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Red90: Lexapro withdrawal


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Hi guys, I am a long time frequent visited of this site but just decided to make an account today and share a little of my experience with everyone. 


Just FYI I'm a 28 year old male, had my first episode of depression in middle school, probably around 14 or so. After breaking up with my first girlfriend when I was 17 I went into a deep depression and isolation, eventually leading to me taking Lexapro. 


After almost ten years of continuous use that I believe led to some terrible life decisions I decided to quit Lexapro once and for all. I had tried tapering and quitting cold turkey at various times in the past and found it to be more difficult than cold turkey, so in February of 2017 I quit cold turkey. I have been off ever since. 


The windows and waves pattern of withdrawal described on this site pretty accurately mirrors my withdrawal experience to date. I stopped having brain zaps and constant low mood after about 2 - 3 months. However, since then I have had sexual dysfunction, anhedonia, memory problems, mood swings, negative thought spirals, and a strange pressure in my head off and on. 


After over a year I feel as if I have seen a fair amount of improvement, especially in the sexual and mood departments, which is very encouraging. That being said I am far from fully healed, and still am subject to regular ups and downs. The most concerning thing at this point is my memory, which while not terrible is far from where it used to be. 


I'd like to share some of the coping tools that have been invaluable to me during this process:


- exercise (really can't stress this enough, if you aren't getting regular exercise you are doing yourself a disservice regardless of antidepressant withdrawal. Personally I have found that jiu-jitsu has an incredible impact on my mood, aside from being great cardio I think that the physical contact with other humans plays a part) 


- Diet (while certainly not a cure all, I have found that adhering to a paleo diet as much as possible has helped me quite a bit, I would personally recommend reading the paleo cure by Chris Kresser) 


- Fish oil (great for mood and brain zaps, I wouldn't have been able to quit without it) 


- Tumeric/curcumin (I have to say I'm shocked by how much this improves my mood, it's convinced me that inflammation plays a big role in depression)


- sauna/steam room (I think it's also related to inflammation; I feel like a new man after a good long steam room session) 


- mindfulness meditation (takes practice but you will surprise yourself at how much better it will make you at controlling negative thoughts/anxiety if practiced regularly) 


- psychedelics (I know that the mods here really frown on them, but from my limited experience I can honestly say there is something there, and they can really force you to face the roots of your problems and deal with them) 






2008 - 2/2017: Lexapro 10-20mg 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Red90, welcome to SA. 


We do not recommend cold turkey withdrawal - if you found tapering difficult, it may be that you were not tapering slowly enough.  I'm glad you have been able to cope with the withdrawal effects.


It's great that you have experienced significant improvement over the past year, and that you have a good toolkit of coping tools.  They all look pretty good, except the psychedelics - we really don't recommend those or any illegal drugs - which will really mess with your neurotransmitters, not what you want in withdrawal when your system is trying to sort itself out.


I hope you get more improvement soon.  Please keep us updated on your progress by posting here on your topic. 

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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