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easmith625: Reinstating Lexapro trouble, please help


easmith625

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Hi I'm new to posting here but have been on the site reading a lot. I've had issues with anxiety since I was a kid (now 28). I had been on Lexapro 20mg for the past 5.5 years and was stable, doing wonderfully, so I made the decision to come off the medicine the end of January. I tapered and came off within 2-3 weeks which I now know was not good. I experienced some brain zaps, but other than that have been fine for the past 3.5 months up until recently I started having issues with irritability and anger where it was affecting my relationships.

 

So this past Sunday I restarted my Lexapro at 10mg. Within 3 days, I started having horrible anxiety to the point where it was hard to get out of bed, it's constant 24/7, hard to sleep. So after 5 days of being back on the medicine I have stopped taking it the past 2 days. I'm not sure if it's the medicine that caused the onset, because in my past it has only taken one event to trigger months of this type of anxiety and I had a fight with a loved one the night I decided to restart my medication.

 

So I am looking for suggestions. Is it ok that I stopped the Lexapro after being back on for 5 days because I am afraid that it caused the anxiety? But at the same time, if the fight triggered the anxiety I'm not sure what to do. Im scared that one day I'll lose this battle with my anxiety and the medications won't help like they have in the past. I hate myself for ever stopping the medication because everything was perfect a few months ago, now I'm in a deep dark place that I haven't seen in 6 years.

Lexapro 20mg Aug 2011-Jan 2017

Lexapro taper Jan 15 2017- Feb 1 2017

Withdrawal symptoms (anger, irritability) May 2017

Reinstated Lexapro 10mg May 28-June 1 and stopped due to very bad anxiety, flushed, GI upset; but also unsure if this was the start up of one of my anxiety onsets as it could've been triggered by an upsetting event that happened on May 28, the same day that I restarted the medication.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

easmith -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I'm sorry that you didn't get proper information about discontinuing Lexapro. Doctors?!?!? Pharma companies :angry: $&@#!

Increased irritability and anger are known withdrawal symptoms. For a list of many (not all) w/d symptoms, you may wish to download one of the files in the first post of this discussion topic:
Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.
 
A reinstatement (RI) of 10 mg 4 months after your last dose may have been too much for your system.  We probably would have suggested you consider trying a much, much smaller dose because your brain and CNS (central nervous system) have been working to undo the changes they made in response to Lexapro's effects. The information at these two links have good explanations about why this is so:
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants
 
Sometimes reinstating a low dose of the medication or of a closely related medication eases symptoms. Sometimes reinstatement has no effect or, in a few unfortunate situations, worsens symptoms. The symptom relief doesn't happen overnight -- it can take several weeks to notice an improvement. If you choose to reinstate and it works for you, the plan would be to allow yourself to stabilize at that dose then to slowly taper off in a safe manner to minimize the risk of symptoms.
 
Is low-dose reinstatement something you'd like to test? If so, please post your "yes" here and we'll give you some information to read and then offer a suggestion of a starting RI dose for you to consider.
 
What is your symptom pattern? Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:
Take notes of doses and symptoms.

Many people experience cycles in their symptoms, waves of symptoms interspersed with windows of decreased or no symptoms. You can read more about that here:
The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization.

In dealing with anxiety, many people find it helpful to develop non-drug practices. For ideas, please read:
Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.
The Dr. Claire Weekes Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 9 and Post 10

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

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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Ok I updated my signature I think I did it right :) My symptoms consists of having extreme anxiety from the exact moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night. Tingling/burning in the palms of my hands. And just obsessive thoughts that maybe this time it may not get better. I'm frustrated with myself because I've been totally normal for years now and I went and ruined it.

 

In your opinion, would it be best to give my system 4-5 days of being off the medicine since starting back on the 10mg was way too much of a shock before reinstating at a lower dose? And how low of a dose should I try? 5mg or ever lower?

My boyfriend thinks I should just try staying off the meds for a week since all this happened when I started them back and just see how I feel, which I'm willing to try. At that point could I try to reinstate at the low dose or should I just immediate try reinstating now after being off 2 days? Hopefully this all makes sense, any ideas and insight are much appreciated. I'm very thankful I found you all, because it helps knowing others are out there. I'm worried to be one of the ones on here who don't heal for awhile but trying to remain positive.

Lexapro 20mg Aug 2011-Jan 2017

Lexapro taper Jan 15 2017- Feb 1 2017

Withdrawal symptoms (anger, irritability) May 2017

Reinstated Lexapro 10mg May 28-June 1 and stopped due to very bad anxiety, flushed, GI upset; but also unsure if this was the start up of one of my anxiety onsets as it could've been triggered by an upsetting event that happened on May 28, the same day that I restarted the medication.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello easmith,

 

I think I would be inclined to remain off the Lexapro, since you were only on it for 5 days, and you are already outside of the ideal time-frame for resinstating after your initial fast taper in Jan/Feb.  (Though as Scallywag says above, there is always a small chance reinstating could work). 

 

If you do choose to reinstate, we would suggest a very small dose, say 1mg. 

 

Personally, I'd focus on wrapping myself in cotton wool for a week or so, using some of the ideas here: Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.  See how you go, and keep daily symptom and severity notes so you can track what's happening.  That makes decision making much easier.  Then, longer term, you can start to look at non-drug ways to manage anxiety and difficult relationship situations. 

 

Also:  avoid caffeine, alcohol, strenuous exercise, stressful situations and junky food.  Keep well hydrated and rested too.  These things aren't a cure, but they really do smooth the road quite a lot. 

