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sailingman: Tapering off Lexapro


sailingman

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Hello! I found this site a few months ago as I've been going through a reckoning with ADs after 15 years of taking them daily.  I've had a complete 180 from believing in psychiatric drugs and western medicine, to now believing they are no longer helpful (at least for me, and I believe a large percentage of people as well). 

 

I was originally prescribed Celexa 20mg in 2009 in college while struggling with anxiety from a heavy course load and a depression from a breakup. I've put my faith in ADs for the past decade and a half, and I'm finally over it. I had a come to Jesus moment in September 2023 when I was abruptly switched from Lexapro 20mg to Effexor 187mg over a two week period, while simultaneously stopping 3 months of 5mg Abilify cold turkey. I realized then that ADs are not the answer.

 

I went into severe withdrawal for about 2 months, almost quit my job, and moved back in with my parents and sister for that time. I got introduced to some alternative approaches by my mother, first Kelly Brogan's Vital Mind Reset program (slightly helpful though a little woo-woo for me, but it started me on the right track I'd say - especially with the diet), then the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whittaker, and then by Brook Siem's book May Cause Side Effects and blog happiness is a skill (https://brookesiem.substack.com/) among many other books, online resources, and health and wellness guides. Most recently, I read the Maudsley Deprescribing Guidelines by Mark Horowitz (https://markhorowitz.org/) which is the backbone of the taper I will be attempting over the next 2 years.

 

Since September 2023 I have completely cut out alcohol and caffeine, and have cleaned up my diet (virtually no gluten, dairy, or added sugars). I've had lots of ups and downs, but am excited about embarking on a taper, and getting clean of these medications once and for all, because I no longer believe in them. I started tapering Lexapro on March 15, 2023. Hoping to check back in later with some positive progress on the taper.

 

Thank you for having me as a member of this community, I am grateful to have found you and to be able to share my experience here.

 

Overall ~ Medicated 2009 - present, mainly SSRIs, currently tapering

2009 - 2018 Celexa 20mg | Failed two week taper attempt in 2010, Failed 4 month taper attempt in 2016

2018 - 2021 Celexa 40mg (max dose)

2021 - Klonopin 1.5mg/1mg/5mg/0mg over 9 mos

2021 - 2022 Zoloft 100mg

2023 Abilify 3 mos, Effexor 2 mos

2022 - 2024 Lexapro 20mg (max dose) | MARCH 2024 STARTED SA RECOMMENDED TAPER 18mg | Apr 2024 16.5mg

 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA @sailingman.  This is a lovely community and I hope you enjoy it. 

The most active places would be the Symptoms forum but also feel free to jump in with words of support on other people's threads. 

 

We have similar histories. I was also started on Celexa in college due to transient anxiety and stayed on it for 19 years (well, now 24 years with the taper). I was lucky I didn't switch or get on the atypical ntipsychotics train. I would agree with your views on psychiatry but not with your views on all modern medicine. 

 

It is great that you are here and you are starting your taper well informed. My one advice will be to listen to your body and go as gently as possible. Slow and steady definitely wins this race. 

 

 

OMW

"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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Hi @sailingman and welcome!  I'm new here too!

 

I started my antidepressant journey in college as well.  30 years later, here I am, after many fast tapers and cold turkey stops under my belt.  Now trying to take things slow and undo some of the damage that has been done to my nervous system over the years.  I have long covid as well, so it's complicated lol!

 

I'm with you- quitting alcohol and clean diet (I'm a very strict whole foods vegan) have been critical to my long covid journey (having trouble giving up my morning coffee though lol), and I have no doubt these things will help greatly as I continue to taper my escitalopram as well.  I'm currently at 10mg from 20- I rapidly tapered to this point, but I'm slowing way down now.  

 

Looking forward to following your journey and supporting you along the way! :)

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell.

2009- Daughter born 🥰

2016- Back on escitalopram

2022- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN

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Thanks for the warm welcome and words of support @Onmyway and @Catwoman73

Overall ~ Medicated 2009 - present, mainly SSRIs, currently tapering

2009 - 2018 Celexa 20mg | Failed two week taper attempt in 2010, Failed 4 month taper attempt in 2016

2018 - 2021 Celexa 40mg (max dose)

2021 - Klonopin 1.5mg/1mg/5mg/0mg over 9 mos

2021 - 2022 Zoloft 100mg

2023 Abilify 3 mos, Effexor 2 mos

2022 - 2024 Lexapro 20mg (max dose) | MARCH 2024 STARTED SA RECOMMENDED TAPER 18mg | Apr 2024 16.5mg

 

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