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  1. 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.
  2. Kristine

    Kristine: not alone

    Moderator note: link to Kristine's benzo thread - Kristine: Protracted clonazepam withdrawal? Hello, I am new to this site and would firstly like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have shared their stories and support. I now know I am not alone. My story is long and complex so I will attempt to condense it. I am 43 years old and was introduced to antidepressants 10 years ago after being diagnosed with MDD, GAD and PTSD (l do not feel comfortable with labels) by my psychiatrist. During the first 8 years of treatment multiple antidepressants and other psychotropic medications were prescribed. I will fast forward to October 2015 when I attempted to end my life (I had never been suicidal prior to taking antidepressants). I had to resign from work and was hospitalised for 1 month. At the time I had been taking citalopram for a number of years and had reached the maximum dose. My intuition told me it was not helping. I wanted to stop this medication and my psychiatrist was supportive of this decision. However, it is obvious to me now that she was inexperienced and uneducated with this process. The citalopram was ceased over one week and due to severe anxiety I was commenced on seroquel and diazepam. After leaving hospital I managed to taper off the seroquel and diazepam but became increasingly unwell both mentally and physically. My psychiatrist convinced me that my mental illness had returned and I was commenced on Parnate which was increased in dose over 3 months. Instead of improving my mental and physical ailments worsened and my psychiatrist sort a second opinion. I was hospitalised again in May 2016 under the 'care' of another psychiatrist. This was the beginning of an indescribable hell where I was treated like a human lab rat. Looking back the medications he prescribed were beyond belief and I was the victim of poly pharmacy without adequte professional rational. Unfortunally, like so many others, I was vulnerable and trusted his guidance. He treated me as both an inpatient and out patient over a one year period. Over this time I was prescribed over 14 psychotropic medication some of which were abruptly ceased and crossed over with other medications. If this wasn't enough I was subjected to 15 sessions of unnessaccery ECT. Not surprisingly, I was in a zombified state, unable to function and unable to return to work. My anxiety and depression was not alleviated and I was plagued with tremors, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and migraines. By April 2017 I ceased my appointments with this psychiatrist (he had little belief in withdraw symptoms or side effects of the medication he prescribed - he resorted to blaming me) and returned to my previous psychiatrist. Over the past eight months I have the mammoth task of withdrawing from multiple medications. These include escitalopram (completed reduction), Lithium (competed reduction), clonazepam (partial reduction), bupropion (completed reduction), seroquel (completed reduction), dexamphetamine (partial reduction) and fluoxetine (no reduction). My withdrawal symptoms are horrendous and relentless. My psychiatrist has been unable to advise me along a comfortable path. She appears to be in denial and her support has mostly evaporated. I feel abandoned, alone and frightened. I was forced to seek information independently (for which I am grateful), which continues to be a hideous realisation that for years I was in a constant state of drug withdrawal, side effects and drug interaction. I also feeling very angry about my treatment. I am tapering at the 10% rate now (one medication at a time) but even though I know road ahead will be long and rocky, I feel a sense of empowerment from educating myself. What I am experiencing is common and I am finally breaking free from the clutches of psychiatry.
