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☼ Undercut: My Story - Lexapro, Brintellix SE & WD


Undercut

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Hi everyone,

I've been through half the threads on this site numerous times and I felt I could contribute and would love to receive and provide support to others suffering. Furthermore, I have experienced certain side effects and symptoms throughout the duration of my time on SSRIs and during withdrawal that I have not read about in other threads, so if anyone has experienced similar issues I'd feel reassured to know I'm not some kind of one-off in that regard.

Anyway, here's my history/story...

(Short version at the bottom)

All my life (I'm 23) I've had issues with anxiety which began to couple with depression once I reached my college years.

The most debilitating of my many psychological maladies has been my hypochondriacal obsessions and tendency to believe I'm always dying of something or another. These tendencies came to a head about halfway through college, by which point I'd had a multitude of phases where I'd been more or less convinced I had ALS, various cancers, and other terminal illnesses...but mostly cancer (brain, spine, stomach, the works). Needless to say my parents got fed up of me calling them from the southern states everyday telling them I was dying and asking that they write checks for co-pays for an abundance of medical tests, examinations, and visits to specialists.

 

I was promptly put on a few different medications until Lexapro seemed to do the trick. I did well on it for about 3 years. I did always have unrelenting sideeffects from every med that I tried including Lexapro, the most emotionally taxing of which has been and still is what seems to be permanent sexual dysfunction (has never come back when I've gone off the drug) and awful, awful, awful acne break outs mainly on my chest, back, and face. These are sideeffects that were immediately apparent on day 1 but I ignored them for 2 years because my parents weren't going to let me off meds, and at the time did not realize that the sexual dysfunction would be permanent.

 

Around year two I started having these strange instances of comprehension disability. It was the strangest thing and the first time it happened I was drinking at a party so I figured it was to do with the alcohol. The phenomenon went something like this, "Yeh man, I don't get it it's like she treats him like he's her boyfriend or something". As I got to the part where I said "she treats him..." I started to feel as though I was losing track of the meaning of the sentence. Something about combining various gender based pronouns suddenly became the most confusing thing, and to this day has been something I have to actively think about in order to execute accurately. I spent this rest of the night in a confused state of rumination, "his girlfriend? Her boyfriend? She treats him like she's her... No wait, he treats him like she's... Oh @#&$!" I literally felt like I didn't know what was correct anymore. For the next few months I started to have instances in conversations where this would happen with other sentences and phrases too and it became something that I felt was progressing. When at work I would have to go with my gut on what I knew instinctually was correct when talking to someone, although it felt totally wrong. The final straw was when a friend of mine was comparing the pay she received for two songs that she recorded with me on separate occasions ( I record music).

 

At this point I was getting fed up of the acne, sexual dysfunction, and sporadic comprehension issues and suspected the Lexapro so I had already started playing around with reductions in dosage.

 

Her sentence was, "just the idea of getting the same pay as singing a song I didn't write didn't settle in my head". She was referring to getting paid $40 for a previous singing feature that I had written the lyrics for and she was simply singing on, and was annoyed that she'd been offered the same pay rate to write lyrics and perform them in the same capacity as before, she wanted to be compensated for her songwriting input on the second song. In the same sense that I had trouble understanding the pronoun alternating phrases mentioned earlier, I could not follow the meaning of this sentence and since then similar things have happened more and more often. I then said right, this is the Lexapro, I need to get off this crap before it gets so bad I can't understand language.

 

I weaned off way too quickly, I was at 10mg and pretty much CT off with maybe a couple of 5mg slivers for a few days. What ensued was 2 months of feeling like my own house was unfamiliar, it felt wrong like I had just moved there recently. I felt insanely anxious, had awful graphic dreams every night and woke up at least 5 times. I tried running, fish oil and b vitamin supplements, and tried to do everything in my power to say I put in the effort to prevent myself from getting fired from my job. I couldn't even watch the news or follow simple conversations, I would try to pay attention but the words had no comprehensible meaning to me and I couldn't keep up. I had to ask people to repeat themselves constantly, not because I couldn't hear them but because my cognition was impaired to such a degree that I was unable to process any information at an effective rate.

