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ramarko: Lexapro withdrawal or relapse. Is it possible to heal?


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Hi All, This is my First Post. I am from South America, Argentina (sorry if my English is wrong... :D)

I wanted to share my history and my current situation.

Everything Maybe started when I was very young. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I could never sleep in other bed which was not mine at home. I had no father because he is from Europe and my mother from Argentina. So obviously I started therapy and all that stuff that maybe helped but not too much.


When I turned 17 every winter I started to have some kind of depression every winter for 4 to 8 weeks and then my life went back to normal when spring started. My mother left my house to live with my stepdad and I stayed at 19 living alone for 6 years. Only during winter I had those depression like events that I didn't want to eat much, feeling some kind of anxiety, unable to stop thinking in life... like it was horrible. But those symptoms went away a few weeks later.


On May 2011 one on my uncles left the apartment where I was living (she lived in another different floor) and suddenly after she left, maybe 2 or 3 hours later I started to feel lot of cold on my arms, my neck, my head and started to feel LOT of panic and started to cry.

That day I had to leave my house and live with my mom and stepdad again. My life changed 100% in a matter of seconds. I couldn't go back to work the day after that and I lost that job 8 months later. Living in my mother house I felt electric sensation in my body, pressing like sensation on my temple, couldn't sleep well, some days were normal and other days were like living in hell. I started psychotherapy again and tried to overcome all the symptoms with no luck.


After suffering all the for 8 months I decided to try with psychiatrist. At first she didn't gave me anything. In the past I've never took any kind of pill. Never any anxiety pill nor and AD. This psychiatrist after seeing me cry many times told me that I had a chemical unbalance and maybe that was caused by lack of serotonin and that was causing some glands in my body to produce chemicals that affects my life.

My psychiatrist told me once that after hearing my story about when I was young and my depressions during winter that I should have done a treatment when I was young and that my family wasn't realizing that I was not ok and that I needed help... that scared me a lot...


At first she gave me clonazepam 0.25 Sublingual and crying at home because I was thinking that starting with pills will ruin my life I split that pill in two and put it under my tongue during a panic attack. Obviously it was nothing so I didn't help me at all. Months later I never wanted to use the clonazepam so my situation still the same some good days and some bad days. Still with no job and still living in a shared small home with my mom and stepdad. I left that house and went to another aunt home to live with her.


After crying and feeling I was loosing my life I went back to my psychiatrist and she gave me Lexapro...

By the way I am a guy that loves to read about medicine and pills and how they work so before she gave me that pill I knew everything about it. She gave me first day 2.5mg next day 5mg next week 10mg and after 10 days 20mg.

At first it was like hell feeling like a guy was kicking my head, lot of anxiety, maybe manic feeling, but lot of corporal feeling.


I stayed from 2011 to 2016 January in 20mg with a really cool life, got another job in a new company. I was great in my daily tasks I was able to learn a lot, think very fast, study a lot. I certified many engineering ceritifications and got a new girlfriend (which still being the same girlfriend now). I was able to work on many projects at the same time, work also in different jobs outside my full time job. So basically I could handle anything, no anxiety feelings, no panic, no scare to anything, I was also able to go to roller coasters that scare me a lot in the past hahaha...


On January 2016 I went to my psychiatrist and asked her to stop the Lexapro because it was good but it wasn't normal feeling like nothing can happen and that everything was just perfect... My grandfather passed away during my 20mg lexapro and I couldn't cry no matter how hard I tried and for me my grandfather was like my dad I love him so much.


After that psychiatrist sesion I reduced from 20mg to 17,5mg and stayed on that amount for like 2 or 3 months after that I did the same and went to 15mg then 2 or 3 months and 12,5mg then 10mg, 7,5mg, 5mg on December 2016. I had no bad feelings at all, no symptoms that I remembered more than some times anxiety but that was it... After I re-certified an expiring certification for my job I decided to move to 2.5mg and I stayed on that amount for like 2 or 3 months again and then I tried to split the pill in 1,25mg but It was VERY difficult so maybe I took every day a different amount beteen 2mg and 1mg.


