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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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Hello! I started on 2,5mg escitalopram in december 2018 for GAD and severe clinical depression by my GP. I gradually increased the dose up to 7,5mg and was on this dose for a couple of weeks (until january 7th) I then decided to taper down again, as the drug made me careless, emotionally numb, impaired my cognition and significantly decreased my libido. So I stopped it after 2 months (last 2,5mg pill taken 8th of february). Since stopping I suffered two weeks of accute physical withdrawal (flu-like symptoms, nausea, dizziness etc) but I thought that it would be over and I would go back to «normal», but now it is clear to me that I also suffer from protracted withdrawal (permanent brain damage) and the symptoms are scary and debilitating. I suffer from parasthesia, brain zaps, tinnitus, severe derealization, emotional numbness and extreme apathy to a point where I can’t force myself to get up and eat. I feel completely braindead and my cognition is ruined, the past month has gone by in a haze and I can’t remember or recollect much of it. This is extremely terrifying and almost worse than the original depression. I feel dead, even tho I’m alive. I am a masters student and I can’t function and have no support in my student town. My GP seems to be totally oblivious to the fact that this can happen. I am very distressed (logically, because I can’t really FEEL it) and I would be very grateful if someone here could come with some advice or similar experinces on lexapro that has «recovered» or gotten significantly better and how long it took them. Thank you in advance.
  6. My name is Anna, and I'm 35 years old. I was first prescribed an ssri in 2000, when I was 17 years old, for panic attacks and agoraphobia. At the time, I was given paroxetine. I can't remember my exact dosages over the years, but I remember I was on 40 mg for a long time, before going down to 20 mg. In 2008, I was switched to Lexapro because the side effects of paroxetine were very annoying for me (weight gain, flattened emotions, inhibited libido). They definitely outweighed any benefits I experienced from taking the drug... I was still having panic attacks, still agoraphobic, and now also experiencing periods of depression. Lexapro gave me less side effects, but the benefits were the same (pretty much non-existent). The reason I stayed on them for so long regardless? Fear, because psychiatrists had always told me I needed these drugs. That I had a chemical imbalance. And even as I became more and more convinced that the pills weren't helping, I was terrified of what would happen when I went off them, for fear of what they'd done to my brain in the meantime. But I didn't want to stay on them forever, and therapy and positive experiences in my life had finally brought me to a point where I had enough confidence to try to live without them. I'd been on a 20 mg dose for years, first of brand name Lexapro, then generic escitalopram. Early 2017, I went down to 10 mg. After gathering more courage, I went down to 5 mg late July 2018, and after consulting a psychiatrist I quit taking it entirely on October 1st, 2018. The situation with the psychiatrist is a bit complicated. I'm currently seeing a psychologist for cognitive behavioral therapy focusing on my phobias. The psychiatrist is the person ultimately in charge of my case, but she'd never seen me before we met that single time to discuss my medication (when I'd previously tapered Lexapro I'd done so under supervision of my GP, because I wasn't seeing a specialist at the time). She was against me going off ssri, but told me she'd "give me a chance". When I told her I'd never really experienced much benefit from the pills and that I'd only started feeling better as I'd tapered them, she didn't really seem to listen. She told me I could just go from 5 mg to nothing if I was so set on quitting, so I did. That was two and a half months ago, and it's been... bad. I immediately fell into a depression. I started experiencing the world differently... everything feels "off". I don't feel like myself a lot of the time. I feel like I'm regressing, years and years of repressed feelings and emotions seem to keep coming up. Not so much traumatic memories as just... so many images from my childhood and teens. Sometimes I suddenly feel as though I'm seeing the world through the eyes of my teenage self again. There have been brief moments where I've felt like myself again, but every time I start to feel better, I fall back down again. