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Susanne: from the Netherlands, tapering and feeling :-(


Susanne

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Hi everyone, glad to have found this forum. 
I'm from the Netherlands and we don't have big, active forums in Dutch with so much information and help-topics. I've been reading a few of them last night and it was really comforting.

At the moment I'm tapering from 15 mg of escitalopram. Now on 5 mg.

The first SSRI I took was fluvoxamine (Luvox) and it worked wonders. Also had CBT and was introduced to Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.
I tapered after 1,5 / 2 years, but relapsed a few months later and started taking Luvox again. This time it didn't have any effect so after 9 weeks I went to my doctor (GP) and he switched me to escitalopram. This was a good idea at the time, because after only 3 weeks I could feel a huge difference!

Tapering fluvoxamine went well. Can't remember that I had any withdrawal symptoms. 
Building up escitalopram was quite easy. Mild flu like side effects. My dosage was increased to 20 mg's a few months later, but I remember I already tapered to 15 mg in the second year.

So in 6 years I went from 20 mg to 5 mg very slowly and without any really physical or psychological problems. 
I decided I never wanted to quit this drug. The only side effect I had were restless legs (on high dosages), irregular menstruating and gnashing my teeth.
The great thing was...my obsessive thinking was gone, so the side effects were nothing compared to all the anxiety, intrusion and ruminating.

So what's next? Well, I relapsed last month. There was a long period of stress in advance. Couldn't handle problems at work anymore, argued with my husband and I was having health problems (urinary infection, yeast infection and later on got hypochondriac).

I was happy on 5 mg escitalopram, but increased dosage to 15 when I relapsed. It was like I had to start all over again! I wanted it to work so badly! After 5 weeks into treatment my OCD only got worse. 
Talked to my doctor and explained that I had this problem before: Luvox didn't work the second time and now Lexapro doesn't work anymore. He never heard of the term 'poop-out' but he suggested tapering escitalopram and see another psychologist who also works with CBT, ACT and mindfulness.

I actually really want to quit Lexapro NOW, because I think it's holding me back. But I don't want to get sick, so I'll have to stick to tapering, right? Already experiencing withdrawal effects: neuro-emotions like suidical thoughts, extreme mood swings, depression, loosing appetite, no confidence and more ruminating. Muscle twitches as well and I don't sleep like I used to.  
I want my head and body to reset and recover and do this on my own again (with therapy of course). I work out twice a week, try to eat healthy and I'm taking a few supplements like krill oil and magnesium. 

I hope this forum will help and comfort me (and maybe I can help out others as well) and maybe I can live with the constant thought in my head instead of pushing it away...
Thanks all for reading and sharing your stories!

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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Hi everyone. Thanks for this helpful information. Found out that I'm not really doing the tapering the right way.

Been on Lexapro for 6 years. Started with 10 mg, which worked miracles. I had side effects the first 7 days. Mild flu, bit of a headache. Increased from to 20 mg after three months because 10 mg wasn't effective anymore. 
Side effects which stayed: restless legs, vivid dreaming and gnashing my teeth.

I lowered my dosage (sometimes after consulting my doctor) to 5 mg. I was on 20 mg for one year and on 10 mg for three years.
The last two years I have been tapering to 5 mg by splitting my 10 mg's in half.
Wasn't planning to quit this drug. My ocd was gone, so I was happy. Of course occasional problems at work, small arguments with husband, I started my own business, etc. But I could handle these and 5 mg seemed enough to keep the ocd at bay.

6 weeks ago I had a major relapse (intrusion coming back suddenly). Had a lot of stressful periods in 2015 and even beginning of 2016. But everything got quiet again. Was just watching a movie and out of the blue: obsession is back!
My first reaction:

-Going to bed I took 10 mg instead of 5
-Stayed on 10 for a couple of days, but no improvement
-Took 15 mg and the following 4 weeks stayed on 15 mg. No improvement, more side effects the first days

Sigh..not happy. My doctor still on vacation and no one to consult (my last therapy session was in 2010). You can't just make an appointment with a psychiatrist here in the Netherlands so kept on doctoring on my own. Luckily I found a new general doctor and he asked if it was an option to taper and try it without medication.
I wasn't sure, but now it's been six weeks since seeing that movie and I went to my new doctor again. Agreed to taper but think my brain doesn't get it anymore ;-)
Wish I found this forum earlier!

