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  1. Good Morning Everyone, I need some confidence despite knowing what I am going through must be withdrawal. My history; I was put on Lexapro (escitalopram) in October of 2012 after the birth of my wife and I's first child. It was a stressful delivery and that coupled with the normal stress of a first time parent and starting a new business, it sent me into anxiety and panic attacks that I had NEVER experienced before. Anyway, after speaking with our friend/family MD he recommended Lexapro. I started in October of 2012 at 10mg. After a month I began to feel better and then in Feb 2013, my MD bumped to 20mg because that was the 'normal' dose for a 28 year old, 185lb man. I obliged because I was feeling better but still not great. By mid March of 2013 I felt back to normal, better than normal actually. June of 2013 I started to feel VERY shaky and weird. It felt like it was just too much. So per the MD's advice I weaned back down to 10mg over 6 weeks time and felt fine. I had few withdrawal effects but not many for a few weeks. I stayed at 10mg from July of 2013 to April of 2014(10 months or so) and felt like 'normal'. I decided in April that I was over the weight gain, the lack of emotions, the lazy attitude and the tiredness. I felt like my anxiety was under control and the small bouts of depression I had were few and far between. I spoke with my doctor and asked if he would call in a script for Liquid Lexapro. I had read a few articles here and at PP about withdrawal and that the Liquid would make it easy to taper. He obliged and at the end of April I began to taper 1mg every 2-3 weeks. This was after my doc said I should go faster and I thought 1mg every 2-3 weeks would be a slow enough taper. (I did not know about the 10% of the previous dose every 3-6 weeks). Anyway, I tapered over 5 months or so and Oct 1 of 2014 I was done. I really didn't have many withdrawal effects while tapering. I felt a little worse the lower I got but nothing I couldn't handle. The first 8 weeks off were not awful. I had dizziness and gastro problems the first few weeks but those went away. Then, the end of Nov and Dec started and holy moly I have been hit with the worst anxiety of my life, shaky, terrible intrusive thoughts, doom and gloom even when I know everything is ok. I can cry at any moment over nothing and terrible irritableness and rage feelings. I still can't shake it. The anxiety is crippling both physically and mentally. My old anxiety before meds I could talk myself out of, this just pounds on me no matter how calm and accepting of it I am. Sleep is getting worse and I can't sit still to save my life. From what I have read, this sounds like WD but I am scared and miserable here. Any words of encouragement, success stories, similar experiences are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  2. Hello everyone I am new to this site, and am really really appreciative of all the information shared and support given. I am undergoing protracted withdrawal syndrome, after 21/2 years on lexapro. Began taking it after stressful circumstances. This is my second attempt at withdrawal. the first attempt was too quick (these were doctor's instructions! , and I returned to the drug - Also doctor's instructions...). The second attempt, I tapered over 10 months following recommendations from peer websites. I understood that doctors know nothing and refused to see a doctor again.( I am furious about this) The tapering (10% of the current dose) worked quite well. But, after I stopped completely from a seemingly infinitesimal amount of the drug, I got the worst symptoms: mainly generalized anxiety, irritability, crying spells, feelings of doom, insomnia, tinnitus, hot flushes, muscle pains, head zaps, dizziness, head fog, the works. I have never had these symptoms, and that quality of emotions before, and it took a long time beofre I understood them to be part of a syndrome. No one had ever informed me of that possibility, and I found out by myself, by surfing. I was scared out of my wits, and really believed I am losing it. Luckily, I did managed to function at work and at home. In fact, I discovered that keeping busy was one of the best ways to deal with my symptoms I am now 7 months after complete discontinuation, and still experiencing waves and windows. Strangely, these can happen over the course of one day. I may wake up feeling extremely anxious and/or depressed, then after a few hours will feel more of a well being. Then, the next day, terrible crying spells and feeling hopeless, sometimes having thoughts about my life not worth living. Then - a pleasant dinner with friends.. I never know what will happen next. I have dealt with the syndrome mainly by daily physical activities (walking, jogging, yoga, meditation, taking hikes in nature), supplements (Omega, Vitamin B complex, magnesium), psychotherapy, getting informed, keeping a log of symptoms, observing and listening to what's happening, and a lot of support from a few friends and family members. Sometimes I am afraid this will never end. At times I get more hopeful. At the moment, my most troubling symptom is my fear of my own rumbling thoughts (obsessive thoughts about a bleak future, fear of death, fear of being alone, fear of disaster or things going terribly wrong, for me and my dear ones. I do know that these thoughts have no relation to reality, but I still feel them). These thoughts typically arise when I am alone, mainly in my own home. Weekends are especially a nightmare. I deal with this by keeping busy, trying to be around friendly and sensitive people, staying away from stressful situations, making pleasant weekend plans with friends. But that is not always possible. Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? Will this ever end? Thank you everyone for the support.
