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Treehugger50: Lexapro Withdrawal- Need support and giving support

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OKAY. Where to begin. I had post partum depression after my baby girl was born. I remember being in the kitchen and she was crying (she cried A LOT due to colic and I was stressed) and up popped an intrusive thought. Well this ont op of my anxiety and all was NOT a good combination. It scared me so bad and I literally got hysterical and called my mom and had to her come to my house.


Later I went to my OB-GYN and she literally told me it was PMS and it was OK. So I went to get another opinion. By the time I had seen the second doctor, I was so anxious and upset that I was literrally talking in circles and talkign very fast. (Which by the way I did this all my life- I think I just let this doc sway me) So she says i'm 'Bi-Polar' and sends me home with Seroquel.


I remember taking it and being so out of it that I literally slept for 3 days straight. I woke up long enough to try to drink something and use the bathroom. It knocked me on my butt. I woke up on the 3rd day and felt horrible. I remember that my heart was racing and yet I was sleeping, so I called the 'doc' and she said that I was just dehydrated and to drink a huge glass of water and lie back down. I did this and after about an hour, I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.


My mom said she would go with me to the doctors office so I could speak with her. I drove (YES OMG! WHAT WAS I THINKING!!) to my doctors office with my mom and 2 kids and waited in the office. After 5 minutes, I walked up to the window and told the nurse I wasn't feeling well and when could I be seen, she said I was a walk-in and it would be a bit.


Well I was lsitening to my body and decided to walk down to the Emergency Room. {it was attached to the same building} When I got into the ER, I said that I just wanted someone to check my heart rate because I felt funny. They took me back and checked it and my heart rate was 245! They immediately rushed me back, called code blue, and started to hook me up to all sorts of machines. They said that I was about to crash and asked me tons of questions. They had to stop and restart my heart 3 times.


Long story short, I wasnt bi-polar and seroquel almost killed me! I actually had to have heart surgery because of that medicine. Once I recovered, I was still have heart problems and anxiety due to this.


So I went to another doctor and they placed me on Lexapro 10 mg. I am super sensitive to medication and i noticed a change in a week. I felt better, Like, a lot better. I had tried a couple of other pills, buspar, effexor, trazadone, and wellbutrin. None of those worked. So once the Lex started working, I felt a bit of relief. I had the usual side effects when I first started, but those subsided after about 2 weeks. Well things were getting better, life was going on, and I wasnt so anxious and the thoughts were gone.


Fast forward 2.5 years. I started to feel like I was in a fog and like I couldn't quite enjoy things as much as I wanted to. I was numb to feelings and numb to other peoples feelings around me, especially my husband. He up and left me one day and I was blind-sided. Went to the doctor because I was crying all the time and losing weight and he upped my dosage to 20 mg. After that I felt amazing agian. I could drive 2.5 hours away to pick up my kids from my husbands house and I was ok about being alone at night, I even let my mom move out without freaking out. LOL. Then my husband decided to come home after a year and a half. {During this time I had tried to come off of meds again but I quit cold turkey and things were great until about 3.5 months in, then I had THE WORST panic attack ever and thougth I was going to kill myself, so I got back on the meds}


Things were not getting better and I felt like I was getting worse. My brain was in a fog, I was losing my short term memory, I would get in my car and drive to work or to take my kids to school and couldnt remember how I got there, I couldn't cry, I had gained 30 pounds, my sex drive was GONE, and my liver was shot. I knew I had to do something and I had to do it the right way. I found this forum and started reading about a slow taper. I went to see a psychiatrist and he agreed that he didnt think I needed the medicationa nymore and we made a game plan to ween me off. Unfortunately, he passed away 2 weeks later.