For years on 5 mg, than 6 weeks on 15, than a few days on 10 and now on 5 again. 
I've now decided to take it a lot slower, because I don't want to get sick or have these mood swings again. Got a pill splitter so I can go to 2,5 mg next month.
And try to tackle my intrusion without meds but with supplements...

There's no pharmacist, no doctor, no psychologist and no fellow-OCD sufferer (on the Dutch forum I'm posting on) who said: you should taper super-slow, use liquid instead of pills, etc.
Maybe we're just behind around here.

 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Administrator

Hi, Susanne.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

It sounds like you're doing so many things right, such as therapy, but when your doctor put you back on medication, you went back on high doses after your central nervous system (CNS) was already destabilized. The symptoms you're describing - "neuro-emotions like suidical thoughts, extreme mood swings, depression, loosing appetite, no confidence and more ruminating. Muscle twitches as well and I don't sleep like I used to" - are all withdrawal / side effects which will subside as you slowly come off escitalopram. 

 

Escaitalopram is an extremely potent drug, so even though 5 mg doesn't sound like a high dose, it really is. 

 

How are you tapering off? We recommend going no faster than 10% every 3 - 4 weeks.  Please read through these topics carefully:

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Why taper? Paper demonstrates importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

These links will give you more information about the withdrawal syndrome: 

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Knowing how fast and how much to taper depends on your symptoms, so it's really important to keep track. Here is a great resource to help keep track of your symptoms: 

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

This thread is the place to note your symptoms and ask plenty of questions. I'm glad you joined us. You'll find a lot of support and information here from people who know what you're going through. 

 

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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Thanks Shep! I've been roaming around the forum, reading a few posts and posting some myself...
No not doing the tapering following these guidelines. Wish I found this forum earlier. But you know, I think we're a little behind here in the Netherlands. Plus, it's a bit of a habit for Dutch people to do everything themselves. Asking for help isn't that common, you don't tell people you're on an anti-depressant and you can't just visit a (specialized) therapist. You need to see your general doctor and when you don't have a reference from your doctor you can't go to a psychiatrist to consult about the meds your taking. General doctors just put you on the drug and if you want to quit you can consult them, but just of few of them know what withdrawal from these medications can do.

My brain may have become insensitive to the escitalopram, since upping my dose didn't work. I see no use in switching to another SSRI, so that's why I rather go back to a clean slate. Wasn't informed that it could take so long with even severe WD!

You know, when I switched medications I researched escitalopram. It was my second choice, after fluvoxamine. But I never read anything about the higher potency comparing to other SSRI's. I had no idea that 5mg is the same as 15 mg's of paroxetine. I bet my doctor didn't even know this!

Thanks again for replying and the helpful links!
 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Administrator

Actually, it's not the Netherlands that's behind, it's everywhere. The US has the highest rate of psychiatric drug use and a very high rate of disability because of this. 

 

Have you heard of Dr. Peter Gotzsche? He's written and spoken extensively about the risk of psychiatric drugs, and he's the director of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. So your country actually has one of the great minds and a true advocate. 

 

Here are a couple of his videos:

 

Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime - Peter Gøtzsche - October 3, 2013

 

Psych-Drugs Harm - Two: Peter Gøtzsche - Few Benefit, Many Harmed - Sept. 16, 2015 - CPH

 

I also didn't know about tapering and came off 4 of my 6 drugs cold turkey and the others via rapid taper. But it's still possible to recover even with that background.

