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citalopram experiences

(14 Posts)
MtnBikeChick Tue 05-Jan-16 21:38:09

Hi there
To cut a very long story short my GP has suggested I start a low dose of citalopram for long standing mild depression (that started with untreated PnD five years ago), and to try to help combat extreme, severe PMS that started after I stopped feeding my Ds2 15 months ago. I have spent several years just trying to be "fine" when I know I am not. I don't want to live like this. I am however desperately worried about weight gain. I battle to keep my weight down (I am currently at ideal weight) but I have to be very very careful. I have read that citalopram causes increased appetite that leads to weight gain. Does anyone have any experience of this? Thank you so much

Wadingthroughsoup Tue 05-Jan-16 21:44:17

Hi there. I took Citalopram for quite a long time a few years ago. The first few weeks were very tricky because initially, my mood worsened, but eventually things got much better. As for weight- for the first few weeks I had hardly any appetite and found it very difficult to eat, but eventually got back to normal. I may have had some small weight gain but it must have been negligible because I can't remember it, and looking at photos of myself at the time suggests I was pretty much the same size I am now.

I came off them for a couple of years and then needed help again this year. My GP put me on Sertraline this time because he thinks it has fewer side effects than Citalopram. I agree with that, but I think they can both be incredibly helpful drugs.

Just be aware that the first couple of weeks or so will be hard going. They might affect your sleep (so it's worth trying them at different times of day to see what works best for you), they might make you feel sick, you might feel very anxious. If possible, try not to plan anything big or potentially stressful for the period while you are adjusting to them.

Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.

MrsMarigold Tue 05-Jan-16 21:46:30

I've been on it for the same reason as you, long standing mild depression, I'm a better person on it, I cope better with adversity. I could do with losing a few pounds (well a stone but it's more that I'm a bit lazy than the citalopram) but the benefits are huge and my self-esteem is better on it. Go for it, if it doesn't work you can always try another SSRI that might work better for you.

AzuremystBrandy Wed 06-Jan-16 01:27:31

Hi MtnBikeChick,

I have experiences of citalopram and also work in mental health. When I had citalopram it didn't really make an awful lot of difference so was prescribed Sertraline which has been more helpful. However, it is very rare that SSRIs "heal" us as we have to work extremely hard to recover from depression.

In terms of the medication, SSRIs can take up to 6 weeks to experience the full benefits of them so if there is no difference after this time it may be worth going back to your GP to request a change of medication. Also, There are many different anti depressants out there and as individuals, we are affected by them differently. For example, I had a horrendous time on fluoxetine and the side effects were too horrific to wait for them to pass but you may take fluoxetine and find they make a big difference to you with no side effects.

In terms of other options, have you considered CBT? I deliver CBT for a living and can vouch for the effectiveness of it providing that people are willing to put 100% into it.

You can access it quite easily on the NHS but waiting times vary depending on your local provider and demand in the area.

Research has shown that the best results for recovery from depression in medication combined with therapy. CBT is very simple in theory and it is about gradually increasing your activity levels or monitoring and adjusting the type of activities you do. It also looks at unhelpful thinking styles and how to challenge negative thoughts. However, the treatment does require lots of hard work from the individual and commitment. It's a case of getting out of it what you put into it.

I'd recommend Coping with Depression book by Papageorgiou, Goring and Haslam.

The CCI website also has free self help materials for a variety of mental health problems which I often provide clients with: http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/

Http://www.get.gg also has some brilliant free resources.

If you have anymore questions feel free to give me a shout smile

Monty27 Wed 06-Jan-16 01:35:59

Azure, that's a great comforting post. I am on 40mg citalopram, increased over the last 6 months and awaiting therapy. I took it a couple of years ago and stopped because i didn't think it worked and then I fell to the ground again. Work OH couldn't understand why I had done that, he explained that if one needs medication you should take it, whether for depression or for example high blood pressure, or back pain.

Just needed to say that OP.

MtnBikeChick Wed 06-Jan-16 07:39:32

Azure thank you for this long and thoughtful post. I am starting CBT privately next week, with a psychologist I have seen in the past. I am considering delaying starting medication for a while to see if CBT alone will be enough.

AzuremystBrandy Wed 06-Jan-16 08:39:57

Hi Mtn,

Many people do choose to try CBT first without medication and have great success doing this. I'm so glad that you are going for CBT. The important thing is to give it 100% and stick with it after the treatment finishes as the tools you learn are skills to use for life to maintain wellbeing. Good luck with t and let us know how it goes!

