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applejuice: Fighting withdrawel-syndrom *without* reinstating


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Hi there,

i came upon this place via googling antidepressants.


I took Escitalopram for anxiety, but decided to stop taking it due to heavy und unmanagable headaches.


My story, short version:

So, I was taking Escitalopram 15mg for a few months, then went down to 10mg from one day to another, stayed there for about 4 weeks, then reduced to 5mg from one day to another, started having a little diarrhea and other intestinal problems, but other than that i was ok, so then i decided to only wait a week and go from 5mg down to 0mg within four days (taking away about one milligram each day).


Well, as you can think, it didn't go to well. (But please consider that i was having very severe headaches and migraine attacks that wouldn't respond to any medical treatments, so i was in a hurry).

This was about two weeks ago. Since then i have been having some rather disturbing symptoms.


My symptoms:

I will just copy paste from wiki what exactly i am going through and add a few personal notes and additional symptoms in green too:


flu-like symptoms (nausea, diarrhea - daily, sweating - and sort of  heat-attacks where i have to basically take off lots of clothes to feel better), sleep disturbances (very intense dreaming, constant sleepiness)... Sensory and movement disturbances ... including imbalance, dizziness, and perception-problems i can only describe as a feeling of having turned around your own axis too fast and suddenly stopping... a kind of a visual perception where the objects in your visual field are not standing quite still when i move my head/eyes, but rather lag behind... if you know what i mean...

Mood disturbances such as anxiety (though this could be the old anxiety that came back), cognitive disturbances such as confusion ...


Ok, i'd say that's about it. Until about yesterday, i was also having sporadic panic attacks due to those weird sensations and symptoms, until i googled and found the socalled "Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome". Which for me is a revelation, as now at least i know i am not going psychotic or dying of some brain tumor or such.


So, my question to you experts is simple:

Due to the severe headache-attacks i had and the basic conclusion that Escitalopram has brought nothing but more trouble to my life, i am categorically and immensely reluctant to "re-instate". I know that might not be very logical, but i stand firmly on that point. Something that does all these things with my brain is not something i will ever re-instate, however short or longterm that may apparently be.

So, in respect of this wish of mine, is there anything else you could/would advise me to do?

I'm thinking along the lines of "take three hot baths a day" :-) and stuff like that. Eat two apples a day with hot peppers... Anything! Anything - but reinstating ADs.


I can already say, that i am feeling a whole lot better, since i realized yesterday what's going on and that "it" has a name. But maybe there are a few things dietary or physically or whatever i could do to "get over" this a little quicker. Cause i have no intensions of staying this ****** up (excuse my language) for much longer.

Edited by Petunia
inappropriate language
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Hey applejunce,


I'm proud of you making it to be free of the poison!

I would think the same I were you, not to touch the crap, even I know reinstate is a common recommendation.


I'm not an expert at all, but want to share my own experience with you.


If your energy allows, swimming helped a lot with my severe pain, especially the pins needles type. Cold water is actually has a soothing effect on my nerves than hot water.


Exercise, like power walk on trade mail helps with various symptoms in general.


If possible, sauna is good too for relaxing the nerves and muscle etc.


Others obvious include avoiding all triggers of stress, drink lots water and sleep a lot, and be self aware of whatever it flares up as WD and not to freak out.



Ps your language is still way too nice considering this terrible, horrible situation!

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi applejuice and welcome to SA. I'm glad you've found us. 


"Discontinuation syndrome" is a very benign-sounding word to describe what these medicines cause: addiction and withdrawal. Your nervous system has taken a jolt.


An official moderator will be by soon to give you more advice--I don't know anything about your specific medication--but I wanted to welcome you.


2020: After 18+ years (entire adult life) on Paxil, a dangerous doctor-led "taper" in 2015, and four years tapering off the last 1 mg thanks to SA and the Brassmonkey slide, 

I AM COMPLETELY FREE OF PAXIL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Forever.


2021: Began conservative, proper, CNS-respecting taper of Zoloft, led by the only expert on me -- me. Making own liquid. 5-10% plus holds.

2022: Holding on Zoloft for now. Current dose 47 mg. Hanging in, hanging on. Severe protracted PAWS, windows and waves. While I may not be doing "a lot" by outside standards, things are graaaaadually getting better


Yoga (gentle to medium); walks; daily breath practice; nutrition, fruits/veg; nature; water; EastEnders (lol); practicing self-compassion, self-care; boundaries; connection; allowing feelings; t r u s t ing that I, too, will heal. (--> may need to be reminded of this.)