 

You're doing the smart thing now by researching and tapering slowly. The odds are your withdrawal and recovery will go much smoother this time. 

 

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've read about dr Gotzsche on this forum. No, Denmark is not that far, it's actually a 9 hour drive from Amsterdam (Holland/The Netherlands) to Copenhagen (Denmark).
Thanks for the links, I'll watch them!

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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Back on my own thread just to report that I'm doing OK at the moment.

Physical withdrawal symptoms are mild. Yesterday I could't focus on reading and was having intrusions again so I got frustrated. Then for half an hour I felt really depressed and emotional but I could identify this as a mood swing or neuro-emotion. I'm on 5 mg's of Lexapro and I really really really want to quit, but throwing my brain off a cliff, even if it isn't such a high cliff (I mean, 20 mg feels as high as Mount Everest, but 5 mg is still something like Mount Olympus in Greece) is still not a brilliant idea....

I'll probably drop to 2,5 mg after my vacation (second week of august).

I still wonder why my own general doctor never asked me in the last 4 years when I was going to taper from the Lexapro. Something like: "You're doing okay, you're no longer in therapy. Don't you think it's time to taper?" It wasn't any problem to ask for a new prescription, year after year.
Now that I relapsed and dealing with my obsessive thoughts again (again...sigh...) I can imagine he would say: "start taking Lexapro again" but that's no use after someone's brain got insensitive to an SSRI. I've been taking it too long and for no specific reason I guess.  I can't do anything about it anymore, because it's in the past, but now I wish I had tapered completely instead of taking it as a 'precaution'.

I really thought I had to use Lexapro for the rest of my life. I knew it's not a drug you're supposed to take your whole life but I thought Lexapro was the one who kept the OCD at bay...

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Susanne, It's good to hear that thing are going reasonably well for you and that your symptoms are manageable.
 

I'll probably drop to 2,5 mg after my vacation (second week of august).

 
That's a big cut - 50% - of your current dose, much larger than our recommended 10%, which would be 4.5 mg. Have you read the topic about 10% tapers linked above by Shep:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
 
Also this topic helps explain some important principles: 3KIS: Keep it slow. Keep it simple. Keep it stable.
 
To get to doses other than halves and quarters of tablets, (2.5 mg, 1.25 mg), many people make solutions or suspensions from their pills:
Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules
 
It's so unfortunate that manufacturers don't produce doses to help us. Having tablets or capsules that are in currency "denominations" -- 10, 5, 1, 0.5, 0.25, 0.1 -- would make it much easier to gradually go off the drugs.

Please keep in mind this about Lexapro/escitalopram:.

Escitalopram is an extremely potent drug, so even though 5 mg doesn't sound like a high dose, it really is.


You really don't want to trigger withdrawal symptoms more severe than you currently have. Protect yourself -- go slow!
 

I still wonder why my own general doctor never asked me in the last 4 years when I was going to taper from the Lexapro.  Something like: "You're doing okay, you're no longer in therapy. Don't you think it's time to taper?" It wasn't any problem to ask for a new prescription, year after year.

 

Doctors get their education about these drugs from manufacturers -- in office visits, at conferences and symposia, etc. The Journals are no better -- many published studies about the effectiveness of the drugs are either written by doctors & researchers paid by the manufacturer or by pharma marketing departments as "ghost writers" and published under the name of academics who accept payment for the use of their name. The pharma companies have no *incentive* to educate or even inform doctors about when and how to help patients stop the drugs. :angry: :angry:  

 

Pharma manufacturers and medical journals are abusing and betraying the trust many doctors in a terrible, terrible way. Pharma stockholders, executives and marketing reps are making money hand over fist while people taking psych drugs are the ones paying the price not just with their hard-earned money or benefits but with the quality of their lives. :( :(

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hi Scallywag, thanks for the useful info!

