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Lexapro and manic behaviour


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I wanted to put this out there because it has only been in recent months that I realised that one of the side effects that affected me so much was manic behaviour in the form of a shopping/spending addiction.  It was only after reading Dr Breggin's book 'The Anti Depressant Fact Book' where I read other stories similar to mine that I realised what had actually been happening in my own life. 

Within four weeks of starting Lexapro I found myself unable to read, even though I had been an avid reader and could devour a novel in less than a week. So my evenings were very long and unlike my husband I did not find the t.v relaxing to watch. One night I remember my young daughter came in to the room holding one of her 'my little ponies' My daughter sat down and cuddled me and I began to stroke the ponies hair. Strangely it felt very comforting. Out of boredom I decided to google My Little Pony to find out information about the history of the toy etc etc. I quickly discovered that they dated back to the 1980's and some of them were considered quite a collectors item. I learned that they were separated in to three 'generations' G1 (the first ponies) G2 (The second release) and G3 (the current release) I very quickly became OBSESSED with My Little Ponies. I was a 43 year old middle aged woman who had never shown the slightest bit of interest in anything like that before but that was all to change. I would spend literally ALL day sitting on the computer researching the ponies and scouring Ebay for potential purchases. My favourite part was the "BUY NOW" button and very soon the postman and I were on a first name basis as he delivered hundreds of my little ponies to my door each day. I discovered the world of 'collectors items' and found out that rare ponies made in other countries were considered very valuable. So of course I had to have them too~ When I tell you that my daughter's room was covered in ponies I am not exaggerating. Every corner of every wall was filled with them. I hid them in cupboards, in my wardrobe, under my bed. My husband couldn't understand what was going on. He didn't deal with the finances, I did. Very soon I stopped paying the bills in order to spend the money on ponies. Then the mortgage. We came very close to losing our home but still it didn't stop me. I was completely out of control. As the weight piled on (I gained 25 kg in one year) I spent more an more time sitting on my backside on the computer obsessing over ponies. I was even banned from one of the MLP forums for 'erratic behaviour'. Basically I would search the world for one of those 'rare ponies'.......find it and BUY IT NOW then when it was delivered it was barely in my hands for more than five minutes and I would sell it online at the forum because  I had found another that I wanted more!!! The forum owner thought I was nuts (I was!!) 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I ended up selling all the ponies at a great financial loss. Then I became obsessed with Dolls, mainly vintage dolls that were worth a lot of money. In the process we lost thousands of dollars, had creditors chasing us up for payment and it was only by the grace of God that we managed to keep our home. My poor husband was at a loss as to understand my erratic, manic behaviour. My councillor didn't understand either and her thought was that I was trying to 'replace real people in my life with toys'. It wasn't that at all. It was a typical manic response to an SSRI drug. I had never shown any kind of behaviour like that before and there was no rhyme nor reason to any of it. 

My hope in writing this down is that maybe I can help someone else who might be going through a similar thing. For others it might not be toys like it was for me, it could be shoes or clothes or even cars! My shopping addiction was restricted to online internet but for others it could be physical outlets. It wasn't till I read of others doing similar things that I finally understood what had happened to me. I honestly thought I had gone crazy. My husband is still cautious about any parcels that show up at our front door and doesn't completely trust me with the finances any more. But thankfully after six years of that obsessive behaviour I am 'shopping addiction free' for twelve months at the time of writing. 

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Thanks for sharing that. Shows the power of obsessions, and how these SSRIs can trigger extremely destructive behavior.


These drugs affect each of us differently. For my recent five years on Lexapro, I had basically zero side effects. It did not trigger any obsessive or erratic behavior for me.


BUT almost 20 years ago, I went on Prozac. I had been a moderate drinker before that. But when I started Prozac, I realized quickly that alcohol became incredibly more pleasurable. I doubled my alcohol intake, and went on these incredible drinking binges. I was totally manic when I drank while on Prozac. I was very pleasurable, it was euphoric, I would go out and about all night.  It involved very reckless and dangerous behaviors. I am lucky to have survived that.


Within a year of that insanity, I got myself into AA and stayed sober for many years. 


Eventually my doctor told me that Prozac has a "synergistic" effect with alcohol, meaning that using both together multiplies the euphoria. And they finally started putting orange warning labels on Prozac that said "DO NOT USE WITH ALCOHOL" .


So these drugs can multiply the pleasure effect of obsessive behaviors, including obsessive drinking (alcoholism). With these SSRIs, we can become truly addicted to things that we once had under control. So while these SSRIs help some people curb obsessive behavior, in others it worsens it. These drugs are hit or miss and potentially extremely dangerous, it is playing with fire. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....


Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.


24 months SSRI-free  

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Thank You for sharing Clearday. I can also relate to the alcohol issue.....'sigh'. I never touched alcohol until I started anti depressants and now, well lets just say that I have a problem with it. I'm nine days alcohol free as of today and hoping to continue down that path.

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