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Cadia: Escitalopram tapering journey (still underway)

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Hi all,


I am not sure how to begin... about 2.5 years ago I had postpartum depression and I was prescribed zoloft. At that time, I loved it because it truly got me out of that horrible place. A year later, my family doctor prescribed a 2 week taper and things seemed to be fine. I did develop PPDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) while on the pill and lingered after I withdrew, which brought me to work with a Naturopath in May 2020. The Naturopath prescribed me with, kid you not, closer to 10 supplements, included Rhodiola. I stayed on them for a couple months and I actually started feeling the happiest I had been since my LO was born. I ran out of Rhodiola and abruptly stopped taking it and that's when my nightmare began. I developed acute insomnia, and anxiety due to the lack of sleep. I became hypersensitive to all of the supplements and my family doctor started me on an antidepressant journey, once more. They assumed it was my depression creeping back. Long story short, after quitting trazodone cold turkey and starting escitalopram and jumping back and forth from 5 mg to 10 mg, I decided to taper because the pill is destroying my sleep + giving me very unwanted side effects.


My main side effects while on escitalopram have been SLEEP, sooo much insomnia, palpitations, low libido, sinus pain, worsened PMS, IRRITABILITY, depression.

As you'll see on my signature, I had my most recent attempt to taper skipping doses by doctor's orders on Feb 26 2021. After that, my insomnia got even worse and I've been an emotional reck, my hypersensitivity sort of came back and well, here I am... trying to stay positive but I feel so defeated. My last change was switching to a liquid version of escitalopram on the 25th of April, hoping that it'll be easier to taper.


My main problem is that I can no longer tell if I am experiencing withdrawal, or if the dose is too low or too high because all of the symptoms are the same. I know that there have been a lot of changes and I'm not sure but I think switching to the liquid version is going to require a lot of time to adjust as well and it's messing me up again, any experiences in this? 


I am curious though, to hear if anyone had this happened to them:

- Every time I'd switch the dose (up it or lower it) I'd start sleeping and feeling amazingly for 10-15 days until I assume my body would stabilize and then my sleep would get progressively worse. This happened even worse when upping to 10mg. It's like there's a transition period in which I feel better and then it hits me with everything. But it happened every single time I changed the dose.


I'd appreciate any words of encouragement and any similar experiences. I have a lot of trouble sleeping and I know it's because of the pill, but I can't quit either because then it'll hit me hard and I'll go back to not sleeping at all. Any advice? I no longer trust my doctor and I don't want to be put on any other meds. 


Thank you for sharing so much. Reading this forum has helped me tremendously. I just hope I had found it sooner.


  • Zoloft 50 mg Nov 2018 - Early Nov 2019
  • Zoloft 25 mg Early Nov 2019 
  • Zoloft Mid Nov 2019 OFF (2 week taper)
  • Trazodone 25 mg October 6 2020
  • Trazodone OFF (cold turkey) October 26 2020
  • Escitalopram 5 mg October 28 2020 - Jan 2021 the amount varied switching from 5 mg to 10 mg in 3 occasions. 
  • Escitalopram 5mg Jan 11 2021
  • Escitalopram 2.5 mg Feb 26 for a week
  • Escitalopram 2.5mg taper off skipping dose (by doctor's orders) every other day for 2 weeks
  • Escitalopram 2.5 mg every 4 days for a week and a half
  • Escitalopram 0 mg (OFF) March 24 2021
  • Escitalopram 5mg April 4th 2021
  • Switched to 4.8 ml (=4.8mg) liquid escitalopram April 25th 2021 
  • Escitalopram 4.3 ml May 4 2021
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA, Cadia.  


We are a site for going of psychiatric drugs and helping members deal with withdrawal.  You've made many changes in your Escitalopram dosage since January.  These drugs are very powerful (Escitalopram is the strongest SSRI on the market by far), and withdrawal is a common reaction to all these changes.   Switching to liquid is yet another change.  Your system is very sensitized at this point and caves stability.  I would make no further changes and would hold where you are at 4.3ml(mg) for several months, at least 3 but probably more.

 The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

Once you are feeling more stable and you're ready to resume your taper, we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four months.  You may need to go more slowly or reduce by a lesser percentage.  Never taper by skipping doses;

this is very destabilizing to the nervous system and makes withdrawal worse.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


This link is specifically about tapering Escitalopram.


Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)


So that you have a better idea of what you're experiencing, here are some links about withdrawal and the healing process.




When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  


These explain the healing process really well.




We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 




Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.












Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of May 2: 6.1mg

Taper is 92% complete.  


Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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