingers crossed it helps! They are the best for anxiety.

    If you don't feel better, definitely look at maybe a different drug.. or look into self help, alternative treatments .. I know it's hard and it's even harder when we have so many commitments.

    One thing I will ask is this, is there anything in your life that doesn't serve you anymore? (I mean that in a spiritual sense) anything in your life not helping you? Anything making you worse? If we can lessen our stress levels this helps with our anxiety levels.

    For instance I had a few 'friends' that were acquaintances... but I found I was using my energy to help them more then myself... so I decided to ditch them lol. It can refer to anything.. job? Hobbies? Family. Etc.

    Also have you tried chamomile tea? It lessens anxiety by 40% ... I'm not keen on the taste so I let the tea bag stew in it let it go Luke warm then I just neck it, some days I'll have about three cups haha! It helps a lot. But I never have 4 cups as it can be like a sedative.

    Also elderflower cordial in water helps with anxiety and also meditation, mindfulness, yoga and keeping AWAY from stimulants such as too much tea coffee, coke! Anything with caffeine- I have a lot of de-caff now.

    I also went and had therapy with a lady called anne winslow and had journey therapy it was amazing!!! Xx

    I'm sure meds will start working soon, but it's definitely work implementing every angle of help. We tend to get 'busy' in our lives, well this time is for you now, your mind and body derserve rest.

    I hope this helps some how, you can do this 😁😁😁😁🌈😇

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    • Posted

      Thank you! Your reassurance and encouragement is very helpful. I sometimes feel some doctors just push you into higher doses or changing meds and then I doubt the process.

      I have been trying to meditate but I admit I'm not great at my commitment to it yet. I definitely can work on that.. And chamomile tea.. never tried it?! I do love tea though so will definitely give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion.

      It's interesting you picked up on the other stress factors.. I'm not enjoying my job at all, some commitments have become a burden, and I live in a different city to all my family and friends - which has never been easy. I think that's excellent advice to spend some time reassessing what is making me unhappy outside of the anxiety.. Thank you.

      I feel energised to keep at it! It's hard with anti-depressants to now how you should feel you know? I try explain to my partner but it's hard for him to understand anxiety let alone trying to get better from it. He's very supportive but sometimes it's like I'm from another planet. Great to know I have comrads online!! Feels great!!

      Thank you!

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  • Posted

    Hi Pia

    I had exactly the same as you and suffered for 16 years. I started these meds and recovered within 6 months and have stayed well ever since which is now about 17+ years. I recovered on 20mg.

    These meds are slow to work so you won't feel much for maybe 3 months. Increasing doesn't mean you'll get rid of your anxiety quickly and an increase does bring about side effects each time. You have to be very patient with these meds.

    Some people swap meds because they don't see any improvement - but they've often not given these meds long enough - months and months.

    Recovery comes in waves too - you may feel well for an hour, an evening etc and find it'll disappear again - that's normal. That pattern will repeat itself through recovery with the well period getting longer. Each time you dip (blip) it can feel like you're back at the beginning - that's normal too.

    Everyone is different so side effects and recovery varies greatly.

    Key is to keep going, through it all, remembering it can take many months. Took me 6 months.

    Patience and perseverance xxxx

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    • Posted

      Forgot to say - a higher dose doesn't mean you'll get better quicker either and you'll get the same waves of recovery whatever dose you take.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Thank you. It's good to know people do feel better and persistence will achieve results.

      Your comments on the waves of feeling good then bad again are really interesting. That's something I absolutely experience. I get excited I feel so good then end up feeling like I've failed when it doesn't last. I will try keep reminding myself that this is normal.

      I often feel doctors struggle to find the right outcome for people with mental health problems so maybe want to try different things quicker than maybe they should.

      I will stay persistent and come back and read these messages when I'm feeling flat.

      Thank you, it really means a great deal x

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    • Posted

      Yes, definitely persistence.  Also don't chase recovery, because you can't make it happen any quicker.  Let it come to you as it'll happen in its own time.