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind. I'm terrified I'll lose my will to live, though thank God it hasn't happened yet. But I don't know how much longer I can go on like this, I don't know how to cope. I'm trying to stay active, but I get overstimulated so easily... but being alone with my thoughts can send me down a spiral. I've tried staying with my parents for a while, but it made me feel helpless and drained my confidence. Being at home feels better, but I live alone and I don't have a big social network, so it gets lonely very quickly. It's like nothing I do seems to help. The psychiatrist had warned me against a relapse, but she never said a word about withdrawal... when she said relapse, I imagined maybe having more panic attacks for a while. I never imagined the hell I'm currently going through. I don't want to go back on ssri, but I'm terrified for what lies ahead. The things I usually do to cope, like practicing yoga and mindfulness, barely seem to do anything anymore. I'm losing confidence in myself and in my healing process. I know there are no quick fixes, but if anyone has any tips on how to stay afloat during this time, they'd be very welcome. Thank you for reading my story.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Moderator note: Link to Nikki74's benzo thread: lexapro kindling akasthesia Mirtazipine diazepam Help. i recently stopped lexapro after a short taper from ten to five mg over 9 days. i had been on 20mg since 2011 then tapered quickly in June and stopped. This was a few weeks after stopping pregabalin 150mg v abruptly. all this time I was also on 15mg Mirtazipine. my anxiety went crazy and gp told me to double Mirtazipine dose to 30. I lasted 3 weeks of hellish symptoms and was put on diazepam and Zopiclone. im now off Zopiclone which was tough. 6 weeks ago GP told me to go back to 15mg Mirtazipine and add in 10mg lexapro. This didn't help so now have stopped lexapro three days ago but took 2.5 mg last night as am feeling withdrawal. gp wants me to start tapering diazepam as I'm getting worse akasthesia when it wears off or even a paradoxical reaction to it. i have akasthesia. Insomnia. Severe anxiety. Shaking. Muscle weakness. Obsessive thoughts and suicidal ideation as cannot go on like this. The only brief ride break I get is the 15mg Mirtazipine which calms me for 2-3 hours. How can I go on? i am a single mum and have CFS already for many years. do I stay off the Lexapro now? How do I cope with withdrawals, akasthesia, and tapering diazepam?? I take 7mg a day been on it three months. i can't stop in one place and am smoking (just tobacco) every half hour. i got sober in 2013. this is hell.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. Hi folks, First of all I'm new to this site, so feel free to tell me I'm in the wrong area or redirect me.. But here's my story... I currently have what I think is severe anhedonia. Last July, I was a bit depressed (I stress a bit, not majorly).......doctor gave me lexapro 10. After taking this, I vomited on the first night and developed sleep problems. Later in the week, I was given 25 seroquel which apparently would help balance out adverse effects of lexapro.......by the end of the week, I wasn't sleeping and I was suicidal. I subsequently was admitted to hospital. In hospital, I got more and more meds thrown at me and my mid august I was on 125 seroquel, 30 mirtazapine, 20 lexapro, 20 Olanzapine/Zyprexa....My main problem was the medication ripped my stomach apart.....the docs didn't believe me and just gave me more and more meds. I left hospital anyway on the concoction I mentioned.....I spent the following four months on these meds. During those four months, I felt no emotion whatsever, nothing. I felt suicidal, and that I would never recover. I had no desire to do anything. I just stayed in bed until late in the day, even though my sleep did not feel like real sleep. By mid November, i realised that the medication was messing me up, I demanded that I gradually come off everything. On that day, the doctor dropped the mirtazapine, and cut everything else in half. There was a quick taper, maybe too quick, and by christmas eve I was off everything. There were brief windows of emotion during the taper but still 95% anhedonia. Days after I went off everything....I cried for the first time in six months.....days later I laughed for the first time in months... I'm now 6 weeks off everything, I had huge headaches up unitl last week. My stomach started to improve after going off everything and is on the mend. However, I'm still worried about emotions/desires/thoughts etc.....over the last six weeks....I've had maybe 5 occassions where I felt strong positive emotions...and maybe 3 times where I've been sad/angry to the point of proper crying. outside of those 8 occassions, there's still an awful amount of flat feeling, apathy etc... I'm worried and wonder how long or if I will recover at all. Feedback welcome!!
  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. 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 ❤️
  17. 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?