 

After two months of going to work trying to coast through and praying I wouldn't get fired for being incompetent. I was so desperate, that I had my psych write me an Adderall Px which helped with concentration and energy. It was enough to offset the brain fog in the form of running around like a crazy person getting tons of stuff done. I'm definitely sensitive to that med as well, I've never been on Coke but that's definitely what it felt like if I had to guess.

After a few weeks of staying afloat in the abyss of withdrawal - at this point it was more physical symptoms no longer derealization and much milder brain fog - I started to feel like i had the flu. Constant chills, exhaustion, body aches, and a general feeling of malaise. Of course, since this was 2-3 months post withdrawal, I thought that this couldn't be from the Lexapro as the brain fog and derealization had cleared up, how could I suddenly develop this feeling of a viral illness so randomly and so far into withdrawal out of nowhere?

 

I began to believe it was lymphoma (on par with my tendencies to obsess over illnesses pre-SSRIs) and was absolutely convinced of it for 2 months, as I had never had symptoms as indisputably illness related as these prior to being medicated, and i kept reminding my parents of that fact.

 

They eventually got fed up and i couldn't take the worry anymore so when they suggested I try Brintellix I reluctantly obliged. I immediately got ear ringing, fingertip sweating, soles of feet sweating and wanted to quit. Parents said I had to stay on it or I'd be kicked out of the house. I went up to 20mg on the advise of my psych and it all got worse. My mood did improve but the side effects were too severe. As I increased the Brintellix I had noticed more and more cognitive impairment returning/worsening. The weird phrase phenomenon started occurring far more regularly and I started having issues with word recall and ability to process information quickly.

 

I had been doing my job for two years (banking) at this point and was very good at keeping up with all things sales and operations. I began to feel like as though I was forgetting how to do things I'd been doing for the longest time. Simple, straightforward things now required much more focus and concentration. Mathematical short cuts no longer made sense unless I really really thought about them and even then I have to come to a clouded acceptance of the fact that the shortcut works and just do it to save time to avoid getting behind at work.

 

Right now I'm trying to go off the Brintellix. I'm planning on taking Adderall again to get me through the withdrawal when it starts to hit hard. I have 80k in student loans and can't afford to lose my job. I'm currently at 5mg and I'm trying to decide how long I should stay on that before going off. My parents have run out of patience and want me to leave the house ASAP so I don't even have 3 months to wean off. It's clear to me that there's no chance of the fog lifting on this drug (the irony), and I have to move up at my job in order to pay both rent and student loan payments.

 

I'd like to hear if any of you have experienced any of these symptoms in withdrawal. Also what should I do about getting off this Brintellix? My plan is to stay on the Brintellix 5mg one more week and then go off and then start Adderall a week after to offset the worsening brain fog. Advice, comments, thoughts?


***short version***

Male, age 23.

Diagnosed with hypochondriacal OCD/health anxiety a few years ago.

Came to a head in college and tried numerous meds before going on Lexapro which worked for some time. I ended up staying on it for 2-3 years.

Initial side effects:

Crazy amounts of acne and sexual dysfunction (later turned out to be permanent)

Later side effects:

Issues with following sentences where gender based pronouns alternate.

Ex: he treats her like she's his girlfriend

He treats her like he's her boyfriend

She acts like he's his girlfriend

(Sorry for the lack of variety, it's just the best example)

Difficulty understanding basic concepts and have to ask people to explain a multitude of ways before understanding

Sense of touch seemed to be lesser, touching iPhone screen without feeling my skin make contact.

After dealing with these worsening side effects for 3 years decided that the Lexapro was the cause and weaned off over a few weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms for first two months off

Inability to think clearly or concentrate

Derealization and dissociation

Felt like my house and my room were unfamiliar to me

Graphic nightmares every night and woke up at least 5 times a night for weeks

Couldn't follow conversations or tv shows

Forgetting how to do things I've been doing for two years at work without a problem.

