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ClaudiaC

ClaudiaC: Withdrawal from Lexapro

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ChessieCat

What are you current symptoms?  How severe are they?

 

What differences are you noticing?  Has anything improved?  Has anything worsened?

 

It takes about 4 days for the drug to get to a steady state in the body and then about another week for the brain to fully register the dose.

 

Please update your signature with date and dose of your reinstatement.  This way we don't have spend time reading back through your posts to find out what dose changes you have made.

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ClaudiaC

Is this normal that I have debilitating anxiety over everything, I can hardly do anything, even taking a shower I panic, dizzy, shallow breathing? Please someone answer me!

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ClaudiaC

Hello.....it's ridiculous the way I feel I'm anxious about everything and panic over taking a shower. Feels like I don't have a brain, anxious, dizzy, shallow breathing. Please help!

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bubble

Did this start happening after you reinstated?

 

I also CT-ed Lexapro and reinstated after 40 days. What you are going through is withdrawal. You know how twin towers didn't collapse immediately with the impact. Our brains are a complex structure which is always working hard to maintain homeostasis and taking away the drug which has become an integral part of that structure takes time to manifest. Also adding it back takes time to reverse the symptoms.

 

After reinstating I felt a slight relief after some 4 days and then very very gradually symptoms started abating.

 

I really believe reinstatement will help you. Please stay in touch. Things will get better. The worst part of this is fear over horrible things that are happening to us. It's just our brain being very upset and firing signals all over. But it will stop. Hang in there.

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ClaudiaC

Todsy is the third day on liquid, I really didn't want to go back on it, I wanted to be free and me again. I wouldn't mind being on it, but it was hell on it everyday 24/7. Those symptoms were before reinstating, I just don't want to feel the way I did on 15mg. Anxious all the time, off balance walking and from any position, sitting to standing, moving my head in the upward, downward and side to side position, I use to wake up with vertigo a lot. I couldn't clean house or anything cuz of this and the anxiety was severe. For a bit after I came off the drug I felt better and able to do things and feeling a bit better being out and about and then wham started to panic in the shower just thinking that I had to take a shower, I had difficulty breathing, felt off balance and shaking and the feeling. The anxiety doesnt go away it just stays with me for the day.

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ClaudiaC

Help, l feel like I can't breath and feel so hungry!!!!!

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apace41

Claudia,

 

First and foremost, realize that you are not alone and that there are many, many, many of us who have been the victims of these medicines.  Sometimes, the knowledge that there are others who understand EXACTLY how you feel and are going through the same thing will help you calm down so that "panic" becomes simple "anxiety".  There is, as you have experienced, a huge difference.

 

Reinstating was definitely the right move for you even though you hate the drug and desperately want to be off it.  Even if it was causing you problems over the years they were longer term issues and not acute issues like the ones that arose in withdrawal.  You are only 4 days into a reinstatement and it can take 4 days at minimum for it to take hold.  If you can try to do some things to relax yourself while you are waiting to see if it improves that will do a lot for your overall well-being.

 

We have a lot of things on the site that are "non-drug" methods of relaxation which include:

 

Exercise (you are already doing which is great -- experiment to find the right level of intensity and duration)

Meditation (even 5 minutes a day can help)

Mindfulness (trying to be in the present moment can reduce the "what if" thinking that is the hallmark of anxiety)

Journaling (keeping some notes about life in general can help you express yourself in a cathartic fashion)

Coloring Books

Breathing exercises (much of the hyperventilation you feel may be coming from shallow breathing rather than diaphragmatic breathing)

Yoga

Walking in Nature

 

And many, many more.

 

To me, the most important thing you do is have your mind become fully occupied.  Whether it is any of the foregoing, or a good movie, TV show or book, if you can "get out of your mind" it will help you stop focusing on how you are feeling which only serves to increase the spiral of anxiety.

 

This will pass, Claudia.  While you are in the middle of a wave of withdrawal it is very hard to see beyond where you currently are, but ALL OF US have been in the same place and can tell you that things get better.

 

You need to try to do whatever you can to relax your central nervous system which had taken a severe beating from the medicine.  If you can just lower the level slightly then the spiral will reverse and you will start to feel less intense anxiety.

 

Keep coming back to the site for the support you need, but don't give up on the reinstatement at this point.  It is still early.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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ClaudiaC

HELP! I'm hyperventilating all day, I can't breath, I can't relax not even to sleep.

