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julie715: weaning Lexapro looking for support


julie715

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Hi there,

 

I'm on my 3rd attempt to wean off of Lexapro, and I'm just looking for support as I've gotten slightly discouraged, plus confused by the withdrawal and discontinuation path. Although I've read it's not linear and there are windows and waves .. I can attest to that being the case.

 

I've been on 5 mg Lexapro for 7 years - it was prescribed for PPD / anxiety after the birth of my son. My CNS was a wreck to say the least! I would say for the past 2 years I've been pretty stable with some anxiety flare ups here and there that I've managed. 

 

So this summer beginning in June I started the wean process with the 5 mg tablet. When I got to 2.5 mg I stayed there for a good month and actually felt quite well, maybe even better overall . 

 

I worked my way down to 1.25 mg (didn't stay there long ) and then off.  After a week off I started to wake up with horrible anxiety, crying, ugh . Went back up to the quarter tab and decided to stay there for now (not sure how long I will be here - it may be a while).  

 

I'm still feeling a bit all over the board on 1.25 mg . Some days I feel like myself, some days extremely tired and fuzzy headed, dizzy, trouble going to sleep.   Some days anxious (particularly mornings and evenings).  I think it's making me more anxious that I don't know what to expect every day when I wake up !

 

Not sure what to do now - part of me wants to go back up to 2.5 mg and another part of me just thinks I need to stay where I am until I get some normalcy here.  

 

Any feedback is appreciated  :)

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello julie and welcome to SA.

 

There was just now another new member who was also put on Lexapro after giivng birth and is withdrawing now. Unfortunately, teh practice of putting women on drugs after giving birth seems to be common all over the world.

 

I believe that reading through the threads I will copy for you will make it clear to you what was going on with you and why you felt the way you were. It shoudl also give you the tips on how to withdraw successfully and as pain free as possibly. But it will take ( a lot) more time than you thought. Actually oyu will have to learn to listen to your body carefully and only reduce as quick as your symptoms allow it. What we have to do is regrow a new brain which has physically changed after years of taking this and other drugs.

 

I would stay on 1.25 mg for quite some time. At least a month like you did with 2.5 mg. You will experience windows and waves which you have also experienced before. After that  you will obviously have to taper by not more than 10 % of the current dose every 30 days.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Here you will find the link to the thread with how to make liquid from pills to get small doses: 

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Once again, welcome.

 

Bubble

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Thank you for the great information.  Any idea if the liquid lexapro and brand tablets are processed in the body/brain the same way.  As in , are there any side effects transferring from one to the other in same dosage ? 

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, julie.

 

Please read Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram) , it will answer a lot of your questions.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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I've been on Lexapro for 9 years, and have tapered down, gone back up, etc. a million times.

 

I need to update my own topic about this today, but: 

 

My husband got a vasectomy and I was able to go off my hormonal birth control (Mirena IUD). Since then I have been able to taper down SO EASILY. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop because all of a sudden I feel like a sane person again. I'm not even getting the "brain zaps" like before.

 

Everyone is very different, but your "after the birth of my son..." comment triggered this reply. If you are on hormonal birth control it could be causing you difficulties in going off your pills.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Hi Julie,

I am not a moderator, but in my experience with Lexapro it is better to not change the dose too frequently... for example you feel you are stable, reduce the dosage, crashhh, turn back to old dosage, expecting to be stable again, feeling worse than before, wait twice to feel stable again....... so I think the only answer is to micro micro micro taper.

 

Sincere hugs,

M.