Questioning everything and overthinking everything

Not understanding concepts that I know I used to understand.

- after two months many of the cognitive symptoms subsided, Adderall seemed to be part of the reason and it pulled me back out of the fog although I'm highly sensitive to it and felt like I was coked out of my mind the whole time I was on it. Not to mention it was IR so I'd be losing it for 4 hrs at a time getting everything done and then I'd have an insane crash.

Anyway, started feeling like I had the flu all the time, my shoulder and joints started cracking really really loudly, especially if I roll my shoulders. Popping ligaments in neck. Had chills, general malaise and exhaustion.

Was convinced I had lymphoma, ended up going on Brintellix. Immediate side effects were:

Sweating fingertips
Sweating foot soles
Acne worsened
Continued sexual dysfunction

Went up to 20 mg on advice of psych who didn't believe anything I had to say about protracted Lexapro withdrawal and told me it was a return of my anxious/depressive symptoms (you've all heard this one before I'm sure)

Brain fog returned
Cognitive impairment increased 10x
Acne got 10x worse
Slow processing and renewed inability to follow conversations and tv programs
Forgetting how to carry out different aspects of my job
Became very slow at work and unable to keep pace

Plan now is to wean off, it's the only hope I have of this brain fog ever going away. Feel like the combination of Lexapro withdrawal, Adderall and changing dose around on Brintellix has messed me up big time. I don't have much time to get off this med as my family wants to put me back on Adderall as I wean off Brintellix which I feel will add insult to injury. They're worried about me losing my job and I can't stay with them much longer as they cannot take the emotional stress of having me around.

If any of you have experienced these strange withdrawal symptoms please let me know, it would be reassuring to know I'm not the only one. My biggest concerns are the increasingly severe issues with comprehending language and following complex sentence structure, as well as forgetting how to do things I've done at work without a problem for years.

Thanks in advance for your insight and support.

Edited by ChessieCat
Paragraphs added

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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UC,

 

I'll keep it short, but will say that my story parallels yours quite closely, especially the cognition, verbal and memory issues and I'm sure you'll find many other similar stories on this site.

Year 0:      Social anxiety, obsessive thoughts, NO depression, NO suicidal ideations

Years 1-2: Ativan (benzo) <1mg as needed, not abused but developed physical dependence

Years 2-3: Paxil (20mg) augmented with Adderall XR (10-20mg) due to withdrawal from Ativan

Years 3-Present: Severe depression, headaches, psychiatric hospitalization, lost job, etc.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Undercut and welcome to SA (I've added paragraphs to your post to make it easier to read).

 

You joined a site with supportive and encouraging member and a wealth of information.  Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature OR Complete your Signature from Phone or Tablet.  Please include ALL drugs, dates, doses and how you decreased/increased.  This will allow us to see your drug history at a glance.  It is a good idea to update your signature whenever you make a dose change so that the information remains current.  Once we can have your drug history summary we will be better able to offer suggestions.

 

I'll give you some links which you can read.

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

You can use your Intro/Update topic to ask questions and as a journal of your progress.  Click FOLLOW (top right) and you will be notified when someone responds.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Undercut.   Welcome.  I'm glad you found your way here. You will find the support you need , to get you through this in a healthy way.   CC. has given you some good links , but if you wouldn't mind answering some more questions , it would be helpful.

 

You were on Lexapro  for three years , and tapered off over a few weeks ? How did you taper?  2 months W/D , then Adderall . Why were you prescribed Adderrall?  ADHD ?  How long were you/ are you on Adderall ?  Brintellix is an antidepressant .Why were you prescribed this ?  Lymphoma ( off label ?)  You are on 20 mg , still ?

 

Are you wanting to taper off all your drugs?  If so , we can help. Please add your drug history signature , as it helps to understand your context. It appears below each of your posts. See link above.

 

Please have a read of the links , and come back with any questions that you may have .