2 months ago in June one day I forgot to take the pill and I said to myself this is the time to try to quit lexapro and I didn't took it anymore. Everything was normal for 45 days (1 month and a half). Then one day I started to feel very very bad, only 1 brain zap, cold in my hands, cold in my neck, wanted to cry, upset, my sleep was good but when I woke up I felt like everything in my body was really bad, I didn't want to go to the office (but I did go every day no matter how bad I felt), I didn't want to do crossfit anymore, and I called my psychiatrist to understand what was going on. She told me that this was not a withdrawal due to the time after stopping the pill.


I had to fly to houston for work and I was very scared to the airplaine due to all my feelings in my body, I was scared to be on the hotel for 15 days working and get crazy with no help on the us. So she recommended my to start lexapro again and I did... I took like 2mg to 2.5mg and the first week was the same as the first time I took lexapro I felt very bad, anxious, lot of corporal feelings. For the airplane I took 3 0,25 clonazepam and it was like feeling normal (maybe) and during my stay in houston I had some bad days and bad nights. I could not pay much attention to my trainings and work. After 4 weeks of taking the 2 / 2,5mg I started to feel normal again and I stopped crying but it is like It is not the same anymore, I am still feeling that I am not 100% normal again I have some latent bad feeling on my chest and I am scared to feel worst in the next few days. It is very hard for me to explain.


After reading a lot on this forum without signing up I bough today a sringe so i can do today my liquid lexapro. In Argentina lundbeck only sells 10mg and 20mg I have no liquid lexapro nor 5mg lexapro. So today I will try to do my own liquid and take 2mg every day.

My psychiatrist told me that I might have some chemical unbalance same as many people have diabetes or thyroid issues I might have some brain chemical unbalance. I am very scared of this I am scared to never be normal again and need pills for all my life. I just want to live normal and I feel that psychiatrist doesn't know really well if we need or not a pill or if it is just a good psychotherapy what we need.


I wanted to share my story with you and understand if what I had was a Withdrawal or a relapse. If it was a relapse is it possible to heal?

I am internally confused with my own questions...  I am asking myself questions like:  Was it really that bad for me that I needed lexapro? Do I really have a chemical unbalance in the past or now I have a chemical unbalance? Will I heal or will this get worst? Is this real or it is just thinking a lot and paying a lot of attention to my body sensations?


Thanks for the support!


Edited by KarenB
added white space

Started Lexapro 20mg on November 2011. Started to tapper of on 2016. 2.5mg every 3 or 4 months then tried to quit when I was on 1.25mg.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to ramarko: Lexapro withdrawal or relapse. Is it possible to heal?
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Ramarko, welcome to SA. In answer to your question, no you do not have a chemical imbalance. That is a lie that was made up by the drug companies to sell their drugs. They also taught doctors this and is why your psychiatrist believes it.  Read this topic.. 



When you felt bad in winter it is called Seasonal Affective Disorder and is because of a lack of light in winter months. I suffer with this and use a light box in winter when there is not much sun. This is not a chemical imbalance or mental illness. 

Not sleeping when you are in a strange bed is common for children, most adults find it hard to sleep in a strange bed, it is natural to feel that way and again not a mental illness. I am really glad that you didn't see that doctor as a child, she would have given you drugs while your brain was still developing! 


 You did well to taper lexapro, most doctors suggest tapers that are much faster. Unfortunately you did exactly the same thing I did when I tapered effexor.I forgot to take it with me when I went away and was fine. I was down to 1mg and thought I would jump off, just like you. A month later I was in withdrawal, just like you ,and that is when I came here, just like you! :)  


Your nervous system has become unstable because of the withdrawal but it will settle down again. For now you need to stay at the current dose to stabilise. That can take from a few weeks to a few months. There will be windows and waves, where you feel better for a while then waves where you feel like you are not doing well, but DON'T PANIC. This is the normal pattern of healing and the waves will pass, just like real waves they rise and fall, then come to shore and turn into ripples. When you have been stable for a while you can start to taper again. It is good that you have done the reading and know how to do that with a syringe. 


Now I will find some links for you. First, it will be good if you can fill in your signature for us, We need the drugs and doses, start and stop dates. This link takes you to the signature box.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/settings/signature/


About reinstating to slabilise. 



Windows and waves



Tapering lexapro 



Many people here find that fish oil and magnesium are very helpful. 





**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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Wooow mammaP that was a great answer. Thanks a lot for the support.

I completed my signature but maybe I missed something so I will read each of the links you sent me.


