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ClaudiaC

ClaudiaC: Withdrawal from Lexapro

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ClaudiaC

I need some serious help here, I'm new to this forum.

 

I took lexapro for 4 years at 15 mg, I never felt good but I just thought it was my anxiety not the medicine. I had horrible shaking anxiety everyday and night, off balance dizziness, and i would get vertigo all the time which i never had before the Lexapro, i had DP and couldnt concentrate, I slept but would keep waking up.

 

As of July 20, I have been off of Lexapro, my off balance feeling has gotten better the DP is gone and the vertigo is gone, but my anxiety is high and unbearable, I still have it most days all day with shakiness and heart palps. This morning when I woke up my body was literally shaking inside, my upper back was in pain felt off balance, I came home from walking I was still shaking badly, I went and took a shower I had to sit on the floor of the tub cuz I was shaking so bad and felt off balance. I shook in the shower so bad I cried hysterically. The anxiety lasted all day, it did calm down a bit but was very uncomfortable.

 

Most days I feel like I'm dying and nobody understands including doctors. In ways I have gotten a bit better off Lexapro, but what I'm feeling is this withdrawal?

Edited by ChessieCat
Added paragraphs and drug tags

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ChessieCat

Hi ClaudiaC,

 

Welcome to SA.  You've come to the right place for information and support.  And you've got here just in time too by the looks of it!

 

The first thing we ask all members to do is to Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Details for the last year to 18 months and a summary of any prior.  Please include ALL drugs, dates, doses and how you decreased/increased (eg did you cold turkey, alternate doses, skip days).  Having these details will allow us to make suggestions based on your individual situation.  Please remember to update your signature whenever you make a change so that it remains current.  Thank you.

 

"I took lexapro for 4 years at 15 mg, I never felt good but I just thought it was my anxiety not the medicine. I had horrible shaking anxiety everyday and night, off balance dizziness, and i would get vertigo all the time which i never had before the Lexapro, i had DP and couldnt concentrate, I slept but would keep waking up."

 

These would seem to be side effects of the drug.  A good book about this is Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Dr Peter Breggin.

 

"As of July 20, I have been off of Lexapro, ...

 

Most days I feel like I'm dying and nobody understands including doctors. In ways I have gotten a bit better off Lexapro, but what I'm feeling is this withdrawal?"

 

Your symptoms are withdrawal symptoms.  Many doctors do not understand withdrawal from ADs.  From what you have described it seems like the side effects of the drug have gone but have been replaced by withdrawal symptoms.

 

 

I'm going to give you some links to check out.  I hope I don't overwhelm you by giving you so many in one go, but they all have good, relevant information.  Some of them you only need to read the first 2-3 posts to get the information.  You can then ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic:

 

After reading about Reinstatement you decide your want to reinstate, please post your decision here and we will suggest a SMALL DOSE you can try.  Please DO NOT go back on the last dose you were on.  Your brain will have made some adaptations since you stopped taking Lexapro.

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

These helped me to understand:

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

You can use your Intro/Update topic to journal your progress.  Click "Follow" top right and you will be notified whenever anyone responds.

 

I hope this information helps you to make an informed decision.

 

CC

 

 

 

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ClaudiaC

I have also noticed I don't feel fatigued like most people that have withdrawal from a antidepressant, is this not common?

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scallywag

Hi Claudia and welcome!

 

A quick answer to your question -- some people experience no fatigue withdrawal. Lucky you! ;)

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ClaudiaC

I wish I wasn't so lucky, I just want to sleep my life away, I'm too miserable to deal with life. :'-(

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Brandy

Welcome, ClaudiaC,

 

Did you taper at all off the 15 mg. Lexapro? Or did you "cold turkey" (just stop taking it)?

 

It would help us enormously if you could do a signature (which will appear at the bottom of all your posts). There is a link about how to do that early in ChessieCat's post above. But if you're too ill to do it all at once right now, please let us know if you tapered off the lexapro, and what your taper schedule was.