Yes, I know about the 10% cut. Don't know how to do this with those very small pills. I can cut them in half, but no smaller I think. So I'll have to ask for the liquid form, but that's more expensive, so doctors automatically prescribe pills instead of the liquid. So I have to ask for the liquid form or make a solution from the pills myself. Of course I can give that a try! 

I remember tapering from Luvox was quite easy actually. I didn't even have  schedule or a someone to guide me. Didn't experience any withdrawal symptoms either. 
On the other hand, Lexapro is a different drug....so I better not risk going off it too fast. Thanks for your concern!

I went to see my old doctor in December and when he looked in my file he said: "so you're still on 5 mg? But that's nothing!"
That really illustrates how he is NOT informed about how strong Lexapro is next to other SSRI's. I didn't know this either, I just read it on SA a few days ago. But what he said lead me to believe I could stop taking it anytime....and he's not a bad doctor either I guess. 

I'll look into the 10% schedule again!

 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Look into the paper that Shep linked above: Why taper? Paper demonstrates ... If your doctor is open to discussion with you and learning from patients, that would be a good one to take with you to discuss. It shows the occupancy of serotonin receptors as the dose of drugs decreases. It's not a straight line!  One of the drugs assessed is Celexa (citalopram) very closely related to Lexapro (escitalopram).

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Well I got a new family doctor recently. He was the one who suggested I'd taper. At first I wasn't really interested, just wanted to switch drugs (I was thinking sertraline) and be over with it. But switching to another SSRI isn't any guarantee. I came across a website called Mental Health Daily where I began to read about poop-out, withdrawal, etc and later came across this forum. I realized switching drugs wouldn't do my CNS any good as it was probably  already in disarray because of the escitalopram (which wasn't working as it used to anymore), me not tapering the right way, all the stress lately....

I think my new doctor would be open to it. My psychologist said he's not some one who would prescribe anti-depressants, unless there is no other solution (as far as anti-depressants are a solution really).

Sorry for my clumsy English, not sure if I'm 100% correct but here's the thing:
I must admit that I am very worried about not recovering fully from OCD (though it's considered a mild form of OCD) as long as I'm still taking medication. My brain has become reliant on these pills and not doing the work its self. Now that my brain isn't reacting to these pills anymore( I mean, I would have noticed any improvement like the first time I took Luvox or Lexapro) so what's the use in taking them?
That's why I would like to taper faster, so I can do it myself again.

So still tempted sometimes to go faster, but the mood swings weren't very nice...so I'll go slow...




 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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At the moment I'm giving my head a lot of things to to:
Reading about self-help, mindfulness, about neurotransmitters, neuroplasticity, meditating, participating on forums, playing brain games....It's actually all about getting better and it's starting to get a litte obsessive with no real improvement on my intrusive thought (I got just one ;-)) I also go to work, but it's not that busy at the moment. I try to keep my mind as occupied as possible, but it's also exhausting me.

Now what I would like to know is: is all of the above actually working while I'm still on an SSRI? I worry that my brain won't become sensitive again to natural healing methods...Is this the case right now?
On another forum I've read about someone in a similar situation:
"The problem is your receptors are heavily downregulated and vesicles stopped releasing serotonin. We are talking 5 years of giving your body something external, of course it will cause issues."


Of course I need to taper...but I don't know how to get through all those months.
Feeling really anxious about this!

 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, all those things are working while you're on the SSRI, regardless of the dose.  We often recommend that people use them to deal with withdrawal symptoms!

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

By the way, I see you commenting about your "clumsy English." Your English is very good, not clumsy at all. :) I'd never have guessed that English wasn't your first language.

 

Thank you for jumping in to contribute in other topics around SA!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hi Scallyway thanks for replying again.

I'm still a little worried and still feeling like I need more confirmation, but I know this is part of my obsessive behavior.

Looking into the neuroplasticity, see if this can work for me, but today it's my 8th day on 5 mg Lexapro and I'm not feeling positive. Woke up shivering and sweating, but that's probably WD....