So I went to see his replacement and he didn't listen to a word I said. In fact, I think he was upset that I kept bringing up the late doctor and his plans that he just stopped me and looked at me and said, "we can get you to 5mg, but that is it. You will be on these meds for the rest of your life". I looked at him and said that is unacceptable and walked out. So I headed home crying and upset and decided that I was going to go through with my plan. I slowly weened myself over the next year and a half down to 5 mg. I didnt really notice any side effects when I dosed down. I started seeing a personal trainer and started eating only raw foods and felt great. However, I saw my trainer for 3 months straight and literally didnt lose an ounce! Not 1. So he said it was my meds, and I knew this, but still. So i ran home and said bumo this and went down to 2.5 mg for a week and that was it.


Now, I did have the horrible physical withdrawals and all. The brain zaps, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, mood swings, anxiety, loss of concentration, forgettfulness, feeling like my brain was swishing around my head, and just overall crappy feeling. The first month I was very anxious. Like I couldn't sit still anxious, yet I couldnt focus enough to do simple things like house work and laundry. I didn't want to cook, clean, nothing. I listened to music and stayed outside a lot. I read outside and just relaxed in the sun. It was actually nice. But I had NO appetite. It affected my hypoglyemia so bad and that was making my anxiety worse. But at the time I didn't know this. I find it VERY helpful to keep a journal. Even when youa re feeling good.


By month 2, I noticed an increase in OCD obsessive intrusive thoughts and less anxiety. I still had anxiety, but I wasn't go go go constantly. I started noticing crying spells and anger, and I felt like my emotions were all over the place. I lost my job due to no work and foudn myself home alone during the days, which unnerved me again. I am classic anxiety- hate to be alone/bored. But I stated to see a therapist and continued seeing my naturopath. She tried 5htp, Min Tran, drops, Bach Flowers, and inositol with me. Due to my sensitivity, even the all natural supplements made it WORSE. I couldn't sleep and when I did I would wake having night panic attacks. The anxiety of being home alone with my kids at night while my hubby was out of town scared me so bad that I would wake from my sleep with night time panic attacks and the intrusive thoughts that would scare me so bad. I would call my mom in the night and pace up and down the house to calm down.


Month 3 seemed to get better and then worse. One moment i would be good and the next very bad. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot. I noticed I was seeing things, not like people or anyting, just like I swore I saw something move or my cat or somehting and nothing was there. That freaked me out. Only happens every now and then now. And I have had such bad bausea that its hard to eat, i have zero appetite, have lost 25 pounds so far, I still work out, get anxious to be alone, insomnia, increased ocd intrusive thoughts, depersonalization, loss of concentration, constant need to be watching or listening to something {talk radio-movies-shows-books}, agitation, agoraphobia, crying spells, depressive mood, dry mouth, weird achy feet, stomach issues, heart palpitations, inner trembling (like im cold and cant get warm-but on the inside), feelings of hopelessness, some fears of hurting myself, mood swings, nightmares, vivid dreams, panic attacks, sweating, repetitive thoughts, and weepiness. I STILL struggle with these. Still. It has been 14 weeks now since I have been Lex free and I actually am still learning to this day. I thought that I was getting worse and that I needed to get on meds again and almost gave in yesterday.


But I read on here and realized that what I have been feeling is still W/D. I just came back from Texas and the night before I had to get on a plane (which I usually have no problem doing) I freaked out. Freaked! I had my neighbor up til 2 am trying to calm me down. I wasn't even scared about it crashing or anything, I just was afraid of having an atack on the plane. It was bad. But that is the agoraphobia that I didn't realize I had.


I am so sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give history and my back story to what has led me here. My husband said that our marriage has been the best it has been for years since I got off of my meds. I don;t want you to think it is all bad. Its not. I have more moments of clarity and more 'light at the end of the tunnel' moments more and more every day. I even left therapy one day and called my mom crying telling her that FOR ONCE I feel normal and feel like htings are getting better. But of course, only time can tell and heal. I am able to have fun with my kids more, I hear them more and focus on them. I can talk to my husband without ending up in an argument. He has been more supportive then I had ever thought he would.