06/2012 - 02/2015 CIPRALEX 10 mg (given by GP motivation: I developed left abdomen pain for ca. 2 yr probably due to MD stress) - prior to this NOT any significant episode of anxiety/depression - on medication: emotional-sexual numbness, total inability to cry, +8 kg even with going to the gym, mild fatigue -> abdominal pain gone

02/2015 - 1/04/2015 tapering from 10 mg to 0 mg because I had enough of the numbness following GP advise

05/05/2015 SUDDENLY never-had-before huge anxiety, burning skin sensation, panic, fear, not able to cry again, never-had-before insomnia, totally lost appetite, little loss of vision in one eye, sweating, chest pain, short breath, restlessness, accelerated heartbeat 

30/05/2015 reinstated 8mg (I was suggested 5 mg here, but I had a fight with my GP that he knows better...last time I gave him credibility -__- )

middle 07/2015 general improving

09/2015 quite stable 10/2015 start tapering 7mg  11/2015 6mg  12/2015 5mg 1/2016 4mg  2/2016 4mg  3/2016 3mg ->FAIL back to 4mg AGAIN.... 8/2016 3mg 8/2017 2mg  (had a very short wave in summer '17) 8/2018 2mg stable  8/2019 1mg  1/2020 tried  ~0.6 mg 1/4/2020 0mg FREE!

7/2020 till end 9/2020 MILD WD (mostly anxiety, poor sleep)

11/6/2021 13 MONTHS OFF FULL WD WAVE (anxiety, severe insomnia, total loss of appetite, deep depression, internal restlessness, sexuality gone) trying to resist 😫

SUPPLEMENTS 2021 0.5g melatonin, magnesium, eating a lot of fish + exercise, no alcol, very low caffeine, low carb

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you all I am just getting back on to follow up.  I've been holding at the dose of 1.25 mg lexapro (1/4 of the 5 mg pill) for 2 months now and feeling fine and very stabilized. Sooooo I filled the liquid lexapro as an attempt to wean off this last final bit.  Part of me thinks just stop taking it since it's a "tiny" dose but I'm determined to do this very slow!

 

So 2 days ago I transferred to the same dosage in liquid and I'm feeling the weird headachey strange head sensations. I must be super sensitive to this stuff.  So my plan is just to stay on the liquid until I feel adjusted and start the slow 10% reduction with the itty bitty syringe.  

 

I've been working on this since June ! ARgh !!!!! 

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for updating Julie, sounds like you are doing well. Please go ahead with your plan to continue tapering, 1.25mg of Lexapro is not a tiny dose, that's what I jumped from after tapering for about 2 months down from 5mg. It wasn't good and I'm still recovering now, several years later.  mg for mg, lexapro is much stronger than other antidepressants.

 

Do you still take xanax?

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

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

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

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



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

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Petunia - I have Xanax and Klonpin to take prn I don't use them on any regular basis.

 

The shift to the liquid caused me problems last time I tried to do this, it must be processed differently. Yea, I didn't just want to stop the 1.25 mg tab and I really couldn't chop it up anymore it was like turning into dust .

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Administrator

Yes, the liquid can get into your system faster. You might want to take 1mg and then .25mg an hour or so later, to reduce the impact on your system. After you get used to it, you could move the two doses together again.

 

Don't worry, you're doing quite well so far.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Just wanted to say Julie, you're doing really well with being patient in the holds.  It's so good to see.  You're giving yourself the smoothest ride possible, which is much more important than finishing fast.

 

Hugs,

KarenB (a turtle-taperer)

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Does anyone have advice on sleep issues ? Since this whole lexapro weaning process I have had a time falling asleep at night. I'm finding myself taking Xanax to fall asleep more than I would like to.  I'm not interested in things like Ambien..... any thoughts ?  

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thank you ali !

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I haven't had major sleep issues, but here's what has helped me find some improvement:

 

1.  Getting outside in the afternoon.  Sun and wind are especially good for making your body feel like it's been out and done some good work and needs a sleep.

 

2.  Not using screens in the evening (the blue light is activating).  Actually you can get an app for that, I hear.

 

3.  When I go to bed I tell myself I will probably be awake for a long time and that's okay.  I have music set up to play quietly so my mind doesn't race.  I free myself from 'being in bed and trying to sleep' and get up and wander round if I want to, look out the window at the stars, feel the quiet.  I tried to start thinking of night time as a yin-yang thing where sleep and day merge a little and are not entirely separate states. 

 

4.  I keep my journal by the bed so I can write if I do get persistant thoughts.  I've been trying to press myself into the night with the aim of getting as much out of it as I can - finding out who I am in the spaces of the night.  I find that pushing into it rather than fighting it leaves me with more peace. 

