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  1. NOSEXscitalopram I am a 23 years old male and I was prescribed antidepressants 2 years ago, which permanently damaged my sexuality. It was Spring 2017, after a stressful period of time caused by anemia, I began experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. I started having depersonalization, a state in which a person feels "detached" from their mind, thoughts, and emotions. I tried psychotherapy for 2 months, but it was not beneficial for me at all, therefore my next decision was to make an appointment with a private psychiatrist. He prescribed me an antidepressant called ‘Escitalopram’ (also known under the brand names of Cipralex and Lexapro) and said that these medications were well tolerated and the ‘only side effects’ that most of his patients experienced was a dry mouth. A couple of days after starting the antidepressant, my genitals became numb and my sexual functioning decreased by around 50%. I literally felt like I was 90 years old! During my second appointment, I reported this side effect to the psychiatrist, and he reacted by prescribing a different antidepressant. Unfortunately, it was causing the same problem. We then tried a third one which caused more sexual side effects. I kept taking it for about 3 weeks and decided to quit as I had had enough. My psychiatrist informed me, that I might get withdrawal symptoms which are mild and last around a week. When I discontinued the medications, I went through hell! I experienced horrible brain zaps, anxiety, sadness, shaking, insomnia, sweating, and severe problems with concentration - it all lasted about 7 weeks. Additionally, the sexual side effects still persisted at that time - I thought that it could not be possible, so I visited my GP. I had all sorts of medical tests that revealed no abnormalities. Furthermore, I got back to my psychiatrist with the issue, who said that in some cases antidepressants cause permanent sexual dysfunctions. I was terrified. Then I got referred to a urologist, who confirmed that my problem was caused by the antidepressant and unfortunately there was no treatment for it. I am now stuck with permanent damage from these medications and there is no help for me and many sufferers at all. This issue was first reported to regulators in 1991 and the first time any regulator actually confirmed the problem and requested updates of all SSRI/SNRI leaflets was the European Medication Agency in May 2019. Still, there is no research into it and many GPs say that PSSD does not exist. How horrible life can be when you have a condition, which existence is denied by pharmaceutical companies and even medical professionals. I am in an anhedonia state, which negatively affected my progress at university, and destroyed my relationship. I do not think that I will ever be able to have my own family that I have always dreamt of. Antidepressants permanently damaged my sexuality and left me suicidal. But of course, these medications are still recognized as safe and there are more and more people who are prescribed and take them worldwide.
  2. Teppo125 Hi you all! This is my first post here, but I have been here and reading stuff for many months. Sorry for my poor english, but maybe you will understand. I had many adversities in 2018-2019 and I began to have panic attacks, chest pains and air hunger. I had all of these in 2012 as well, but I was checked and there was nothing wrong with me. The panic attacks and chest pains all got away in a few months. I went to the private doctor which we had because of our job. And he recommended for me to go to the psychologist. The psychologist said that he recommends me to seek psychotherapist, because of my illness. Well I didn't do anything and the panic attacks didn't go away. I had to call an ambulance two times and they took me to the ER both times because I thought I was going to die. I went to the psychologist again and I told him that I would like to get some medications started. He said that he doesn't recommend medication, because I would start to trust the medication and it could be hard to stop (Oh how right he was..). Well I didn't seek a psychotherapist, but I went to the public hospital, because I wanted the medication, because I thought it would help. I called the psychiatric nurse and after the first appointment she sent me to the doctor and mid july in 2019 I was prescribed Escitalopram (Lexapro I think in you're language) 10mg/day. First week 2,5mg. Second week 5mg. And then 10mg. After first week psychiatric nurse wanted to see me and asked how I was doing. I was doing better, but I started to have some mild suicidal thoughts. What I never had before. We didn't notice them at all. At second week the thoughts became louder. Then I lifted the dose to 10mg and after a few days it wasn't only thoughts, but also suicidal behavior. I couldn't think anything else, only that that I'm going to kill myself. I noticed that something was very very wrong. I thought that the same goes for me what my cousin did earlier in the year, because he was deeply depressed and committed suicide. I was diagnosed mild depression and I had those horrible thoughts. I called the nurse and I wanted too se her. At this point the nurse was changed to another person. The previous nurse was only temporary and the right nurse came back from vacation. She didn't know at all what had happened to me, and neither did I. I didn't know that this DRUG could cause this kind of stuff. Also I am pretty good at sleeping and with this drug I had major sleeping troubles. Then we lowered the dose to 5mg and it helped a lot. Thoughts were still there, but I continued eating them and continued my life. I played football and another sports in the summer, but the thoughts were still there all the time. After 8 weeks(I think) I recognize that when I watched a mirror, I became to hate my self. Then I decided to call the nurse and I told her that I want quit this medication, because I was not feeling good with this drug. She said that I'm now fearing the drug and she doesn't want that I quit the escitalopram. Well, after a long conversation she gave me permission to stop the drug and I could do it cold turkey, because such a low dose and I haven't ate it a long time. And you all know what happened then. But I didn't. I have never before ate any drugs. Only ibuprofen for hangovers some times. I quit the medication propably mid september and I feel pretty good. But after 1,5 - 2 weeks I was thrown behind the hell. And the hell last, it last enormously long time. After two weeks of quitting the drug my girlfriend told me to go privat psychotherapist, because I felt so awful. I though that I am insane that I have tilted some way 😃 (I can laugh sometimes now). The psychotherapist said that it is almost impossible that you are insane, because you are too old to become lunatic and it happens almost every time in 20's or earlier(I'm 30 years now). That helped a little bit. After 4 months of quitting CT, I went to psychiatric and told her what I was going throw. She said that the drug(withdrawal) couldn't be anymore the reason how I felt and prescribe me ketiapine (Qetiapin maybe in English?) for that enormous anxiety what I have. But she also said that just last year people and media are been talking about those side effects and withdrawal in Finland caused by antidepressants. I crashed. I didn't want to live anymore, because my life was awful hell. And it wasn't the withdrawal anymore. I took that ketiapin for month or two 12,5 mg or less for sleeping and anxiety and then I quit it, because I don't want eat any drugs anymore EVER. But somehow I find a group at Facebook. It was Finnish(I'm Finnish also)group about SSRI withdrawal and I noticed that maybe I'm not a lunatic. And then I found there also this site. I also went back to another psychotherapist after 5 months of cold turkey and she said that my biggest problem was the drug withdrawal. I wasn't insane because that couldn't be possible. Or it could be possible, but there should be some sings before if I was for example scitzofrenic or bibolar. I was happier than ever. I continued the therapy which is conditional behavioral psychotherapy. Now I'm almost 8 months free of the drug. I'm not fine, but I think that I survive this. This is not a success story yet, but I write that too then when I'm firmly on my feet. If anyone could help me somehow what I should do in this withdrawal please leave me a comment. Or is it only time what heels me?
  3. Brian81 Hi All I am Brian. 38 year old male from Ireland I am an SSRI user of 2.5 years and i am hoping to wean off it altogether Reasons why. I feel too good tbh and i feel like i dont need to take anymore. I want to try and be pharma free I want to be able to try handle the world with my own ups and downs Most of all i want my libido back😊 Anyway Hope to meet nice people here for genuine converations and shared info Brian
  4. Hi. Am new to this site, found it bc I am struggling with tapering. I went too fast, have had symptoms a number of times and each time increased my dosage a bit. This last time it did not relieve the symptoms. Am I screwed? I have been in escitalopram for 5+ years. Started tapering in March 25. Went down to 20 right away, then 10 within a week or so. Then started skipping days. Brain zaps, diarrhea, nausea, mouth pain, headaches. Each time I got the zaps I would take a 10 mg. (In other words, not skip a day). I had not yet found this site. Yesterday I had a headache that would not stop, some brain zaps. Took a 10 mg, am still nauseated, headache, dizzy-ish the next day. Found this site, horrified by what I have read ... took another 10 mg and am hoping like hell I have not done any long term damage. advice? What can I do ?