  3. Hello everyone, I'm a 32 year old female from Germany. Over there I'm in quite the similar forum which already helps tremendously. But I finally decided to sign up here, too. For more support, more hope, more people who understand... I have been mildly depressed for some time because I couldn't handle my physical chronic illness well, anymore. I went to a good therapy. But when I experienced some anxiety issues for the first time in my life I got scared and sadly decided to try Escitalopram. While in hospital for some physical diagnostics in August 2015 I was put on 5mg up to 20mg Escitalopram without any big problems. I continued therapy for another one and a half years and actually felt great. I was one of the lucky people who didn't suffer from any side effects other than a bit of weight gain. In 2017 I went down to 10mg without any problems. Then it was finally time for hubby and me to try to conceive. But before that, the meds had to go. My psychiatrist at the time was nice but, as I know now, clueless. She recommended a quick taper, as stated in my signature and told me I could "get some brain zaps". I tapered and was off in June 2018. I know now I definitely had that honeymoon phase. I felt wonderful. Hubby and I started trying for a baby! Over the summer I had some symptoms that I recognized as withdrawal symptoms. Because now I already knew the German forum. But only on the surface. Had I dug deeper and read through some stories, I would have known that you can crash with some delay. Which is what I did. I fell on October 1 and landed on October 2 in a different, nightmarish world. Everything was so different. Everything! I was a happy woman up until those days. My symptoms at the beginning: akathisia, extreme anxiety all the time, insomnia, including two weeks of complete insomnia, extreme fatigue, muscle tension and pain, diarrhea, massive derealization, crying spells, despair, heart racing and palpitations, bladder problems, hopelessness, stomach problems and more which I might have forgotten. By then I knew there was no point in seeing a doctor. I was bedridden anyway. And I knew this was withdrawal hell. The German forum advised me to reinstate. I did, at 0.25. There was a first little window right after the first dose but overall, I was still in hell. Over time I carefully updosed to 0.35, then later to 0.5 and then, right the next day, because I was so desperate, to 0.6. That's when a different kind of hell broke loose. I felt cornered by my symptoms, I had no room anymore, I couldn't breathe. I was so agitated, my nerves tingling, vomiting, pulse up to 160. Never ever could I survive this. I even got scared I might be able to harm myself. This turned into obsessive thoughts and panic, that I might really be able to end my life, without ever really wanting it. German Forum told me to go back to 0.5 after just a couple of days. I did, but it still took time for those very drastic effects to settle... I couldn't be left alone anymore. I've been lucky to have my husband and mother, sister, friends. Someone was always there. In mid December my grandma jumped in. She lives next door but I couldn't have seen her and scared her before then because I was in such bad shape. But from then on she was happy to take care of me whenever needed. So... I've been holding the dose since the end of November and am going to continue to hold. I'm still more or less housebound. I got agoraphobic, the world seems to big for me. Just some little steps outside the door, nothing more. I'm still in a different world. I never feel save. I do sleep okayish at night but never at daytime because I jolt in terror when I try. I'm terrified by the withdrawal. I'm hopeless and anhedonic, don't have any interest and don't do much. I feel bad writing this. But... I had improvements. Like no more non stop anxiety, no akathisia, I eat, I sleep, I'm not bedridden anymore, hardly any derealization... But the thing is. I'm so terrified. Frozen in fear and feel like I can't trust those improvements. Especially because everybody says it's normal that withdrawal takes years. So why should it be different for me? Did reinstating catch me? Or is crashing hard and suffering for years inevitable for me, as it was for most of you? I don't know who I am and where I stand anymore. I can't trust my body anymore. I'm going through typical windows and waves, though somehow faster than others. I seem to improve faster but cannot trust that. And I feel ashamed whining about that because I know you all have been suffering for long and probably wish you'd feel that kind of progress. I don't even know what living and being happy is supposed to feel like anymore. Will I notice it? Will I know when it's over for me, even when I'm now frozen in fear and feel like I'm not really growing with my improvements? Withdrawal turned me into a child, which is not typically me. It's weird. I am still going through this but am already haunted by the very bad memories. Do you know this? I know lots of affirmations, I pray, I read success stories, I follow Baylissa's wise words. But still acceptance is my weak point. I can't seem to do it. Or rarely. I'm floating through all this with a feeling of nothing to hold on to, despite knowing that I have my wonderful family and friends. Like life is over... I don't ever move freely, feel relaxed. I'm so scared I won't be able to find my way back. That I will remain frozen, even after withdrawal is over. I can't really try things or look at things from normal life because it depresses and scares me so much. Desperate... TV, computer and reading are almost impossible for me. So what can I do? I come online on my mobile. What I do to help me: focus on breathing. Taking fish oil and magnesium. Gaba tea. Some game playing with grandma. Eat. Luckily I can eat everything like before. Drink enough. Pray. Have people around me. What I can't do: guided meditation, relaxing music, yoga... Stuff like that. When I try, terror jumps at me. As if there's a door open in my brain that should be closed. Taking baths is a NO. Memories of horrible waves... Will I forever see and feel withdrawal everywhere? My home doesn't feel the same anymore. All that exists is withdrawal and I'm so scared that won't ever change. Phew, that's a lot. Thanks for reading! Oh! Two more things: luckily I didn't get pregnant over summer! Just the thought of it, in this situation! And my screen name. While I feel devastatingly hopeless inside, I think almost all of us have that glimmer of hope in our hearts. That spark that makes us continue, day by day. Even if we don't realize it. I wish you healing! withhopeinmyheart
  4. I was diagnosed with post natal depression ten years ago. The psych put me on 10mg lexapro and told me to see him again two weeks later. When I went back he asked if I felt better and I said no. He put my dose up to 15mg. Two weeks later I went back again and answered the same question with another no. He put me up to 20mg. This continued till I reached the dose of 30mg. By that stage I had learned to lie....I told him I felt much better so that he would stop increasing my dose. I later learned that the recommended dose of lexapro is 20mg. After twelve months on 30mg I cut myself down to 25mg. Basically over the following years I did the same thing until I got down to 5mg. That was two years ago. That is when my problems began. Increased anxiety and ocd. No physical symptoms thankfully. But the anxiety and ocd is awful. I have read extensively and know my symptoms are withdrawal. There are definite windows and waves. I am currently at 2mg and life is hard. I honestly can’t see how I am going to get off this drug. The withdrawal sets in about one month after a cut and honestly seems to be endless in intensity. At this stage I am in no hurry to cut any further. During a window My anxiety and ocd seems laughable and I can’t believe how silly I have been getting upset about everything. But during the waves the fear and terror is so real. It is as though my central nervous system is damaged beyond repair. I live in a constant state of hyper alert.