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

* moved from Symptoms

 

This is my 8th day on 5 mg of Lexapro. Woke up at 4 am, having tingling sensations on my chest and arms and/or legs. Fell a sleep again and woke up two hours later, sweating and trembling.
Believe it's withdrawal....but it's getting harder to just not feel a little bit positve.

 

Hello Susanne. Such updates are more suited for your own threads where they are put in the context of your situation. Please try to avoid double posting of updates in your thread and elsewhere.

 

Stabilising after reinstating is a very hard period which requires a lot of patience. Despite all the symptoms which are actually expected your reinstatement is progressing well. Time is your friend. The most you can do is be gentle to yourself and have faith in the process. This is a good time for practicing dealing with excessive worrying. Have you looked into any CBT online sites? or thought about finding a therapist?

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Hi Bubble,

Thanks. Ill keep track in my own thread. Though posting and reading on SA might trigger more worrying....so ill have to keep an eye out for myself. With pure ocd its always about looking for confirmation....

 

Ive found a nice therapist and will see her upcoming tuesday for the second time. Also reading info on the method provided by Jeffrey M Schwarz.

 

Still thinking about asking for new medication from my doctor cause I cant seem to break out of my negative emotions.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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Staying at my mom's for the weekend. Feeling OK, much of the nasty neuro-emotions are gone (probably not for good, but still...). Still ruminating and doing research just to feel more positive. Having that intrusive thought which doesnt really subside(this was my original problem 12 years ago, its not WD) and I feel something is blocking me from not reacting to this thought in such a negative way.

 

I suspect some part of my brain is on auto pilot, 'thinking' the current way is the standard. When my mind really drifts off for a few minutes and I notice this I even feel a little panic....like: "wait you're not focussed on the usual. Go back!"

 

Ok...so how long will it take for receptors to recover? They are downregulated, this is when ssri poop-out occurs right? Theres no use in supplementing with for example Rhodiola.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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Latest update for anyone who is interested, and if no one is interested this might be a good way to inform others from outside the forum or keep track myself:

 

I consulted a psychiatrist specialized in OCD. He could confirm(well not 100%) that my medication pooped out. If I do choose to continue treating my intrusion with medication I could ask my doctor for fluoxetine. That should do the tric after like 4 weeks. Updose to 50 mg and when feeling better taper again to 20 or maybe 10 mg. It could pull my out of my stuck pattern of thinking, though I am not convinced anothet SSRI (especially after Lexapro) will have any effect.

 

The other option: taper escitalopram to 0 and then just wait it out. The recovery (assuming that I don't experience harsh withdrawal syndrome) of receptors will take 9 to 12 months. In the mean time working with my therapists but it will be a slow and difficult process.

 

So this is something to think about. I can try medication after all else fails, but I think Im going to need a lot of patience and willpower.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Administrator

Hi, Susanne. Thanks for the updates.

 

How are you feeling on the 5 mg dose of Escitalopram now? You mention fluoxetine - are you thinking about doing the Prozac Bridge in order to come off your AD?

 

I'm glad you found a therapist you can trust. 

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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Hi Shep, thanks for checking in!

I'm on 5 mg for 2,5 weeks now. Apart from the mild head agues I'm doing OK. Making progress with meditation and mindfulness, though no where near I would like to be but trying to eat as healthy as possible and I think it's making a slight difference already.  In the mornings my cortisol is a bit high so I'm waking up quite depressed and with my heart racing. But that gets better when I get up and go about my morning activities.

The psychiatrist I consulted advised that I'd build up the fluoxetine to 50 or 60 mg. He said I should stay there for a while and stabilize. The single thought/mind-pop I'm having issues with should subside and over time he advised me to taper to 10 or 20 mg. He said the 5 mg of escitalopram was probably too low for me and that's why the intrusion came back. From experience with other ocd patients of his he advised me to stay on the fluoxetine for like...always...
Well that's not what I myself would aim for! I can only imagine that it will poop-out again sooner or later and then I'm still having a brain with downregulated or depleted receptors....so for now I'll just taper the escitalopram and see how it goes.