  5. Hello everyone, Before I begin, I want to apologize for the length of my first post. While some of the information may seem irrelevant at first, I'm trying to provide context and useful details to be as helpful as possible. I have tried to follow the forum guidlines as much as possible, but there is a lot to read up on, so if I am missing anything or anything needs adjusted please let me know. I am a male student in my early thirties who was first prescribed Lexapro/Escitalopram when I was nineteen for situational anxiety. Following the doctor's taper advice, I went on and off it twice in my twenties. The reason I returned to the drug both times was, again, situational anxiety that became debilitating to daily life. I did not have any problems with these tapers, which were completed over a few weeks. My latest period on the drug started in late 2013. I was on this dose, Lexapro/Escitalopram 20mg, for approximately six years. Last fall, I decided I wanted to taper off for good. I was experiencing some effects such as sleeping long periods, morning anxiety, and a feeling of a constricted nasal passage in the morning that I thought might be related to the drug. More generally, being on the drug made me feel ashamed and I was coming upon a turning point in my life that had made me committed to living healthier. Given my experience with past tapers, I conceived a taper that, at the time, seemed cautious since it was a longer plan. I would alternate days and divide the dose in half every two weeks. When the dose became too small to prepare with a pill cutter, I used a pill crusher and made a water/drug solution that I administered with an oral syringe. This taper was completed from August to December 2019, over approximately four months. The negative effects I remember when tapering was some occasional irritability/emotional oversensitivity. I now realize that, given my situation, this taper was foolish and too fast. In my mind, I was just trying to do what I thought was a more careful version of the method I used in the past. In the middle of January 2020, I noticed one of my testicles was swollen. My PCP had me get an ultrasound, which indicated that I had developed a small hydrocele. A hydrocele is an accumulation of fluid that is generally harmless, but sometimes requires surgery to remove. Accompanying the hydrocele was some penile pain/burning. Although a urine test indicated that this was not from a urinary infection or STD, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic. I presume he was suspecting an infection of another kind. I began the antibiotic on February 13, and after about five to six days, I began noticing some very distressing symptoms: confusion, bad mind fog, short-term memory issues, anxiety, strange vertigo-like sensation behind the eyes, inability to feel emotions. I woke up in the middle of the night on day seven with a panic attack like none I'd ever had before. It was relatively short, but my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, which isn't a symptom associated with my past panic attacks. The symptoms I described would come in waves of a few hours and then attentuate. Around days seven and eight I also was going in out of something I would describe as a dissociative state combined with intense anxiety. It was very bizarre and unlike anything I had ever experienced berfore. I just felt disconnected from everything, the world felt corrupted, and combined with the aforementioned symptoms was very terrifying. At the time the first symptoms (mind fog, anxiety) appeared, I thought they might be connected to coming off the SSRI. This seemed logical considering that they were primarily psychological symptoms. I went online and learned for the first time about the possibility of protracted withdrawal from SSRIs. My understanding prior to this was that talk of "discontinuation/withdrawal syndrome" referred to the brain zaps/flu-like symptoms that sometimes accompany tapering. Nevertheless, on day eight of the antibiotic (February 20), it occurred to me that the antibiotic was the only new factor to be introduced during the preceding week and these symptoms were so qualitatively different than anything I had ever felt before. After looking it up online, I found reports of this particular antibiotic causing the previously mentioned side effects - anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, etc. (see https://www.medications.com/doxycycline-hyclate/39445). After learning this on the evening of day eight, I decided to quit taking the antibiotic, and within two to three days the side effects mostly subsided. The following week (February 23), the penile pain/numbness/occasional paresthesia returned. I had daily anxiety for a couple weeks worrying about this issue until the urologist did a physical examination (March 5) and assured me that everything was normal, but that the symptoms could possibly be coming from an issue with my pelvic floor muscles. She recommended that I look into pelvic floor therapy, which I have yet to look into. Since the urologist appointment, the penile symptoms have largely disappeared, which leads me to believe that they may have been psychosomatic effects combined with lingering antibiotic side effects. Most recently, over the last week (March 9-15), I've noticed a return of some of the psychological symptoms I was experiencing before while on the antibiotic, only not quite as intense: hours-long waves of anxiety, mind fog, heart pounding, memory issues. I'm just generally feeling "out of it" and not "like myself," kind of like a hangover. The last two nights I have had problems sleeping because of anxiety and heart palpitations. I am concerned with what is causing these issues. Some people who took the antibiotic I did said the side effects lasted weeks or months afterwards. This seems possible given that antibiotics can kill a lot of the "good" gut bacteria that have some relation to mood regulation. What is confusing is that some of the side effects of the antibiotic seem to overlap with those of SSRI withdrawal. So could it be that one triggered or exacerbated the other or that it is a combination of both? The last two months have been some of the hardest of my life. From being in the emergency room worried about the antibiotic damaging my brain, to worrying about having a debilitating genital issue that would ruin my ability to form a relationship or have kids, to worrying about the possibility of SSRI withdrawal, it's been one thing after the other. Currently, I'm dealing with trying to finish my semester remotely while holed up with my family because of the coronavirus situation. One family member was recently discharged from the hospital and requires a lot of constant assistance with certain medical procedures and therapies, so that has been stressing everyone out. So it is also possible that I'm just feeling burned out. In the meantime, I have started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist who is sympathetic to people weaning of antidepressants and transitioning to more wholistic therapy. She thinks it is conceivable that the issue is any or all of the things I described above, and has advised me to live as healthy as possible in the meantime. I have adjusted my diet (including adding probiotic foods), spent time walking daily, cut out caffeine, and started on fish oil, a multivitamin, and gingko biloba. Overall, my purpose for posting here is to get any kind of guidance or perspective that may be helpful. I understand this is a complex situation that doesn't have a clear response. At this point it seems my options are to wait it out or to try to reinstate the Lexapro/Escitalopram at a lower dose which seems successful for some, although from reading here it seems that at three months since the last dose I am approaching the end of the window of opportunity where that seems effective. I found a psychiatrist from the forum's "recommended doctors" section who lives close to me and seems to recognize withdrawal, so scheduling an appointment is a possibility. Finally, I want to thank the administrators and moderators of the forum for their work in selflessly providing a space for those of us in need to receive advice.
  6. Hi everyone! I am so happy I discovered your forum last week! I am a stay-at-home mother of three children from 5 to 10, and happily married. I have been on Escitalopram 10 mg for one year, since February 24, 2019. A doctor prescribed it to me because I had been in an acute anxiety condition for many days and it was still increasing. I was diagnosed a burn out too. It was hell for me, I wasn't able to do anything, panicking with difficult breathing. I had been doing everything for my family for 10 years, never taking a break, without fun hobby or social life: a perfect recipy for the break down that happened. Now, thanks to my psychotherapy, all the rest I took and the new way I live (I work less, I involve everyone at home and I have hobbies and friends now), I feel better. I still feel tired and in the process of totally healing from my burn out, but I am on the good way. I plan to tapper off from escitalopram because, in spite I tolerate it well, I'm beginning to have more very small involontary movements and I don't like that. Moreover, the doctor who prescribed it to me told me to take it only for a year, which I agree with. I think I will now be able to control my remaining anxiety with my psychotherapy -- if escitalopram ever helped in my healing process, which I'll never know. So I thought I could tapper off within 6 months. My pharmacist told me to do that within 1 month, but I knew better because I wanted to avoid the withdrawal horror stories I read on Internet. What a surprise when I discovered your forum telling I should go even more slower than that! I am so, so scared of the discontinuation symptoms that, believe me, I will go slow and do the -10% every month, should it take 4 years to be escitalopram free. Now my only worry is that I cannot purchase the liquid form in Canada, it is not available in my country... So I will read your advice about how I can make my own oral solution or how to make powder with my pills and prepare smaller doses myself. I should start next week and I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you for being there! Your work here is a real blessing, and I will share it with the many antidepressant-users I know.