 

5.  Sometimes I imagine the other people who are also awake in the night, in their own homes, and I feel less alone.  That's a trick I used when I was up at night breastfeeding my babies.  Good for feeling less lonely. 

 

Well, that may or may not be any use to you :)

KarenB

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Follow up :

Rough week.  Stabilized on 1 ml liquid lexi for 12 days.  After about 5 days I felt "normal".  Went on vacation for thanksgiving , felt well.

 

I've got some strange things going on now and I don't know if I have another issue developing.  I've been using klonpin or xanax to sleep throughout this lexapro withdrawal - not every night - but most nights. Seems like every other night for a while although I haven't been recording it. 

 

I got sick on Saturday with fever and gastritis symptoms and have been feeling unwell since.  Not to mention some unusual 40 year old female hormonal issues.  

 

I had paralyzing anxiety last night about the time I would normally take a xanax to sleep around 10 pm - sweats, nausea, restless.  Took  a Sonata instead which was a horrid night of sleep if you can even call it that - woke up at 4 am with terrible anxiety and succumbed to a klonopin. 

 

Now whats going on here ?  Another wave from lexapro ?  Have I overused the benzos and Am now withdrawing from that and having reactions?  Hormonal ?  Stomach virus ?  Talk about feeling like a mess right now.  Seeing my doc at noon today to get some guidance.  This group is so smart I thought I would throw this out ... 

 

Praying for better days soon I feel like a medication mess.   And it all started with the lexapro wean.

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Administrator

Sometimes an illness can cause intensified withdrawal-type symptoms. If you were vomiting or had diarrhea, you might not have absorbed the Lexapro well.

 

I would allow some time for your system to settle down. Be sure to take the Lexapro at the same time each day.

 

It might be a good idea to use the benzo infrequently, so you don't get dependent on it.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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I haven't had major sleep issues, but here's what has helped me find some improvement:

 

1.  Getting outside in the afternoon.  Sun and wind are especially good for making your body feel like it's been out and done some good work and needs a sleep.

 

2.  Not using screens in the evening (the blue light is activating).  Actually you can get an app for that, I hear.

 

3.  When I go to bed I tell myself I will probably be awake for a long time and that's okay.  I have music set up to play quietly so my mind doesn't race.  I free myself from 'being in bed and trying to sleep' and get up and wander round if I want to, look out the window at the stars, feel the quiet.  I tried to start thinking of night time as a yin-yang thing where sleep and day merge a little and are not entirely separate states. 

 

4.  I keep my journal by the bed so I can write if I do get persistant thoughts.  I've been trying to press myself into the night with the aim of getting as much out of it as I can - finding out who I am in the spaces of the night.  I find that pushing into it rather than fighting it leaves me with more peace. 

 

5.  Sometimes I imagine the other people who are also awake in the night, in their own homes, and I feel less alone.  That's a trick I used when I was up at night breastfeeding my babies.  Good for feeling less lonely. 

 

Well, that may or may not be any use to you :)

KarenB

I like these ideas

 

6. Gives me more time to spend reading sa threads.

 

Be careful you dont trigger another drug addiction.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Update:  I've been holding at 1 ml liquid lexapro now for 3 weeks . The past two weeks I have had horrible anxiety and insomnia . It is hard to not turn back and reinstate just to relieve the discomfort.  It's also hard to not begin to believe that this is just who you are and you will always need medication.  Plus, upon follow up with my doctor, she was giving me the whole "you just may not produce enough serotonin" spill.  Maybe she's right  ???? 

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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I think our brains not producing enough serotonin can be caused by withdrawal because the brain stopped producing so much by itself naturally during the time it was drugged. Your brain will eventually readjust and it will recover but that will take time, possibly more time than you'd ideally like, but it will happen. I don't think there's much truth in the chemical imbalance theory they used to use to market these drugs - in fact it's possible that the first time our brains get imbalanced is when we start taking the drugs! 

