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Back on Celexa, not working yet
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Back on Celexa, not working yet

I took Celexa for almost a year and it worked great. I was out living life. I tried to get off of it but noticed my anxiety/depression was back. This new doctor I was seeing talked me into a different med, Lamictal and Abilify. I didn't like it and I was antisocial and quiet. So I went back to my old doc and had him get me back on Celexa. It's been 4 1/2 weeks back on Celexa and I still have depression. Is it not going to work this time around, or did I not give it long enough.
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The doc said I could go to 30mg. Should I just give it longer? Or go up to 30mg. Also, the first time I was on Celexa I did ok on 20 mg the whole time. Not sure why it's not working as well yet.
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Hi aCakes.

My name is Wendy and I've been on anti-depressants on and off (mostly on) for over 25 years. I'm not sure my experience is going to help you or not, but I'll tell you what I do know. First of all, I'm not a doctor, but I do know that changing on your own (I'm not saying you did that, though), your anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds is a bad, bad idea. Find one psychiatrist you like and is covered by your insurance (if applicable) and stick with him/her. If you change doctors, it's your responsibility to tell the new one your ENTIRE mental health and medication history.

By the way, I keep an Excel spreadsheet as my medical history database and I record every appointment, drug, supplement (they can affect an anti-depressant's effectiveness,) side effect, and notes I make. (My depression is robbing me of my memory but also there's no way I could remember every single drug I've been prescribed - there've been dozens.)  Then updating your doctor is as easy as bringing your laptop or printing your spreadsheet and bringing it to your appointment. You can also write all this down on a simple spiral notebook - just keep track of it somehow. Your psychiatrist can help you much better by knowing what's worked for you in the past. Don't rely on your memory.

I took Celexa back in 1998 and haven't taken it since because with only the 1st dose I took (it was a Friday night) I could not fall sleep. I was immediately taken off of it after the weekend and I hadn't slept at all. Obviously that's not the case for you, but I'm wondering - why did you get off of it if you were doing well? And of course you got off of it with the consent and supervision of your psychiatrist! Some people (like me) are going to be on anti-depressant medications for the rest of our lives due to the severity of our depression and the WAY our brains aren't functioning like a normal person's. If you should be on meds forever and don't want to be, I would suggest that you take some time for self-analysis and ask yourself why. I, for one, hate having to rely on anti-depressant drugs but they are helping to keep me alive. Talk to your doctor about your long-term treatment.

Check this website out for a list of drugs that interact with Celexa and see if you're also taking any of these at the same time. That would affect how you're responding to the Celexa now.  http://www.drugs.com/celexa.html  

I searched to find out how long it takes for Celexa to work and I couldn't find the information so ask your doctor if 4 1/2 weeks is long enough.

Lamictal is an anti-convulsant so you're bound to react to it much differently than you did to Celexa which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). I've been on anti-convulsants that worked pretty well for me, but I was also taking an anti-depressant at the same time. Abilify is an anti-psychotic drug which works like an anti-depressant. Always, regardless of what treatment option your doctor is using, if it isn't working for you after the specified amount of time your doctor said it should, I recommend talking with him or her about a new treatment option. From what I understand, if Celexa worked well for you in the past then it should work for you in the present. Going to the website I mentioned and learning about your medications is something I whole-heartedly advise. Any questions you have about how it works in your brain can be answered by your psychiatrist.  

Be sure and keep notifying your psychiatrist of how you're doing and feeling with regularly scheduled appointments.

As I'm sure you're aware, many people self-medicate themselves (sometimes even while taking anti-depressants) with alcohol or street drugs and that behavior will almost guarantee your anti-depressant(s) won't work and your depression can actually become much worse. Make sure you're staying as healthy as you can - eat healthy food, drink lots of water, get enough sleep (not too much or too little - it's best to stay on a regular sleep schedule ALL the time even on weekends if you're dealing with depression issues), and be good to yourself. Try to remain calm during this really scary time and ask your psychiatrist any questions you have about your treatment.

Of course, all of the information I've given you pertains to me personally, so your treatment will depend on many factors: your age, the severity of your anxiety/depression, how much stress is in your life right now this minute and long-term, among other things.

My final advice:

* put your mental health in the care of a psychiatrist, not your primary care physician. Psychiatrists keep up with the lightning-speed changes in treatment options and new knowledge of the human brain.

* never stop taking your meds without the supervision of a psychiatrist

* don't use alcohol or street drugs

* never, ever, ever give up.

* if you're feeling suicidal like you want to hurt yourself, or feeling like you want to hurt someone else, call 911 immediately or have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room. Mental illness is nothing to mess around with.

