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rygolfer: Trying to quit Lexapro cold turkey....again.


rygolfer

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I've been on Lexapro for about 5yrs now.  I started at a 10mg does, but eventually moved to 20mg about 4yrs ago and have been there ever since.  I tried to cut it off and just quit 2yrs ago, but was overwhelmed by the dizzy spells, mood swings, and fatigue.  So I went back to my normal dose after about two weeks.  Overall, I just don't like how the drug makes me feel.  I feel numb to the world, I don't "feel" anything when I am on it.  Obviously there was a time in my life where that was better than the alternative, otherwise I would've never started; but I am hoping that I am past that now and would like to move on.  I am still taking Wellbutrin 150mg right now as I know that cutting both at the same time would be a "really" bad idea.  

 

Unfortunately, I do not have any medical providers that I feel really understand what I am going through at all.  My psychiatrist was just there to fill scripts and didn't talk to me about any of the problems that I was having emotionally, just physiologically.  My psychologist at the time (and subsequent providers) really just feel like a waste of time.  I never felt better talking to any of these people, and they never really seemed to understand me or my problems.  My general practitioner is someone that does not believe in anti depressants so never wanted to have anything to do with "that" part of my life.  He let the other people deal with that.  Basically I find myself in a horrible situation where I don't have any sort of trusted medical provider in my life, so I'm trying to do this by myself, suck it up, and get it done and over with.  

 

I have been off of my 20mg dose for about two weeks now.  The first week was full of the typical dizzy spells and lethargy, but week two is incredibly more intense than I remember and I have found some new symptoms as well.  In addition to those first symptoms which have intensified, I also find myself in a very unstable mood scenario.  I snap at things with my kids or with my wife that I would normally not snap at, I find myself VERY easily agitated, and I have myself in a couple of completely uncontrollable situations where my body just went to sleep.  I was sitting there, I felt it happening, and there was nothing I could do about it.  Lastly, I have started having these feelings in my head that almost feel like a spark is happening between one side of my brain and the other...or like my brain is "flinching".  It is a very hard things to describe.  I can hear it happening as well...it is like someone is brushing a cloth over my brain and I can hear that quick rubbing noise.

 

All of these symptoms are so much worse than last time I tried this, which helps me remember why I went back on.  I try to explain these things to my wife, but she doesn't understand it.  If I wasn't me, I wouldn't understand it either.  Most of the posts I have seen on here advise against what I am trying to do to get off of this drug (and I completely understand why).  But is there anyone that has ever done this successfully?  If so, how, and how long did it take for these symptoms to start lessening?  

 

Thank you very much to anyone that answers and takes the time to read this.   

Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin 150mg 5+yrs

Tried To Quit Before and Failed 2yrs ago

Cold Turkey again starting 10/1/15

Desperately trying to forever leave this cycle

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Hi rygolfer and welcome to the forum

Someone will be along soon to advise you regarding your situation.

From what I understand going cold turkey from any SSRI is not a good idea. The forum recommends slow tapers at no more than 10% drops and then holding till stable before considering another drop. The symptoms you are experiencing are from a rapid withdrawal. I would personally recommend re instating to your original dose and reading the information on here regarding withdrawal procedures and doing it correctly. It will be much easier on your nervous system and also for your loved ones. 

I have been on Lexapro for seven years. I started off at 30mg and am currently down to 4.9mg. It has been a long and slow journey. Although it would be tempting to come off the last 4.9mg cold turkey I have been made aware of the dangers of doing that and protracted withdrawal symptoms so am doing it very very slowly. 

I wish you all the best. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Rygolfer and welcome. Has anyone gone off lexapro? Yes, many have done it but not by quitting cold turkey. You will hear people around who will say that they quit AD's or other drugs and were fine, and that can be true for some, usually when quitting after being on them for only a short time, and when it is the only drug they have taken. You are suffering badly and it can get worse, much worse, before it starts to get better. Everyone is different but some suffer for years. 

Reinstating a small dose may help to alleviate the symptoms, after 2 weeks off it is possible that even just 1mg can help, if it doesn't help after a week or so it could be increased slightly. Starting at very low doses is gentler on the nervous system as many become sensitive to the drug and have more side effects from a high dose. Side effects are usually dose related and get easier as the dose lowers.  If you reinstate a small dose and stabilise, you can then start a slow taper from that dose. With the tiny doses you need to have your prescription compounded, or make a liquid yourself.

 

Here are some links for you to read. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Many people find that fish oil and magnesium help with withdrawal, but the only way known to stop any withdrawal is to reinstate the drug you are withdrawing from. No-one EVER wants to do this and many of us fought valiantly to try and beat the drug but it has to be done very very slowly, sneaking it away from the brain so you can get off without your body noticing or complaining too much! 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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2 weeks is very little time for the nervous system,, your nervous system is now just starting to notice that the lexapro is suddenly missing... 

