Jump to content

Cameronm2016: Lexapro Withdrawal - Success so far


Cameronm2016

Recommended Posts

I'm sure I'm just like you and spent weeks upon weeks trying to find someone, anyone that had success from lexapro withdrawal. It seems everyone just posted their symptoms which we already know because we have all went through them. Brain zaps, vertigo, loss of appetite, flu like symptoms, etc. For me, the worst effects were, brain zaps, vertigo, flu like symptoms, and insomnia. I, like many others was not educated on any medicine, if the doctor says "take it" I take it. My friend came to visit and I totally forgot to take my dose when he was here. I started feeling MISERABLE and I couldn't understand why. Then I did some research and quickly found the culprit. I went to my doctor and told him, anything that makes my body feels this way when I forget to take a dose I want no part of, our bodies aren't meant to go through ups and downs of serotonin levels etc. It's far from natural.

 

Anyways, years ago I was on Zoloft 100mg, I tried to remember taking it as much as I could, but I don't recall going through any withdrawal effects when I stopped taking it, and if I did they weren't noticed. Few months off, I decided to take Lexapro. 20mg is what the doctor prescribed me, that led into the missing a dose and feeling like you're actually dying which led into me going to my doctor and telling him I want off immediately. He understood, wish he would have told me the potential affects before I took it but everything happens for a reason. He made a tapering plan for me, and prescribed me 5mg tablets. I took 2 a day for 2 weeks (10mg a day) then 1 a day for 2 weeks (5 mg a day) then 1 EOD (5mg every other day) then it was supposed to be 1 twice a week (10mg a week) So I took my last dose last Thursday, this was the longest amount of time I went without taking a tab, come Sunday night, I felt the effects all over again, but resisted taking another pill. A lot of people will claim this tapering process was too fast. All you're doing by having a long drawn out tapering process is keeping lexapro in your body for longer. Lexapro has a VERY LONG half life, if you don't know what that means, it means it stays in your body for a long time. So taking months to get off is just keeping it in your blood stream for longer and longer. More damage than good (in my opinion)

 

Lets skip to the things that I did to make my symptoms a little less death like. Most people on these forums don't do anything to aleviate the pain and that's why you're symptoms feel like hell.

 

I resisted every urge I had to take a lexapro on Sunday night, then I made it through the day Monday (barely) and resisted again.

Tuesday was hell but I made it through the day and resisted again.

 

Supplements I took while withdrawing

Omega 3

Fish Oil

Magnesium

Vitamins

Vitamin C

Probiotics

5HTP - every morning and night - this is important in my opinion

Vertigo medicine that was prescribed - I made sure there were no side effects

I always eat healthy, I always drink a lot of water. I couldn't workout for this week because.. .well death

5HTP in my opinion helped with my mood. When coming off, if you looked at me wrong I wanted to swing at you for no reason.

Ambien - on nights I could not get any sleep

B-3 complex

opc-3 - strong antioxidant

 

 

 

I'm on day 7 since taking my last dose. Do I feel "Normal?" I have no idea, because I don't know what normal feels like anymore.

But I am not face down at my desk wondering if it would be more beneficial to jump off a bridge than to go through hell

I have a better appetite, my head isn't pounding and my vertigo is much better, but not completely gone. I'm more awake,

I drink a lot of green smoothies, and try doing things that enhance my mood. Last night I did a pancake challenge and just talking with my co workers at the table raised my mood and made me kind of forget about my symptoms

 

I bought a charcoal powder that is supposed to rid your bodies of unwanted chemicals etc. I haven't taken it yet but plan on it tonight. You're supposed to take this after your last dose. Hopefully it rids my body of any left overs.

 

It's a long list of supplements, and I'm sure I'm not 100% better, but today I feel great. and will be back in the gym.
I strongly suggest getting 5 htp if nothing else to help with mood swings.

Admin note: strikethrough added by moderator; we strongly urge people to avoid 5-HTP supplementation.

 

I'm not a doctor, just a 23 year old guy that was naive enough to listen to a doctor. I feel horrible for everyone going through this because I finally know what it feels like and wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. I went through everything you're experiencing and very well may continue to do so, with it being only 7 days off the drug. Keep telling yourself "this too shall pass" toughen up, don't wait for your symptoms to hopefully go away, get the right supplements to alleviate your pain.

 

I plan on going an all natural route from here on out, I don't care how long it takes me, or what I have to go through to do that, but I can tell you I will never be on an anti depressant or anything similar ever again. Our bodies were not meant to be Ginnie pigs and hope that a drug will work because a doctor said so. Everyone responds differently, if you can resist the urge to take anything like this, do it. You're stronger than you think, mind over matter. I wish I knew all of the side effects long ago or I would never put myself through this. You WILL get through this. Get rest, take supplements, try to be active, go as long as you can without taking a pill, and put it behind you. Educate friends and family if they think about taking something like this, because no one, not even doctors, understand the hell you will go through trying to get off.