Ali

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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  • Administrator

Hi, Undercut.

 

Welcome to the forum from me, too.

 

CC and AliG have given you great information. I just wanted to add a comment on ADHD meds like Adderall.  I've been on stimulants over the years to help me wake up in the morning due to the use of antipsychotics, and I do know that they can cause anxiety and insomnia. When I came off my own drug cocktail, the stimulant was the first to go for that very reason. 

 

 

 

Plan now is to wean off, it's the only hope I have of this brain fog ever going away. Feel like the combination of Lexapro withdrawal, Adderall and changing dose around on Brintellix has messed me up big time. I don't have much time to get off this med as my family wants to put me back on Adderall as I wean off Brintellix which I feel will add insult to injury. They're worried about me losing my job and I can't stay with them much longer as they cannot take the emotional stress of having me around.

 

 

 

I would hesitate to add Adderall, especially if your goal is to get of of antidepressants. Stimulants may make this exponentially worse due to the anxiety and insomnia problems they can cause. I understand your concerns that your family is giving you an ultimatum about you staying with them unless you comply with the medication. That puts you in a difficult situation. 

 

However, insomnia is such a huge problem for folks coming off of antidepressants that I fear you may have problems in the future as you taper off your AD. Perhaps talking to your family about it from this angle will help them understand. 

 

Also, you may want to share with them some of the literature about the dangers of using these kinds of medications such as this article. It's about ADHD drugs and children, but I think a lot of the information is also applicable to adults: 

 

http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/06/3-facts-all-parents-should-know-about-adhd-stimulant-drugs/

 

 

There are a lot of great links on the self care section that may help you with some of your more troubling symptoms without meds:

 

Symptoms and Self-care Forum

 

Going slow with your taper and taking care of yourself as best as possible is the greatest advice this site offers. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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Undercut. Welcome. I'm glad you found your way here. You will find the support you need , to get you through this in a healthy way. CC. has given you some good links , but if you wouldn't mind answering some more questions , it would be helpful.

 

You were on Lexapro for three years , and tapered off over a few weeks ? How did you taper? 2 months W/D , then Adderall . Why were you prescribed Adderrall? ADHD ? How long were you/ are you on Adderall ? Brintellix is an antidepressant .Why were you prescribed this ? Lymphoma ( off label ?) You are on 20 mg , still ?

 

Are you wanting to taper off all your drugs? If so , we can help. Please add your drug history signature , as it helps to understand your context. It appears below each of your posts. See link above.

 

Please have a read of the links , and come back with any questions that you may have .

Ali

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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Hi Undercut.    I know that is a lot of information , to take in at once. How are you feeling, now  ?  Sometimes, this process can feel overwhelming but the great thing is that you are in a place of understanding and support. Have you read through any of the links?  These, will help you to understand what is going on. It can be a confusing time , but we are here to help and answer any questions you may have.  

We do empathize, and can help you through this . Please don't hesitate , to ask lots of questions. This is your thread to do that , as well as a journal for your progress. If you could add your drug history , that will help . See links above.

Ali

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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Thanks for your quick response, I appreciate your willingness to help. Well, instances of strange short duration cognitive malfunctioning as well as mixing up words, feeling of not comprehending sentence meaning, forgetting how to do familiar tasks, inability to apply complex reasoning and logic, inability to multitask, started to become more and more frequent issues as time on the meds went on. I came to the assumption that it was being caused by Lexapro at some point and within 3 weeks of beginning to taper I was off completely. I believe I went from 30mg to 10mg a month before I made that final 3 week taper because I had already started experiencing strange things at that time. But within that 3 week final taper I went from 10mg to 5mg and then off. I was scared of what I felt it was doing to me and discontinued very rapidly. A couple weeks before going off I had been noticing more of those odd brain fog moments and I decided I needed Adderall to keep me sharp at work. I had been diagnosed with ADD years earlier so asking my psych to give me a Px was easy enough. And to correct my last post, I did not take Adderall while in withdrawal. Adderall felt great for the first few weeks of use however it was a very physically and mentally taxing drug in that being on it felt similar to what I imagine cocaine would feel like, very exhausting. Needless to say I did not stay on it in withdrawal and tried to give my brain time to recover and do what it needed to do organically. Spent 4 months trying to recover from cognitive deficits and flu-like symptoms. I also have always had crazy amounts of acne on account of these drugs especially when changing dosage or going on or off, so my psych was trying to find something mechanistically atypical for me to try after the issues that originally prompted me to begin taking APs in the first place reemerged in withdrawal and my family couldn't hack it. I was WORRIED about lymphoma as I was coming off the drug because my lymphnodes were swelling and j felt like I had the flu for months, I now realize that that's from withdrawal can be relatively typical, but no I've never been diagnosed with that. I've been off Brintellix for 3 or 4 days now and I'm starting to feel it for sure.