  7. Hello everybody. I'm from Finland. My health problems started 2015 when I tried to change my diet to vegan even I had build my physics with gym and eating much of meat half of my life and I had big muscles. This suddenly diet changing caused problems. My nervous system didn't recover anymore and I start to lost muscles and power very fast. I stop gym but half year later I started it again but still trying to eat vegan diet and that led me to bad problems. I got sinus problems and cat allegy and I had two cats. All this led me problems caused by medicines. First some medicine caused panic attack when I was sleeping and then I got anxious and doctor gave me benzos. They caused problems and when I tried to get off them but I made some mistakes because I didn't understand how it should to do and doctors also didn't understand. I started to use mirtazapine (same than remeron) for sleeping when tapering benzos and it caused even bigger problem and when I tried to get off mirtazapine the situation went so bad that I started to SSRI named Escitalopram (same than Cipralex or Lexapro) because pressure by the doctor and my symptoms was also so bad. Doctors didn't believe withdrawal symptoms by mirtazapine. When I reducing the mirtazapine dose my digestive system also stop working properly and I think that also made me feel so horrible. It took time to find how I should eat. When I tried to reduce my Escitalopram dose I failed few times. Then I started to looking some ways to make systems of my body working better that reducing the medicine could working and one after another I found some things that worked for me. Finally the reducing the dose start to working. I also found a good method from one Facebook group. The problem was that escitalopram is not water soluble. I developed that method a little better. In this video I show how I made that: How I tapering Escitalopram I tapered the dose about one year from 15 milligrams to 5,73 milligrams. Then I started suspect that the medicine itself make the tapering harder. That is a little hard to explain. I decided to jump to zero from that dose and I knew it's huge jump. With all my systems that I had found my symptoms have stay tolerable. I mean food system and some supplements. I kind of manipulate my nervous system with them that the symptoms stay away or not completely away but they stay much easier. I took my last dose in 28 th september 2019. It was over 4 months ago. Now I feel this is gonna take very long time to heal. I can't sport much and I can't even use computers too much. I need even limit reading books or listening audio books because capacity of my brain is so low. So I need allways consider where to I want to use my limited capacity. If I have used too much computer and smart phone it can took few days to recover from that. Sometimes I also feel anxious and depressed. My nervous system is also extreme sensitive to many things like herbal spices, vitamins, many foods and so on. My food system is very very limited and exact. I have to eat certain foods exactly in certain ratio. If they are not in that same ratio I get symptoms. All those my systems protect me that my situation stay tolerable. I also need to take certain supplements at a certain time and just the certain dose or I get symptoms. Now I'm just waiting how long this is gonna take and when all this is going to get better or is the worst yet to come. I guess this is going to take at least year but probably longer to heal. So my problems started from very little but because my and doctors weak understanding the small problem grew very big problem. Every time I understood certaing things when it was already too late and the situation was got worst.
  8. Hi, I have been on all kind of meds for the last few years, on and off of them. I won't remember all of them, one of the longest that I have taken was fluoxetine, around 2 years ago, lately Escitalopram. (I have quite bad memory, maybe caused by a traumatic event, maybe by meds, I still can't figure it out.) I have been on Escitalopram 10 mg. At some point I had difficult time at work that required lots of focus, so I have also taken magnesium, some natural brain enhancers such as ginkgo and in the end freely available nootropics. I'm quite sure I didn't mix them, at the time when I was taking them, or if I took some together, I did research if they didn't influence each other. I have decided to come off Escitalopram, slowly, by 5mg and eventually was without meds for few months. Things gotten worse, I started taking meds again, slowly with 5 mg for few weeks. I need a new job, so I need to attend job interviews, on which I am confused and can''t remember basic things, so I stopped taking it again. Now it's few days, over a week and can't even write properly, this message is taking extremely long to type out(not an issue of foreign language, it's the same in my native). Can this be withdrawal symptom? I feel like it's short term memory or something. Besides that I feel moments of extreme sadness, which I guess are classic symptoms. However the inabilty to type form proper sentences, speak properly, remember thigs and do mental work is ruining me. Should I meanwhile try to just take natural brain enhancers? Anyone got experience with that? I'm so stuck at the moment, don't know what to do, should I go back, should I taper off? I need to move on with my life Hope this is readable, I'm not English native speaking.
  9. Hi all, I'm glad to have finally found a place that provides an explanation for everything I have been going through. Anway, let's get to it I guess. I first started taking antidepressants when I was 17 years old (2010) due to a development of Panic Disorder which I now know was caused by trauma as a child from various things, my mother dying being the main reason I suspect, she was also a drug addict so I grew up around a lot things a child shouldn't, I also had no father present. As long as I can remember I have also suffered from OCD, I obviously wasn't aware what it was as a child but the characteristics were there. I originally was started of on Zoloft for a couple of months but it had no effect, moved onto Citalopram, again didn't work. Finally I found my golden ticket, Lexapro. It provided me with the much needed relief I was seeking from my panic and compulsions/rumination. It worked great. At the beginning I don't really remember suffering many side effects except for dampened emotions and a slightly decreased libido. Since beginning on Lexapro I was on and off it a lot to be honest and from memory never experienced much difficulty withdrawing, nothing acute anyway although I did always get some brain zaps, thinking back now I always welcomed the return of a natural emotional range, It was like I could breathe again. I have not been on it full time since I started and the longest I spent off it was 2.5 - 3 years and was seemingly doing okay. I went back on medication when I went overseas at the beginning of 2018 as travelling seemed to heighten my pre-existing mental health issues, again, it worked a treat. OCD and rumination out the window! I had a bit of dramatic year in 2018 and was out partying a lot to ease the pain and by the end of the year I decided I wanted to make real change, tackle my demons head on, come off meds, get super healthy and focus hard on my acting. This is when my hell started. The first two months of 2019 were great, I was running every second day, I had started a course at uni and I was sober and enjoying it! By May my rumination and OCD skyrocketed, existential dread, a loss of purpose and hope, you name it. I was plagued by what I can only describe as feelings of tension all throughout my guts and inner body. My torso just became ( and still is ) so tight and stiff, lots of pain in my back, neck and shoulders, restricted movement, it's by far my most uncomfortable symptom, especially my diaphragm. I now know this is due to my nervous system taking such a hit by being exposed to such change so quickly but Its left me confused as I have always fast tapered and never experienced anything like this. I went back to my doctor assuming that I needed to go back on medication, my theory was the combination of quitting substance abuse and medication had opened the floodgates to a lot of pent up unresolved trauma and overloaded my system ( I will also add from 17-21 I pretty much did 0 drugs and 21 onwards dabbled very rarely) truth is, I had every intention of feeling my emotions properly and still do but something was different this time round. I have been in physical hell for over a year now, stiff, sore, restless, you name it. I started back on Lexapro around June - July last year but I found it didn't do too much. My new psych had me try Fluoxetine for a bit but it didnt do anything at all. By the end of the year I started to come off it again and truth be told, the lower I got in dosage, the better I was feeling. I might also mention that for the majority of 2018 I was at a dose of 10mg, nothing too high. In the past when I was younger I had gone up to 20-25 but haven't been on that high of a dose consistently for a long time. I did go back up to 20 briefly last year after reinstating as I was desperate and thought the more the better but it didnt change anything. I have now been off Lexapro again for around 6 weeks, I have definitely experienced what I now know as waves and windows, I'm a pretty intuitive person and I can tell you that my mind and body scream at the idea of ingesting that drug again. I only found this website last week so I have only just found out about reinstatement and all of the things that are discussed here. Reinstatement at a low dose has crossed my mind as an option so I can begin a slower taper down the track and stabilize my symptoms however based on the fact that I stopped and started again last year without too much alleviation from the negative symptoms I feel as though I should just keep going, as tough as it is. My psychological symptoms have largely improved, I have had a slight decrease in the general tension I have talked about which is good. I also have moments where I feel real emotion which I actually like, sure it feels like I may cry sometimes (although I never really truely do) but thats all i have ever wanted for a long time, to let go off all this weight I have carried from my trauma. Anyway I thought I would get some opinions from you guys as to whether I should try reinstating or just keep fighting the good fight. I don't know if I am extremely resilient or if my symptoms are bad but not AS bad as other peoples but I have somehow managed to hold down a job, try my best at exercise, stay sober for 90 percent of the last year and work hard towards my goals. Its been so so uncomfortable, but I'm a battler and i fear if I stop I won't start again. I wonder if the worst is over? I mean I reinstated for 5 months and have honestly noticed more positive changes since stopping the medication all together once more. I am thankful for my positive mindset, at the moment I am not feeling suicidal which I was for a time, I want to be alive, I meditate a lot, write a gratitude list every day and do what I can to keep moving forward. I really really don't want to take meds again but I understand it may help... I will mention again that I have ALWAYS fast tapered under the advice of my old Psych and never had this happen before, why now? Anway, some direction may help, I'm thinking about sticking it out, im certainly not feeling comfortable but currently doing all I can besides actually taking the tablets themselves. At this point the physical is more unbearable than the mental but im pushing forward, any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks guys.
