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Posted (edited)

Hello all, 

 

I started taking antidepressants in 2017- I had a severe panic attack that left me with debilitating anxiety and I was willing to try anything to take it away. I started on Zoloft 50mg. I was able to successfully taper about a year later, but started getting panic attacks again early 2021 which put me back on the Zoloft 50mg. Summer 2022, I tried to go from 50mg to 25mg and two weeks later started feeling off- heat intolerance, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, insomnia, and severe intrusive thoughts. My Dr told me to reinstate the 50mg and it took about a month to feel better; I felt defeated and frightened, I was never going to get off this drug. Late 2022-early 2023 I did a 6 month taper, I whittled my pills as small as I could get them. For the first two weeks, I was fine- out of nowhere I had a panic attack and spiraled. I got nervous and reintroduced the small slivers of Zoloft; my Dr tried to slowly get me back to the 50mg, but with no success. Each time he bumped me up, my symptoms got worse, especially my intrusive thoughts. The thoughts got so unbearable, I went to the ER. The ER took me for being suicidal and homicidal and transferred me to a behavioral hospital for a week. The Dr there switched me to Trintellix, took it for roughly 2 months, wasn't for me. My psych tried to put me on Abilify, saying that it would make my intrusive thoughts go away faster, I refused. My psych proceeded to run evals for Bipolar II, which I do not have, and settled on me being "med sensitive", since I have horrible start up side effects on these drugs. I asked him to put me on Lexapro, he agreed to and started me at 5mg. A month later he bumped me to 10mg and that's what I've been on since September 2023. 

 

I would love nothing more than to feel like myself again since these drugs take away the essence of who I am, I just don't know where to begin. 

Edited by Emonda
Name to title

June 2017 - Started Zoloft 50mg for sudden and severe onset of panic attacks, anxiety, intrusive thoughts. 

May/June 2018 - Tapered for a few months, added St. John's Wort to help process (my pharmacist gave me the OK on this). Had little withdrawal side effects.

February 2021 - Severe anxiety and panic attacks returned, primary Dr. started Prozac 20mg for two weeks. Had severe activation syndrome from Prozac, switched to Zoloft 25mg for four weeks. Found a new psych, he bumped me to Zoloft 50mg

June/July 2022 - Decided to taper myself - went from Zoloft 50mg to Zoloft 25mg. Within two weeks, I had withdrawal symptoms. Psych told me to go back to Zoloft 50mg, took one month to level back out. 

December 2022 - Present - Around December 2022/January 2023, I tapered for about 6 months off the Zoloft. During the process I had little side effects. Two weeks finishing taper (I stopped at about 12.5mg of the Zoloft), I started my withdrawal side effects. Psych slowly reintroduced Zoloft 25mg for a few weeks, then 37.5 (he believed I was having a "relapse" of my "condition"). Each bump up in the meds made me worse. Switched to Trinellix 5mg for three days, then 10mg for one month. While on the 10mg, I started experiencing depression that I had never felt before, so my Psych bumped me to Trintellix 20mg and it gave me severe activation syndrome. I asked my psych to put me on Lexapro - started at 5mg for a few weeks + Klonopin 0.25mg for the activation syndrome (only took Klonopin for two weeks), the up to the 10mg that I've been on since September 2023. 

 

Supplements - D3/K2, Magnesium Glycinate, Fish Oil, Selenium. 

 

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  • Emonda changed the title to Abbeedeed23: Intro
  • Moderator Emeritus
Posted (edited)

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm sorry to hear that you are in this predicament.  It sounds as though you went into withdrawal from tapering too abruptly.  It also sounds as if your nervous system is now sensitized from going on and off and on psych drugs repeatedly, and now your nervous system cannot tolerate them, so you have adverse reactions when you go on them.  We call this kindling.  Please rest assured that there is a way out of this, and we are here to help you find your way out.  Let me give you some basic info first, then some suggestions.  

 

Did you have an adverse reaction (bad side effects) when you went on the Lexapro in August 2023?  If so, what were the symptoms?  Are you having an adverse reaction to it now? 

 

What do you mean when you say that Trintellix "isn't for you"?  That you had bad side effects with this one too? 