 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Administrator

Tapering the escitalopram and seeing how it goes sounds like a really rational and sound way to go. 

 

There really isn't any solid evidence that SSRIs are good for OCD (or for depression or anxiety, for that matter). In fact, the evidence points to it creating a lot more problems. Please see this article on the concept of oppositional tolerance:

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201106/now-antidepressant-induced-chronic-depression-has-name-tardive-dysphoria

 

There's a lot of evidence that meditation, exercise, and diet play a much greater role in our mental health. Having a safe place to life, healthy food, and a purpose in life are all ways to keep the dark thoughts away. 

 

You sound like you're in a better place and that's good to hear. Please keep us updated. 

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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Hi Shep, yes, I've read the article about tardive dysphoria a few weeks ago and it really scared me (who wouldn't get scared...). I was fine with staying on the meds for my whole life, I thought it couldn't do any harm to take them as a 'barrier' against my obsession. I never really expected them to poop-out though I must admit that after ready and researching the last few weeks I realize now that I must have been in withdrawal for more than a year already.

Taking fluoxetine as a quick fix sounds tempting....especially when I'm having bad days and almost continuously think about stuff I don't want to think about. And I'm feeling like: screw all the rational thinking" ;-)
But I'll keep going with the taper and I'll research natural or alternative remedies.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here we are, 10 days later. I'm going on a vacation upcoming friday, just for a week. I hope it will pull me out of stuck behavior, even if its just a little.

I went on a 10 day vacation to the Canary Islands when I was 20 (12 years ago, some time after the first anxiety break down). Waiting at the airport i felt horrible. Stuck thought was there continously and I was so frightened and worried...when we arrived after a 9 hour flight I was tired but the weather was gentle and the island itsself was green and peaceful. During the week my mind relaxed. The sun abundant and not too hot, the long walks in nature and I got unstuck. The last three or four days I felt so liberated....it just wen t away without any hard work.

Now I wonder....what actually happened? When I got home it was raining (early March) and soon I started feeling anxious again while the thought returned. Could it be as easy as lots of vitamin D from tne sun and relaxation?

 

Obsessing over how to get myself back on track and getting rid of the intrusive thought doesnt really help.

Ive learned a lot from Google but its also confusing. Its still bugging me that I cant figure out why my stuck thought doesnt really gets unstuck while Im taking good care of myself. Its a big deal for me...pondering all kinds of issues(serotonin diets? kundalini yoga? L-theanine?)

 

I even had long talks with my parents about my illness as a 2 year old baby and tried to figure out if I had a strepptococ infection (high fever, ear infection and double pneumothorax) . I suffered from severe social anxiety as a toddler after and wetted my bed regulary till I was 7. I was behind on fine motor skills and in middle school it became clear that I have dyscalcula.

My parents divorced when I was seven and my father gained full custody because he did not have a full time job. When I was 12 my mother filed for custody. Not because my dad abused me, but he just did not want shared custody because of his own personal feelings towards ber. I missed her so much and wasnt allowed to see her.

The judge decided my mom and dad needed to share custody because me and my sister asked for this. My father was a bully, always asking why I choose her over him...she was a bad person (cheated on him, left him, wasnt taking care of her children). From 12 to 17 he filled my head with negative emotions, lies and guilt. He must have thought it was justified. My sister broke free and was resented for this for years. Not by me...I wanted to leave there but wasnt strong enough. I still loved my father.

 

Well, long story, but the present day is more important now.

 

I integrated mindfulness meditation (tomorrow is my second meeting) in my daily routine. It is not easy as the stuck thought is popping up all time.