 

Again I guess my question is, are symptoms of flu-like malaise, aches, swollen lymphnodes, cognitive issues, language comprehension issues, and working memory / multitasking issues typical for withdrawal? They started in October of 2015 when I first went off, the flu stuff started in December i believe and hasn't let up since.

 

Right now I just need to know if these are normal symptoms and that they have gone away for others in time. Thanks for all your advice thus far and I certainly welcome anything else anyone has to add.

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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  • Administrator

I've been off Brintellix for 3 or 4 days now and I'm starting to feel it for sure. 

Again I guess my question is, are symptoms of flu-like malaise, aches, swollen lymphnodes, cognitive issues, language comprehension issues, and working memory / multitasking issues typical for withdrawal? They started in October of 2015 when I first went off, the flu stuff started in December i believe and hasn't let up since.

 

Right now I just need to know if these are normal symptoms and that they have gone away for others in time. Thanks for all your advice thus far and I certainly welcome anything else anyone has to add.

 

Yes, the symptoms you're describing are familiar to many of us here. ChessieCat provided a link to Dr. Glenmullen's checklist, but I'll place it here for you:

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

You may want to reinstate a small portion of the Brintellix if the symptoms are severe. You've been off and on a number of drugs and doses which may be why you're feeling so bad, and it can take the CNS a long time to stabilize, especially if the drugs are removed suddenly. Reinstatements can be tricky, so as much information as you can provide about how you tapered will help the moderators guide you through this. 

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

Please list your drug history in your signature:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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Haven't noticed many new symptoms yet, choose to stay the course for now and see what happens. Still have the Adderall ready to go in my closet. My parents are convinced that it's the answer to the cognitive impairments and I keep trying to explain that throwing that in to the mix too soon could make it worse. They believe the cognitive symptoms are all from anxiety and don't believe that withdrawal or dose changes can cause this. It's so frustrating. Either the discontinuation symptoms haven't kicked in yet because Brintellix has a long half life, or because I was only on it three months I'm not going to have as severe a withdrawal as I did with the Lexapro? Let me tell you this feels nothing like that so far, my house still feels familiar and whatnot, no dp or dr so far. I wonder if me being on Adderall for a couple weeks right before quitting lex over 3 weeks exacerbated the withdrawal symptoms to the degree of psychosis. This is all speculation obviously I'll just have to see what happens and try to avoid discussing the Adderall with my parents.

 

I guess at the moment I'm wondering if anyone could link me to a thread about members who have suffered cognitive problems for months and then recovered to the point that it was no longer an issue or less of one.

 

I keep doing things like leaving keys hanging in door locks, forgetting to put things back to the way they were prior to carrying out a task and it's bloody frightening. I work in banking so there's a lot of procedural stuff that involves switching things around and remembering to revert them in a certain order and that reminder never goes off in my head to do that!

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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Forgot to add, a couple things have kicked up a bit since stopping. My lymphnodes in my armpits and in my throat and neck have become more tender, achy and enlarged. My acne seems to be waning a bit as that it mainly an issue while being on meds and is most severe when reducing or increasing dose. I also have a sore spot on the right side of the back of my neck at the base of my skull. Touching it or tilting my head back hurts and it feels like a very sore tendon or muscle. It has developed into a tension headache radiating to my forehead I remember having lots of muscle tension going off Lexapro so it makes sense that it may be returning.