  3. Hello. I am twenty years old and had been on antidepressants since I was ten. From then on through my teenage years, all I knew was I needed to take my medicine . Once I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, my pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist then put me on respiradone and strattera. I don't remember if I had any behavior problems or not, but my neurologist told me I would have to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I stayed on those two meds until I got into high school. My first two years of high school, I couldn't stop crying. I cried day and night. My neurologist put me on celexa. When that didn't work, my neurologist told me he could no longer help me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I saw the new psychiatrist my junior year of high school who told me I had depression and anxiety that needed to be treated. I was taken off respiradone and strattera and put on pristiq and adderall. When pristiq wouldn't work, I was switched back to celexa. So it went on, switching back and forth between antidepressants. There were so many different ones I can't remember many of them. Every time I asked my psychiatrist if the next time it would work, he assured me it would. There was no chance to talk when I saw my psychiatrist. It would result in a new prescription every time. During my senior year, I helplessly slept through every class, sometimes falling out on the floor asleep. I had a good school counselor who allowed me to pass because she knew it was the medicine and I got plenty of sleep. I also cried uncontrollably almost every day in front of everyone and it was very humiliating as I would stir up a lot of attention. My senior pictures of me showed a person with a puffed up and swollen face. I was switched to lexapro again and stayed on it my whole first year of college. Then the crying returned. During my second year, I was switched to Abilify for depression. I still trusted my psychiatrist as he again promised me it would work. Out of all my experiences with antidepressants, there is nothing that could ever have compared to this. As soon as I took the first dose of Abilify, my brain signaled to me something was very, very wrong. I began receiving no sleep. My psychiatrist put me on trazadone for that, but when I took it, my body fell completely limp, my heartbeat slowed down to almost nothing, and I went numb while my body shut itself down. I stopped it after two nights. Meanwhile, with abilify, I began spending all my time obsessing over things I would normally never touch. I believed I was an alien hybrid sent from outer space to save the planet. I also believed the human race are all aliens in disguise. Then I started going mad. I didn't want to be a human anymore. I wanted to be a supernatural creature with otherworldly capabilities. This was all extremely terrifying to me, but I couldn't stop myself. I lost my common sense as I believed these nonsensical theories. My mind was overpowering me with racing thoughts such as these listed. I couldn't think clearly. I was almost always in a state of rage. Reasoning had left me. For reasons I do not remember, I stopped Abilify by myself cold turkey. My psychiatrist had told me before that I never needed to worry about tapering because the antidepressants I took were all in the same family. He never mentioned stopping completely. Withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until a week later. My psychiatrist told me they would last 15 days. They were relatively minor, and I didn't worry much about them. However, nothing could have ever prepared me for the horror I underwent next. Every horror I could have never imagined bestowed me over the course of a month. I received no sleep. I was very lucky if I got one hour. The nights soon got from bad to worse. I developed REM sleep disorder. I was unable to tell the difference between being awake and asleep. As my mind was drifting, I jumped up in the air, screamed, swung at the air, and thrashed violently all over. In addition, my head would suddenly snap up and I would shout melancholy indistinguishable language and suck in sharp breaths. I was aware of everything, but I had no control over it, and it was very disturbing to me. Then came the uncontrollable muscle movements. My lips drew up on the sides, my mouth gaped open, my lips puckered and pouted, my teeth bared, my tongue stuck out, my neck extended, my eyes bulged, my eyebrows rose and lowered, my hands flapped, my arms swung, my knees jerked, my head jerked side to side, and my fingers extended. Shouts, grunts, moans, and gasps escaped my mouth. Several weeks went by as more horrendous symptoms appeared. Every day I was a zombie. I could only do basic human activities. I had no awareness of the passage of time. At night while drifting off, a dark shadowy presence swept over me. I was aware of where I was in real time while drifting, but I sensed a sudden danger. I jumped up alert every time. I heard a voice I believed to be God's telling me why I was like this and what I needed to do. It spoke to me relentlessly for days. When this occurred, an otherworldly and overwhelming sense of peace filled my every being. But it was always soon replaced by a terror so surreal I could not function. During this time, I could "see" my brain and I believed I was in control of what I allowed to be let in. After four days of this, I ordered the voice to "Get