 

Physically I am doing great. Stable on 5 mg. Running without needing to pause for 35 minutes, which Im proud of...headaches are gone, les depressed so I can actually get some work in tbe house done, no more racing heart beat when waking up. It seems like my body is recovering :-)

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

That's some good stuff you've got happening there.  I remember being told something about meditation/mindfulness that really helped me.  When a stuck thought keeps popping it's head up, that's okay because it's a chance for you to make very strong pathways as you keep putting it away again.  You are really drilling into your mind how to do that.  And one day, it'll stay gone! 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Hi Karen, thanks for reading and leaving a message!

Yes, I suppose it's all about drilling and keep practicing.
I figured that I must have learned my brain to react a certain way...so I could also unlearn it and replace it.
I've never really practised day in, day out and for certain gave up on the (mindfulness) meditation way too soon. I thought it was supposed to affect the stuck thoughts immediately and decided it didn't work for me....Now that I've read much more about how the brain works, about neuro-plasticity and the effect of yoga and meditation I'm actually not feeling that I would need anti depressants and couldn't do  without.

But it's not easy...I really want quick relieve. 

Thinking about stacking up on some more vitamins or supplements though.
 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Came back from my vacation last friday. I did have a few very good days with almost no 'ocd thought'.
It was so wonderful to feel free and relaxed. Of course the same old thought / concept / word popped up once in a while, but I could let it drift away. I would react relaxed or neutral, not sad like I would do at home. I could enjoy being on the water with sunshine and green hills around me. There was no internet, so I couldn't do my usual Googling (Google, what a great tool...I promised myself again today: NO GOOGLE)
I did the mindfulness meditations the first few mornings, but I think the big difference was made by the sun, going on long walks in nature and no tensions from work. I lost myself in a good book and for the first time I felt freedom, like the processes in my brain were moving and flowing again. There must have been some great positive brain chemisty working there.

Now I'm home and the same old stuck thought returned. I have trouble accepting it while I'm meditating and doing the mindfullness homework like doing mindful breathing and eating.
Even during yoga it won't leave me. I can't stop the automatic response ("Grumble, I thinking about it again...how annoying/ sad/irritating/depressing") to this same old thought, so now I'm just trying to accept that I won't be making any progress. I just keep telling myself that it will work out eventually, that I will not be able to control it and that it's just brain chemicals that are out of balance. I won't be able to turn this around by just willing it, so I'll need the accept the situation. Blah...I do feel quite satisfied about the other things in my life like family, my husband, my own body and self image, my house and even my work. It's not like I want to escape these. If I wasn't having the stuck word in my head my life would be reasonably OK!

Anyway, I forgot to go to the farmacy before my vacation and had to split the last 4 pills in half. 
I'm on 2,5 mg of escitalopram now. Felt dizzy this morning, light head ache coming up and new (though mild) moodswings. YAY!
Though it is a 50% drop I am sticking to it.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Susanne,

 

reading about how you felt on holidays was really great.

 

But I'm really worried that you dropped the dose by 50 % after all that trouble you had stabilising on 5 mg. Unfortunately, the withdrawal sympotms that start mild get a lot worse over time. If you have been on 2.5 mg for only 2 days I would really recommend going back to 5 mg where you finally started stabilising.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Hi Bubble,

Thanks for your concern!
I've been on 5 mg for about 40 days...and feeling stable for a week or 3 now. Normally one would taper 10% after two-four weeks...so I know 50% is way more than that! Before my relapse a few months ago I was already on the 5mg for two years. I just want to give it a try....and hope for the best. I dropped from 10 to 5 mg in one week. Didn't feel so good but I'm in good physical shape and I have a great support network. 
If this doesn't work out I might ask my doctor for the liquid form, it should be available here.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Short update: I've been on 2,5 mg of Lexapro from the 24th of July. Which makes this my seventeenth day on this dose.

The WD effects I'm currently having is mild tinnitus (before bedtime in particular). I also noticed some cortisol spikes again in the morning before waking up, though my dreams are quite enjoyable and free of obsessions.
In the second week my head started feeling a little heavy in the afternoons, I was tired faster or I would have head aches,, but not so bad that I needed paracetamol. 