"You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story." - Baylissa

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA applejuice,

I moved your post here, to start an introduction/update topic of your own. 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.


I'm sorry you had an adverse reaction to Escitalopram, and now have withdrawal symptoms, sadly, we see these kinds of situations here all the time. Is Escitalopram the only medication you have taken? Are you taking any other medications at the moment?


Have your headaches stopped now?


It would be great if you would put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Doing this helps people understand your context, it appears below each of your posts. Here are instructions for how to do it:




In your situation, we usually do suggest reinstatement of a small amount of the drug, then a period of stabilization, followed by a slower taper. Here is some information about how it works and why we recommend it. Its fine if you decide not to try it, but having the information about it doesn't hurt.


About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms


In place of that, the only advice I can offer is to listen to your body and avoid those things that set off symptoms as much as possible. Aside from a high quality fish oil and magnesium, avoid supplements. (See King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker). They've been helpful to many of us. 


Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.


It sounds like learning the cause of your symptoms has brought some relief. Understanding what's happening to us can reduce anxiety. Here is  link to more information.


What is withdrawal syndrome?


You will recover, but it may take some time.


Please feel free to write whenever you want, you will find a lot of friendly help and support here.



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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Welcome Applejuice


Well done on coming to your senses so soon and getting off this stuff. 

Although your taper isnt the one recommended here i have seen people on for many years who have done worse tapers.


I like Lex's ideas and thoughts but we are opposite in the pool idea unlike Lex i did find sitting in the hot public spa pool at the local pools helpful.


Also those omega 3 and magnesium links Petu gave you are great.


I can already say, that i am feeling a whole lot better, since i realized yesterday what's going on and that "it" has a name.

"When a subject understood its cause and saw that it was decreasing in intensity, it was less dangerous and easier to tolerate. " Lucire 2016

I also was able to work on acceptance and was able to resolve to stay drug free when i learn't this was not me it was withdrawal  ..funny how the doctors never inform us of this.


Here is a  great Petu thread  on Claire weeks you might like to check out. AAFT ...you can read all about it here...



Ann Blake Tracey has a CD packed with recovery ideas.

And a terrific book is 'Recovery and renewal' by Baylissa Frederick.



Apple juice is one of my favourites.


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

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

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


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

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

Recovering paxil addict

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Hi there,


thank you all very much for all the insights, advice and interesting links!

I took a look at lots of them and have taken your advice to heart.

Oh and those supplements are ordered.


Am spending a lot of time (almost every other day atm) in parks, green areas, lakes etc., there are lots of them here in Berlin (Germany). Spending this much time in and around nature is my way of dealing with and trying to re-align the sensory, intestinal and emotional deviations i am experiencing. Kind of a "back to basics"-approach, if you will... You know the game: Slow walks, resting pauses, feeding ducks and the likes... basically doing nothing productive... but that's what's so good about it. Movement and fresh air are so refreshing in general, but especially if you are ill.

Plus I downloaded a good meditation app for my phone, that's proving to suit me (and my short attention span) very well ;-) Seems to work well with my anxiety and for preventing stress.


I didn't get panicky anymore this last week, if and when my bloodpressure suddenly fell or I suddenly felt very nauseous and dizzy, or needed to find a restaurant toilet really fast etc. But i am still taking things rather slow, re-establishing the self-confidence, that got lost when i realised my body wasn't listening to me anymore.


Petunia: I hear you with the signature, but i am not planning on staying in this forum - and for that matter: being sick! - for much longer than about another two weeks ;-) So God will... If it turns out, that i need more help, i will glady do a signature. And as for the headaches, yes, i haven't had a bad attack since i quit the AD. So at least that's good news. And i am not on any other meds except for the occasional antihistamine for hayfever.


Thanks for the heartfelt welcome to all of you, you people are great.

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Hi AJ.  It sounds like you taking care of yourself, and getting back to nature and meditation is all part of that.  Unfortunately , the drugs change your brain and sometimes withdrawal symptoms can get worse , before they get better. I hope that is not the case for you , and you see improvement.

Hopefully your positive attitude , will stand you in good stead. I hope it goes well.


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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