out!" It did and did not come back. Right after this, a veil suddenly covered my mind and I was disengaged from reality. I had no sense of where I was and I had no connection with my parents. I was always mad, crying most of the time, and my head was always jerking. I saw my psychiatrist for the last time two months ago. The doctor who had been nice to me all this time suddenly turned mean. He told me he refused to see me unless I got on medicine. By this time, I had found this site and many other websites about withdrawal. I knew I wanted to try living a better life and I was not backing down. I never took the newly prescribed anti psychotic he prescribed me. A week later, my parents, exasperated with how I was doing and on their last straw, called my psychiatrist. My dad told the psychiatrist I had read on the internet how long the withdrawal really is and the doctor spoke with me on the phone. My psychiatrist told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was describing were "all in my head" because the medicine would already be out of my system now six weeks later. He told me I needed to get on medicine right now because "I needed help". He told me my quality of life was not as good without the medicine. I was in another rage episode by this time, and unlike me, I confronted him. I said "Well why are a lot of these the same symptoms I experienced during the so-called withdrawal time?" He said he didn't know and preceded to ask me was I on drugs. I was in disbelief that anyone would ask such a thing. I have not spoken to that psychiatrist since. I am dealing currently with a lot of physical and mental symptoms but none I would describe as severe as that horrible nightmare of a month. (That month just happened to be timed perfectly with my Christmas break.) My mouth, head, and fingers jerk, but never as exaggerated as they were the first month. I dealt with extremely numb fingers, feet, and ankles up until two weeks ago. My ankles at times felt like they were hanging by a single nail. My feet, bluish-green, were so numb and swollen I had no feeling and shooting pains shot up my legs. I was extremely dizzy for so long. My gp told me I have low blood pressure. I started having panic attacks. Anxiety crept over me for no apparent reason. I cried a lot. I felt hopeless. I am dealing with apathy, anhedonia, akathisia, and cognitive problems. My memory has not been well during this whole time. I am not aware; I'm just wherever I am. I have lost perception of sight, hearing, and touch. I do things I'm supposed to do because I know that's what I've always done. I cannot connect feelings to memories; I have to rely on pictures and journals from over the years. I had to look back in my journal to refresh my memory of this whole experience which I happened to write down. I have been disconnected with myself...it was worse in the beginning. I would look at pictures of myself and couldn't connect that it was me. The whole first month of withdrawal my face was so puffed up I thought my skin would fall off. Sometimes things look bigger or smaller than they appear. My thinking ability is limited. I went to my gp again three weeks ago and I was low on vitamin D. I am currently on iron medicine, vitamin d supplements, allergy medicine, and multivitamins. Although the numbness has gone away, I am extremely faint and have weak tremors every day. At night I'm miserably exhausted. My heart is always beating fast and hard. I get chills and my body tenses up. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about any of this. I cold-turkeyed Abilify four months ago. I have managed to keep my grades up in college since then and so far have maintained a perfect attendance. Some days are harder than others, but I try to count my blessings as I've heard stories far worse than my own. I am only beginning to understand what I am dealing with. The last thing I would want is to ever take another antidepressant and hinder this process. I feel like I have a real sense of myself now and I feel more in control. I have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever go away but I try to maintain a positive attitude about it as things slowly get better. I have faced the fact that I can't change my past but I can certainly shape my future. I apologize for the long story. It is difficult to get my thoughts together.
  4. 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.
  5. TedDykle

    TedDykle: hi

    I'll just go by Ted. 20+ years on some sort of AD. Mostly lexapro last 10 years, 20mg nightly. Depression came and went usually helped in the short term by the pills and I would stop and the restart the "meds". Finally lost their efficacy and I went CT 13-14 months ago. I am no longer myself. I don't really know who the hell I am anymore. I don't want to do anything. I have withdrawn from anything that requires social interaction. I can't seem to find the motivations to do much of anything at all. I have always been considered higher than average intelligence. Now I feel like an idiot. Memory and cognitive impairment, lack of any feeling/emotion, tinnitus, muscle twitches, rapidly degrading eyesight, etc., etc.. Had a full-on seizure about 3 mo after stopping lexapro. Never had one before in my 50 yrs, and havn't had one since. I can't say that many of the posts here have given me a warm fuzzy about ever recovering from this fully. I wish I had never met these drugs. I am, however, functioning.
