Citalopram – adverse reaction

I haven’t posted recently, on any of my blogs, because I have really not been well (mostly physically, but that has an impact on mental health too of course).

I always seem to be worse in the summer for some reason, and even though (thank God!) I’m not suffering from hayfever to anything like the extent I usually do, I really feel knocked out and completely zapped of energy, more confused and disorganised than normal and really just struggling to drag myself through each day.

I wanted to write a quick post though to mention that I had had a very bad reaction indeed to Citalopram.

I have struggled with depression, which I have really had incessantly since childhood (and I suspect it is largely due to the head injury I had aged 12 when I was knocked off my push bike in a hit and run ‘accident’ in 1983).

I liken my depression to a mild, grey cloud that never goes away. Most of the time, I just live with it. No amount of positive thinking, yoga or mindfulness takes the cloud away, but it’s manageable, I have more or less got used to it.

My GP gave me citalopram for depression and anxiety and I tried it because I thought it was worth a try.

However…

I was only on 10 mg of citalopram for about 5 days, and almost immediately, my little grey cloud went from a mild, manageable thing to a horrible big, thick, dark, heavy cloud that seemed to engulf me. I woke up feeling suicidal the first morning after I started taking it, and every day afterwards. When I stopped taking it, it took more than 10 days to come out of the thick dark cloud, and to be honest – more than 2 weeks later, I have a niggling feeling that the world would be a better if I wasn’t here. That’s not me. I don’t normally feel like that. (I do regularly feel despair, and I often feel that it’s not worth carrying on, but it’s more a feeling of laying down and waiting for death rather than actively trying to end it all. The citalopram reaction was more of the latter.)

I wasn’t imagining it. It was palpable.

Additionally, during the days that I was on citalopram, I had a greatly reduced ability to urinate. It just so happened that I needed to do a 24 hour urine sample during that week. It’s the second or third time I’ve had to do it this year, because I’m currently being tested for Cushing’s and/ or other pituitary gland disorders. Usually, I do so much I can’t fit the whole 24 hours in the pot, which takes 1200 ml. (The previous time, I only fit 18 hours in). This time, in the whole 24 hours, I managed 200 ml. I have no doubt whatsoever that citalopram was to blame.

I made a point of not reading the paper insert before I tried citalopram, not wanting to give my suggestible brain ideas! But of course afterwards I checked and both suicidal ideation and inability to urinate were listed in the potention serious side effects.

The reaction was so severe, it has made me wary of trying any other kind of pharmaceutical solution for anxiety or depression. It’s not the first time I have reacted poorly to anti-depressants, but this was by far the worst.

I’m not a person who would advise other people to not take the meds they need. Far from it. I know that meds help a lot of people, and you can only tell if they’ll work for you by trying them.

But for me (perhaps because there is Bipolar in the family, or for some other reason) I don’t seem to suit pharmaceutical meds. I think I need to start looking to food, herbs and natural solutions.

5htp has worked for me somewhat with no side effects. Not spectacular, but seems to ‘take the edge off’ without doing any harm.

St Johns Wort did not work for me, in fact it sent me completely loopy. But for others, I know this is a good natural solution that works.

People are different. I know plenty of people who swear by their anti-depressants and others who are equally opposed to them. I even know one lady who controls her Bipolar using homeopathy.

Each to their own!

What works for you?

Are there any natural solutions you recommend?

Or do anti-depressants work really well for you?