God bless and feel better!

 

-C

Edited by scallywag
tags, strikeout of 5HTP suggestion
Link to comment

Please don't take 5HTP... Let your brain do the regulation of serotonin without boosting it with 5HTP. There are many horror stories how 5HTP have had terrible effect on "withdrawal brain".

Citalopram 40mg from 2003-2015

Jan 2015 started tapering first dropped to 35mgFeb 30mg, March 25mgApril 20mg, May 17,5mg, June 15mgJuly 12,5mg, Aug 12,5mg,

Sep 0mg for 5 days because of stomac flu and after I raised to 7,5mg. All the symptoms of acute WD shaking, diarrhea, vomiting, barely could walk ect. Still didn't realize that it wasn't only stomac flu but I was also going through WD.

Oct 2,5mg and crashed again badly and quickly raised to 4mg. It was then when I knew my symptoms were due to WD.

Then in November after a month holding on 4mg raised to 5mg due to muscle weakness and had a VERY BAD reaction to reinstatement: akathisia(lasted for one or two weeks), insomnia, anhedonia... Drop quicly back to 4mg, Dec 3mg

Jan 2016 2,6mg( in the middle of Jan after I had been on 2,6mg for a week I tried to updose to 2,8mg and immediately had bad reaction to it: akathisia for a day, andehonia got worse. The next day dropped back to 2,6mg), Feb 2,4mg( a new symptom PGAD lasted 24/7 for 2 months after that on and off), March 2,4mg, April 2,3mg, May 2,2mg, June 2,1mg, July 2,0mg( Pgad almost nonexisting, sleeping pretty good, still some anhedonia but there has been a lot of gradual progress), Aug 1,97mg-1,89mg, Sep 1,88mg-1,49mg, Oct 1,48mg- 1,70mg,

Nov 0,65mg- current dose 0,5mg

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Cameron -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

I've moved your post from Success Stories to the Introductions and Updates forum.  We like people to post in Success Stories after they've been off medication for 12 months or longer.

 

5HTP is inadvisable during withdrawal from psychiatric medications. I have added strikethrough formatting to that statement in your post. To understand why we absolutely do not recommend 5-HTP, please read this topic:

 

Avoid 5-HTP during tapering and withdrawal

 

I take issue with another statement, "Most people on these forums don't do anything to aleviate the pain and that's why you're symptoms feel like hell."

 

The only known remedies for painful, distressing symptoms of withdrawal are

  1. time
    -- and --
  2. reinstatement of the medication that was discontinued, usually a dose that is a very small fraction of the manufacturer's published minimum "therapeutic" dose.

 

The fact that reinstatement alleviates symptoms for many supports the theory that people experience symptoms because their CNS (central nervous system) has been destabilized as a result of too rapid discontinuation of medication. There have been many advances in neurology but none have found the magic treatment for CNS dysregulation yet.

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

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

About your situation: It's very early in withdrawal for you, only 7 days after your last dose. 
 
Lexapro is a very strong antidepressant medication, and along with Paxil (paroxetine) one of the hardest to discontinue. For more information about Lexapro and our suggestions about safe, gradual, tapered discontinuation, please read:
Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
 
 
Many people experience a honeymoon of sorts, no symptoms, for as long as 8 weeks after their last dose. Then they get absolutely SLAMMED with symptoms.


Delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms

 
 
You would be well advised to consider reinstatement at about 50-75% of your last dose in the next few days. Reinstatement is more effective the sooner it is taken after last dose. With time the

  • risks of reinstatement either worsening your symptoms or not working at all increase,
    and
  • suggested reinstatement dose, therefore, decreases.

Please read these topics to understand reinstatement, its benefits+risks, and withdrawal from SSRIs and other psychiatric medications:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
What is withdrawal syndrome
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
 
I hope you will be one of the lucky ones who can discontinue Lexapro and moves on after 4-6 weeks.

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

Link to comment

Due to Lexapro's long half-life it likely isn't even out of your system yet so all your withdrawal symptoms may not have set in yet.

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

Link to comment
  • Mentor

hi and welcome Cameronm2016

 

Oh I sounded just like you not even a month ago, I was telling someone, I don't understand it, WD hasn't been all that bad. OK there's been some rough stuff, but I managed....

 

and then sometime in Oct, I got SLAMMED! and wow, did that wipe away my attitude about WD being easy to manage but fast.