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ChessieCat

Andy has given you some very good suggestions in his post.  We understand what you are going through, but all we can do is offer suggestions, we can't do it for you.

 

As Andy said:  "If you can just lower the level slightly then the spiral will reverse and you will start to feel less intense anxiety."

 

This is very short and might help:  Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

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JanCarol

First, slow down.  Exhale, all of your air out.  Stop there, just pause for a second.

 

Then gently, allow yourself to inhale filling your belly, your diaphragm (good catch, Andy!), then your lungs and thorax with air. 

 

Pause, there, just a second.

 

Then let all the air go - push it out.

 

I think you are trying to breathe in without exhaling, which is keeping the air in the anxiety upper chest, causing a feedback loop in your anxiety / hyperventilation.

 

Feel your belly, breathe into your belly, put your hands there and feel it move with your breath (best done lying on back, so you can really feel it.)

 

Here are some other breathing exercises for calming hyperventilation.  

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1355-pranayama-or-yoga-yogic-breathing/

 

We are all over the world, we cannot come to your house and help you calm down.  I cannot come and be with your body to help you breathe.    Only you can do that.   We've got tools and tips - but you have to breathe your own breath, find your own calm.

 

Learn more about your body's reactions to stress here:  Claire Weekes - Self Help for your Nerves

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ClaudiaC

Thank you for the information on breathing, it's helpful if you're having a attack, mine is chronic. JanCarol i think your remark at the end that you can't come to my house and breath for me and finding my own calm is a little sarcastic, don't you think? I don't know your experience in your withdrawal, but i believe yours wasn't life altering, if you found love and living in Australia. Have a good day or night!

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JanCarol

Claudia, we never know what it is to walk in another's shoes.  We each have our battles, our struggles. 

 

It seemed to me that you were repeating yourself, and if I spoke too strongly to try and break through into your distress, I'm sorry.  I did not intend sarcasm, only trying to help you see how important it is, to breathe your own breath.

 

If your hyperventilation is too strong for breathing exercises, then maybe you need the old fashioned remedy of breathing into a paper bag until it settles, then try the breathing exercises.

 

Like anything, breathing is a practice, and the more you do it, the more effective it is.  It's not just for attacks, but for daily expansion of your breathing capacity, learning of breath control for improving stress response.  

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JanCarol

Just another quick note - this is the internet.  We cannot see each other's faces, nor hear each other's voices.  

 

It's easy - especially when in distress - to read something into words which are not there.

 

It's easy to ruminate over words and what they mean - and even more confusing when you cannot see my face or hear my voice.

 

We are all volunteers, and we do our best - but this is not a crisis hotline, we are an internet information website.  Your post was temporarily delayed, as it was critical of a mod.  But I've shown you our point of view, so I'm hoping you will forgive what may have been unwanted words.

 

If you are having trouble breathing (and the paper bag remedy does not work), you may need to seek medical attention.

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ClaudiaC

Hi, I have been on 1 mg Lexapro for 6 days now, when or how long will it take for me to feel better?

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bubble

Since you were off the drug for quite some time, it might take a while. You know when a bone breaks: it takes time to heal. Central nervous system is a bit like that. It doesn't just spring back after it collapsed. It takes time to heal.

 

What are your sympotms now? Have you noticed any relief however small? Even if things stayed the same, it is also a good sign because in withdrawal things just keep getting worse and worse even when we think getting worse can't be possible any more.

 

Hang in there. If you felt any relief but then the sympotms came back again, you might consider increasing the dose a bit.

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ClaudiaC

The first day of taking I felt good, and Wednesday I felt good, but other than that I'm super anxious realllllll bad so that its hard for me to calm down to go to sleep. Not sure if this is withdrawal, last night I was talking to my girlfriend for a hour and I calmed right down, I fell asleep for a hour and woke up shaking with anxiety and couldn't calm down, finally I went upstairs to the spare bedroom drank some coconut water and fell asleep for a couple of hours. I woke up all anxious again and feeling off balance when standing and walking. This morning my doctor just called me and I felt better when talking to him, I hsve no support or anyone that understands the way I feel.

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bubble

That is all very normal for withdrawal. Keeping a log of your sympotms and grading them on a scale is very important for giving any advice and suggestions.