Joy69 Thu 14-Jan-16 12:41:51

I was on Citalopram a couple of years ago & actually lost weight. As op said the first couple of weeks are abit weird. I felt abit hyper, but numb emotionally ( which was betting than dissolving in tears every 5 minutes) Other effects were abit of sleep disturbance, a dry mouth & abit of an upset tummy. This all settled down & it was nice to feel 'normal' again.
You'll be surprised how many people are on anti- depressants, it's just that nobody talks about it.
When you feel the time is right to come off them get your Dr to help you, don't just stop as I did & crashed big time grin.
I now know my triggers to my depression & make sure I'm looking after myself.
Good luck. Things will get better xxx

worstofbothworlds Thu 14-Jan-16 22:32:51

I've recently been prescribed citralopam after having a bit of a crisis which on reflection did not actually come out of nowhere but was following a fairly long period of low-ish mood - I'd kind of forgotten what it was like to be happy, really - and not sleeping much. I've been seeing a psychologist through work and she's been recommending resources as well as challenging some of my thinking. I'm struggling a bit doing the thinking exercises on my own as the book I have keeps saying "spend 15 minutes a day doing this... record every time this happens... " and when do I have time to do that? I had some fact sheets from the GP that started me off and were much more manageable so maybe I should try those again.

The citralopam has made me nauseous (much better at night as I just go to sleep instead - if I can't sleep it's usually not on going to bed but later in the night) and also I think more anxious - I feel an urge to itch myself which is related to anxiety which has got worse - the psychologist suggested a fiddle necklace or similar which has helped. No real appetite changes (on average probably about the same though when I took the tablets in the morning I didn't want to eat much breakfast).

I'm only a couple of weeks in, I wish they'd give you a prescription for longer than a month though.

MeadowHay Fri 15-Jan-16 20:14:46

GPs often never prescribe citalopram for more than a month at a time because it's prudent for them to review the treatment and wellbeing of patients with mental health conditions frequently, at least at the beginning of treatment. So it is wise of your GP not to have prescribed you more than a month, it just means they want you to get back in touch to let them know how you are getting on and how you are finding the treatment. It is a sign of a responsible medication prescriber and a GP who actually cares about your wellbeing. smile

I was on citalopram for a few years and it really helped my depression at that time (which was severe before I sought treatment). I found after a few years it's effectiveness started to decline and increasing the dosage didn't do anything much so then I came off it and switched, but before then it was definitely helpful. I was very ill with side-effects for the first fortnight though, but they do pass, you just have to sit through it. Most of the side-effects wore off, only very minor ones hung around for me.

I'm glad you are going to get CBT, I would suggest if you are able start doing that for a month or so and delay the start of the anti-depressant, personally. I think it is always worth trying talking therapy before medication considering the side-effects that come with meds. Then if you feel after a month or so of CBT that nothing has improved for you, it could then be a good idea to try the medication at the same time. Good luck flowers

QueenC Fri 15-Jan-16 20:37:26

Ive been taking Citalopram on and off for years. Like you, it all started with pnd. I find it brilliant as it really helps keep my moods level as I get horrendous pmt mood swings. Like someone said though it can numb you. I rarely cry anymore but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In terms of weight it's made no difference at all to me.

The first week of taking it was awful. I felt really spaced out and dizzy. I had to take just 5mg and work my way up. Whenever I come off it I have to cut down very slowly too. Even if I forget to take it for a day or two I start to feel the withdrawal effects.

Monty27 Sat 16-Jan-16 02:31:34

Well I'm still struggling on 40mg (I have posted above). I think its why I stopped it some time ago, because I still didn't feel normal and thought it wasn't working, after not taking it I experienced a massive crash again.

Azure, I've had cbt before, but this time I am going to take it very seriously. I hate the hell hole that depression is.

Onwards and upwards folks.

Serioussteve Sat 16-Jan-16 03:27:55

I took citalopram for around a year, didn't do a great deal for me, was changed onto escitalopram which I found very effective. Took it for around two years.

worstofbothworlds Sat 16-Jan-16 11:09:39

MeadowHay I do know my GP needs to keep an eye on me to start off with but even with repeat prescriptions once you've settled on to a medication it is highly annoying to have to remember every 4 weeks (it isn't actually even once a month) to get another prescription.

I have already had some sessions with a CBT practitioner which has been helpful. That and a bit of time off work have settled me down to the extent that I realised this was a long term problem.

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