  5. 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
  6. I don't know......I am practice posting. At present I am about 5 days off Adderal, 2.5 mg. It feels alot like when I finally came off Lexapro......I was down to 3 mg. and they took me off of it completely in October while I was in the hospital........meanwhile started up on the Adderal and still am on Trileptal 150mg. x2/day. Anyway mostly upper back achiness now.......total demotivation as anything is stressful and am just working for staying calm, fluids, eating, sleep. A conversation by phone once in awhile. Pay the bills. Accept help when I can. So maybe I am somewhat on topic. Not sure I could list all the meds. that I have withdrawn from yet........someday soon. I just wanted to be around people that get it..........and find the hope and strength again. You know.......I believe in God(although a God that accepts my anger sometimes), but even more so in a universal strength to be found in others. Anyway.......thankful for my journey in a way.......especially in those windows I get of clarity and calm.
  7. 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.
  8. Hi! English is not my first language so I apologize if my texts are confusing, same with my signature. I quit the last 5 mg escitalopram/cipralex 3 weeks ago. When I went down from 10 to 5 mg nothing got better so I started reading about tardive dysphoria which made me very eager to quit my medication completely. I also found out about 6 months ago that quitting 5 mg at a time is way too drastic for someone who has been using the medication for years, but I figured i'd just endure this last time. The problem is that I've now found out from reading on this site and on other places that some of the side effects might become permanent. So my question now is, should I go back up to 5-4 mg, and then slowly go down 1 mg at a time from there? Or should I just wait this out when it has already been 3 weeks. I'm willing to wait it out if it gets better. But if there are big risks about doing what i'm doing right now i'm gonna go back up if that's your advice. Ps: I do feel horrible physically and mentally and can practically not be around people, but as I said i'm willing to endure it if it gets better. I can't trust my doctors anymore, they want to make me go back up to max dosage with both voxra and cipralex + start giving me more benzo for no good reason. Which is why I'm asking here, the people here seem to have good knowledge about this. TL;DR: Go back up to 5 mg and go down 1 mg at a time or endure this and wait for it to get better?
  9. Hey Guys, m 24 years old.... I was prescribed escitalopram in 2014 10mg,then after my dose was reduced to 5mg...So in December 2017 I quit it without tapering, which m now learning was a big mistake..... Everything was fine till February 5th when I had my breakup.... Suddenly my brain started behaving differently..... I started feeling like everything is Getting away from me.... Anxiety came back.... Slowly slowly symptoms began to get worse.... I used to wake up in the middle of the night, felt like crying most of the time, loose motion, sweaty hands, chronic fatigue.... Now from the last three weeks I feel like my memory is fading, it's like I don't remember all these years wt actually happened, I do remember most of the things but it just feels like I don't remember them with all the feel.... So last week I went to see my psychiatrist and he said it's a relapse case.... I told him maybe it's the withdrawal symptom then he said they only last for 10-15 days..... AND told me to get back on 10mg again.... At night I took my first dose of 10mg, the next day in morning I started shivering and feeling cold..... I went to pee and felt like m gonna faint.... There was a burning sensation under the skin of my arms and back..... I decided not to take these meds.... So m asking you guys wt is the best thing for me to do now.... Should I reinstate with the small dose and then taper it down or just hope that everything gets better with time?