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bubble

Welcome Claudia from yet another Lexapro vicitm. It's a nasty drug. Although it caused you symptoms while you were taking it, over 4 years it became part of the structure of your brain and that's why you are feeling all these symptoms.

 

Unfortunately they have a tendency to get even worse as the time passes and this can last for months and years before it gets better.

 

I know you don't want to hear that but reinstating even 1 mg might bring you a quick relief. You might need more to stabilise but once stable you can taper off at a speed that will allow your brain to regrow and thus avoid symptoms. Since this will be a lot smaller dose than what you were taking your side effects should be a lot lesser too.

 

Did you take any other drugs prior to this one?

 

Let us know how you are doing. The link with tips to tapering Lexapro contains information on how to get small doses such as 1 mg but feel free to ask as many questions as you need to make an informed decision. The reason we are all here is because , as you experienced, our doctors knew nothing about it...

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ClaudiaC

I did taper and I could only taper down to 2.5 mg the doctor could only give me 5 mg to cut in half, he couldn't get me liquid cuz of the insurance company. I stayed at 2.5 mg for one month before I just stopped.

 

Before the Lexapro I was on Xanax which was another horror show, it wasn't time released, so I went from 0.25 mg to 1.00 mg in less than a year and I didn't want to go up on my dosage, so I suffered tremendously with severe anxiety and off balance feeling when walking, it was so bad I could hardly walk. So it was then, I went on Lexapro thinking what I was feeling was just anxiety never thinking the Lexapro was continuing my physical feelings that I was feeling on the Xanax.

 

Both my doctor and therapist and many other doctors that I saw, I would ask them if they ever had a patient like me, none of them had and just referred me to a phyc which he never knew anyone like me. Didnt have a support system and my husband was abusive to me, cuz he never knew me like this and didnt know how to deal.

 

Before this 5 year illness, I never had anxiety like this, it was just a worry here and a worry there never these horrible physical symptoms. I don't worry now, It's the physical symptoms that have been killing me. I appreciate your help and this forum gives me the support I need to talk about what I feel.

Edited by ChessieCat
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bubble

So it was then, I went on Lexapro thinking what I was feeling was just anxiety never thinking the Lexapro was continuing my physical feelings that I was feeling on the Xanax.

 

What you describe in this sentence is actually Xanax withdrawal. How long were taking Xanax? Were you taking 1 mg when you stopped? This explains why you felt as you did while taking Lexapro.

 

I make my own liquid from Lepro pills. It's actually very easy. I put 10 mg of Lexapro into 10 ml of water and I take out 4.6 ml with the help of a 5 ml syringe to get 4.6 mg of Lexapro. You don't need to buy liquid.

 

You will be surprised how much difference 1 mg will do to how you are feeling.

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ClaudiaC

I had been taking it I would say a year,and yes I was taking the 1mg when I had stopped. So if I was having a Xanax withdrawal, why did I continue to feel like crap the whole time I was on Lexapro? I really don't want to go back on Lexapro even making my own liquid.

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bubble

You most certainly had Xanax withdrawal. 1 mg is quite a heavy dose (4 times bigger than the smallest). I don't know the exact mechanism but it's not surprising that your system continued to be destabilised from Xanax withdrawal and was in addition traumatised by Lexapro. In such situations it is impossible to say what causes what.

 

But after 4 years on 15 mg of Lexapro (which is again 3 times the smallest 'therapeutic' dose) your brain will have great difficulties functioning without it.

 

The decision is entirely on you. Going back on the drug is the last thing we want to do. Once I lasted for 3 months but instead of getting better I was gradually getting so much worse that I would take anything to feel better. We often see people ending up on several drugs instead of one. Even those who originally do well without apparent withdrawal symptoms. Some people decide to ride it out but we must warn them that things get even worse before they get better and that it can last long making people house bound. I'm sorry that it sounds scary but I must say it the way it is.

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ClaudiaC

I felt worse on the Lexapro, i would wake up with vertigo and when walking I couldn't even look down or across the room without having off balance and anxiety, when i walk and had come to a stop i would be so dizzy at least that part of my life has gotten better. I would go back on it if I could live a normal not anxious/dizzy life, but that's not the case.