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

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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Thank you for the helpful suggestions! I think I may try to remain off it and see if the awful anxiety symptoms get any better since I wasn't having these before starting back on the medication. I fear since I have triggered them that they will stick around like they have in the past when I've had these flair ups and in those situations it's taking months of therapy and medications to feel normal again. But I'm praying maybe I just over stimulated with CNS by restarting it and by stopping it and getting it out of my system things will starlet down some.

 

I will look through all the links y'all have given me and avoid caffeine, junk food, etc. I have a job interview on Wed which I'm super nervous about which I think may have also contributed to this anxiety onset on top of the medication restart. So I'm trying to stay relaxed and keep my mind occupied away from negative thoughts in the meantime. Just reading other people's stories on heee has been helpful in and of itself.

Lexapro 20mg Aug 2011-Jan 2017

Lexapro taper Jan 15 2017- Feb 1 2017

Withdrawal symptoms (anger, irritability) May 2017

Reinstated Lexapro 10mg May 28-June 1 and stopped due to very bad anxiety, flushed, GI upset; but also unsure if this was the start up of one of my anxiety onsets as it could've been triggered by an upsetting event that happened on May 28, the same day that I restarted the medication.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, ea.

 

You may wish to take these supplements

 

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Many people find they help a bit in recovering from withdrawal. Try a little bit of each, one at a time, to see how they affect you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi alto! I did take some magnesium last night and I was actually able to sleep a little better, only to find the symptoms flood back when I awakened of course. I will definitely try the omega 3s next to see how they do.

 

I've read numerous stories on here about people struggling for months up to years with these issues so I'm trying to push these awful thoughts out of my head that I could end up like that and ruin my current relationships.

Lexapro 20mg Aug 2011-Jan 2017

Lexapro taper Jan 15 2017- Feb 1 2017

Withdrawal symptoms (anger, irritability) May 2017

Reinstated Lexapro 10mg May 28-June 1 and stopped due to very bad anxiety, flushed, GI upset; but also unsure if this was the start up of one of my anxiety onsets as it could've been triggered by an upsetting event that happened on May 28, the same day that I restarted the medication.

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So I stopped taking the 10mg 3 days ago and my symptoms are unbearable, anxiety 24/7 won't go away. I got some minor relief last night from .75mg of Xanax, but Xanax scares me. I don't know what to do, I feel worse than I have in years. I wish I had never stopped the lexapro. I'm not sure if I should try taking 2.5mg since the 10mg for 5 days was too much for my system to see if I get any relief. Or if I should just stay off the medicine completely. The lexapro helped me before when I was on it but it probably took 7-8 months before I was back to normal when I started it. Please help, I feel like all hope is lost and I may never get better. I'm not sure what to do?

 

Haven't been able to eat in days or sleep more than a few hours at a time. I'll have little 30-60 second windows once an hour or so where I feel ok but other than that, I just wish I wasn't alive.

Lexapro 20mg Aug 2011-Jan 2017

Lexapro taper Jan 15 2017- Feb 1 2017

Withdrawal symptoms (anger, irritability) May 2017

Reinstated Lexapro 10mg May 28-June 1 and stopped due to very bad anxiety, flushed, GI upset; but also unsure if this was the start up of one of my anxiety onsets as it could've been triggered by an upsetting event that happened on May 28, the same day that I restarted the medication.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm very sorry we didn't get back to you sooner. What is the situation like now?

 

Did you reinstate?

 

I sympathise with you a lot because I also stopped Escitalopram cold turkey at one point so I know how horrible things can be. But I reinstated and got better.

 

Let us know how you are doing.

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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  • Mentor

hi easmith625,

 

I am tapering off of the same drug as you are, are you able to get the liquid lexapro? if not, you can make your own liquid, there's instructions on the site somewhere. Basically you want to dissolve a 10mg tablet in 10ccs/mls (ccs are the same as mls) of water.

 

shake very very well, and make sure it's all dissolved. you can then use a 1ml needle- less syringe to draw up a VERY small dose of lexapro

 

I made a lot of mistakes in my taper off lexapro, you don't need the details but the part that may interest you is this:

when I decided to reinstate, I did so at a much lower dose than the one suggested to me. it was suggested that I take 1mg.
Instead, I took a tiny fraction of that. 0.02mgs or about the smallest amount I could draw up into the syringe.

I waited and I paid attention to how I felt.

within 4 hrs of that tiny dose, I noticed a small change in my anxiety level. It was just enough for me to believe that reinstatement was the right decision.

 

over the next several weeks, I slowly increased the dose, ending up at 0.3mgs (still much less than the 1mg suggested)

 

I held at that dose for awhile (probably not long enough) and am now tapering down.

 

it seems you are super sensitive to lexapro, which is why  I am telling you about my story, in case it's something you might want to consider.

 

You  need to do what is best for you.

 

My thinking was that  if I started super low, I could always go up in the dose if needed, but If I went back on at 1mg, and it was too much, I would immediately be trying to go back down too fast, or just suffering thru it.

HOWEVER, I did NOT get better quickly. It took several months for me to stabilize. During that time, I had symptoms every day, BUT the symptoms also decreased nearly every day.
Each day, I could find something that improved.

 

this method worked for me, but it may not be what will work for you.

 

I'm just putting it out there as another option to reinstating at 1mg, which is of course very sound advice, given your symptoms.

 

all the best to you, I hope you've gotten some relief!

 

 

  • 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  ❤️ 
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  • Mentor

sorry My mistake, I reinstated at 0.05mgs not 0.02mgs

 

 

  • 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  ❤️ 
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  • Administrator

Those are good points, H2H. 10mg Lexapro may have been too high a dose, a very little bit might be better.

 

easmith, since you found magnesium helped a bit, you might make a habit of dissolving a little mag citrate powder in water and sipping it throughout the day.

 

Now that the 10mg has worn off some, do you feel better or worse than when you were taking it.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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