  10. Junglechicken

    ☼ Junglechicken

    Hi, I joined this forum today and wanted to introduce myself. All it took was a family trauma to set off my depression/anxiety (my father's inability to stop spending money he didn't have, led to no money and my having to pay for my parents housing etc.,). I have suffered from underlying depression and anxiety for many years but managed to keep a lid on it by exercising and I guess being younger and able to forget the darker stuff by clubbing and going out. Then 6 years ago hubby and I moved to Canada from the UK and I dive-bombed into hell. Daily panic attacks at home and work, I was bullied at numerous work places as well as dealing with the work pressure, feeling of isolation and no support network. Then in June I lost my job and have been more or less house bound with the exception of having to go out to do chores. Went to my doctor who prescribed Cipralex (Feb 2014) - I was on it for 18 months in total and came off it mid-September 2015 after a 3 month taper at 5mg. This happened after I had got a job at a large company (Nov 2013), and I had to take 3.5 months medical leave. Upon my return to work, I was met with resentment and disdain by my colleagues who saw it that I was just looking to get "free vacation" time. This made my life even more hellish - my Manager had wanted to get rid of me upon my return but couldn't by law. I lost my job about a year after returning to work due to redundancy. Since then I have experienced extreme fatigue (had to stop marathon training), intense muscle and joint soreness, weird dreams, tinnitus, headaches, sinusitis, pressure changes in my ears and ear pain, sub-clinical migraines, crying spells, GI issues, heightened anxiety and depression. Despite these things, doctors never seem to find anything actually wrong with me. I honestly feel as though I am in hell - I feel as though someone has taken a photocopy of me and the photocopy is a completely different person (withdrawal). The weekdays are a drag, and I dread them as my hubby is at work. I fear the worst will happen while he is away. I am a total basket case and freak out very easily if there is a withdrawal symptom I don't recognise. If I can survive this, I can survive anything.
  11. 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?
  12. Gridley

    Gridley

    In 1986 I was prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant, 75 mg Imipramine PM, to slow bowel function and to relieve pain resulting from ulcerative colitis. I was also put on 1 mg Lorazepam. In 1991 I went CT off both the Imipramine and the Lorazepam, resulting in a terrible colitis flare-up. After a few months I reinstated with success. However, these medications, and everything else I did for the colitis ceased work about three years ago, and in January, 2015, I underwent surgery to remove my colon and replace with an internal J-pouch, which cured the colitis. But that left me with the 30-year-long Imipramine situation. In January, 2016, I began tapering the Imipramine 10% every three weeks, which went fine until I got down to 19 mg, then 12 mg, at which point I began experiencing severe anxiety as well as dizziness. Realizing I had tapered too quickly, I updosed to 25 mg a month ago but have not as yet stabilised at this dose, as I am still experiencing considerable anxiety as well as insomnia. Until September 23, my tapers were approximate percentages as I hadn't yet bought a scale. I use the supplements Theanine and Nature's Balance Happy Camper to help with the anxiety, along with magnesium glycinate. It's only been a month, but I'm a little worried that I am never going to stabilise at 25 mg. In 2004, due to depression, I was put on a succession of SSRIs, in addition to the Imipramine, including Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor. Lexapro 20 mg seemed to finally work and I remain on it at this time. In 2011 I was prescribed 1 mg Lorazepam for insomnia, now 1.5 mg.
  13. Danalee13

    Danalee13: Lexapro 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.