I do have an appointment to meet with a new psychiatrist, and will go over with her everything that has happened. I DO NOT want to be on meds. I have also met a new therapist and she said that she "bleeds CBT" and that she feels I can kick this without meds! So I am hopeful. The therapist and the doc are in the same office, so I am confident that they will work together to keep me on my path that I chose. I just wanted to let someone know that they aren't going crazy and that there are others out here going through the same. I would love to hear from someone who has been lex free and in a good state. But funny enough, I am also a good listener and can help others with their problems better than my own! LOL


Again, I am sorry this is so long. Thank you for taking the hour to read it. hahaha. Oh and I know mine is W/D still because I just say, if I were not alone or if my husband/mom/friends were around would I still be thinking these things. NO I wouldn't. So I know it is just the W/D still. Keep your head up! Please! It does get better. I am not there yet, but I am getting there one day at a time!

Edited by JanCarol
More paragraph breaks for ease of reading

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Hi Treehugger ,   welcome to the site.

At 14 weeks out you may or may not get worse before you get better.  It's still all withdrawal , but for some of

us the worst symptoms don't come until 6 , 9 , sometimes 12 months out.  "Protracted withdrawal syndrome".


How many years had you been on lexapro prior to Jan. 2013?   And what heart surgery did you have to have

because of seroquel?


You might consider taking a small amount (like 1-2mg) of lexapro to try to relieve your w/d symptoms.

See  About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce w/d Symptoms


and  What is Withdrawal Syndrome



Best wishes ,  Fresh

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Welcome Treehugger,


Thanks for sharing your story and for filling in your signature, I'm sorry for everything you have been through. Your current symptoms sound just like what many of here have experienced in withdrawal.  As Fresh wrote, at 14 weeks, after a taper which was too fast, this is not uncommon.


I was also wondering how long you had been taking lexapro before you stopped. Please would you add this to your signature, its an important detail in helping to understand your situation.


Please read the links Fresh provided and here are a couple more which will help you decide what to do next.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again. Please stay in touch and let us know what you decide.



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Hey yall!

I just wanted to give those of you who are following, an update. So, I quit Lexapro for good as of August 12th, 2015.

Of course I had all of the symptoms and went through withdrawal hell. I will say that last month, November 12th, I was under immense stress due to a plane ride to Texas to stay with my sister and help her with her baby girl while her husband was out of town. I literally had the first episode of agoraphobia EVER. It was so frightening. I was sure that I was NOT getting on that plane. But I did. I got on, was a little anxious, but made it through. I also had an episode of depersonalization. I was driving to return the rental car and I had anxiety that I was not following my sister, that it was someone else and I would get lost. Then I looked in the mirror and didnt recognize myself. I felt like I was on auto pilot. My son was with me and I focused on him and made it through. I never had an anxiety attack while I was there. Not one. Did I feel anxious? Yes. Did I let it take over? No. Then the plane ride back, I was good. (I did have a little help from some benadryl). That episode shook me to my core! I really thought that it was not going to get better and that my anxiety had really returned with a vengeance.


Fast forward to today, Decemebr 16th, and I am happy to say that that was the ONLY episode of those things. Thank God! Today I am still extremely sensitive to anything that I take! I tried a holistic path, and it helped tremendously in the beginning, but I became so sensitive to everything we tried. I tried L-Theanine two days ago and the second day I was an emotional wreck and had felt like my OCD was in overdrive with the obsessive thoughts. So, I quit that and felt better the next day. It is so weird how something that your body needs and has in its own makeup can make you feel so abnormal. I figure that this will pass with time.


I still have anxiety. But I am able to cope with it and process it. I still have the lovely intrusive/obsessive thoughts from the OCD that I acquired from the Lexapro, but again, able to analyze it and hash it out within without letting it get me to my core like it used to.