  18. Hi all, I am a 29 years old female working full time in the mental health field in USA. I started Lexapro/escitalopram 20mg back in 2010 for panic attack, moderate anxiety and mild depression when I was 21 years old. It initially helped me lift my mood and get rid of somatic symptoms. I have been maintaining 20mg for 7 years without much side effects. And I still have regular emotions when situations raise. In 2017, my PCP suggest lowering the dosage since my life is stable and I have more life experiences after these years. By the way, lexapro is the only medication I take; I have overall good health and live a healthy lifestyle (low sugar diet, exercise, no alcohol or smoking, supportive friends & families). Here is a history: 2010-2017: 20mg daily. Did fine for those years without much symptoms ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Family doctor recommended tapering in June 2017 Below is tapering instructed by doctor 6/2017 - 12/2017: 20mg & 10mg every other day, No WD symptoms 12/2017 - 2/2018: 10mg daily, Anxiety and hormone imbalance 2/2018 - 7/12/2018: Restated 15mg daily, No WD symptoms --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Below is tapering by myself 7/12/2018 - 8/8/2018: 15mg & 12.5mg every other day alternate, No WD symptoms 8/9/2018 - current: 12.5mg daily, experiencing managable WD symptoms: palpitation, brain fog/tightness, diarrhea(stopped on 8/23/18, back to normal bowel movement), dreams, mild obsessive thought. No mood disturbance. I am waiting for current symptoms to subside, and I will use a slower tapering schedule -10% after this. OTHER INFO: Tapering method: cut pills and weigh using digital scale Supplement: fish oil Coping: exercise, meditation, talk to my support network, inform and update people around me of my tapering & ask them to monitor me. Mindset: symptoms are temporary, change is happening everyday, slow and steady. I am happy to find this place where we can share recovery stories and support. Life is a long journey, let's take little step everyday Here is a sheet I use to track symptoms using 0-10 scales.
  19. Hi Everyone, I found this forum through the recent New Yorker article and have already found it very helpful. Here's a brief version of my story... I was put on Effexor XR at the age of 15 to treat severe anxiety (I was given a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder). At the time I was dealing with teenage hormones and a suicide in the immediate family and having regular panic attacks. As I got closer to 30 I decided I wanted to know what life was like without them, and wondered if being put on them at such a young age had impacted my emotional development. I felt like I had reached a point of relative stability in my life (stopped drinking, good support system). Going off Effexor ended up being a disaster - in hindsight it seems like it was a very fast taper and I reached the point of not being able to get out of bed in the morning due to anxiety. I found a new psychiatrist who put me on Lexapro and Xanax (not every day, to take as needed). I felt very good on Lexapro but I gained about 50 lbs in one year. She then added Wellbutrin into the mix, which didn't make me feel as good. I felt very agitated and had a hard time concentrating. At this time my psychiatrist was fixated on my weight and wanted to increase my Wellbutrin while going down on the Lexapro. We'd have arguments about it where I tried to explain how bad the Wellbutrin made me feel, despite the weight loss benefit. Eventually we parted ways and I am now trying to taper off everything for the first time in my adult life with another psychiatrist. I'm currently 4 weeks off Lexapro and on 100 mg of Wellbutrin. I am in therapy weekly in addition to seeing my psychiatrist monthly. I started taking fish oil after reading this site and am trying to integrate some dietary changes in addition to my regular yoga/meditation practice. I struggle with feeling a lack of agency over my own life and feeling helpless. The constant focus on and discussion of my weight over the past few years has also not been great. On my bad days I have feelings of hopelessness and despair and occasional depersonalization. I don't have an expectation that I will feel great all of the time, I just want to feel some level of control over my mental and emotional state. Reading this site helps me because I feel like I am not alone. You guys have already helped me so I want to say thank you and I hope I can learn more - the concept of windows and waves is really useful. Today is a window which is why I'm able to write this - I've had two good days and that feels really encouraging. In the meantime if there are any suggestions for additional supplements or lifestyle changes I'm all ears!