  14. Hello, I'm new to the forum. I've been having a lot of trouble with sleep. This started 2 years ago (Nov. 2011) after my father passed away. I started waking up panicking every time I would start to fall asleep. I was put on 20 mg of Lexapro and 5 mg of Zyprexa. Everything stabilized and was good for 2 months until I developed a rash on my legs. I was told to stop taking the Lexapro immediately. I stayed of of it for 1 1/2 months and wasn't taking any medications. Then I started having fever like symptoms, extreme anxiety and just felt horrible. A psychiatrist introduced Zoloft to me at 50 mg. It drove me out of my mind with anxiety. At this point I was put back on 20 mg of Lexapro and my sleeping problems began again. I was given Xanex to take as needed. Every time I would start to relax and fall asleep I would become shaky, panicky and my heart would race. For the next 3 months I had no natural sleep. I was put on Seraquil, Lithium, Elaville and Trazadone. I had the startling, shaky, panicky heart racing feeling anywhere I tried to sleep except for the spare room. I stayed on 20 mg of Lexapro for quite a while, it was put up to 30 mg but it didn't help so after a few weeks I came back down to 20 mg. Then wellbutrin was introduced, that also made the anxiety terrible so that was discontinued. At this point I decided to wean myself off of the Lexapro dropping 2 1/2 mg every 2 weeks. I got down to 2 1/2 mg in March of 2013 and my anxiety became unbearable. I went back up to 5 mg of Lexapro. I was put on Prozac, stayed on it only a few weeks because of increased anxiety yet again. I remained on the 5 mg of Lexapro until October 2, 2013. At that point I hadn't taken any sleep medication in about a year. I still could only sleep in the spare room without the panicky feeling when I started to fall asleep. 10 mg of Propranolol was added 3 times a day and I dropped from the 5 mg of Lexapro to 2 1/2 mg. The panicky feeling went away when I was relaxing to fall asleep. I decided to drop down to 1 1/8 mg around Nov. 2. Things were getting better, I was able to sleep in my bedroom with my wife again without the panicky feeling when going to sleep. I was feeling great! 6 weeks into that last drop all that changed. My anxiety is horrible, I can't sleep at night without medication leaving me feeling drugged the next day. I'm back to sleeping in the spare room but I even get that startling, panicky, shaky feeling in there now. My heart pounds so hard it makes my hand go numb. Last night was horrible, I had to take 50 mg of Elaville and 50 mg of Trazadone. This is left over from the 3 months of sleeping without natural sleep when they tried so many medications to try to put me to sleep. I'm extremely upset about the progress I feel I've lost with my sleep because now I feel like I'm right back to where I've started. I just don't know what to do about my central nervous system that is triggering the fight or flight response every time I try to sleep. The only thing that works to take away that panicky feeling is xanex but I don't take it that often because I don't want an addiction problem. Thank you in advance for your ideas to help.
  15. Moderator note - link to benzo forum thread - Frogie: W/D from Xanax am new here as you can see. I need help!! I'm hoping someone can help me get off 10 mg Lexapro. Every time I try to drop to even 9mg, I end up sick to my stomach. I go back up to 10mg and am still sick to my stomach. I have no other symptoms. In my profile is all my information, I don't know how to get it to the bottom of this page. I'm not very good on the computer. Sorry
  16. 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.
  17. Hi Guys. I have been on every SSRI over the past 2 years, apart from Paroxetine. This all started from some situational anxiety at work. Each time i took a medication i was on them for about 3 month without any benefit at all. I would loose time at work, cold turkey and return back to work. Each time i did this i was getting worse and worse. I would then return back to the doctor and ve started on something else. This has basically gone on for 2 years. All this time i have got worse. I have now come to understand withdrawal and the fact i could have well been prescribed numerous medications due to an illness been mistaken for withdrawal. 8 weeks ago after stopping my second attempt of Escitalopram for 3 months i decided to stop for good with a fast taper. I feel anxious, dizzy, fatigued, poor cognition and inability to focus. I know if i take a dose of SSRI that this will improve however i will return to the Zombie state of meds. I am finished with medication!!! On reflection my problems i encountered prior to any medication was far easier than the problems i have had the past 2 years on medications. I think i have been a victim of Psychiatry! I dont think i ever needed medication! My chemical imbalance was created by meds! If i had no knowledge of this i would be stuck in Psychiatry! I just want to know ppls experiences and can i still be in withdrawal at 8 weeks after 2 years of messing about with meds. Thanks Lee
  18. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Blondiee1915: Xanax taper. Need help Hi all . I was on SSRI for 9 years (mostly lexapro) with some small breaks in between. I withdrew fully (don't believe I did it slowly) in July and now 3 months later I am experiencing intense symptoms that became disabling at times . I was initially prescribed lexapro in college for panic attacks and general anxiety . Physical symptoms compared to emotional were not bad for me at all . Now 3 months later my fatigue intensified. I am constantly exhausted no matter how much I sleep . I feel detached and disconnected. I am also indifferent and not emotional (example I don't want to be intimate) the most annoying thing is dizziness and the feeling of disbalance I wonder if it will ever go away . At times I wonder if I should go back on drugs but in all honestly they didn't really help me I just get like a zombie. If anyone can share their experience coming off lexapro, similar symptoms and if gets better . Thank you so much ❤️
