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Redhawk24: About me


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Hello all,


I am a 19 year old male who has been taking Lexapro (10mg) for about 2 years. I should have found this website a long time ago. I had an amazing relationship for 7 months with a girl i have known for almost a year now. While i was taking lexapro, I noticed how it negatively affected my relationship. Decreased libido, not being able to make connections to others, and constant running away from my problems. One night, I left her at a party to talk to someone else because i was upset with her because of problems in bed. On my way out, i saw bouncers pepper spraying people to get out of the club. How could a drug do this too me? Change me so much? I loved this girl so much and I put her in harms way because of my selfishness. I decided to go off of lexapro. It is important to add that I never told her i was on lexapro because i did not want her to look at me differently. I did not lower the dosage and slowly come off of it, i was ignorant and angry so i completely stopped taking it. I did not think that anything would happen to me. I had horrible mood swings and at times, i couldn't think. My brain would just stop working. My emotions were so hard to control. My mother was in the hospital and things were just falling apart too fast. There were nights that I seriously did not care if i died. So much has happened and Im still trying to pick myself up. I have lost so many friendships and the woman I love. To make things worse, I was playing basketball a couple days ago and I fractured my ankle and now I'm on crutches refusing to take pain meds because i don't want another drug to control my life. It has been almost 40 days without lexapro. I know some people might say that I need antidepressants right now but to be honest, I feel like myself again without them. I hated how it controlled and affected my life. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Redhawk and welcome.  Fracturing an ankle and taking no pain killers - yikes! You're tough-minded, that's for sure.
I'm sorry you're here and glad that you found us. I think you'll find that people here have some good ideas and suggestions to deal with any withdrawal symptoms you have from going off Lexapro.

You are not alone in experiencing unwanted and undesireable effects from taking Lexapro. The ones you describe are listed as possible side-effects toxic effects in the package insert/patient information document. The drug companies use many tactics to manipulate the studies or the reporting to reduce the reported occurrence of these effects.  If an effect is listed, it's actual occurrence is likely much higher in the real world than the rate reported.


Here's more information about Lexapro, Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram). In addition to tips on tapering (which you *may* not want or need right now), there's information about the drug itself including a link to the package insert (PDF) required by the US FDA.

How are you feeling now? Do you have any withdrawal symptoms? You can look at a list of symptoms in another thread on the forum: Dr. Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist.

If you relate to anything on that list, please post it here and ask any questions you have about them.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

No, you don't need antidepressants for the reason people may think you do.  You may need to reinstate a small amount due to withdrawal, but that is something altogether.


Withdrawal causes not just physical but emotional fallout which others see as proof that you need the drug.  Coming off these drugs too fast causes a big imbalance in neurotransmitters which lead to these symptoms.  It helps to understand what is actually happening to your brain on these drugs and coming off of them:


Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


So, the question is, how severe is your withdrawal right now?  Scallywag gave you the link for the symptom checklist, a great place to start.  Recovery happens in a Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization.  You can feel better, a window, and then go into a wave, over and over again. It helps to recognize this so that when it happens, you aren't blindsided and frightened.  People have the hardest time when they don't understand what is happening and doubt themselves, that maybe this is their old depression coming back.  When you have awareness, you can soldier on.


You did a cold turkey, which is not adviseable, and can lead to prolonged protracted withdrawal, lasting many months and sometimes years.  It isn't a matter of getting the drug out of your system to get withdrawal over with faster; paradoxically, withdrawal lasts longer when you come off too fast or cold turkey. 


We recommend a 10% taper schedule here on SA:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tapering allows people to remain comfortable while coming off their meds, functional.  It also allows the nervous system to do most of the healing during the taper so that when you finally come off, there isn't much left to do and withdrawal is minimal if at all.  When you CT, you are left with a huge amount of healing, and that can be a rough ride.  For that reason, we often recommend people reinstate a small amount of the drug to alleviate most of the withdrawal symptoms. About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Once you stabilize, you can then resume coming off with the 10% taper.  This concept freaks a lot of people out because they hate the idea of still being on the drug for all that time and perhaps think they will be suffering the whole time the way they have been presently.  But that's not the case. I, myself, have been tapering for a year and it is rather boring, really, because I feel fine! No drama here!


You can mull over reinstatement, as the window of opportunity is about three months, though some have successfully reinstated further out.  It's just that you are actually delaying getting on with being done with the drug by waiting.


In the meantime, there's lots you can do to take care of yourself.  Here are some Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.  Spend time in the Symptoms and self-care for additional support ideas. 


We suggest taking Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil as many have found them helpful.  Otherwise, we caution against using supplements since withdrawal can actually cause people to be sensitized to them, and some find supplements too activating.


Please fill out your signature block with your drug history, including all meds you are on now, OTC and Rx, and recreational (alcohol, etc.).  This helps us be informed better to help you.  Your signature appears below your posts so that everyone can see your history at a glance, rather than having to read through your entire thread:  Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature


Click Follow above so that you are informed when someone posts to your thread.  Please give those links a read and then come back here with questions!



Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor


My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Hey Redhawk,


I would hold fast to your conviction that you don't need anti-depressants.  They are just a crutch, so to speak, that doctors have stuck us with.  I took Zoloft and zyprexa for 14 years and they just made overweight and lethargic.  I feel better and more alive being off them, but I do have all sorts of problems with sleep after being on them for so long.  I hope you don't experience any lasting side effects from the Lexapro.



Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.


On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 


Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.





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