 

Hoping you feel better soon Julie  :)

A convenient link to my introduction post

 

2003 Paroxetine (20mg I think) daily for 5 months due to extreme anxiety before final exams and stopped cold turkey. From 2003 onwards I have suffered with extreme anxiety, akathisia, severe muscle tension & digestive problems whenever off I'm off anti-depressants.

2007 Clonazepam (unsure of dose) - took approximately 100 tablets to try and self medicate for anxiety.

2007-09 Amitryptyline 10mg - was advised to take this "as and when needed" for anxiety.

April/May 2011 Diazepam 2mg - 2 week course followed by complete inability to sleep upon finishing so started Citalopram 40mg and I was able to sleep again.

Mid 2012 Diazepam 10mg - took approximately 100 tablets.

Mid 2012 Started Citalopram taper - 5mg reductions every month or two, severe withdrawal symptoms throughout taper.

Apr 2013 Completely off Citalopram and continued to have severe withdrawal.

Oct 2013 Completely fell to pieces mentally and alongside had a whole host of debilitating physical symptoms too. I went to the doctors who performed whole batteries of tests but had no idea what was wrong with me. They tried me on Sertraline and Amitryptyline to which I had terrible reactions which made symptoms worse. Eventually got put on Nortryptyline 25mg, which I tolerated and over 3 months withdrawal symptoms started to abate.

Mid 2014 discovered survivingantidepressants.org and hallelujah! I knew what was wrong with me - slow taper FTW!

Late 2014 & 2015 Reduced Nortryptyline 22.5mg & 20mg respectively in November & December of 2014. In 2015 Tapered Nortryptyline from 20mg to 10 mg in 2mg increments. Withdrawal symptoms with each dose reduction are debilitating but in a much different way to Citalopram.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Julie,

 

You can reassure yourself that your doctor is 100% wrong about your serotonin.  That theory has been thoroughly debunked:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3202-looking-for-theories-on-the-cause-of-depression/

 

This wave will pass, and the symptoms will lessen.  The important thing is not to panic and change doses again.  Dose-changing to relieve symptoms is one thing that causes people's CNS unnecessary stress.  It's not nice, but it just needs riding out.  When we are in the thick of these hard places it can be difficult to believe we will ever get better, but people do.  I had horrible anxiety and insomnia at the start of my taper - I remember despairing about it - but these have improved out of sight.  Time really helps, and good self-care.

 

I just want to encourage you that things will settle down.  You'll find more and more of your happier self coming back.  I think doctors forget the resilience that people have - you are strong and capable to get through hard things without medication.  

 

Sending hugs,

KarenB 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Thank you Karen I appreciate the encouragement . This is a hard wave for sure and it is not letting up despite my "practices." Hanging in there ... J

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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Does anyone have advice on sleep issues ? Since this whole lexapro weaning process I have had a time falling asleep at night. I'm finding myself taking Xanax to fall asleep more than I would like to.  I'm not interested in things like Ambien..... any thoughts ?  

Oh goddess yes. I've been there. 

My thoughts? Once you've stabilized off of the Lexapro- you'll want to wean off of the Xanax too.  But that's a story for another time.

 

Sleep issues? Best advice- what was suggested above. But also- give yourself plenty of time to do the resting. A year ago I was in bed at 6:30 in the evening and 'resting' for the better part of 10 hours in an effort to get some rest. My advice- try for some mild exercise a couple hours before bed time.  A light meal for dinner, and if you've not done so try some mindfulness meditation. The relaxation techniques from same, helps me now.

I just wanted to let you know that you WILL make it through this, but it's not gonna be easy.

 

But in the end it's worth it.

1)Zoloft- 6/99 to 8/04 2)Escitalopram- 8/04 to 8/10 3)Citalopram 8/10 to 4/14 (C/T), 4)Paxil a week or so, 5)Wellbutrin a week or so, 6)Reinstated Citalopram- 9/14 to 7/15

Before Taper- Celexa/20 mg....Taper Start- 04/21/15- 15mg....05/26/15- 10 mg...06/22/15- 5 mg...07/18/15- 0mg. http://tinyurl.com/qjfoqe9 Ativan/Lorazepam use/taper 10/14 to 2/15- http://tinyurl.com/ljebp84

Baclofen- Intermittent use of from 2008 till 2014. Some use of Promethazine. Some use of Zofran. Clobetasol Propionate- for Lichen Planus. Some Flexeril use. 

