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Whole1987: Tapering Lexapro and body aches, nausea


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Hello. I am 55yo female, stay at home mom. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety. I don't like to use self diagnosis, so please forgive these labels...if I were to look at a collection of things that have caused me to have trouble in life, they could be clustered around sensory integration disorder and some aspergers tendencies. I live in a community full of high achievers, and many have the aspergers tendencies, so I don't feel so bad about that anymore, but for 54 years, I did. The sensory integration issues were a hot bed for the exhausting anxiety and resulting depression.


I went on Lexapro 5 or 6 years ago when my 11 year old son's learning disability (rooted in sensory integration disorder) was completely overwhelming me. I was freaking out over not being able to help him and my husband's complete inability to help or even participate--for my son or for me. I went on the Lexapro to help me to stop screaming at and physically grabbing and charging at my children, esp the 11 year old, but the then 6 year old was watching. The Lexapro helped, but soon, I realized that anxiety was a useful fuel for me in my days and I missed it. I also became completely depressed over my situation (having given up my outside the home career, husband whose expectation that I seamlessly transition from highly educated executive to laundress), so I went on Wellbutrin. I have also always kept some Lorazepam in my purse for anxiety attacks. Having it available has usually been remedy enough, so I scarcely ever use it. Less than 10 pills per year which I break in half for 50-75% of a whole pill.


The apathy that has come with my treatment has gotten way out in front of me. My husband changed jobs, not unusual in his field or in our lives (but tiresome as he is a pain in the --- during the transition), but the insurance transition was annoying so I ran out of Wellbutrin and figured I'd just stop it. Time for the apathy to go away. This was 3-4 months ago, and while initially it was wacky, I feel I am over that. I did, however, gain 15 pounds. On top of the 20+ I had already gained since starting Lexapro and the 20 I gained prior to starting medications with the anxiety with my son, I now have 55 pounds to lose, which of course, makes me depressed and overwhelmed.


I want off the Lexapro. I cut 20 mg pills in half and have been on 10 mg for a while. I sometimes forget to take the pill and pay the price with tingling, dizziness, blurred vision. I was going to trim down to 5 mg, but after reading these posts, I will go for 7.5 for a month.


Looking for recommendations for supplements for getting through this. Sounds like vitamins, omegas are a starting point. Also the dreaded diet and exercise.


I just turned 55, and came up with a program called 55Alive for myself. Shooting for 55 minutes a day of: walking, focused mothering, focused wife-ing (this will be the hardest one), focus on friends, focus on faith, focus on housework & home improvement. Not trying to do all at once, but as much and as many as I can per day. Trying, also, to keep a log.


My member name refers back to the year in my life where I was most happy and confident with myself, the most optimistic, and the most energetic in my life. So much exercise involved in that, but it was wonderful. I want to be the person that person would have been at age 55.


Thank you.

Lexapro 20mg, 2009-2015, as of April 2015 10 mg

Wellbutrin 300 mg, 2010-2015, stopped cold May 2015

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You have found the right place to get help an support; welcome and so glad you are here.

20+ years of Zoloft 50-100 mg CT 03/2014 for 5 months
Back on Prozac 20 mg for 4 months CT since 11/2014
Found this forum the last day of 2014
The secret is to keep going!  Time will heal.

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  • Moderator

Hi Whole1987-- I remember that being a pretty good year too.  Welcome to the group, I'm glad you found us.  Sound like you have a lot going on in your life right now.  There are a couple of things we need to know that will really help us make suggestions. The big one is how did you come off of the Wellbutrin?  If you would list everything in a signature block it would be really helpful;





Also there are some other threads that it would be a good idea for you to read


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


There is a ton more information here, but this will be a good introduction.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017


"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • 3 weeks later...

After about 3 months at 10 mg Lexapro down from about 4 years at 20mg, this week I went down to 5 mg. I was proud of myself for making progress, and the drop from 20 to 10 wasn't too bad. I had stopped Wellbutrin cold turkey about 3 or 4 months ago also, which was messy. I was tripping and falling so much from that, that even my husband noticed it. But I got through it, gained 10-15 pounds.


Going down to 5 mg of Lexapro on Monday leaves me, by Friday, feeling like road kill. My joints are very painful and I am having body aches as though I have the flu. The nausea reminds me of when I was pregnant (I vomited for 7 months with both my pregnancies). I've lost about 5 pounds, and today I just don't feel like eating at all. Today I took 2 Aleve for my joints, I think that is starting to kick in. (I hope I hope)


I am optimistic and very happy to be making my way to a med-free life. In the years I was on the meds, I became very apathetic. But I had never felt not-anxious or not-depressed. I was thankful for that. It gave me a benchmark of feeling that I had never experienced. With that, I will remind myself when I feel anxious that I can dial it back by choice. That will be hard, but I really want off this drug.


Finally, I notice I am crying at sentimental things again. Not too much, but I used to really tear up at stuff. It shows me how numb I had become. I've had a few occasions where I have cracked up laughing in a way that was almost down right gleeful. It was so stark, I was taken aback by it!


Any tips and reassurances for my current symptoms would sure be welcome. I am going to go with the flax seed oil and vitamin D for sure and see how that helps.

Lexapro 20mg, 2009-2015, as of April 2015 10 mg

Wellbutrin 300 mg, 2010-2015, stopped cold May 2015

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Hi Whole,


You are tapering very quickly. 10% (max) reductions at very slow (monthly or longer) intervals are recommended to avoid stressing your nervous system.


I am currently tapering from Lexapro. Once I hit the 5mg mark I was hit by very similar symptoms to you which caused me to be bed bound at times. I have stayed at 2.9mg since May to stabilise and not stress my system any more than it can manage.


I think that we can all empathise with the need to be med free. However, slow and steady is best to avoid any more suffering or destabilisation of the nervous system.


Wishing you well.


Tilly x

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.


"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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  • Administrator

Hello, Whole.
Yes, you are getting withdrawal symptoms. This isn't good for your nervous system. Please consider tapering more slowly.
What is withdrawal syndrome?
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Whole,

I merged your new post in with your original introduction/update topic, its one intro thread per member. You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want.


You have been tapering too fast. We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Over time, these drugs change your nervous system. Their effects on your nervous system change as well.  These changes are temporary, but the CNS does take quite a while to right itself after the drugs are out of the body. Also see:


What is withdrawal syndrome?


and... Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


My own experience with coming off Lexapro was that I tapered much too fast after being on it for about 7 years. I finally stopped taking it at the end of 2010 after a 2 - 3 month taper. I did what you are doing, I was cutting my dose in half every few weeks.


Five years later, I'm still in protracted withdrawal.


You are already in withdrawal from stopping wellbutrin CT just a few months ago. Please stop tapering and take the time to read the information here, for some people, withdrawal syndrome can last a long time, and you are already showing signs that your nervous system is in trouble.


I see that Alto added a post while I was typing this, she added the same links I did, please read through them and save yourself from possibly suffering for a long time.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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Today I feel well! I need to get the liquid for tapering and will make an appointment with the Dr. on Monday. Thank you for the feedback!

Lexapro 20mg, 2009-2015, as of April 2015 10 mg

Wellbutrin 300 mg, 2010-2015, stopped cold May 2015

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  • Administrator

You're welcome. You may wish to stay at your present dosage for a month or more, to allow your nervous system to accommodate to all the changes.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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