  10. Are the doctors right? Insomnia. I gave birth to my son in March 2019 and experienced terrible postpartum anxiety. My psychiatrist put me on 20mg Lexapro (escitalopram) which I commenced on the 17th June 2019. In October I saw my psychiatrist and told him I wanted to taper off Lexapro - he told me to take 15mg for one week, 10mg for one week and then 5mg for the final week (three week taper). My last pill was on the 14th November 2019 and the day after my last pill I couldn’t sleep. Ever since then I have experienced terrible insomnia. I either find it hard to fall asleep or I wake a few times per night. My psychiatrist and doctor believe that my anxiety is waking me during the night but I think the insomnia is a withdrawal symptom. What are your thoughts? And is there anything I can do to ease my insomnia? Do I need to go back on Lexapro (6 weeks without the meds) and then taper more slowly? I have had my anxiety under control but the lack of sleep is sinking me downhill again.
  11. Hi! I will keep this post pretty plain for now, as my WD symptoms (the pains, mainly) make it hard to even use a computer for long. I will also try to make a short "signature" version of my history later today. When I was signing up, I was asked to provide a history of my case. I'm gonna paste it below. So, here goes. ---------------------------------------- All of the following changes/switches were done in 1-2 weeks each (except where otherwise noted). I.e., very quickly (which is bad). - Started Amisulpride 600mg and Escitalopram 30mg in 2014 for OCD. - In 2017 Amisulpride dose became 500mg. A few months after that, I developed tardive dystonia (cervical). - In 2018 autumn switched from Amisulpride to Abilify (about 15mg), to combat the dystonia. Indeed the movements stopped, but I was very sleepy (was taking lots of baclofen too). So I moved back to Amisulpride 500mg. - In 2019 february made another attempt at switching to Abilify (22.5mg). It was successful. But since then, I gradually developed disabling joint pain. - In 2019 (around July) reduced Abilify to 15mg, and nothing much changed. - In 2019 September switched from Escitalopram to Paroxetine (40mg) to combat the joint pain. Got a slight improvement in joint pain. Since the first day of Paroxetine, I began having eye problems. - About 3-4 weeks later I reduced Paroxetine to 20mg and Abilify to 7.5mg. Nothing much changed. - About a week later, I reduced Paroxetine to 15mg and Abilify to 3.75mg. Finally the joint pain was almost gone. - Soon, the joint pain reappeared so I started taking 4x3.75mg Abilify and since then, my joint pain is quite minor. - About 3-4 weeks later I switched (Cold Turkey) back from Paroxetine to Escitalopram (7.5mg) to combat the eye problems. That did not help, and I started getting disabling muscle cramps (in quadriceps). Then I found the "paroxetine withdrawal support" FB group. - About 4 days later, I switched (Cold Turkey) back from Escitalopram to Paroxetine (15mg), because of the cramps and because of what I learned from the FB group. - That didn't reduce the cramps. So I increased Paroxetine back to 20mg, which did help somewhat. - 1-2 weeks later, we're at the present moment (24 Dec 2019). ---------------------------------------- I'll be happy to communicate with you guys in order to help one another in this journey! In Facebook I'm actually afraid to help other people, because Facebook is too addictive with the "likes" and "loves" etc. Especially for lonely people like me. I hope this forum will be different in this regard!