 

Can you please give us specific information in your signature about your drug history for all drugs and supplements you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  Please only give us drug names, dosages, and dates, as best you can remember, in a list format.  Please read the link below for instructions.  

 

How to List Your Drug History in Your Signature

 

Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the reduction becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

Tips for Tapering Lexapro

 

Because I believe your system may have been sensitized by going on and off drugs repeatedly, I suggest that you consider microtapering, which is the gentlest approach.  

 

Micro-Taper Instead of 10 or 5 Percent Decreases

 

This link will discuss kindling.  

 

Post Withdrawal Nervous System Hypersensitivity - Kindling

 

I truly believe that you can get off of the Lexapro, and find your true essence again.  That was also the reason I wanted to get off - I felt like only 1/2 of a person.  Please let us know if you have any questions, and let us know how you are doing.  

 

Edited by getofflex

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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Hi @getofflex, thanks for your response. I updated my signature with my AD timeline and current supplements. I appreciate all of the info linked within the post! 

 

The Trintellix gave me what I believe was activation syndrome. I didn't notice much when at the lowest dose (5mg), but a month on 10mg I started noticing depression at a level I had never experienced before in my life. My psych bumped me to 20mg, and I started getting agitated, restless, increase in anxiety, and my intrusive thoughts were out the roof. 

 

I did have adverse side effects starting Lexapro in Aug 2023 and it took me to about mid Nov 2023 to feel "normal". No severe adverse symptoms now - I've gained about 20ish pounds since Aug 2023 (this drug totally eradicates my satiety cues), I have depersonalization/derealization, no sex drive, and a loss of my creativity/drive/motivation. 

 

Thanks again 

June 2017 - Started Zoloft 50mg for sudden and severe onset of panic attacks, anxiety, intrusive thoughts. 

May/June 2018 - Tapered for a few months, added St. John's Wort to help process (my pharmacist gave me the OK on this). Had little withdrawal side effects.

February 2021 - Severe anxiety and panic attacks returned, primary Dr. started Prozac 20mg for two weeks. Had severe activation syndrome from Prozac, switched to Zoloft 25mg for four weeks. Found a new psych, he bumped me to Zoloft 50mg

June/July 2022 - Decided to taper myself - went from Zoloft 50mg to Zoloft 25mg. Within two weeks, I had withdrawal symptoms. Psych told me to go back to Zoloft 50mg, took one month to level back out. 

December 2022 - Present - Around December 2022/January 2023, I tapered for about 6 months off the Zoloft. During the process I had little side effects. Two weeks finishing taper (I stopped at about 12.5mg of the Zoloft), I started my withdrawal side effects. Psych slowly reintroduced Zoloft 25mg for a few weeks, then 37.5 (he believed I was having a "relapse" of my "condition"). Each bump up in the meds made me worse. Switched to Trinellix 5mg for three days, then 10mg for one month. While on the 10mg, I started experiencing depression that I had never felt before, so my Psych bumped me to Trintellix 20mg and it gave me severe activation syndrome. I asked my psych to put me on Lexapro - started at 5mg for a few weeks + Klonopin 0.25mg for the activation syndrome (only took Klonopin for two weeks), the up to the 10mg that I've been on since September 2023. 

 

Supplements - D3/K2, Magnesium Glycinate, Fish Oil, Selenium. 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you for providing your drug signature.  Can you please make it more concise by eliminating the narratives, and listing only dates, drug names, and dosages?  This will help a lot to make it more readable for the staff.  We are a small group of volunteers trying to help a lot of people.  See my sig for an example.  What were the dates you started and stopped the 6 month Zoloft taper?  List the dates of each and every drug change, not a description.  For example, the date you stopped Zoloft at 12.5, the date you switched to trintellix 5 mg for 3 days, etc, etc.  

 

It sounds like you had an adverse reaction to the Trintellix, and also the Lexapro, at first.  

 

You've had quite a few drug changes in the recent past.  By recent past, we mean in the past couple of years.  If you checked out my link on how psych drugs remodel the brain, you will see why stuff like this can affect people for a very long time, and it can take many months to years for the brain to stabilize and find homeostasis. The side effects your describe for Lexapro are pretty typical and common side effects.  I had the same.  

 

Based on all you have described, I would reiterate that a micro-taper may be in your best interests.   

 

 

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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