  6. Asta

    Asta: Cipralex

    Good day I would like to hear sincere advice. I started taking Cipralex 10 mg after an uterus myomas operation for severe headaches. When I started taking this medicine, I had a serious side effect, I suffered from it and thought it should be. Insomnia occurs, there was high anxiety, inequality, headache, nausea, dizziness. It all lasted about six weeks. Five months later, with the permission of a doctor, I try to stop taking medication, but this is almost impossible. High anxiety and fear (it was not against drug abuse). The burning body, headache and whole body, the doctor does not know what to do. I do not need to take drugs for 10 days. Please advise what to do, how can I overcome these exclusion cases? How long will it last?start to understand why many people take medication for a long time, it is not possible to stop them directly, and feel less well off than before taking medication. When I reduced my medication, I took 5 mg for one month, then in a week at 2.5 mg and I completely stopped. Now I'm taking vitamin c, b vitamins, minerals, omega 3. My doctor's only advice is to go back to medicine. I also go to psychotherapy, KET.If you did not have depression before taking medication, then such a terrible symptom might really occur.
  7. Hi everyone. It is great to have a forum like this. I am so grateful to find qualified help. I was given an antidepressant 13 years ago to help with a deep depression that no psychotherapy or alternative approach would help with. Paxil was a godsent at the time. However, with my first attempt to come off, I learned how destructive these drugs can be and had to go to Cymbalta, then Lexapro. I came off again, this time with aminoacids and was succesful for about 6 months. I got very depressed again and went back on Lexapro. After several traumatic events I learned that I had Hashimoto's and finally understood how to treat this. My depression abated. Over the last two years I have tapered off Lexapro - very difficult, but succesful to the point that I am now on 1mg instead of 45. I am struggling with the last mg and have horrible symptoms when I try to go off. Looking in this forum to try to find ways to taper more slowly off 1mg. Will elaborate on this later. This is my quick intro for now. Thank you so much for this life saving forum.
  8. Mort81

    Mort81

    Hello everyone glad I found somewhere to find good information and support . I'll just give a little introduction. I've been off Ciprelex 30mg for 6 months now after being on the ssri for 7 years.The side effects were far out weighing the benefits. My doctors seemed clueless when it came to the tapering, from what I know now as well as the withdrawal I am currently feeling . I tapered fairly fast from what I read on this forum.My main symptom at first was abdominal pain,panic, discomfort and very poor digestion. I lost 30 lbs in the first month and I know for some people that's good but for my build, not so good. Most of my symptoms at first were digestive related and my doctors didn't suggest withdrawal. Has anyone in here experienced horrible digestive issues right away ? So I had a million tests run, which came with months of worrying about every disease in the book. My tests came back clean which was good. However I am still feeling alot of discomfort, sensitivity in the stomach(feels like I'm bruised) coupled with fatigue, vivid dreams and insomnia. I have been experiencing all this while working a Fulltime job, which I love. I have missed more days than I wanted to for the obvious reasons. However I've decided to ask for time off because my body hasn't recovered and I feel the only way for a better recovery is to get away from my schedule and take extra time for myself. I see two different doctors. The one I saw today wants me to start a pain med and believes my stomach pain is related to migraines I used to get, which at times still show up. I am so scared of all medication but want this stomach pain to go away. I have improved over the 6 months so I'm leaning towards staying the natural course. Does 5HTP help for withdrawal?? After all the suffering I have gone through in the last 6 months you would think my doctor would give a note to go on sick leave,but apparently that's like pulling teeth. They just see a healthy young man complaining . Either way I need time for myself and recovery and sorry if I'm ranting. I'm glad to be hear in this forum and look forward to have a place for support and information because I feel my doctors are out too lunch on this topic. Mort
  9. 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
  10. Hi there, I was started on Remeron in July 2015 for sleeping difficulties due to worsening depression due to an abusive relationship. I attempted to cold turkey the Remeron in Nov 2015 and was up for 7 days. I was also experienced flu-like symptoms, severe anxiety and intense fear. I had to restart the Remeron per my MD suggestion. I was doing ok for a couple months but still battling with depression. By Feb 2016 I had sought out an intensive outpatient program for treatment. I was told it was ok to tape my Remeron AND Lexapro (I have been on an SSRI for 20 yrs, Prozac first, then Lexapro). I was tapered off Lexapro in 3 weeks and the hell began shortly there after. I began to experience the worst nausea of my life, insomnia, balance and co-ordination changes, visual distortion and blurriness, weakness in my arms and legs, burning in my arms and legs, headaches, persistent tinnitus. I was told to restart the Lexapro and to resume Remeron at 15 mg (I was down to 3.75 mg, too). I ended up in the ER 5 times with mild serotonin syndrome. Once discontinuation started my body was unable to tolerate the original doses of medication. After 3 months of literal torture, the inability to drive or work, testing by neurology, emergent ophthalmology, rheumatology, endocrinology and I am still suffering. My testing has come back normal. I had 2 brain MRI's, EEG, visual testing which most recently included a VEP for which I will see a neuropthalmologist at the end of the month. I am devastated. I was NEVER informed about Discontinuation Syndrome. The first time I presented to the ER they thought I was having a stoke. I would have never done such a rapid taper had I known that I could hurt myself in the process. I went from being a high functioning professional who worked out 5x/week to nearly bed-ridden. This has been the most devastating thing that could have ever happened. I was healthy before this. I had NEVER been in an ER. Has anyone else suffered this type of scenario? I feel so alone and broken by this entire process. The visual issues are the most upsetting to me. My vision is blurred and just not quite right I never had any issues with my vision until I attempted to wean off medication. Does anyone else have a similar story? Could you offer some hope. My eyes and vision are very important to me as I am sure they are important to everyone. I have this terrible feeling when I go out to a store or drive due to my vision. It's as if my perception of visual input is "delayed" by my brain. As if I it's not processing the information as quickly as it did before discontinuation set in. Anyone's story would be helpful. Thank you for listening. Peace and love.