 

if you read my signature, you'll see, I've gone on and off lexapro several times, I've reduced the dose only to have such bad side effects (that I now know were WD symptoms) that I upped the dose back up again.

 

That was before I found this forum. Even then I did a too fast taper and as I said, I was doing fine for a good 5 mos!! and I just got slammed.

 

what you are experiencing now is just the tip of the iceberg I"m afraid

 

Please listen to the advice of others here, get yourself back on a low dose before things get bad.

I wish the hell I'd listened, believe me.

I wish I'd taken this a whole lot more seriously.

 

I only pray that I can somehow help someone avoid what I'm going thru now.

I had to reinstate but at a tiny dose (1/5 of a mg split into two doses, am and pm) and I am still having a massive amnt of trouble but getting thru it with a lot of work and a lot of support

 

you do have your age in your favor, I think. I don't know, to be honest, but my theory is that we are able to heal faster when we are younger. I recall going off of all kinds of psych meds when I was younger "cold turkey" and not *noticing* anything bad happen- but then, I would not have known to look for anything, so who knows?

 

now at 60 my CNS is a mess and I'm working overtime to get it to calm down and heal. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy

 

some supplements may help, eating healthy will help, over doing exercise may make things worse, so please be careful there.

 

try to keep things as stable in your life as you can and avoid as much unnecessary stress as you can.

 

I am glad that things have not been too bad for you so far but you are VERY early in the WD process and you may not continue to be this lucky.

 

In fact, considering how strong lexapro is, it's very likely that you will have much worse symptoms in the future. :(

 

 

please think about re instating before it's too late. I wanted to be all "heroic" and get that poison out of my body too, but that was truly foolish of me.

I was eager to go back to the drs who insisted that I was sleeping up to 20 hrs a day because I was "depressed" and needed MORE or different Antidepressants!! I wanted to show them that it was the damn drug making me that way, I was NOT depressed (although sleeping 20 hrs a day is pretty damn discouraging)

 

now, I can't sleep for more than 90 mins with out waking up. So yeh, I'm the hero, all right :P  Sure, I"m not sleeping my life away but now I can't sleep hardly at all.

 

I have a long way to go before I can go back and tell those drs: see it was the drug making things worse- but really, I don't care any more

I just want to make it thru this.

 

 

read some of the other stories of ppl going off lexapro esp those who had delayed onset of the bad WD symptoms like me and many others.

They can be pretty frightening to read, but believe me, it's easier to read than it is to be going thru it.

 

good luck!! we are all in this together and we will heal.

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022❤️ loving life  ❤️ 
Link to comment
  • Mentor

hi,

just to show you how much I was like you, here is a quote from a message i sent to someone else going thru lexapro withdrawal:

 

"my last dose was in er, May I think?  I went down in doses too fast, I was at 40 mgs for years and then 30, but I'm not sorry I went as fast as I did, to be honest, I think I'm doing better than If i still had that crap in my system."

 

 

Yeh I'm feeling really stupid about saying that now!! you just don't know what the future is going to hold for you, so better to be safe than sorry.

I can't even begin to stress how bad things can get.

and like you, my early symptoms were very easy to manage and I didn't know what all these other ppl were talking about.

 

sadly, NOW I know!! please reconsider re-instating.

 

I am just over a week into my reinstatement and I am extremely lucky that so far, knock on wood, it's starting to bring down the level of terror and anxiety somewhat.

 

I could have avoided this, if I'd just listened to the folks who had been there/d one that.

:(

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022❤️ loving life  ❤️ 
Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Due to Lexapro's long half-life it likely isn't even out of your system yet so all your withdrawal symptoms may not have set in yet.

Lexapro's half-life is 27 - 32 hours. The liver has metabolized at least 97% of the last dose by the 7th day, i.e. there is less than 3% remaining  after 7 days.

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

Link to comment

 

Due to Lexapro's long half-life it likely isn't even out of your system yet so all your withdrawal symptoms may not have set in yet.

Lexapro's half-life is 27 - 32 hours. The liver has metabolized at least 97% of the last dose by the 7th day, i.e. there is less than 3% remaining  after 7 days.

 

 

Thanks, that's very good information. 

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

Link to comment

Hi LexFree,

 

I believe this is how Scallywag got that math.

To make it easier, let's say lexapro half life is 24 hours, then 50% of it will be metablized at 24 hour mark ( how half life is defined), then 25% more will be metablized by 48 hour mark then 12.5% more, 6.25% more, 3.125% more and so on, so by 7th day, about 0.8% left. As the actual half life is 27-32 hours, you will end up with something like 3%

 

Regardless, the half life may not be as important as we think in terms of withdrawl onset, depending how sensitive ones system and each individual.

 

Many react immediately in hours.

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy