How long does Citalopram take to work?

How long does Citalopram take to work?

In this article, we answer the following question: How long does Citalopram take to work? We also address the issue of why antidepressants take so long to take effect, what are the effects of antidepressants, and what to do if antidepressants don’t work for you.

How long does Citalopram take to work?

Citalopram for depression will start to take effect in a week or two, and it will build up over a few weeks. All antidepressants have a latency period in their effect that can be from two to three weeks. You have to be patient and consistent.

Unfortunately, nowadays and due to different factors (including the fact that we are in a difficult time when it is increasingly difficult to find a stable job), the number of cases of people with depression and anxiety has increased. 

Consequently, the consumption of so-called antidepressants (drugs used to combat depression) has also increased, which function to increase serotonin levels in the brain. When these levels are increased, the emotional well-being of the person also increases considerably since it improves their mood.

However, the positive effects are not noticed until after a few days and even weeks after a daily and regulated intake.

How long does Citalopram take to work?

What is Citalopram?

Citalopram is an antidepressant drug that has been produced since 1989. This drug, popularly known as Celexa, is included in the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

This type of drug increases the amount of serotonin by preventing it from being recaptured. The main function of serotonin is to maintain harmony, balance and emotional well-being, which is essential when intervening in emotional disturbances such as depressive disorders or in conditions with anxiety symptoms.

Furthermore, compared to other antidepressants, citalopram discharges large amounts of analgesic substances with an effect as strong as that of morphine. This has earned him fame as a very effective antidepressant.

For what disorders is it effective?

Like many other antidepressants, citalopram is administered in many cases in which the person needs to achieve emotional stability. Specifically, the list of disorders and diseases in which citalopram has proved to be of great help are as follows.

1. Depressive symptoms

There are quite a few emotional conditions that include symptoms of depression in addition to the illness of depression as such.

These symptoms include the feeling of irritability, grief, sadness and crying. Anhedonia or inability to enjoy those things that were previously satisfactory. In addition, the feeling of constant fatigue or alterations in eating and sleeping patterns are also symptoms of this type of disorder.

2. Social anxiety disorder

More popular by the name of social phobia, this type of disorder is distinguished in that the person experiences a deep feeling of fear and anxiety in one or more social situations in which they must interact with other people.

3. Panic disorder

Another type of anxiety disorder for which citalopram is recommended is panic disorder. In it, the patient experiences impending sensations of fear and panic without there being a real stimulus to provoke them.

4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Another disorder with anxious symptoms is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In it, the patient presents a series of intrusive thoughts that appear continuously and repeatedly and cause feelings of worry and anxiety, and repetitive behaviours in order to calm these feelings.

5. Huntington’s disease

This disease, also known as Huntington’s Chorea, is a hereditary and neurodegenerative condition in which the person presents motor symptoms such as uncontrolled movements, coarseness and upset balance.

6. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

In premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), women experience symptoms associated with severe depression, irritability, distress, and nervousness before menstruation. These symptoms are very similar to those of Premenstrual syndrome but much more intense.

How long does Citalopram take to work?

Why do antidepressants take so long to take effect?

When we start a pharmacological treatment to combat depression, it is necessary to follow it to the letter and have the advice of a professional at all times since if it is not well administered it will not have the desired effect and on the contrary, it can reverse the results.

 Generally, when you start this drug treatment, it takes several days or even weeks to take effect and this is often a cause of frustration and despair for some people.

The drugs used to combat depression are (SSRIs), which means selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. But, in what way do they act in our brain?

Effects of antidepressants on the nervous system

To explain in a simple and summarized way how antidepressants work in our brain, we will begin by mentioning that one of the many functions of neurons is to capture serotonin from a space called synaptic.

What happens with depression drugs is that they prevent the neuron from picking up again the serotonin found in the synaptic space in order to increase the amount of serotonin between the neurons themselves. 

Therefore, they cause the amount of serotonin to rise exaggeratedly from one moment to the next. Apart from the fact that serotonin is responsible for increasing mood, it is also responsible for regulating the sleep cycle, sexual desire, appetite, vomiting, among other things.

Therefore, it is normal that at the beginning of the treatment, when the serotonin levels in our brains are abruptly altered, some annoying side effects such as sleep disturbances, appetite, decreased sexual desire, vomiting, dizziness may appear. , etc. 

Once our serotonin levels are finally regulated, we can experience the benefits of consuming these drugs. This explains why antidepressants can take time to take effect in our brain, and despite the fact that our body has a great capacity to adapt to changes, it does not do so immediately and it takes some time to do so. 

Generally, the time required for antidepressants to take effect in our body is more or less 2 to 3 weeks.