  11. Well where do I start. ..A brief history I suppose. I am a 31 year old mother of two beautiful girls. I was first put on ADs as an 18 year old when I went into a random GP claiming to be a bit down. She prescribed me Effexor XR im unsure of the dose. After a year on these meds I started questioning how they had changed me and going through a tough time with a boyfriend, began having suicidal thoughts. Completely out of the blue. Upon mentioning this to my sister she suggested I stop taking them and on the advice of another doc I went cold turkey with the help of perscribed valium. This was done with the intention of reinstating another ssri, zoloft. The hell that followed wss unimaginable. I was so sick and scared I thought I would die. Needless to say I never filled the script for the zoloft! These drugs were bad. Why hadn't I been warned. I felt like I had just weaned of heroin initially I started off feeling 100 times better but in hind sight I had some really low times and made some really bad desisions in the months that followed. Fast forward to 2009 I fell pregnant with our second child, O, I fell into a depression whilst pregnant with her and had probably been suffering PND after my first child in 2007. After O s shock birth I was fine until the dreaded 3 day blues kicked in and never really left. I was an anxious mess and was barely able to function let alone look after two young children. I was beside myself with stress over whether to go down the root of anti depressants. In yhe end I caved. Reassured it was small dose I was gradually weaned onto 20mgs of Lexapro and dxd with a panic disorder...from a few months in I hated how they made me feel so numb and emotionless. All anxiety was gone of course but I struggled to give a damn about anything. I just wasn't me anymore. I knew all about slow tapering but six months in I was desperate to gey of this drug and dropped from 20 to 15 then to 10mgs. Telling myself id cut down slower from here. I tryed desperately to stabilize but 6 months later I was still suffering debilitating wd symptoms. I had told myself I would increase to 15 mgs and slow taper from there. The next day I was to up my dose will be a day I will never forget. We found out that day that our 3 year old daughter, I , had cancer and was days from losing her life. All my worst nightmares instantly became true! The next week was pure hell as we came to terms with her diagnosis and I battled the weaning anxiety increasing my dose of Lexapro. Over the nect 10 months the Lexapro was a godsend I could not have gotten through the hell that is seeing your child fight for their life without it. But when she graduated to a maintainence chemo I knew I had to get off these meds. Afterall it was not normal to have no feelings when on a childhood cancer ward. I had been gaining weight like never before and had no ability to enjoy a healthy sex life. I wanted the old me back. I started a slow taper by grinding the tablets and weighing them into capsules. A tedious process! In the following year I managed to get down to 9 mgs but struggled with angry outbursts constant anxiety and bouts of depression all of which were 10 times what they had been previously to taking lexapro. I was able to do one 10percent drop ( which coincided with my cacer child breaking her leg) but the rest had been only 5 percent drops. A few weeks back I had to attend my friends childs funeral. I hit rock bottom and have been struggling ever since. I have Reinstated back to my previous dose am seeing a psychologist, exersising and practicing breathing techniques but my anxiety and depression are unbearable at times and again I feel trapped on this drug. Not to mention I may be pregnant again and had hoped to be off the meds before that happened. Help will I ever get off this! I am so scared to drop the dose again
  12. 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.
