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Catherine213: How long does this phase last?


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I've been on 10mg Lexapro for about 5 years. I stopped, cold turkey, about 3 weeks ago. I ran out of medication, couldn't reach my doctor, and decided I no longer needed it anyway. At first I experienced awful brain fog, but thankfully that's gone now. But the last few days I find that I'm so angry all the time. I can't stand being around people, anyone at all. Every little thing makes me so mad! How long is this part supposed to last? I'm wondering if I should push through this phase, or go back on to taking Lexapro. (I really don't want to, though.)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I would really recommend going back on Lexapro, and then planning a slow taper.  If you read around here you will find that cold turkey withdrawals can be extremely brutal and last a long time (I'm talking years of horrendous symptoms).  Some people feel fine or have only mild symptoms for several months after stopping and then get hit with the really nasty stuff later on.  If you've only been off 3 weeks, you are still in a good position to reinstate and get stable again.  In general, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to reinstate successfully.  I know this probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but you need to be fully informed so that you can understand the potential consequences of the decisions you're making..

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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I agree with songbird. I cold turkey'd Prozac, at first I felt fine then over the next few months became very irritated and and angry, I would smash plates because I couldn't find something or snap at people I love for no reason. I have never been a angry or aggression person so this was a huge shock not just to my family but to me too. Things got much worse after 5 months, I'm not saying this to scare you but it got much much worse and nearly two years on I'm still suffering everyday. This may not happen to you, you may well be fine but it's not really worth taking the risk as after a period of time has passed its hard to get back on the medication. If I could go back in time I would never have gone cold turkey. Take songbirds advice and good luck

Seroxat 6 years CT. Prozac 10 years 20mg for 2 years then 20mg every other day for 8 years. CT May 2014. Med free but  living in hell


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Catherine , welcome to the site.    I'm glad you found us - there's lots of information and support here

about how to get off antidepressants safely.


Withdrawal after stopping abruptly can last for months or even years.  We know that - lots of members are

living it.

The safest way to move forward would be to reinstate lexapro at a smaller dose initially (1-2mg).  

Allow yourself a couple of months to stabilize , then taper off at the recommended 10% decrease maximum per month.


Please read the following links , and come back to your thread with any questions.


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules



The following list shows the range of symptoms that may come during withdrawal:



That Mimic Depression

1Crying spells

2. Worsened mood

3. Low energy (fatigue,lethargy, malaise)

4. Trouble concentrating

5. Insomnia or trouble sleeping

6. Change in appetite

7. Suicidal thoughts

8. Suicide attempts


That Mimic Anxiety Disorders

9. Anxious, nervous, tense

10. Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless)

11. Chest  pain

12. Trembling, jittery, or shaking


Irritability and Aggression

13. Irritability

14. Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity)

15. Impulsive

16. Aggressiveness


18. Homicidal thoughts or urges


Confusion and Memory Problems

19. Confusion or cognitive difficulties

20. Memory problems or forgetfulness


Mood Swings

21. Elevated  mood (feeling high)

22. Mood swings

23. Manic-like reactions



24. Auditorhallucinations

25. Visual hallucinations



26. Feeling detached or unreal



27. Excessive or intense dreaming

28. Nightmares



That Mimic the Flu

29. Flu -like aches and pains

30. Fever

31. Sweats

32. Chills

33. Runnnose

34. Sore eyes


That Mimic Gastroenteritis

35. Nausea

36. Vomiting

37. Diarrhea

38. Abdominal pain or cramps

39. Stomach bloating



40. Disequilibrium

41. Spinning, swaying, lightheaded

42. Hung over or waterlogged feeling

43. Unsteadgait, poor coordination

44. Motion  sickness



45. Headache



46. Tremor


Sensory Abnormalities

47. Numbness, burning,or tingling

48. Electric zap-like sensations in the brain

49. Electric shock-like sensations in the body

50. Abnormal visuasensations

51. Ringing or other  noises in the ears

52. Abnormal smells or tastes



53. Drooling or excessive saliva

54. Slurred speech

55. Blurred vision

56. Muscle cramps, stiffness, twitches

57. Feeling of restless legs

58. Uncontrollable twitching of mouth



Best wishes ,   Fresh



1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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