Anyone had experience of Citalopram as a treatment for anxiety?

I've suffered from bouts of anxiety for 10 years (only just plucking up the courage to talk about it publicly now!) I've had unsuccessful attempts at CBT and used Diazepam for short intervals to try and 'bring me down'.

My latest (but usual pattern) of waking up in a crippling panic has been with me for about 3 weeks and the usual feelings of thinking I am going to die of a heart attack resulted in my latest visit to the GP this afternoon.

Although I really just wanted reassurance that I wasn't going to die, my GP did discuss a longer (6 month) treatment of Citalopram, he said that this would help address the chemical imbalance in my brain.

I asked the usual questions around risk of use, addiction, feeling worse before feeling better etc, but wondered if anyone else had used it, had any advice, recommendations - good and bad please if possible!

Thank you

16 Replies

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  • Hi. Hare. Welcome to the site. Rest assured that everyone here is or has been a sufferer so you are with people who know what you are talking about. Citalopram is an antidepressant but it can also be used for treating anxiety. It takes about a fortnight to 'click in' but it can be sooner. Depends on your body chemistry. I found them extremely helpful but there could be mild side effects at first. Try to ride them out because they do pass. It helped my anxiety considerably. I am going back a few years now and have not taken tablets for some time. They helped me over a bad patch which is what they are intended for. Do what your doctor advises. At the same time it is a good idea to combine drug therapy with another non drug therapy, so that when you come off them you will have a long term strategy to deal with any further problems. Counselling, CBT or whatever suits you. It is a good idea to have a long term solution.Waking up in a panic is common in anxiety and can be very frightening. When it happens it is best to get to get out of bed and sit in a chair. Let your body go loose. Slump. Then let the feelings came. ARE you fighting them? Trying to PUSH them away? A great mistake. You create more fear that way. Going with them, relaxing toward them takes the 'sting' out of them and may give you a little respite. Don't know what I am talking about? Boy!! You are talking to a Master with umpteen degrees in panic! Been there, well and truly. TRY is all you can do. Best wishes. jonathan.

  • Johnathan,

    Thank you much do taking the time to post such a detailed reply, I am overwhelmed. I always feel that anxiety is in charge of me and not the other way round. Hopefully the combination of medication and more practical methods can help me beat it after 10 years - thank you again

  • I too have been advised a 6 month course of citalopram for anxiety.I'm on day 10,side effects haven't been great (mild headaches,dry eyes,feeling more sleepy than usual) but have been told this will pass,.anything has to be better than the constant anxiety and panic attacks.It helps to know other people are going through it too,don't feel so alone anymore.Take care

  • Emily

    Thank you too for taking the time to reply, hope this works for both of us. Good luck.

  • Im extremly sensitive 2 meds, hav very serious adverse effects 2 most but funnily enough citolopram was the 1 that i could tolerate easily. was on them for about 5yrs until they took me of them b4 xmas 2 give me another 1 2 treat anxiety which started middle of september. everybody reacts different 2 different meds but i really like citolopram + regret comin off them. kindest regards leehow.

  • Leehow

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, your experience certainly sounds promising, hope things get better for you

  • Thanku, hav tried everything wivout sucsess. barely gettin through the day. so disabilitating, dnt know if im ever goin 2 cope or recover again. lost any ounve of hope after tryin 2 find the rite treatment since early september. feelin suicidal everyday. Hav 2 live wiv my mum as not well enough 2 live wiv my partner + daughter which is also killin me.

  • I expect there is nothing I can say to make you feel better, except to take all the help and support that's offered to you and try to get through each day at a time, I've spent 10 years trying to be 'brave and carry on' but it's just not worth it. Look after yourself

  • Citalopram has changed my life. Before this drug I suffered with debilitating anxiety most of my life. I now have a life! Please give it a try. My only side effect was slight sickness to begin with which only lasted a week or so. The benefits outweighed the side effects. I now sleep well, eat well, have confidence and do not waken up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. I also went to Counselling and being on the Citalopram helped me get more from this as it cleared my mind and I was calm. I also have a supportive G.P. who is letting me reduce my dose at my own pace. I started on 40mg and am now on 20mg and planning to reduce this in a few weeks. If I feel bad again I would have no hesitation to go back to my G.P. I do hope you feel better soon.

  • Gibson, thank you for such a positive response, it's really good to know that you are able to think outside the spiral of anxiety and make some decisions without anxiety influencing you.

  • I have had panic and anxiety for 20 yrs. Been to afraid to feel any worse than I do. Finally gotten to the point that I would like to live a little without the constant scary feelings . Good to hear about the positive effects of Citalopram seemely not having too many horrid side effects. Thanks for your Bravery helps me to know Im not alone :)

  • Bluejean

    Thank you for replying to me, agree it's taken far too long to realise life is too short to waste on not doing anything about anxiety. I took my first tablet today and of course it's too soon to feel any difference, but the difference is that I am doing something to help myself.

  • That is where I would like to be ! I am in awe of your braverery because I know what it takes! As long as you are not feeling anything I am guessing that is good not adverse effects. thank you sooo much for responding to me sometimes you can feel so very alone through all this even though you have people who love and care about you they cant possibly know how you are feeling soo thank you :)

  • It is so good to share with others in this situation. Please do not feel alone. It would amaze you the number of people who suffer from this and are afraid to discuss it. By sharing experiences and knowledge, hopefully we can help each other. It is a hard road but not an impossible one. Good luck and health to all.

  • Hi Im new on here, Started Citalopram 10mg 12 days ago for anxiety. Im having awful side effects but then again I was feeling most of them (nausea, sickness, light headed, jaw clenching, complete loss of apetite but empty stomach all the time) before I started taking the meds, Im scared they arent agreeing with me :(

    My sister has been on them for 3 years now and they have changed her life for the better!! I hope we can say same soon

  • Hi Superstar, thank you for sharing your experiences so far. I do agree it's difficult to separate the anxiety symptoms from effects of the drug. So far, I haven't noticed any change in the anxiety (too soon I know) but I have been feeling sick, which I definitely didn't feel before. However if the Citalopram helps me and the side effects wear off then life has to be better, so for now I keep going! Hope it gets better for you.

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