      Yes most people get the waves of recovery.  It can be disappointing every time you hit a dip but yes, remind yourself it seems to be a necessary part of recovery.

      Doctors to struggle because there is no 'one size fits all'.  Not all are knowledgable about the side effects and process that most people go through either.

      There's a brilliant website I've mentioned to a few people, and can send you the link via message on this site.  Can't post links here or my post will get deleted. rolleyes

      K x

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    • Posted

      Katecogs - do you think that being on 10mg for years - will have stopped me being able to react to 30mg? I mean have i become "immune" (for want of a better expression) to the drug? Therefore whatever dose i take will make no difference?

      i realise you are not a medical professional, i just wondered what you thought.

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    • Posted

      I wouldn't think so.  I took this meds for 16 years and probably a good 10 years on 10mg too before I came off them.  Some years later I restarted them at 20mg and though it took longer than the first time for them to kick in, they worked again at the higher dose than 10.

      K x

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    • Posted

      that is quite encouraging, i hope you are correct.

      my concern is i never STOPPED taking them - so i never had a break from them - do u think that makes a difference? I've gone from 10mg for years to 20mg for 6 weeks then up to 30mg for almost a week.

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    • Posted

      When you were taking the 10mg did something stressful happen in your life before you started feeling unwell again?  It often turns out to be the case in people who start feeling ill again.

      Also check the brand of medicine - even though the same meds, many people have posted that their meds don't seem to work if they have a different brand.

      Reading that website I forwarded will really help too.  When I first recovered on meds, I also used a similar method written by someone else whereby understanding first helped me and learning about relaxing into the anxiety and letting it be there made a big difference.  I've definitely found putting that with the meds much more powerful.

      Increasing doses take time for it to settle too.  I really don't believe that meds stop working for you or that they won't work again, but more likely its something that's spiked the anxiety symptoms again.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Yes ive had relationship issues...and other stressors that triggered it. That has been mostly resolved but left me with the problem.

      Yeah the brands are often different but it seems ok generally.

      Yeah that website is interesting and useful. Ive also ordered some self help cbt books

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    • Posted

      That's exactly what led me down the path to anxiety right at the start many years ago.  Didn't see it coming, but once it hit me it hung around for years.  Its usually stress that causes us to become ill - everyone with a different story / background - but we all end up in the same place and end up struggling.  Everyone has a different cut off point for their level of stress, and if prolonged over time our stressors build until they can't copy anymore and boil over ..... resulting in a melt down / anxiety.  What usually keeps us ill is then becoming afraid of the anxiety, and that in turn creates more anxiety and we get suck in a cycle ... and hey ho ....

      Then its the waiting game ..... rolleyes

       

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    • Posted

      Hi MediumNeil,

      Going off what my doctor has said it doesnt matter how long you've been on it for - if you up the dose you will feel side effects. There is just more side effects related to a higher dose. I was on 20mg for two months (granted not that long) then upped to 30 and its like I've started all over again. I'm napping for hours each day, I have headaches, I feel flat and often depressed (I dont have depression). But it will pass!

      I think it's similar to say codeiene or alcohol. If you haveone panadeiene or one drink every day it wont stop you feeling the effects if you then take three of either.

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    • Posted

      Kate...sorry to keep bothering you...but do u think the fact i never stopped taking a low dose means it will take longer or not work? I mean you said it took longer for you but you had a break. Ive not stopped.

      Im petrified these meds wont work for me because ive been on 10mg for so long before increasing.

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    • Posted

      Hey, you're not bothering me at all.

      I'm sure if the meds worked before then they'll work again.  You've been 30mg only a week now? - reember each dose increase will increase side effects and you have to give this time to settle.

      It does feel worrying as its always so slow to see any improvement.  But it will come.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Hi kate you are always really helpful when people post and are in distress. Thank you for giving your time for this. Could you send me the link for the website you mentioned. TIA xx
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