Yesterday I did 10ml of water with a 10mg lexapro pill and it solved but no matter how much time you wait or how much you shake the preparation is like the pill powder still decants in the bottom of the small jar I am using.

I just mixed 10ml of filtered water with 10mg of lexapro pill and the water is colored like the pill but if I stop shaking the mix the powder appears at the bottom so Drinking 2ml of that preparation will be imposible to assure that I am taking 2mg. Did I do smoething wrong?


Another two things I would like to mention is that I have a friend of mine that often goes to electronic raves and takes ecstasy also called mdma (if pure) as lot of you would know. He told me that next day that he uses ecstasy on parties he is completely feeling depressed it was like the same symptoms I had during my winters or during the events prior to lexapro. It was very crazy to hear all the perfect details from a guy who never took and AD. It is supposed that mdma affects on serotonin 100% during it effect and in some long term users can cause depression next week after taking it.

The other thing is thy my psychiatrist told me that the only way to confirm if there is a lack of serotonin is when a person is dead with the brain autopsy. When they take the brain they can verify the serotonin and other chemicals and confirm if there was a lack of it or not.


Honestly I don't know what to believe at this point. Is like... the more I read or investigate the more confused and concerned I am.  


I will reply later after reading the links you shared mammaP.

Started Lexapro 20mg on November 2011. Started to tapper of on 2016. 2.5mg every 3 or 4 months then tried to quit when I was on 1.25mg.

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Ramarko, I hear you and thank you for sharing. I feel for what you're going through. I see a lot of my story in yours.


I am withdrawing from Lexapro as well. It is a completely awful process and am utterly miserable. I'm here looking for support as well, but what I can share so far is this: this is something we need to get past and need to stay as healthy as possible during the journey. Exercise, eat right, sleep, practice self compassion, spend time with people you love. And in terms of needing psychotherapy, can I recommend looking into skills-based therapy? I did Dialectical Behavioral Therapy this past year, which teaches mindfulness, how to understand and deal with emotions, etc and it helped me so much.


There is nothing wrong with YOU essentially. Don't let anyone make you think otherwise. We are all led to believe the way we feel needs fixing.

Edited by Rose9
added something

1999 on BCPs. 2000-2006 on and off Celexa & Lexapro.

2006 a stint on Wellbutrin, Prozac, Klonopin, ending in medical emergency

2006-2017 on and off Celexa & Lexapro; since 2010, therapy, DBT, mindfulness meditation, exercise, plant-based diet

Began taper off Lexapro Fall 2016 30 > 20 mg over two months (easy) ;  20 > 15 mg over two months (easy) ; 15 > 10 mg over two months (easy)

(Discontinued BCPs, huge lift in mood, drive)

10 > 5 mgs  over two months (easy) ; 5 mgs for 5 days (easy); 2.5 mgs for 5 days (flu-like symptoms began)

0 mgs 8/21-8/30, experienced debilitating vertigo, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, ear ringing, diarrhea, sensitivity to sound, head pressure, brain zaps; could no longer work/drive.

8/30 reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro; relief within hours, symptoms much more manageable. 9/2 started omega supplement.

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Just to add something that might be important or of your interest...

I do a lot of CrossFit, sports and trained very hard all my life so I take many high purity and high quality supplements.

I take every day: Fish Oil Musclepharm which is very high concentration of EPA+DHA,  L-Glutamine, Vitamin B-Complex and 1000UI of Vitamin D3.

During Training Sessions I take many different Amino Acids like BCAA, Beta Alanine, Taurine, Citruline and more. I also take different types of Protein Shakes that have a good amount of tryptophan and many other essential and non-essential amino acids.

In some months I also used Creatine Monohydrate to increase strenght.


None of the supplements I take affected at all during my lexapro treatment no matter of the dose I was taking. I always felt good training and taking all of them. The only one that maybe can cause some kind of strange sensation is the beta-alanine that causes a little tingling sensation 45 minutes after taking it and lasts for a couple of minutes, but the feelings were always normal with all the suplements while I was on lexapro 20 - 17,5 - 15 and all the other small doses.

Started Lexapro 20mg on November 2011. Started to tapper of on 2016. 2.5mg every 3 or 4 months then tried to quit when I was on 1.25mg.

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