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bubble

It is up to you. 15 mg and 1 mg are very different things.

 

Here are two stories of people dealing with Lexapro withdrawal. We are all different with different drug histories but it can give you an idea of what to expect:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12272-cjaj16-so-scared-and-lost-escitralopram-withdrawal/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6519-lexapronomo-lexapro-to-prozac/

 

 We will continue to support you regardless of whether you decide to reinstate or not. You could check our threads about magnesium and fish oil which help with symptoms.

Keep us posted.​

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AliG

What do you think you will do , C ?  What are you tending towards ?

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ClaudiaC

I'm going to stay off the drug, I feel like crap on a daily basis whether I take the drug or not, it's horrendous the way I feel. I had on going dizziness on the Lexapro, where i was walking, getting up from a sitting or laying down position. Considering I had a good life before this 5 years ago. :'-(

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ChessieCat

Hi Claudia

 

Since becoming a member of SA I have seen many members in a similar situation to you.

 

Firstly they say "I am not going back on the drug".  Then they either get frustrated with the symptoms or get worse and panic and start taking a dose higher than what has been suggested for reinstating.  Then they start increasing or decreasing their dose and then post back that they are having issues.  By that time they have made things far worse and have to suffer the consequence of their actions.

 

I wanted to mention this to you because we have seen this happen again and again.  And I don't want you to make the same mistake.

 

REMINDER:  if you do decide to reinstate please come back here before you take any drug so we can suggest a dose.

 

Here are the links which bubble mentioned:  Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil

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ClaudiaC

Why would I go back on a drug when I felt like death, the dizziness (swaying) was unbearable along with the anxiety of constant shaking morning, noon and night, never feel tired, lost my job of 15 years. You say you have seen many members with similar situations, I would like to see these members posts of dizziness, chronic shaking anxiety.i don't have anxiety from worry, it's from the way I feel everyday with no relief, no matter what I do, except for sleeping. I can go in the same store a zillion times and I'm always anxious, you're suppose to face your fears, but its obvious not in my case. I'm just fed up I lost 5 years of my life of burning hell and never lived like this. I have seen many doctors and they have no clue whats wrong with me. I think I know whats wrong, but they don't listen to me cuz they're doctors that seem to think they're God's, so I get the attitude they're God's and I'm the stupid patient and tell me to go see a phyc for head meds. There is only one God that I know of. Sorry for the rant, I don't want to shoot the messenger, I'm just fed up.

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ChessieCat

Hi Claudia,

 

I understand that you are fed up and feeling angry about the situation you have ended up in.  When we are in this position it can be difficult to understand information we are given and also hard to make informed decisions.

 

Just to clarify my previous post.  When I said that we have seen it many times, I was referring to members initially and emphatically saying that they don't want to reinstate and then they decide they do, but they do it without any suggestions from SA mods (or do not follow SA's suggestion of a low dose) and go back on too high a dose and/or add other drug/s into the mix.

 

The position that you are in is that your brain has adapted to getting the drug and now it isn't getting it.  Stopping the drug suddenly or too quickly produces withdrawal symptoms because your brain needs the drug it has been used to getting. 

 

I realise that whilst you were on 15 mg of Lexapro you seem to have been getting side effects from the drug.

 

There is a difference between side effects from (possibly) too high a dose of a drug and withdrawal symptoms from being off the drug.

 

The idea of reinstating a small amount of the drug is to provide some of the drug that the brain needs so that your withdrawal symptoms are reduced to a bearable level (ie able to be lived with) but not too much of the drug so that you start getting drug side effects again.  If you had adverse reactions while you were taking the drug, a low dose may not trigger the adverse reactions but still reduce withdrawal symptoms.  Adverse reactions tend to be dosage-related: The higher the dose, the worse the reaction.

 

After you reinstate on a dose that reduces the withdrawal symptoms for you, you would need to hold on that dose for 2-3 months or until you were stable and then you could do SA's recommended taper by reducing your dose by 10% of the previous dose and holding for about 4-6 weeks before reducing again.

