• Welcome! It’s great to see you.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

Panic attacks with Citalopram

T

timB

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
12
Location
London
Hi all,
Last week I was prescribed Citalopram for depression, this is the first time I've taken any kind of antidepressant so it's all new to me. My previous symptoms were low mood, inability to concentrate, suicidal thoughts.

I'm now 4 days in and for the last two days have been suffering from massive panic attacks and anxiety. Having never suffered from panic attacks in the past this can really only be due to the Citalopram. I've read that the first week can be hellish but it can eventually be worth it...

Has anyone else had panic attacks when starting with this SSRI? Is this a sign that it just isn't working for me or just something that needs to be gotten through (very hard with it being Christmas with lots of people around).

Cheers,
Tim
 
G

ghost989

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
7
Location
Doncaster
I've just been prescribed Citalopram and have been told to expect a whole host of side effects although panic attacks wasn't one of them. Having done some reading it appears that yes Citalopram can cause anxiety attacks and mood swings but it's a really low percentage.

I'm kind of hoping for not the anxiety attacks and mood swings as I suffer with them enough.

The upside is that one of the side effects appears to be a cure for premature ejaculation! :)

I'd really reccomend contacting your doctor and let them know what you're experiencing as they may want to put you on something else. The point is to stop you feeling distressed I think.
 
intelgal

intelgal

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
1,413
Location
Yorkshire
My panic got worse ehen I initally started citalopram but I think some if was relief that someone believed how I was feeling and it allowed me to stop suppressing my real feeling. Citalopram takes 4-6 weeks to get into the system and start being effective. Try and perciver. Please sontact the smaritans, you gp or NHS direct if suicidal thoughts feel unmanagebale at any time.

Take care
Intelgal
 
T

timB

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
12
Location
London
I will say it seems to have wiped away the suicidal thoughts, but I seem to be completely wired on it and to be honest feel I'm less functional now than I was with the depression.

I am going to persevere for the moment but I need to be in a fit state for work next week and can't really afford to be like this for another 3 or 4 weeks...
 
trombone_babe

trombone_babe

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
1,191
Location
Kent
Please try and persevere with the citalopram tim, at least for the time being. Maybe go back to the doctor, explain about your panic attacks and see if he will give you something to help with the anxiety short term until the citalopram kicks in properly.
 
Prince Buster

Prince Buster

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
176
Location
London
Strange as I thought Citalopram was also prescribed for people suffering from anxiety?

I had one bad panic attack about six weeks after starting it, but to be honest I was not in a good place then.

What I have found, and it appears common, is an unquenchable thirst, you get light headed if you stand up too quick (it is to do with blood pressure) and also I sometimes wake up with a bloody/metallic taste in my mouth which I guess is linked to not taking liquid on board for sometime.

I was told that booze stops it from working. I have only drunk three times since I started taking it and two of the times, including last night, I struggled to sleep where as since I started it I found I have had no problem sleeping.
 
intelgal

intelgal

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
1,413
Location
Yorkshire
I had to change from another anti D and did require a very very short course of Benzo's (3 days) and some zopiclone for a few weeks
 
T

timB

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
12
Location
London
Perhaps that's part of the problem, due to it being the festive period I have still been drinking since starting on the Citalopram. The GPs advice was that while it's not really advised it should be fine to drink.

I suspect I've been heavily self medicating on alcohol for quite a while, not to problem levels but it's rare for a day to go by without having anything to drink. I am planning to have a dry month for January and did consider not starting the Citalopram until then but things got a little too much over Christmas.
 
Prince Buster

Prince Buster

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
176
Location
London
Plenty on here do drink while taking it, some on much higher doses than I am on. I did not like the feeling when I had a drink so decided not to continue. Went nine weeks without any booze - it was not a problem. Had a couple of glasses of wine at home on three occassions now so it it easy to pull up stumps if I get any strange sensations. Speaking of strange sensations, taking Citalopram before you have eaten anything is not the most pleasant.
 
T

telemetry9

Guest
Tim,

There is one positive thing about dealing with panic attacks and struggling with that horrible sense of fear they bring. The skills you need in order to defeat panic and anxiety attacks are very tangible and available to you from your GP. It's very likely it will work for you although I know there are no guarantees.

Anxiety management classes are available in most large towns and they will help you defeat the panic attacks almost entirely. Once you understand their origins they become increasingly manageable. Almost to the point that it has been a long time since they have controlled me. I no longer have the sense of dying the majority of the time that I used to and that is because of the anxiety management course I took part in several years ago. For me - it was really like learning to ride a bike and I've never forgotten it.

The sense of relief in finding ways to defeat and overcome the panic and terror was a revelation to me as I honestly didn't see a way through it all.

I'm not saying my experience is the same as yours but I would strongly recommend anxiety management courses to anyone experiencing the horror of panic attacks on a regular basis.

There are times when the illness overrides those coping skills but I know I would struggle without them.

best wishes
robert.
 
intelgal

intelgal

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
1,413
Location
Yorkshire
Self healp can be very effective and there are many books that can help. The overcoming series are helpful

Try the podcast from here.. they are free to !




http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
 
A

anna crouton

New member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
4
One way to start citalopram is half tablets, because it is fairly common to feel very panicky at the beginning. After a rocky week or two it then gets better, and will actually help anxiety symptoms before it helps with depression. It can work really well, providing you can get past the first stage, so do keep going if you possibly can.
 
T

timB

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
12
Location
London
I'm now nearly two weeks in (I have to see the GP for the first time again tomorrow) and the panic attacks have subsided. The thing was I've never suffered from panic attacks at all in the past and so was very surprised when they suddenly overtook me after 3 or 4 days on the Citalopram.

After about 10 days most of the side effects had gone but I also seem to be back more or less in the mood I was before starting (I think the side effects distracted me which in effect made things seem better). I've read that it can take 2-4 weeks or even longer before the antidepressant really kicks in so I presume I need to stick with them for longer, but does anyone have a feel for how long it should be before I call it a day and say they're not for me?

Cheers,
Tim
 
A

anna crouton

New member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
4
that's pretty much the sort of timescale I experienced too - a few days of really upset and agitated times, then by two weeks a calming of those but still feeling that I was back where I started. I'd had to go off sick from work, so couldn't compare accurately how low I was with the beginning - the cause of my depression didn't come from work, but stopping work did at least take a pressure off me. I started to notice that I was feeling better at about six weeks, and it was a weird situation of having been better for a bit before I realised it. One startling thing is laughing again for the first time in months. From what I understand, they're unlikely to write a drug off before trying it for two months, and if it works a bit but not completely, then they might well increase a dose rather than changing it.
 
T

timB

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
12
Location
London
I've managed to keep going with work (it's nothing to do with the problems and although my concentration has been shot to pieces for the last 18 months I've managed to keep my head just about above water for it) but started the Citalopram when I was off over Christmas so I have the opposite problem really.

I have noticed my mood has been more all over the place than ever today, some real highs where I was wondering what all the fuss had been about followed 10 minutes later by complete lows and wondering if I could possibly carry on.

The other problem I've had is with sleeping, it was erratic before but I only seem to be getting 4 or 5 hours on the Citalopram where I'd at least get 6 or 7 some nights previously (and sometimes none...). Is this common? Is it worth trying to get something from the GP to help with sleep?

Thanks,
Tim
 

Similar threads

Top