 

I don't have as much knowledge about withdrawal as the moderators, but I would suggest taking at least 10 mg for now.

 

A drop from 20 mg to 10 mg is a big enough drop after 5 years of your nervous system getting used to the drug. And then, after at least 1 or 2 months taking 10 mg if you don't have problems, you can continue tappering...

 

But again, I am not very wise, moderators know more than me, my advise is from the experiences that I have read in this forum.

About me ------------------------ College student with a history of anxiety, excessive worrying and health anxiety.

April 2014 - May 2015----------    Prozac 20mg On and Off.  Second time on it I developed apathy, changes in personality, asexuality.

May 2015  -   July 2015-----------------  Tappering off prozac. Still no feelings,anhedonia, apathy, no libido, asexuality.

Current symptoms--------  pssd (asexuality in my case). Anxiety and depression developed some months afer stopping prozac, could have been caused by obsessing and beating myself up too much when I found myself unable to like girls again. The best thing to do with pssd (which in my case is asexuality) is accept it and move on.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Rygolfer,

 

It sounds like you are experiencing withdrawal symtpoms, please read What is withdrawal syndrome? and the links MammaP posted.

 

Reinstatement of a small amount of the drug can often work well to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. According to medical knowledge, reinstatement is the only way to alleviate withdrawal. Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work. Once you have stabilized on a low dose of the drug, then a slower, safer taper can be started.

 

In your situation, because you went CT from 20mg only 2 weeks ago, I suggest you try reinstating at 10mg. If you decide to try this, please read through the reinstatement topic so you will know what to expect.

 

Please stay in touch and let us know what you decide.

 

Petunia.

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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Thank you very much to those who took the time to read and respond to my post.  More than anything, after reading through the many posts on this site regarding withdrawals and the overall misunderstandings around the use of these drugs and a fairly unsympathetic medical community....it's just nice to know that I am not alone.

 

I was curious if anyone has links or information that I can pass on to my wife to help her deal with me and understand what I am going through a little better?  Ultimately, I want to be a better person for her, and I want to get through all of this, and back to the man I was when we first met.  But I know it is going to take some time, and unfortunately some sacrifice on both of our parts.  Any inputs on this topic would also be greatly appreciated.

Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin 150mg 5+yrs

Tried To Quit Before and Failed 2yrs ago

Cold Turkey again starting 10/1/15

Desperately trying to forever leave this cycle

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Click ' forum' at the upper left corner, you will see 'relationship' as one of the topics. There are tons thread about how to help family to understand.

 

Hope you will have a decision on reinstate and get some relief soon!

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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Time moves on.... and you may never get back to the man you once were. But this is not a bad thing.... far from it, you will be stronger and able to cope better with what life throws at you. You will probably find that stress doesn't affect you as much as others as you will have had a whole lifetime of stress whilst going through the withdrawal process.  You will recover and you will be meds free, but as many have said do it slowly because the pain that comes with protracted withdrawal from either C/T or fast taper can be soul destroying.

 

Wishing you all the success in the world my friend.

 

Namaste.

1997 - 2001 Seroxat 10mg

2001 - 2013 Escitalopram 10mg

Gradual taper from 10mg to 5mg over 2.5 years (between 2011 - 2013)

Last taper from 5mg to 0 under advice from doctor done in 1 month (too damn fast!) - included missing out days.

Have been drug free since Oct 2013.  - Yep 5 years drugs free

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  • Administrator

Welcome, rygolfer.

 

Cold turkey is a high-risk way to come off psychiatric drugs. It increases the severity of withdrawal syndrome, which can last months or years.

 

Please reinstate 10mg as soon as possible, wait some months until your nervous system settles down, and then taper more systematically. See

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

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

I'm an example of someone who stopped lexapro too fast and has been recovering from withdrawal syndrome for years. I was only taking 5mg and tapered down to 1.25mg over 2 months, then stopped after taking it every second day, third day etc. That was at the end of 2010. I had a bumpy few weeks, but then seemed to be ok and had a couple of good months. Then the following year new symptoms started to appear which I now understand were withdrawal. It got progressively worse for me until May 2013 when I found this site. I had been trying to manage all these symptoms with other prescribed drugs, but nothing really helped, in fact I was getting worse.

 

But by that time, it was too late for me to reinstate, so I've just had to wait it out.

 

If I were you, knowing what I do now, and with my experience of having to go through long term withdrawal syndrome, I would reinstate, hope that you can stabilize, then taper very slowly to protect your nervous system. Not everyone has long term issues coming off these drugs, but if if you do, it can get very unpleasant and in my opinion, not worth the risk.

 

You asked for some information for your wife. This link contains some videos which can help family and friends to understand. 