I'm also still running 2 or 3 times a week; last week I got to 41 minutes (so without taking a break) on quite a steady pace. Also, my sleep is very good and regular. I have no trouble falling asleep. I'm really thankful for this.

Not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but I've been e-mailing with a psychiatrist. He also suggested trying anti-psychotics for my obsession, like Haldol (haloperidol) or Risperidal (risperidone) on a low dose as a mono-therapy or as an SSRI augmentation. This suggestion really really really scared me. Aren't these extremely toxic???

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Almost every substance has a level at which it is toxic. Given the care you are taking with tapering escitalopram, it's probably a good idea to consider the addition of new drugs with great caution.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Well maybe as last resort but I wasn't planning on going on psych drugs again any time soon!
When an SSRI seems to do nice work with minimal effects it would be fine, but they are no use on the long term. I didn't know they alter connections and structures in the brain when I started taking them...and that idea does scare me,

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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from my testimoney and many others, risperdal can be a really tough drug and have long lasting side effects like infertility. haloperidol didn't make me feel good either, i felt no benefit in it....actually it made me scream for help moments after i was injected with it because i could barely move, it felt like i got zapped by lightning, it's no joke. risperdal has been proven to cause male breast growth (there are many lawsuits) and cause women to lactate even though they aren't pregnant. 

In March 2016 i suffered from a paranoia/schizophrenic episode which resulted in me taking risperidone/risperdal 3mg for about 3 weeks along with a couple 7mg long acting injections.  i had an intense withdrawal after stopping cold turkey and i have been off risperidone ever since then.

 

 

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from my testimoney and many others, risperdal can be a really tough drug and have long lasting side effects like infertility. haloperidol didn't make me feel good either, i felt no benefit in it....actually it made me scream for help moments after i was injected with it because i could barely move, it felt like i got zapped by lightning, it's no joke. risperdal has been proven to cause male breast growth (there are many lawsuits) and cause women to lactate even though they aren't pregnant. 

 I can see why you would hate it and I agree, your post gives me the shivers! I do not want to go down the anti-psychotics path and I don't understand why some one (especially a psychiatrist) would suggest a drug like that. 

There must be alternatives for treating my OCD. Plus, I feel quite healthy now. I still have a long way too go, but the tapering is going well and I don't want to ruin this by taking a new drug. I could handle another SSRI I guess, but I rather try a few nootropics and/or supplements first. They can be cycled to prevent tolerance while SSRI's and other psych drugs cannot.

 

If there's a possibility to treat my OCD with therapy alone I would want that even more, but I've been trying that for longer periods of time and 'it' always came back. It's a very tenacious condition.

 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last sunday I took the last 2,5 mg of Lexapro. 

My body isn't feeling too bad. Yesterday I went for a run and made it to 40 minutes. I've been running 2 or 3 times a week for about 3 months now so I'm making progress.

I think I'm having some WD:
-my heart is beating irregular or I just feel it pounding in my chest...it's a disquieting feeling.
-the cortisol spikes in the morning are back
-I feel more desperate and I have no idea where I'm going...the "is the intrusion ever going away" feeling....

I've always felt more depressed in the morning during Pure O episodes, but it's gotten worse the past few days. 

I'm still taking a few supplements like magnesium, vitamin D and B's and fish oil, but they don't seem to improve my mood...
Yoga and meditation don't do anything for me at the moment. I'm way too focussed on 'getting rid of it'
 

 

 

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Susanne, glad to hear you're feeling alright. What dose are you taking now?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hey Scallyway,

I'm not on any dose. Last Monday I went to 0 mg.
Physically I'm doing OK. I was on the 2,5 mg for 4 weeks, going from 5 mg to 2,5 mg wasn't so bad and from 2,5 to 0 isn't going so bad either because I'm not feeling ill.

The Pure O didn't get any worse, but thanks to WD depression I'm in a another vicious circle....

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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