  12. I am french. My english is not fluent. 9 months ago, i quit ad and bzd In 1 monte and a half. I was having those médecine since 20 years because of panic attac. I felt very good. So i quited.Big mistake. I took it all again: ecsitalopram 10mg+ tranxene 10mg. Then, started maniac crises. So my psychiatre told me to stop ecsitalopram. What i did in 1 month. 5 months later i am still suffering ouf brain zap, panics attacs etc... i went to see a new doctor Who wants to give me another ad to stop my suffering. To stand my state, since 2 week, I murs take 30mg tranxene by day ! But, I am anxious about having maniac attac again if a take an ad again ! I am not maniac, juste suffering of panic Attac, do you have any advice that could help me ? Thanks so much
  13. Hi guys, I’m new but I have been reading a lot and this seems to be really good info. Especially the stuff I read from Altostrata. My story: i took escitalopram for 4.5 month, the last month being an accelerated taper bc lexapro never worked in the least for me and looking back now I believe it gave me akathisia when I increased to 20mg. Anyway, about 3 weeks after I hit 0mg, after the physical stuff subsided, I got hammered with emotional turmoil and I’m pretty sure the akathisia came back 5 fold. I couldn’t sit still, horrible anxiety followed by depressive fits that seemed to cycle and sadness/hopelessness. It almost seemed like I was bipolar and thus I ended up on lamictal a month ago. I can sit still now but Im still emotionally wrecked. Mainly I just can’t quit hyperfocusing on how bad I want to feel normal and be off this stuff. I started questioning everything and researching on my own. I now believe it was just lexapro withdrawal I was dealing with and now I’m on lamictal at 50mg. I did 25 mg for 2 weeks and have since been on 50mg for around 31 days total. What do you guys recommend for me in terms of a taper. I don’t want to compound the ssri withdrawal with another medicine. note: I also take 50mg of trazodone to sleep bc it’s been the only way I could get any sleep for this entire process. Thanks in advance, J
  14. Where to even start with this....I've been on lexapro and trazodone since June 2019. I recently moved earlier this year to a new part of the state and got a new PCP once I got here. My sleep had been pretty garbage for a few weeks. Rewind a little.....I had gone to the gym on Tuesday March 5th and had a pretty good workout. That morning I woke up at 1am feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I went to the ER and was told my potassium was low. I was also told I was hypothyroid, which later turned out to be false. After that was when I noticed a significant uptick in general anxiety and significant decrease in quality of sleep. I wasn't able to sleep more than an 2-3 hours before waking up and having to go to the bathroom. I tried most everything I knew to improve my sleep: keeping the same routine, drinking tea, taking supplements. Not much really helped. I got engaged in May and as soon as the wedding planning started everything continued to get worse. Sleep was restless and I started to have more anxiety throughout the day because of it. I was never really an anxious person (other than with stuff like public speaking and what not). But after continued worsening of my sleep and not being able to figure out anything to help I went back to my new PCP, and he put me on lexapro 10 mg and trazodone 50 mg. The trazodone would knock me out but I'd still wake up a few hours later having to go to the bathroom and just feeling like a zombie. The sleep was never restful and I continued to get more frustrated about the situation. Since I had been to this new MD twice and spoken to him for a total of less than 10 min, but he still felt confident about putting me on two meds, I decided it was time for me to find a new PCP. (I had blood work down as soon as I moved and he said "everything looked good." I got a copy of my blood work and there were a few things I was a little worried about, cholesterol levels primarily. This also made me want to find a new PCP since he didn't even take the time to discuss anything he found on the blood work. Just a little about my background, I have a master's degree in exercise physiology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, and spend a lot of free time reading about nutrition.) So because of this I decided to get an online MD, someone I follow online and look up to. The first time I talked with them, we were on the phone for almost an hour discussing my current situation and past medical history. I already felt 10x more confident in my new MD and had a lot more faith in getting through the situation. He asked me about the trazodone and if I thought it had been helping at all, I told him no. He recommended coming off it if I wanted to. At this point I had only been on it for about 10 days. I came off the 50 mg of trazodone and felt absolutely terrible that whole week. Anxiety was through the rough, I felt like I was constantly peeing, and sleep just got worse. Not to mention the heart palpitations, gastric distress, stomach cramping, jaw clenching, nasal congestion, headaches, blurred vision, change in appetite. I didn't sleep longer than 2 hours and couldn't remember the last time I had a dream. I normally had a few dreams per week and was often able to recall them. That Friday I ended up in the hospital thinking I was having a bad reaction to the lexapro since I was started out on 10mg rather than 5mg. Only later did I learn it was from quitting the trazodone. Because of this I dropped from 10mg to 5mg of lex and reinstated 50mg of trazodone. Over the next month I tried to get my exercise schedule and diet on point. Before all this started I felt like I was pretty healthy. Went to the gym 4 days a week and lifted for ~2ish hours, ate what I thought was pretty healthy, enjoyed my morning coffee every day (probably had a bit of an unhealthy relationship with that haha), didn't smoke, rarely drank, no recreational drugs. So all of this was extremely foreign to me. When I tried to start exercising more I noticed that my heart rate stayed elevated for hours after I got done working out, my sleep would be garbage that evening, and the next day always resulted in a lot more anxiety. It would take 2-3 days before I felt like I was back to this "new normal." So at this point I decided to read more about both of these medicines and really buckle down on improving my sleep, diet, and stress levels before returning to the gym. As of writing this point I haven't stepped foot in the gym since early July, which is really killing me. I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror. My body weight has dropped around 15lbs and it seems like I've lost every bit of muscle I've ever put on. I am so ready to get back into the gym and squat something but at the same time I'm also worried about never getting back to where I was physically before all this happened. Fast forward to September and I'm exactly 2 months away from getting married. My sleep has improved greatly, I can sleep for 6+ hours straight before waking up most every night, I'm having vivid dreams almost every night of the week, the side effects have decreased significantly, and I'm starting to see that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still on 5mg of lex and down to 6mg of traz. My spiritual life has improved significantly during this time. I have spent more time in my bible, more time praying, and more time listening to spiritual discussions/sermons online. My fiance is great and has been there every step of the way with me! Supporting me during those terrible days and not getting upset when I just don't feel like doing anything and only want to watch TV all afternoon. As someone who hasn't relied on people in the past for emotional support this has been a big change for me. The lack of ability to contribute as much to the wedding planning and being able to concentrate long enough to be of help has been one of the worst things. I have hated that so much of this process has fallen on her. And even though it should be one of the happiest times in our lives, right now it has this dark stain on it. I know this is a lot of rambling but I want to lay out of a few the things in the following posts that have helped me the most during this process. One thing I keep telling myself is that this is a season of life that will pass and because of it I will be able to help someone else in the future. I'm sure there's a few things that I've missed or left out during this post.
  15. I was recently directed to this site from someone who has gone through a withdrawal journey. I figured it would be helpful to gain more support and get some feedback on this process In April 2018 I experienced severe panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and suicidal thoughts. A routine doctors appointment describing my panic attacks and my high heart rate landed me in the ER and an overnight observation. Prior to being discharged I was seen by a psychiatrist who recommended me starting Effexor. Immediately I panicked and discussed it with my mom who is a lexapro user and my husband. My husband isn’t a fan of medications and typically I am not as well but I couldn’t imagine going through my days with the constant thoughts and fears. I decided to give the lexapro a try. It took me 3 months to adjust to being on lexapro, it was a horrible period of thoughts, feelings, and depression but my family and therapist helped me through. Since January, I’ve been feeling less anxious and more like myself. Less thoughts and feeling as though I could overcome my anxiety and depression with exercise and therapy. In June I had an appointment with my primary doctor whom took control of my lexapro following my hospitalization. He has always supported me coming off of the drug and trying natural vitamins, exercise, and therapy. In June I went from 10 mg to 5 mg for 4 weeks. Then in July I went from 5mg every other day. August began 0mg. Now throughout the titrating process I felt great, minimal anxiety and intermittent thoughts but I was coping well. As of September 5th, four weeks of no lexapro I began experiencing increased irritability, a massive panic attack, depression, fear. Last week I started having big periods of crying, which I have never experienced. This past week it has gotten worse, whole days of crying spells and severe anxiety with fear of thoughts and dread. My mom is away in Europe for 2 weeks leaving me to care for my dad, I’m off on PTO. I feel so horrible. My husband is between our home and my parents house. I’m trying to stay busy by exercising and playing video games but the feelings just come back and it’s frightening. Now I’m experiencing increased nausea and difficulty sleeping. I recently stopped therapy two weeks ago, I’ve decided to seek help from a new therapist in two weeks. I have a doctor appointment Thursday in which I’m hoping to get some answers, mainly that this is withdrawal and I will get through it but it is harder than I thought. Any help or advice during this time would be so appreciated
  16. Hi, I'm Sean, I'm in Hampshire, England and I'm a newly arrived member on this forum. I hope to share experiences with others who have suffered the anguish of iatragenic illness and the horrendous withdrawal associated with SSRIs. There is much I could tell about my ten years on escitalopram and it's impact on day to day living and but this would itself probably turn into War and Peace! I'll furnish the details in future posts. As of now, the wonderful thing I can tell you is that after two years of tapering, I've been successfully SSRI free for 8 months. Withdrawing from these drugs is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but it is possible and the act of writing this confirms my experience is proof. To those of you struggling, please don't lose heart. I can positively report that certain things that were significantly impacted by the drug are returning; a return of motivation, energy, cognitive clarity, libido and a sense of purpose. All really positive. Any return of anxiety is managed through mindfulness, exercise and healthy living. However, something that has thoroughly blindsided me and for which I was totally unprepared, is the re-awakening of my emotional system. This has been particularly excruciating as I have been brought to the devastating realisation that my feelings of attachment and love in a particularly precious recent relationship were blunted and numbed to the point of apathy and resignation. So much so, that all the feelings that should have been there at the time are now resurging in the most painful way, leaving me experiencing extraordinary regret and sorrow at the eventual disintegration of this (partly due to SSRI-induced lack of vitality and libido on my part). I have no adequate way of explaining this to the dear soul in question, whom I certainly loved before but now feel for more deeply than I could ever imagine. Prior to this, seven years ago, I lost my spouse in unexpected and tragic circumstances and it seems that the grief cycle, which was again, blunted, is also taking hold in the way it should have when she passed away. I am so often gripped by bouts of weeping in sorrow and deep regret. I had no conception that I could feel love in such a profound and extraordinary capacity. It is excruciating and utterly consuming as, it seems I am mourning the loss of two cherished relationships, which I was never able to adequately grieve for. This, combined with the loss of career due to escitalopram-induced apathy and fatigue is haunting and devastating. It feels as if these drugs have stolen everything that was once beautiful and promising in my life. I'm now in my early forties, alone and struggling to make ends meet, it's a really challenging time. I'm wondering if anyone has any similar stories to tell regarding the resurgence of emotion? Does this echo with any of you brave souls out there? I feel very much alone in this and many don't seem to really understand. On the one hand, I'm so grateful being able to feel emotion again but on the other, I'm devastated at the utter wasteland these drugs have left in their wake. It's truly akin to emerging from a coma. Any advice would be gratefully received. I also have much to give and share on enduring withdrawal successfully, which I intend to do here over the coming weeks and months. Thanks for reading. The best of my wishes and courage to all of you fighting this battle; never lose heart and please always remember the light!