I fired my psych and started CBT therapy with a counselor. I have only seen her once, and the frist session was really just to get to know each other. She always makes me laugh and is very down to earth. She doesn't necessarily believe in the withdrawal symptoms of Lexapro lasting beyond 2 weeks, but she listens and she definitely tries to understand. She used to work with children and she said that she would rather I NOT be on medication and work through it with therapy. So that is a good sign in my book!


I lost my job 2 weeks after quitting Lexapro. I have been struggling with feelings of worthlessness since I cannot find a job and contribute to my family. My husband reassures me that it is fiine and to stop getting upset over things I cannot control AND to enjoy the down time because I WILL find a job soon and then I will be begging for down time. :)


My friend/ next door neighbor sent me this link here for CBT self help before I found my counselor. Believe it or not, this has helped SO MUCH. Also, for anyone suffering with obsessive thoughts or intrusive thoughts or scary thoughts, I read this book and it seriously opened my eyes! Seriosuly. I still call my OCD 'The Imp' and remind myself that it is just my OCD and not myself. It truly explains the scary thoughts and it helps.


I have a job interview tomorrow with a friend of mine and my 2nd session with Susan. I hope my interview goes well!

I will say it does get better. Why? Because it is the truth!

You do not give yourself enough credit! You are stronger than you think!


You have to start believing in yourself though. No amount of reassurance from anyone will make you feel better in the long run like starting to just have faith and believe in it yourself. I learned this the hard way. My husband reassured me so much and one day he came home from a bad day at work and I was instantly crying and upset over nothing and he looked at me and said (with love and impatience) "I cannot do this for you. I will help you and I will support you. But I CANNOT do this or want this for you. You have to start taking responsibility and do some of the heavy lifting. If you cannot do this, go back on meds. If you can see the strength in yourself that I see, I know you can beat this. But I cannot do it for you. I cannot continue to come home and be your trigger for tears, worry, and venting, unless you choose to believe in yourself and do the work! It is hard work, and it will suck so bad, and it will feel unbearable at times. But I want you to be happy and relieved when I get home, not start in hysterics. If you can hold it together while im gone, you are already stronger than you think. Cry it out, let it out, suck it up, move on. Do not dwell on it. Learn from it. Take note of it. But do not let it consume you. I love you and know that you can do this. Do it."

I wasn't even upset. I dried it up, I talked myself down, I prayed to God, and then I asked him about HIS day. I talked with him about HIS day and decided that this was MY life and anxiety/WD WAS NOT going to ruin it for me.


The greatest thing you can ever do for yourself during this time, is to put in the hard work! Do therapy, if you can't afford it, do it online. Keep a journal. Cry when you need to, but then dry it up and move on. Believe in yourself. Exercise. Walk away from an aNxious moment and give yourself time to think. If it were easy, NO ONE would be on medications. Consider youRself one of the lucky few who know the truth about these medications and is taking a stand to get your brain/life back!


I know I am only 18-19 weeks out. But compared to where I was just a month ago, I am 75% better. Do you hear/read me? I AM BETTER. AND I WILL CONTINUE TO GET BETTER.

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Hi Treehugger,

I moved your post to your inttro/update thread. Thank you for updating, its good to hear you are feeling better and you have some support.



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Fresh: I didn't taper too fast it took me over a year and a half to taper and I had to go quickly at the end because it was damaging my liver.

Petunia: I will add the length of time I took lex to my signature. I took it for 7 years. As far as the protracted withdrawal not kicking in until 8-12 months later, I feel that it will be different for myself. After all everyone is different. ????

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Thanks for doing your signature Treehugger.  

I meant the taper was fast at the end - to go from 12.5mg in April  to 2mg in July (after 7 years) is way faster

than is recommended as safe here.  Most of us have done that at one time or another. . . doctors tell us it will 

be fine.  If you read around , you'll see it's the smaller doses , those last few mg's , that give people the most


I do hope it's different for you.  If you do start to get new symptoms , you'll understand why.


Thanks for the tips . . . it's always good to read what helps others through this difficult time.



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