  20. Hi Everyone, So where to start? Guess this forces another time to think back when a fatal turn of my life started. Unlike most of us here, I started the 2 week sample supply of Lexapro pill in 2009 for a severe headache based on recommendation of a friend who has been taking SSRI for years. So I didn't go through any information of side effect or how to take the drugs etc., information you would otherwise get from a pharmacist or dedication insert. Somehow it stopped my headache 2 weeks on 10 mg of lex. I don't remember why I restarted it after the initial doses, but do know it’s not for another headache. It was something only now I can relate that it must be withdrawal of that 2 weeks sample. Anyway, I started feeling anxious and other flu-like symptoms (which I mistakenly thought I do have anxiety) so I have been on and off lex on a dose 1/4--1/3 of the 10 mg pill over 3 yrs. period (so been withdrawal numerous times unconsciously). I was ok then except for some pins/needling sensation on head, neck and back in morning which is tolerable. When the generic Lex was first available in the market mid-2012, insurance switched me to it without my awareness. After half year of the switch (increased from 2.5mg to 10mg in fighting with the side effects), pin and needling getting less to none while jaw pain progresses to a level of daily bothersome. The thought of withdrawal was triggered by the worsening of the jaw pain. I prepared the WD fully (as I thought) by lots of online research and used the program from Point of Return taking their supplement pre, during, post WD along with lower than suggested reduction rate (5%) tapering down from 10mg-5mg quickly and then 5mg-2.5mg (liquid) in 2 months when hell started with the most weird and severe jaw and head pain which took me to the first ever panic attack (Aug.2013), plus constent knifing on my head. I backed up to 2.5-3.0mg since then in fearing of the recurrence of the severe WD. Ever since then, I never had one day or minute free of this pain, along with hot flush companied by occasional anxiety and depression.. I switched back to name brand Nov. 2013 (also liquid) after learning from others that the generic can cause severe jaw pain (it is recognized by many generic takers that the two works differently and the generic is bad or worse). It seems the pain is lessoned after 4 month switch just a tiny bit in severity not even the frequency while stabilizing for the change has been the battle of my everyday life. It’s so crazy how much one drop more or less can do to my poor mind and I have to say I gave up hope to understand weather it’s too much or too less of the med is causing which/what symptoms. Everytime I change (ip or down) just a few drops of the liquid lex, I got handful of strange and new symptoms and lately I have been thinking of suicide, the only way to stop it all. I dont know if when others talking about suicidal thoughts, is it somethign poped up out of blue or more like the terrible feeling/suffering put you into such thought? Putting all the sorrow and agony aside, While in constant search for understanding of the situation for a strategy, from what I learned from publications (one of those linked below) and fellow victims (with same severe WD after many years), I have been asking myself this big question: will it be better off just staying with the med than continuing tapering (which could post greater danger and suffering for long time)? http://www.madinamer...n-acknowledged/ I understand this means giving up the hope for freedom and live with poor quality life. But this is what I have been struggling lately everyday and really appreciate your thoughts. Hope we all have a good day for the good Friday and getting better.
  21. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  22. Hello Everyone, I am so grateful I found this SA forum. I am tapering liquid Lexapro, after 6 years struggling with it without adequate doctor's advice. (Did CT and restarted and so on). I found out that the drops coming from the bottle are not measuring each the same amount. Bottle says, one drop is one mgr. It is not. Bottle contains 15 ml, equivalent to 20 mgrs Lexapro. This is the Lundbeck Lexapro available here in Holland. I bought the medicine scale, I've been reading about here, and began to weigh the drops. It's terrifying. None of them measures the same weight. Now I know for sure why I didn't stabilize for such a long time. English is not my first language but I hope you understand. Reading all your stories en experiences are helping me a lot. Thank you for that. I try to survive too, it's hard but I really want to deal with it. O, the AD was given to me because of menopause issues... I wish I would have known what I know now...
  23. Hi, everyone, I just joined today, after lurking for the last week. I am coming off a 9-month course of 5mg escitalopram tablets. I probably would have stayed on this medication because I felt it was helping me to cope, but blood work showed slight hypothyroidism and slightly high cholesterol (quite shocking as these #s have been great for many years, since I am a vegan health nut for decades). Also, I experienced constant exhaustion/lack of energy while on this medication - overwhelming and intractable, and often depressing. But the blood results are what made me decide to get rid of this from my body and my life (I have always mistrusted pharmaceuticals of any kind, for a variety of reasons.) I had a conversation today with my therapist about the hysteria and emotional spirals I have been experiencing, and he kept reassuring me I would be back to myself in a month, or three at the most - likening this to a cold or flu that needs to run its course. I get the analogy but the comparison would be laughable if it were not so downright wrongheaded and dismissive. He was so sure of his assessment from his 20+ years in practice, that it felt flip and a bit egotistical. I finally got it out of him that he has not experienced this himself. I have been on the receiving end of my share of iatrogenic neglect and damage over my life, so to me this is inexcusable. The fact that he was combing his bookshelf during our session for info on this (and was surprised he couldn't find any!), after I'd told him I'd done about 15 hours of research, shows me he was talking out of his "hat." The one good thing about going through this withdrawal is that I seem to have recovered most of my physical energy and stamina as the dosage decreases. Unfortunately I feel old and feeble somehow (inexplicable in the face of my consistent hardcore gym workouts). I am very grateful to the admins and everyone here for this web site, and for everything that folks here have shared and made freely available. I have been voraciously reading in an attempt to (a) convince myself I am not going insane and (b) feel less alone.