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Pokeshaw

Hi ClaudiaC,

 

I am another Lexapro survivor.  I have just read your thread here and wanted to lend you my experience.

 

I went off 10 mg Lexapro in the spring of 2011 after 7 yrs on it and within 3 months I began to get sicker and sicker to the point where I had to go on disability. I did not know anything about this site or what the hell was happening to me but after 9 months off Lexapro my somewhat aware dr convinced me to go back on at 5 mg so that I could go back to work. I was in very bad shape but I toughed it out. At that point I still had not found this site. I tried to do my own taper by cutting up the pills since I thought getting off would be best, I tried various alternative doctors and supplements. Things just got worse until about 2 yrs ago I found this site and learned about what had happened to my nervous system. Then I began to have the med compounded so that I could be on a consistent dose for a time so that my N/S could balance out.

Then I went to the famous integrative psychiatrist, Kelly Brogan and she verified what was going on. But by that point, and since i had waited so long before reinstating and rebalancing before starting to taper, there was not too much she could do for me. Mainly because one of the things I was dealing with was extreme sensitivity to any and all supplements. I could not even go to the chiropractor without symptoms being aggravated. We focused mainly on diet and meditation and prayer. Both have been helpful. Especially meditation and relaxation exercises.

My w/d symptoms consisted of the following plus more

Vertigo

nausea

loose bowel

weight loss

stomach inflammation

acid reflux

panic/anxiety (as I had never experienced before)

intrusive thoughts

waking several times per night

various inflammation issues

increased hot flashes

crashing around hunger like never before

inability to socialize

etc

 

Please know that previous to this i was a fairly healthy 50 something woman.  I was completely and utterly shocked at what was happening. And even after finding this site, there was nothing I could do except HOLD my dose for months to get some stability and then experiment with tapering.

 

My life has improved beyond belief but I am still dealing with this in a big way. I can only tolerate micro tapering. I am currently at .360 mg and cannot drop any more than 1% at at time or symptoms get aggravated. If I stay too long on a dose I start having side effects like constipation and carpal tunnel and pins and needles in my limbs and bad nck and jaw clenching.

I recently had to have a root canal and it threw me back into a very bad place for about 6 weeks. debilitating W/D vertigo and nausea being the worst of it. I am feeling better now and holding at current dose. I wont make a reduction until my body tells me it is ok.

 

I tell you my story to give you an idea of what my experience was. We are all different and you may not end up in the place i did but i guess the point of this site is to help folks avoid that. I did not find this site in time. my NS was terribly dis regulated. I am fortunate to have access to some of the best integrative docs in NYC so I am being educated on what happened to me. Mainly my Vagus nerve was affected. It will heal, it is healing but it takes time. Already it has been 5 yrs that i have been on this journey.

I am beyond grateful for this site and for Alto, Rhi, Bubble and the other moderators who helped me so much in my first few months here. They truly saved my life. I now experience windows of joy and peace and health that are so, so precious.

 

I hope this is of some use to you as you find your way with this.

 

Best,

 

Pokeshaw in Brooklyn

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ClaudiaC

Pokeshaw, thank you for your post, I'm 40 days now off of Lexapro, I have horrible anxiety with a off balance feeling with walking. I'm fearful of everything and I hate it, I want my life back. I have been crying a lot and feel like I'm going to die.

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ChessieCat

Hi Claudia,

 

If the withdrawal symptoms are getting unbearable, you might want to consider reinstating a small dose.

 

When we take the drug, the brain changes.  When we reduced too quickly or stop the drug suddenly the brain isn't getting the drug that it is used to getting.  This is what causes the withdrawal symptoms.

 

From:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Start low to see what you need. You can always increase if necessary. If you've been off the drug for a month or more, many people can find relief from antidepressant withdrawal symptoms by reinstating as little as 1mg-5mg.

 

I suggest you read Post #1 in the reinstating topic so that you can make an informed decision.

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ClaudiaC

Can somebody tell me how to liquefy Lexapro?

Edited by scallywag
moved from topic "New to the site?"