Good luck. - Wendy



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The reason I switched meds is because I moved and this new doctor talked me into trying a different medicine because of the side effects that Celexa was causing me. He said if you were on the right meds you wouldn't be having so much side effect (like being sooo tired). He thinks that since SSRI's gave me side effects and that I've suffered from anxiety depression for years, that I have a mood disorder and need a different type of medicine. But on Lamictal (may not have given it long enough) I was antisocial and still depressed. I didn't feel like it was working as well as Celexa. So I quit seeing this new doc and went right away to my old doc to get back on Celexa. My old doc says, no you do not have a mood disorder, just anxiety and depression.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sweetie, depression is a mood disorder. SSRI's treat depression and other mood disorders.

If an anti-depressant is causing you unwanted or disruptive-to-your-life side effects, it's true that there are other anti-depressants you can be switched to that have fewer. However, experiencing side effects from a drug doesn't necessarily mean it isn't the right drug for you. That's not a factual statement and it's part of why I suspect the doctor writing your prescriptions is not a psychiatrist, but I could be wrong because I don't know. It just doesn't sound -to me- like something an experienced psychiatrist would say.  

When I was first diagnosed (and my diagnoses are major depression and anxiety) I was in the Navy and it was around 1990. The newer anti-depressants available currently have much fewer side effects than they did back then. When I first was diagnosed I was severely suicidal and was hospitalized for 3 months while various drugs were tried to see which one(s) was effective for me. (Back then it was more 'hit and miss' - we didn't know as much then as we do now about how the drugs work on the brain.)

I was eventually left on Triavil which is a combination tricyclic anti-depressant (amitryptaline) and an anti-psychotic (perphenazine) which helped very much with my depression but the side-effects were really awful. Back then, it was encouraged to try and work through the side effects and perhaps prescribe medications to combat them, but the side effects were considered insignificant when the depression treatment was keeping you alive. So just because you're experiencing side effects does not mean the drug isn't right for you, you have to decide for yourself if the 'cons' outweigh the 'pros.'

I'm sorry for you that you had to go back to your old doctor for what you consider the proper treatment - I did the exact same thing in 2009 when my current psychiatrist was not prescribing my medications in a manner that was consistent with the recommendations of other psychiatrists whose advice I sought. For instance, I was told to take 150 mg on odd-numbered days and 200 mg on even-numbered days.

Keep in mind that it does take your body some time to adjust to an anti-depressant, and your body may react differently to Celexa than it did the first time, even if it's only been a couple of years since you last took it. The tiredness may wear off, for example. But it's true there are other medications out there that might have fewer side effects than Celexa. From my personal experience, SSRIs have fewer side effects for me than anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medications prescribed for depression do. But that's just me - like I said, you'll have to make that determination for yourself: are the side effects worth the benefits of feeling better otherwise? If the answer is no, then, do you want to take the long period of time it will take to find another drug that treats your depression with fewer side effects? That depends on the severity of your depression now. If it's bad enough that you're feeling suicidal or like harming another, my advice would be to get it under control the faster the better, damn the side effects. Perhaps you could stick with the Celexa since you know it worked in the past (give it a couple more weeks, I think) until you're depression is under control, THEN try another drug and see if your depression stays under control with fewer side effects.

In my case, I didn't care as much about the side effects because the quality of my life was in the toilet and because of the severity of my suicidal urges. Have a talk with the doctor you trust and let him/her help you decide what you think is best for you. Even though we aren't the ones with the mind-boggling education on how these drugs work, we have a responsibility to ourselves to make our psychiatrists understand completely what we're telling them. What I mean is, don't be vague in your descriptions - don't say, "I feel sort of anxious" when what you should really be saying is that when you're alone at home you scream out loud while you're climbing the walls. My poor ex-husband came home from work one night to find me in the fetal position on my kitchen floor screaming at the top of my lungs. I asked him to make the sound go away. The sound I was actually making by screaming. This happened because I hadn't told my psychiatrist how bad I really felt.

Hang in there, Sweetie, you'll work it out.

One more thing I feel I should tell you is - I ordered that program that's advertised on television for anxiety and depression from the Midwest Center (800 944-9460   www.stresscenter.com ) which is strictly a training program for teaching life-management skills in a self-help setting and NOT to take the place of your doctor. I went through the program and it was in the first 7 sessions that I realized how much anxiety I actually have. Since depression is very much affected by anxiety, by using the skills the program taught me to remove a LOT of the anxiety in my life, my depression is better than it has been in the past. It was expensive (for me) at like, $300 or something like that, but it gave me a lot of tools to use on days when I'm feeling particularly bad. So it was worth it to me. Just another tool in my toolbox I thought I'd mention. :)

Take care.  - Wendy
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I can't thank you enough for your HELP! That was all GREAT information and I appreciate it tremendously! I've always wondered if the anxiety caused the depression or if the depression caused the anxiety!
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