  24. 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
  25. Hello, After a couple of months of reading some of the posts on this forum, I have decided to join, because basically it seems that I have PSSD. As you will see from my signature strip, I have been on escitalopram at various doses for just over 7 years (finally came off in January of this year (2017)). My history on this drug probably looks a bit confusing. Basically I went on the drug late in 2009 for anxiety that I was suffering. I only intended to be on it for a short time – maybe 6 months – whilst I made some important decisions about my future. But my doctor at that time provided no guidance on coming off the drug. I came off very quickly and crashed. It basically took me about 3 attempts like this to finally realise I could not come off it quickly. In the end it has been a long and slow process with some bumps along the way, but finally I am off the drug – but it took 7 years. I am male and now in my mid-thirties. Anyway, whilst on the drug I suffered from sexual side effects, which from what I have read is very common. But it was in late 2013 that I found out just how much the drug was affecting me. I started a relationship with a girl who although I liked much, I could feel no deep emotion with. Basically I could not fall in love with her. At first I could not understand what was wrong with me, but one day shortly into our relationship I suspected the drug. After a simple ‘Google search’ I had the answer. This combined with the sexual side effects of the drug just made it impossible for me really and in early 2014 we split up. It was at this point that I realised no matter what, I had to get off the drug. It took 2 further attempts of slow tapering but finally I have managed it. I am now almost 5 months off the drug, but seems I have PSSD. At the end of December 2016 I reduced from 10mg every other day to just 5mg every third day. A few days after doing this I could feel something changing sexually – more normal feeling was coming back. And about a week later I had a couple of days of what I would say was completely normal function returning. However this only lasted a couple of days. Shortly after this I took the last tablet. I was now off the drug. About 2 weeks later I once again had a couple of days of everything returning to normal sexually. Again this only lasted temporarily. Then a period of 3 weeks of the numbness and erection difficulties. Then - 5 weeks after taking the last tablet - I again had a period of 2 days of normal functioning – this time I thought it was going to be for good, but unfortunately not. And that was the last time I experienced what I consider everything being normal. Since then I have returned to the numbness, lack of drive and erection difficulties that I had whilst on the drug. I have had the odd day or two in recent weeks where the numbness reduces a bit and there is a little bit of sensitivity, but only a very tiny improvement for a day or so. Then back to full numbness. Also I have developed a ache/pain in my testicles that radiates at times into the top of my legs and buttocks. I can’t remember exactly when this started but I think it was around 6 weeks after being off the drug. I also feel emotionally flat – I don’t think I could fall in love with somebody. I think that issue is still there. I can cry at times, but can’t feel any real happiness for anything. I guess like so many people here I feel the most desperate I have ever done in my life and just looking to talk with others in a similar situation. These past months have seemed like an eternity and every day is such a struggle. I am hoping somebody can give me some hope, because right now I can’t feel much of it. Also I do have a few questions which if anybody can give some sort of an answer to I would be so grateful. 1) Why did I have 3 separate periods of normal sexual function in the immediate period of coming off the drug (first 5 weeks) and then nothing further? 2) the ache/pain that I feel in the testicles – is this part of PSSD? 3) one of the things that really worries me is the fact that I noticed a change to my sexual function after taking just one tablet (God only knows why I did not stop taking them there and then) but as I only planned to be on the medication for a short time, it did not bother me too much. Does this immediate reaction to the drug combined with my long-term use of it mean it more likely my recovery will be a very long time, or worse still that I never recover? Thanks very much for reading.
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