  17. Hi everyone, I have been on one antidepressant or another since I was 16; I am 38 now. I have been on Cipralex for at least 13 years. Five days ago, I reduced my Lexapro/Cipralex from 20 to 15 mg (depending which country you are from - shoutout to the Canadians in the forum). My new psych suggested I wouldn’t notice a 5 mg drop, and I didn’t at first, but today I felt low and this evening, I was extremely irritable. A few hours past the time I usual take my dose, I had nervous system hypersensitivity (head zaps, reaction to noises, etc). That’s when I put two-and-two together. Withdrawal. I was never one that could miss a dose without repercussions. Even if I took it late I noticed withdrawal start to set in. After my son was born, they suspected I had serotonin syndrome and I had to drop from 30 mg to 20, with no tapering. I had hot flashes for months and moths, but thankfully no brain zaps. When I was a teenager, I went off Paxil and forgot who I was for almost a day. But I don’t recall any long-term symptoms. Maybe I have forgotten. At this point, I am concerned about the impact tapering may have on my life, especially on my already strained marriage and on my work performance and young son. I want to be healthy and as unencumbered by a drug as possible - I don’t want withdrawal leading my behaviour. So much so, that sometimes I think staying on lexapro forever is a better option. i still wrestle with this, but the main reason I want to go off my meds is that I think the strange side effect feelings i attribute to lexapro is a main instigator for my continued anxiety and panic attacks. I think the cure is worse than the disease, so to speak. I am also dismayed by the new research that suggests SSRIs change how the brain works. I have been on them for so long... Thanks for listening. Good luck to you all.
  18. Danalee13

    Danalee13: Lexapro / escitalopram taper

    Hi all!! If you scroll down a bit I posted my whole story of my lex taper. Starting in December of this last year (2018). Starting on 20 mg. Was on it for 6 years. * note - I do not have clinical depression. Or ever had depression or anxiety growing up. I had been going through some anxious times during college. Only for about 1 month and I am so mad I was put on lex. 6 years later I finally had the guts to come off. (I feel fantastic coming off of it - much more clear headed and happier. ) I got to 10 mg in April. And stabilized fully for about 1 month before starting to drop again. I then started to drop again from 10 mg and it was all going great. I was okay! It was almost easier than coming from 20 mg. Or so I thought. Then I hit 5 mg and it has been VERY hard. I know I went a bit too fast. I have been on 5 mg for about 3 weeks now. For the last 10 days (on and off) I cannot kick this pure panic, anxious feeling. I do not want to go back up in the dosage. Does anybody have any insight on how long it may take me to stabilize on 5 mg and not feel pure panic any longer? I will then stay on 5 mg for a bit and decrease MUCH slower. Just looking for any and all advice on how long it took anybody that came down from 20 mg lexapro and when they got to 5 mg.. thank you so much. In this current moment I feel okay! signature: 20 mg for 6 years. Started tapering in December. Now on 5 mg for 3 weeks time waiting to feel okay...... any help is much appreciated.
  19. Topic title: In the middle of lexapro taper - let’s discuss please Hi all - 6 years on lexapro 20 mg. Taper started December 13, 2018. Got down to 10 mg in April. Waited for a bit and recently got to 5 mg 3 weeks ago. Here Is my story and any help would be appreciated - thank you so much! about 6 years ago I was put on 20 mg lexapro. I do not have clinical depression or anxiety. I had been going through a situational hard time in college. Wish I came off sooner but I was too scared. Finally in December of this past year I was ready and so over being on it! . * note I was also a heavy Cannabis user and quit at the same time starting to come down from 20 mg. From Dec to April I went from 20-10 mg. It was very hard but in s different way in which I am struggling now. I was anxious and crying a lot during the first ten mg. Also I made a conscious decision to use benzos. During this entire process. And I would never be able to do it without it. I work a full time high powered job. So please respect the fact that I will be getting off benzos AFTER my taper is over. i was then prescribed the 10 mgs. I was very much stabilized at this point. As I waited to come down more. The pill was much smaller making it harder to make smaller cuts. To be honest I also am sick of being on this damn lexapro. So I went a bit too fast from 10 mg to 5 mg. All was okay and almost easier than the 20 to 10. Until I got to 5 mg. Two weeks after hitting 5 mg I am in full panic mode a lot of the last 10 days. So - if I have been on 5 mg for 3 weeks now - does anybody have any idea when the panics will go away and when I will likely stabilize? How long does it take on lower dosages to feel ok? I know everyone is different but if I can have some experiences on thr lower doses ? Thank you!! dana
  20. Hello, I am new to forum. I short term user. Started taking Escitalopram. I was having side effects of major drowsiness that was interfering with work and I think was making my high blood pressure was worst. I am on olmestran for high blood pressure. Before I got on the anti-depressant, I got off three blood pressure meds - amlodipine for 10 years, Benazepril, (6months), Metoprolol (about 3 days- side effects was so bad). So dr took me off all of these at the same time, my body just went into overdrive with side effects, especially fluctuation in blood pressure, got up to 165 over 112, it was up and down for about month, sometimes it still is. During this bad period, the doc felt like i had major anxiety. I had some losses in past two years, loss two beloved pets in 6months period, they had been my fur babies for 14 and 13 years, and were very important to me. I lost a young friend and colleague, who died in her sleep unexpectedly, so I agree I was not in a good place, so between all the craziness from blood pressure meds and the losses I agree to the meds. But start having side effects that was interfering with work. Also, I think I was having panic attacks, so he gave me a 5 xanax to use during this time. I took them in half for about 5 major attack. I felt so bad the next day, balance was off, drowsy, and just hung over. The dr suggested maybe it was time to get on an different one. I decided to go cold turkey on the escitalopram. This is day 6..Wed and today which is Friday, so very very dizzy in morning. So bad Wednesday, i did not go to work. Meanwhile the doc has called in a new meds that I haven;t picked up, Buspirone. I have no desire to get on another one. I am 62 and becoming very sensitive to any meds. Has anyone experience major dizziness from short term use and ct withdrawal. I know my doc is going to say it is not from the meds but from anxiety. He may write another rx and let me taper. Can anyone share their experience going ct from short term use of escitalopram?