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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Haven't noticed many new symptoms yet, choose to stay the course for now and see what happens. Still have the Adderall ready to go in my closet. My parents are convinced that it's the answer to the cognitive impairments and I keep trying to explain that throwing that in to the mix too soon could make it worse. They believe the cognitive symptoms are all from anxiety and don't believe that withdrawal or dose changes can cause this. It's so frustrating. Either the discontinuation symptoms haven't kicked in yet because Brintellix has a long half life, or because I was only on it three months I'm not going to have as severe a withdrawal as I did with the Lexapro? Let me tell you this feels nothing like that so far, my house still feels familiar and whatnot, no dp or dr so far. I wonder if me being on Adderall for a couple weeks right before quitting lex over 3 weeks exacerbated the withdrawal symptoms to the degree of psychosis. This is all speculation obviously I'll just have to see what happens and try to avoid discussing the Adderall with my parents.

 

I guess at the moment I'm wondering if anyone could link me to a thread about members who have suffered cognitive problems for months and then recovered to the point that it was no longer an issue or less of one.

 

I keep doing things like leaving keys hanging in door locks, forgetting to put things back to the way they were prior to carrying out a task and it's bloody frightening. I work in banking so there's a lot of procedural stuff that involves switching things around and remembering to revert them in a certain order and that reminder never goes off in my head to do that!

 

You may want to check out the Success Stories. People do recover, even from the cognitive problems. Mine are still severe in waves, but it's a LOT better than last year, so yes, it does get better.

 

I'm currently working as a bookkeeper and I have my online calendar set up to email me messages throughout the day. It's set up with the specific bills that need to be paid and other work-related information. I also have reminders to go to the grocery store and I set it up to email me my grocery list at a specific time. Lol! So my memory is really located in my cell phone.  ;)

 

Checklists are also good, especially if you have certain closing procedures for the end of the day and the end of the month. 

 

And I have a nice supply of sticky notes. It took a bit of trial and error to get a system of email alerts, checklists, etc. But once you get yourself set up, it really takes a lot of pressure off you to remember things. And just remember that this is temporary. It's easy to start to panic, but that just makes it a whole lot worse.

 

I hope these ideas help. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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I'll definitely take a look at the success stories thread. What I've found in reading through a lot of these threads on cognitive and language issues is that people aren't too specific. If you read my above posts I gave an example of some of the specific types of sentences that seem to throw me off and confuse me. Do you mind if I ask what your specific cognitive issues are? Thanks so much Shep, so happy to have found some companionship with members here as the degree of debilitation associated with discontinuation syndrome is misunderstood and often disregarded as being part of the sufferer's original psychological problem by those who have never experienced issues with these meds as im sure most members here would agree.

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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  • Administrator

I'll definitely take a look at the success stories thread. What I've found in reading through a lot of these threads on cognitive and language issues is that people aren't too specific. If you read my above posts I gave an example of some of the specific types of sentences that seem to throw me off and confuse me. Do you mind if I ask what your specific cognitive issues are? Thanks so much Shep, so happy to have found some companionship with members here as disc syndrome is a little understood malady to those who have never experienced issues with these meds as im sure most members here would agree.

 

Back in 2014 I came off a series of hypnotics and benzos way too fast - Sonata then Halcion then Klonopin. That summer was the worst of the cognitive problems, but I'm still struggling, especially in waves.

 

I had a lot of spacial memory problems, making it very difficult to find my way home, even in my own neighborhood. I couldn't remember street signs and "left" and "right" had no meaning. My memories seemed to be "slippery" and I would zone out a lot. I could not "visualize" my own neighborhood. It just looked very foreign. 

 

This has almost resolved except in waves. As bad and as scary as those severe memory problems were, they were brought on by not tapering properly, but still, it was temporary. 

