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Is Celexa good for anxiety? Dosage, function, and effectiveness of taking Celexa for anxiety

Is Celexa good for anxiety? Dosage, function, and effectiveness of taking Celexa for anxiety

Anxiety has a wide range of treatments, though they usually fit into the categories of either psychotherapy or medication. Both treatments are often used alongside one another, since anxiety medications can help lessen the impact of one’s symptoms while therapy deals with the psychological ramifications and sources of the symptoms. By using both, anxiety treatment can lessen symptoms as it heals the parts of oneself that cause them to occur.

Medications can’t “cure” anxiety, but they can certainly make life much easier for people with severe or unmanageable anxiety symptoms. One such medication that’s commonly used to treat anxiety is called Celexa.

What Is Celexa?

Celexa is a trade name for citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, among other things. 

SSRIs are technically antidepressants, but they work by increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain, which can help regulate one’s mood and feelings of anxiety.

Is Celexa Good for Anxiety? How Effective Can Celexa Be to Treat Anxiety?

While Celexa is only FDA-approved to treat depression, it can work well to treat “off-label” conditions like anxiety as well, which just means it’s being used for something other than what it was officially approved for. Celexa is used very commonly to help treat anxiety, often alongside psychotherapy. 

Celexa can’t cure anxiety, but it can help reduce anxiety symptoms, specifically those of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

How Does Citalopram Make You Feel at First?

Antidepressants like Celexa work to lift your mood, hopefully making you feel better. Specific changes that might occur would be sleeping better, feeling more relaxed about your frequent worries, increasing energy levels, and overall feeling less anxious in your daily life.

Does Celexa Calm You Down?

Celexa works to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, which helps to regulate mood, meaning you’re less likely to experience large surges of anxiety or intense anxiety symptoms. Celexa can help reduce overall symptoms including worry, anxious mood, tension, and restlessness. 

Often, this relief allows people to focus more on the internal issues caused by anxiety, such as discovering triggers and learning to manage them, rather than using all their energy to deal with their symptoms.

How Long Does Celexa Take to Work for Anxiety?

As with most SSRIs, Celexa can take an average four to six weeks to see full effect when taken at a standard dosage. However, this window can vary based on what dosage you start at, what medications you may have had to transition from (if any), and how the medication affects you as an individual. 

Not every medication works for every person, so if Celexa doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. There are other approaches available to treat anxiety. 

What Are Other Alternatives to Celexa for Anxiety?

There are multiple types of SSRIs: escitalopram, sertraline, fluoxetine, dapoxetine, and paroxetine, for example. Each of these can be helpful for anxiety, in addition to medications in other classes such as mirtazapine, buspirone, and others. If you struggle with anxiety and think that medication might be a good option, talk to your primary care doctor or a psychiatric provider about what they think is right for you. Some therapists can also prescribe medication in Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, and Idaho if they have the right qualifications.

Is 10 mg Celexa Enough for Anxiety? Proper Dosage for Celexa for Anxiety 

10 mg per day is the lowest effective dose of citalopram for anxiety. The dosage range for citalopram (Celexa) is 10-40 mg daily. The appropriate dosage is the dosage that works best to control your symptoms, so if 10 mg of citalopram sufficiently manages your symptoms, then that dosage is enough for you.

Is Celexa Better for Anxiety or Depression?

The effectiveness of Celexa in treating depression vs. anxiety is heavily dependent on the person, as different medications are effective for different people in different ways. SSRIs like Celexa can work very well to treat anxiety as well as depression. However, some patients might not feel the benefits as much as others. 

Though Celexa’s FDA-approved purpose is to treat depression, many patients find excellent relief from their anxiety symptoms while using Celexa, and some that take it for depression may not find it effective enough to treat their symptoms. 

Anxiety treatment requires an individualized approach that focuses on the particular issues that someone is facing and takes their personal history and tendencies into consideration. People may have to try multiple medications before finding one that is most effective for their symptoms.

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Side Effects for Celexa for Anxiety

Like most medications, Celexa has a few common side effects. Potential side effects of Celexa include:

  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Dosages over 40 mg per day can also increase the risk of cardiac issues, which is why the dose limit maximum is 40 mg.

Side effects usually occur during the initial start of medication, but not everyone will experience side effects while taking Celexa. If you happen to experience side effects, attempt to continue to take the medication, as common side effects typically go away after a few doses. 

If you are experiencing side effects and they are starting to interfere with your life, contact your doctor. They can tell you whether your symptoms are concerning and discuss with you whether a dosage adjustment or shifting medications might be the right course of action.

Lexapro vs. Celexa for Anxiety: Which Is Best?

Again, the effectiveness of medications on anxiety depends on what works best for each individual. Some doctors prefer to start with Lexapro (escitalopram) because it’s newer, meaning it has less cardiac risk and often has less side effects. 

Celexa vs. Zoloft: Which of These Is More Effective?

Similarly to the Lexapro and Celexa debate, the effectiveness of Celexa and Zoloft is highly dependent on who is taking it. However, Zoloft (sertraline) has a larger dosage range, which allows for the dosage to be increased more slowly, something that some doctors find preferable when starting anxiety treatment.

If you struggle with anxiety, consider consulting your primary care doctor as well as a mental health professional. From there, you can get guidance on whether medication is the right path for you and whether an SSRI like Celexa would be a good fit. 

  • Medical writer
  • Editorial writer
  • Medical reviewer
Kate Hanselman, PMHNP in New Haven, CT
Kate Hanselman, PMHNP-BCBoard-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
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Kate Hanselman is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC). She specializes in family conflict, transgender issues, grief, sexual orientation issues, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, behavioral issues, and women’s issues.

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Tamiqua Jackson, PMHNPBoard-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
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Tamiqua Jackson is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) in the states of North Carolina and Tennessee. Tamiqua has over 8 years of experience in advanced practice. She enjoys working with patients who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stress, sleep disorders, and other mental health issues that may affect everyday life. Tamiqua is compassionate and serves as a patient advocate.

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Hannah DeWittMental Health Writer

Hannah is a Junior Copywriter at Thriveworks. She received her bachelor’s degree in English: Creative Writing with a minor in Spanish from Seattle Pacific University. Previously, Hannah has worked in copywriting positions in the car insurance and trucking sectors doing blog-style and journalistic writing and editing.

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