  21. Hi, I'm 39 years old and have been lurking on this site intermittently for at least seven of the eleven years I've been on polypharma. I've never posted. The reasons I ended up on the meds I'm on are different than I've seen from anyone else, which has felt isolating. So for those who have the patience to read my story, I'd love to know if you share commonalities with me. The short version: escitalopram, buspirone, bupropion for 11 years. Mirtazapine for 8, following an unsuccessful too-fast escitalopram taper. Meds prescribed for terminal insomnia after ten years of cortisol-related early AM waking and being unable to go back to sleep, except bupropion, which was prescribed to counter side effects. Here's the long story, if you want. Rewind a bunch. I'm seventeen years old. I've been on depo-provera for a few months, which I don't realize is making me terribly depressed, because I have such little self-awareness. It's my first night away at college. Also one of my first few times very, very drunk. I don't know that it makes you dehydrated. I don't know that there's a cortisol spike in the AM hours, and that drinking makes that higher and earlier. I don't know much of anything, especially about how to take care of myself in a world full of interesting opportunities to experience altered states. I wake up at 4am with my heart racing. I can't get back to sleep for hours. This has never happened before. My childhood insomnia was about falling asleep, not staying asleep. The 4am wakeup and long sleepless period happens every single night, beginning that first night at college. Even the nights I don't drink. I try melatonin, Benadryl. Nothing helps. I develop anxiety around sleep, but I don't realize that's happening. I'm too young and have too little self-awareness. Drinking quells the anxiety enough that I can go to sleep. I don't realize it's making the cortisol cycle worse. - Now I'm in my early 20s. I dropped out of college to drink and take a lot of all different kinds of illicit drugs. It's mostly in an attempt to medicate depression and sleep issues, but I'm starting to realize that the drugs and drinking are making it worse. I am pretty sure I've done some damage to myself somehow by now, especially with MDMA. I'm still waking up at 3-4am. Sometimes I drink myself back to sleep. I spend part of a year taking prozac. It doesn't seem to help me. I stop taking it. If I have withdrawals, I don't notice them, probably due to drinking. Eventually, after a beloved pet disappears, I check myself in to the psych ward, suicidal and having panic attacks, but unwilling to admit that my primary issue is alcoholism. I've already convinced a psychiatrist to diagnose me with Bipolar I and send me home with Depakote and Seroquel. Being in a psych ward seems a logical next step. After I'm released, I find that shaking from the Depakote interferes with my ability to pour beer from pitchers, so I stop taking it. The seroquel makes me balloon up in weight (I've always been naturally very thin), binge on fast food, sleep 14 hours a night (still with a 4 am wakeup), and be unable to get off the couch when I am awake. I eventually stop taking it too. I don't notice withdrawals. I'm drinking far too much to notice something like that. - I've just turned 25. I haven't worked in years. A sequence of awful events leads me to get sober. I'm not on any psych meds. I don't take any drugs. Sobriety gives me so much, hard as it is. I'm still waking at 4 am, heart pounding, sleepless for long periods. My recovery friends tell me it gets better. I practice ridiculously impeccable sleep hygiene. I exercise regularly, but not too hard. I go to acupuncturists, naturopaths, cranio-sacral practitioners, therapists. I check into a sleep clinic. I wake up 164 times that night. They tell me they can't find a reason for my insomnia. Two years pass. I still wake at 4 am, can't get back to sleep for over an hour. I am in college. I am working. I am pulling my life together. But I feel awful every single day from sleep deprivation. In the middle of yoga class, I fall asleep once doing downward dog, waking as I collapse on the floor. I am exhausted. I am desperate. I still don't drink, don't use drugs. I am 27. I get referred into the closed private practice of a neurologist. At my request, he tries tons of supplements first. I do not want to go on medications. I did not get sober for that. He is happy to work with supplements. He's past retirement age and clearly cares about his patients. He does this for love, not money. I am grateful. The supplements do not help. We try many. I am too poor to raise my dose more with some of them, even though he sells some of them to me at cost - the ones he can get at wholesale prices. Medications are cheaper. I cave in. He writes a prescription for Lexapro and buspirone, which I fill. I sleep through the night. It has been ten years since I got a good night's sleep. I wake in the sunshine in my high-ceilinged room, blocks from the university where I'm about to begin attending classes to finish my bachelor's degree. Everything feels like it is finally falling into place. I don't sleep through the night again, but every morning when I wake at 4am, I immediately fall back asleep. I am rested. I'm able to learn, to make use of my therapy and all my internal work. I've lost huge parts of my sexual functioning, which activates trauma from younger years, but I don't care enough to go off the meds. Sleep is too important. I do ask my neurologist if there's anything that can help. He prescribes bupropion. It sort of helps, a little. Maybe. I'm 29. I've lost a lot of my sexual functioning. I've also become disconnected from my spirituality, which was a fundamental part of my life since...since forever. It will take a few years before I attribute the latter to my medications. I'm still on three meds and a bunch of supplements. Now I'm 32. I've met the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with. We are talking about children. I am advised by several doctors not to have kids when I'm on this cocktail unless I'm certain I'm willing to go through whatever they may experience as a result of me being on them - which is a huge unknown. They may be born healthy. They may be born needing a lifetime of 24/7 care. I know I have to get off the meds. I find this site. I do a half-hearted six month taper off of ten mg of escitalopram. As I come off the last of it, I can taste my spirituality again and my sexuality begins working again. But none of that matters, as I lose my grip on sanity at the same time. I work with my neurologist to try a ton of other kinds of meds. None of them work well for sleep or mental health, but mirtazapine seems to help a little for sleep. So I stay on it. My neurologist runs out of things he can and will prescribe to a former addict. I go back on the escitalopram too. Then I raise the dose of the escitalopram from 10mg non-generic to 20mg generic, because the generic doesn't seem to work as well. I can sleep again. I exhale. No babies for me, no orgasms, no spiritual connection, but at least I can sleep. One time, when camping, I miss taking my lexapro in the dark. I don't realize it's still in my pill case. I have an overwhelming suicidal episode that lasts until that night, when I discover my mistake, take my dose, and am fine-ish the next day. I now know this is not a medication I can easily change. It's 2018. I'm 38. I have the dubious luxury of being between careers and the indisputable luxury of having someone else who can pay the bills, if barely. I am hearing scary things about antihistamines, which is what mirtazapine mostly does at the 7.5mg dose I'm on. It is drying me out. I know this cannot be good for me. I am still sleeping. I want to see if I can be on less of my meds and still sleep. Maybe I can get some of my sexual functioning back. Maybe some of my spiritual connection. Maybe just a healthier life in ways I can't identify for sure. Slowly, carefully, following the 10% or less rule, holding when I feel unstable, I begin to taper my mirtazapine. The lower I go, the worse my sexual functioning gets. I know the escitalopram has to be reduced. Last night, I took 18mg of carefully made liquid escitalopram instead of the 20mg tablet I've been taking for the last eight years. In the past few months, to deal with being on less mirtazapine, I've been carefully experimenting with CBD. I'm not afraid to trade off one thing for another, if I can sleep and have a side effect profile I'm ok with. I smoke and vape it to avoid the first pass metabolism interactions with my meds. I'm not sure if that actually works that way, but it seems to interact with them less than when I take it orally. I know this method of consumption isn't ideal, because it incurs health costs too. I feel concerned about my options. But I am determined to be on less of the meds that are giving me these side effects. Maybe someday I can reduce or get rid of the CBD too. Maybe the side effects from it are just not as frustrating. I'm not anti meds. I believe they saved my life. I was suicidal from ten years of daily terminal insomnia. And the meds still work for me. But want off of them, as much as I can be and still mostly sleep. I don't know if I get back my sexuality or my spirituality, at any dose or no dose. But when I quit lexapro before, it looked like I might, and I miss the life energy those things gave me. So I'm here to offer support, and to receive it. I'm sure I'll need to do both to make it through this process. I'll add meds to my sig later, when it's not so dang late.
