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shiroguma: Help with withdrawal symptoms


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Hi everyone, just after some advice/knowledge. I first went on Lexapro 10mg for about two years due to a spate of anxiety attacks that were stopping me from functioning. I would’ve preferred to see a psych first but we were in lockdown so it wasn’t possible. The meds worked, I had some strange brain fog and headachey stuff for a week or so, and sexual side effects that persisted for about a month before improving a bit (but not entirely). But I was feeling better so I kept taking the meds for a couple of years. After a while I was feeling fine and fed up of the sexual issues so I stopped taking the meds (no taper, wasn’t seeing my gp, no idea what I was doing). The brain fog and headachey stuff came right back (which I was expecting, as it would rear its head if I accidentally missed a dose). It wasn’t great but it dissipated after a month or so and my sexual function slowly returned. Felt pretty normal again. 
A year down the track and the anxiety came back in force, so I made the decision to go back on to Lex - again 10mg. I had similar side effects, but this time the sexual stuff persisted indefinitely with little improvement so after two months I packed it in again (cold turkey had been fine last time, so why not again?) This time the resultant brain fog has been present in some form for about three months now, with headaches and pressure similar to sinus pain. I sometimes feel like I’m not quite behind the controls, like I’m seeing the world through a filter or something. At this point it feels like it’s getting worse rather than better. 
I initially thought I must have an infection or other condition because I wasn’t aware that withdrawal symptoms could last this long. An hour or so on google now has me concerned. Are these normal withdrawal symptoms? Why would my side effects and withdrawals be worse the second time around? Can withdrawal symptoms like headaches and brain fog get worse before they get better?
Any help appreciated!

Lexapro 10mg 2019-2021 - no taper

Lexapro 10mg two months late 2022 - no taper

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  • Moderator

Dear @Shiroguma

welcome to SA. Thank you for completing your drug signature. It really helps us help you better.

These do sound like WD symptoms. They can be delayed in some people and the more times you start/stop a medicine (incl skipping or missing doses), the worse the symptoms become. It is called kindling.



You have the option to reinstate a small dose of Lexapro to see if it will alleviate the symptoms but it is best to do it within the first month. The chances of it being successful go down later on.  Did you have issues with starting the medication the second time? 



What you are describing seems to be derealization - seeing the world through a filter. As all other symptoms it will eventually go away. 



You can expect a pattern of good and bad days as your recover from withdrawal symptom. 



It would help if you stayed away from psychoactive substances including drugs, street drugs, alcohol, cannabis, some antibiotics and even some vitamins such as D and the Bs as some people in WD find them activating. If you are truly deficient in some of these vitamins it may be helpful to take them at a low dose. If you need antibiotics, look in the symptoms forum to see which ones create more problems for people in WD - some do not create problems at all. 


Hope you feel some respite soon and do ask us any questions that you may have. We are here to help,


"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • getofflex changed the title to shiroguma: Help with withdrawal symptoms

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