  13. Hello Everyone, This is for Fresh, who has coerced me in to finally starting my own forum thread which I will add to over time. Please pull up a chair, sit down and may be get a hot drink and let me begin. History In a galaxy.. far far away.... oh no that's not it. Ah this is it....... I was holidaying in Italy and got a bit too much sun one day, which meant that I got a pretty servere case of heat / sun stroke. I was unable to sleep for days on end as the slightest noise would jar me awake. I was also unable to eat properly at this time and had a bad stomach, which I believe was all brought on by the sun episode. I remember having a feeling that there was a black cloud above my right eye all of the time. I started to get depressed and felt myself getting lower and lower. Until one morning a few days after the incident, I had an ice cold shower. This bought on my first ever panic attack. I first had a feeling of buzzing in my head and then my muscles in my legs and hands started to contract. I now know this is caused by hyperventilation. An ambulance was called and I was taken to the ER in an Italian hospital where I was given Valium to calm me down. When I came round the black cloud had disappeared. (never to return.... well at least thus far). I was sent home and told to take liquid Valium twice a day for 3 further days. My holiday was coming to an end and this would see me through until I was on the flight home. I slept like a baby and felt wonderful when awake. I thought the whole episode was over, but little did I know that the big change in my life was just starting. I came home and was fine for 24 hours. I went to the cinema to watch the movie "Twister" and it was whilst the film was at one of it's high tension moments that I experienced my second panic attack, it was nowhere near as bad as my first but it affected me for the next couple of days as once again I lost my appetite. I started a new job and this put me in to another tailspin, and it seemed as though panic and anxiety ruled my life for the next 8 months or so. I was put on a short course of betablockers, but they didn't do anything. I can't remember the name of that particular medicine. I finally saw a GP and was diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, I can honestly say that other than the depressive episode whilst on holiday I have never felt depressed in my life. Yes I have had blue days but never what I now think as depression. I was prescribed Seroxat 10mg once a day. Which I started to take in the morning. Early issues involved initial panic attack when first staring the meds and then suicidal ideation which I had never experienced before. I was concerned and spoke to a GP who then prescribed Diazepan to help me "get on to the drug", a strange phrase and if I'd realised at that time what these things were doing then I would have stopped taking them. It took approximately 2 - 4 weeks for me to start to feel relief and during this time I felt the meds entering every organ in my body or at least that's what I swear I felt. I even got in to a stage where I felt myself rocking back and forth but this only lasted a day or so. Anyway after 4 weeks I was better and over the course of a few months I started to feel "normal" (whatever that may be). I stayed on the meds for a few years before attempting to wean / taper myself off, but this was very shortlived as the symptoms soon appeared. Of course the GP said.... "that the original condition was coming back" and "you need to go back on the meds". So like a good patient always does, they follow the doctors orders, because after all, they know what is right for you, right? So I think I was on Seroxat for approximately 4 years and then started to experience what I now know as "poop-out", where the meds stopped working. So my GP moved me over to Escitalopram as it was a "easier" medication to contend with and would stop me feeling the SI's. Yes this was one of the side effects once the Seroxat had stopped working. To be continued..... Namaste. DC.
  14. 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
  15. After being on Abroad for 10 years, I had a stomach ulcer and an eroded stomach lining. The doc changed me to Mirtazapine 30mg about 9 years ago. It has a gentler effect on the stomach... I did have trouble with side effects but persisted .. I was getting worse panic attacks, anxiety and phobias so the doc changed me to escitalopram.20mg. CT. No taper or wash out. My nightmare started from that night onwards. Symptoms : brain zaps fried brain feeling couldn't think to even make breakfast, drive a car, remember anything at all from one moment to the next, couldn't even think of anything to say to anyone. sweats, insomnia tinnitus loss of balance constant pain in the cheek bones pins and needles pain in the stomach nausea burning mouth and tongue constant itching and redness constipation, still using movicol to keep things moving lots of other things but you probably know those already. it wasn't till nearly 6 months before some of these things started to settle. I felt Ill the whole time. My GP didn't believe me and said I'd googled the symptoms. I was too scared to go to the hospital in case they changed my drugs and id have to go through another round of symptoms. I had to give up work and basically lost the whole of 2017. then I'd get an odd say where I didn't feel too bad.. but not for long. 2 years on and I'm just starting to be able to remember a bit. Still have a buzzing head, terrible insomnia. Only sleep for 1.30 ~ 2 hour stints. my whole life has changed. I could always do 3 things at once before. Now I'm flat out doing much at all. I tried taking magnesium L~Threonate but after a couple of weeks I had nausea etc so have dropped the dose on that. If too much happens, I get a terrible headache, my eyes can't focus and my tinnitus gets worse.. I still have itching and a gripping feeling on my back, like some one is touching my left ear and around my chin... also am worried as my tongue feels like I've bitten it really hard every now and then.. any help or advice would be most welcome as I feel like I'm struggling along without any advice... I get told I'm just super sensitive to the meds.. like its my fault all this happened. It so frustrating. cheers.