  22. Hello I live in Saudi Arabia. Male, mid 50s, married. I had taken SSRI (Cipralex 25mg) for 6 years. I tapered it for 5 months, then stopped it completely on March 29, 2016. Just to give you some background, I was living happily, never thought of taking AD drugs ever. However, one day, I was subjected to severe conditions that was beyond my control. This situation has caused me insomnia, because of the tremendous stress, and therefore, I started taking SSRI. The doctor, who prescribed it, was not so professional, because he wanted to give me any drug that would work for me, performing trial and error on me. I know that AD drug is not a treatment, but rather a chemical stuff that would screw up brain chemicals to calm me down so that I can go to sleep, and also to improve my mood. I was very much concerned with the withdrawal symptoms, but the doctor reassured me that it would last only 2 to 3 weeks. I believed him, but I wish I did not. He did not provide me a true honest advice. While taking the AD drugs, I developed some side effects: such as fever and PVC. Six years down the road, I noticed that I always want to go to sleep, even if I had just woken up in the morning and had my coffee. This has annoyed me and scared me, as I was afraid that this drug would cripple my life. At this point, I decided to quit and live my life free of AD drugs. The journey of WD suffering started on October 31, 2015. I tapered it for 5 months, and stopped it completely on March 29, 2016. Here is a time line along with my WD suffering: 1-6 months: things were bad, but tolerable. I experienced difficulties falling asleep, with anxiety. 6 mo-1.5 years: Severe symptoms began. It was so severe that I was thinking of going back to AD. I took it for one day, but then regretted that I did, and felt so bad for going back to the drugs. I decided to fight and continue my journey no matter what. I am glad I did. I do not know how I was able to cope with WD symptoms, but it has to do with my faith. Prayers, reading Quran, and reading positive comments that I used to write to myself. 1.5 – 3.25 years: Incremental improvements. Now, I can enjoy coffee and tea, and do my hobbies. I am not 100% recovered. I still have nasal congestion and tinnitus both of which have improved slightly.
  23. I stopped taking my 10mg dosage of Escitalopram about 8 weeks ago. I had been on it for approximately 14 months and it didn’t seem to be doing anything and I was gaining a lot of weight so I decided to quit against my doctors wishes. Before this I was on Zoloft for about 3 yrs (which helped me thru pregnancy and post-partum), then Prozac for a year when Zoloft stopped working. Prozac gave me a constant stomach ache so then switched to Lexipro. My dr seemed scared to have me quit SSRIs and instead kept insisting I just switch to another one. And perhaps since I have a young daughter I decided not to risk it. Now wish I stopped a long time ago. I tapered for only 3 weeks to 5mg since I was on such a low dose. Ive had a hard time dealing with weepiness, muscle pains, memory loss, cloudy thinking and sudden mood changes. Also I find incredibly strange is that I’m dealing with emotions and negative memories from years ago- things I hadn’t thought of for years just creeping into my mind as soon as I wake up in the morning. Like Im reliving trauma and just old-fashioned hurt feelings from years past - is this bc the SSRIs suppresses them? And now they are just there and raw and waiting to be heard again? It’s disturbing. in some ways I feel so much better though. My heartburn is gone. My extreme tiredness and irritability that I believe were side effects from Escitalopram. I may feel quite happy and alive one day - but next I might feel very sad and weepy. I’m sure my Dr would say it’s relapse of depression and anxiety/ but I never felt like this before. I know it’s withdrawal. thanks for listening
  24. Hello to everyone, my story with antidepressant starts on 15-1-2019. Prior to this for 1 month I was in a panic and anxiety crisis, mainly due to work-related stress. I managed to overcome it almost completely but I was afraid and to be able to continue my work, I went to a psychiatrist's doctor. He gave me a citalopram solution, I started with 2 drops for 7 days. That was enough to make me a huge problem! The doctor did not believe me, or thought I was causing it from my anxiety, but I did not feel that before. I stopped myself on the seventh day, but for 1.5 months I could not be good. I had headache, insomnia, anxiety, I had to stop my job. I went to another doctor, nor did he believe that the drug created my problem. He gave me and started escitalopram first 5mg and after 10mg. Now I'm 75 days from the beginning I started. Anxiety and headache have improved, but insomnia persists, while I have new side effects, my nose shuts and I feel pain in the sinuses, I feel light-headed, the heartbeat has been reduced a little and I have tinnitus. Even though I do not have anxiety, I do not feel good and I can not work, especially the pain in my sinuses causes sinusitis and I'm sensitive to it. My doctor told me to stay for 1 year and then stop it. I want to stop it much earlier. But because of what happened at the beginning, I'm afraid and I'm looking for a way to do it without having the same problems. So I found this website too. Do you think it's easier for someone to stop it when it's been used for months or more time? Unfortunately I can not find escitalopram in a solution form, I think to turn the pills into a solution with water. Despite the fact that I have been taking it for months, I will apply the 10% method.
  25. Hi Everyone, I found this forum through the recent New Yorker article and have already found it very helpful. Here's a brief version of my story... I was put on Effexor XR at the age of 15 to treat severe anxiety (I was given a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder). At the time I was dealing with teenage hormones and a suicide in the immediate family and having regular panic attacks. As I got closer to 30 I decided I wanted to know what life was like without them, and wondered if being put on them at such a young age had impacted my emotional development. I felt like I had reached a point of relative stability in my life (stopped drinking, good support system). Going off Effexor ended up being a disaster - in hindsight it seems like it was a very fast taper and I reached the point of not being able to get out of bed in the morning due to anxiety. I found a new psychiatrist who put me on Lexapro and Xanax (not every day, to take as needed). I felt very good on Lexapro but I gained about 50 lbs in one year. She then added Wellbutrin into the mix, which didn't make me feel as good. I felt very agitated and had a hard time concentrating. At this time my psychiatrist was fixated on my weight and wanted to increase my Wellbutrin while going down on the Lexapro. We'd have arguments about it where I tried to explain how bad the Wellbutrin made me feel, despite the weight loss benefit. Eventually we parted ways and I am now trying to taper off everything for the first time in my adult life with another psychiatrist. I'm currently 4 weeks off Lexapro and on 100 mg of Wellbutrin. I am in therapy weekly in addition to seeing my psychiatrist monthly. I started taking fish oil after reading this site and am trying to integrate some dietary changes in addition to my regular yoga/meditation practice. I struggle with feeling a lack of agency over my own life and feeling helpless. The constant focus on and discussion of my weight over the past few years has also not been great. On my bad days I have feelings of hopelessness and despair and occasional depersonalization. I don't have an expectation that I will feel great all of the time, I just want to feel some level of control over my mental and emotional state. Reading this site helps me because I feel like I am not alone. You guys have already helped me so I want to say thank you and I hope I can learn more - the concept of windows and waves is really useful. Today is a window which is why I'm able to write this - I've had two good days and that feels really encouraging. In the meantime if there are any suggestions for additional supplements or lifestyle changes I'm all ears!
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