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Froggyland: 40 days on escitalopram 5mg, need help.


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I have been on escitalopram for 40 days. First 27 days I was on 5mg, then 3 days on 10mg and now I have been back down to 5mg for 8 days. I have completely lost my appetite in these 40 days and have to basically force myself to eat. I have also not been able to sleep well. I was on 10mg for 3 days only because on the third day I experienced my first derealization episode. It’s the first time it’s ever happened in my life. Today I have an even bigger concern. I noticed that 2 hours after taking the medication I suddenly out of the blue became very angry first at myself and then at those around me. I started having very intrusive thoughts of hurting others which I would never but it was uncomfortable. I did some meditation and breathing exercises but was left with a pressure on my head. Now as of an hour ago the anger is back out of the blue and it’s so intense that I feel like I want to squeeze my whole body. It feels like my head is going to explode from the numbness it’s so uncomfortable. I’d also like to state that since starting the medication I have had a lot more intrusive thoughts in general mostly suicidal ones and will randomly get very depressed out of the blue. I was prescribed the medication after developing health anxiety in April and this was recommended with therapy. In the past I did take Zoloft 25mg for 6 weeks back in 2011 and stopped taking it after a suicide attempt at the time. I would not hurt myself but this sudden anger scares me so much and makes my head feel so weird. I did discuss the beginning of this week tapering off but my doctor wants me to take the medication for another week. Should I call sooner? And do any of these symptoms especially the sudden anger common? Thank you. 

Edited by Gridley

Zoloft 25mg 6 weeks - 2011 

Escitalopram 5mg April 28th - may 24th

Escitalopram 10mg may 25th - may 27th 

escitalopram 5mg May 28th- present 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA, Froggyland.


It appears you have had an adverse reaction to the Lexapro, which means basically that it is poison to your system.  The symptoms of an adverse reaction are very similar to those of withdrawal, and the symptoms your describe, including anger and intrusive thoughts, are very typical of an adverse reaction.  


You can choose to follow your psychiatrist's advice if you wish, but our view would be the opposite: that this drug is not good for you.  Some people's central nervous systems are simply too sensitive for psychiatric drugs, and based on your experience with the Zoloft and now the Lexapro, you appear to be one of them.   Please read the information in this link:


But I only took it for a Week


A person is at risk of antidepressant withdrawal after being on the drug for one month, so you fall within that period.  As described in the link above, that means the time you'll be taking to get off the drug will be longer than the time on the drug.  This is unfortunate but is the reality.  If your doctor suggests increasing the dose or switching to another drug, it is your decision whether to follow that advice.  Again, our recommendations would be the opposite.  We would strongly disagree with any suggestion that you cold-turkey (just abruptly stop taking) the drug.  Cold-turkey is the riskiest way to stop a psychiatric drug and the method most likely to cause withdrawal symptoms that can be unpleasant and of long duration.


We would recommend a very slow taper off the 5mg of Lexapro, at a rate of no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


The following link is specifically about tapering Lexapro, including how to get to non-standard doses needed for a 10% taper.  Lexapro comes in a prescription liquid, which is a convenient and accurate way to taper.  However, it does require a prescription, which means your psychiatrist (or another M.D.; any M.D. can prescribe Lexapro) would have to be cooperative with your wish to taper.  Other methods described in the link include making your own liquid from tablets and weighing tablets using a digital scale such as the Gemini-20 scale available on Amazon.

Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)



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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  • Gridley changed the title to Froggyland: 40 days on escitalopram 5mg, need help.

Thank you. I really want to taper off because my health anxiety started in April after many ER trips. At the time no one had mentioned I was having pa ic attacks or anxiety which just increased to me having more anxiety attacks. I’ve been doing exposures for the anxiety and learning to not fear the symptoms and it’s been working a lot I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I know I wouldn’t act on my intrusive thoughts they terrify me. I spoke to the doctor today and I told him what happened yesterday and how today I just feel numb. No emotions or anything. At first he wanted me to stop cold turkey but then he said that his gut is telling him I should stop but his brain is saying I should stay on the 5mg more time. I told him I wanted to recover from my panic attacks with exposures and more therapy without the medication but he’s not listening to me. He’s just saying that when the time is right he will help me taper off but I don’t like these symptoms. I’m not a danger to myself or anyone but I can’t really work on getting better if the medication is doing more harm than good. And then to make matters worse he said that if I do plan to act on the violent thoughts to call them ASAP. How is that good! 

Zoloft 25mg 6 weeks - 2011 

Escitalopram 5mg April 28th - may 24th

Escitalopram 10mg may 25th - may 27th 

escitalopram 5mg May 28th- present 

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Hello Froggyland. I wouldn't be the one to give you proper advice regarding when to stop escitalopram, but I just want to share that I also had to take antidepressants for intrusive thoughts regarding extreme health anxiety. In my case escitalopram has been of a miraculous help, while I thought I would never be able to let go of health anxiety.


I can only understand how awful it must be to deal with strong adverse effects while still having health anxiety. Not everyone experience withdrawal syndrome, but I believe by fearing it you might have more chances to experience it. It definitely sounds like you should decrease escitalopram intake given the effects it has on you.


I am not a doctor, and mods here have way more experience and good advice, however I know that in my country it is common to taper off by taking the 5mg escitalopram dosage one day out of two, it is what I did without side effects. I really hope you find a solution, sending thoughts.

Better days are ahead. If you read this and are still struggling - hang in there. It'll be worth it. My success story: I recovered from Escitalopram withdrawal.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. 

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Feb 2021 - 5 mg.  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two.

Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg. Withdrawal appeared 1 week after last dose.

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"


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The health anxiety has improved a lot but I don’t think it’s the medication since I haven’t been on it long. I’ve been doing mostly exposures and just losing fear of my symptoms and it’s helped so much. The intrusive thoughts became 24’7 after a derealization episode caused by going up to 10mg. Since then it’s just been a lot of thoughts of am I going crazy ( which I’m not) and now since I had that anger outburst yesterday my new fear is becoming a violent person and hurting someone else. Which I wouldn’t but I’m still working on not engaging with intrusive thoughts. 

Zoloft 25mg 6 weeks - 2011 

Escitalopram 5mg April 28th - may 24th

Escitalopram 10mg may 25th - may 27th 

escitalopram 5mg May 28th- present 

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I have had a really bad day today. I haven’t started tapering yet but yesterday I had no emotions and today I am literally shaking. I’m waiting for my doctor to give me a call so I can start tapering. I’m going to ask for the liquid lexapro so I can do this slowly. Is it okay for me to taper right now even though I am depressed and anxious? The medication did not help but I am in therapy and have found that more helpful 

Zoloft 25mg 6 weeks - 2011 

Escitalopram 5mg April 28th - may 24th

Escitalopram 10mg may 25th - may 27th 

escitalopram 5mg May 28th- present 

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