  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 am new here, but have been reading many posts and would like to wish everybody well. I started to experience panic attacks in October 2017 following emigration to another country. We had been in this country a year and I had been finding it difficult with a very young child. At the time I started with panic attacks I had been having anxiety and acid reflux following two bouts of gastroenteritis earlier the previous year. My partner is a physician and by May 2017 was very worried about my state of mind and dwindling appetite. I therefore saw a colleague of his and agreed to start Mirtazapine. I titrated up very slowly over two months and found it helped with sleep. But on reaching 15mg severe akathisia set in. This was then augmented first by Abilify (which caused me skin burning) and then Seroquel, which coincided with the onset of SI. By August of 2017 I had deteriorated in my state of mind and was anorexic through severe anxiety and nausea. I had become non-functioning and agoraphobic. I was admitted to a psych unit and referred to a psychiatrist. This was truly frightening to me. I was then cross-tapered to 20mg of Lexapro (Escitalopram) and augmented with Ativan for start up. I avoided being tube fed by agreeing to protein shakes. We left this country in September 2017 as an emergency to be home with family. As many will know, the start up of Lexapro was terrible (even with benzo cover) and although the panic attacks stopped I felt very unwell throughout the course. I had lost over 28lbs in weight and this did not start to go back on until well into 2018. I managed to start tapering the Ativan and by February 2018 crossed over to Diazepam. From there, frightened by how long I had needed the benzo, I tapered fairly quickly down to 2mg by June. Each month I felt I crashed around the same time and was never sure if my hormones were involved in this as well. In hindsight I should have slowed down, I know. I then started to taper the Lexapro by approx 2mg a month. During both tapers (which I know now I should not have contemplated), I have frequently crashed, then picked up again and been somewhat functional, although not working, whilst my child started school. At at present I have stopped the Escitalopram, but have a micro amount of Diazepam, which I am holding. I had planned to jump off at the end of the month. I apologise sincerely for the rambling story. I do not want to go into too much detail concerning how I feel I have suffered, albeit in a relatively short space of time compared to others. Suffice to say, I feel that I was hit with a sledge hammer by the medication and am only alive because of my child. The medication (being on it and tapering off it) has left me with extremely strong and persistent SI through out the last two years, and this influenced my very stupid dual taper. At at this moment I have crashed badly, cannot eat, have lost significant weight, am very low functioning and have strong SI. Through my partner being a physician I should have used my knowledge better, and like others, I feel betrayed by an apparently well-meaning medical profession. In moments of clarity I see now the different course I could have taken, if, at the time, I had been a stronger advocate for myself. I have continued to feel vulnerable throughout the entire process. My partner has been through a vertical learning curve and now no longer prescribes in the same way as before. That is something at least. I guess i am I am looking for guidance as to whether I should wait out this crash. The symptoms mirror those on start up for severity. I am so frightened that I have done so wrong by dual tapering at the pace I did. I would have liked more input from my partner, but he was and is doing the best he can with work and our child. I have a widowed mother, who believes you should cope with anything and does not understand SI. My my plan is not to jump of the Diazepam, but I was not sure whether to reinstate the Escitalopram at a very low dose to try to stabilise the SI feelings and severe anxiety/loss of appetite. Thank you for any help at all. Best wishes to everyone.
  18. 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.
  19. hello guys, that's my story (coming from Italy, sorry for bad English): I was suggested in October 2014 to take Risperdal 1mg/day for my social anxiety and paranoia...took it for 23 days from November, that day I suddenly felt a great fear of death and a 'strange void' in my head. From that moment (23 November 2014) to present day I have had no emotions, I have lost all my interests, my mind is empty now (very slow thinking), I speak few times only to answer a question, I have no energy or motivation so I'm lying down on my bed all the day. Before taking Risperdal I had some issues with social anxiety and paranoia, but I loved going to gym, walking, thinking freely, reading and gaming. Now I don't have any desire, I also experience discomfort when eating or taking a shower. I read many posts about this like-being dead existence after taking risperdal. Please help, also jim24 your story is similar to mine, please update me on your situation...I will do the same.
  20. Moderator note: link to Linus' benzo thread - Linus: Klonopin question Hi everyone, I like this forum, I think the moderators are sensible people who give good advice, compared to some other websites. I have already come a long way with regards to withdrawing from Escitalopram, from 30mg to 1.8 mg. It has been hell but hey here I am I know that by now even small cuts are problematic. My first question would be if anyone has a clue as to whether there comes a point in the withdrawal where things get easier (like at 1mg or 0.8 mg) or does it stay funky all the way down to zero?