 

I know it is hard to believe it but you will get better. It's just that it will take time and be very gradual.

 

You also must be preapred for windows and waves: sympotms will improve and than get worse again. We all must be extremely patient.

 

This was the most important thread for me to read after reinstatement and while I was waiting to stabilise. It took me 4 months to feel noticeably better. In the meantime I was just clinging to initially very short windows and trying to disregard dreadful anxiety an doff balance feeling. Gradually it gets less and less severe.

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AliG

Hey Claudia. I'm sorry you're going through a tough patch. I know how hard it can be and that feeling of being alone can be all encompassing and overwhelming. Personally , I have found it to be a withdrawal symptom because it has improved so much as I have started to come out the other side of this process. 

We are support for you and we understand what you're going through.

Hang in there.

Ali 

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ClaudiaC

I just want to sleep like my cat, that's all I want I hate this. ????

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AliG

I know. I felt like that too. It would be nice if we could sleep through it and come out healed. Unfortunately, we can't do that but we are here for support , guidance and understanding.

 

We have all gone and /or are going through this. Read back through Andy's post 44. He was " spot on " with the non- drug coping skills to employ at this time.

 

I hope this reinstatement is successful for you. Give it some time to have an effect.

Ali

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JanCarol

Do you feel anything from the Lexapro?

 

Any side effects, symptoms, any new clarities of thought or feeling less anxious?  Better or worse sleep?

 

We need to know how it is going before we can comment.

 

What has your 1 mg reinstatement been like for you?  It has been a few days, so you should have achieved blood serum level.

 

Does it feel like a step in the right direction?  Keep notes on paper, as to when you take your dose, how you feel within an hour or two of taking the dose, and how it affects your whole day.

 

Again, it's your body, we can't predict your body from here.  I know you didn't like it when I said that before, but it's true.  I don't know how you feel.  Please, tell us some details how you are going, and someone might be able to comment on a 1 mg reinstatement.

 

I just want to sleep like my cat, that's all I want I hate this.

 

Oh, yes, wouldn't that be lovely?  The way their muscles just melt into whatever they are sleeping on!  But my cat tells me I'm doing it all wrong:  she likes short snoozes (sometimes with one ear open) - and thinks that my long, 8-10 hour sleeps are unnatural - so she tries to "help" me fix my ape-like problem of sleeping too long by harassing me after about 6 hours....

 

Please let us know how you're going.

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ClaudiaC

I have a cousin that is a nurse, she told me to take SamE to help with my withdrawal it helps your brain and detoxing, should I not take it. ????????????????

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ChessieCat

re:  SamE

 

Adding anything new at this time can make it difficult to work out which drug/supplement is causing which problem.

 

Please answer Jan's questions:

 

Do you feel anything from the Lexapro?

 

"Any side effects, symptoms, any new clarities of thought or feeling less anxious?  Better or worse sleep?

 

We need to know how it is going before we can comment.

 

What has your 1 mg reinstatement been like for you?  It has been a few days, so you should have achieved blood serum level.

 

Does it feel like a step in the right direction?  Keep notes on paper, as to when you take your dose, how you feel within an hour or two of taking the dose, and how it affects your whole day."

 

We need the answer to these questions so we can tell if the reinstatement at 1 mg is working.

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ClaudiaC

I have been reinstated for 7 days, I don't feel like I'm any better on the 1 mg. still anxious as hell and hyperventilating badly, that hadn't changed. I feel like death all day and still having trouble sleeping, I have had it where I fall asleep fine for a hour or two and then wake up so anxious, I can't find the comfort to fall back asleep until three or four hours later, then maybe fall back asleep for a hour.

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ChessieCat

Thank you for giving the details of what symptoms you are currently getting.

 

Here is SA's link for SamE:  sam-e-s-adenosyl-l-methionine

 

I'm asking the other mods for their consideration of your situation.

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JanCarol

Actually, Claudia, that you haven't reacted to the 1 mg may be a positive sign.

 

Since you did a CT (cold turkey) from 15 mg to 0 in July, you probably have not had much time to restructure your nervous system.

 

We cannot decide for you, but it would probably be a good experiment to double your dose to 2 mg.

 

Here's the deal:  changes in doses are sometimes worse than wrong doses.  