 

I still have a lot of trouble learning anything new, but it's still better than in 2014 and 2015. 

 

It was like the "auto pilot" functioning of memory was completely wiped out. Doing the most basic tasks like fixing breakfast (and remembering to turn off the stove) vanished. I had to concentrate on everything individual part of the task. That lasted several months after my last benzo and z-drug. This has completely resolved. I am safe to operate the stove now.  :)

 

Also, I have a symptom called depersonalization / derealization which can cause severe memory problems. This is my one symptom that I really haven't gotten any relief from, however, I am seeing noticeable improvements in memory. So that particular aspect of it is improving. 

 

I'm hoping you're able to stay away from Adderall. I used Dexetrine (a stimulant similar to Adderall) back in 2011 or 2012 when I started noticing cognitive problems, but really all it did was make it harder to sleep. And then I ended up on a second benzo and a higher dose of a z-drug for sleep. It turned into a iatrogenic nightmare.

 

So if you can set up your email alerts and make technology your friend, I think that will be an easier path for you. And perhaps if your family sees you being proactive, they won't pressure you so much to add more meds. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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So tried Adderall, 5mg in the AM and 10mg in the PM, made me feel jittery and anxious. Did not help brain fog, multitasking or concentration problems. Next evening (last night) felt pangs of dp and maybe slight disequilibrium for a few seconds at a time. I was doing some recording work and I felt more confused about signal routing than I ever have before. Don't think it's gonna be the thing to bring me back out of this. Considering reinstating small dose of Lexapro as a last resort for trying to fix this brain fog because I'm about to lose my job and I have 80k in student loans to pay. Lexapro was the first drug I went off over a few weeks back in October. Should I give it a shot? I've been on and off Brintellix since then but I can't help but feel that the Lexapro is the fundamental perpetrator of these symptoms and I wonder if it would ease the brain fog and I should just taper properly. Any ideas?

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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  • 6 months later...

Forgot to add, a couple things have kicked up a bit since stopping. My lymphnodes in my armpits and in my throat and neck have become more tender, achy and enlarged. My acne seems to be waning a bit as that it mainly an issue while being on meds and is most severe when reducing or increasing dose. I also have a sore spot on the right side of the back of my neck at the base of my skull. Touching it or tilting my head back hurts and it feels like a very sore tendon or muscle. It has developed into a tension headache radiating to my forehead I remember having lots of muscle tension going off Lexapro so it makes sense that it may be returning.

Undercut, 

 

I have the same thing with my armpits and throat/neck becoming tender. I too was on Lexapro and got off in March of this year. Sometimes it feels like someone is choking me. Is that what you feel or did it go away? Mine comes and goes so I know there really isn't something lodged in my throat. I think it has something to do with being toxic and our liver being overworked.  

Took 10 mg of Lexapro for 15 years. Started to taper in October 2015. Took last 1mg dose in March 2016. Started having side effects end of March 2016. Symptoms include: anxiety, heart palpitations, shaky, chronic fatigue, body feels like lead(so heavy), brain fog and dizziness and really bad pain especially on right side of body. 

 

Symptoms as of 10/18/16- Burning skin, widespread body pain, some insomnia, some fatigue, some brain fog, anxiety upon waking up, numbing and tremor in pinky and ring finger on left hand, cracking/popping/stiff joints. 

 

Symptoms as of 4/19/17- A little burning skin, muscle pain, FATIGUE, some brain fog, tremor in pinky and ring finger on left hand, cracking/popping/stiff joints, blurry vision, eye floaters, sciatica.

 

Symptoms as of 10/3/17- Physical symptoms-- Very little burning skin that comes and goes, some muscle and nerve pain that comes and goes, tremor in pinky and ring finger, muscle twitches, cortisol spike in the morning(heart palpitations), cracking/popping joints all those this has gotten a little better lately, blurry vision and eye floaters that come and go, sciatica(less intense now), fatigue which is still very bad but better than a year ago. Mental symptoms-- Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, lack of motivation or interest, brain fog(trouble focusing and concentrating), ruminating thoughts. All these come and go. 