  19. Hello, I'm 45 years old female. I've been on SSRI drugs from 1997 because of anxiety. At work my hands would start to shake, my mind would stop functioning and I would not be able to work. So I ended in the psychiatrist office and was put on drugs. I felt deeply ashamed of myself for being like this and kept it hidden from everybody. The feelings of shame, unworthiness and fear were my everyday companions after a very traumatic childhood. In 2018 I started reading about the SSRI drugs (Kelly Brogan's book: A Mind of Your Own) and decided to slowly stop taking the drugs that have been destroying my brain for 21 years. In the beginning (March 2018) it was fairly easy, but in December 2018 some very unpleasant symptoms started to surface: strong anxiety in the mornings, painful nervous feelings in my legs and arms, irritability, nervousness, anger, lack of energy...I went back from 2.5 mg of Cipralex every other day to 2.5 mg every day. Back then I thought it was ok to alternate doses every other day. I also started to take better care of myself by: - eating an anti-inflammatory diet (dr. Gundry's diet - no sugar, no grains, no lectins), - taking supplements: fish oil, cod liver oil, magnesium, D and K vitamins, - exercising or going on long walks with my lovely husband every day after work, - carefully avoiding stressful situations and stressful people, - postponing all important decisions, - making sure that I sleep and rest enough, - taking it one day at a time and being grateful in the evening that I managed to finish my work day, - making recovery my top priority. I'm very grateful to all the people that share their knowledge and help each other on this website. I've learned a lot from you and will continue my tapering using the 10% method (when I feel ready). I'm not stable enough right now. I don't mind waiting, I'll give myself as much time as I need. Even if it takes years to come to 0 mg. I want to be patient and kind to myself. Thank you. Please forgive any mistakes; English is not my native language. Love, peace and good health to everybody 💛 Mimi
  20. 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.
  21. ME: 37 y.o. female STORY: In escitalopram 1 year and two months: low dosis (10 mg per day) from Jun 2013 to May 2013, then I low to 10 gr every two days. eventually quit on September 2013 WHY STARTING WITH IT? I had the drug because I experienced a great general anxiety. It really cure my problem. Other drugs you are having or gone back to this one : NO SIDE EFFECTS: - Not arousal, not libido: the sensation of "I could live without sex" - I can get orgasms but they are much weaker. - I have noticed that my breast don´t get swollen before menstruation - Lack of vaginal discharge - Barely absence of vaginal odour Any improvements since then: NO Natural suplements or herbs you are having?: 1500 mg oil fish omega 3 daily since 28/1/2014 "if you come up with any good ideas, please let us know"
  22. 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!
  23. Dmitry

    Dmitry: hello

    Topic title: Antidepressants withdrawal Hey guys, I really need your help. I been on escitalopram for about 8 months. I ween myself off 10mg in about 2 and a half months, gradually reducing the dosage from 10 to 7.5 then 5 then 2.5. For the first two weeks I had brain zaps but nothing too severe. After the two weeks for about two weeks now I am very depressed, not able to work, having suicidal thoughts, feeling hopeless. Did I ween off too quickly? What would you suggest? This feel almost impossible to bear. Please any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  24. I've been meaning to introduce myself for a while now, but getting myself to sit down and actually write something has been so incredibly hard. I just can't focus. Things I want to say or share come in bits and pieces and are gone by the time I can get on this site. I'very been tapering off Lexapro since August and am down to 10 mg fromy 30. I know it's faster than suggested here, but it seems to be OK. Well, I am still alive anyway. Since I can only seem to put together short thoughts on everything and need to get them out right away, I've decided to use Twitter primarily #TweetingMyRecovery. My handle is @AbleWriterSays if anyone cares to join me or follow along.
  25. Hi, I am new to this side, but unfortunately not new to antidepressants. In 2010 I managed to tapper Effexor, which took me more than two years. I made a terrible mistake and around 2 months ago I have started taking escitalopram. I was fulled by a psychiatrist that this is a safest antidepressant, which does not cause any side effects. I have also been on low dose of Doxepin at night to prevent migraines (this has been for over 2 years, but never caused any major problems...) I started on 5mg of escitalopram and I was ok on this, my anxiety stopped, I slept better, etc. Two weeks ago I increased to 10mg and this is when symptoms started. Firstly it was a weird sensation, each morning I was getting "pins and needles" in my arms, this was going away after getting up. Then I started sleeping badly...I wanted to cut back to 5mg, but a psychiatric said that it was only temporary, so I have stay on 10mg. In the meantime, I had a migraine and took my usual triptan; I almost got serotonin syndrom (at least I think)...This was the time I started to read about escitalopram and discovered horror stories... I want to stop this drug! I wonder if I have taken it for so short I could go with a faster than 10% tapper? Can I cut to 5mg straight away? Thank you Ikam
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