Withdrawal dialogues & encouragement

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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Thank you so much....all of you.  You truly don't know what it means to me to hear from you, hear your stories and your truly sincere concern and consideration of my situation.  I have a lot of hard decisions ahead of me here (and it sounds like I need to make them very soon).  I won't lie and say that there is that voice inside of me that says, "you can do this, you don't need the drugs...just keep fighting through."  I'm sure all of you had that as well.  My wife and I are going to discuss all of this, this weekend.  

 

Thank you also for all of the information that I can provide for her as well.  I hate that I am putting her through this, it weighs on me heavily.  You all are amazing people...both moderators and participants alike.  Thank you very much for this forum.

Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin 150mg 5+yrs

Tried To Quit Before and Failed 2yrs ago

Cold Turkey again starting 10/1/15

Desperately trying to forever leave this cycle

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  • Administrator

You're welcome.

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

Hey Ry, 

 

so did you reinstate?  10 mg?  

 

And what did your wife think about the "withdrawal dialogues" cartoons?  They are a little stiff but they cover the necessary material quite beautifully.

 

And if you want to help her with rethinking about drugging psychological states ("honey, could't you just go back on the meds?") - you might send her to:

http://cepuk.org/unrecognised-facts/

The videos under each section are excellent, too.  And they are short, not requiring a lot of committment.

 

Welcome to SA!  Here you will find many people who understand!  You're never alone in the world.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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Hi Jen....

 

Against popular advice, I did not reinstate.  I'm seeing a tapering of withdrawal symptoms so far, at least the physiological ones.  Psychological, I'm not so sure.  I'm finding myself with "moods" again, which is a good and a bad thing I suppose.  When I was on the Lexapro, I really had just one mood.  I felt like a dead man walking, very few emotions either good or bad.  These days I find myself hitting a variety of emotions, some appropriate, some not.  I have had a few fits where I just burst into laughter over things that were cute, but not necessarily hilarious, and I have also found myself feeling more needy than usual when it comes to emotional support.  I honestly think that my wife loves me, but she truly doesn't get it.  I suggested the links to her to read through, and thus far she has not "had the time" to go read through any of them.  While things are feeling better physiologically, my mental state is more of a sad/neglected feeling.  Still feeling as if there is really nobody that I can talk to about this problem (except this board).  You guys are wonderful.  If it were not for the people here, I would be back to my "me against the world" feeling, which is very lonely and discouraging.  I am trying very hard every day to exercise more, put the negative thoughts from my mind and focus more on my two amazing children.  They are my source of happiness right now.  I put on a brave face for them, even when I feel like breaking down.  I don't want them to remember Dad as being a "mess".  I want to be the fun dad that they remember having tickle fights with and riding bikes to the park.

 

They are amazing, and truly (some days) the only reason that I feel I have a reason to be here.  But having that strong sense of purpose helps me more than anything else in the world.

Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin 150mg 5+yrs

Tried To Quit Before and Failed 2yrs ago

Cold Turkey again starting 10/1/15

Desperately trying to forever leave this cycle

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Moderator

Hey Ry - 

 

It's great that you have had some improvement, but I have to remind you that sometimes the first 6 months off AD's are the "honeymoon."  Antidepressants are famous for delayed reactions - sometimes even 2 years out.  You are in the window of opportunity to reinstate and go at a slower rate, to have better control over your symptoms.  Cold turkey is a fast road to hades - only a few people can "get away with it."

 

You might consider:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  This is what we recommend here at SA, and gives you greater control over your symptoms.

 

A student comes to the master and says, "How long until I reach enlightenment?"  "Ah," said the master, "5 years."  The student earnestly asks, "But if I work really really hard, and earnestly, and strive really hard, how long, then, will it take to reach enlightenment?"  "Ah," said the master, "20 years.!"

 

In withdrawal, no matter how good you are - you are already strapped in for the ride.  The only known way (supported by medical science) to control that ride is to reinstate and taper.

 

The point is, slower is more successful.  It's better to climb down off the cliff slowly, than it is to dive off and crash at the bottom and take years to pick up the pieces.  And sometimes, with antidepressants, the fall is slow - you might not know what will happen until it is too late to change.  Yes, you might get some numbing from the drug again - but - what symptoms you've had so far - it can get much worse. Just read around the forum a bit, and see what others have experienced with cold turkeys, reinstatements and even tapers - a taper is not a guarantee of "no symptoms!"  Maybe you are a lucky one - but are you sure you want to gamble with your life, your brain, and your nervous system?

 

Please consider reinstatement.  You are in a good position to climb back up, and start your descent more slowly.  Please read the links people have placed here for you.  These are voices of experience - if we hadn't seen this a hundred times before, we wouldn't understand, but we have, and do.

 

Hope you saw the sun today.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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Please reinstate. Please.

CD off meds in July 2015, not on any medication since. Went through WD nightmare, now dealing with normal anxiety, but decided not to leave this forum yet because I want to support and give hope to others. ♡

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