 

 

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  • 5 years later...

Just wanted to let anyone still following this thread know I was super messed up for about 2 years but eventually recovered from withdrawal. I have a couple very very mild issues that lingered on but overall I am cognitively fully recovered. 

Had health anxiety / hypochondriacal OCD leading to depression most of my adolescent life continuing on into adulthood

Started Lexapro 10mg in college, worked well for 3 yrs. Last two years had spontaneous and random instances of language comprehension problems. Happened once every couple months and then increased frequency. Felt that it was the meds so I quit almost CT. SE whole time on drug: severe acne, poor sexual function, irritability, impatience.

 

10mg Lexapro (1 year) > 20mg 22 months > 10mg 2 months > 3 week taper to 0mg

Adderall for last 4 weeks on Lexapro to offset cognitive issues.

Oct 15' - Feb 16' no APs WD: slow cognition, dp, dr, confusion, nightmares, no multitasking, speech expression and comprehension problems, joint crepitus/aches,, flu like symptoms, cont. sexual problems, problems with working memory.

Return of paranoia about terminal illnesses (original problem) tried Brintellix 10mg, helped mood and OCD, discont symptoms reduced. Still brain fog so after 1 month tried 20mg, kicked up cognition problems, acne, sweating, slow processing etc. went from 20mg straight back to 10mg overnight. Tapered off 10mg over 3 weeks. Spent 2.5 months total on Brint. Now severe concentration/comprehension problems, disc symptoms continued. Worried about losing job.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Undercut: My Story - Lexapro, Brintellix SE & WD
  • Moderator Emeritus

Because you're feeling better, I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

 

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

 

Please see this topic:  How to write your success story

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Oh my gosh! That's so exciting! I hope you continue to improve. Thanks for checking in!

Current: Bupropion 450mg, Neurontin 800mg, Klonopin 0.5mg

History:

July 2020: started Cogentin 1mg, Lamictal 50mg, Zoloft 150mg, Zyprexa 5mg (+5mg as needed), Klonopin 0.5mg

November 2020: stopped all meds cold-turkey

February 2021: started Latuda 60mg, Lithium 300mg, Melatonin 5mg, Protonix 40mg, Topamax 25mg

2 weeks later: stopped Topamax, increased Lithium 900mg, started Klonopin 1mg, Lexapro 20mg, Neurontin 400mg

April 2021: started Bupropion 150mg, Revia ?mg

May 2021: stopped ReviaProtonixLexaproincreased Neurontin 800mg, started Celexa 10mg

August 2021: decreased Celexa 5mg (stopped Celexa 2 weeks later), increased Bupropion 300mg

September 2021: increased Latuda 80mg

October 2021: decreased Lithium 600mg for 4 daysLithium 300mg for 4 daysstopped LithiumLatuda

     increased Bupropion 450mg, started Remeron 15mg, decreased Remeron 7.5mg, stopped Remeron

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Undercutwow! What you describe about your cognitionskills is supersimilar to my experience! This is the first time i stumbled upon anyone else describing this so very thriller to hear about your recovery! I was actually blaming my declining cognitive skills on my other med, Seroquel XR but your introduction makes me wonder.

 

But lovely to hear that you are improving and getting better! 

2009 Escitalopram 10mg

April 2013 got off August 2013 reinstated 

July 2015 Ketipinor 50mg (Quetiapin)

April 2021 got off Quetiapin 4w taper

May 2021 tapered off Escitalopram 

9 August 2021 back on Escitalopram 2,5mg. Down to 2 mg. Updosed to 2,2mg August 24 Down to 2mg September 2

Updosed to 3mg Sept 28 

December Still holding ❤️

June 9 2022 2,9 mg

June 19 2022 2,85 mg

Supplements vitamin E 400 magnesium malate a fraction of 400, Rosita Cod liver oil

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