How long does Citalopram take to work?

Effects of antidepressants in the first days

First of all, it is necessary to mention that not all people react the same to antidepressants because each body is different and has different levels of adaptation. That is why there are also different types of antidepressants, which should only be diagnosed by a professional so that he prescribes the one that best suits your needs. 

Despite this, sometimes you have to try different types to know which is the one that causes the desired effect and the least possible discomfort at first. Some of the side effects that antidepressants can cause you the first days of consumption are the following:

  • Decreased sexual appetite (sexual anorexia)
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and on rare occasions may be accompanied by vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Oral dryness
  • Headache (mild)
  • A certain degree of anxiety and restlessness

It is necessary to mention that all these symptoms can be normal to a certain extent since if they are presented in an exaggerated way and remain for a long time, it is necessary to consult with the doctor since, probably, as I mentioned before, it should be tried with another type of antidepressant.

What to do if antidepressants don’t work?

If after having tried different types of antidepressants you find that none of them works for you or after having undergone a long treatment where a certain type of antidepressant worked for you and now it does not, you should know the following:

Antidepressants don’t always work. Do not despair or feel bad about yourself if until now no type of antidepressant has worked for you, you should know that this can happen to some people. 

The exact cause of why antidepressants do not work for some people or exactly why they stop working is still unknown, however, this is not the end since there are other types of treatments such as psychotherapy that are highly effective in relieving it.

You probably don’t have depression. Diagnosing a person with depression can really be very subjective if it is not thoroughly evaluated. So another possible reason that antidepressants are not working for you is that what you really suffer from is not depression but another type of disorder that requires a different drug.

Antidepressant tachyphylaxis. Antidepressant tachyphylaxis refers to a condition in which our body adapts to the antidepressants that are being received and finally these cease to take effect, although previously if the desired results have been obtained.

Psychological therapy. There is increasing evidence that psychological therapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, is an extremely effective treatment for overcoming depression. 

However, many people prefer to focus more on drug treatment since it does not require as much effort. It is important that you know that it is worthwhile to carry out a psychological treatment even if it is slower and takes a long process since doing so will finally help you eliminate the root of your problems.

How long does Citalopram take to work?

FAQ on How long does citalopram take to work

Can citalopram work immediately?

No, citalopram does now start to work immediately. It will start to take effect in a week or two, and it will build up over a few weeks. All antidepressants have a latency period in their effect that can be from two to three weeks. You have to be patient and consistent.

Does citalopram make you feel worse before better?

In some cases, yes, Citalopram can make you feel worse before better.  Your doctor will inform you about all the side effects of these antidepressants and will require a follow-up in 2 or  3 weeks after starting the treatment. 

Is citalopram good for anxiety?

Yes, citalopram is good for anxiety disorder. More popular by the name of social phobia, this type of disorder is distinguished in that the person experiences a deep feeling of fear and anxiety in one or more social situations in which they must interact with other people.

Is it better to take citalopram in the morning or at night?

It is up to you to take Citalopram either in the morning or at night. However, in the first 2 or 3 weeks of taking it, this medicine may make you feel dizzy and sleepy. It is better to talk to your doctor about the side effects of Citalopram. 

How do you know if citalopram is working?

You will know that Citalopram is working when your symptoms will become less severe or will happen less often. You will slowly start feeling like yourself again. But you have to be patient, as it may take several weeks before starting to see the effects of Citalopram. 

Does citalopram make you happy?

Citalopram won’t necessarily make you extremely happy.  What this drug does, is causing the amount of serotonin to rise exaggeratedly from one moment to the next. Apart from the fact that serotonin is responsible for increasing mood, it is also responsible for regulating the sleep cycle, sexual desire, appetite, vomiting, among other things.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: How long does Citalopram take to work? We also addressed the issue of why antidepressants take so long to take effect, what are the effects of antidepressants, and what to do if antidepressants don’t work for you.

Citalopram for depression will start to take effect in a week or two, and it will build up over a few weeks. All antidepressants have a latency period in their effect that can be from two to three weeks. You have to be patient and consistent.

Citalopram is an antidepressant drug that has been produced since 1989. This drug, popularly known as Celexa, is included in the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

This type of drug increases the amount of serotonin by preventing it from being recaptured. The main function of serotonin is to maintain harmony, balance and emotional well-being, which is essential when intervening in emotional disturbances such as depressive disorders or in conditions with anxiety symptoms.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

References

Nhs.uk – Citalopram

Drugs.com – User Reviews for Citalopram to treat Anxiety and Stress

Medicines.org.uk – Citalopram 10mg Tablet

How long does Citalopram take to work?

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.