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scallywag

Claudia, I've moved your question about making a liquid from your Lexapro tablets/capsules to your introduction.  This topic is the best place to ask questions about your situation. 
 
Bubble wrote about how she makes liquid from lexapro her post above.

Please read this topic: Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules

 

If you have questions, please come back to your introduction topic -- this page -- and ask them.

 

2 tips:

  1. Setting this web page as a bookmark or favorite in your browser will help you navigate back to it.
     
  2. You may way want to follow this topic so that you get notifications when someone posts in your thread.  Click the gray "Follow this topic" button. A dialog box appears:  select one of the notify options, then click follow this topic in the dialog box.

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ClaudiaC

Scallywag, I have been off Lexapro for 45 days, will this still work for me? My anxiety/fear is off the wall. Just taking a shower I go into a panic.

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scallywag

You are within the optimal time range for reinstatement.  I don't know if a reinstatement will work for you. It works for some people and not for others. That unpredictability is why we suggest people test a very small dose, 1 mg, for 7-10 days while observing and recording on paper their symptoms.

 

ChessieCat posted above with a link to a topic about reinstating. Please read the first post of that topic.

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ClaudiaC

Its been 50 days off Lexapro the last couple of weeks I have been chronically hyperventilating everyday for two weeks and I can't function like this. Is this part of the withdrawal and is this common that I feel like this? I got my doctor to prescribe me the liquid, should I start on 1 mg. I walk everyday around 5 miles, I was running 15 -20 minutes a day but had stopped when I stopped the drug, should I start running on the treadmill to get this anxiety out of me?

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AliG

Claudia.  I would give 1mg a trial.  At the worst, if it doesn't help you can stop. Keep notes on your symptoms, if that's what you decide to do.

A little light exercise will probably be helpful as long as you don't overdo it. Let us know what you decide and how you're going. 

Ali

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ClaudiaC

Why just light excercise, I was going to run 5 to 10 min on the treadmill, is that not ok?

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ClaudiaC

Why just light excercise, can I run on the treadmill 10 minutes a day too? I already feel like I'm dying everyday, if I stop the medicine and I get worse than I already am, then what happens? I don't sleep well, hearts palping, shaking, hyperventilating it feels like death. Is hyperventilating a withdrawal with Lexapro?

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AliG

Claudia.  That's fine. It's just sometimes intense exercise can set off a wave as it can be too much for the nervous system. These are all typical withdrawal symptoms.

Everyone is different and if you feel you can handle exercise right now then that's fine.

All of those symptoms can be a result of withdrawal.

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ClaudiaC

Thank you Platinum Star. I walk daily at the mall daily, I was walking 5 miles all at once, but even my acupuncturist said it was too much all at once. It's funny cuz I thought the more and harder you excercised it would rid get rid of that energy from the anxiety.

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AliG

It's Ali.   :)   Yes , exercise can be good but like anything in withdrawal it has to be a balance. I did too much in early withdrawal and fell in a heap. You have to be careful. The body changes and what was ok before suddenly can become too much.

 

Some can handle it . You just have to listen to your body and ascertain what it needs, and then give it that. Many become ultra - sensitive to everything. 

Ali

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ClaudiaC

Do you know what 1 ml of Lexapro is equal to compared to other antidepressants? I was reading in your site that 10mg = 20 - 30mg of another antidepressants. And Lexapro is 2 to 4x stronger than others. This is freaking me out, why don't doctors that prescribe this crap know anything. I have been miserable on this drug now i feel like I'm dying off of it. I have reinstated, I just don't know when and if I will feel better on 1 ml.

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scallywag

Claudia -- here's a chart I found a while ago. Clicking the link will open a new tab or window with the PDF:

Health Alliance - Generic antidepressant comparison chart

 

 

When did you reinstate the 1 ml (1 mg)  of Lexapro (escitalopram)?  Please add that date to your signature. Thanks!

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ClaudiaC

I reinstated yesterday 1 ml September 9, 2016.

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ClaudiaC

I have reinstated Lexapro, I need to know can you get side affects on 1 ml liquid of Lexapro, even after taking it 2 days.

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