 

There is no magic dose that's going to make it all go away.  We're just looking for enough improvement that you can start to feel better.  You claim you feel no different, so this might be an acceptable time to make an updose.

 

So resist the urge, every time your symptoms change (they will change several times as you heal, see:   Waves and Windows ) to change your dose, because changes are destabilising too.

 

AS ARE many supplements.  The only supplements we recommend to support withdrawal are Magnesium and Omega-3 fish oil

 

Please see item #5 in Alex's excellent Six Mistakes I've Made In Withdrawal, and please read in full this thread:  3 KIS's Keep It Simple, Slow, Stable.

 

Some supplements, such as St. John's Wort, SAM-e, 5HtP (often hidden in "mood complexes") are more risky than others - but please wait until your symptoms have settled before you waste a bunch of money on things that could make you worse.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2836-supplements-what-helps-what-doesnt/ contains discussions of what people react to, and might explain in greater detail. 

 

Doing Nothing is an activity, too.  And the best healer is time.  Waiting.  Doing nothing.

 

But please, feel free to try an updose to see if it helps, but be prepared to wait again, around another week to see what happens before making any further changes.   Make notes on paper to track your progress:  Rate symptoms daily to track patterns and progress

 

Believe it or not, you're doing really well, being very patient, asking questions - so you can do this.  And it does get better!

 

I hope you see the sun today.

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ClaudiaC

I didn't get off Lexapro cold turkey, it was 5 months of weaning, I know probably that was to fast.

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RachelSusan

Hi Claudia,

I wanted to say hello to you and tell you how sorry I am that you are going through what can only be called hell.  I'm not a moderator, just another person on the site.  Heck, I'm not even taking the same medication as you, but our medications are both in the same class and work using the same principal.  I too reinstated. As I was going through this I kept wondering what is "normal" in this abnormal medication situation I found myself in. I don't know if you feel the same way or not, but I wanted to give you just a little information about my experience in the hopes that It might help you. I took 2 weeks from the time I reinstated to feel relief.  I then got a few days where I felt pretty good and then I went back to good and bad minutes.  Yeah, it was that bad, I was going minute to minute.  It did finally calm down.  Again, I don't know what's going on with you as I'm not a professional but I thought I would share.  Please know if it was in my ability to make this go away for you I would.  I hate to see you suffer.  Hang in there Claudia.

RS

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ClaudiaC

I was talking to another member and she said you have a list of doctors that know of the SSRI withdrawal and it's affect on the brain. I'm in Massachusetts, USA, if there is doctors in the area of Boston, Massachusetts that would be great, if not please provide what you have.

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ChessieCat

Here is the SA topic:  recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics

 

In this topic is a link to: http://www.madinamerica.com/service-directory/directory-category/individual-practitioner/.  Please note that the listings in this directory are volunteered by the Mad In America community.  Many of these practitioners will work with people who would like to taper from psychiatric medications.  We do not individually vet or endorse the quality of the practitioners on this list.

 

The 2 that I found in this directory are Anne Weaver and David Anick.

 

This information may be helpful:

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

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ClaudiaC

After reinstatement of Lexapro, how long does it take to feel better. I think I'm 2 weeks and I don't think it has made me feel any better.

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ChessieCat

Actually, Claudia, that you haven't reacted to the 1 mg may be a positive sign.

 

Since you did a CT (cold turkey) from 15 mg to 0 in July, you probably have not had much time to restructure your nervous system.

 

We cannot decide for you, but it would probably be a good experiment to double your dose to 2 mg.

 

Here's the deal:  changes in doses are sometimes worse than wrong doses.  

 

There is no magic dose that's going to make it all go away.  We're just looking for enough improvement that you can start to feel better.  You claim you feel no different, so this might be an acceptable time to make an updose.

 

So resist the urge, every time your symptoms change (they will change several times as you heal, see:   Waves and Windows ) to change your dose, because changes are destabilising too.

................

 

The suggestion was made in Post #63 (partially quoted above) that you might try increasing your dose to 2 mg.

 

Please read all of the above quote so that you have all the information.

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reachingforthestars

Claudia.  I would give 1mg a trial.  At the worst, if it doesn't help you can stop.

 

It is not that simple... I thought so too that if reinstatement won't work I can just stop and everything will be the same as before reinstatement but reality was very different I had bad reaction and i became a lot worse and still after ten months I have reinstatement induced anhedonia. 

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