Ativan- GABA,A receptor Agonist., Baclofen- GABA,B receptor Agonist., Celexa/Lexapro- Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor Agonist., Zofran- Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Agonist..Promethazine- Histamine H1-Receptor Antagonist. Flexeril- Serotonin 5HT2a Antagonist.

 

My self imposed Amino Acid Therapy: Tyrosine 500mg 1xday, Theanine 200 mg 1xday, & Taurine 500 mg 2x day. (All neurotransitter pre-cursors)- seems to have helped me immensely. And of course- eating healthy, including Black Beans for the oligosaccharides for gut health.

 

The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of trick learned while mastering the Art of Living. - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:   unfortunately ... I reinstated.  :(  I couldn't make it through December.  The anxiety and insomnia was taking me down and with a family and young child, work, etc I just couldn't do it.  I hate it ! I reinstated at 2.5 mg lexapro which is half of what I took for 8 years.  I can't say I feel great though here, still having some anxiety and swooshy head stuff from the reinstatement but am sleeping better for the most part. Not sure where I'm going from here with this but I thought I would post the update .  Bummed  !  

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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Don't worry Julie don't be hard on yourself. If doctors are clueless on how to taper how can we be expected to know about it.

Golly with those responsibilities family work kids you definitely need to be functioning.

 

See it as a small blip  on the road to freedom

Hoping you stabilize soon.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

After reading through your thread, I'm concerned with your benzo use. Most people focus on the AD and leave benzos out of the picture (you don't even mention them in your signature...)

 

I noticed that at one point you mention taking Xanax every other day (you don't mention the dose). This also coincided with reports of increased anxiety and insomnia. These are very common symptoms of benzo withdrawal. If I were you, I would hold on Lexapro and focus on the benzo. For the beginning I would write down how much of it you have been using over the past month. There is a benzo subforum here where we can look into your benzo situation in more detail: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/29-members-only-benzo-forum/

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Actually that did cross my mind.  The benzo use is sporadic - I have been writing down when I've taken them.  I will go days or even weeks without, and then have a time where I show 1/2 Klonopin here , 1/2 K there ( that would be .25 mg I believe) .  Occasionally a xanax if awaken in middle of night.  I wouldn't say it has been daily use or really every other day, although I had one week before Christmas where it looks like I took a low dose of something almost everyday. 

 

I realize I definitely need to be careful with those - the last thing I want to deal with is benzo withdrawal .  It is possible it added to the anxiety/insomnia issues, hard for me to sort it out - I was dropping the lexapro and then hit with a stressful time of year.  My plan is to stay on the 2.5 mg lexapro which is a reinstatement and take a good long benzo break being that the stress of the holiday hustle is over.  Any thoughts ?  

2000-2002 Serzone (wrong drug for me yuck !) 

2002 - diagnosed with prolactinoma - Rx Dostinex (dopamine agonist)

2007 - pregnancy d/c Dostinex

2008 - Lexapro 5 mg for PPD/anxiety/vertigo 

2008-2015 stable with lexapro // occasional anxiety issues // Xanax PRN

June 2015 - October 2015 Started weaning 5 mg lexapro tablet got stuck at 1.25 mg in October  :angry:

November 18 2015- transferred from 1.25 mg tablet to 1 mg liquid and holding here with plan to wean liquid super slow 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

That sounds like a good plan :)

 

I was so very surprised to see that I could ride out my symptoms without resorting to a benzo. If I wake up in the middle of the night I turn on a guided sleep meditation these days.

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • 3 years later...

hi Julie715

I know it's been a long time, just wondering how things are going for you now?

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug 2021, loving life ❤️ 
 
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to julie715: weaning Lexapro looking for support

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