  21. Katch

    Katch

    Hello all, I am new here even though I have been peeking into the forum for a while. My brief meds history: Diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in 2012 (which overturned the previous diagnoses of chronic fatigue syndrome). Initially put on 10 mg Escitalopram (Lexapro), 10 mg olanzapine and 75 mg Venlafaxine. I was on this cocktail for about two years until I started to relapse regularly every Spring and Autumn. Since end of 2014 till March 2015 I pretty much lived in the psychiatric hospital and ended up with Lexapro 20mg, 200 mg of Lithium, 75 mg Setrline (?) However, Lithium made me feel so unwell I just could not live with it. I got so fed up and told myself enough is enough. Started to read everything there was on depression and one thing that always kept coming up was weak thyroid. I kept dismissing it as my test were fine but eventually I decided to ignore all medical tests, go by my symptoms and started to support my thyroid – mainly through iodine. High dose of B3 also did magic. So started to wean myself off of everything in May 2015. I don’t remember the schedule but by the beginning of August I took nothing. However, at the end of August I discovered I was pregnant only to miscarry few days later. Period of horrible anxiety followed. Not sure if it was the hormonal mess up or just delayed withdrawal but I re-instated full 20 mg of Lexapro. Stayed on it for about a month and then started to wean myself off. I don’t remember how I went from 20 to 10mg but it just shows it was pretty insignificant. End of December 2015 – from 10mg to 5mg Escitalopram – looking back now I was going through withdrawal after that but because I did not have much issues before, I just thought I was getting tired and stressed out with looking for a new job and then the new job itself. My symptoms were mainly physical. End of March 2016 – from 5mg to 0 mg Escitalopram – was ok for few days but then it hit me. Realised I was going through withdrawal – no sleep, tight chest, dizziness, weakness, painful joints and muscles, digestive issues. After 3-4weeks went up to 2.5mg (roughly as cutting the pill). I am on that dose still The thing is, even though I had some mild anxiety and some mild anger and irritability issues, my main symptoms were mainly physical. I had few windows. Actually majority of June was pretty good. However, starting week 16 (beginning of July) and I’m getting seriously anxious and also, had few days where I just had to cry too. So basically, I am freaking out that rather than going through withdrawal, I’m actually relapsing as the physical symptoms are very mild but the anxiety is hitting me biiiiiiiig time. Is this normal? I also realised last week I became gluten intolerant (probably allergic to more things but gluten is quite obvious now) so that probably messed me up quite a bit. So in addition to escitalopram withdrawal I’m probably going through gluten withdrawal too. Or simply relapsing? It’s this insecurity about what is actually happening that is definitely making things more difficult to handle and feeds all the catastrophic scenarios. Could I be relapsing? Really need some reassurance now.
  22. 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?
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Hey everyone! Im a male dental student in my early 20s and began taking 20mg of Paxil at the age of 18 for anxiety, depression and anger issues (The typical teenager phase, slightly elevated ). Anyway, I felt better for around a year, and then the drug started pooping out on me theoughout the second year. I decided it was time to get rid of the drug, and went cold turkey (having no knowledge whatsover about the withdrawal syndrome). For the first week or so, I felt fine. However, after a while, I started getting severe anxiety,hypersensitivity, agarophobia and panic attacks. ( I dont quite remember the physical symptoms I had, but they were mild). After 2 months of enduring this phase, I started researching, and found this forum (and other sites). I then reinstated at 20mg, but ignorantly did not wait to stabilize on that dose. My nervous system was still in shock, and although my symptoms were not as severe as they were when I was completely off the drug, they were still present. I then tried to taper off the drug (10% per month) but I still couldnt do it. I repeated that process a few times but it never worked. (I now realize that it was most probably due to the fact that I never gave my nervous system enough time to stabilze following reinstatement. I tried tapering off after around a month of reinstatement). Anyway, following the failed attempts of tapering off the drug, I went to a psychiatrist. As in most cases, he told me to switch to another drug (Citaloptam at 30mg). I followed his advice and tried to stabilize on it for 2 months but felt there was no progress. I then went to another psychiatrist and he advised me to switch to Lexapro 15mg. Ive been on that dose for 4 months and am starting to see progress. My symptoms (which were severe) have noticebly decreased. I am feeling quite a lot better than before and just wanted to send you guys positive information and hope! I do have one question though. How much longer would you advise me to stick to the drug, before trying to taper off again?
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